Nowadays our work and life balance can quickly become out of sync. With too many obligations, we can involuntary forget our loved ones and fail to spend enough quality time with them. Hanging with friends and family has for many become rare, and spending time in nature, away from technology would be quite the luxury for most. We forget how relaxing and pleasant socializing can be and how invigorating to the soul spending time in nature would be too (This post here illustrates why we should spend more time in Nature).

In the last few years, nature enthusiasts have invented a new type of outdoor activity. You can perform it with your family, friends, or colleagues, as a date option, or even play with unknown people. It’s called geocaching, and whilst we are yet to try it, feedback says that it is a very entertaining outside game that is gaining more and more fans around the world.

In Short about Geocache

Geocaching is a relatively new and very entertaining game that is equally interesting to people of all ages and genders. Besides spending quality time with family and friends in nature, it can be an excellent way to remind you of some scouting skills, orientation in space, and to be physically active.

The goal of geocaching is to hide your own and find someone else’s “hidden treasure.” Unlike the search for a chest full of gold, there are no secret maps with the good ol’ skull and crossbones, indicating the place where someone hid the treasure a long time ago.

For locating this “treasure,” you’ll need GPS devices and coordinates that are available to everyone on the Internet. Instead of a large wooden chest, you will find a plastic case or something like that. And instead of gold and jewels, there will be a brief explanation for those who find this case by accident; a pen and a paper where you’ll sign in as a founder of this treasure.

Some internal rule among contestants is to get some of that treasure, usually a toy, tag, badge, batteries for GPS, etc. In return, they have to leave something in the box, for future players. Then close the box and return it to the same place. The last step is to go to the official site to assign a founder, and to look for the next target. It is a fantastic activity and hobby for all. 

What You Need for Playing

Apart from GPS devices, people usually use phones and tablets (due to the ease of carrying them). You will also need a stable internet connection, and for some geocaches, there’s an option to find them even if you don’t have Internet access using images. It often happens that the locations are a bit tricky, and you may not have a good signal – this is a great way to get your search done.

Before you go on a geocaching adventure, you need to register yourself among the “geocache hunters” on the site specially designed for it. In your account, you will be able to find accurate and updated information about new geocaches at any time, but also to keep track of your “hunting.”

Locations on which geocaches can be placed are different – some love those in the wild, in the middle of the forest, or near rivers and lakes; someone else may prefer urban locations, where geocaches are hidden somewhere in the city fortresses and parks. Choose a target, take coordinates, and start hunting and having some fun.

It’s Not Easy as It Seems

Although you get coordinates, do not think it’s that easy to reach your goal. Every GPS device has some imprecision, no matter how good and advanced they are. So you can expect that your search can take several hours, even if the geocache is located within a range of ten feet. You know that geocache is hidden somewhere around you, but GPS will never take you to the right place.

Whether you play the game with known or unknown people, you have to work as a team to get to the geocache which is great for families and to teach kids. Then, with your sharp eye and brilliant mind, they should help you act.

The point of geocaching is to have fun and test your skills.

Hide Your Own Geocache

If you prefer to be a prey than a hunter, you can create the contents of the box that other “hunters” will ask for. You need to hide your geocache and register it on the official site, giving exact coordinates.

 There are special tags and coins linked to the website, and they represent a real catch. The rule is that hunters don’t keep them as a trophy, rather they have to transfer them to the next geocache they find. The movements of these tags can be tracked on the site.

In good company, you often don’t realise just how quickly time flies whilst geocaching. Even if you haven’t met the goal for that day, remember you have spent quality time in nature with your loved ones. Geocaching doesn’t require high expenses; just good will, some energy and a desire for adventure and spending your free time doing something new and interesting.

We can’t wait to give it a go with the kids in the New Year.

*Collaborative Post

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This years Christmas panto at Hull New Theatre is the exciting tale of Cinderella. Hannah Nicholas plays the down-trodden Cinderella who transforms from rags to riches, outwits her Wicked Stepmother and very Ugly Sisters and, with the help of her hilarious friend Buttons, father Baron Hardup and one very magical Fairy Godmother – wins the heart of the dashing Prince Charming. We went to see the action on Tuesday evening and let me tell you – it was absolutely fab (which is something I thought I would never hear myself say about a Pantomime)!

Let me begin by saying that I am not usually a panto person – I really don’t know what it is because I love going to the theatre and I am aware that they are a big part of British Christmases. However, for me I cannot seem to endure them – I find them cringy and generally a little irritating! I will go with the kids if it’s what they want, but usually I can get away with not as the kids ordinarily go with school.

Cinderella at Hull New Theatre though is not like any Panto I have ever seen before – It is, as they describe it “The Fairy Godmother of all Panto’s” and I have to agree. It was magical, professional, filled with surprises at every turn and the choreography, singing, set and costumes were top notch! I was sceptical when I sat down, but that soon left me because when the curtains lifted I could tell this was of a different calibre to others I have ever seen – there was no expense spared and the talent was fantastic.

With an all-star cast that includes the first lady of the Queen Vic Anita Dobson, comedy stalwart Bernie Clifton, and former EastEnders bad boy Neil McDermott, this glittering production is bursting at the seams with festive family fun for all ages. I never anticipated just how good the set and props would be,  but with a real car, a stunning carriage towed by real life little ponies and special effects that blew my mind (hello 3D) – you will get every pennies worth and simply be in awe of it all.

Megan and her friend were super excited to be in the audience and the atmosphere was brilliant. Kitted out in her very best Cinderella outfit she had such a ball herself and I don’t think she sat still for the entire performance. We all laughed out loud (to the point of tears) and sung and danced along to their ‘Greatest Showman’ renditions, as well as Zara Larson and Queen songs too.  The cast sounded fab, were full of energy and the accompanying dancers were wonderful.

I hold my hand up and say – Cinderella at Hull New Theatre really is one not to be missed this season. I wrongfully assumed Ethan and Nath wouldn’t really like it and I would simply have to endure it for the girls, but in hindsight now, it really is fun for all the family and I actually enjoyed the banter and rowdy moments of it all. I cannot rate it enough as a family favorite this Christmastime. Of course in true panto style they push the boundaries with jokes that cause a little jaw dropping from parents and you will be fortunate enough to be entertained by not just one,  but 2 splendid dames, that really were the life and soul of it all kitted out in absolutely fabulous costumes. I would gladly go see it again – it was a lot of fun and really beautiful.

Well done guys for converting me to a little bit of cheeky Panto – we all loved it!

Cinderella run at Hull New Theatre until the 30th of December, with two performances daily except 10, 17, 21 and 25 December when there are no performances.Tickets are priced at £14.50 – £30 and are available in person at the Hull City Hall box office or over the phone on 01482 300 306. Alternatively you can book online at www.hulltheatres.co.uk

*Thank you to Hull New theatre for giving us a complimentary evening in return for a review – we loved it! 

 

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This Christmas Season Charles Dickens classic tale of the young orphaned boy –  Oliver Twist hits the stage at Hull Truck Theatre and in true Hull Truck style it has a few “twists” of its own! Following the huge popularity of last year’s A Christmas Carol, writer Deborah McAndrew returns with a show packed with dance and song, including traditional carols, folk tunes and new music. Directed by Mark Babych it was both an enthralling, and a little dark, when my sister and I had the opportunity of seeing it on Saturday evening.

After waiting literally the whole year to see this performance, I had high expectations following last year’s Christmas production, and I am glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed (expect of course for no “consider yourself at home” , but don’t worry I sung my own on the way home!). A huge flood of excitement hit as we entered the Heron theatre to be faced with an incredibly creative set that brought the performance into the audience and gave us a real feel of Old England, with its workhouses and city vibes!

The performance started and ended with a beautiful mix of traditional carols and snowy scenes that ignited a large dose of Christmas cheer and festive sparkle! The rest of the play however was far from these serene festivities as the cast gave an excellent performance depicting a story of courage in adversity. It had the usual chronology of a baby born in a workhouse, an orphaned boy asking for “more” and consequently being cast out to the undertakers as an apprentice. It follows Oliver as he seeks a new life in London and is taken into the “care” of ‘The Artful Dodger’ and Fagin, before discovering the truth of his past and finding a future far more than he could ever have imagined as a lonely orphan boy.

I loved that story unfurled with all of its original highlights and so felt familiar and easy to follow, yet it also possessed several strands of comedy as well as darker, more emotive scenes that made it a real roller coaster. Each character was brought to life in a wonderful way, and I especially loved (*spoiler alert) the strong feminist vibes that came through it via the characters of sweet Rose, ballsy Nancy and then Fagin and The Artful dodger – who in this version are also cast as women. They all meshed really well together. Flo Wilson made an excellent Fagin and we really enjoyed watching her alongside the marvellous cast of children that worked for her.

The use of the stage was really well done and little Oliver was darling and funny!

I was moved by the thought provoking ending of anguish for the tormented souls of those who had chosen to live a questionable life in the shadows of crime. Nancy, Bill Sikes and Fagin are a great reminder to us all that it is never too late to change, and to choose to do good for others. It reminds us that through the spirit of Christmas (and reason for the season) we can truly find remorse and healing if we so desire it – or we can see the consequences of a pitiable life fuelled by bad choices!

This exciting and captivating performance is on NOW at Hull Truck theatre and runs until Jan 5th 2019. They recommend that is for 7+ and not younger children, and as a parent of both a 6 and 8 year old, I would suggest that you adhere to this recommendation as it was a little spooky and dark in places. As an adult I found theses darker scenes very emotive and atmospheric, but looking at some of the kids hiding their faces and thinking of my own kids, I would most definitely say it was a bit much for really little kids!

Tickets cost £10 – £26 and as The Heron theatre is intimate, even near the back like we were, you have a spectacular view and closeness to it all.

*Thank you to Hull Truck for another fabulous performance and for complimentary tickets in return for my honest review! Photo Credits – Sam Taylor 

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This week has been rather wet and windy hasn’t it? Combined with feeling rough at the start of it, I have wanted to do anything but all of the above! The cold dull days have made me want to hibernate, sleep and snuggle with Christmas movies, and aside from Tuesday when I did just that, we have had a rather busy and full on week as we take another step closer to the festivities of Christmas.

Monday saw us at the Rainbows carol concert and me Christmas shopping with friends and lunch. And then, on Wednesday Alice and I took the train to a very cold coast for some more shopping and lunch with one of my sisters! We have have been at playgroups and soft plays, and I had Christmas dinner with the ladies from church. And then, last night I went out with my youngest sister to see Oliver Twist at Hull Truck Theatre – I have a review coming in the next day or so, but suffice to say – it was a great night and a great end to a cold, wet, ill and busy week here in East Yorkshire!

Grateful For 

This week I am grateful for the joys of singing carols with friends at the Scouting/guiding carol service on Monday. I love christmas music and Monday, surrounded by familiar faces (and incredibly rowdy children of mine), I really felt the Christmas spirit and sang my heart out (mostly)! I am excited to celebrate and prep over the coming weeks!

I am also grateful for college pals that are supportive as our deadline looms and for yummy lunches out with friends.

Succeeded At 

This week we succeeded at getting the tree up and decorated and getting another handful of gifts purchased! I started our Christmas shopping at the end of November in a hope that I would be done by now, but alas – I still have another 4 or 5 gifts to get and Christmas is looming on the horizon (as well as Naths birthday next week!).

Yesterday we also bought a few things to make Poppy’s grave more festive and though that is always a hard task to do, we succeeded at it! We want to add a few more things, but to be honest it gets too much to do it all in one go. I was quite looking forward to doing it this year now that we have her headstone, and it was nice to choose things with the kids for their sister, but no sooner had we arrived and put them on, I wanted to leave again – it was weird! But we did it and I am glad to know she has some fresh and festive plants now.

Found Beauty In

The lovely lights and trees as we drive around are really beautiful! I also found beauty in seeing the kids help Grandma decorate her tree today and found beauty in singing carols.

I have a nuts week ahead with an assignment deadline, wrapping to do, Christmas plays to see, reviews to write and who knows what else! I am hoping to get myself organized and hoping that in the end its a successful and joyful week.

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