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Packing Carry-On Only with Ryanair

My husband and I planned a bit of a spur of the moment trip to Leipzig and Dresden recently and booked cheap flights with Ryanair. We did not want to pay the baggage fees (£40 one way for one bag!), so we decided to pack into our good old LL Bean Deluxe Bookbags. I’ve had mine since the mid-90s when I was in High School, and my husband got his about 8 years ago. These bags were made to last, so I can highly recommend one! They hold 32L, and weigh around 600g, so perfect for a carry-on!

We were going away for 5 days, one night would be in an Ibis in Leipzig, and the rest of the trip we stayed in an apartment in Dresden. I packed with the plans that I would wear everything at least twice, and if I needed to I knew I could wash things in the sink.

Packing list:

• Sport skort
• Short sleeved sport top
• Long sleeved sport top
• 3 x sport knickers

• T-shirt
• Pajama shorts
• Slippers
• Toiletries bag (see below)
• Nesting snack boxes
Travel cup
• Crushable sun hat
• Packable rain coat
• Laptop charger/UK to EUR converters/US charging hub
• First aid kit
• Bag of snacks
• Tea bags/sweetener
• Bread bag and bag clasp*
• Reusable shopping bag
• Folding mini rucksack

All my clothing fit into a single packing cube. I also had some zipper top plastic bags in the bottom of my cube in case I needed to separate any dirty or wet clothing or in case the airport didn’t accept my toiletries bag and made me swap it to a plastic bag. I deliberately picked a sport skort for having shorts built in to protect my modesty when I crouched down to take photos and also to help with preventing chafing. I took sport tops for their quick drying technology so I had the option of washing my shirts in the sink. The long sleeved top I packed along was one that has mesh shoulders and upper back, so it still kept me cool even in the heat. I even packed sport knickers for their quick drying properties. I worked out that I actually only needed to pack 2 pairs (plus the pair I wore on the plane) as long as I was religious with washing them, but I decided to take a third pair along for a spare. And I actually wound up adding in two more pairs because I had the space for them. I also added a bralette, which didn’t work out the way I had expected it to.

I packed slippers over flip flops since we were going to be in an apartment and I knew I wouldn’t need them for the shower. In Germany and Austria (at least), it is usual to remove your shoes when you enter a home, so we always pack hausschuhe when we visit these countries and are renting apartments.

The nesting snack boxes are from Paperchase, and they are excellent for travelling if you plan on making packed lunches while you are away since they take up very little space in your bag. We also took along reusable drink cups that could hold both hot and cold drinks in them since we had a rental car with cup holders. We just took the cheapie £1 cups you can get in Starbucks, so nothing fancy.

Curious about the bread bag/clip? In Germany and Austria (and likely other parts of Europe), fresh rolls daily is a thing. You can buy them in the grocery store or from a bakery, but the bags they sell them in don’t keep the bread fresh longer than a day. Since our trip was so short, we didn’t want to have to deal with getting bread daily, so I packed a bread bag and took along a bag clip. This actually worked and our bread remained fresh for the duration of our trip!

You also might notice laptop charger, but no laptop. My laptop fit into a sleeve in Tim’s camera bag, so I only needed to pack my charger. However, I had plenty of space, so I could have easily slipped my laptop in.

Toiletries:

• 2in1 shampoo/conditioner bar (Godiva by Lush)
• Dove bar soap
• Hibiscrub
• Zineryt
• Degree for Women solid deodorant
• Mist You Madly body mist
• Face moisturiser
• Make-up: BB Cream, powder,blush, eyeshadow, concealer, mascara, & lipgloss
• Anti-itch cream
• Anti-chafe cream (lifesaver!)
• Sudocreame
• Clinique Moisture Surge
• Boots Tea Tree blemish stick
• Toothbrush/toothtabs/mouthwash tabs
• Folding hairbrush and hair bands/pins
• Vicks inhaler stick
• Yes To Cucumber travel wipes
• Febreeze

and the clothing I wore on the plane:

Denim Skirt
Footless tights
Socks
Sport knickers
Bra
T-shirt
Thin Jumper
Fleece body warmer
Sketchers Go Walks

The tights and socks were the only ones of each I packed as I planned on washing them in the sink. I forgot to wash the tights and wished I had them on the return trip! I also didn’t need the body warmer again until our last day, but I needed it on the UK side the day we left and knew I would need it in the UK once we landed. Wearing it on the plane meant it didn’t take up any space in my bag, though I did have room for it. I wore my denim skirt the day after we landed and on the way home, and wore the skort the other three days.

After I came home and emptied my bag out, I decided to ask myself a set of questions. A girl on #HPLWorld calls it an “exit interview” with her bag. These are the following questions I ask myself:

1 Did I wear all my clothing packed? At least twice? If no, what and why?
2 Did I use all outerwear/accessories? If no, what and why?
3 Did I use all toiletry items including cosmetics but excluding first aid kit? If no, what and why?
4 Did I have to buy anything for immediate use? What?
5 Did I use all electronics/electronic accessories packed? If no, what and why?
6 Did I use all other items not previously categorised? If no, what and why?
7 Is there anything left unused that can be eliminated from a future trip?
8 Is there anything used on this trip that you do not want to pack again?
9 Was anything missing? Anything you felt like you should have packed?
10 Did the bag hold up? Was it too heavy or awkward?
11 Will you travel hand luggage/rucksack only again?
These questions apply to my main bag only. My personal item is my camera bag/purse and contained my DSLR, zoom lens, other camera accessories, and purse. I did not use my zoom lens, but it’s not something I would eliminate from a future trip if I was taking my DSLR.

1. Yes, I wore everything I packed at least twice, and in some instances more than twice. Except for my knickers, since I took enough pairs to last the whole trip.
2. No, surprisingly. It didn’t rain at all on our trip during the day so I never needed to use my mack in a pack. It also stayed ridiculously hot, so I never needed to add on a layer of wrist warmers.
3. No. Items left unused at the end of the trip were blush, eyeshadow, lipstick/gloss, and mascara. I used the BB cream daily as it had SPF in it and set it with setting powder, but I never used the other make-up items as it was just too hot for make up!
4. Yes – My folding brush broke the first day so I had to pick up a new one and we purchased sunblock in the airport before we left. I didn’t like the toothtabs, so I bought some toothpaste too.
5. We never tried out the HDMI cable (we were too tired each night!) and I didn’t need to use my card reader.
6. Yes. Er, I think. I’m sat in Starbucks enjoying the air conditioning while my phone says it’s 32C out, so I can’t double check everything. I think I had a leftover zipper top plastic bag, but that was it. Oh, I didn’t use all of the tea bags or eat all of the HiFi bars packed, but I left them behind. I didn’t know if we would need lots of tea bags or if I would be hungry daily for a bar.
7. This is a good question, and a puzzling one. I’d love to eliminate the rain coat, because it takes up a chunk of space, but rain is one of those unpredictable things. Originally, it was supposed to rain on our trip! An umbrella would take up less space, but an umbrella is less convenient as it ties up a hand to hold it. The travel cups turned out to be an excellent idea as we had a rental car and were able to pour water and soft drinks out of larger bottles and have it easy to hand. Probably wouldn’t take the travel cups on a trip we aren’t renting a car on, though.
8. No more bralette. Ugh. I really hated that thing. It offered no support whatsoever and I felt like I might as well have been wearing no bra. I think I’ll either just make space for a second proper bra (and I had space!) or I’ll have to hope I can wash/dry my bra overnight at least once during a trip. Or maybe use a bathing suit top as double duty. The Boots tea tree blemish stick I removed from its original packaging did not work out. It became dried out and unusable, and I would have had room for the original packaging anyway! I also didn’t really like the Yes To Cucumber facewipes, but they were passable.
9. I wanted a second pair of shoes desperately. The heat made my feet sweat in my sketchers so badly and it was just gross. So either a second pair to alternate or maybe just some powder to sprinkle in my shoes daily to keep them feeling fresh. And as mentioned above, a second bra. I also wished I had another top along because I had spilled something on my shirt at dinner and had to wear my pajama T-shirt out that evening since I didn’t want to swap into my only other clean shirt for a few hours. So another top would have been nice. I also wished I had some tea tree or acne fighting face wash along as I broke out pretty badly on my chin (though it was bacterial/an allergic reaction), I wished I had something better than Dove to wash my face with.
10. My bag is basically indestructible. The only problem it has is that it lacks structure, so I wouldn’t take it hiking or anything like that but it’s pretty good for point a to point b. It did get a little heavy (even though it only weighed 6KG on the return) when I was stuck wearing it going through the long queue at UK immigration, but for the most part it was fine as I wasn’t wearing it for very long periods of time.
11. Absolutely. Though my next trip my ticket includes a checked bag and we want to bring along a tripod and some other non carry on items, so we will be checking a small (it’s still carry on sized) suitcase between the two of us.

We’re off back to Germany soon, but for a longer trip. Hopefully, I can still keep it minimal!

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

I have not been compensated by any of the companies mentioned in this blog post, however some links might be affiliate links where I earn a small commission.

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99 Thoughts I had While Watching Anne With An E

Like every other die hard Anne of Green Gables fan out there, I waited with baited breath for the latest installation in adaptations, after being horribly disappointed in the 2015 version starring Martin Sheen as Matthew. Quite sadly, Anne With An E has sunk to the bottom of my ranking of all Anne adaptations that I’ve seen, and it sunk after episode one.

Even the trailer was a huge letdown:

So here are 99 thoughts I had while watching the full Anne With an E series now streaming on Netflix. Spoilers below (duh)

1) dislike the portrayal of Marilla so far. Yes she is supposed to be stern, but she seems nastier.

2) Anne’s flashback earlier to when Mr Hammond had his heart attack. No. While I don’t doubt that sort of thing happened to orphans, Anne never made mention of something like that, and given what triggered the flashback, I would have expected Anne to suffer from PTSD. Which she does not (though this Anne apparently does)

3) It’s Jasper!! I feel old now.

4) they definitely have taken some poetic licensing with the dialog. Matthew still speaks more than book!Matthew or Sullivan!Matthew.

5) GREEN GABLES

6) Mrs lynde is pretty spot on!

7) the actress playing Anne goes between “soreee” and “sorry”. But a friend knows her and she’s apparently Irish, so I guess I can forgive her.

8) Lol forgiveness scene spot on!!

9) hired hand scene….. unnecessary. Plus…..deliberately rude Anne!! OMG NO!

10) Mr Barry…..wrongwrongwrong!!!!!

11) another flashback. These sit uneasy with me.

12) The Barry’s are too posh for my liking.

13) er….no. that ending scene is definitely not canon. While a nice touch, I suspect this will lead episode 2 away from canon.

Episode 2

14) TRAIN!!!! We think potentially NG, now that they show more detail I’ll have Tim Lockley watch the first few minutes to try to identify……

15) I just noticed Anne has her carpet bag, but never made the comment about it being an “old carpet bag”

16) Ok, no. This Matthew is way way WAY out of character. NOPE.

17) WTF. Anne getting on the ferry….NO. Out of character for Anne. Anne does NOT run away. Anne challenges. More N-O-P-E.

18) I think “based on Anne of Green Gables” is right. LOOSELY based.

19) Seriously, seriously LOVING Mrs Lynde. She is incredible.

20) Well, she sure can spin a tale…..but again, doesn’t seem like Anne. I don’t think Anne would lie like that….I think Anne is more likely to tell people her fantasies, but not LIE.

21) REALLY???? Reeeeeaaaallllllyyyyy???? I….can’t……

22) Very sweet of Matthew to refer to her as his little girl. Heart. melt. I mean, it’s out of character for Matthew to speak this much, but this is totally Matthew.

23) “She’s my daughter” !!!!!! OH MATTHEW YOU BIG SOFTY I LOVE YOU!! (still OOC for him to say that out loud though)

24) Ah. No nonsense Marilla.

25) Ah, Awkward family meal time.

26) 30:52 in to the 45 minute episode and finally Anne is Anne.

27) Picnic. More overly posh Barrys. Seriously. No. This is NOT the Barry family!

28) Uhhhhh…..what? No. People were NOT that nasty to Anne. People were curious and cautious, but the only people nasty were Josy Pie, and Gilbert at first….but it still wasn’t THIS nasty.

29) well, at least she can finally call her Marilla.

30) Wait….take their name? I mean, that’s sweet and I was always surprised that Anne never did become a Cuthbert, but again this is kind of out of character. But I do think it was a really sweet moment.

Episode 3

31) Ok. Anne’s first day of school. Let’s hope this follow the book……

32) don’t like Diana either. She’s too bold!!

33) WTF is up with these kids?! Barking at her?

34) Birds and the bees talk?!?! Mouse in his pants?!?!? AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH THIS IS NOT ANNE. NOT AT ALL. Anne is more of a romantic.

35) It’s a bit weird for Marilla and Matthew to refer to themselves as parents.

36) OTOH, I suppose Marilla is more true-to-book looks wise than Coleen Dewhurst was, but she was so amazing, you could overlook that she didn’t fit the description.

37) More too much speaking from Matthew. And to/in front of other women too! I mean, he can barely ask Rachel Lynde to make that dress in the book and yet here he is….chattering away. But other than the speaking, I still like the portrayal of Matthew.

38) I’m going to have to re-read the books, because I can’t remember how well Anne did in Math. I know she always has been better at English, but I can’t remember if she had math skills.

39) Gibert is…..not Jonathan Crombie (RIP). I don’t think young me would have had a crush on this Gilbert….but he is pretty chivalrous. Which Book!Gilbert wasn’t at first, so….that’s kind of weird.

40) Diana struggles with reading? No, that’s not right. Anne over dramatising her reading…..Yep. That’s our Anne.

41) Trollop?!

42) OH. THERE’S THE CARROTS INCIDENT. at least we got that! Albeit, she smacked him across the face with it instead of breaking it over his head…..but we got our Carrots moment…..so OK, ONE THING TRUE TO BOOK!

43) But Anne walking out of school….again, no. Anne Shirley does NOT walk away. Also, if she “changed her name” to Anne Shirley Cuthbert, why is the teacher calling her Shirley? Continuity error?

44) OTOH, it gave us an opportunity to have a tender Anne/Marilla moment, so that was kinda nice.

Episode 4

Reading the blurb, it sounds like it might get back onto the book track this Episode. Maybe. Or am I giving it too much credit?

45) Anne not going to school is just so out of character. Anne loves to learn! She would return to school with her head held high….unless she dyes her hair green. HAHA! (will we see that?)

46) However being in her fantasy world and letting the pie burn is VERY Anne….

47) Skipping school after being told to go back? Again, NOT LIKE ANNE.

48) ARGH. SO FLIPPING DECEITFUL.

49) Ruby Gillis is adorable. Still unsure about Diana. Shes just too posh for who she is. My impression was always that Diana’s parents weren’t rich. Perhaps a little well-off, but it was Diana’s great-aunt who had the money. Mr Barry was a farmer and worked the fields same as Matthew….

50) a fire? Again, this wasn’t in the books, but it IS a good example of small village life in the late 1800s and adds drama. Again, its OK if this was a generic story of an orphan girl in the 1890s….but not part of Anne. But I guess they needed an act for Anne to be accepted.

51) I don’t remember Ruby having a crush on Gilbert. I thought Josey wanted Gilbert….hmm. Going to have to re-read the books.

52) The story club!!

53) And now the teacher calls her “Anne Shirley Cuthbert”….is this to signify she has finally been accepted?

Episode 5

54) They can’t even get the spelling bee incident correct?!

55) Anne starting her period….I mean, Obviously it happened to Anne as it happens to most women, and given the number of children she eventually has, it’s a given that she would have had some kind of cycle….but it wouldn’t have been something that LMM would have written into her books….this kind of stuff wasn’t talked about openly when she penned AoGG…..but again, they are trying to appeal to a modern pre-teen audience, and probably a good number could sympathise with Anne.

56) John Blythe wasn’t in a wheelchair!!!

57)The interaction/conversation between Rachel and Marilla….while again, not part of the books, it’s a nice touch because it helps to solidify their lasting friendship.

58) OK so now we’re seeing where Gilbert is starting to have feelings for Anne and Anne doesn’t want anything to do with him! hehe!

59) Hormonal stroppy Anne kind of makes me laugh.

60) “You may have some of the raspberry cordial” YES!!!!!! Please don’t screw up this scene guys.

61) Oh, we’re going to get the puffed sleeves! Not like it was in the book or in Sully’s Anne, but this is still just as adorable and awkward for Matthew.

62) Ok, so they’re both getting drunk….this is different. But also funny.

63) Who is this woman Matthew is talking to?! MATTHEW DOESN’T TALK TO WOMEN!!!! “Old friend”?! Are they trying to give Matthew a former love interest?

64) Is Mrs Lynde making a sexual innuendo?!

65) Where did Anne get that corset from? It’s too fancy to have been Marilla’s!

66) OK, this part is exactly as it happened in the book. Of course, it’s one of the sadder things that happens, but I think Mrs Barry almost said word-for-word what is in the books…or at least what I remember!

67) NOOOOO I’M CRYING!!

68) I’m really confused over Gilbert’s father being so ill.

69) SHE’S GETTING THE DRESS!!!! Again, completely not how it was in the book, but she still got her dress!

Episode 6

70) Ah, Finally an episode that opens with an actual event from the book!

71) Oh, but who’s the old lady? OH! This must be Aunt Josephine! I mean, she wasn’t there in the book when Minnie May had croup, but I suppose we had to meet her somehow!

72) Ok, why does Gil’s dad sound like he’s going to die?!

73) YAY! Friends again!!!!

74) NO. NO NO NO! GILBERT’S FATHER IS DEAD?!?!? THAT IS NOT THE BOOK IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER! What purpose could this possibly be serving?!

75) A flashback to elude to the relationship between Marilla and John Blythe when they were younger is a nice touch. Also, John giving Marilla the hair ribbon she gave to Anne….who will of course wind up with Gilbert in the future.

76) So Anne and Gil’s fight has now been instigated by Gilbert. Interesting.

77) This is definitely delving deeper into the relationship between John and Marilla. I kind of like this, because it was only ever mentioned as an aside. But poor Marilla.

78) I still think Ruby is adorable. But her poor crush on Gilbert is never going to get anywhere.

79) Minnie May is cute too. Although I do think she’s slightly older than she should have been when she was ill in the book.

80) Well, that’s a pretty tender Marilla/Gilbert moment. I quite liked that.

81) Oh. Did they just make Aunt Josephine a lesbian? That’s interesting. I wonder if Mr Barry knows? Is that how they will explain Josephine having money?

82) DID GILBERT LEAVE?!?!??! OMG WHAT!!!!

Episode 7, at last…..

83) Hey look, there’s the bitch Josey Pye is known for being!

84) Woah. Matthew raised his voice!

85) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (I mean, OK, it’s Canon for it to happen eventually….but NOOOOOOOO) Oh Ok. Not dead. Er…..yet.

86) Anne not having a head for Geometry? She’s a whizz!

87) And, we’re back to completely out of canon.

88) I mean, maybe not. Because I know they did have a bit of the farm animals and things auctioned after Matthew passed away. But it wasn’t to pay the Mortgage as far as I can remember. It was just because Marilla wasn’t going to man the farm after Matthew.

89) OH CRAP. i was worried that one of them would get robbed!

90) GILBERT!!!!!!!!!

91) I Love Josephine Barry! She is pretty true-to-book once she warmed up to Anne

92) I do kind of like them expanding on Jerry. He was always just “the French boy” or “the hired boy” and I’m not even sure he had any lines of his own in the book.

93) What the heck is Matthew doing? I don’t like his being secretive….. NO! MATTHEW! YOU PUT THAT GUN DOWN RIGHT NOW. THAT IS NOT MATTHEW AT ALL. NO NO NO NO NO. PUT IT AWAY. DON’T YOU DARE THINK OF IT!!!! Whew.

94) Ah, resourceful Anne. Yep, that’s our Anne.

95) So….it’s going to end with the guys who robbed Jerry moving in and was Anne supposed to think he was good looking? What the….AAAAARRRGGGHHH

96) The opening song gave me chills every time, because it was the Hip.

97) Episode 2 seemed to be fabricated just for drama’s sake.

98) It wasn’t until Episode 5 that I felt it finally was starting to be Anne….until it wasn’t.

99) You know, if this has been just a regular period drama….it wouldn’t be so bad.

I have a 100th, but its not from me. A fellow Geek Girl Gang member said:

It’s like the GoT version of it, leaving the viewer stricken by omission of all the normal and good things that happen, and presenting a high-stakes view of the world that suffuses danger into the safety of our childhood tales.

And I have to agree with her. They tried to deliver Anne, but that’ not what we got. I think I only counted about a half dozen actual true-to-book events:

– The Cuthberts originally wanting a boy
– Rachel Lynde and the apology
– “Carrots!”
– Losing the broach
– Getting Diana Drunk
– Minnie May being ill
– The Story Club (briefly)
– Puffed sleeves

Ok, so EIGHT…..and even many of those barely followed canon for how the events unfolded. I’m just really disappointed overall with this adaptation. I wasn’t expecting another Sullivan version (and let’s be honest, he did plenty of out of canon things too!), but I was expecting something better than this.

And so, my definitive rank of all adaptations of Anne of Green Gables I have seen, from best to worst:

1) 1985/1987 Anne series with Megan Follows
2) BBC Anne of Avonlea from the 70s (no copies of AoGG exist!)
3) Anne of Green Gables the musical
4)Akage No Anne (Japanese Anime from 1979)
5) black and white 30s/40s AoGG film
6) Anne of Green Gabeles, The Animated Series (also by Sullivan)
7) the recent film version that had Martin Sheen as Matthew
8) That YouTube fan series that tried to modernise Anne into the 21st century)
9)Anne with an E (this series)
10)Anne 3 (the Sullivan version of books 5-8, which was total fiction)

So….it’s not at the bottom, but to be fair, Anne 3 was REALLY BAD and completely non-canon, and at least Anne With An E had SOME canon things in it. I read an interview that they hope it gets picked up for a second and third series…I can’t see that happening, unless there ARE Anne-fans out there who liked it, but all but one Anne-fan I spoke with has hated this.

I would rather Sullivan make an Anne 4 and totally botch that before I want a second Anne With An E.

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*Anne with an E photo header is from their facebook page

Netflix, the CBC, etc. have not paid me for my opinion. You get it allll for free!!

For other articles about the new series, please see:
Vanity Fair – Netflix’s Bleak Adaptation Gets it All So Terribly Wrong
HuffPo – The Relentlessly Grim ‘Anne With An E’ Reveals The Limitations Of Today’s TV
Vox – Anne With an E turns Anne of Green Gables into a high gothic tragedy, missing the point

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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[Austria] Salzburger Freilicht Museum

Tim and I had another day exploring on our own as my mom hurt her knee when we were on the Sound of Music tour and didn’t feel up to doing lots of walking….and that’s what this day was. LOTS of walking!

We decided to visit the Salzburger Freilicht Museum, or Salzburg Open Air Museum. I originally thought this place would be like an Austrian version of Beamish, one of our favourite museums to visit in the North, but it was so much more. We also went to Freilicht to ride on their small narrow gauge train.

We started our day by driving to the local ÖBB station in Pfarrwerfen and taking the local train into Salzburg, where we then changed over to Postbus 180 as the museum is about 15KM outside of Salzburg. And here’s where it started to get interesting. Even though we sat at the front of the bus and told the driver where we wanted to go (in German!)…..he missed our stop. The screen that displayed upcoming stops was somehow off by one, so when we pressed the stop button it was after the stop for the museum. When we alerted the driver that he went past our stop….he kept going. He took us past FOUR OTHER STOPS, finally letting us out over 2KM away from the museum with the instruction that we should cross the road for the next bus back…..which wasn’t for an hour. So….we walked. It was very hot that day and there wasn’t much shade along the route, but we finally made it to the museum about an hour and a half later than we had intended.

Admission is €11, but discounted by ,50 if you arrive by bus and show your bus ticket.

The museum covers 50 acres and contains buildings and relics from as far back as 1442 from the provinces of Flachgau, Flachau, Tennengau, Pongau, Pinzgau, and Lungau. The museum is divided into sections where each province is represented. Some areas are simply buildings that have been carefully demolished, moved, and reconstructed while other areas have displays and even demonstrations. Visitors are given free range to go between the sections, and if a door is unlocked or a building open, free to explore in your own time. The museum has plenty of picnic benches dotted around for eating a picnic lunch, but there also is a very reasonably priced restaurant on site serving traditional Austrian dishes (and beer!). While we were eating our Lunch, there was a group of ladies and gentlemen sat at a table dressed in traditional Austrian dress. Judging by how familiar the restaurant staff was with them, it looked like they used the museum for a regular get together!

If you don’t fancy travelling by foot around the museum, they also have a small narrow gauge railway that has three convenient stops, including one at the restaurant, and unlimited use of the train is included in your admission.

Here’s a short video I took of the railway at the museum:

We absolutely loved the museum. It was quite awesome seeing and touching the old buildings and seeing how even things like the construction of fences varied across the regions and seeing buildings built out of wood with the notches in the corner to the more modern brick. But I’ll let my pictures tell the story:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Follow along on our Austria trip

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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[Travel] Grocery Shopping

A selection of food and drink souvenirs from Austria.

One of the things I love to do when we travel is to hit up the local grocery store even if we’re not self-catering. On our recent day trip to Rotterdam, I went into a grocery store and purchased a bunch of foods to try, but my pic of everything turned out too blurry to use for anything (sorry!)

Going to a local grocery store first of all can cut down on food costs while travelling. Even if you’re not self-catered, you can pick up snacks for your visit or in your room – a box of cereal bars that will last for 5 days is going to be cheaper than buying them in singles from the corner shop. Same with a bag of apples. Buying beer or other alcohol to drink in your room can cut down on your bar bills tremendously, and if your room has a kettle, you can stock up on tea, cups of soup, etc. And if you packed a spork and a set of nesting plastic boxes, you can even pack up your own lunches to take with you when you’re on the go.

Second, you get a better feel for the language if you’re in a foreign country and don’t have knowledge of the native language. Everything in a grocery store is labelled and sometimes there are even pictures of the item. For example, with a pile of lemons in Germany, you will see the word “Zitrone”. Now you know when you go out to a restaurant and see the word “Zitrone” on a menu the dish contains lemon.

I bought zitrone wafer cookies in Austria, and other flavours.

Third, it can help to get a flavour for local food. Check out the bakery section to see what breads and pastries the locals buy. Head to the deli section and see what meat (if you’re a meat eater) is popular. Look at the local beer options if you’re a drinker. And check out the chocolate aisle! Don’t forget buying chocolate at the grocery store will be a lot cheaper than buying it at a convenience store.

Our chocolate haul from Austria

Fourth, as you can see from my photos, bringing back food as souvenirs is fun! Feeling glum in the middle of Winter knowing your next holiday is months away? Break into some chocolate or make a bowl of soup. Giving food to friends and family is great too – everyone loves cookies and chocolate! Need a gift for a beer drinker? How about a few bottles of a local brew (space permitting, of course!)?

Fifth, if you’re really feeling homesick, or are travelling with children who might need a dose of “home”, you can always head to the grocery store and look to see if they stock a similar product or if they have an import aisle. Imported items will be expensive, but sometimes, you just need it. As an American now living in the UK, I can vouch for sometimes just needing a dose of “home” and yes, I have paid £2 for a single can of Root Beer.

And lastly, shopping in a grocery store can be fun! Check out this short video I made while Tim and I were shopping in a Billa store in Gmünd and at a MPREIS in Werfen.

Follow along on our Austria trip: http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/2016/08/travel-austrian-road-trip-summer-2016/

Watch the rest of the videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDUaor7uXZQfPu6Un77YGHRkLMlPgKFp-

***
Disclaimer: I received no compensation from products pictured in my photos or video, nor did I receive compensation from the shops visited.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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[Recipe] IKEA Swedish Meatballs Fakeaway

Ah, so who doesn’t use a trip to IKEA as an excuse to eat Swedish Meatballs? Just us, then?

We love the Swedish meatballs, and we love that now you can even buy frozen meatballs and sauce packets to take home with you. I always buy 2 bags of frozen meatballs and at least a half dozen packets of sauce mix to keep us going between visits….but eventually, we run out. And as we haven’t had time or a need to go to IKEA in about a year, I needed to get creative. I found this recipe on a facebook group page for Slimming World, so this recipe also is Slimming World friendly. The sauce itself is free, and the meatballs can also be syn free depending on what you use.

You will need:

Your favourite meatballs or meatball recipe
4 vegetable stock cubes or pots (I used 1 pot and 3 cubes)
Enough water for half the stock cubes (this varies from type of cube. The ones I used needed 500ml of water per cube, so I used 1L water)
3-4 TBS fromage frais

I know, I know, the recipe sounds a little vague. But really, hear me out.

1. Cook meatballs as directed on their packaging or per your recipe. This time around I used Quorn Swedish style meatballs, but you can use the Slimming World meatballs (FREE) or any other type of meatball. Even make your own from mince if you prefer.
2. Add stock cubes and water to a sauce pan and bring to a boil until the cubes are dissolved. Continue to boil the stock for an additional 10 minutes.
3. Remove concentrated stock from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before stirring in 3-4 TBS of Fromage Frais. This should make your sauce creamy and a little thick. If it’s not thick enough, add more Fromage Frais.

I served ours with Smash and some frozen mixed vegetables. While it’s not exactly the same as what you will get at IKEA, it’s still pretty tasty as a mock Swedish meatball sauce. I’m sure any Swedish friends reading this are shaking their heads in horror now….

***

Please note: While I used to work for IKEA (in 1998 and then again in 2006), I do not currently work for IKEA and they have not compensated me for writing this blog post. Nor have any of the brands mentioned in this post.

DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.

Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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[Review] P&O Mini Cruise Hull to Rotterdam

P&O Pride of Rotterdam* What to do with a few days off work for as little money as possible? Why not go to another country? I found an absolute steal on P&O Ferries website for their mini cruise from Hull to Rotterdam and back – £80 for an interior cabin with bunk beds! I think this is probably a Winter rate and only on certain days, as the mini cruise booked just a day before or a day after would have been £130. We decided to “splurge” and upgraded ourselves to a cabin with a window for an extra tenner. Having the window wasn’t super important since it would be mostly dark out while we were in the cabin not to mention sleeping, but the extra £10 also gave us two twin beds instead of bunk beds so the room was slightly larger too. And it was only an extra tenner. When you book on P&O’s website, you also get the option to add Breakfast & Dinner on both days at a slight discount, so we added Breakfast & Dinner on the day we would be in Rotterdam, bringing our total to £146. The price of the cruise also includes a bus transfer from the Europort to Rotterdam central, but it does not include transportation to or from Hull city centre. However, there is a shuttle bus operated by Stagecoach departing from stand 38 (I think) at 5PM and it costs £2.30 for a single. The shuttle then picks you up at the port of Hull at 830AM the day you arrive back and it’s a short 20 minute ride back to the railway station. However, I probably wouldn’t book a train until at least 0930 as you never know what kind of delays you will have! We also decided to arrive in Hull around 330PM, which gave us plenty of time to have a late lunch/early tea at the shopping centre next door to the railway station (and we didn’t buy food once on the boat unless a hot chocolate counts!).

The Port of Hull is a very simple building/multi-story car park. You enter as foot passengers on the ground floor to check in, and then you immediately get directed through security (random bag checks happen) and passport control with no chance to use a loo or get anything to eat from a vending machine. Then you go up….and up…..and up……before finally getting to the gangway to get onto the boat.

*

*

As a foot passenger, you enter the boat on Deck 8. The bulk of the accommodations are on deck 10, with some cabins on 9&8. Lorry drivers get their own lounge and accommodation on deck 7. Apparently there is an option to not have a cabin, but when the sailing is 12 hours long and the cabin only cost £20, it seems silly not to. Even if you are bringing your car or caravan along, there is no unaccompanied access to the car decks, so you could not sleep in your car or caravan.

Once on board the ship, you have the option to immediately go to your cabin to drop off your bags. The restaurants are open, however the coffee shop does not serve hot snacks until after 8PM, and the casino and duty free shops aren’t open until we are out of the Humber.

The ship also has an Irish bar, 2 cinemas (you pay extra for them), a child’s softplay area (free), a lounge for live shows (free), and an arcade.

There is no room service like there would be on a large cruise ship, and the only option for takeaway food is the snack bar/Starbucks. I’m not sure if the Irish bar serves food, but the restaurant options are either a sit down brasserie or the buffet.

The duty free shops aren’t very large. They have a tobacco and alcohol shop (we didn’t go in), a candy and other sundry items shop, and a perfume and makeup shop. We went into the candy shop thinking it would have snacks like a convenience store, but they didn’t and I wound up buying a bag of crisps from the Starbucks. Tim was talking to one man who told him he takes these cruises only to buy duty free cigarettes and it somehow is worth it for him. Neither Tim or I are smokers, so we have no idea how much they cost or if it really is a good deal.

Once we dropped off our bags in our cabin, we immediately went out on deck. Unfortunately (as a non-smoker) the entire outside areas are smoking areas as is the slightly protected area on Deck 11. It’s annoying, but you just have to stay upwind from the smokers!

But the views of the sunset were pretty amazing and made the smoke worth it!

Of course, no trip would be complete without Hamish, so he tagged along too!

We're going on an adventure! #hamish #ducksoninstagram

A post shared by Rebecca L (@beccajanestclair) on

After taking our photos of the sunset, we headed back in and browsed the shops (we spent all of £13 on a guide book for Rotterdam, a Dutch phrase book, and some ginger chews), and got some hot chocolate and snacks to take back to our cabin. We retired early and watched an episode of Lewis I had downloaded to my Kindle, and set the alarm for dawn so we could hopefully catch the sunrise.

The sunrise wasn’t as spectacular as the sunset. Plus, we were running a little late as we had a problem with our cabin in the morning. This is my only complaint about P&O, but I did get an apology out of them via email, so I do forgive them.

The way the cabins are laid out, there is a fire detector located right outside the bathroom door along with several warning signs not to shower with the door open as the steam can set off the fire detector. I’m lifting the rest of the story off my Facebook post on P&O’s facebook page:

When I showered on Thursday morning (around 0600 CET), I made sure the bathroom door closed behind me when I took my shower, and after I was finished I turned off the water and waited in the bathroom until there was no more visible steam in the room before opening the door to swap places with my husband. While he was showering and I was towelling off there was a loud knock on the door. Now, as it was 6AM (5AM in the UK), I assumed it was silly drunks banging on doors, so I ignored the first knock. When there was a second knock, I asked “who is it?” and the response back was “Ship Police”. Again, this sounded a bit suspicious as I had not contacted the police and I knew we had not done anything that would have required police. I asked “Do you have any ID?” and all I got back was “This is the ship police”. I repeated my request for ID, and the response now changed to “This is the Ship Police and I need to check something in your cabin”. Well, progress I suppose. I responded “There’s nothing wrong with my cabin”. Bearing in mind, I STILL DID NOT KNOW if he was actual ship police or someone trying to gain access to rob us. Then I got told to “open the door or I will”. Now, I was scared. A stranger was going to open the door to my cabin without my permission. So I called back that I was naked and my husband was in the shower, and we needed a minute to throw some clothes on. AT THIS POINT I HAD TO OPEN THE BATHROOM DOOR WHILST THE SHOWER WAS RUNNING to alert my husband to the police outside our door. This was the ONLY time the bathroom door was open during a shower. My husband came out with a towel around his waist, and I hastily threw on a dress. We had another knock and I told him if he had a key to let himself in (because if he was a stranger, I was sure this would then deter them to go away). He did, and as it turned out, the little light on our fire detector was on. He then accused us of leaving the bathroom door open while we showered, told us he had to go tell the ship’s captain that nothing was wrong, and left. My husband then finished his shower but took a tepid shower as we were now afraid to take a hot shower.

That night, after we had turned out the lights and my husband had gone to use the loo, I noticed there was a sizeable gap at the bottom of the bathroom door that the light was streaming through. I pointed this out to my husband, and the following morning when we showered, we shared one towel between us and used the other at the bottom of the door to block the gap and I took a tepid shower as I was now afraid to shower with hot water.

So yeah. Make sure there is no gap in your bathroom door, and if there is, block it with a towel or you risk setting off the fire alarm and having a visit from the ship police!

After getting dressed and getting our photos, we went to Breakfast. The Breakfast buffet was half continental style and half full English style, so there were plenty of options. The layout of the buffet was a little backwards to me though. You needed to pick up your bread at the beginning, but the meats and cheeses for a continental style breakfast were not until after the hot food. The tea and coffee were at the very end, but after we entered the buffet everyone headed straight for the tea/coffee and it created a bit of a bottleneck between people who were going through the queue and getting their drinks last and the people who wanted to get their drinks first.

After breakfast, we hung out on the deck and watched the ship dock before being called for debarkment. If you drove you car, you have a massive rollercoaster style ramp to drive on to get to the shore, but for foot passengers, it was once again a long tunnel and lots of escalators (this time going down!) to get to passport control. And just like in Hull, you could not access the public loos or vending machines once you went through passport control. It was then on to the shuttle bus for our day out in Rotterdam.

Oh, and I should mention that since we had booked it as a mini cruise and our boarding card had a little suitcase on it we were able to leave things in our cabin. If you did not have a suitcase symbol on your boarding card but were coming back that evening, you could make arrangements to store your luggage on the ship.

There will be a separate post about our adventures in Rotterdam.

At the end of the day, we took the shuttle back to the port and after boarding we decided to stash our camera bags in our cabin before going to dinner. At this point, we were both pretty tired and didn’t want to take photos out on deck. Dinner was really good! They had several hot options including 2 types of curry, salmon (although it was labelled as trout!), chicken fingers, chips, steamed vegetables, salad, 2 types of cake, ice cream, and cheese & biscuits. We ate a leisurely dinner before once again retreating to our cabin for another episode of Lewis before falling asleep.

In the morning, we opted to buy snacks in Rotterdam the day before so we skipped breakfast and instead were able to sleep in a bit later. Due to the shower situation, we both took slightly cooler showers, finished packing up, and were soon debarking back onto British soil. Another short shuttle bus ride, and we were back in Hull and after two trains and another bus, arrived home in our village with our kittens around noon, making our total time away just about 48 hours exactly!

We will definitely be doing this again, and might even do the three day cruise with an overnight hotel stay in Rotterdam next time.

***

*Stock photo and deck plan images from P&O Ferries.

I did not receive any compensation from P&O Ferries in writing this blog post.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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Packing for a Mini Cruise

Packing for travel in the Spring is never fun. Spring (and Autumn) are so changeable weather wise you can go from a warm, sunny day to snow within a 24 hour period in certain climates. The obvious solution is to pack layers and pack clothing that work in multiple climates – however, this becomes challenging when you are planning for a shorter trip and planning on sharing your bag with your spouse or partner!

While my husband was off on his Spring annual leave, we decided we wanted to get away for a few days. We hadn’t gone away since our wedding anniversary because we adopted kittens that weekend and hadn’t felt comfortable leaving them on their own. Now that the kittens are 7 months old, we decided we would go away for an overnight or two….But to where?

A friend of mine happened to mention Rotterdam to me about a week before our break. And by a happy coincidence, P&O was offering a 2 night mini cruise for 2 for £80! Score! (and I’ll review the cruise in a separate post).

Usually when we go away for a day or two, we’ll both take a backpack (usually LL Bean bookbags) and our camera bags….but I felt like that would be too much stuff in our cabin. So instead, we decided to share a single weekender bag from Cath Kidston, and a toiletries bag from LL Bean.

I started checking the weather the week before we left (also the week we booked it) and the temperature was hovering from 3C to 15C. Plus, we knew we would want to be on deck at least on our departure from Hull, and knew it would get chilly. We finally settled on packing some thermals just in case we needed them for layering.

Packing List

Small Packing Cube:
2 x boxers (T)
2 x knickers (R)
2 x socks (T)
2 x socks (R)
1 x thermal socks (T)
2 x tights (R)
1 x thermal tights (R)

Medium Packing Cube:
1 x Rugby top (T)
1 x dress (R)
1 x thermal top & bottoms (T)
1 x thermal top (R)
1 x leggings (R)
1 x camisole (R)

Toiletries Bag:
100ml 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner (T)
2 x sample packs shampoo (R)
50ml conditioner(R)
50ml body wash (T)
30ml hibiscrub (R)
30ml face/body wash (R)
2 x Spray deodorant (T)/(R)
After shave (T)
Body spray (R)
Face moisturiser/eye cream (R)
Make Up (3 in 1 concealer/3 in 1 makeup pallet/lip gloss/BB cream) (R)
2 x folding toothbrush
Toothpaste
Mouthwash
Febreeze

First Aid/Medication Bag:
Sanitary products (R)
Gaviscon
Tums
Deep Heat
Zineryt (R)
Pill box (Metformin/Alieve/Paracetamol/Pepto/etc)
Vitamin C tablets
Eye drops

Misc items:
2 x face cloths
Wet bag
Laundry bag
4-port USB Charger with UK and EU plugs
4 USB cables
2 x Seabands
2 x earplugs
Travel Razor (T)
Travel Hairbrush (R)
Neck pouch for passports

I chose to use a Cath Kidston backpack as a camera bag/day bag. Initially because I felt that it would be better to distribute the weight over both shoulders….but I decided I won’t do that again as it meant I was constantly needing to take off the backpack to get to my camera or I was always asking Tim to go into it to get out my camera. My backpack had my DSLR in it, my kindle, legwarmers, wrist warmers, my purse with passport, and a mini first aid kit.

Ironically, we didn’t need any of the thermal items on the boat or in Rotterdam, but when we got back to Hull I changed into my thermal tights in the railway station loo because I was freezing on the platform!

Posts about the cruise itself and Rotterdam coming soon….

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The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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[Recipe] 2.5 Syn General Tso’s Chicken

Ah, the great American Chinese staple. Full disclaimer – I can’t actually remember what General Tso’s Chicken is supposed to taste like, as it’s been almost 9 years since I had any, but I do remember the first time Tim and I ordered Chinese food here in the UK and I wanted to know where the General Tso’s chicken was on the menu! Chinese food in the UK and the US is very different. A friend of mine explained that a lot of British Chinese food recipes are from Hong Kong, whereas American Chinese food is…well, American. (kind of like how Italian food in the US is different from Italian food from Italy). So I swapped my General Tso for Sweet & Sour Chicken Cantonese style, but I always wanted to know how to make my own General Tso’s Chicken. And naturally, since I follow Slimming World, I also wanted to find something that was low in syns, especially since your average takeaway can be 10+ syns.

I originally found this recipe on a Beach Body blog, but modified it for Slimming world.

You will need:

450g diced chicken breast
2 TBS cornflour/cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
small piece of fresh ginger, about the size of your thumbnail finely chopped
2 spring onion sprigs, chopped
150ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 TBS passata (or for a thicker sauce, use tomato puree)
1 TBS Hoisin Sauce
1 tsp Agave syrup (or use sweetener)

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Coat the chicken in the cornflour and place on a lined baking tray and bake 15-20 minutes*
3. while the chicken is cooking, combine together all other ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes.
4. When the chicken is cooked, toss it with the sauce.

I served ours with broccoli, peas, and egg-fried cous cous. Divided into 2 portions, this comes out at 2.5 syns per person.

*for crispier but still low syns you could fry them in fry light!

***

DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.

Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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[Recipe] Cauliflower Cheese & Bacon

Do you ever watch those recipe videos on Facebook and get really hungry? Me too. Last night, one of my friends linked to a video for Loaded Cauliflower Casserole and it got me hungry and wanting to create this dish to be Slimming World friendly. So I went out shopping today and picked up a Cauliflower and we had this for Tea tonight.

You Will Need:

1 Head of Cauliflower (chopped into florets)
300g frozen mixed vegetables
200g bacon medallions
250g Quark
3 heaped spoonfuls Fromage Frais
1 TBS dried or fresh chives (or use spring onion if you have them. I forgot to buy some but had chives)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp mustard powder
45g reduced fat cheddar cheese

1. Boil or steam the cauliflower florets until tender and cook the frozen vegetables. Drain both.
2. Grill bacon. Chop bacon into bite sizes bits.
3. Combine quark, fromage frais, chives, pepper, and mustard.
4. Stir quark mixture into vegetables, add chopped bacon.
5. Spread into a casserole dish and top with 45g cheddar cheese
6. Bake at 200C 25 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is golden.

Syns per recipe: 6 (for the cheese).

This recipe is easy to adapt for vegetarians, just omit the bacon or use veggie bacon. If you are following a Low Carb High Fat diet, use full fat cream cheese and sour cream instead.

***

DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.

Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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Women’s March in London

I can’t believe I still have to protest this shit

On January 21 2017, the first day of Donald Trump’s Presidency, women-led marches, welcoming all participants took place across the world, with over 2 million (and counting!) global participants.

We marched for the protection of our fundamental human rights. I marched to remind Mr Trump that we exist, we are watching, and we will not let him take away our rights. I marched along with my sisters (and brothers) across the globe to remind the world that love trumps hate. We will not remain silent. We will not allow Mr Trump to take away rights for women, the LGBT family, or minorities.

I attended the march in London. There were many marches across the UK – some even in some of my favourite places to be – but I chose to attend the London march to march with some of my fellow ex-pat friends. At last count, they estimated 100,000 people participated in London alone….and the police only expected about 10,000. So given those numbers, you can imagine how crazy the event was. This led to me thinking the event wasn’t very organised, but after speaking with a friend who was part of the volunteer base, I found out that the problem actually was more people than they had planned for, but in my friend Bonnie’s words:

When a march greatly exceeds its expected size, the very fact that it strains the organised plans is a mark of success. Traffic is tied up, streets & rally points overflow, AND THAT MAKES THE CITY & COUNTRY TAKE NOTICE. It is a bit of bother for participants but it means you got your point across. So pat yourself on the back. You just launched a Movement!

Of course we will need to do things to keep this movement growing, and I am committing myself to making whatever difference I can, in the UK, US, and globally.

Same shit, different century*


I share in their sentiments.

My day started off early in the morning. Too early, in my opinion, but when you can catch a lift into town with your husband on early turn, you take it. Even if it means waking up at 0400 and arriving in town at 0530 and your train isn’t until 7! But that’s OK. I had plans to grab a coffee from wherever was opened and then sit in the warm waiting room in the station, which opens at 6 (the waiting room opens at 6. The station opens earlier for the 0526 train, but then you’d have to sit on the cold platform until they unlocked the waiting room). I wound up going to McDonald’s after noticing a distinct smell of oranges coming from my back.

I bought a coffee, grabbed a stack of napkins, and found a corner. As soon as I opened up my rucksack I saw the problem — my bottle of orange juice to go along with my packed breakfast had leaked…everywhere. Fortunately, I am a smart packer even for a day trip so everything inside my bag was inside bags (plastic or cloth) and my electronics (my kindle, selfie stick, and emergency charger) were all in a separate pocket. The item that really got the damage, which I ultimately threw away was an A5 sized make up bag from Accessorize I had bought on clearance for £2 (because it was damaged by missing a single bead!) last year. Inside the bag was some extra layering items in case it got colder. All the items inside the bag were fine as the bag absorbed most of the juice. The juice also got on the drawstring bag my butterfly twist flats are stored in and a folding shopping bag (I kept both of those). I also had some face wipes in my bag, so I used those to give the inside of the bag a quick clean, re-loaded, and headed over to the station. It was around 0630, but the London train was already on a platform so the guard let me board even though the lights were out. Fortunately, by dumb luck I picked an unreserved seat once the reservation signs lit up! I managed to sleep for part of the journey until about Nottingham when other people boarded and sat with me (I was at a table) and we chatted – including a girl who was also attending the march. We arrived into St Pancras a few minutes before 10, and I made a beeline for the toilets since I knew we wouldn’t have many opportunities for a loo once we were part of the crowd.

I arranged with my other friends coming down from the North that we would meet up at the Meeting Point at St Pancras, also known as The Lovers. It’s a huge statue of a couple embracing right in front of the Eurostar platforms (which are behind glass). It’s a relatively quiet spot too, so I knew we’d easily be able to meet up. People started trickling in, and we finally had our group by 11AM so we headed to the tube. Plans were to go as far as Oxford Street and then walk to Grosvenor Square from there as we knew it was going to be hectic.

What we hadn’t planned on was how hard it was going to be to keep 6 adults and 4 children (one in a pushchair) together, and we actually became separated with one child with us on a platform while mum and the other 3 had boarded a train! No worries, we just took her with her and kept her calm until we met up with her mum again at Oxford Street….where we joined massive, massive groups of people all with signs all with one purpose. Fortunately, several of us know the area pretty well and we knew to go down a different side street than everyone was being directed on….but we met with a wall of people just shy of Grosvenor Square!

Crowds at Grosvenor Square

The rest of our friends were “near the drums”, so we asked a volunteer how to get there and they directed us to use the pavement to get down to our friends, but we soon were blocked there as well. Two of our group managed to get through (though I don’t know if they ever found the rest of the group!), and the rest of us were stood on the opposite end of Grosvenor Square from the US embassy for at least a half hour. Probably longer now that I really think about it. At some point we got shoved around by people behind (obviously wanting to get moving) and the official march time start came and went. Chants of “We want to march” rang out, and my friends and I kept ourselves amused by looking at all the different signs people had brought. I pulled out my selfie stick to grab some pics of the crowd, as I knew this was the only way I was going to get any!

Eventually, a volunteer with a megaphone came near us followed by a motorcade of motorcycles and told us we needed to move, so we threaded our way through the taxis to a little slip….where we stood again for probably another half hour before we finally started to move! We got to the corner and people were being directed to march back towards the embassy building, but we headed straight instead and caught up with another section of the march further on.

We were finally on the move! But the crowds were still very large and it became harder and harder to keep our small group together. At one point, I got cut off from my friends and I thought I could see the hat of one of my friends, but it turned out not to be her and I was well and truly separated from them. I marched on, but I really needed a loo.

I got as far as the Hard Rock Cafe, and I decided that I would go use their loo, even if it meant that I had to get a table or go to the bar, but fortunately, they were allowing people who asked in to use their loo. I then walked a bit past the Hard Rock to try to find out where my friends had got to, but a police officer told me I needed to keep moving as “this wasn’t a stopping area”. Err…Ok.

I wound up on a quiet side street where I managed to get myself back in with the main march crowd, and I had hoped closer to where my friends were…..but then I soon gave up on finding them or getting through the crowd. Someone near me murmured that online it was reported that we had 50k (this figure later turned into 80k, then 100k as they realised how many were there). Someone else was loudly complaining that they didn’t understand what all these people were here for (I’m assuming they were a tourist and got swept up in the crowds by accident). I finally saw the Green Park tube station, and that was when I decided I was going to head back to King’s Cross as I knew I wasn’t going to be able to find my friends again, and it was already well past 1500. The rally was supposed to have started at 1400, and I knew if I didn’t make it back to KGX by 1830, I would have to wait until 2030, which would be the very last train that could get me home on a Saturday.

After looking at the National Rail app and talking to Tim, I decided to get something to eat and made plans to get on the 1630 Virgin East Coast train to Newark, and then onto Lincoln from there. I even made it home and was in bed before some of my friends made it out of London!

I’m really glad I went, I’m glad I was counted in the numbers demonstrating, and I would absolutely do it again if the need arises.

Artist remains anonymous, but gives her permission for her art to be shared/used.**

***

*I saw these ladies, but I did not take this picture. This picture was taken by Tara Rose. I just borrowed it for instagram (So this pic has been edited by me via Instagram).
**As stated in the caption, the artist wishes to remain anonymous, but has given her permission for others to use her art and to share her art. This image is not mine.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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Troll in the Dungeon

troll LOL, well, look at that. My first troll. I’m so pleased. Since the poster deleted their comment after they posted it (so it showed up in my email but not on the video), I didn’t get the chance to reply so I thought I would do so here:

Thank you. I really do value the feedback of my viewers, so let me take the chance to give you some feedback of your own: On the bottom of the video there’s a little slider you can slide back and forth to adjust the volume of the videos that you are watching which will help with the “loudness” you are experiencing. As for my voice being “annoying”, you’ll find at the top of your screen in the right side corner a button that has an X on it. If you click on that X, it will close out of what you are looking at and eliminate you having to listen to my “annoying voice”. Problem solved. You’re welcome.


Regular posts hopefully will resume soon. I’ve not felt like editing much video lately, but I do want to get through the Austria videos and I now have some packing videos I made 5 months ago that should go up too!

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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[Recipe] Easy Carbonara Slimming World Style

14054558_10154537219342160_5208478823754869133_o Breaking up the Austria posts to bring you a recipe, because I am trying to be back on the SW train. I actually managed to lose 3 pounds over the three weeks I was away, but then since being back I actually gained a half stone. Grrrr. But I’ve got my SW planning journal and a new countdown and I’m trying to be ON IT. FOCUS! I’ve regained so much weight after my great success and it really upsets me a lot. Anyway….

Tim asked me a while ago to come up with a carbonara, and it took me age, but I finally have come up with one that’s really tasty!

This recipe serves 2 (so double it for 4) and it is FREE on Slimming World (Extra Easy)

You will need:

6 bacon medallions, diced
3 spring onion sprigs, chopped
150g frozen sliced mushrooms
4-5 balls of frozen spinach
200g diced lean ham (or deli ham)
200g dried pasta
300g Quark
1 TBS Fromage Frais (could be omitted)
Salt
Pepper

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package and add the frozen spinach the last 5 minutes.
2. Spray a wok or large frying pan with fry light and fry the bacon, spring onions, and frozen mushroom for about 10 minutes
3. Add the ham and while the ham is heating up, drain the pasta and spinach and rinse in hot water.
4. Tip the pasta and spinach into the wok and stir in the quark and the fromage frais. Season with the salt & pepper
5. Divide between two plates and serve with a large salad.

We both loved this, but it did make a lot for even the two of us and I couldn’t eat all of it. I wouldn’t freeze this because I’m not sure how quark would freeze. If you wanted, you could use your HEA and use cream cheese instead of quark or even use some laughing cow wedges.

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DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.

Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.

Many of the Amazon UK links are affiliate links, so if you click on them and buy something, I do get a tiny percent.

This post has not been endorsed by Amazon or any of the products and websites mentioned in this post and I have not received compensation for writing this post or making any videos.

The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Euro Road Trip Day 7: The Sound of Music Tour

IMG_9200 For my mom’s birthday, I decided to gift her with the Sound of Music bus tour. It was something she had told me she wanted to do, so Tim and I first thought about doing it on our own, but then in the end we decided to book the bus tour. Tim decided not to go with us today as he’s not a fan of the Sound of Music or bus tours. And honestly? I’m not really a fan of organised tours either. The last time I went on one was when I was visiting my friend in Germany and she had a lot of appointments one day, so she booked me on a tour out of Ramstein (her husband is USAF) and I hated it because it was designed for people who had never visited Germany and didn’t speak German. The Sound of Music Tour turned out to be fairly similar.

I booked the tour back in October through emailing the company and asking about available tours on the third (Mom’s birthday) because I knew I wanted to do it on her birthday. We reserved it at a cost of €42 per person. That’s A LOT of money for people who have mostly done things on a budget. But it was mom’s birthday. And I wasn’t going to send her on it by herself, so I had to book a ticket for myself too.

The tour takes four hours, and at first you think it’s pretty ambitious, considering the website lists 6 stops:

-Mirabell Gardens
-Leopoldskron Palace
-Hellebrun Palace
-Nonnberg Abbey
-St Gilgen
-Mondsee

Except that it doesn’t actually have 6 stops. It has a “hey, here’s a drive past some of the lakes and oh, we’ll stop at this overlook for photos” kind of stop, 2 stops that were basically get off the bus and walk to see a single thing and then leave, and over an hour in Mondsee. We never saw Mirabell Gardens. The tour guide claimed that most of the city was shut that day for a bicycle race….except that Tim had just driven into the centre of Salzburg to drop us off an hour prior and there were NO road closures and NO diversions. We were told that due to this race, they were doing the tour “backwards” and we would hit the gardens at the end….but then we actually somehow managed to run out of time even though we had started the tour 15 minutes early.

I’m not entirely sure what the St Gilgen stop even was. I guess that was when we stopped at a scenic overlook over Wolfgangsee? The tour guide never said the words St Gilgen, so I’m not sure if we did this or what it was. We did drive through part of the lake district though (to get to Mondsee).

Our stop at Mondsee was largely unplanned. We were told how to find the basilica, but left to our own devices to get to it and walk around it or to explore Mondsee. I did wish we had more time in Mondsee only because I really only had time to walk to the basilica, walk around it, and walk back to the coach. I would have loved to have walked to the lake front.

Our next stop was Hellebrun Palace to see the iconic gazebo used in the ’16 going on 17′ song:

And the stop literally was a hop off the bus and a walk through the back gates of the palace gardens straight to the gazebo for a 10 minute photo shoot before returning to the bus for the drive to Leopoldskron.

Leopoldskron palace was used as the back of the Von Trapp home….sort of. They don’t show the bak of Leopoldskron, but we see the lion statues and the gate that opens up to the lake as seen in this scene:

So naturally, the tour takes us to the park on the opposite side of the lake so we can see those lion statues and the gate. Leopoldskron is now a hotel, so you probably could go there for a meal and then get to see the statues and gate up close.

And that was basically it! We then were vaguely shown the outside of Nonnberg (“see that red roof?”) before returning to Mirabellplatz and the end of the tour, where we were told we could freely roam Mirabell Gardens if we wanted (how nice of them, it’s FREE), but the tour was over. Mom and I wound up grabbing a tram to get a train to Pfarrwefen to meet Tim and go see our next accommodation.

Our tour guide was an older gentleman, and you could tell because his jokes seemed to be dating back to the 90s. He also definitely assumed that all of his patrons were American and were unfamiliar with Salzburg and Austria in general and he spent too much time telling us about the owner of Red Bull and the Red Bull Headquarters we drove past!

Value for Money
If all 6 stops were genuine stops, then this would be a great value for money as you get to visit 6 sites for €42, or €7 each. BUT Mirabell Gardens is free, you don’t get to see Nonnberg except as a drive-by, You aren’t even on the grounds of Leopoldskron, just across the lake from it in a park (free!), getting into the Basilica in Mondsee is free (they ask for a small donation), and you see St Gilgen as a drive-by. So essentially, you’ve paid €42 for admission to the grounds of Hellebrun palace and the bus ride itself. Oh, and it turns out you can visit the entire Hellebrun (so actually see the palace, trick fountains, AND gazebo) for €12,50 and it’s a short bus or boat ride from Salzburg (for €18!) if you don’t have a car. So…not worth it for anyone who knows German or at least can communicate in it or who is familiar with Salzburg. BUT if you aren’t comfortable with the German language or if it’s your first trip to Salzburg, this might be a great way to see some of the sites! However I will warn you that while this is a bus tour, there’s still a lot of walking involved as the coach parking area in Mondsee is a fairly long walk away from the basilica and the other two stops involve walking from a coach car park which isn’t directly on site. So if you were looking for something to do that didn’t involve a lot of walking, this wouldn’t be the tour for you.

You can watch my YouTube video of our tour here:

I promise it’s not 4 hours long!

Suffice it to say, while I enjoyed seeing the sites for the filming of Sound of Music, I did not enjoy this tour and I feel like Tim and I could have taken Mom to all these locations for a lot less than 84 euros.

Read about the full trip here as links are added as new posts and videos are posted.

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The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

Unless stated otherwise, I have not received any compensation from any of the companies, properties, websites, etc. mentioned in this blog post.

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[Review] Urlaubsnest

urlaubsnestFor our first long stop of our Austria trip, I booked us in at Urlaubsnest in Moorbad Harbach (Weitra). I found it on Booking.com, after Tim and I had decided we wanted to stay within railing distance to Vienna (my pick), and within driving distance to the Waldviertelbahn and the JHMD. Originally, I started looking around Weitra, and this place popped up. We knew we wanted either a one or two bedroom apartment (remember, my mom was with us, so she needed a place to sleep to!) with a full kitchen. Urlaubsnest was reasonably priced and in a great location. We live in a small village close to a city centre, so it made sense that we would pick an apartment located in a village closer to a larger town (Gmünd was only about 30 minutes away, Weitra even closer).

The route in and out of the village is easy enough to find, but they were doing some kind of roadworks so part of the drive was spent driving on gravel roads (where we may have picked up the screw that killed our new tyre) with fields and woods on either side, it was quite picturesque (And you can see the drive on our driving video).

Our landlords, Dietmar and Brigette, were fantastic. Dietmar asked me if I was on Facebook, and when I said I was he suggested that I message him through facebook so messages would get to him faster. On our drive from Neuschwanstein I kept Dietmar updated on our ETA according to our sat nav (google maps on my phone) and it was no trouble arriving later than originally planned due to traffic. We arrived around 7PM, tired and hungry, and Dietmar and Brigette offered to feed us! Brigette laid on an amazing spread and Dietmar opened up a few bottles of beer. They even gifted us with a bottle of sparkling wine waiting for us in the fridge. Our holiday was on to an amazing start!

You can watch my tour of Urlaubsnest here:

We loved everything about this facility.

The kitchen had everything we needed for cooking main meals and they even had a minibar with beer and soft drinks available for purchase (no diet sodas though!). They have a wood burning stove for the winter months, and a modern electric range for the Summer months. They even provided coffee, filters, and sugar for the coffee pot (no measuring spoon though. I think I left my sliding spoon there though, much to my annoyance)! There were plenty of pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, and glasses and they provided some dish soap and a sponge.

The bedroom features a really nifty lighting feature where you can change the colours depending on your mood and time of day – it even has a nighttime mode that operates on a dimmer/timer. The bedroom also features an infrared sauna, which we only used on our last 2 days, but wish we had used it sooner!

(I made a video of the lights, and I will add it to this post after it gets uploaded!)

Wifi was adequate and I even managed to stream Netflix one night when I was unable to sleep.

When you stay at Urlaubsnest, you also have an extensive exterior grounds at your disposal. If you have children, we noticed they had a swing set, slide, sandbox, and trampoline. There is an outdoor picnic table with retractable awning and an outdoor grill/oven (which we did not use). My husband and I took a walk across the back fields and found a public walking path into a quiet wooded area and we’re sure we must have crossed the Czech border at some point since we were so close to it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


(I’m really not sure why the portrait shots are showing as landscape. I’ve rotated them three times!)

We have put Urlaubsnest on our list of places to stay at again. While there is no main public transportation to Moorbad Harbach, on their website they say they will provide transportation from either the Weitra bus station or the Gmünd OBB station and I’m pretty sure we saw bus stops for a local village postbus that could get you around if you were going carless.

If you do travel by car, they have plenty of off-street parking. The driveway has a slight incline to it, but once you’re up you can park anywhere at the top as long as you aren’t blocking the tractors getting in and out of the barn (and of course, don’t knock over any of the plants).

Dietmar and Brigette have a dog, who does like to meet people, but she’s also shy. There are, however, several village cats that hang around. Some of which are friendlier than others and we even had one wander into our apartment to make herself comfortable on our bed!

I would highly reccomend Urlaubsnest to anyone looking for an off the beaten path place to stay.

Read about the full trip here as links are added as new posts and videos are posted.

***
The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

Unless stated otherwise, I have not received any compensation from any of the companies, properties, websites, etc. mentioned in this blog post.

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[Travel] Behind the (former) Iron Curtain

Iron_Curtain_map.svg I had never been to Eastern Europe before this trip. The closest I had ever been geographically was Vienna (as in, the border with Hungary was nearby). I think I looked at Eastern Europe as kind of scary, and I was possibly a little Xenophobic about it because “they use a different alphabet” (though not all of Eastern Europe does….some just use a heavily accented Latin alphabet!). It probably didn’t help that I grew up in the 80s, when the Cold War was winding down, but I was still young enough that I really had no idea what was going on outside of New Jersey, let alone the world, and even in 1990 my German classroom still had maps of East and West Germany, both flags, etc. And even when we started studying European history, my class didn’t go into the present, focusing more on the Holy Roman Empire than anything else. My HS had a requirement to take two years of US history, but only one of world, so I never took a modern European history class and if I’m honest, I wasn’t even interested in learning anything until within the past 10-15 years.

When we started planning this trip, I was still really nervous about travelling to the Czech Republic. Mostly because neither Tim or I spoke Czech and they use a different currency from the Euro (They are in the EU, but not the Eurozone) and maybe there was still a lingering fear of the unknown in general. I had only ever travelled in countries that either spoke English or German or I knew enough of the native language to be polite (ie – French and Spanish speaking countries where I can manage to say things like hello, please, thank you, and do you speak English). But Czech? Totally foreign. Even looking in the phrasebook I bought left me with a puzzled look on my face.

I soon learned that because we were on the border with Austria, a lot of the people we would interact with spoke German, and many knew English, too. The few places where no one spoke anything other than Czech, we made do with pointing and trying to pronounce things in the phrase book!

After we griced (chased!) a Waldviertelbahn train to Gmünd, we noticed that we were very close to the Czech border and were in fat parked in an area where they probably used to have people pull over for inspection. So we decided to go on a short walk across the border just so I could say I had been in the Czech Republic, even though we would be returning in a few days to ride a train on the JHMD.

ceska

When we were getting close to our apartment, we also noticed how close we were to the border on the map. When we mentioned it to our landlord, he told us that when he was a child, if you got too close to the border you could hear the border agents cocking their guns, and they would occasionally hear gunfire. You didn’t want to kick your football too close to the border, that’s for sure!!

We’re also pretty sure that when we went on a walk in the woods behind our apartment, we must have crossed the border at least once. After we visited the JHMD (I’ll blog on that later), we needed to get rid of some Czech Kroner because neither of us had realised how cheap things are in the Czech Republic. I had exchanged £50 before we left and was given something like 1600 Kroner. We had intended on buying our tickets with the cash, but then we decided to book them online instead to make sure we got seats so we really had quite a bit to spend. We then assumed Lunch would use most of it, but Lunch only came to around 300Kr. We decided to wander into a grocery store (Lidl), but we still only spent the equivalent of £13. But at least I have some Kroner for our next trip. I’m totally ready to visit Prague now!

There will be more about our visit to the JHMD in a few days!

Read about the full trip here as links are added as new posts and videos are posted.

***
Iron Curtain Map from Wikipedia

The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

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[Austria] Road Tripping Days .5, 1, and 2

roadtrip Yep. That does say 20 hours of driving!

I know I mentioned it before, but I’m pretty sure we were crazy when we organised our trip. 20+ hours of driving?

But it wouldn’t be the first time Tim and I have done a long trip – our trip right after our wedding was driving from my home in PA to my cousin in FL, which takes about 21 hours and when we went on our belated honeymoon in Autumn 2010 we drove to Austria. Still though, it is a lot!

We decided to break it down into several days of driving, and even started our trip around 7PM on the Sunday right after Tim had worked a 12 hour day shift. No, I’m not kidding. He got home around 6, and we loaded up the car and headed to Ashford where we had booked into a single room at the Travelodge for the night. We have booked into these family rooms before and have always found them to be spacious, but this time we had a very small room and there was only about 6 inches between our double bed and Mom’s single! Fortunately, it was the only night we were all staying in one room. We showered that night and went to bed around midnight with the alarm set for 6AM. Our channel crossing had a check in time of 0720, and we were 20 minutes away.

Checking into the Eurotunnel was easy and quick, and so was getting through French immigration……in fact, that nearly didn’t stamp my mom’s US passport (Tim and I travelled on UK passports)! Tim had to tell the I/O that we had an American in the car. He soon stamped her passport and we were on our way into the queue, where we sat for about 20 minutes before being directed onto the train.

The train was a lot faster than I had thought it would be. Probably because the last time I went by rail, I was on the Eurostar and travelled between London and Paris. It hadn’t dawned on me that we would only be on the train to go through the tunnel under the channel and the trip only took about 30 minutes. The rest of the time was mostly loading and unloading!

I also was surprised that you stayed sitting in your car and there were no snack bar facilities, but I also think that was du to my confusion on the length of the journey. Also, if they had to have coaches for passengers as well as the carriages for the cars it would have to be a VERY long train, or only take half the number of cars.

The rest of the drive on our first day was long and uneventful…..until we got diverted off the main road due to it being closed and could’t seem to find a way back (this clip wound up missing when I was doing the video, so I might do a separate one later) onto the autobahn! Our original hotel booked was called Schlossblick and was located in Schwangau. The check in deadline was a FIRM 2000. I kept watching the ETA on the sat nav (really, Google maps) and started to panic the closer the ETA got to to 8PM. I had read the reviews on Booking.com and saw that the owner does not give you any leeway, even if you ring ahead to tell her you will be late. As much as I was looking forward to having a balcony overlooking my favourite castle, we decided to cancel the booking around 4PM, as you could only cancel for free until 5. Fortunately, the booking.com app on my phone (I swear, I don’t work for them, I just really like their site!) helped me to find us a new hotel – this one with a 24 hour front desk. It was a SmartHotel, and we booked it about 2 hours before we arrived.

Of course, this couldn’t go off without some kind of hitch. The receptionist spoke perfect English, and I can speak German, but we still semed to hit some kind of language barrier and it took me nearly a half an hour just to check in. First, he said I didn’t have a reservation, then he tried to put the three of us all in the same room (at the rate for two rooms!). Finally, we sorted it out and we had rooms located next door to each other. Then, when we got to the room, I discovered someone had left their clothing in the wardrobe! After taking the clothing back to the front desk, I returned to the room and crashed for the night. I don’t know what Mom did, but Tim and I did not stay up very long!

In the morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel and got on the road to Schwangau and Neuschwanstein!

Credit goes to Tim for this shot #neuschwanstein

A photo posted by Rebecca L (@beccajanestclair) on

Ultimately, we decided against doing the castle tours – The Maria bridge was closed, so no opportunity for those amazing photos, but you still got dropped off at the bridge. We remembered it being a 20 minute uphill walk to get to the castle, plus walking around the castle and up the stairs and decided with Mom’s knees to skip it, and instead we wandered around Schwangau for the morning and early afternoon. Tim and I wandered down to the Alpsee for some gorgeous photos of that “toothpaste green water” as Tim calls the Alpine water.

Never leaving!! #bavaria #alpsee

A photo posted by Rebecca L (@beccajanestclair) on

We still had about 5 hours of driving to do, as once we were in Austria we still had to drive through most of the country to get to our first official stop! We encountered more road works, closed roads, and temporary roads. Fortunately, I was in contact with our landlord and was able to give him updates on when to expect us. We finally arrived around 7PM, long after the shops were shut for the night, so the landlords offered to feed us and we were treated to a smorgasbord accompanied by local beer. They spoke English, and I was slowly getting my German back….but Tim did much better than me!

After a pleasant few hours with our landlords, we retreated back to our apartment where once again, we fell into bed.

Read about the full trip here as links are added as new posts and videos are posted.

***

Map image at the top screenshot from Google.

The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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[Travel] Austrian Road Trip Summer 2016

austriaschedule We might be a little insane.

After we got back from our trip to Austria last October, we immediately began planning a trip back, but this time, we were going to take my mom along who had always wanted to visit Austria and who would be visiting us for part of the Summer. I spent many MANY nights researching all our options….flights, rental cars, trains (while Tim and I have his BR privs, Mom would not), etc. I finally worked out that it was actually going to be cheaper by nearly £1000 if we drove our car across and road tripped because flights for the three of us were coming in at nearly £500 and it was very expensive to rent a car for three weeks!

I used our Tesco club card points to book the Eurotunnel for the trip over, and I booked the cheapest ferry (DFDS) for the return trip. We knew we were going to have a stop to visit Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, and started making a rough idea of things we wanted to do and then picked regions to search for apartments as after renting apartments and self catering in October, we have decided that is the best way to go if you don’t want to tow your caravan or sleep in a tent as it gives you the freedom to be in charge of your meals. You can eat out if you want, but you have the options of staying in for all three meals. We usually had breakfast and dinner in our apartments and Lunch out.

We tried to add in some down time, but our first week was turning out to be VERY busy as we wanted to visit two railways (one of them twice) on specific days (due to their schedule) and day trip to Vienna. We also had my mom’s birthday while we were visiting, and I had decided to surprise her with the Sound of Music tour on her birthday, so we knew we had to be toward Salzburg by the 3rd. We also wanted to ride steam on the Pinz again, which had to be done on a Thursday, and the Zillertalbahn was only running steam Wednesday – Sunday. Tim also wanted to visit another line on one of the Saturdays, but after realising he would have to drive for 9 hours in the one day alone (as Mom and I would have taken the train to our next destination to get checked in on time) he decided against it and we decided to make a stop in Germany at the Chiemsee since we were cutting through it anyway.

Our schedule wound up looking like this:

Day .5 – Tim worked until 6pm, then we drove down to Ashford for the night in a Travelodge
Day 1 – Eurotunnel and driving. Originally it was going to be all the way to Schwangau, but we wound up stopping in Kempton instead.
Day 2 – Neuschwanstein and Schwangau and then driving to Weitra for our first apartment (Urlaubsnest)
Blog post for days .5, 1, and 2 can be found here
Review of Urlaubsnest can be found here
Day 3 – Waldviertelbahn and hopping across the Czech Border [Blog link]
Day 4 – Driving in the Czech Republic and JHMD
Day 5 – Vienna
Day 6 – Waldviertelbahn
Day 7 – Sound of Music Tour (Mom and I)/ Mondsee (Tim) and moved to Haus Reider in Pfarrwerfen
Blog post for Day 7 can be found here
Day 8 – Tim and I explored the area in car and on foot
Day 9 – Freilicht Museum (video)
Day 10 – Murtalbahn – Freight on the Murtalbahn
Day 11 – Pinzgauelokalbahn
Day 12 – Salzburg
Day 13 – Chiemsee and Drive to Mayrhofen (Gasthaus Zillertal)
Day 14 – Exploring the local area
Day 15 – Brenner
Day 16 – Innsbruck
Day 17 – Zillertalbahn
Day 18 – Too rainy for much, so we had a lazy day and went on a walk
Day 19 – Drive to Goe, Belgium (Yellow House)
Day 20 – Ferry and drive home

Other related blog posts & videos:
(video) Austrian Grocery stores
[Travel] Grocery Shopping

Or watch all the videos here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDUaor7uXZQfPu6Un77YGHRkLMlPgKFp-

The countries we were in:
France*
Belgium
Luxembourg*
Germany
Austria
Czech Republic
Italy
Netherlands*

(*drove in only)

with the exception of 2 single overnights at the beginning and a single overnight at the end, we stayed in three apartments and spent about a week in each.

As I write blog posts and post videos, I’ll be revisiting this post to add links to everything….I’m hoping to blog it all. I was a little lax in blogging our October trip, so I’m hoping I will do better this time!

***
The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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[Travel] Making a Car First Aid Kit

20160419_222832 Having a first aid kit in the car is a legal requirement for some European countries and it’s just a good idea in general. You can purchase pre-made kits (and we have a cheap one of those too just so we can fulfil the legal requirements) in Halfords that will comply with the applicable laws, but I have kept a personal first aid kit in the car since 2010 with things that we specifically need or use. Also, some countries have a weird rule that the first aid kit needs to be sealed, so this was just easier for us. And having it has come in handy on multiple occasions! I decided to get our current kit out of the car in preparation for our road trip to Austria to check the expiration dates and give it an update before we go again. No surprise, a lot of it had expired as it was put together in 2010! So now it’s updated, and here’s a video about putting together a first aid kit:

The nice thing about making your own first aid kit instead of buying a pre-made one is you can create it around your needs and your likes/dislikes. If you have products you like better than other for first aid, if there’s a pain relief product you like better than another (or tummy remedy!), or if there’s a product you know you’ll need based on your own medical needs…it can go in your own personalised first aid kit. The type of box you use doesn’t matter, but it should be sturdy and waterproof. Alternatively, you could keep everything in a zippered bag (and it would probably squish better). I took a cardboard box we had waiting for the recycle bin and I covered it with clear contact paper. You also could use clear packing tape if you don’t have any contact paper and I added a red cross to the front to make it easily recognisable as a first aid kit. We also always keep it under the front passenger seat so it’s always in the same location and can easily be grabbed or we can tell someone else exactly where it is.

The total cost for putting this together was probably around £20. I bought all the value range first aid items from shops like Tesco, Wilkinson’s, and Asda…and they work. You don’t NEED fancy brands for first aid. Or if you’re really attached to having a certain brand, you always have the option of buying those. Probably the priciest item was the 4head stick!

When I first went to make the kit, I solicited advice from my friends who are first aiders, EMTs, and nurses on what they felt were important things to have on hand in a first aid kit, so this list is medical professionals approved!

Our first aid kit contents in no particular order:

-Box of plasters/band-aids
-Blister plasters
-strapping tape
-micro-porous tape
-gauze pads
-elastic band
-paracetamol
-ibuprofen
-diarrhoea medication
-soap box for above medicine to keep it dry
-gaviscon
-antiseptic wipes
-antiseptic ointment
-sudocream
-medical scissors
-tweezers
-antibacterial gel
-rubber gloves
-burn ointment
-spray on plaster
-4head headache gel
-duct tape (I fold over a piece several times to have a small bit, not a whole roll!)
-nit comb
-sanitary towel

And don’t forget to check with Halfords or the RAC or AA what other requirements are needed in each European country you will be driving through, as they can vary. You also should sign up for temporary European breakdown coverage (we got the highest level of coverage that not only will bring your car back to the UK for you, but give you a rental car to finish out your holiday and provide a way to get you back home at the end. Pricey, but worth the peace of mind) as well as additional coverage through your car insurance. For example, our insurance only automatically covers a few days abroad, and adding coverage for the three weeks only cost £42. Also make sure you have signed up for your EHIC card as well before you go (this is subject to change depending on the terms of Brexit). If you are not a UK or EU resident, make sure you get travel insurance before you go, because you never know! We have a multi trip world plan that costs us around £100/yr, but you can get single trip plans for as low as £8. You can read more about other requirements for driving abroad in my previous post from 2011.

I also always try to carry a mini first aid kit in my backpack when we aren’t in the car just with a few plasters and some antiseptic wipes to clean and cover a cut until you get back to the car.

Obviously, this first aid kit isn’t going to fix all medical problems that arise, but it should cover enough basics until you can get somewhere else to get proper medical attention. And I think the Halford’s ones even include a thermal blanket, but you also could pick one up at the pound shop if you wanted to include one of those for emergencies too.

***
This post has not been endorsed by any of the products mentioned in this post and I have not received compensation for writing this post or making any videos.

The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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Page in the Park – 13 August 2016

IMG_0252 I know I have tons of blog posts and videos to get up from our holiday, but this happened yesterday so I wanted to post about it and get the video up ASAP.

I have had a strong love for the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies since I was in High School thanks to my boyfriend at the time. And me and BNL, well, we’ve been through a lot. I’ve been a fan of the band through their keyboardist, Kevin Hearn, getting diagnosed and ultimately beating Leukaemia, and I was a fan when the band had a bit of a line up change and longtime co-frontman Steven Page left the band in was it 2010? 2009? I can’t quite remember. And I won’t go into the details over the break (you can google for it if you really need to know), but in the end, it left me being very angry and upset with Steve. For a while, I wouldn’t even listen to any song that Steve sang lead on (which at the time was over 50% of the repertoire!). The split hurt the fanbase, and people really were divided over it. But over the past 5+ years, Iv’e gotten over my anger and I’ve understood that the break-up was something that had to happen. The band is still going strong, and I still love them to pieces, and Steve has been able to explore being an independent musician on his own without a band behind him. Sure, he still is “former Barenaked Ladies co-frontman”, but he’s definitely carved out a niche of his own, touring mostly around the area he lives in (NE USA and Canada).

This week, Steven has been on holiday in the UK with his family and started getting tweets from UK fans “wouldn’t it be nice if you played here?” So he decided to do a pop up concert. It was announced vaguely on Twitter at first. Just “would anyone be interested in coming to see me at a park on Saturday?” The response on his twitter poll was overwhelmingly YES.

Regent’s Park is Huge! And the pinned place on his tweet goes to a private garden….so….now what? I headed into the park and posted a photo of the map of the park on the BNL UK group on facebook and one person found me….then two more….then two more…and soon we were a small group of people wandering around!

so we all headed to the SE corner where we ran into more peopl and we soon increased our numbers and Liam sent a tweet to Steve to tell him where we were, and I had one more idea. Someone had brought along a Canadian flag and we managed between tying it to their push chair and my selfie stick to have it on display and I tweeted this pic out to Steve so he could find us:

20160813_123700

We soon gathered a sizeable crowd (maybe 40-50?) and then Steve arrived, borrowed a guitar, and started off with a BNL classic – It’s All Been Done. At one point, he went into the opening strains of Jane.

I think I'm dead. @stevenpage @getbarenaked @bnlfans

A video posted by Rebecca L (@beccajanestclair) on

In case you ever wondered where the URL for my blog came from, it’s from this song. ‘The girl works at the store sweet Jane St Clair’. My middle name is Jane, so using Becca Jane St Clair was perfect and so this song has always had incredible meaning to me and every time I hear it live I get goosebumps.

We were soon treated to nearly 2 hours of old favourite BNL hits and songs off his own albums. He even was joined randomly by a passing busker on his accordion, though we did have to chase him off after he tried to demand Steve play other songs and then tried to get us to give him money. Err….No. Just get out. And Steve played the opening strains to “Thanks That Was Fun” as the guy was walking away. I don’t think he even realised who he was playing with or that Steve wasn’t a busker with a crowd.

It was an absolutely amazing experience to be in such an intimate setting with one of my favourite musicians. A lot of us who had been on one of the Ships & Dip shows likened it to being on S&D in one of the smaller on-board venues. After, Steve stuck around to talk, sign autographs, and take photos with his fans, including Hamish!

20160813_143101

Thank for an amazing day, Steve. Hope you come back for a proper tour soon, and don’t forget to come to Lincoln!

Watch the video I took including It’s All in Done, What A Good Boy, Upside Down, Break Your Heart, Call & Answer, and Brian Wilson.

***
The contents of this post, including personal images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

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Turkey Hill Orange Iced Tea Copy Cat for PA ExPats

orange-tea-iced-tea I am from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Well, sort of. In that Lancaster Co was the last place I lived before I moved to the UK. I actually grew up in NJ, and now my mom lives in York, PA (where she grew up), so I don’t really go back to visit Lancaster except to hit up tourist places with Tim, but one thing Tim and I both love about visiting is getting to have Turkey Hill Orange Iced Tea. Turkey Hill started out over 85 years ago as a side business for a local farmer to sell his excess milk. Soon, it turned into a business of his own and his children added ice cream to the business, and then iced tea, lemonade, and other fruit-based soft drinks. Turkey Hill used to only be available in Eastern PA, and it was always a favourite. Soon it spread out and now I think Turkey Hill (at least their ice cream) is available in many of the larger markets in the USA. However, they have no plans to expand internationally (I’ve asked!) and no plans on creating a powdered form of their tea or creating concentrated drops (again, I asked!).

When my husband (at the time, only my boyfriend) came to visit me in Lancaster County in 2009, I introduced him to drinking iced tea. He thought it was a bit odd, but he soon found it refreshing on a hot day, especially when I then introduced him to the flavoured teas of Turkey Hill! The last time I visited the US without Tim, I brought him home a small bottle, and when we were last in the US in May 2015, Tim asked me if I thought I could re-create the flavour. AFter all, I had made a pretty good stab at re-creating favourite restaurant meals, so why not give flavoured tea a go? I told him I would try after we got home, and then I forgot and it soon became too cold in the UK to want iced tea.

Enter the current heatwave. ABout a week beofre we went away on holiday, I decided to do an experiment. There isn’t room in our fridge for a proper pitcher (excuse me, jug) of tea, but I wanted to have cold tea and not left out on the counter room temperature tea. Spying the squash bottle, I got the idea to make a “tea concentrate” and then add a bit of it to a glass to top up with tap water. It worked, and then my brain kind of went into overdrive and I managed to create the exact same flavour of Turkey Hill Orange Tea.

You Will Need:

10 regular tea bags (I used Tetley)
10 sweetener tablets (optional. You also could probably use sugar or skip the sweetener)
500ml boiling water (kettle)
500ml cold water
100ml Orange squash (I used Robinsons not double concentrate)
A heat proof measuring jug at least able to hold 500ml
A 700ml (approximately. ours might be 750) water bottle

1. Place 10 tea bags into your heatproof jug and fill to the 500ml line with boiling water from the kettle. Add in your sweetener tablets and let the tea steep for about 10 minutes.
2. Remove tea bags after 10 minutes and allow the tea to cool before putting it into the fridge (I transferred it into a 500ml bottle from Lakeland).
3. Leave the tea concentrate to cool in the fridge for several hours.
4. using your 700ml water bottle, add 100ml of tea concentrate, 100ml of Orange squash, and top up with water, giving it a shake or stir.
5. Enjoy the sweet taste of Lancaster County.

And if you follow Slimming World, this drink has 0 syns!

***
DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Slimming World, I am not affiliated with Slimming World beyond being a paying customer/member, I get no personal benefit from writing this post other than the joy of sharing.

Please note: Syn values are based on my exact ingredients using the online calculator. Your Syn value may vary based on your ingredients and the size of your baking containers and portions, so use this number as a guide only. Syn values also frequently change, but these values are correct at the time of publication.

Turkey Hill image at the top of this post copyright Turkey Hill.

The contents of this post, including images are © Rebecca J Lockley and Tim Lockley unless otherwise stated and should not be reproduced without permission. If you are not reading this on http://blog.beccajanestclair.com, my facebook page, Networked Blogs, the RSS feed(s), or through an e-mail subscription, please notify me.

[LJ readers reading this on the LJ RSS feed: Please click on the link at the top of the entry to go directly to my blog to leave a comment, as comments left on the LJ RSS do not get seen by me. Facebook users reading this from my Networked Blogs link can either comment on facebook or on my blog. If you are reading this through an e-mail subscription, you might need to go directly to my blog to view videos and images.]

For full Copyright and Disclaimer, please read http://www.blog.beccajanestclair.com/copyright/

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