Thursday, 18 October 2018

Aspen Travel Tips To Make Your Stay More Enjoyable

(Guest Post)

With winter getting closer and closer, it is time to plan that perfect holiday that you always wanted. Aspen is a top destination for people from all around the world and it is really easy to understand why this is the case.

The problem with Aspen is that although it is known by people, not much information is available about what actually happens there. You know about wonderful Snowmass luxury rentals and that there are some really great skiing routes available. That is about it. If you want to visit Aspen, you surely want to know more, including what is listed below.

The Impressive Aspen Mountains

There are 4 mountains you can experience: Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain and Snowmass. Snowmass is easily accessible through 2 convenient airports: Eagle County Airport and Aspen County Airport.

When you choose what Aspen Mountain to consider for your visit, think about the following things:
  • Aspen Mountain – You will not find a beginner trail here but there are 76 of them to choose from, accessible through 1 gondola and 8 chairlifts. When skiing, expect numerous challenging bumps, varied terrains and steeps.
  • Buttermilk – This is mainly a beginner mountain and where the ESPN X Games are held. The easy rating means you can easily enjoy some skiing and snowboarding without having to worry about complicated hurdles. There are 7 lifts present that cover 43 trails. If you are traveling with the entire family, this is definitely the first mountain to consider.
  • Aspen Highlands – This is a favorite among the locals and rarely visited by tourists.
  • Snowmass – The second largest Colorado mountain gives you access to something for everyone. Experience one of the 90 trails accessible through 23 lifts, covering an impressive 3362 acres.

Where To Eat

Out of the numerous options that are available in Aspen, here are some that you do want to take into account:
  • Cloud Nine Restaurant – How do you feel about dining at an altitude of over 10,500 feet? This really cozy alpine ski hut features full-service gourmet options and a tremendous outdoor deck. Everything here has a European flair. You can try some traditional, authentic raclette, international wine, fondue and much more, all while you see Maroon Bells. Champagne drinking here is a popular pastime.
  • The Cliffhouse – A wonderful place for a really high-altitude lunch. Here you can enjoy Pyramid Peak views and actually create your very own culinary masterpiece that includes Mongolian BBQ.
  • Matsuhisa – Perfect for triple-dining. Here you can enjoy gourmet Japanese seafood, lobster cooked to perfection and even spend some relaxing time at the lovely Kiwi bar.
  • Bonnie’s – This restaurant is famous for the mountain food offered, soups, desserts and homemade salads. It is perfect for lunch or breakfast. If you decide to visit, be sure you try the apple strudel.
  • The Little Nell’s element 47 – This is one of the most popular of the restaurants in Aspen. It was remodeled in 2012 and is connected to the Little Nell Hotel, which offers accommodations at an impressive 70% return rate. The food here is fabulous, seasonally-driven and complemented with global influences. To make matters even more interesting, the wine list at the Nell is incredible, with over twenty thousand bottles available in the cellar.

Renting Skiing And Snowboarding Gear

One of the best options available according to most tourists is Four Mountain Sports rental. In the event that you choose Little Nell, you can use a ski concierge to transfer and store equipment if you are interested in doing some mountain hoping. However, if you do not do that, which most people do not anyway as there are so many interesting accommodation options available in Aspen, renting gear can easily be done from various shops, with the staff at the accommodations offering you information about what you should consider.

When It Is Time To Party

This is where there is a little problem in Aspen. This resort is not really known for partying since most people that visit want to ski, snowboard and relax. However, this does not mean that if you are young and you want to party you cannot actually have a lot of fun. The best partying option available is definitely Caribou Club. This member only club is where you can find any celebrity visiting Aspen. It offers an incredible wine cellar, a rowdy dance floor, leather lounges and a great restaurant.

Other Things To Consider

In Aspen there are obviously many things that can be recommended so you can have a better time. For instance, if you do manage to speak with the right people, you can join the local Ski Patrol Sweep. This is where locals go down the mountain every single night in order to make sure that all is perfect and all people are safe.

You might also want to visit the J Bar, which is hosted by Hotel Jerome, a location renowned for the Aspen Crud drink. Then, you can move to Justice Snow for some tasty hand crafted cocktails. There you can pick out favorite adjectives, mixers and liquor. The bartender will then create a special signature drink for you. Finish the night at Caribou Club.

Remember that in the time between lunch and dinner you are not restricted to just skiing or enjoying other relaxing activities. You can always go to the quite interesting Aspen Art Museum and then visit some of the numerous designer stores present. Hopefully, you do not lose all the money on your credit card in the process since you will surely be tempted to overspend.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Our Exciting time at Winter Wonderland Manchester 2017!

Every year for Christmas, we will visit the Christmas night market and occasionally a Santa's Grotto. This year we did neither, but we went to the Winter Wonderland VIP launch night at Manchester Event City, and we had a blast!

The VIP night started off with performances from Chloe Rose and Winter Wonderland Bear (his name will be revealed on Christmas Eve), where we tried spotting footballers we can recognise!

Although there was a lot of people that night (we were all let in at the same time), the indoor theme park was so big it felt like we were one of the first that went in and there was hardly any queue during the evening. I believe that it'll be much busier during the weekends and when it's open for public, but they are limiting the number of people for each time slot to avoid over crowding and long queues, which is great especially for indoor events that has heating on too.

There were over 70 family rides (you can find out more details in our previous post), a lot of game stalls, a stage with shows throughout the 3 hours we were there, Santa's house as well as an area for food. The Bavarian Hotdog was quite good, so was the Chicken and Black Bean Sauce noodles according to Abby!

The stage:

The kids around the stage looked like they had lots of fun! We completely missed this because there was so much to do, we completely lost track of time!


Our kids felt a bit overwhelmed at the beginning because they had no idea which ride to go on first! There was just so many to choose from! Eventually they settled for an innocent looking teacup ride, which went a bit faster than I thought it would haha! It definitely loosen up the kids and they quickly ran towards the next one.

Although everything is indoor, Event City is so big that some of the rides felt enormous! There are definitely plenty of unique ones that you won't see at outdoor fun fairs, and they are all covered by your entrance ticket so you can go on as many as you want, and as many times as you fancy!

For Toddlers:

There are rides for different age groups (even adults!), although majority aren't really suitable for very young ones. However, Winter Wonderland has included at least 2 play areas for toddlers so they won't feel left out. There is a chill out zone and an indoor beach area they can play in, and there are plenty of fun shows on the stage that is suitable for them too.

Game Stalls:

Before we went in, I thought, since there are over 70 family rides, we should be able to avoid game stalls, but that was when I was expecting the usual game stalls from outdoor fun fairs, not like the ones we saw at Winter Wonderland!

These stalls are magical, they called out to all of us and we just couldn't resist them! The stalls are bigger, the prizes are better, and everyone is a winner! You can even join up your wins to win something bigger!

I was so tempted to grab a gingerbread man for myself, but kids come first, and they each hooked a present from one of the the Hook a Duck stall that aren't just any rubbish toy that they would normally forget about! It's been over a week now and both are still playing with their wins!

Hubby had a lot of fun too at the Shoot the Snowmen stall (I know!) as well and got the kids a massive emoji beanbag to bring home. We have never ever won anything this big, and it was only £3.50 for 15 goes, with prizes ranging from 1 shot to 14 shots (I think), so again, everyone is a winner, and you can collect your wins for the bigger prizes. You can't get that in other theme parks!

Santa's House:

I honestly though it's just an ordinary Santa's Grotto, although it looked longer than I expected. But when we got inside, we realised that it's the whole house! There was a living room, dining room, bedroom, and Mrs. Claus' kitchen too, all amazingly decorated! I don't think you'll get many opportunity to take a picture with Mrs. Claus, so if you want to make this year's Christmas extra special, make sure you visit Winter Wonderland Manchester by 24th December (they are open until January but Santa and Mrs. Claus won't be there anymore)!

You will be taking a picture with Santa as well of course, and have an opportunity to turn the picture into a shaker frame (not the ordinary snowglobe) or other picture merchandises. We kind of regretted not going for the shaker (we just went for the photo on its own) because the rectangle shaker looks really pretty and has little Christmas charms floating inside as well as the snow.

Food Court and other Facilities:

We were having so much fun we completely forgot about dinner! By the time we thought about sitting down for food it was already 9pm (way past bedtime haha)! The food was delicious, and we had to have slush of course, with multiple flavours to choose from! There is also ice-cream but we didn't get that far.

There are other facilities as well including a quiet room, cloak room and baby changing room. Security is tight but if you want to get in faster, make sure you don't bring any bags that is larger than an A4 size with you. Change for the cloak room will be helpful too because it's fairly warm inside.

I think we would have enjoyed it more if we didn't have school the next day to think about, so for those who are going during the weekends or school holiday, do make the most of it! There are plenty of unique rides and game stalls that are hard to resist, and the kids will definitely have a fantastic time there!

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Christmas Countdown with John Adams Toys eZee Beads Studio Carry Case Set

One of our favourite crafting material is eZee Beads by John Adams' Toys. We have tried other similar ones before but eZee Beads combines some of the better features that makes us prefer them more, and they come with very useful tools too!

The only problem we ever had was storage for the beads, so we were extremely excited for the opportunity to review eZee Beads' Studio Carry Case set as it has 10 compartments to store the beads, compartments to store the water spray and tool, as well as all the templates and design board! And it can be carried around without the beads going everywhere so you can craft while you are away!

We are currently using the beads and templates that comes with the carry case, as well as additional eZee Beads that we already have to create many eZee Beads Christmas hanging decorations for our 12 days of Christmas countdown. There are still 3 more designs we will be publishing on social media, but I'd love to show you what we think about the studio carry case so far!

John Adams' Toys eZee Beads Studio Carry Case set (RRP £22.99, suitable for age 5 years +) comes with:

  • Carry Case (10 eZee Beads storage compartments, water sprayer compartment, bead tool compartment, design cards and design board storage, removable lid)
  • Over 1000 eZee Beads (1 packet of white, orange, yellow, purple, light pink, pink, light green and black, and 2 packets each of light blue and red)
  • Water Spray Bottle
  • Bead Tool
  • design board
  • 4 design cards (12 templates)
  • Instructions

The carry case is slanted so that you can comfortably craft on the case. Just make sure you remove the design card underneath the design board before you spray water or the card will stick to the board!

To make it more convenient to craft using the carry case, the lid is removable, but don't worry as the lid clicks onto the case well so the beads will stay in their compartments even when it's propped up straight!

We love how some of the templates can be used for Christmas as well (snowflake and Christmas tree), so it really is perfect as a Christmas gift! For our 12 days of Christmas Christmas countdown, we used a couple of the templates, as well as freestyling the rest. We even designed a couple without the design board (we place them on our silicone crafting mats), they are that versatile! Here are our first 9 designs:

My favourite had to be Abby's Santa, she didn't have a template for it at all, so I was well impressed with it!

Overall we absolutely love the eZee Beads Studio Carry Case. It's brilliant as a storage (no more mixed up beads in the box!), you can craft on it, and carry everything neatly inside the case! It's very durable, the bead tool helps pick up beads from their compartments, and a bottle of water is plenty to spray for many designs, so you can do a lot with them even if you aren't home!

A couple of the templates are Christmas themed, and although we didn't use the other templates for our Christmas countdown, we do love them all (especially the cupcake and vase!), so we'll be looking forward to crafting them as well.

Stay tuned for our last 3 eZee Beads Christmas ornaments on social media!