Monday, 3 April 2017

Sun Promotion Summer 2017



NEW - Sun Summer promotion 2017

RETURN OF THE BARGAIN HOLIDAYS From £15 are back.

It's that time of year again. Yes, Holidays From £15 are back, just like the £9.50 holidays earlier in the year the price maybe slightly higher but this time there are 277 parks to choose from, both in the UK and even more places in Europe – including France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria and Croatia, from just £15 per person.

This time round there will be 16 codes and you will need 8 of them to make a booking.

AS ALWAYS YOU DO NOT NEED THE TOKENS OUT OF THE NEWSPAPER - JUST COLLECT THE SUN HOLIDAY CODES HERE AND APPLY ONLINE!


Why pay more when it is so easy to book and get unbeatable prices. The sun publish the codes daily and I will add all codes to this post as soon as I get them. I will also be posting lots of inspiration so the only thing you need to do is to follow this blog and Facebook page (please also share this post) and bookmark us to stay tuned to all Sun Holiday Codes.

SUN Codes

Number SUN Code
Code 1 PASS
Code 2 FAIR
Code 3 BELT
Code 4 MILD
Code 5 TINY
Code 6 - - -
Code 7 - - -
Code 8 - - -
Code 9 - - -
Code 10 - - -
Code 11 - - -
Code 12 - - -
Code 13 - - -
Code 14 - - -
Code 15 - - -
Code 16 - - -
Book a holiday with numerous dates ranging from May 26th until September 4th, 2017, you’d be mad to miss out.

Please keep in mind that the demand will be huge, so be quick once the booking site is available! Not all parks are available on all dates, therefore you must ensure you choose 4 start dates and 4 parks during the booking process to avoid disappointment.

See Whats On Offer On Club950

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Growing up in Hemel Hempstead in the 80's and 90's.


Hemel Hempstead in the 80's and 90's.

Back then when you met up with a friend to go shopping, you had to arrange a time and a place…
and actually be there. The usual meeting places were Times Square or McDonalds. I was a DM-wearing, Sun-In bleached, indie fan that loved crochet jumpers and underage drinking with my mates. There was no Instagramming your food, no endless Facebook updates or twitter complaints. Luckily we was young and stupid before we had social media and photographic evidence. We completed our homework without the internet and climbed trees because no one cared about health and safely laws.

The indie disco coconut club


The iconic pavilion hosted many famous bands so many cool artists from our parents era but we also had our fun! Depending on what music you were into there was the indie and the coconut club. Live PA's from artists such as wigfield and credit to the nation. Unfortunately the Tory-run Dacorum Borough Council pulled down the Pavilion venue with promises to rebuild it. Never happened and still such a huge loss.

The arches at the old town


When the indie wasn't on we would all meet up for a spot of underage drinking with cheap cider from pints and litres. Smoking, socialising and snogging in a church graveyard. Standard weekend for our generation.

La mirage


Once we moved on from the indie and coconut club this place was a firm favourite of underage drinking for me and my girls. We would get the H1 bus from Adeyfield (kids fare) down to the station before facing the bouncers and convincing them we was infact 18 with our dodgy ID's and reciting our dates of birth and star signs. £10 would get us in, a few half ciders and 10 fags and a box of matches.

The living room


It's been called many things over the years but for my generation it was the living room. During this time I visited a couple times for underage dancing and drinking and managed to get drunk and never fall down the stairs. Rumour had it the owner had a gun in the safe... not sure why I remember that or even if it was true.

The cinema


Before faceless multiplex became the norm we had one screen showing one movie three days a week.
Big curtains covered the screen back in the days before owners realised that the screen is a money making advertising billboard. Before adverts came along you got a cartoon or movie short. You got so much more for your money. Cinema ushers teared tickets, showed you to your seat, was on sssshhh patrol and carried small flashlights to help late arrivers find their seat. You could smoke inside and the odeon (which is now the full house) this was the first place I purchased cigarettes (using the cigarette machine).


When the Marlowes was good

McDonalds



Why do we no longer have a McDonald's? Are McDonalds birthday parties still a thing? Upstairs was the party venue in a pretend train. If you was a Hemel kid born late 70's or early 80's you probably had your birthday party at McDonald's, or you at least attended one there. There was paper hats and a cool cake (shit by today's pintrest standards) that had all the iconic characters on top. There was Ronald, Grimace, Birdie and the Hamburglar. Later when I was a teenager it was where people met up and smoked cheeky fags in the upstairs toilets.



Our price


Before downloads and before CD's Our Price was a prominent chain of record stores seen on all High Streets. Saturday morning visit to a record shop for vinyl or a cassette tape for new releases before recording the top 10 on tape on a blank tape. Making a mix tape took time and we had to physically tape Radio One from 4-7pm on a Sunday.

Tammy girl & Snob


Once you grew out of Tammy girl you moved on to snob. Both shops were upstairs above etam. Every Hemel teenage ‘90s girl owned a choker from snob or Tammy girl.

Chelsea girl


Chelsea Girl became the first UK fashion boutique before it became river island in 1988. I remember it being in two different places in the Marlowes. It was somehere near Burger King and was also on the corner of bridge street.

Hoopers


In my opinion hoopers was the best shop in Hemel. I spent most of my wages in this tiny shop near the market. St Albans and Watford had kishimo jin but we had hoopers.

The Gift Box


A shop full of cheap tat. It was like a pound shop before the invention of pound shops. It was originally up by the wimpy then later moved to the ramp opposite McDonald's.

Madhouse


4 words FRUIT.OF.THE.LOOM

Athena


This is where all my pocket money went. Black and white posters. 90's girls loved L'enfant.
The shirtless man cradling tiny baby in his muscular arms. Apparently the photographer Mr Rowell who made £1million from the poster, has admitted blowing the lot on cocaine and private planes, and is now 'skint'. Teenage boys loved the cheeky tennis girl iconic print.

Woolworths


Pick & mix heaven and a great place to pick up the most recent judy Blume or point horror book.

The body shop


Remember when you could make up a bespoke basket of goodies including fruit shaped soaps and a
 small passion fruit face gel or ice blue shampoo. Dewberry purfume was worn by virtually everyone (a few experimented with vanilla and fuzzy peach) and morello cherry lip balm was still the best lip balm of all time (in my opinion).


Boots


Yes we still have boots but do kids still buy silvermine, coffee shimmer or heather shimmer lippy? What about exclamation purfume?

The big orange ball


What ever happened to the landmark orange ball.

Bovvie market fashion


Naf Naf, a French clothing company that had a remarkable amount of success in the UK with its iconic black bomber-style jacket. Even though we had a Naf Naf everyone wore the knock off bovvy market version, naff co 54. Spliffy clothing was also equally chavvy and equally popular and a knock of version of the fashion label Dready. The worst fashion hit has to be the global hypocolor tshirts, a fad that lasted at least a year or two. Global hypercolor sold a whopping $50 million worth of color-changing, heat-sensitive T-shirts. Why was we so obsessed with tshirts that showed sweaty armpits and excessive perspiration? I did however own a mood ring that also changed colour depending on your body temperature, along with bangles, chokers and ying & yang jewellery. One of the most iconic fashion items was the shell suit. How was that ever a thing?

Jumpin jaks & Hotshots followed by Ethos & visage


This opened when I was still underage but in the sixth form so only the evening entertainment appealed to me. It was the biggest thing to hit the Hemel's entertainment scene. Owned by rank leisure and cost millions. Locals referred to it as Wally World (infact they still do). At the height of its attraction McDonalds had to employ bouncers on a Thursday and weekend nights to deal with the thousands of drunken party people wanting a cheeseburger after a night of drinking and dancing to the duelling pianos and mustang sally with the jumpin jacks crew. It also included bowling alleys, amusement arcades, pool hall, dining, aqua splash and an ice skating rink.

The adventure play ground and youth clubs


School holidays where spent with the other local kids at the local "venny" or youth club. Freedom, fun and double ice lollies sold at the tuck shop for only 5p

Deer leap pool


I'm remembering this place through rose tinted glasses. Deer Leap swimming pool, Ringshall. One of the last privately run lidos in the UK and holds many fond summer memories. I'll never fully get over it closing its metal turnstiles in 1998. The pool was small and cold but there was extensive lawns, sunbathing terraces and a very efficient refreshment kiosk selling the most amazing doughnuts. I loved this place.

Sports centre roller disco


Sunday night disco playing all the current hits, industry standard disco lazer lighting, smoke machines and trained skate marshals (aka the coolest people ever idst) ensuring everyone was safe and skating within the rules.

Collectible cards


Garbage Pail Kids was a series of trading cards produced by the Topps Company, originally released
in 1985 and designed to parody the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls. The trading cards weren’t exactly PC but primary school kids loved them. The cards came with cheap bubble gum and can't understad why my parents allowed me to collect them. Later came another collectible card... neighbours cards. Due to the shows massive popularity there was an obvious market. Swapping cards in the playground was as massive as cats cradle and French skipping.


What are your fondest Hemel memories and what have I forgotten?

Friday, 27 January 2017

Going on holiday without your children.

Las Vegas

I love nothing more than days out and holidays with my family but I also believe that time without them also has their benefits both for my sanity and my relationship. Many people agree whole heartedly and others totally disagree.

But this is when you need to remember. Opinions are just that, an opinion. They aren't facts, just because you don't agree it doesn't mean it's the only way and it sure as hell doesn't mean that it's right. If you feel strongly about your opinion you might think you are right but opinions are neither wrong nor right; they just are. If your choices in life are frowned upon by others you have to ask yourself if is it your problem or theirs? People will judge and will see things differently but if you can look at yourself and know you have done your best you can agree to disagree. When people try to make you feel bad, wash your hands of the situation and move on.

 

I had my carefree time before I had Frankie and Flo. For me the hardest part of being a mum is the routine. I rarely go on nights out and I can sometimes go weeks without seeing friends. Natural connections that made my life busy and full are suddenly not there. Facebook / Twitter / Instagram has become my only source communication. It's hard.


Personally I believe in child free breaks. We get time to do stuff I would never do if you had the kids with us. Things like; Staying in bed and enjoy a lie in together, day times drinking, night time drinking, reading, sunbathing. All the stuff you took for granted before parenthood came along. Lying on a sun bed, listening to music is now a luxury. Daniel and I have just paid off our last instalment for our child free break to Vegas. This will be my third trip to sin city but the first time since having kids. Infact last time we was there what happens in Vegas changes your life completely 9 months later.


What are your must see and must do things in Vegas? What is your favourite hotel? Does the $20 trick actually work? Has anyone been on the Hollywood day trip? Should we book tickets for Cher, Britney or both?

Could you go on holiday without your children? Do you? Would you like to? Would it have any impact on your relationship with your OH if you did or didn't?.




Sunday, 22 January 2017

Champneys, Tring - Mums Day Off

Champneys
Tring
Mums Day Off

What's the difference between a spa and a health farm? A hotel with a spa is literally just that. There are lots of good value places with spas and treatments but once you have visited an actual health retreat you will instantly know the difference.

You can go on Wowcher and Groupon and get so many deals for spa days so is Champneys really worth it?

I love a spa day and I live so close to Tring yet I had never actually visited Champneys. Considering its iconic status and being the spa resort that started it all. It really never appealed. I was lucky enough to spend a day at the sanctuary in Covent Garden before it closed its doors in 2014 and have spent a wonderful day and night at Whittlebury hall. I definitely enjoy a good pamper session and I do love a spa day but I thought it would be full of new money WAGS or old money OAP's and didn't think it would be for me. I'm not sure why I had this image but I can honestly say it wasn't somewhere that appealed. I can also now say I was wrong. It probably did have both but I never once felt out of place. A good friend of mine visited and she absolutely loved it and suddenly it was on my radar and I was intrigued. After all who doesn't love the idea of spending a whole day in fluffy dressing gowns relaxing with treatments and hot tubs?

If you have never been to spa you might think it sounds a little boring and how do you fill a day let alone a whole weekend? The atmosphere is so relaxing that even if you don't take an exercise class I can guarantee you won't be bored.

I needed a day to escape from the world and all my cares. 2016 had been hard for me. If I listed all the things that tried to knock me down you wouldn't believe I'm still standing. We started the day with a swim followed by the outdoor jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and plunge pool. It took exactly 2 hours to achieve the feeling of serenity that I didn't think possible in such a short amount of time.

Midday we went for our first treatment. We had a 55 min scrub and massage which was part of our package. Pure bliss. We then met up again and headed to reception to exchange our damp robes before heading to lunch.

Eating healthy is encouraged but not compulsory. They have their famous portion control plates that allow you to compartmentalise dinner in sections of protein, carbohydrates and fruit and vegetables. I just piled up my plate of low fat, healthy super foods. It's given me lots of inspiration for my new health kick. Delicious tasting good CAN be healthy!

We then decided to spend half hour in the relaxation room.
My new favourite place. This peaceful room contained a selection of water beds, a bubbling Jaccuzzi and hanging chairs. Perfect place post therapy for reading, relaxing and snoozing. I jumped in cosy warm water bed covered myself with a soft blanket and closed my eyes and fell into complete relaxation. Half hour turned into 2 hours. It was so calm, most people (my mother in law included, fell asleep). I laid their thinking I want to be rich, yes I know that sounds crass but I want a budget that allows me to be indulgent and visit here at least once a month. When was the last time I was able to close my eyes and just enjoy the moment?

I reluctantly got up and headed to my final treatment. I can honestly say the whole treatment process was the best I've ever known. It was organised and seemed to run seamlessly. Even though I've had various treatments I've never actually had a facial and truthfully it was one of the most relaxing experiences and not what I expected. I was asked the usual questions about allergies and medication and then I was asked to strip my top half of clothing and get under the bed sheet. Call me naive but I didn't realise there was a body part to this treatment. When Bethany wasn't cleaning and applying products to my face she was massaging my head, shoulders, arms and hands. Each step I fell into a deeper relaxation and I walked out with glowing skin and a renewed sense of calmness. Would I have another facial? From now on it's my first choice treatment.

There was a few negatives, the pool was more of a functional area than the calm and relaxing area I was expecting. It lacked any real atmosphere which lets the rest of the spa down. Check in and the welcome tour look longer than expected which meant I missed the one class that I wanted to do. The good definitely out weighs any bad stuff so don't let either of these niggles put you off.

It's easy to quickly slip back into the stresses of every day life but if a day here can make me feel so revitalised, relaxed and pampered, it won't be long before I'm back for a longer stay to see what a weekend can achieve.

Top tip

Private medical insurance is usually seen as a luxury, especially when times are tough and people are cutting spending but did you know that Vitality rewards customers who have healthy lifestyles? One of their many fantastic offers is a massive discount on Champneys days and spa breaks and you can use this offer 3 times a year. A day spa for vitality customers is only £20 and that includes lunch. Definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Tattershall Lakes, Lincolnshire - Sun £9.50 inspiration


Tattershall Lakes
Lincolnshire
Sun £9.50 inspiration 

The U.K. has so many holiday parks to choose from but there are definitely some that are better than others. There is a beautiful little gem in Lincolnshire which isn't your normal run of the mill holiday park.

You may or may not have heard of Away resorts. They are a UK holiday park operator who have made one of the industries biggest ever investments into a single holiday park. That holiday park is Tattershall Lakes.

This park has been tastefully renovated and has a great reputation which is rapidly growing and with so many recommendations it's on my radar for my own family short break. As well as lodges for every budget (basic but modern to luxury with hot tubs) they have also cashed in on the festival feel and are offering Glamping in their canvas village.


This really appeals to me while my mother and father in law will take advantage of their touring facilities. I'll be back later in the year with a review and hoping it lives up to its amazing reputation.

The park is dominated by dozens of lakes. Watersports enthusiasts will rejoice at the activities available on the 180 acre lake. There's a wakeboard park (complete with quarter pipe), jet and water skiing, and, for those who like to take it a bit easier, pedalo hire. There's also a well-stocked fishing lake where carp, pike, bream or eel could be your catch of the day. That is not all, there is a full 18 hole golf course as well as a swimming pool, spa and gym.

New for 2016 is the brand new state of the art Merlin complex which comes with a brand restaurants, arcades as well as the new propellor balcony bar which allows you to enjoy lakeside views. There is also a new splash park and adventure playground for the children.

The focal point of the Merlin is a life-size replica of a Battle of Britain Spitfire suspended from the ceiling, celebrating the heroes from the RAF, who have a base located near Tattershall Lakes. The local area has huge significance for the RAF and is where many of the country's airmen were stationed during World War II. You can take a hanger tour at the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitors Centre (at RAF Coningsby), where you'll see Spitfires, a Hurricane and a Lancaster up close, and get a glimpse into the lives of the men who flew them.

The parc is packed full of exciting activities and Away resorts have introduced new ideas such as butterfly farming where children can grow butterfly's and release them once they emerge from their chrysalis. There is outdoor screenings of classic movies and gigs featuring local bands. Away Resorts also employs West End musical directors and choreographers to develop shows to entertain guests. It's no wonder Tatteshall Park has such a great reputation.

What makes this parc unique is that it caters for everyone and every budget. Accommodation is home from home and comes fully equipped with everything you need to prepare your own meals and there's a choice of supermarkets and convenience stores nearby to stock up on supplies. The Boathouse Bar and Diner onsite serves food through the day, including breakfast.

Located about 30 miles inland from Skegness and Mablethorpe, the park is right next door to Tattershall Castle and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in Coningsby.

After my awful trip to Pontins in Southport I really hope a company like this can one day buy it and give it the make over it deserves. Pontins in southport is surrounded by nature reserves and dunes and standing next to it is the former and now derelict eye-saw which was the former and once famous Toad Hall nightclub. This site has the potential to be the new Tattershall Lakes and I genuinely hope someone at Away resorts reads this and turns the park into something amazing. It has the potential, it just needs management with vision and obviously money.

This park will be featured as part of the sun £9.50 promotion but places sell out fast and may not be available on selected dates.


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Castell Montgri Estartit, Costa Brava, Spain - Sun £9.50 inspiration


Castell Montgri
Estartit, Costa Brava, Spain
Sun £9.50 inspiration 

Castell Montgri has a reputation for being a lively holiday village with a wide range of exceptional facilities. Many people say it's one of the finest holiday camps in Spain and it's easy to see why.

If you are looking for fun and entertainment this parc is for you. The site boasts three swimming pools, Ideal for children and teenagers, each with its own, waterslides, water chutes, sun terrace and bar. The Panorama pool which is the campsites focal point is open until midnight; swimming under the stars is a must do and really needs to be experienced.

There is entertainment for all ages including a soundproofed underground disco for over 16's, a popular open air cinema, family discos, Montgri's Got Talent show, circus performances, aqua disco and karaoke. The on site entertainment team provide a varied daily mix of sporting and creative activities for all ages including treasure hunts, design your own T-shirts, football, Zumba, aqua fitness, volleyball plus there is an animal farm for the younger kids. With all this activity you are never going to be bored. However there is plenty to do outside the parc, you can take an organised excursion to Barcelona or take a day trip to the amazing PortAventura themepark.

Situated on the Roqa Maura hillside and set amongst pine trees with superb views across the bay of Pals and the popular stunning beach resort of L’Estartit in the Costa Brava region of north east Spain. Castell Montgri is a complete holiday village that has been developed to blend in with the natural surroundings. There is a brilliant night life in Estartit which goes on until the very early hours.

There are plenty of choices for eating out and the campsite has several eateries including a pizzeria, an a la cart restaurant, creperie and ice cream parlour. The supermarket on site is convinient but as expected it is expensive so try using the local Lidl store which has bargains galore and only a 15 min walk away.

Jet to Gerona with Thomson or Ryanair for the nearest airport or fly with our favourite airline easyJet to Barcelona. There are plenty of options using public transport, taxi's, transfers or with a hire car.

This park will be featured as part of the sun £9.50 promotion but places sell out fast and may not be available on selected dates.


Duinrell Wassenaar, South Holland - Sun £9.50 inspiration


Duinrell
Wassenaar, South Holland
Sun £9.50 inspiration 

I bet you have never considered Holland for your summer holiday? Let me change your mind.

Camping Duinrell is an exceptional holiday park with a theme park and tropical tiki waterpark on one single site. Located in the forest and dunes near a wide beach there are attractions to cover all ages.

Visit the amazing waterpark for an exhilarating selection of twisting waterslides, plus indoor and outdoor pools. For younger children there is an indoor lazy river, a toddler pool and mini slides. If you can drag your family away head to the free theme park which is just a short stroll from your front door, offering excitement for all ages.

 


Thrill seekers can go for a hair-rising ride in the dazzling Falcon or Mad Mill, while the entire family can enjoy the roller coaster Dragonfly. The rides and attractions are quirky and Duinrells even have their own mascot Rick the frog along with his girlfriend Lelli. Granted he is not as famous as Disney's Mickey but the giant green frog is the star of the show at Duinrell and he even has his very own open air entertainment centre, the fun factory.


The park ticks every single box; dodgems, carousels, big wheel, playgrounds, swinging pirate ship, soft play, rollercoasters and water park and it is only a 5 minute walk from the village of Wassenaar.

The village has a good selection of shops and bars as well as a choice of restaurants, and excellent bus links. There is a small supermarket on site which is convenient but many guests recommend a mere 10 minute stroll to the more reasonably priced Jumbo store in town. There are plenty of choices for eating out and the campsite's central plaza has several eateries: a takeaway pizza parlour; a self-service restaurant; a stall selling delicious poffertjes (traditional bite sized Dutch pancakes) and an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The cherry on the cake has got to be the fantastic long, wide, sandy beach minutes from the park which also has a number of bars and cafes. The beach is also a popular location for kite and windsurfing.
Evening entertainment includes bingo, karaoke and discos where the grown ups can enjoy a drink while kids can burn off the last of their energy.
If you run out of things to do (unlikely) Amsterdam is only 40 mins away making it a great base for culture, canals and Anne Frank's home.

Calais is 3 hours away but flying to Amsterdam Schipol airport then using public transport to the park makes it a more convenient journey especially as many low cost airlines fly numerous times a day from the uk to Amsterdam.

There are also transfer company's that will get you from airport to park. This option is slightly more than public transport but a quicker, hassle free journey.

This park will also be featured as part of the sun promotion but places sell out fast and may not be available on selected dates.


Top tip
Every guest aged 4 and older receives their own Duinrell ID entrance pass . This Duinrell ID must be provided with a recent passport photo. These can be arranged and purchased on park but to save money (and precious holiday time) bring your own.