Dates With A Difference: The Best City Breaks In The USA

Nothing is more thrilling than a travel adventure, so what better way to spend time your partner than booking a weekend away? Many people think of Paris and Rome when it comes to chic and romantic city breaks, but there are some stunning locations in the USA. If you’re thinking about organising a date with a difference, here are some suggestions to inspire you.

New York

New York is the obvious choice for anyone thinking of sweeping their loved one away for a long weekend. The Big Apple is undeniably romantic, and there’s also so much to do and see. There’s no risk of you getting bored here, with myriad museums, galleries and sights. You’ll find the city that never sleeps enchanting at any time of year. Do a little planning before you go and draw up a rough itinerary. Hop on, hop off city guides are a good idea if time is of the essence and you’re desperate to tick off the major players. Highlights include the Empire State Building, The Statue of Liberty and Central Park. Fifth Avenue is a must for shopaholics and the trendy Meatpacking District is a great place to grab a coffee and enjoy people watching. As the sun goes down, head to the bright lights of Times Square or catch a Broadway show. Check out the latest reviews at http://www.nytimes.com/reviews/theater/broadway.

 

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Image by https://pixabay.com/en/photos/new%20york/

San Diego

Los Angeles’ quieter and more chilled out neighbour, San Diego is a perfect city break location. This idyllic base offers fabulous opportunities for those looking to combine sightseeing and relaxation. Take a day to wander through the Balboa Park and visit the pandas at San Diego Zoo. Book an al fresco dinner at the waterfront, and enjoy a Cosmopolitan as you take in the views of the twinkling city lights.

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Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/23165290@N00/7824951306

Atlanta

Georgia’s vibrant capital, Atlanta, has something to offer everyone. From culture and cafes, to a giant aquarium and Martin Luther King’s birthplace. Visit the Coca-Cola Museum and watch the Atlanta Braves in action at Turner Fields. Check out sites such as http://atlantacharterbuscompany.com/ for airport transfers. It’s also a good idea to search for a hotel online to get the best deals.

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Image by http://www.freestockphotos.biz/stockphoto/17617

Boston

The jewel in Massachusetts’ crown, Boston is a perennial crowd-pleaser. Follow the Freedom Trail and visit the historic sites of Bunker Hill and  Boston Common. Indulge in some retail therapy at the bustling markets of Faneuil Hall. Take a stroll and enjoy a nostalgic trip back in time with a tour of the pub best known for its appearance on Cheers.

 

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Image by https://www.flickr.com/photos/rosenkranz/2788839653


The US has so much to offer when it comes to travel and adventure. City breaks are a great way to see the country and discover the sights. Book ahead and get the basics organised in advance. Once you have accommodation and transport sorted, you can start planning outings and excursions. A little research will save you time and money. It will also help to prevent you from missing out on events and attractions because you’ve no idea where you are, or where you need to get to. Make use of travel blogs and recommendations from other travellers, and have a fantastic time!

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Ripple Afghan Goodness

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I am on a HUGE crochet kick right now. It’s all I want to do. I have two crochet projects in the works  – my Epic Afghan and my Ripple Afghan – and I am dividing my time pretty equally between them. I’m sure I’ll get back to knitting socks eventually but for now I can’t get enough of the hook! My Epic Afghan is made up of lots and lots of granny squares using all the awesome minis I get from swapless swaps on my Sock Yarn Swappers group. I’ll write a post about it eventually, but today I wanted to tell you guys about my Ripple Afghan.

The beautiful yarn pictured at the top of this post is what I’m using for my Ripple Afghan. I ordered it from the Wool Warehouse, which is in the UK, and the yarn is Stylecraft Special DK. It’s actually 100% acrylic yarn, which I typically don’t use, but it is so amazingly soft. I love the huge range of colors available too. I ended up getting 23 different colors! Yep, you read that right! I wanted this afghan to be super colorful and fun.

I’m using the Neat Ripple pattern from Lucy at the Attic 24 blog. Her blog is awesome, by the way, if you haven’t checked it out yet. The pattern is beautifully written, with tons of pictures to help you along the way. I’m using the same weight yarn as she did, as well as the same size crochet hook (4.0 mm – G). I’m actually even using another idea of her’s as well.

I knew I wanted to randomly add the colors into my afghan but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I wanted to include all 23 colors, and I planned on doing two rows per color. Lucy has an idea of making “yarn pegs” to help you choose which yarns to include in an afghan. I took her idea and made yarn pegs with each of the colors for my ripple afghan. Then I put them all into a drawstring bag and pull one out each time it’s time to add a new color. Here are my cute yarn pegs…

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I’m having so much fun with this project! I love pulling out the yarn peg to decide what the next color is going to be. I love the actual act of crocheting the ripple afghan. I love the way it looks. I love the way it feels. And I really can’t wait to curl up underneath the finished project with my awesome hubby! Here is my progress so far…

ripple afghanBy the way, I was watching one of my favorite podcasts, the Knitworthy Podcast, when I took that picture. You should totally check them out! Oh, and about the stitch markers that are peeking through. I’m using those to keep myself on track as to where I need to do the decrease and increase stitches. I actually had to restart the blanket once because my count got off. But then I started using the stitch markers and it’s going wonderfully now.

If you love crochet, or if you are just learning, or if you want to learn….whatever…I would highly recommend a project like my ripple afghan. It is so satisfying to work on!

Bye,
Lisa

 

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How To Survive Your Kid’s Party

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Kids’ parties are fun, boisterous, happy affairs. But for parents, they can be tiring and stressful. Follow our simple steps to a stress-free and fun party that you and your child will remember.

Plan Ahead

The most important aspect of planning your child’s party is to plan ahead. Plan as far ahead as possible and make a list. Get the date in the diary as soon as you can. Check to make sure that is doesn’t clash with other events or other kids’ birthdays. You can find several helpful checklists on the Netmums site.

Decide where you’re going to host the party. Will it be at home or a venue? There are advantages and disadvantages of both ideas. Booking a venue is likely to be more expensive. While hosting at home will leave you with all the preparations and tidying up.

Party Theme

Decide on whether you’re going have a party theme. It is important to establish this early so you can make the necessary arrangements. For example, making sure you have the relevant decorations, food and toys. To save time on sourcing toys check out Toy Promos, which provides useful toy reviews.

Read our article on party themes for more inspiration.

Invitations

It’s up to you when you send out invitations. About three or four weeks in advance is standard. Make sure you include all of the relevant information, including your contact details. Include a map if the location is difficult to find.

Make sure you include a RSVP slip with the invitation. Specifying a reply date will help with organization. It’s also useful to number the RSVPs so you can quickly establish which ones have not yet responded. This is quicker than matching replies to invitations.

It’s also a good idea to ask parents to specify if their child has any dietary requirements or allergies. If you’re making your invitations, check out these ideas from Martha Stewart.

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Decorations

This is the fun part. Make sure your decorations fit in with your party theme. Look for balloons, bunting, banners and other fun items. Decorations can be picked up from thrift stores and card shops. Alternatively, you can have a lot of fun making your own.

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Music

Like everything else, plan your music in advance. Load your MP3 with suitable tunes or set up a portable CD player. Search online for readymade playlists.

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Food

If possible, food should fit in with your party theme. Keep it simple and put together bite-sized finger foods. Find things that kids will find easy to eat on the go. One idea is to create food boxes. Each box contains several fun snack foods. This saves on plates and washing-up.

Crisps are a fail-safe, as are sausages, open sandwiches, cheese on sticks and pizza slices. It needn’t be elaborate. Use paper plates, napkins and tablecloths to save yourself some time at the end of the day. Anything to save on the workload will be welcome when you’re feeling weary post party.

There are no strict rules to planning a party. Planning ahead will save you a lot of stress. As will completing as much of the preparations in advance as possible. If you get this part right, the party itself will be much easier. And you can focus on making sure the kids have a great time and make lots of memories.

 

 

 

 

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