A Strong Coffee


Thursday 2 February 2023

Where to snorkel in Costa Adeje


On our trip to Tenerife last year, I was keen to do three things. Relax, enjoy Siam Park and do some snorkeling. I am pleased to say I did all three.There are loads of snorkeling trips you can take in Tenerife but when there is a family of five it gets quite pricey. Personally I liked the sound of the kayaking tours that took you out to see turtles but there were a few issues with this. Firstly, some operators feed the turtles bread which isn’t good for them. Secondly, the sea is really choppy, making kayaking quite hard. And last but not least, one of my boys is scared of fish swimming around him. It’s their eyes that freak him out I think.So in the end we decided to buy some cheap snorkels which are sold in all the beach side shops and just have a snorkel in the sea. I have to say I was actually really impressed and you can find loads of beautiful fish around the edges of the bays.The easiest place we found to snorkel was Playa de puerto colon. This is a calm bay where there is an inflatable park to one side for the children. As you walk into the shallow water you can see shoals of small fish around you. However, if you spend some time around the edges and around the rocks you will see an array of beautiful fish.

We also tried our nearest beach playa del bobo. Here the water was much rougher making the water less clear. However, up against the rocks at the side there were again some beautiful fish to see. You just needed to be careful not to hurt yourself on the rocks. One thing that did amaze me here was seeing a little puffa fish swimming around by himself I’m the calmer water.I could have spent hours snorkeling and looking at the beautiful fish. If we had hired a car, I would have traveled further north as I believe you are more likely to see turtles there. However, if you are off to Tenerife and fancy some snorkeling, just grab a five mask and have a look. You will be amazed at the beauty underneath the sea.Do you recommend anywhere to snorkel in Tenerife?

Saturday 1 October 2022

Do You Need A Fast Pass At Siam Park, Tenerife?

We visited Siam Park at peak holiday time in August. I have to say I was reluctant after reading the negative reviews on Tripadvisor.  They mainly focused on the lengths of queues and not being able to get on any rides without a fast pass for an additional 18 euros. Now when you are a couple that’s not too much but another 18 euros x 5 onto an already expensive entry fee, food and locker. Well let’s just say I didn’t really want to pay it. 
I have been to the Merlin parks in the UK and have never really needed to buy fast passes so decided we would see how it went.

View from Bouganville Playa, Siam Park waterslides can be seen in the trees in the distance,

We arrived early. Around 9.15. This is a must. We were lucky as it was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel (Iberostar Bouganville Playa.) It gets you into the park and hiring a locker easily. The queues for the lockers at around 11 were insane. We then went to wait to ride Singha as I wanted to go on the rollercoaster style ride the most and knew that the one we had done at volcano bay had massive queues so assumed this would be the same.We managed to ride it really quickly. It was fab. But it broke before my husband goton it. One of the biggest issues we had with the park was the need to find extra people to ride with. Pretty much all rides were 2’s and 4’s. Infact a family of 3 in the fast pass queue for the dragon we’re about to be turned away before I leapt across and said I would ride with them. Most operators would let you wait until a space came up though.We managed a good few rides without queues. Then had a really long queue for the dragon. But it was worth it. We then went to the wave pool.We then did a more slides and queues went down massively after 4. Fast passes aren’t essential but if you can justify them they do make the queues less.the tower of power and the lazy river aren’t on fast passes and you should do these first if you buy a fast pass. The lazy river was so busy we couldn’t go through the tunnelwith fish.We had a great time at Siam Park and I would go back if we went to Tenerife again. I probably wouldn’t buy fast passes but would buy the bounce back tickets instead. That way you could have a more relaxed couple of days and make sure that you did the rides early and late when the queues are small.Have you need to Siam park? Did you like it?

Monday 15 August 2022

Iceland Day Four

 Day four in Iceland was our last full day and also my birthday. I woke myself up at midnight to see the “darkness. It was so surreal.

Then we had breakfast before packing our bags. The plan for my birthday was to go pony riding, paddle in some hot springs and then go for fish and chips with a birthday beer in Reykjavik. As we got in the car and headed toward the stables and I wondered what on earth we were doing. It was raining, it was cloudy, it was miserable and cold. Once we got to the stables the girls doing the ride were a breath of fresh air. I had booked the mountains and meadows tour from Icelandic Horseworld. We just had to accept that there were probably mountains and meadows around us! They offered us more waterproofs and gloves and got us kitted out so we could enjoy ourselves whatever the weather. Whilst we had no view, we had lots of fun. We even braved a tolt. A lovely birthday treat.

Then we headed to Reykjadalur Hot springs. Luckily it had opened for walkers at the beginning of June. With the weather looking grim, I wasn’t sure if we should even start the walk. However, we thought we would give it a go. We left our swimming gear behind though. The hike was reasonably hard for someone that has never hiked. But doable. 

We arrived at the hot springs to find loads of people in their swimming costumes. We had to settle with a paddle.

We then headed back to our original apartment block in Reykjavik. Then a wander to find a fish and chip shop that my friend had recommended. It was so good and the perfect end to our holiday.

Iceland was everything I expected and more. I would love to go back in the winter months to compare and maybe even see the northern lights.Have you been to Iceland? What did you like best?

Sunday 14 August 2022

Iceland Day Three

Our plan for day three was a trip down the south coast to Vik. We woke up to beautiful blue sky and stopped to stroke Icelandic ponies on the farm that we were staying in.

I was very pleased my bag had finally arrived as this was the day we needed walking shoes and waterproofs.On the way down to Vik we stopped off to see this little hobbit house. 

We then headed past Vik to see the Yoda Cave. But we chickened out. It was down a gravel path. Whilst we had taken out every insurance possible on the hire car, getting stuck on a gravel road was not covered and quite frankly wasn’t worth the risk for us. So we went to Vik to grab a supermarket meal deal and then see the church which features in most Icelandic tour guides.

We then headed to the black sand beach and basalt columns. We also went to look for puffins but were a couple of weeks too early.

The the afternoon was all about waterfalls.

But we got distracted and found a glacier. You can only hike on it with a trip but we were able to walk up to it. And see how far it had retreated in the last 20 years. Now that was scary.

Then back to the waterfalls. First was Skogafoss this was good as you could climb up to the top of it, as well as view it from the bottom.

Then Seljalandsfoss which you could walk behind.This was my favourite of the waterfalls we saw. Walking shoes were essential.

We then headed home for dinner at the hotel and a good nights sleep. Well until I woke myself up at midnight. 

Friday 22 July 2022

Iceland Day Two

Our second day in Iceland started well. Firstly, with the most gorgeous (if somewhat small) coffee and then the knowledge that my bag had finally made it to Iceland. Whoop whoop! 

We therefore decided that with the help of my husbands clothes we would make it through the day. Whilst not ideal we would do the golden circle in trainers. Our bag (with all the hiking gear) would meet us at our next hotel in Hella at the end of the day.

I was slightly concerned as it was raining in Reykjavik as we left but luckily the weather was kind and mainly dry. We decided to start our trip with the historical Thingvellir national park which was the site of the first parliament. We had a lovely walk and pictured some waterfalls before heading to try a hotdog at a gas station. It was the cheapest thing we ate in Iceland and I had all the recommended toppings. I had been concerned that lamb hot dogs would taste funny but they tasted like hot dogs so all was good.

Next up was Gullfloss. A beautiful waterfall where the power was apparent.

Then we visited Geysir where the smell of sulfur came and punched you in the face. I loved waiting for Strokkur to spout. The first time was a good one as it was 4 times.

Before heading back we also managed to fit in Kierid crater. There is a small charge for this that some seem to begrudge paying but I am glad we managed to fit it in. I mean how often do you manage to walk around the inside of a volcanic crater?

We then headed back to our next hotel. This was off the beaten track and beautiful. The only problem was that the food was too good for my youngests tastes! So we hunted around and found Valhalla restaurant. It really was an experience and the kids loved it. We all had nice meals which were served on wooden benches. Then after food whilst my eldest had a game of pool the younger two dressed up as Viking’s. 

Then it was off to bed ready to explore the south coast. Luckily with the correct clothing this time.

Thursday 9 June 2022

Iceland Day One

Planning our recent trip to Iceland has kept me occupied for the last few months. I am pleased to say that all the planning was worth it and we managed to do everything we wanted. I therefore thought I would share our trip, for others planning to go.

As we were visiting Iceland with our children, we needed to carefully think about what they would like and enjoy, as well as me and my husband. We decided to hire a car and book a hotel in Hella on the South coast to minimise the amount of driving. We did, however, chose to miss out diamond beach and Jokulsarlon as the drive would just be too much for our boys to enjoy.After much umming and arrhing we decided to book the blue lagoon for our first day. Our flight was due to land at 8.30 and we booked the 11-12 time slot. This was perfect. What with a lost bag and a queue at the hire car company, it worked perfectly. We arrived 20 minutes early and walked around the back of the lagoon. The colour was beautiful.

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

When inside we were given bracelets to open the lockers and charge any drinks to. The water was beautiful and warm. Much hotter than the geothermal pools we had experienced in Costa Rica. There was a smell of sulfur but we got used to it.I was paranoid my hair would be like straw so washed it, added conditioned and tied it up. It was fine.We spent about 2 hours in the pool. We hadn’t  even considered the sun which was a mistake as we all looked like lobsters the following day. We then grabbed a bite to eat in the cafe. The food was lovely but at a premium. If you have fussy kids (we have one) then harder to find something they will eat.We then decided to head towards the bridge across 2 continents. From the car it looked dubious. But when we got there it was pretty cool and not something many people can say they have done.

Two continental plates

Bridge between continents, Iceland

Flagging a bit we headed to our apartment in Reykjavik for a quick nap. Well for the adults at least!Around 5.30 we woke and headed into Reykjavik for a wander and to look for clothing. As I mentioned earlier, my bag never arrived. It contained all my clothes, all our rain gear and hiking stuff. We looked at clothes and concluded Iceland was very expensive. Everything was quality but costly. A pair of hiking trousers for me was in the region of £60-115. As we had a budget of £125 a day to buy essentials from Easy jet until they located my bag, we opted for pants, socks and a top and hope of good weather.We saw the main sites. The sun voyager.

The Sun Voyager

And the Hallgrimskirkja cathedral.

Hallgrimskirkja in Reykjavik 

Then we headed back for takeaway pizza and a well needed sleep. Hoping that the next day would bring kind weather and my lost luggage.

Tuesday 19 April 2022

[AD] DNA VR Review

 Disclaimer: We received gifted tickets to DNA VR but all opinions are my own

When an e mail invite to DNA VR arrived in my inbox, I did what any technophobe middle aged mother would do. I asked my boys what it was all about and if its something they thought we would enjoy. Middle man immediately went into some speech which didn't make a lot of sense but the upshot was they liked the sound of it.

We looked at the main website and Hammersmith is our nearest branch (there is also Battersea and Camden.) We then looked at what you could do there. I liked the idea of the escape game, but the boys through the VR arcade would suit us better. As I didn't really have a clue I took their advice.

If you are travelling to Hammersmith by car, you can park on Yeldham Road which is right next to Assembley where DNA VR is located. It is free on a weekend and you pay on Ringo in the week depending on the time of day. It is also a short walk from the station.

We arrived and sat in the waiting area. Here we were introduced to the controls before being hooked up in our own little cubicles.

If you see a blue grid in your game that shows you that you are next to the wall. Yes I did manage to hit the wall on a couple of occasions.

Middle man was very keen that we all play Superhot to start with. This is a solo game, but we were all hooked up so we could hear each other which I felt made it more social and was also helpful with tips on what to do. I got stuck on level  here as I couldn't work out how to throw a bottle at my attackers.

We then played a multiplayer game called Ragna Rock. Basically you hit your drums to the discs coming towards you to power your viking ship. We all liked this and once I got the hang of it I was a clear winner to everyone's shock and surprise.

We then played Skyfront which is a flying shooting game. This one was marmite. The older two boys loved it and I spend most of my time respawning before they killed me again. I didn't like it at all. I suffer from motion sickness and this made me very dizzy.

I then had to try out work simulator as the boys had been raving about it. It was a very funny game. I chose office worker. This meant I drank virtual coffee and ate virtual doughnuts! As my colleagues at work would confirm, I am not the best with technology and this was the case here too as I was unable to turn on my virtual computer. Turned out you needed to plug it in first!

I then had 10 minutes left so tried out some fruit ninjas (harder virtually than on the ipad and back to Ranga rock as I just loved it. The hour went very quickly. Too quickly for my boys but for me it was just right as my forehead was starting to hurt.

I wore my contact lenses to play which on the whole was fine. I asked about wearing glasses and was advised that it may be a bit uncomfortable so it is worth noting if you are a glasses wearer.

I was really impressed with the experience. It is not something I would have thought of doing normally but is perfect for teens and tweens. It is something I would now consider as a birthday treat for the boys.

If you are interested in finding out more, you can check out the DNA VR website here.