Off to Sunny Spain – Costa Blanca Family Holiday Ideas

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Costa Blanca, Spain is the perfect destination for a family holiday as there are some great theme parks and water parks to visit, as well as beautiful beaches. The best way to explore the Costa Blanca is by car, as you can drive to whichever attraction you want, whenever you want during your car hire holiday.

Here are details of five of the best family attractions that you can visit during your holiday on the Costa Blanca. All of these attractions are only a short trip from the popular tourist resorts of Alicante and Benidorm.

Terra Mitica Theme Park

Terra Mitica is a huge theme park situated just outside of Benidorm. You can drive from Alicante to Terra Mitica in about 35 minutes.

The Terra Mitica theme park is divided into five historically themed areas, each of which is packed with rides and shows to suit all ages, together with shops and restaurants:

* Egypt: You can ride on an Egyptian boat, get drenched on the Falls of the Nile log flume, take part in The Battle of the Pyramid paintball game, or watch the Heartbeat of the Sea multimedia show.
* Greece: Enter the Labyrinth of the Minotaur, get soaked on the Triton Fury log flume and enjoy a meal at the Acropolis

* Rome: Some of the biggest thrill rides are in this area, including the Magnus Colossus rollercoaster, the Flight of the Phoenix free fall ride and the Inferno rollercoaster. You can also see shows including a gladiator fight.
* Iberia: Ride the Tizonalooping rollercoaster or test your driving skills on the Ariete bumper cars.
* The Islands: Cool down on the Rapids of Argos bumper boat ride, enjoy a ride on the Mithos carousel or learn about mythology on Ulysses Rescue.

Mundomar Marine Exotic Animal Park

If you hire a car during your Costa Blanca holiday, you can drive to Mundomar Marine Exotic Animal Park, just one of the attractions surrounding Costa Blanca outside of Benidorm. Here you can see flamingos, turtles, seals, sea lions, penguins, parrots, and a whole host of other animals and birds. The park has a bat cave, a play area for children and a dolphinarium, where you can watch a dolphin show.

It will take you about 40 minutes to drive from Alicante to Mundomar Marine Exotic Animal Park.

Aqualandia

Aqualandia is right next to Mundomar Exotic Animal Park, just outside of Benidorm, and it is easy to reach in your Costa Blanca hire car.

This large water park offers rides and pools to suit the whole family. You can ride the rapids, try out the exciting Big Bang chutes, race family members on the Splash multi-track slide, bob along on the Amazonas and even watch a sea lion show.

Terra Natura

The Terra Natura wildlife park is located about 5km outside of Benidorm, and it is a great place to visit during a Costa Blanca hire car holiday.

Terra Natura is home to more than 1,500 animals, and is divided into four separate areas:

* Pangea: You can see lizards, scorpions and snakes here, as well as other animals and reptiles.
* Asia: In this area of the park, you can see elephants, rhinos, tigers, leopards and many other animals and birds.
* America:This area is home to animals and birds such as flamingos, jaguars and monkeys.
* Europe: Residents include donkeys, horses, deer and turtles.

You can also ride a donkey, see crocodiles and alligators being fed, and see a number of different shows.

Aqua Natura

Aqua Natura is a water park right next to Terra Natura, and is a great place to cool down from the Costa Blanca heat during your car hire holiday.

Park your car at the entrance and enjoy the water slides, wave pool and jacuzzi. There is also a great play area for children, an aquarium where you can see rays, sharks and many different species of fish, and you can even swim with sharks!

Blood Pressure – Japanese Tea Advert

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Blood Pressure – Use your Head

The Japanese are well-known for their odd adverts, but this one for a tea that claims to reduce blood pressure takes the biscuit.

Bizarre Advert

Two men stop at the roadside and begin weeing together, a potential forest fire breaks out and in a totally inaccurate representation of the effects of high blood pressure one fellow shoots out more blood than a vampire film. It starts with… ah hell, just watch it and be ready to laugh more than you ever have at an ad with a health focus – but careful with your own blood pressure – you don’t want to blow a gasket.

Japanese Tea Advert – For Blood Pressure

More crazy Japanese adverts can be seen over on this site – not forgeting the curious penchant Japanese men have for young ladies.

British Flowers – Not to be Sniffed at

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Buying Flowers – British Flowers

If you’re thinking about ordering flowers online, you’ll find a wide range of bouquets and arrangements to choose from.  You can order British flowers from a number of online retailersincluding M&S, Debenhams and Flowers R Us.

It is easy to forget that many flowers are believed to represent lifestyle and fortune – see this blog about the true meaning of flowers. Note there is also a fantastic recipe and instruction how to make elderflower champagne from the same author

Many of the cut flowers that we find in florists and supermarkets are grown abroad, in countries such as Holland and Kenya, but there are also many flower farms in Britain. By buying British flowers, we can help to support our own commercial flower-growers, something that it is particularly important in the current financial climate and of course a help to climate change

Britain has an excellent flower-farming industry and some parts of the UK have gained great reputations for producing beautiful, sweet-smelling blooms. One of the primary regions for flower-growing in the UK is the Isles of Scilly.

The Isles of Scilly lie about 28 miles off of Land’s End in the South-West of England. They consist of five inhabited islands (Bryher, St. Agnes, St. Martins, St. Mary’s and Tresco) together with many uninhabited islands. The proximity of the Gulf Stream means that the Isles of Scilly benefit from warmer winters than the rest of the UK and rarely experience frost or snow, whilst also having slightly cooler summers than the rest of the country, making them the perfect location for flower farms.

Flower farming first began on the Isles of Scilly during the late nineteenth century and flowers quickly became one of the islands’ main exports. During World War II, the industry began to suffer, as it became much more difficult to transport the flowers to the mainland, but Winston Churchill is said to have intervened in order to ensure that the flower farmers had access to fuel and transport after having been sent a bouquet of flowers from a flower farmer in the Isles of Scilly whilst he was in hospital. Since then, the Isles of Scilly flower industry has grown and is vital to the local economy. Flower farms on the islands are still very much family businesses, with many of them having been handed down through the generations.

The flower farms on the Isles of Scilly are best-known for growing narcissi. More than 25 varieties of narcissi (a genus of flower that includes daffodils and jonquils) are grown on the islands. Narcissi are usually white, yellow, peach or pink and many varieties are scented.

British flower farms also produce many other types of flowers, including tulips and peonies. Tulips were originally found in the Middle East, but began to be grown commercially in Europe during the sixteenth century, particularly in Holland. Today, many tulips are grown on British flower farms. In Britain, tulips are usually harvested between January and April, so herald the start of warmer weather, and they are available in a wide range of varieties and colours.

Peonies are both beautiful and fragrant flowers, and you can find them in many shades, including white, pink and peach. Peonies traditionally symbolise luxury and indulgence, and are popular flowers to give as a gesture of romance. They are available from late May until early June.

Just The Job

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In these troubled times of recession, many people are losing their jobs, putting pressure on household incomes and in some cases, this subsequently leads to repossession if alternative employment is not found.

So, what can people do if they are in this situation?

Re-training is a popular choice, you might even find a new career in a recession-proof job. There are loads of adverts on the telly regarding this – driving instructor, plumber and web designer to mention but a few. With some of these places you can “earn and learn”, ie if you want a career change and are still in employment, you can study in your own time.

This is actually quite a hard thing to do and takes determination and dedication, sometimes the last thing you want to do after finishing a day job is to sit down and study for a couple of hours. It helps a lot if it is something you are interested in, and you obviously need to be capable of completing the course.

Jobs are getting harder to come by and competition is increasing for those which are available, but conversely the current situation is being seen as an opportunity by some. These people seek to spread their wings by quitting a job they don’t enjoy and either start their own business, spend more time with the family or seek a position elsewhere. Companies are looking to save money by making job cuts, so they want to keep the best staff, therefore this could create opportunities for someone with a good reputation.

Sofa So Goody

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Sofa so Goody – No not a reference to Queen of Reality Jade, who tragically passed away but back onto the real focus of the Shelf – furniture.  Guest author Hugh Andcry reveals inside tips about sofas and their construction.

Furniture Construction & Comfort

Sofas

When you’re buying a new sofa, although it’s important to choose one that looks right in your living room, it’s also important to remember that it needs to be comfortable and durable. Sofas should last for about ten years, so need to be well-constructed in order to provide value for money. Here are some hints and tips to help you to find a sofa which will stand the test of time.

Sofa Frame and Springs

When choosing a new sofa, make sure that you pick one with a sturdy, well-constructed frame. Sofa frames can be made from wood or metal, but the highest quality and most durable sofa frames are made from hard wood, such as beech. Some sofa frames are made from a combination of beech and softer woods so that certain parts of them have more give, and some people may find these types of sofa more comfortable. Although they may be cheap, avoid buying sofas with frames made from low-quality materials, such as chipboard or plywood, as they won’t last as long and so won’t be cost-effective in the long term.

The frame should be glued and screwed together rather than stapled, and you should check to make sure that the frame meets or exceeds the relevant British Standards before buying a sofa.

You should also find out how any sofa that you are considering has been sprung. Ideally, you should look for a sofa that uses proper springs, rather than pre-fabricated wire coil units, and you should avoid buying sofas that use what are known as zigzag springs, as they won’t last as long.

Sofas Padding and Cushions

The type of padding and cushions used will affect how comfortable a sofa is. Look for a sofa with seat cushions which have been made from high density foam, as this will mean that your sofa will provide you with more support and will last longer. It’s also a good idea to choose a sofa that has shape-retaining foam, as this will mean that your sofa looks good and remains comfortable for longer.

If you require extra support for your back and neck, you may find that a sofa with a firmer, more upright back and high-back cushions may suit you.

Choosing Sofas – Upholstery

Sofas come in a wide range of finishes and the type of upholstery used can make a huge difference to the comfort and durability of your new sofa. A leather sofa, for example, will usually be more durable than a sofa with fabric upholstery, but leather can take time to wear in, so it may not initially be as comfortable.

Fabric, on the other hand, can be less durable than leather, and won’t provide as much support, but may feel softer. Many sofas with fabric upholstery have cushion covers that can be removed and washed, so it’s easy to keep your sofa looking in great condition, and some are made from stain-resistant materials.

Reputable online retailers usually provide information about the construction of the sofas that they sell on their websites, so check the product descriptions carefully before ordering to ensure that your new sofa will look and feel like new for as long as possible.

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