Friday, 17 February 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 - Movie Review!

Who's In It?

Riccardo ScamarcioRuby RoseCommonIan McShane, and Keanu Reeves


What's It About?

The minute John Wick retrieves his beloved car and quits again, an old acquaintance returns with a marker - a job he can't refuse. 





Any Good?

John Wick seems like a very recent film, so going into this I was a bit worried it'd go all Matrix Reloaded - what unfolded was a sequel that surpassed its original. No mean feat. This movie is absolutely manly-man virtues overload, and it's great. It opens with him saving his old-school Mustang and battering Russians aplenty. Quickly leads to having a custom Assassin's suit fitted, choosing a bespoke arsenal & travelling to Rome. That's just the lead up. It's BEAUTIFUL.

It's also even more over the top, with him stashing different types of guns all along Roman catacombs and using ALL, including shoving a shotgun in someone's chest, reloading and then blowing him away - ALL on screen. The action scenes were fast, furious & hilariously funny, with the best gunfight I've seen since the Matrix, with the entire cinema laughing heartily for the duration. Sadists.




Keanu was great as John Wick (a given really), but the real stars for me were Common and Laurence Fishburne. Common was fantastic spinning dead pan one-liners, giving John a run for his money throughout; and Laurence Fishburne was extremely over the top and charismatic - the chemistry between him and Keanu certainly isn't gone. 

#SquadGoals

The only changes I'd have made would be someone else other than Ruby Rose, she just feels like a gimmick and was flat the entire time - now, granted for a mute, that wasn't a challenge but she could have brought so much more to the role. I quite liked Riccardo Scamarcio, but felt like he was ultimately a discount Benicio del Toro.

I honestly think this is better than the first - ONLY because the mirror museum sequence is even better than THE club one in the original(if you haven't seen it, DO). The fact that his muscle bound pit bull is by his side. The world-building, the head shots, the cracking characters and huge implications alluded to in the ending.

Do go see it, and enable the third to be made. 



Rating: 


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Give the Gift of Travel this Valentine’s Day!




You might think I’m crazy posting a travel post about Valentine’s gifts on Valentine’s Day but that’s the beauty of these gifts just buy them & print the voucher to slip into your loved one’s card TODAY! Still haven’t got a Valentine’s card? Better nip to the shop or get out the crayola stat!

Under €60

Source

Escapes.ie has a fantastic deal to the Central Hotel Donegal, 1 night B&B for two people comes in at just €59, for that bargain price you’ll also get a bottle of bubbly on arrival, full use of their leisure centre and late check-out and the best part is you can add an extra night & just pay €89 in total! Grab this deal HERE before it’s gone.


Under €70



I found this gem on Dealrush.ie, €69 for 1 night B&B for 2 people at the Clifton Station House Hotel. This deal includes complimentary access to their leisure centre, a free bottle of wine if dining in the bar; late check-out AND 2 kids go free on a B&B basis. There is a 2 night option for just €119, get this amazing deal HERE.


Under €100

Source

Cobh holds a special place in my heart (see HERE) and we always try to grab at least a one night stay there every year as it’s such a beautiful historic town with so much to see and do. Groupon.ie has a perfect deal for a romantic getaway priced at just €99 for 1 night B&B with a 3 course meal and late check out at the Waters Edge Hotel. There’s also an option for a 2 night stay for €149. If you’d like further information or to book click HERE.


Under €200

Source


I’d love this break that I found on Luxurybreaks.ie, hint hint husband if you’re reading this! One night B&B for two on the exclusive Mount Falcon Estate, a 3 course evening meal, full access to the spa & leisure centre and late check out all for just €198 or €309 if you opt to stay an extra night to languish in luxury! You’ll find further information on this break HERE.

Under €300

Our view from Hotel Tropen last year - Check our Amsterdam post HERE

Click&Go.com have a cracking city break to Amsterdam priced at just €148pp, flights are with Aer Lingus and accommodation is very unique to say the least, it’s on a botel yes you read that right it’s a boat hotel situated in the heart of Amsterdam with complimentary ferry connections to the central train station. Further information can be found HERE, but I’d hurry if I were you this deal won’t stick around for long at that price!




**Disclaimer: There are no 
affiliate links in this piece, 
if there were I’d tell you.**

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

How to do Lapland on a Budget & Make it Feel Like Anything But! (Part 4) Helsinki & A Magical Day Trip to Tallinn



We may have spent our last day in Rovaniemi but we’re not finished with Finland yet! This week I’ll tell you all about our visit to Helsinki & our day trip to Tallinn in Estonia. I’d highly recommend doing both as they cost relatively little, while you’re already in that part of the world you might as well see as much as you can.


Overnight Train Rovaniemi to Helsinki:

We boarded the VR overnight train at 20 to 6 in plenty of time for our 6:03pm departure time. We visited the supermarket to stock up on supplies for the return trip but we decided to have dinner in the dining carriage anyway as the Spaghetti Carbonara looked & smelt delicious. Priced at just €10 the portions were huge so the children shared one dish between two. Afterwards we had our own drinks and desserts that I had bought in the supermarket saving us about €30 on train prices. We skipped the free porridge for breakfast & treated the children to a McDonald’s breakfast when we arrived in Helsinki at 7am.






Where to stay in Helsinki:

If you’re travelling on a budget or you’ve a large family like we do Airbnb should be your best friend. I found this (https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/13810669) lovely Airbnb just outside central Helsinki for just €172 for 7 of us for 3 nights but we only paid €137 for our stay as I earned €35 for referring someone to Airbnb. The bus runs in a loop from outside the train station to outside Anne’s apartment every 30 minutes or so & it’s only a 15 minute journey. Anne was lovely to deal with and we had everything we needed in her pristine apartment for our 3 night stay.




 What to do in Helsinki:

There really is a lot to do in Helsinki with kids, with thanks to Visit Helsinki we received 72 hour Helsinki Cards so we could cram in as much as possible during our short visit. With the Helsinki Card you can avail of free public transport, free entry to a variety of museums, discounted food, drink and shopping even discounted ferry crossing to Tallinn. 72 hour cards are priced €64 for adults and €32 for children aged 7-16. Under 7’s don’t need a card as they already avail of free public transport in Helsinki and free entry to most museums.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see everywhere we wanted as our 5 year old Cillian caught a 24 hour bug on the train. We did however get to see the fabulous Christmas Market, ice skate at the train station, join a sightseeing tour bus, Ateneum Art Museum and a visit to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress including a visit to the Toy Museum and Military Museum. We missed out on the Natural History Museum, the Zoo & Children’s Town so they’re top of our list for next year.
Helsinki is really easy to navigate and getting around couldn’t be easier just hop on tram numbers 2 or 3 as they circle the city so they’ll get you to where you need to go. Make sure to visit the tourist information office on Pohjoisesplanadi 19 for information and some handy maps, we made great use of a day in Helsinki & Helsinki for kids maps.  





Kovanen:

A couple of weeks ago I told you about Kovanen providing us with complimentary VIP transport from Helsinki Airport to the train station and it was faultless so we decided to book them again for our early morning transport from our Airbnb to the Ferry terminal. We called them on their 24 hour customer care line and booked it at8pm the night before for 7am the following morning. The service was fantastic and cheaper than most other taxi companies. It cost us just €17 for the 7 of us whereas during our stay we hailed a cab at the train station and paid €23 for a shorter journey.





Ferry Crossing to Tallinn:

In my post last September when I was pricing this trip I told you about Tallink Silja as they allowed us the most amount of time ashore in Estonia. I had priced it at €117 for 2 adults, 4 children and 1 infant return. Tallink Silja very kindly gave us complimentary ferry crossing and upgraded us to comfort class, it’s something I probably wouldn’t have thought about doing as it’s priced at €20pp (under 5’s are free). I’m really glad they did as Comfort Class entitles you to sit in a segregated area on the ferry with amazing views of the Baltic Sea; you also avail of complimentary refreshments, snacks, newspapers and WiFi. We’ll definitely be purchasing Comfort Class next year when we return as at that time of the year the ferries were really full so it was great to be able to have a bit of privacy and extra room with the children for the 2 hour crossing.

We went over to Estonia on the Tallink Star 7:30am ferry and it was fabulous very sleek and modern with lots of shops that were very affordable. It even had a Burger King on board so there’s plenty of choice for food. We ventured outside on deck but it was Baltic so we made a quick retreat! We boarded Tallink Superstar for our return trip at 8:30pm it was bigger than Tallink Star, there was live music in the huge bar & auditorium at the rear of the ferry. There were lots of dining options on this ferry too with a buffet, sandwich bar, burger bar and a sit down restaurant there’s something for everyone’s taste buds. Our youngest boys had a great time in the play area. We bought a few toys and a couple of bottles of wine in the duty free on the way back as prices were great as did most of the ship as they duty free alcohol all but sold out! We checked in online 24 hours before we set sail and I found it really useful that we didn’t have to print boarding passes, I just downloaded them to my phone when I had WiFi.





Tallinn Estonia



Seaplane Harbour:

When we arrived in the ferry port there were plenty of taxi’s available so we hopped in one costing us €10 to take us to Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour Museum. We absolutely loved this museum. We could’ve easily spent the whole day there. They’re very child orientated with loads of activities such as flight, torpedo and machine gun simulators. Children can drive remote controlled boats and even dress up in one of the many military uniforms and have their picture taken at a green screen so you can choose your background. We learned lots about submarines, seaplanes, icebreakers and even got to see a 16th century ship that was on display. We received complimentary admission to this museum tickets are priced at €28 for a family pass or €32 for a family pass to both Seaplane Harbour and Fat Margaret Museum.




Fat Margaret:

We realised we could walk between these museums so we did just that and strolled 15 minutes to Fat Margaret Maritime Museum as we had also received complimentary tickets for this museum. The museum is spread out over four floors with exhibitions such as a captain’s cabin, a schooner mast complete with sails an early diving suit and over a hundred magnificent model ships but our little ones favourite part was the Viking era treasures from Estonia. If you do visit don’t forget to go out on the roof for an unhindered view out over the rooftops of Tallinn.





Tallinn Christmas Markets:

Located in the Old Town Hall Square Tallinn Christmas Market is small but picture perfect. It’s the oldest capital city in Northern Europe and dating back to 1441 it’s the first place in Europe to have a decorated Christmas tree on display. We spent a wonderful few hours buying sweets, gifts and trinkets at some of the many stalls. I only wish we’d booked an overnight stay so we could explore some more as Tallinn is so beautiful. We had dinner in one of the restaurants dotted around the square before having a last look in the market before walking back to the ferry port to catch the ferry to Helsinki.   


Check back next week when I’ll conclude our Lapland posts with a rundown of what we wore & where I bought our ski wear hopefully saving you a few Euro!

*At the time of publishing today another Dad contacted me to say he's successfully booked Lapland using my tips. That brings our total to 71 families, SEVENTY ONE! I can't tell you how much it means to feel like I've helped to that extent. If you've ever used my tips or posts as a push to book your own holiday, I would genuinely LOVE to hear from you. It makes every minute of documenting our trips worth it*



If you’re new to Airbnb & would like €30 towards your first trip you can use my link below to claim your credit, I’ll also receive €30 for my travels that I'll blog about, so it’s win/win!! www.airbnb.ie/c/corrinas11

*** Disclaimer: As advised above we received a complimentary Helsinki Cards from Visit Helsinki, complimentary ferry crossing courtesy of Tallink Silja and tickets into both Fat Margaret and the Seaplane Museum. As usual all thoughts are my own, I was not asked to write this review. As ever, neither free services nor payment would ever sway my opinion. ***

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Things That Rustle My Jimmies ~ 04/02/17


We very nearly didn't unrustle our jimmies this week ~ now that wouldn't have been right at all, at all. 

In no particular order of pissiness: 


1. Snapchat adding random Stories for you to upload to so you've to bypass it every time


2. Attempting to cull my makeup stash & failing miserably


3. Watching a show with someone who's already seen it so they pause it over & over in case you missed the 'good' parts...


4. Watching one of your fave shows with someone & they insist on talking over the good parts


5. Click bait Bloggers not disclosing their affiliate links - 'Have you SEEN this random object? (on a website that I will now get commission for if you click back into that site within 30 days..) 


Tell me, any of that resonate? 
What's been rustling your jimmies this week? 


Thursday, 2 February 2017

How to do Lapland on a Budget & Make it Feel Like Anything But! (Part 3) SantaPark

Lapland really can be done on a budget! Over this series of posts I’m sharing exactly how we did it so you too can have a magical holiday in Finland. We flew to Helsinki from Dublin with Norwegian costing €826 for 2 adults & 5 children we then took the overnight Santa Express train to Rovaniemi paying €294, we stayed in an Airbnb beside the train station costing €219 for 2 nights.
Throw in a few extras like a couple of days in Helsinki and a trip across the Baltic Sea to spend the day exploring Tallinn and our total spend was less than €2k for a family of 7 for 8 days, a fraction of the cost of a day trip with a tour company. 

Last week I shared our experience at Santa Claus Village this week I’ll tell you how we got on at SantaPark when we took up their invitation to come visit while we were in Rovaniemi.