Zip World- Betws Y Coed -MEGA!

My husband and I have always joked that as long as we are both on ground level we are fine.  He hates heights and I can’t do anything underground.  So for me to get the chance to zip wire in a Welsh forest is my idea of heaven and his idea of hell.  So here we were on the session with a stag do, the stag I presume, was dressed as Superman.  So he’d save me if things went wrong, right?

Do I look nervous?
You have a quite a short but steep walk up from the car park where you are given training on how to get into you harness and use of the fail-safe clip system.  Our lovely instructor triple checks everything and you are good to go.  You get to practice with your feet on the ground, at first it feels hard and alien to get the clips on and off but you soon get used to it.  You basically can’t ever have both clips open at the same time, one is always attached.  Then you get to do you first lift off, albeit on just  few few off the ground. Superman went first as his mates hummed the Superman music.  Then with each section you get a bit higher, then a bit higher and before you know it you are 60 feet up in the air!

I went last, my eldest (13) first and then my youngest (9) then me (aged 45).  The first time you launch yourself off a platform your mind is just screaming at you “what on earth are you doing, stop it now!”  So you just have to literally take a leap of faith and go for it.  With my two children having done it before me it was no time for being a chicken, I had to do it.

And what a feeling you get!  It’s a rush, panic, daring and delight all rolled into one.  You can breathe when you make it over to the other side and steady yourself for the next zip. You can sort of see where you are going through the forest, but it doesn’t really matter as you zip from tree to tree.  img_6230Some zips longer than others, but it is the same for each, clip unclip attach the glider-thing (sorry forgotten name of it) and grit your teeth and go for it.

Up in the trees
My husband seemed a tiny dot on the floor and he admitted later his legs were wobbly and his palms sweaty at the very thought of his whole family up in the branches.  About a third of the way round I realised I was totally loving it, off came one hand then the other at each zip to fully embrace to freedom flying feeling – wooo hoo get me!  Our instructor was close by at all times, which made me feel safe.  My boys loved every moment, totally embracing the wonder of every zip.  It was hard work on the hands taking off and on the clips, but my youngest did brilliantly; even yelling ‘I love you Mum’ on one of the zip runs.

About half way round there is a selfie-platform which takes seven adults (all the others take three max) and there is a certain mountain (nicknamed Snowdie by my youngest) in the background that just makes THE best view.  I stood there alone just looking, truly stunning and just makes you aware of how amazing Wales is.  I’ve not included a picture here because you just have to get up there and see it for yourself, words can’t describe and a picture won’t do it justice.

There are two gut-wrenching bridges to cross during the course.  You are still clipped on but my-oh-my they mess with your head.  One has little wooden posts you have to step on and this was no-doubt the most hideous bit of the whole thing; I was doing some sort of labour-style panting during these bits.  I gave the tree such a big hug after this bit and I just know the tree hugged me back.

Everyone gets hooked into the normalities of daily life and you are rarely pushed outside your comfort zone.  I am so proud of myself for doing this, it just shows when you want to do something, you darn-well can if you put your mind to it; even when it is screaming at you not to do it and you are breathing like you are giving birth!  The last two zips are the longest and most wildest fun, a brilliant finale to two hours of action packed thrills and heart pounding action.  We would have done it all over again there and then.  The whole site is genius and the team behind the design very inspired.

There is a lovely cafe on site where much needed tea and cake was eaten after our adventure.  All children under 16 have to be accompanied by an adult at Zip Word Betws Y Coed (Zip Sarafi, Plummet, Skride, Tree Top Nets, Junior Tree Trail) is just one of three sites in North Wales where Zip World have some of the best adventures you’ll every go on, including:- Titan, Bounce Below and Velocity  Click here for full details.






Risotto Heaven at Gino D’Acampo Restaurant

We were all pretty tired when we arrived at Gino D’Acampo restaurant at the Corn Exchange in Machester after a full on day of cycling and football, so food was very much on the agenda. I was immediately in love with the lighting, huge cream shades above each table giving up a soft ochre light helping to set the relaxed mood. Lighting design can add ten fold to the enjoyment of eating out and I’ve been in some places where interrogation seems to have been the brief.

The speedy waiters did not look much older than my 14-year-old son (must be their Italian genes) and I briefly imagined their mothers back in the Tuscan hills pining for their precious adorable sons.  The kitchen is open and you can see all the chefs in action, moving furiously back and forth between stations before shouting ‘servizio’ the very second each dish was ready.

Grissini with Parma ham and fresh pesto to start with some olives and I had to fend of the rest of the family to get even one.  One of the greatest pleasures in life for me is fresh made pesto!  We are total no-brainers when it comes to food, seafood for Mum & Dad and pizzas for the children.  Hence Risotto with Scallops, creamy lemon risotto with Scallops and Seafood Linguine.

My eldest practically inhaled his Fiorenina Pizza steaming hot and crisp out of the wood-fired pizza oven.  The youngest opted for a pizza Parmigiana, with chicken, buffalo mozzarella, parmesan and basil.  Fresh, huge and full of flavour.  Pizzas are simple but often so dreadful, but not here.  “Best pizza ever” was the verdict  Of course we had to have some Courgette Fries, who wouldn’t!

Our seafood was fresh and perfectly cooked, I wasn’t feeling generous so didn’t even give away one of my melt-in-the-mouth scallops, but everyone else dived into the risotto and I was told in no uncertain terms in was ‘much better than mine’  Two glasses of Pinot Grigio Blush added beautifully to the mix.

I’ve always been a fan on the booth style seating, gives a real intimacy and cosiness to dinner.  We adored the music too and Shazamed several tracks to make our playlist at home!

The place is busy and bustling, with city centre workers popping in for an early dinner, and those looking for sustenance after a hard day hitting the shops.  The staff are all like little fireflies seemingly dancing around in your vision attending to customers needs. We finished with lemon sorbet and Nutella ice cream – home-made, hand-made and delicious, we all had a total spoon fight over these two!  Each came with a flat waffle cone, genius.  Two espresso’s for us and that was us all done, stuffed with deliciousness and ready for the journey home.

Every Mum knows that having dinner cooked for you that you have not had to think about, shop for and prepare is just the business.  Ramp that feeling by a zillion and this is the feeling I had when eating dinner here.  This place is just the total and utter BUSINESS and so said all of us.

To get you own slice of this Italian dreamboat visit here

You can pop in any time to the bar at the front and have a quick bite and drink and something  I plan to do soon.


Legoland Manchester – is it AWESOME?

Ready for 4D action!

There has always been huge love for Lego in our house, having two sons it is a total no brainer, with many Lego models made over the years still adorning their bedrooms.  So with the Easter hols to fill we jumped into the car and headed to Legoland Discovery Manchester.  I think I was more excited about all the lovely home stores to be found at Barnton Square, but that’s allowed right?  My eldest who is nearly 14 came along somewhat reluctantly as he is not really the target

Building & Racing

range, but my youngest aged 9 couldn’t wait!   After visiting Legoland Windsor you have to be prepared that Legoland Discovery centre is a whole different kettle of fish.  We’d come to see the new Lego Movie 4D Adventure that launched on March 11th.  Seated wearing 3D glasses in this age of virtual reality could seem a little old-fashioned, but as soon as the lights went down the movie started we were into it!  With air and water being felt throughout the movie it was a fun experience.  The Lego Movie was a real hit in our house and to see it brought to life in 4D was fantastic!  This is one of those places you could spend hours just playing with Lego and studying all the great buildings in Miniland including Blackpool Tower, the Lake District and Oblivion at Alton Towers.  The staff were lovely and chatty too, I always think this make a huge difference when staff are engaged and look like they actually enjoy their job.

‘Kiss Me Quick’ at Blackpool Tower

Not to mention a football game you could play by tilting the table. Kingdom Quest with lasers was another firm favourite, even for my teenager!  Miniland always a big hit and reminds you why every single Lego brick is just so awesome.  As was the Lego Build and Test area for making cars and holding races.  The verdict of my youngest was ‘So much mega fun’  the verdict of my somewhat too old teen was ‘it’s not bad’ which is a huge compliment!  Legoland Discovery Manchester can’t help but be loved by those who love Lego and I don’t know anyone who isn’t captivated by those little bricks.  I even bought myself a little Lego Ewok key ring to show my love.

Alton Towers Oblivion

You can hold your birthday party here and there are special nights for adult fans of Lego; something for everyone and who can fault that?

PS: Afterwards I did have a little shop in some of the homestores and bought a very nice fruit bowl from HomeSense!

For full details of opening times and prices click here

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