Travel

Our night in an Aurora Cabin Lapland

Seeing the northern lights is something that is the top of my bucket list. As Lapland is high above the arctic circle the chances of seeing the lights increases. If there is little cloud and the conditions are right you have a high chance during the colder months of seeing this naturally occurring phenomenon. They say that October – April are the best months. Being away from the light pollution is also increases your chances. When we visited Lapland I really hoped that we would get to the see the Aurora Borealis in all it’s dancing glory across the skies.

Aurora Cabin Lapland – Levin LapinKylä

On one of the 7 nights of our staying in Lapland we were lucky enough to spend the night in the most beautiful Aurora Cabin at the reindeer farm of Levin LapinKylä. Did you know that the only people that are allowed to have a Reindeer Farms in Lapland are the only indigenous tribes in Europe, the Sami people.

Our Inghams reps had arrange for a mini bus transfer to collect us and pick us up the next morning. We were to be collected from the K5 hotel at 6pm and to be collected at 9am the following morning, which at first I thought was quite early however we had to be back for snowmobiling at 11.30.

The journey to the cabins took about 30 minutes as we were dropping others off at another location before us. We took with us the basic items for a night away.

Aurora Cabin Lapland

On arrival at Levin LapinKyla we were greeted by the head of the family, who’s family has farmed the land for generations. We were given a hot drink each and the children had a biscuit each too. We all opted for a hot chocolate, it was delicious. Even both of the children loved it. Plus we all fell in love with their friendly dog Santus. 

When booking the aurora cabin you had the option to book at meal to have here as well. I thought it was a meal to have in the cabin, so thought why not book it. The meal cost £150 for the four of us to have a traditional Lappish 3 course meal. So we were given the menu to choose our food from. As there wasn’t much for the children to choose, the chef happily made up fresh meat balls for one of them.

After choosing our food, we were taken to the cabin. At Levin LapinKyla they have 10 newly build luxury Aurora Cabins, they only opened the cabins in October 2017. The night we stayed we were the only guests there. We were taken across the snowy field to the cabins, I was so excited to be staying in one.

Our Aurora Cabin

When we arrived at our cabin Number 4, we were shown inside and told how to work the various buttons and gadgets. The various lights and also the heated windows, so you can see out all night. The cabin was already made up for us, with a sofa bed and a double bed. There was also an en-suite wet room, a desk, fridge and kettle and a selection of hot drinks to choose from.

We arranged to have dinner at 19:30 not in the cabin as I had thought but within the family house, we settled in and put the heated windows on in hope that by the time we came back we would be in for a night with the Northern Lights.

Making our way back across the dark field we were given a little lamp to carry with us, the children of course both wanted to carry it so it was agreed they would do one way each. We arrived in the family house ready for dinner, and were seated in front of an open fire.

A traditional Lappish meal

The Hubby and I both had, Forest Mushroom soup and bread to start with and it really was creamy, full of mushrooms and really tasty. The children both had bread and butter and were both more than happy to munch through it all.

For our main course the Hubby and I both had the Reindeer Stew, mash potato and lingonberry jam. I was not too sure what to expect having not eaten Reindeer before, plus I am not one for trying our new things but really enjoyed it. Reindeer meat is rally quite rich almost a gamey taste. One of the children had lasagne and vegetables and the other had meat balls, mash potatoes and vegetables, both loved theirs and eat it happily.

For our puddings we both had a berry pie, which was more of a large piece of blueberry sponge packed full of blueberries, served with cream. It was delicious I could have eaten it again and again. The children both had crepes with cloud berries, they were also yummy (I might have had to sample them). We also enjoyed a nice bottle of crisp white wine, which the children had fresh apple juice to drink.

Yes the meal was quite pricey, however it was delicious and a real experience to eat in the home of LapinKylä Sammi family. So worth every penny.

Sky gazing and a great nights sleep

After our fabulous meal we made our way back to the cabin, and found that the snow had all cleared from the glass roof. We showered and got ready for bed. We made hot chocolate and snuggled up in bed to try and see the lights, the children were happily watching the skies along with us. I shared a double bed with our daughter and the Hubby with our son, just to save the arguments between the little angels.

After an hour or so the children were both fast asleep and I kept on checking the various Aurora watching apps to see what our chances were, basically none as it was cloudy. So we read our booked and drifted off to sleep. I did however set my alarm for around 2am as the app told me it would be the best time to see it. However no such luck.

After a great night’s sleep in very comfy beds, we got up, packed up headed back to the family house for breakfast.

Our breakfast was a range of hot and cold items, they really had put a fabulous range of items out just for us. The hubby had the hot items, followed by some fresh fruit and yogurt. I had fresh fruit, yogurt and seeds. The children had bacon and toast. Lots of tea, coffee and fresh fruit juices.

The children were given a small gift each from a range of souvenirs they have, they choose a keying and a magnet. The hubby and I were both given a magnet each, which was such a lovely thought and gave us all something little to take away with us.

Our stay at the Lapin Kyla cabins was just fabulous, I would highly recommend it to anyone. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the Northern Lights however it did not stop us for having the most amazing experience with a wonderful Sami family.

 

*Thank you Inghams for gifting us the night in the Aurora Cabins. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Far flung fun – The most romantic Indonesian honeymoon locations

The big day has come and gone, the planning, the chaos, the nerves, the anticipation. Your wedding day is supposed to be the best day of your life but can take its toll on your stress levels, so it’s fantastic to know after a job well done, you can relax and understand the honeymoon is just around the corner. There is is nothing quite like being newly married though. Knowing you are starting your new life together, and a world of adventures await, can feel incredible and is a feeling worth savouring. Don’t allow the passion to prematurely dissipate by letting yourself to be sidelined into choosing a mediocre honeymoon destination.

The archipelago of Indonesia steps as far away from mediocre as you can get. Hundreds of islands, all with silver sandy beaches, luscious terrains, wondrous woods, and sparkling glassy waters qualifies Indonesia as the destination with a difference, a haven of tranquillity, passion, romance and beauty, perfect for honeymooners.

Where to go? Here is a handy guide for the most love up locations for you and your partner.

Bali Island

Bali has long been known as the ideal honeymoon hideaway for nature loving newlyweds. There are very few locations that can match Bali for its tranquillity and seclusion. For many visitors, Balinese wildlife doesn’t extend far beyond tiptoeing through the trollops in Sanur, but trekkers and orchid lovers alike should head to Munduk in the north of the island. In the midst of these flourishing highlands, you can leave the world behind and enjoy waterfalls together, retreats to the temples and be in awe of an abundance of wildlife.

Surabaya

Surabaya is yet another of the more popular places to choose to go honeymooning in Indonesia. Famous for its cultural architecture in the form of impressive mosques and magnificent monuments as well as culinary delights to tempt the most particular of palates.  Witness the goods being transported around China Town by becak and hand-pulled carts, a taste of the old world meets modern day, experience Cantonese culinary skills and enjoy a taste of the Orient. As well as an abundance of hotels, there are beautiful apartments to rent at https://rumahdijual.com/surabaya/. Surabaya really does offer the honeymooning couple plenty of opportunities to experience the real heart of Indonesia.

Moyo Island

A small island north of Sumbawa Island, Moyo Island is a top class visitor destination, well known for its quiet beauty and simple charm. The isle itself is tiny, it’s entire area reaching only 30,000 hectares. Despite its diminutive size, its draw lies in its exceptional measure of untouched natural beauty.  This measure of such splendour can make a couple of in love feel like they are the only two in the whole world, a perfect start to married life together. The serenity of this island is not only about the white sandy beaches and azure seas but also the untouched woodland, where secret waterfalls and rivers run.

Banda Islands

In direct contrast to the more traditional way of life of Bali Island, the lush green Banda Islands positioned in the heart of Maluku province amidst the Banda Sea offers a marine life and diving experience the more active and adventurous honeymooners won’t want to miss. If you can imagine yourselves spending a week taking in the incredible views of  Mount Api, an active volcano 2,200 feet high in elevation, or even descending into the crystal waters, of this archipelago then Banda Island may well be perfect. Made up of the islands of Neira Island, Lonthoir Island, Pisang Island, Hatta Island, Ay Island, Rum Island and Mount Api itself, the island group offers divers and visitors alike the chance to see Mandarin fish, enormous table and soft corals as well as a vast array of pelagic fish if you visit any of the many dive sites.

Sampireun Village, Garut

It may sound farfetched, that you can find an idyllic and peaceful retreat within the chaos of West Java, yet there is one destination filled with romantic charm and yet retains its rustic character. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the bustling towns of West Java, Kampung Sampireun is a floating retreat, decked out with gazebos, where the sounds of Sudanese music floats across the street and where you can experience the unique menus on offer.  Equal measures of homeliness and extravagance intertwine, making this village a perfect choice for romance inspired couples looking to take their adventure to new heights.

Lombok Island

Lombok Island is, again, a haven for divers and lovers of all things underwater and has the genuine atmosphere of love. The waves lap serenely, and as they caress the shore, it’s ambient sounds adding to the romance of your honeymoon. Beauty, calm and tranquillity, perfect for the couples looking to get away from it all and everyone.

Bintan Island, Riau

Bintan Island is exquisite, an outstanding area of natural and real beauty. Almost picture postcard perfect in its gorgeousness, there are shimmering white sands,  crystal blue waters, stunning greenery. For couples who need nothing more than scenery and each other, this is the choice by far.

Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta is undoubtedly one of the most romantic honeymoon destinations for newly-weds in Indonesia, if not the world. The island is teeming with relics of its rich and diverse history culture as well as reminders of its grand days of yesteryear. If you fancied a visit to Kaliurang, there is an opportunity to snap some incredible shots of you and your brand new spouse aside the frothing waters of Hawanya stream. Nestled within the stunning and luscious backdrop of the mountain valleys,  Kaliurang is less than 30 kilometres north of Yogyakarta city centre.

Belitung Island, Riau

The striking scenery on Belitung Island is almost unique, something you will struggle to find anywhere else. Dominated by beautiful coastal panoramic views, azure water and beaches with sands so white and soft they could almost be made of talcum powder, the island is breathtaking. There are also some calm water bays allowing for water-based sports and sailing for couples looking to take to the sea.

No matter what you are looking for, whether it’s sun, sea and sand or a little more adventure, Indonesia would be the perfect place to begin your married life together. It simply has it all, all you need to say is I do!

Our trip to Lapland – Immelmökit Cabin Review

As you know we visited Lapland just before Christmas and had the most amazing time. I was going to tell you all about it in a blog post, but because I have so much to tell you all I thought I would spread it out over a couple of posts and starting with a Immelmökit Cabin review.

Immelökit Cabin Review

We flew from Manchester Airport into Kittilä airport Finland. It was a 3 hour flight that left Manchester just over an hour later than planned, because of the unexpected snow we had in the UK that day. Amazing isn’t it that the day we are flying to Lapland to see the snow, the UK are having the first lot of snow of the winter.

I had packed the children up with various items to keep them entertained. We played cards and read books then they watched films on their iPads. To be honest they were both surprisingly well behaved. We all loved being able to look out of the window and watch the world go by. As we travelled towards the Artic Circle the more and more snow we could see.

Immelmökit Cabin Review

Arriving at Kittilä airport we got off the plane to be met by the friendly Inghams ski reps. They asked our names and told us which bus we would be getting on, we were on bus 8 which hadn’t arrived yet, but that was perfect because we then had to wait for our luggage to arrive from the plane.

Once we collected out luggage we made our way to the buses. Again greeted by the Inghams ski reps checking our names and letting us know which stop we would be getting off at. They also issued out our information packs that had an itinerary of our pre-booked activities and a map of levi centre. We were staying in the Immelmökit cabins, which was the first stop only 20 minutes away from the airport.

Even stepping out of the airport and seeing all of the snow was really amazing. But cold! It was the first time the children had really seen proper snow. Even the Hubby and I couldn’t believe how much there was. On the journey to our cabin we were all mesmerised by the fabulous scenery and the snow. Woodlands just covered in snow, then seeing the ski slopes lit up with skiers already enjoying their self’s on the slopes.

Immelmökit Cabin Review

Immelmökit Cabin Map

When we arrived at Immelmökit we were greeted by a couple more of the very friendly Inghams reps, we were issued with our cabin number. Collecting our luggage from the bus we made our way to our cabin, we were stating in number 13. Although it took us about 15 minutes to get the children to come to the cabin, they just wanted to play in the snow. Just outside out cabin was a massive pile of snow so it they could climb up it and slide down …. amazing.

When we managed to get the children inside, we had a good look around and found that we had space for 8 people. Two twin bedrooms an open plan kitchen and sitting area, toilet, wet room and sauna on the ground floor. Then an mezzanine floor with 4 single beds and a very low ceiling. The stairs up to the mezzanine were really quite steep, it was fine for us but if you had younger children they would be a hazard. I believe they offer stair gates to help with this, we however didn’t need to worry about them but it’s worth asking.

The living area had a table with stools that we moved around for mini coffee tables as we needed them. A sofa big enough for three people or four children however it wasn’t the comfiest, but fine for what we needed. Plus two high back arm chairs, that were much more comfy.  There was also a TV which had a great selection of Finnish TV, I always love watching children’s TV in a different language it’s all part of the of travelling abroad. Also there was a few English speaking channels if you have time to sit and watch it. There is also an open fire, we loved putting it on in the evenings not that we needed the extra heat as the cabins are lovely and warm, but because its just lovely. It’s all part of the idilic vision of staying in a log cabin during the snowy winter months. There is a wood store that you have access to, so you are able to collect your wood to use on the fire.

The kitchen area was well equipped with just about everything you could want. We had taken with us, tea towels, washing up liquid a dish cloth and bin bags as I had read that they didn’t include any of those items and the local super market was a bulk buy style so we wouldn’t use it all during the week. However I was surprised to see that most of these items were already waiting for us. There was a cooker, toaster, kettle, coffee machine (don’t forget your own paper filters) and a large fridge with small freezer section. Like the log cabin there is also a cabin that houses a washing machine which you have access to. We didn’t use it however should you need to wash anything its there but just remember to take some wash powder with you.

The bathroom area was a wet room style with a separate toilet area. In the toilet there was also a drying cupboard, which was perfect for putting all of the snow suits, hat, gloves, scarfs and base layers at the end of the day. The drying cupboard was brilliant, even on the couple of afternoons we went back for a couple of hours the clothing was dried before heading back out again. There was also a hair dryer in the cupboard to use. The shower was powerful, it got nice and hot so great for warming up after a day outside. Just off the shower area was a sauna, it was quite easy to work. Switch it on for 30 minutes before you want use it and make sure you have the cooker extractor fan on at the same time. It’s nice and easy to use and a great way to relax when the children are in bed.

Walking into Levi

As the Immelmökit cabins are a beautiful 10 minute walk outside of the centre of Levi. Such a stunning walk into the centre, over the lake, and although a lot of the walk is up hill, it was easily managed by us all. There are also very few cars on the roads so it was really safe for the children (and us) to play outside on the sledges. The first thing the children spotted was a sledge each sat waiting for them on the cabin porch. Everyone takes a sledge with them, just tie them up outside the shop or restaurant and collect them after. The generally rule seems to be if it isn’t tied up then you can take it. We used our to pull the children to and from the centre plus put any food items we bought on to pull back to the the cabin.

The cabins are also located really near to the lake which is a great place to walk to for Northern Light spotting as it is away from the light pollution from the centre and the ski slopes. It’s a place the we saw lots of organised groups going to try and see the lights.

I would highly recommend staying at the Immelmökit cabins, yes they are basic but they have anything you could want from cabin in Lapland. We will be going again and I cannot wait.

Essential things to remember before travelling

So you’re getting ready for your trip, then once you get there you remember you forgot your sunglasses, your boarding pass, and you will have to buy expensive sunscreen at the airport because you forgot yours. Here are some things that you have to remember to do, and think about, before you leave for your trip. Following these simple tips will help you to enjoy your trip. There is nothing worse than stressing about all the things you could have done better when your already on the plane. Read on and make sure you are prepared for you trip, so you can enjoy every minute of it while you are there.

things to remember before travelling

Make a List

Lists are you best friend in everyday life, but especially when you are going somewhere and you have lots of things to remember. Ticking off your list is not only satisfying, but you can add to it whenever you remember things. This is definitely the best and only way to make sure you don’t miss anything when packing. Make a thorough list and stick to it! Unless your backpacking, it’s best to be over prepared than underprepared. Remember to leave time a trip to the shops, which we always have to do, when we run out of essentials like toothpaste the day before you leave!

Exchange your Money

Remember to get some money exchanged before you go. The jury is out on how much cash you need to carry, as you want to have enough to get around, but you don’t want to carry lots  round with you. Travel cards are a great option for many people, and can save you a lot of money in the long run. It can be expensive going to cash points all the time and withdrawing money, so make sure you prepare, so you don’t have to spend anything unnecessarily. Being smart with your money means saving quite a bit, so you can spend more on things that really matter to you.

The Language

It’s good to know at least a little of the language before you go, and can really help you get about the place. If you want to learn quite a bit of it, there are language schools like Ellci that can help you out. There are also loads of other ways you can learn a language, or at least enough to get around the city. Youtube has loads of language learning videos, and these are great because you get to listen to punctuation and speaking, which is exactly what you need if you are travelling. Even knowing a few words can help you out when needing to find the bank, or a place to eat, or it can just be great if you can say thanks for something.

Here are a few essential things to remember before you go travelling, and doing these little things can, make your trip that much easier. Try some of these things before you go, and see how much more you can enjoy your trip.