A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Wildlife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wildlife. Show all posts

Saturday, 2 July 2016

12 Simple Ideas For Making the Most of Summer

Aloha, Summer 2016I'm all for making the most of lazy days and spending time in the great outdoors during the summer months. As both daughters finish university, there are plans to spend as much time as possible with daughter, Olivia, while Sophia leaves to work in the US until September. I am hoping that this summer will be a fabulous one despite missing Sophia a lot.

According to George Gershwin... 'Summertime, and the livin is easy...' epitomises everything that summer should be. A time for kicking back and taking time out to enjoy simple pleasures and exploring the great British countryside.

Here's my essential checklist for summer 2016...

1. Download a playlist that's filled with fabulous summer memories and perfect for warm summer days...


Sunglasses, summer, playlist


2. Go for a really long walk and return home only after a leisurely lunch outside the pub...

Pub lunch, summer, outdoors


3. Make the most of sunny days and warmer weather to attend local sporting events...

Regatta, summer


4. Take an early morning walk and try to spot some wildlife...

Early morning, walks, wildlife


5. Take a trip to the beach and dip your toes in the sea (or maybe wade in a little further if you're feeling brave!).

Beach, paddle, toes


6. Make S'mores on the barbecue...

S'mores, barbecue, marshmallows

How to make...
  • Take 2 biscuits (digestives and cookies both work well) but I prefer Graham Crackers (which aren't easy to find in the UK).
  • Place a square of chocolate onto each of the biscuits (Hershey's is used traditionally, but any chocolate works well).
  • Skewer a marshmallow and hold it carefully over the flames of the barbecue while rotating so that it cooks evenly. This is cooked when golden-brown in colour.
  • Place the marshmallow on top of the chocolate without removing the skewer. 
  • Place the remaining chocolate and biscuit on top of the cooked marshmallow.
  • Press down slightly so that the hot marshmallow melts the chocolate and sticks the s'more together.
  • Remove the skewer and wait a few seconds before eating.  

7. Drink hot chocolate under the stars (and wrap up in a blanket when the temperature start to fall).

Hot chocolate, night sky


8. Make a daisy chain and give it to someone you love...

Daisies


9. Go strawberry picking and spend the rest of the day enjoying a bowl or two and maybe enjoy a jug of Pimms :o)

Strawberry picking


10. Spend time watching the clouds and make pictures out of the formations...

Cloud watching


11. Make a picnic and head off for a day filled with adventure. Why not make an alternative selection of sandwiches such as Peanut butter, banana and honey?


Picnic, adventure, outdoors

12. Enjoy those great summer book releases and read outside in the sunshine...

Book, summer, reading outside


Here's to making the most of summer and hoping that the great British weather is glorious in 2016.

Are there any more you'd add to the list?


Copyright ©2016 Izzie Anderton



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Friday, 30 October 2015

Two Weeks in Mexico...


This was our second visit to the Riviera Maya in Mexico. We had no hesitation in booking a return trip after a fabulous holiday back in 2011 with our daughters. We left rainy Manchester behind and settled in for the ten hour flight hoping that the trip would be as enjoyable as the first.

Our welcome at the Grand Bahia Principe (GBP) - Akumal was very warm indeed - there were refreshing, fragrant towels, frozen margaritas and our check-in was mercifully swift. In no time we were settled in our Junior Suite with two double beds, lounge area, whirlpool bath and well-stocked mini-bar. The Akumal is one of four hotels within the GBP complex - there's also Coba, Tulum and Sian Ka'an (adults only). We'd chosen the  Akumal due to its close proximity to the beach and excellent reviews.


It's the little touches that make for a brilliant holiday; such as fruit skewers delivered to your sun-lounger, the perfectly mixed mojito and staff who are only too happy to cater to your every whim. Our suite was just a ten minute walk through well-maintained grounds to the pool, lobby or buffet restaurant.

We soon relaxed into a cycle of sleeping, eating, swimming and cocktails, and with the biggest decisions of the day being whether to head to the pool or beach, life could not have been more easy-going. I'd like to say that I tried out the gym, took zumba classes and sampled the various entertainment on offer - I chose not to most of the time. The lure of the jacuzzi, pool and beach was too tempting.

Sun-loungers were plentiful and available at the beach or pool no matter what time of day you arrived. The pools were inviting and never crowded, while the beach had sugar-white sand that shelved gently into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. It was difficult to know which was the more idyllic.








All-inclusive at the Akumal was excellent value for money and included à la carte dining across all four hotels in the complex, cocktails whenever, wherever and as much (or as little) entertainment as you can manage. Although the hotel complex is vast, there are buggies to take you around the site - these had a tendency to be driven at speed and at times we had to hold on tight. At the heart of the complex is The Hacienda - a replica of a colonial hacienda featuring shops and market stalls selling traditional souvenirs - sombreros, tequila and ornaments celebrating the Mexican festival - Day of the Dead. It's also where most of the entertainment events take place.

There's a lot of wildlife around the complex - coatis, raccoons, agoutis and iguanas to name a few. I loved the high-pitched squeals from the coatis and the mischievous antics of the raccoons. During our stay we also observed newly-hatched turtles making their journey down to the sea. We were unimpressed with the dolphin attraction at GBP- Tulum however, as the pool seemed rather small and inadequate.





The food options at the buffet were plentiful and our waitress, Neyfi, couldn't have been more attentive. There was something for even the pickiest eater and the food available was of a very high standard and always delicious. My favourite dinner was freshly cooked pasta - where I selected from a vast array of ingredients and had the dish cooked to order..

We ate at several of the à la carte restaurants during our stay and, if we had one criticism, it was having to book days in advance for the more popular ones which spoils the spontaneity a little. Personal highlights  or me, as a vegetarian, included the Dolce Vita (Italian) and the Don Pablo (gourmet). While Mr A preferred the Tequlia (Mexican) and the Mikado (Japanese) - where we were lucky enough to be seated at a show table.

We enjoyed a pre-dinner cocktail (or two) at the Music Bar, where the backdrop of music videos (featuring songs you should probably never admit to owning) from the eighties and nineties provided reflective moments as to what we were doing (and wearing) at that time. As we tend to eat rather late on holiday, we often missed the evening shows. Of the entertainment we did manage to catch, highlights included the saxophonist, and the band playing rock covers - both at the Akumal pool bar. We caught the end of a Michael Jackson tribute evening over at the Hacienda and although the backing singer and band were excellent, and the lead singer a great dancer, his singing could have been better.

Occasionally, we needed to pinch ourselves as a reminder that we were actually here in beautiful Mexico and life couldn't have been more relaxing. Even though it was hurricane season, the temperature was a perfect 30°C throughout our stay. Maybe if we visit for a third time we'll try out the gym, zumba and more of the varied entertainment on offer, and then again, maybe we won't. The lure of the pool, beach and jacuzzi are simply too tempting.






When we did venture out of the hotel - the excursions were fabulous. I'll write about our trips to Xoximilco and Tulum at a later date... 

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton   







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