family · travel

Explore Costa Blanca with your kids!- on a budget – Part 2

As we are literally snowed in this morning, I am daydreaming about our time in Costa Blanca back in October and pinning places to visit on our next trip to Sardinia, Italy this time! Booked the hotel using onthebeach.com as last time, but we bought the plane tickets separate, it was much cheaper. I am all for the experience and adventure on a budget.

If you are new here, please read part 1 of this blog post here, where I share about Calpe and Valencia and some of our tips and tricks to travel with your family on a budget.

Fuentes de Algar. This place was recommended by Trip Advisor App, read the reviews and saw the pictures and we decided it was worth the trip. The satnav took us through a labyrinth of a citrus tree farms with narrow dirt roads…

2017-10-14 09.10.52 1.jpgI don’t have many pictures of it, as we were too busy making sure we don’t scratch the rental car. It was quite a scary adventure that we didn’t want to experience again so we took a different route on our way back to Calpe.

Algar was beautiful. Big sister dared to go for a swim in the waterfall which was a little bit too cold. She is an adventures spirit this one. 🙂 Little sister dipped her toes in too, but she decided: nope, not today! 🙂

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Fonts de Algar is around 30 to 40 min away from Calpe ( Calp) depending on the traffic. As it was October, there were very little tourists around which made the experience even more enjoyable, the kids were telling us that they feel like they were on an adventure in an Amazon Jungle 🙂 Make sure to park your car at the first car park and then walk up to the waterfall, if you are early ( we were the first ones there ) you just might park for free ;), you got to love the Spanish hospitality. There is an entry fee of 5 Euros/ person and 2 Euros/ 4-10 year olds, under 3 goes in free. You can find more information here: Las Fuentes de Algar. We packed a picnic and we spent the whole day there.

The next few days we spent exploring more of Calpe. The last day we spent in Alicante before flying home that evening from Alicante airport. We just literally wondered the small streets guided by our Trip Advisor list we made.

El Bario, a very colorful community, only a 15-minute walk, away from the Alicante port. There were lots of stairs.

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looots of stairs

 

 

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view from the top

 

 

 

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making new friends

 

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We had an amazing time and we definitely recommend Costa Blanca for your next vacation. Plan and budget ahead and visit as much as possible. Get lost a bit, you might just find a cute little vintage bookshop or museum.  Discover and explore through the eyes of your little ones. Thank you for reading and safe travels!

family · travel

Explore Costa Blanca with your kids!- on a budget

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Hello there!

This October, while our kids were off from school, we traveled to Spain, Calpe- Costa Blanca. We booked our holiday almost a year in advance through onthebeach.com. It was our first time using the holiday booking website. We were a bit nervous, but everything went perfectly with no unwanted surprises.

We had such a fantastic time and managed to explore so many beautiful places in just 7 days with 3 kids under 8 that I decided to share how we did it all on a budget.

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Calpe

As I mentioned already, we booked our holiday ( hotel + plane tickets) using Onthebeach.com in January and traveled in October – extra season.  I believe that is the best time to travel, especially with small children. The weather is great,  the temperatures were around 25 Celsius, the beaches and all the tourist attractions were not too crowded, just perfect and hotels are so much cheaper.

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Playa de la Fossa o Levante – Fossa Beach

I researched everything there is to visit around Calpe that was not too far to travel to by car, the kids will get bored if it’s more than 2 hours one way. Made a list on  TripAdvisor App and on Pinterest on my phone and my husband’s phone with the places we wanted to visit in every city. We rented a car and paid for insurance a few months before we left. If you are traveling from England make sure you get your EHIC cards –  European Health Insurance Card, it’s free from NHS – in Calpe, just for a doctor to see you ,you have to pay £120, don’t ask me how I know that.

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                                                                     In our beautiful hotel gardens

We paid for our holiday in installments throughout the year which was very convenient. We stayed in a ground floor apartment at Sunsea Village, it had three bedrooms (we only used two), bathroom and an open plan kitchen and living room and gorgeous gardens just outside our living room.  We did all the cooking, we ate out only 3 times in Calpe, Valencia, and Alicante. For two adults and three kids be prepared to pay over £50 for a meal out…not cheap. In Calpe, there are plenty of Supermarkets to shop from, even Aldi and Lidl. Just a note, usually in apartments like these there is no oven just a 4 spot electric hob, so keep that in mind when you shop for food.

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The most delicious Coconut Icecream in a Coconut shell – from Mercadona Supermarket 🙂

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Beach hair and coconut ice cream!

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Just down by the Muralla Roja Hotel – La Manzanera, breathtaking views!

The first day we rested a bit and then went to the beach. The water was a bit cold as you went in but after a few minutes it was just fine, we spent a lot of time in the sea.

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We also wandered around the old town of Calpe. We struggled to find a place to park…I can only imagine how difficult it is in the summertime. There was an Art street festival for all ages, there where people on every corner painting and sketching.

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Making friends and learning Spanish.

The kids made a new friend, Luisa, the daughter of the restaurant owner where we had lunch.

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Valencia! Oh, you are a magical city!…the light in that city is just beautiful.  The first place we visited was The Science and Art Museum. As you step in…you feel like you just stepped on a different planet. The architecture by Santiago Calatrava is amazing. They were having a special sculpture exposition by artist Manolo Valdes.

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We later drove to the old part of Valencia, parked our car and walked everywhere, we got lost a few times on the narrow streets, but thank God for Google maps. Yes, by the end of the day we were exhausted but in love with the city. We had a lovely lunch right in the  Plaza de la Reina. 

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 Plaza de la Reina – Valencia

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So many beautiful tall doors with cool details!

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Treasure hunting in a vintage bookshop. 

One day is definitely not enough to explore this city, we would love to go back, we didn’t manage to hit all the spots on our list. This post is getting way too long so I will split it in two. In the next blog post, I will share more on Fuentes de  Algar and Alicante. If you have any questions please leave them in comments and I will be more than happy to answer them. <<Edited: read part 2 here.>>

Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

family · for the Soul · things you should know

About last year…

 
It’s been over a year since my last post. And what a year has been! We serve an amazing God who is full of surprises and new beginnings. His ways are not our ways and His timing is perfect!
    I took a year off from blogging to start something new. I just finished Art and Design Foundation Course and in October this year by God’s will, I will start a three year Textile Design  Degree.
  Having  three children  and a home to manage it was all quite a challenge. I had my sweet mum moving in with us for a year to help me with everything. I am very blessed, I know!
            People who inspire others
are those who see invisible bridges at the end of dead-end streets.
– Charels R Swindoll, Wisdom for the way.
 
From getting accepted on the course to actually starting the course I had some challenges and I could see God’s hand over me.
 One of the challenges was tuition. I thought I could get a student loan to pay for it…well, on the portfolio review day, we had a lecture on the course and one of the tutors said: Oh by the way this is an undergraduate course so you can’t access the student loan for it, you have to pay for it, it’s free for those under 19…
And two weeks before the course started I  remembered noticing the price going up. I could not afford it.
 I remember trying to gasp for ideas in my mind  on how to resolve this, trying not to get discouraged …and honestly trying not to cry right there on the spot.
  I could see God working  in the months when I put my portfolio together, how He blessed my hands and  gave me wisdom to manage to fulfill the university requirements …I haven’t sketched since 8th grade…over 15 years ago and I could’t believe what I could do…He answered my prayers, every time I held a pencil I would pray : God guide me! And He did!
I knew this was His will for me…I took me two years to actually listen and obey…so I was really confused that day in the lecture room.
    After the lecture there was a presentation and a walk trough all the workshops we would be working in…and I was like…great…let’s see what I’m NOT getting…God why are you doing this to me?…I wanted to just leave,…and then I remembered my Pastor saying: If it’s His will, it’s His bill. I picked my self up and went for the walk.  I kept saying to myself : walk by faith and not by sight regardless of what human logic tells you!
God is not a man,so he does not lie. He is not human,so he does not change His mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it trough? 
Numbers 23:19 
 
Our ways are not God’s ways.
 Isaiah 55:8,9
After the presentation  I over heard a girl asking for payment options. The tutor said there are options to pay in installments and advised her to speak to the finance department and kindly offered to walk her over to the office. I followed them thinking this could be my solution too.
I still remember the lady’s warm smile when she said: Oh, there’s just been approved a new loan option…two weeks ago…it’s called Advanced Learner Loan for those over 25.  I went from discouragement to full on excitement. In the next 5 minutes I went online to check for my self..It was true! He had it all prepared, all I had to do is to trust Him! My blessing was right there in front of me…if I would have left I would have giving up literally with my blessing around the corner.
I am sharing this with you to encourage you to not give up. Whatever He has promised you He will fulfill it, in His time and perfect way. Trust, even when when it seams impossible.
There are no hopeless situations, only people who has grown hopeless about them! Don’t lose hope and trust Him!
              Enjoying  those Workshops! 🙂 Textile Screen Print was my favorite!
family · life

LIFE LATELY – ACCORDING TO MY PHONE PICTURES

                                           Happy Friday! Realy excited it’s the weekend!

                                                 My nephew,sister’s son, got married! It was a beautiful wedding!

                 Some fun with chalk in the car park. Thank you Pinterest for the inspiration!

Date night with my hubby!
 
 

         My girls and a very pretty entryway! We try to visit new places every weekend …little villages with beautiful little cottages or …this beauty of a house! 🙂

All we got were some pillows…promise!: they were free…so I took all of them!

                                                                He’s on the move!! Barefoot in the grass.

            
                                                   this is a weekly thing…they love it!

                       I got the chance to go to an restaurant opening…a day late. It was so good!

She has such a beautiful soul.

                                                             I have a thing for red doors.

This little guy turned ONE!!

 We went to the sea side in Hunstanton. We had a great day with good friends and fish and chips. You can’t beat that!

Channelling my inner Martha and canned some blackberry jam.

The day before our trip to the farm…it was a rough one for mama so the next morning after breakfast I took the kids to the farm & a picnic. We had so much fun and I got a chance to relax and enjoy them without any other distractions…like the pile of dirty dishes I left in the sink. Don’t worry, they were still there when I got back..sadly.

Emma decided that the baby goats are just like them…two girls and one boy…I am mama goat.:)

My three blessings! My hands are full, yes, but you should see my heart…it’s about to burst!

                                                                              Church.

Nature Scavenger hunt on our way to the park.

Were did the Summer go? I can’t believe that next week school starts!? …and Little Sister is starting school! She is so excited!
Our Summer was fun but I am so ready for Autumn! My favourite season!

family · random friday · things you should know

LIFE LATELY…ACCORDING TO MY PHONE PICTURES.

I think these type of blog posts are my favourite.It’s like an entry to a journal or a memory box with pictures of moments that I would like to keep and remember for ever. Life is short, so I want to share the best days and remember the good.
A lot has happen since my last post:

I went back to blond!

                        We went to visit family and friends in Romania for 10 days.

 
Last month we celebrated 8 years of marriage! So, while in Romania we took a family photo in the exact same spot were we took our wedding pictures.

 

Lunch break.at the airport.
 

After all that Romanian food and eating like there’s no tomorrow…it’s time to …
well…eat a melon..?…

 
 …& talk to the ducks.

 
 Can you tell by his cute little face that he still wakes up 5 times EVERY night?

 
 Thank you Tesco for your free magazine…we use it as craft supply to entertain little sister and baby brother as we wait for big sister to finish her tennis lessons.

                                   This is what keeps me together…it’s like glue…but tastes better.

                                             Oh..Love hose chubby little legs! It’s Summer! for like…3 days.

                                               

      She made up a song about me. Mummy is a tissue, she wipes your mouth she wipes your nose, mummy is a tissue!
Yup, that’s motherhood for you folks!

                   
                                                    We have the same bottom teeth.:D

                                                           

                                                               Thank you for reading!

family

Our trip to London – Visiting The British Museum

 
 
 
This Summer, we decided is going to be the Summer of Museums! We love taking the girls to visit different museums. It’s a great activity to do in the weekend as a family. There is always something fun to do even for toddlers and best of all, it’s free. 
 
 
 
Big sister was fascinated by everything she saw! I confess, it made my heart burst seeing her enjoy it. I dreamt about these days. Visiting museums, libraries and feed their little minds with knowledge..the right kind of knowledge.  Seeing my children grow and discover the beautiful world around them is such a blessing .
 
 
 

This right here, was the best part. There were special desks were museum staff showed and tell the history of objects as old as 700 years. You had the chance to touch and study the beautiful craftsmanship and interesting designs. I think this was my favourite part too.

 
When Little Sister turn came to touch and feel an 700 year old Chinese decoration, I think the lady’s heart skipped a beat. 🙂
 

Colouring session.
We had lunch at a small restaurant right across the street from the museum…can’t remember the name..but what I do know…I’m never going back there..EVER. The staff was lovely, but the food..not so much.
 

The weather was fantastic.
 We had such a slow and  lovely day. We planned the trip ahead of time to avoid any disappointment and unnecessary  stress.
 
Here are a few tips:
You can visit your local museum website for  opening times and what they have going on, any fees that they might have for special exhibitions that you need to pay cash for, parking arrangements.
 Always carry change with you to pay for parking and the ice-cream van that seams to be EVERYWHERE…and ice cream from the ice-cream van in London it’s NOT cheep.
Where comfortable shoes and clothes…well, for me, that go’s for everyday life with 3 small children. If I don’t feel comfortable with what I am wearing and I have to fuss with a necklace or scarf..I just take it off to avoid getting cranky 🙂 No one likes a cranky mummy.
If the weather is nice, pack a picnic and enjoy it in the park.

family

Big Sister is 6.

 
 
 

A few months after we celebrated our One year wedding anniversary we found out we were expecting our first blessing!
 I can’t believe I have a 6 year old. And what an amazing 6 year old she is.
 We celebrated her birthday together as a family by starting the day with cake for breakfast.
 It becoming a tradition. I always made them a festive breakfast for their birthdays, but this year we skipped the birthday parties and together with the girls decided on being just us, no fuss no stress, and making their day special with little surprises and their festive cake.

My dear Emma, you are such a blessing and a joy to us!  We love you so very much and we are so amazed by your kind and gentle spirit! Always ready to help and nurture your little sister and brother. You are going to be such a great mummy one day!
 

You are funny and you love to make people laugh. I adore your laugh, it’s so contagious!
I pray you will never lose that!
I pray that God will bless you all the days of your life my sweet baby girl!

                                                        
                                                            Happy birthday Big Sister!

family

Little sister is 4!

 
 
 
 

 This morning we had birthday cake for breakfast! It’s my 4 year old’s birthday! 4! wow! We are so blessed by our children! Truly, children are a blessing from the Lord!
She is so excited for her birthday! Since this morning she has the biggest smile on her face!

We surprised her with her Minnie Mouse boutique cake that she was praying for .  She went to preschool with no fuss and when I picked her up with baby brother we had some balloons for her! She was over the moon. She loves all the attention and that this day it’s all about her.
On our way to preschool this morning, I asked her what would she like to do for her birthday. And she said that all she wants is a party with her family in her room playing pass the parcel.
So as soon as she got home, she got some toilet paper and some small toys and started wrapping them for the game. I offered to help but she insisted that it’s her birthday and her party and she has to do it on her own…I wander were did she got that from…not me. Looking forward  to a fun family  party tonight when daddy gets off work.
 
 

My sweet Hannah!
Today is your birthday!
  Every day you inspire and challenge me to be a better mum.
 You are strong willed and courageous! You my darling daughter can move mountains!
 We adore you and we are so blessed to be your mama and daddy! We can’t wait to see you bloom into the woman God has created you to be.
 Happy birthday Hanny!

family

Baby Alex Noah. Six months.

 

Were did time go?…I say that a lot…
I love this season of motherhood. This right now, is my favourite. Well, every stage is kind of my favourite…
We did had a rough start with colics and chickenpox…not fun! But thank God all is well and my baby is growing so well! He is so alert and engaging and laughs his head off at his sisters shenanigans. He is such a joy and a blessing.

Motherhood is no easy job …having three little ones depending on you for everything is a huge responsibility. Sometimes I feel like all I’m doing is meddling with these perfect spirits and placing my own fears and habits and short comings on them. I spend a lot of my time  praying I don’t mess them up too terribly. I’m just thankful I have been given this chance, with these three beautiful healthy and happy babies of mine.
 
I wouldn’t mind if time slowed down and let us linger a bit longer. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to wake up soon and it will all have been a very short dream.
family · for the Soul · kids stuff

New Year Family Resolution / Goals ideas

   Every first of January we make lists, plans for the new year. Things we would like to change or improve, things we would like to do more of or not doing them at all.It’s a fresh start, a blank canvas. As me and my husband thought about the year ahead of us I decided to write a post were I share some ideas to inspire your list. Some of these things we already do and some are new to our list.

                                                       Enjoy the outdoors more.

  My girls really like going on “adventures” every time we go to a nature park. Pretend they are chasing and fighting dragons or discovering new things, like a hollow tree.
   Living in UK, our outings  are very much conditioned by the weather. So our plan for 2015 is to face the bad weather, get our rain boots on and enjoy the great outdoors no matter the weather. We just need to put together a bad weather day kit or something. I appreciate any suggestion! 🙂

                                                                     Read together.

       Read with your children, to them or let them see you reading. Just surround yourself with books. I love books, reading them, decorate with them. I dream of a huge library in my home one day. Just surround yourself with knowledge. I often tell Big Sister : If you don’t know the answer to something, someone, somewhere wrote a book about it. And children always learn by example, so pick up a book and read.

Cook together.

      There is a saying :” Letting your child help you with something is the fastest way to discover you are the world’s  biggest control freak.” Especially in the kitchen. But it is such a great way to bond and make some beautiful memories together. And the girls really like helping me in the kitchen. 

                                                                    Go on picnics.

     We love picnics. It’s one of our family tradition, as soon as warm weathered kicks in we go on a picnic almost every other weekend. It’s a great way to spend time with your loved ones without spending any money, just pack your lunch, grab your blanket and find a grass patch.

                                                           Questions of the day.

    Every night, after  bed time story, when we put our girls to bed for the night, before we pray together we ask them three questions:

Could you tell us something that made you smile today?
How about something that made you sad?
Did you learn something new today?
 
 
    I have read about this idea somewhere on Pinterest and we have been doing it for the past few months. It is already part of our bed time routine and the girls look forward to it. It sparks some interesting and funny conversations :)). It is just so good to end the day as a family and on a positive note.

                                                       Random acts of kindness.

 
      Practise gratitude as a family. Go out and clean a park. Help out a family member or an elderly neighbour by doing something for them around the house like cleaning and preparing their garden for spring.
    Donate something you don’t use anymore.  Have a clear out, look trough their toys or clothes together and let them decide what they want to give.  And just remember to donate clean and nice things, something that you would buy allover again if you saw it in a charity shop ( and needed) .
 
     Set a weekend day aside to go for a walk around your city and look out for street artists ( we have plenty here in our neck of the woods) or street beggars. After you find them go into the nearest food shop / McDonald’s and get them a hot drink or a meal.  When you see the surprise on their face and gratitude, it  gives you the best feeling in the world. I want my kids to feel that and think about others. The world is so big and full of people in need, when you change your focus from your problems to other people problems you realise  you didn’t had a problem in the first place. You become so much more grateful for what you have.
 
These are some of the things on our list for this new year. I hope it inspired you to make a change or encouraged you to keep doing what you are doing! I wish you a Happy New Year and days filled with laughter no mater what challenges you might face!