by bdpash on 01/12/11 at 10:49 am
This month we are recommending things for grandparents to do with the kids on a budget, these are tips on things to do and activities to plan that are low/ no cost activities, after all we are in a recession! The most important thing is to spend personal time together creating cherished memories.
Put together a Family Photo Album from all those photos stuffed away under the bed, these are perfect for grandparents and grandkids to talk about the family. This is a great way to tell the grand kids what their parents were like when they were young.Full Story
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Post from: Today Senior
A popular seasonal short break is to visit Christmas markets. The most popular ones are in Germany and Austria but they are also increasing in popularity in the UK.
Christmas Market coach trips in Europe – One of the most popular ways to visit the European Christmas markets is by taking a coach trip. These can cover one or several markets and usually include bed and breakfast accommodation, sometimes dinner too, all transport and occasionally other excursions. The most popular destination is Cologne which has one of the best markets, but other popular destinations are Berlin and Munich in Germany, Brussels and Bruges in Belgium, Vienna, Salzburg and Gras in Austria, Amiens, Lille and Paris in France, and slightly further away Prague in the Czech Republic. Some of the trips will go to one market, and others will be a multi-centre trip, offering you the opportunity to sample more than one.
Christmas Markets in the UK – Christmas markets were traditional in the lead-up to Christmas until they were prohibited by Oliver Cromwell. Victorians revived the tradition to a certain extent but they were not really known as Christmas markets at that time. Some markets last for several weeks, and some are just for a weekend. It is wise to research the markets first to make sure they will be on during the time you are in the area. The first city to revive the Christmas market tradition was Lincoln and the Christmas market there is now one of the most popular and one of the largest in the UK. It has now been going for over 25 years. Lincoln is a city worth visiting at any time and it has a beautiful cathedral, but during the Christmas market season the place really comes alive with entertainment and special events, and traders selling food and gifts.
Some cities and towns have themed Christmas markets. For example, Rochester in Kent has a Dickens themed Christmas market, near the castle. Traders dress in Victorian costume, entertainment is available and sometimes artificial snow is used to decorate the street. Other cities such as Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Oxford sometimes have German-style Christmas markets. Winchester’s Christmas market is held near the cathedral and includes an outdoor ice rink. In such a beautiful setting this is worth visiting for the experience of ice skating followed by a cup of mulled wine from one of the stalls. In some places accommodation may be harder to find during the Christmas market period, so try and book a hotel or B&B as far in advance as possible.
Smaller venues – It isn’t only large cities which have Christmas markets. Take a look at events guides for stately homes and National Trust properties, as many of these also have smaller Christmas markets which are also worth visiting.
Andrew writes frequently about travel and what to do in your retirement. He also maintains a financial blog, covering everything from pensions to savings accounts to umbrella companies .
Post from: Today Senior
Every gourmet or aspiring foodie dreams of dining their way through the city of light. Most yearn for a cafe where they can sip and sample small plates and watch the world walk by. Most yearn for an over the top experience with haute cuisine that they will carry away as a memory to cherish and talk about for years. All want to saunter and savor Paris restaurants above all other activities on their trip.
So let’s talk about how to achieve this. One way is to take a cooking class. Paris is full of cooking classes offered by famous cookbook authors and chefs, and you can find them offered in all languages. If you speak English and want to experience an unforgettable cooking class in Paris, book a spot with cookbook author and instructor Patricia Wells. You will be given entrance to her intimate kitchen studio, have her guide you to the best food markets in Paris, and have her teach you how to cook French gourmet cuisine. You’ll even be able to sit down afterwards and enjoy your own cooking!
A delightful way to experience the pleasures of Parisian food culture is to go to one of the outdoor food markets. Shop. Take pictures. And stop for a meal at one of the restaurants surrounding the markets. One of the most picturesque and upscale markets is on the Rue de Buci where you will also find chic spots to claim a seat at an outdoor table so that you can bask in the glow of your surroundings over a lovely lunch.
For an out of this world experience, visit the Grand Epicerie in the Bon Marche department store in the 7th arrondisement. Jewel-like it the ambiance created by colorful displays in an elegant setting, this amazing food market has an abundance of items that will have you rapidly filling your cart. You will have to restrain yourself from reaching for pastries or cheeses or breads that you want to taste right then and there! If there is no other stop you have time for on your trip to Paris, you must make time for a visit to the Grand Epicerie.
Of course, the grandest and best known of all food stores in Paris is Fauchon on the Place de la Madeleine. Entering Fauchon is like entering heaven. Take out foods are so spectacular to look at that it will be hard to pick one over the other. The good news is that you can pick and then carry your treasure to a nearby stool or high table to enjoy it before continuing your tour of the food store. It is expensive, but oh it is so worth it!
James is a retired financial journalist and writer. These days he loves to write about travel and anything else except mortgages, credit cards and payday loans .
Post from: Today Senior