Saturday, 25 October 2014

CSI Toverland

Remember that trip I told you about, the one we gave our children for their birthdays instead of presents? Well, it took place this past week, during autumn break.  The weatherman kept telling us to expect wind and rain, and he wasn't wrong: in fact, it didn't rain, it POURED and the wind howled incessantly. Thankfully this wasn't a problem, since half of theme park Toverland's rides and fun things to do are situated indoors, in two giant hangar-like locations. 

Before I get into some of the specifics, let me tell you up front that we all had a great time. So no need to think otherwise no matter what I am about to tell you, since what I am about to tell is you is completely tainted by my fear of speed, velocity, heights, and anything else that removes me from solid ground. Okay. Where to start. Well, you know those huge Alice in Wonderland cup things you can sit in? The ones that spin around but seem harmless enough? Well, M and the children convinced me to join them for a ride. No problem, I thought, since I had seen them in motion and had approvingly observed that it was a rather slow ride. Or so I thought. As it turns out, I had seen the cups towards the end of the ride, but had been too late to witness the bit in middle. The fast bit. The bit that makes your stomach turn, the bit that makes you almost lose your lunch but not quite. As our adorable cup continued to speed up, M looked at me, a little pale, and shouted: "I think we're getting too old for this crap!" (This from the bloke who used to go skydiving, bungee-jumping, and off-piste skiing).

M and I were glad the ride was over. The kids were rearing to go.

Next: a ghastly rollercoaster called Boomerang. You couldn't pay me to get into a rollercoaster, so M went with the kids whilst I sat on a bench in great internal stress, scenes of rollercoaster disasters torturing my mind. Brrr. The less said about that the better.

Then there was a lift bench of sorts. You know, the kind you sit on with a few others, in a row, and the bench is suspended meters above the ground. I still can't believe I went along with the whole thing. A momentary lapse of sanity perhaps. Or maybe I wanted to show my kids I was tough and brave. In any case, I got onto that bench, felt a wave of panic as the lap bar was fastened, then went up, up, up into the air until I felt such panic that I thought I would pass out (just writing about it now is making my palms sweaty). Thankfully, the ride was over very quickly. Or so I assumed. Hence I was puzzled by the angry looks shot at me by the other children on our ride and the mildly embarrased glances from my own.  Turns out the operator had cut the ride short for my benefit. "I could see you turning green," he said, "so I thought I'd better step in." Oh. I thanked him from the bottom of my heart and couldn't wait to never see him again, that's how ashamed I was. 

Now the following is more my kind of thing. A caterpillar for the littlies. Later S admitted he felt slightly weird about me coming along since I was the only adult, but all I can say is: FINALLY a ride with my name all over it. And the only photo which is vaguely presentable. There I am, in the middle, sitting behind S and N.

Onto something outside, despite weather conditions. Some kind of ghastly contraption called the Backstroke (the name is enough to put me off), which I again refused to get into. You can see it on the fuzzy photo below. Note the look of sheer terror on son S's face as the boat is catapulted into the depths of the unknown - would you believe he said it was the highlight of his day?!?

At the end of the day we drove to our hotel, enjoyed a relaxing dinner in the hotel restaurant and went to bed early, quite exhausted.  The room housed two huge beds: one for us and one for the kids. Then the weirdest thing happened. We were all just drifting off to sleep when N suddenly broke the dark silence by stating matter-of-factly that her little toe was bleeding. We told her not to worry, she was probably imagining things, little toes don't just start bleeding out of the blue etc - in other words, we said all the things parents say when they're sure nothing is wrong and don't feel like getting up. A few minutes later, however, she said that she needed to go to the toilet, and would papa (not mama - yes!) like to help her please. M got up and took her to the bathroom, only to exclaim: "Oh no, your toe really IS bleeding !"  Of course I shot out of bed and lo and behold, N had a tiny cut in her toe, one of those tiny cuts which take ages to stop bleeding. Apparently S had accidentally done the damage with his toenail ("You should cut them more often, mama - they're like blades!") whilst they were snuggling up in bed. Which brings me to the subject of the bed...... why ON EARTH could this not have happened at home? At home, where the sheets have cartoon figures all over them and are not the pristine WHITE of a hotel bed.  M and I stared at the sheets in shock. Oh my. Let me just say the bed resembled something straight from an episode of CSI. 

Of course I immediately went down to report the accident to the hotel boss, who, to my surprise (and relief) remained totally unaffected. "I can tell you now it won't be the worst thing we've ever found in a bed," he said.  Gulp. What's that supposed to mean?! I shudder to think.


You may recall I've been experimenting with coconut flour. This because it is low-carb, high-fibre, nutrient-dense, and gluten free; and, since I'm a sweet tooth, I'm always on the lookout for ways to make bakes healthier. Hence I am delighted with The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook, by Erica Kerwien, which I bought a week or two ago and I'm very excited (yes, I get excited about these things) about a recipe for banana bread I found in there. Simple, and probably the best I've ever tasted. I would especially like to point out that it has very few ingredients, no fat, and hardly any sugar. Without any compromise on taste. We took half a loaf with us to Toverland, so as not to be tempted to buy the usual sugary goods. May I just add that coconut flour does not necessarily give baked goods a coconut taste and that the photo at the bottom is of Chocolate Banana Bread and taken from the book.

Banana Bread
adapted from The Healthy Coconut Flour Cookbook, by Erica Kerwien

3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons palm sugar (or cane sugar)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
0,5 teaspoon salt
55g coconut flour, sifted

  •  preaheat the oven 180 degrees Celsius
  • line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease generously
  • put bananas, sugar, eggs, and vanilla into a large bowl and mix well
  • add baking soda, salt, and coconut flour to the wet ingredients  and mix well
  • let batter rest of 5 minutes or so (this gives the coconut flour time to absorb the liquids)
  • pour the batter into the loaf pan 
  • bake for 55 minutes; check whether it's done at 50 minutes by inserting a skewer or toothpick  - if it comes out clean the loaf is ready


  1. Oh dear, you sound like me. When we have taken the children to theme parks I was always relieved when they were too young to go on the scary rides as neither OH or myself are keen.

    I bought some coconut flour ages ago as it is gluten free but haven't done anything with it so thank you for the recipe

  2. You are a LOT braver than me!!

  3. Laughing very much at your description of the funfair rides. You could be describing me, except that I just wouldn't gave ventured onto Any of them! X

  4. Oh dear, I must say I am very much in your category when it comes to rides! We had our local show yesterday and Joe did the dodgem cars with the two older kids while I looked on, camera in hand! It does sound like there were wonderful activities and I'm glad you all had a good time, bar the bleeding toe!

  5. Wat heb ik geláchen met je verslagje van je bezoek aan het pretpark !! Zo herkenbaar !!!
    Toch vreemd, toen we zelf nog kinderen waren, vonden we die enge en gevaarlijke ritjes allemaal geweldig, en naarmate we ouder worden, krijgen we er stilletjes terug schrik voor...
    In elk geval, respect ! Da's pas zelfopoffering, zoveel voor je kinderen trotseren ! Ik zou het niet meer durven...

  6. I had an unfortunate incident at Alton Towers theme park when I was thirteen that put me off rollercoasters and other scary lives for life. So I salute you and your husband for even venturing to one with your children. I have never attempted it with my own! But I'm glad you and you family had lots of fun there.
    Leanne xx

  7. Hah! I did chuckle at this post as I am a bit of a wimp too when it comes to fairground rides. But the children seemed to enjoy it and that was what it was all about wasn't it. Sounds like a fun weekend in one way or another.

  8. fairground rides and I do not mix. I am always the one happy to hold all the bags and coats whilst everyone else rides.

  9. I love scary rides but the ABO does not. At the moment the girls are too small to even want to go on them but i know my littlest (the daredevil) will love them and be my rollercoaster partner in crime! Glad to hear you had a good time though :-)

  10. I tried using quinoa flour but it has quite a strong flavour. I haven't seen coconut flour in any of our shops.

    Your story about the hotel sheets had me laughing! And you and I are definitely on the same wavelength when it comes to those scary rides. I don't think I could ever bring myself to go on another one again.

  11. We got to the Irn Bru Carnival every year after Christmas. This is very similar to the theme park you describe. I go on one ride and remain queasy for the rest of the day, even if the one ride is the little caterpillar (yes, the same one, judging by the picture). I am impressed that you and your husband went on so many rides with your children, I usually wimp out. Luckily our older ones can assumechaperone roles for the little ones. I am glad you had a good time! x

  12. I'm not so keen on scary rides either. Once took our daughter to Disneyland in Paris and it was a fairly horrendous experience though she enjoyed it. Made the mistake of going on this space type roller coaster which threw us around in the dark for several terrifying minutes. Too much for her aged 8 but she loves rides like this now. Never again for me.

  13. Oh, this made me laugh! I love the way you write. The hotel manager's comment cracked me up. And your reaction is basically the same as mine would've been. I'm not a fan of fast theme park rides either, but I'm glad you had a great time. xx


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