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Monthly Archives: May 2015

  • How to keep a family narrowboat holiday fun!

    While there really is nothing more delightful than a family break on the waterways, sometimes things don't always run as smoothly as they do on dry land - especially if rain gets involved!

    However, with a little preparation a narrowboating holiday with your children can become both an entertaining and educational experience.

    Here's how to have a  really memorable trip:

    canal narrowboat narrowboating children kids

    Get back to nature

    The British canal and waterway system is simply teeming with life, with birds, insects, fish and mammals all living in abundance within short reach of the banks. This is a great chance for your kids to explore nature and learn more about the environment – if you have the inclination you can even use it as an opportunity to explain more about the impact humans have on the land by pointing out the effects of littering and pollution.

    There is also something beautifully therapeutic about feeding the ducks. For most Brits it’s actually our earliest encounter with any sort of wild animal and even adults can get involved with this enjoyable pastime – which is twice as fun when you’re doing it from the deck of your own canal boat. Turn it into a game with the kids and see how many ducks they can get following the boat and your Hansel & Gretel-esque trail of floating breadcrumbs.

    Get active

    A canal boat holiday is rife with opportunities for getting the children active. They can help with steering and mooring the boat, opening and closing the locks as well as simply running or walking alongside it. Canal paths are also a great, safe space to ride their bikes, and with one person needed on the towpath anyway to open and close the locks, they’ll have somebody close by to supervise them. When not in use the bikes can be secured to the roof.

     

    canal narrowboat narrowboating children kids

    Enjoy flexible fun

    One of the greatest things about life on the waterways is the flexibility it affords you – if you have very tiny kids they may not be ready for a full fortnight away from home so a single week would be better, or you may want to take things slow and moor up for a few days at a time – spinning out your trip over multiple weeks. Whatever suits you and your children, you can arrange it with a narrowboat holiday.

    Essentials to bring on a family canal boat holiday

    • Board games –a wide selection will ensure some indoor entertainment when the weather turns bad.
    • Waterproofs – this is Britain remember and there is nothing to put a literal dampener on things than feeling a bit soggy.
    • Dogs – your furry friend is going to love the canal as much as you do. Just remember to bring all their associated gear: leads, bowls, bed and the all-important poo bags!
    • Books – it wouldn't be a real boating holiday without a bedtime reading of  Kenneth Graeme’s The Wind in the Willows.

     

     

     

     

  • 5 simple healthy summer recipes to cook in your caravan or narrowboat

     

    It's almost beginning to feel like the sun is going to break out from behind the clouds. Could it be that summer is actually here?

    We can never be sure in the UK, but just in case, we’ve put together some of our favourite recipes for meals to enjoy on a sunny day. Staying healthy when you’re enjoying a caravan or narrowboat break, can be difficult, but we’ve picked a selection of our favourite filling but healthy recipes.

    These are all tried and tested, though the occasional packet of crisps has been known to sneak in!

     

    healthy recipe caravan narrowboat

    1) Breakfast Tacos

    This super filling breakfast (or lunch or dinner!) dish is not only incredibly easy to make, but also easy to multiply up or down depending on how many hungry mouths you have to feed.

    All you need to do is beat the eggs, spinach and seasoning in a pan, line the tortilla with chopped avocado and some salsa, and add the egg mixture when cooked.

    The dish is filled with brain boosting ingredients, which is handy if you have a day of map reading ahead!

    Ingredients (per person): 1 tortilla, handful chopped spinach, ½ an avocado, some salsa, salt and pepper, 2-3 eggs.

    Optional Ingredients: You can make your taco as fancy as you like, add mushrooms, chicken, sweetcorn, anything!

    Top Tip: If you want to further reduce the fat content, use only the egg whites for the omelette part.

     

    healthy recipe caravan narrowboat

    2) Garlic Prawn and Any Bean Pasta

    The smell of garlic cooking is enough to get anyone’s mouth watering, and this delicious recipe is high in protein, making it super filling. Put your pasta on to cook, and five minutes before the pasta is ready, start cooking the oil, garlic and prawns in another pan for two minutes.

    Then add the beans, cook for a further two minutes (or until the prawns are pink), combine the contents of the two pans and serve with a generous douse of squeezed lemon.

    Ingredients (per person): Handful of pasta (wholegrain is preferable), 5-8 prawns, any green bean or pea (eg runner bean, mangetout etc), 2-3 garlic cloves, olive oil.

    Optional Ingredients: Add chilli for a kick and shallots for texture.

    Top Tip: If you are on your boat or your caravan is near water, try and find a local fisherman who may be able to sell you prawns caught that day.

     

    3) Hawaiian Pizza Wrap

    If you’re craving pizza, but trying to be good this summer, then the pizza wrap is for you!

    Like in your favourite pizza joint; simply the toppings to make your favourite pizza - but instead of spreading over a base, spread the ingredients on your wrap, fold up and you’re ready to go.

    Ingredients (per person): 1 low-fat tortilla, 3 sliced pineapple chunks, 1 tomato sliced, sprinkling low-fat grated mozzarella, 2 slices ham.

    Optional Ingredients: Add sliced black olives and a sprinkling of oregano to create more of a pizza feel.

    Top Tip: This dish is delicious hot or cold, if you’d prefer the cheese to melt you can dry cook the wrap in a frying pan - or pop in your microwave for 20 seconds if you have one.

     

    healthy recipe caravan narrowboat

    4) Bacon & Egg Salad

    Turn your guilty morning fry up into a delicious healthy meal with this crowd pleaser of a dish that is easily made in either a caravan or narrowboat kitchen. First hard boil your egg(s), then when they are cooking, assemble the salad. Peel and quarter the egg(s) and add to your salad before finally frying the fat-trimmed bacon. If you have a kitchen towell to hand soak, up all the bacon’s excess fat, cut it up and toss on. Perfect!

    Ingredients (per person): As much lettuce as you'd like, sweetcorn, tomatoes, cucumber, 1 slice of bacon, 1-2 eggs, low-fat dressing, salt and pepper.

    Top tip: If you have a grill, use that instead to cook the bacon.

     

    5) Creamy Chicken

    Don’t be fooled - just because this dish is creamy, doesn't mean it's not healthy and it's just perfect after a day of exploring in your caravan or boat. Start off by lightly frying the onions and chicken in a pan, add chopped peppers and cherry tomatoes, and when the peppers are cooked add the cream cheese. Stir until melted and serve with wholegrain rice.

    Ingredients (per person): Handful of cooked rice, 1 chicken breast, 6 cherry tomatoes, 1/3 bell pepper, 1/2 onion, 2 tbsp super low-fat cream cheese.

    Top Tip: Some people like to add lemon or lime to the dish, but do so after serving as it can cause the

  • Top Tips to Avoid Caravan Theft

    It is estimated that every year 4,000 caravans are stolen. Given only 10% of these are recovered, in all likelihood if this happens to you, you probably won’t see your caravan again.

    Regardless of the value of your caravan, having your possessions rummaged through and then taken is a horrible experience.

    Here are the best ways to avoid your caravan being taken:

    caravan security

    1) Get handy with a UV pen.

    Write your postcode and any other details you can fit on all over anything that could be removed from your caravan.

    While this won’t stop thieves from taking the items, it will help you get them back if the worst should happen.

     

    2) Take everything out of your caravan.

    Yes it’s a pain, but if you are leaving your caravan for a long period of time, remove everything, even the upholstery.

    The less attractive your caravan looks, the less a thief will be interested in breaking into it. Make sure you keep the curtains, cupboards and drawers open to demonstrate how sparse and unappealing your caravan is.

     

    3) Register your caravan with CRiS

    If you caravan was made in the UK after 1992, then it will automatically be registered with the National Register for Caravan Keepers. But if it is older, you should get it registered.  You’ll be provided with a unique 17 digit number.

    Doing so means if your caravan is stolen, the next owners or the police will be able to track it back to you.

     

     

    caravan security

    4) Fit your caravan with an alarm and tracking device

    Hopefully a blaring alarm will put off thieves from making off with your caravan, but to make your caravan extra secure fit it with a tracking system. This means if your caravan is taken, the police or tracking system operator will be able to track it.

    Always turn your alarm on - even if you are only leaving your caravan for a minute or two.

    We actually  offer a great multipurpose GPS tracker that allows you to keep track of your van (pictured to the right and currently with £30 off!).

     

    5) Keep it in a secure location

    Keeping your caravan in a dedicated, secure space when it’s not in use may seem like an extra cost, but it will give you peace of mind and can even bring your insurance costs down.

    A quick Google search will bring up the one closest to you.

    If this seems like too much hassle, think about employing a caravan sitter should you go away for a couple of days.

     

    6) Lock everything!

    Invest in a hitch lock, a wheel clamp, a wheel lock and any other lock you can lay your hands on to make your caravan look as unmoveable as possible.

     

    7) Keep doors and windows shut

    You may only be popping out of your caravan quickly, but always lock your windows, doors and rooflights. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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