Beautiful Barcelona

I love Spain, so when I saw that Tots100 were offering us bloggers the chance of winning a trip I felt I had to enter. If you also want to blog about Barcelona you can find the competition details here.

I have been to Barcelona twice now; the first time as photography student – I found it stunningly beautiful and travelled round all the sites in the guide books, took lots of photos and had a great time. The second time around I spent a few days in the city with my husband and four young children. So two completely different holidays, the last time we went we did all the tourist sites, here is where we went.

La Sagrada Familia

We visited the La Sagrada Familia but ended up spending just as long in the beautiful park just in front of it playing with the children. In fact the views of the architecture were even more stunning from the park. I think all too often the emphasis is to get as close to something as possible and the overall view is missed.

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria

The next day we spent walking round the Las Ramblas, we stumbled upon a lovely market called Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria which was filled with amazing foods, people and bric-a-brac. It was a colourful and large market, containing every type of food you could imagine. The children loved the colourful food and especially the sweet stalls.

The Mediterranean Sea

When you go abroad you have to sample the coastline, and the children love it too. We spent a day out enjoying the Barcelona coastline – children love sea, and especially warm sea! I wasn’t quite as prepared for the topless bathing as my baby was breastfeeding and very keen on boobies, she kept pointing which was entertaining but slightly embarrassing too. We all had a giggle about it afterwards as she spotted a well endowed lady and shouted boobies (she was only 1!) the lady understood what she said and smiled!

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The Montserrat monastery

While we were in the area we decided to travel a bit further out to see Montserrat monastery, it lies about 45 km northwest of Barcelona and is an easy journey or bus ride from Barcelona, many bus companies run trips on a regular basis. We drove there as we had hired a car, it was an excellent journey reminiscent of the bends which are filmed for Top Gear, I was only slightly nervous! To make it more fun we drove to the cable car and travelled to the summit in style. The cable car was journey was amazing – I would really recommend it. When we got to the top we looked around the stalls and bought some cheese from the monastery, I think the children were more impressed with the journey than they were the monastery!

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Above – The cable car we took to the Montserrat monastery

Tibidabo Amusement Park

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We decided to try to use as many forms of transport as possible on the next day so we investigated the Tibidabo Funicular to Tibidabo Amusement Park which is at the top of a hill 500m looking over Barcelona, it was great fun getting the funicular, the children found it very exciting as they had never experienced being on one before – a kind of cross between a bus and a train – but not quite a tram! We climbed to the top and was treated to beautiful views over Barcelona and the surrounding areas. The park is superb too, 25 rides to choose from for a reasonable price, a perfect offbeat activity for the children and great views for the adults!

Right – Our eldest children in front of the funicular on the way to Tibidabo Amusement Park

All of the above photos are taken by me of our family, the photos below are sourced from the Internet to show where I would love to visit.

 

 

So what would be our ideal itinerary for 4 days in the Catalonian capital if we went again?

Day 1 – Fountains and Crepes

If I was given the opportunity to travel back to Barcelona I would plan a trip to Guell Palace, which was Gaudi’s first major building in the city, it looks incredible and would be a dream to photograph, even if the children weren’t with us I am sure I would love to throw a few euros into the lizard fountain for them! Photos of Guell Palace, Barcelona
On the subject of fountains I would also love to see The Magic Fountain by night which I have been told is amazing. The Magic Fountain’s water jets are illuminated in many different colours, and the water dances with music and lights, it was restored in time for the 1992 Olympic Games, and best of all it is free!

I would finish off the day with a lovely romantic meal in the number 1 rated Chulapio Bar a Crepes. It sounds the perfect setting with Louis Armstrong playing and seems like it serves excellent and real value for money dishes. I am actually feeling hungry reading about it. Photos of Chulapio Bar a Crepes, BarcelonaPhotos of Magic Fountain, Barcelona

Day Two – Science and Flamenco!

Both my husband and I love science so even if we went without the children I would definitely want to go and see Science Museum (Museu de la Ciencia) it sounds great fun, with lots of interactive exhibits and things to see and do. Aeroteca looks amazing too, I have flown a few times with a friend and would find it fascinating seeing inside real cockpits looking at the exhibits lots of people talk of. I have also heard amazing things about La Casa Vella – Flamenco in Barcelona, where you can be part of an authentic “TABLAO” (Flamenco set). Photos of La Casa Vella - Flamenco in Barcelona, BarcelonaI love photo keepsakes and this sounds like a really fun thing to be part of.

 

 

 

 

 

Day Three – Day trip to Figueres

This is such a must, Figueres is the birthplace of Salvador Dali, one of my favourite artists. His amazing artwork fills a museum which is on the border between France and Spain. We have been before with the children but I would love to go again and look round at a leisurely pace!
Photos of Barcelona Turisme Dali's Figueres & Girona Day Tour, Barcelona

Day Four – Staying local

On the last day of the holiday I always prefer to stay local, I would suggest looking at the markets and walking round the Las Ramblas, taking in the street art and buying any souvineirs. Having a lovely Tapas along the main streets and watching the street performers. We have simple tastes and the opportunity to get away from it all would be more than enough to make me happy.

Viva Espana – I love Spain!

 

Reverse baked potatos – a family favourite!

All of our children love potatoes, we have them cooked in a variety of ways too. But when I saw the #MarisPiperBritMums Linky Challenge which is sponsored by Potato Council I thought I had to show you a way of cooking them a Swedish friend of mine had shown me.

It is a traditional Swedish way of cooking them made famous by a restaurant – they can be served as a side dish or as a small main course with vegetables, our children love them with fish fingers and beans, I am not quite sure that is what the restaurant had in mind when they cooked them!

Reverse Swedish Baked Potatoes

What you’ll need –

  • 6 Maris Piper large potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 3 tablespoons of butter melted
  • pinch of salt
  • parsley for garnish if required

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  1. preheat the oven to 220°C, and grease a large baking dish
  2. peel the potatoes, then use chopsticks to enable you to cut small wedges into the potato without cutting right through it
  3. mix the bread, paprika, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and half of the butter
  4. flex the potatoes and cover them with butter inside all the cracks
  5. press the breadcrumb mixture into the cracks and pat on the top of each potato
  6. bake for 30 minutes covered with foil, then a further 15 minutes without the foil

The children loved them and so did we – and a different alternative to the normal jacket potatoes we love!

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For other great recipies check out http://www.lovepotatoes.co.uk/

 

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This post is an entry for #MarisPiperBritMums Linky Challenge sponsored by Potato Council for Potato Week 7 – 13 October, celebrating the varieties of potatoes and how we like to eat them. Learn more and find recipes atwww.lovepotatoes.co.uk

Even tooth fairies love Oral-B Pro-Expert Premium Gum toothpaste

I signed up for yet another fabulous competition being run by Britmums, they generously offered us bloggers a free tube of the new Oral-B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste to try, so I just had to give it a go. My children love Oral-B too and use the kiddies’ toothpaste twice a day.

Here is the story in pictures!

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The day we received the toothpaste in the post Miss Eleanor lost her first tooth. The first photo shoes the new toothpaste and Eleanor’s normal one she uses, it’s always worth checking the recommended age on the toothpastes as Eleanor was really keen to try our new one out, but it’s not recommended for children, so I wouldn’t let her. But I did let her clean her fallen out tooth with the new Oral B Pro-Expert as I thought the tooth fairy might be very impressed with how clean it would be!

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Below, she cleans the missing tooth, then her own teeth with her own toothpaste and carefully pops the tooth in the bag for the tooth fairy. It’s always worth double checking it’s still in the bag before putting it under your pillow!
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Here she is tucking it under her pillow!

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We of course had to choose an appropriate story for bedtime.

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Us adults then sampled the new toothpaste, normally I use the Oral B 3-D one which I love, but I really liked the aftertaste of this one. What I’d love is to be able to combine how the 3D paste makes my teeth shine with the taste of this one, it made my breath smell really nice too, I just love Oral-B toothpaste!

Here is the note she wrote to the tooth fairy – ‘Please may you not take my tooth -I have been very good at school!’ –  how cute is that!

The tooth fairy loved the tooth and the note and swapped it for £2. Eleanor was so pleased as the tooth fairy returned her tooth too because it was so sparkly clean.

 

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This post is an entry for BritMums’ #ORALBLoveYourGums Challenge sponsored by Oral-B, promoting healthy gums – something especially important for pregnant women. Get tips and advice on www.oralb-loveyourgums.com

Eleanor’s enormous Seawig!

OLIVER_AND_THE_SEAWIGS_CVR_SEP13-671x1024Tots100 are running a great fun competition to win a personalised family portrait drawn by Sarah McIntyre, author of ‘Oliver and the Seawigs’. All you have to do is spend a bit of time getting crafty with the template on her website.

Oliver and the Seawigs is the story of ten-year-old Oliver Crisp, whose parents are explorers, they get into interesting situations and adventures. I am so hoping to win as my children would just love a copy to read. It is beautifully illustrated too; pictures always capture my children’s imagination.

Nurse Eleanor (age 5) and I enjoyed getting the craft box out and decorating the template, she even got my old rollers out when she saw the photo of the lady dressed up on the tots100 site! She used feathers, googly eyes and lips and a few pipe cleaners! A great rainy day activity for half term and a great prize too!

 

 

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This post is Slummymummy’s entry into the #Tots100Seawigs competition in association with jabberworks.co.uk.

Best Driving Views

I have found yet another superb competition, this time it is with CarCraft – and if you enter you stand the chance of winning a brand new Nikon Coolpix S3500 digital camera! All you need to do is show them your best snap taken from the side of the road and you are in with a chance. All the details can be found here, but hurry, the competition closes on the 14th October.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I just adore photography, and for that reason I don’t often leave my camera at home. One of my favourite photos was taken while I was being a taxi for my children – and all I had with me was my iPhone, I really kicked myself that I didn’t have my ‘proper’ camera with me as the view was stunning.

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I was busily driving along on my way home with all the children in the back when I spotted the sunset and the single poppy in the field. It was so beautiful I actually made the children get out and watch the sun go down, I think this sums up what a beautiful country we live in. I know being typically English we moan about the weather, but we have had one of the most beautiful summertime’s we have had in years. Mine should win because it sums this up so well, poppies are so typically English and are used to represent those that fell in the war. I would love to win this as my children love photography too and want to start taking more photographs; I would let them have the prize so they can make sure they never miss a sunset either. (and I must remember to always carry my camera with me!)

“This is SlummyMummy’s entry to the CarCraft best driving views competition.”