Thursday, 9 June 2016

Why Blackpool Pleasure Beach is brilliant for families

Sometimes your choice of theme park is straight-forward.

You may live on the doorstop of one or have a small group, all around the same age, and height.  All perhaps sharing a common thrill seeker level.

Easy.

But what do you do when your party ranges from 2 years-old to 70 years-young?

When your group contains folks that regard 90mph upside down as a moderate rush, and others that see spinning tea-cups akin to skydiving from the moon without a parachute?

OUR THREE GENERATIONS OF FAMILY AT THE PLEASURE BEACH

You go to Blackpool Pleasure Beach of course.

We had such ‘problem’ over the recent school holiday, and having visited many of the UK’s best theme parks over the years, knew where was going to suit our party, as a collective, best.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is a brilliant theme park and really comes into its own when talking of having something for everyone.

There are other great theme parks around the UK but none I’ve found that really do cater for everyone at the same time.

Attractions for every age group, for every height, for every level of adrenaline rush seeker.

WHY BLACKPOOL PLEASURE BEACH SUITS EVERYONE


THREE GENERATIONS OF NEWBOLD ON THE DERBY RACER

Value for money & the non-rider option


Prices are very fair at the Pleasure Beach.  It is one of the few theme parks that still offers much cheaper entry for those just wishing to walk around the park, perhaps just to accompany children enjoying the rides.

And if you just want to take in a single ride or two, you can buy individual tickets rather than wristbands that offer unlimited rides.  Keeps the price down, and you are only paying for what you are riding, or not, as the case may be.

However with Pleasure Beach wristbands offering unlimited rides start at only £17 when booked in advance online, it doesn’t take many rides to get your money’s worth.

Rides for everyone


For the trill seekers, there are the big rides like, errrm, The Big One and Infusion.

Whilst rides like Alice in Wonderland, the Ghost Train and Dodgems should suffice the traditionalists.

In the middle ground there’s the Grand National, Derby Racer and Flying Machines.

For little ones there’s an abundance of rides over at Nicklodeon Land, as well as rides dotted around the park like River Caves and Eddie Stobart’s Convoy Ride.

We enjoyed a good mix, and found that those going on each particular varied.  Each of us took a break at one time or another, rather than any one of use being consistently left holding the bags.


MEMBERS OF ALL THREE GENERATIONS COOLING DOWN ON RUGRATS LOST RIVER


Handy Literature


One of the finest, and most useful, leaflets ever handed to me is this beauty.

HANDY LIST OF ALL PLEASURE BEACH RIDES FOR SMALL CHILDREN


There’s no need to fold out a massive site map, or familiarise yourself with any clever key over-and-over again every time you are evaluating where to go next.

This is a handy list of all the rides without a height restriction, and gave us a quick short-cut to target the rides for our littlest, and most conservative thrill seekers.

They also have a very handy leaflet giving you the height restrictions and ticket requirements for every Pleasure Beach ride.

Site Layout


Blackpool Pleasure Beach is set out cleverly over a relative small and flat site, it is so easy to get from one area or ride to the next, even if you have a tired toddler or indeed, pensioner, in your group.

It’s easy for your kids, or adults, to take turns choosing rides of varying menace on your way around, meaning no one is waiting very long to go on a ride of their choice or thrill level preference.

And it’s not like you have to traipse back and forth over acres and acres, to and from particular areas, wasting your day walking.  We managed to easily keep the whole of our party happy during all of the time on the Pleasure Beach.

Convenience


We drove in from the Lytham side encountering no traffic, despite it being a school holiday, once again parking right underneath The Big One rollercoaster.

Hearing, and seeing, the rollercoaster over your head always whets the appetite, and provides a ridiculously convenient and short walk to the park.

After making the very short walk to the ticket office, we picked up our pre-ordered tickets, and were all inside the park in only a few minutes after parking.  No mean feat for a party of ten including a pushchair (and pensioners).

PARKING UNDERNEATH THE BIG ONE ROLLERCOASTER


Fantastic memories for the whole family


We had an absolutely brilliant day, that is very difficult to put into words, a day not easily forgotten.  Family time at it’s very best.

Hope you and your family get to enjoy the Pleasure Beach soon.

If you want more information and tips for visiting the Pleasure Beach have a browse of all my Blackpool Pleasure Beach posts.

And to see just how much fun we had, take a look at the images below.

THREE GENERATIONS ENJOYING THE RIVER CAVES

FATHER AND SON ABOUT TO CLIMB THE UK's HIGHEST ROLLERCOASTER

STEEPLE CHASE WITH 138 YEARS OF JOCKEY ON ONE HORSE!

KEEP YOUR HANDS ON THE HANDLE BARS

GRANDCHILDREN, PARENT & GRANDPARENT ENJOYING THE GRAND NATIONAL

AUNTIE AND NEPHEW REACTING SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT ON THE REVOLUTION


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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

What we’ve learnt by Living Lagom with IKEA

We’ve been part of the Live Lagom sustainability project with IKEA for six months now.

The project is intended to engage with customers, and working on the idea of not living without, but living with the right amount.

It’s designed to encourage people to discover how they may live more sustainably but without real compromise.

The plan isn’t to turn everyone into eco-warrioring vegans with up-cycled bicycles, but for people to go about their everyday in the best way possible.

Wasting little or less, consuming less energy or more efficiently and by saving time and money for the forever pressured family.

The Lagom mantra translation is that the right amount is the best amount, or that’s the conclusion I’ve drawn from my limited grasp of general understanding.

We were generously given a £500 budget to spend in IKEA on their most sustainable products, or products that allow households to live more sustainably.

I’m unsure if as consumers we generally think of IKEA as a store that can help us by more sustainable, but there’s a vast array of products within IKEA that do just that.

It’s a range they are keen on expanding, which they’ve done recently with the launch of the IKEA Advänbar range.

Max enjoying the Advandbar workshop 

We had good fun learning all about it at a recent workshop, as well as having fun building,and finding homes for, our own little terrariums.

So what have we learned, or earned more like?


We are now recycling more.  It may sound daft, but by buying a Humlar bag that made filling our recycling bin much easier, resistance to recycling has been removed, and as a result more makes its way to the recycling bin.

Our cooking is more efficient.  Our new pots and pans work really well with our induction hob, and we literally don’t waste any heat.  Veg is steamed over potatoes boiling below, and heat is trapped in by brilliantly fitting together accessories.

We’ve stopped buying batteries.  As a relatively modern family we have the common battery chomping devices.  I have a wireless keyboard and mouse, my son his Xbox controllers and night-time reading head-torch, but now these are replenished with rechargeable batteries rather the less environmentally and pocket friendly consumables.

We use less electricity lighting our home.  This project finally prompted us to get of the remaining non-energy saving light bulbs in our home.  And such is the improvement in LED technology some of our ‘old’ energy saving bulbs have been replaced with bulbs using 80% less energy.

I’ve created a spreadsheet (of course he has) of the energy usage change and the monetary savings we’ve made as a result.

I’m happy to share that will you, and it’s very easy for anyone to use who is considering changing bulbs.


You can download the extended working spreadsheet - complete with instructions of how to use - by clicking here.

Basically it illustrates that for a £111 investment we will be saving £84.85 per year (at current electricity prices).  By changing the details to your own, the spreadsheet will show how much money you will save, and also how long it will take to recoup the cost of new bulbs.

If you need help accessing it, or getting it to work for you, please do get in touch with me.

And if you're worried about the bulbs expiring before they should, and not really saving you money, then IKEA LED bulbs are guaranteed for an age, and as they include IKEA branding on them there’s no real need to retain receipts in the unlikely case they need to be returned in the future.

Overall we've loved Living Lagom with IKEA, we hope the influence of which stays with us for a more sustainable future.


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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Help finding quality family films on Netflix

I’ve written before about how much we enjoy our Netflix nights in.  Family movie night is often the highlight of our week.

I’ve also banged on about how hard it is to agree on a film that we are all going to enjoy.

We ask for movie advice from friends and folks of the internet all the live long day.  You can’t beat a personal recommendation from someone with similar tastes, plus it gives you something to bash them with if their suggestion ends up being crud.

Netflix also does a brilliant job of running a combination of algorithms and people (yes, they use real people) to analyse your viewing history to recommend other things you may like.

Rather than get a random recommendation, or receive generic lists of all the movies the actors or directors you’ve watched have also been involved in.

And it’s for that reason, when we’re asked “Who’s watching?” when logging in to Netflix, we now have a family profile.

Ingenious use of Netflix profiles

Netflix is so easy to use, and like I’ve said above there’s a real advantage to having individual profiles.

And I think that’s how most people use profiles, for individuals.  They are brilliant when you are binge watching individually, and I’ve always got on eye on my personalised recommendations when I’m nearing the end of a series.  The profiles fall down a little when we are watching together, as our taste vary so much.

For family movie nights, we were using one of our individual profiles and then searching for a film title to watch as a unit.  But because viewing history is dominated by one individual, lots of the suggestions weren’t really valid, and it was taking a little longer to find something to watch.

Not a massive first world problem, but one we think we’ve solves with the genius of a family profile.

For the eagle eyed, you’ll also note we’ve added a profile for our nephew, Bertie.  After I found recommendations for Peppa Pig based on my viewing history.

They are so easy to create, and even useful for only occasional use, like in the case of our favourite little Netflix loving visitor.

Nephew Bertie in full Netflix mode

So that’s our recommendation, if you have a Netflix account, add your family as a profile, so when you’re watching together you build a viewing history that will get you superbly qualified recommendations in the future.

It may* even stop me bothering the interweb for movie ideas.



*Probably not

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