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UK Travel

  • A Day on the Grand Union Canal

    I love how our memory works. I love that a smell or sound can immediately transport you back to a specific moment in time. It was a conscious decision that I kept the same album playing on loop a few weeks ago when we joined my parents for the day on their canal boat holiday. I wanted to have an easy way to transport myself back to it, and I’m so glad I did. There’s one particular song that makes me feel quite emotional (in a good way!) about our day, and how seeing my family work together made me feel…

    My parents are no strangers to the canal, having been on at least two previous canal boat holidays that I know of. Over the Easter holidays, they booked an almost-too-good-to-be-true deal they saw and seized the opportunity to spend a week exploring the Grand Union Canal, and then (much to my delight) invited us to join them on the Bank Holiday Monday. read more

    Days Out, Lifestyle, UK Travel
    / May 11, 2019
  • Pickle in a camping field having fun

    Why Go Camping with a Toddler?

    This is a sponsored post.

    As someone who spent weeks every summer in a tent or caravan, I’m a huge believer in camping being one of the best family holidays you can go on. Especially as our lives become more technological and digital, it’s so good to get away from it all for a bit and reconnect with nature (and hopefully, each other!). Whenever I tell people we’re going away in the tent, I’m met with one of two reactions: 1) ‘Oh, that sounds amazing! What a wonderful weekend you’ll have.‘ or 2) ‘Really? Camping? Wouldn’t you rather, you know, just be at home?‘.

    And often, the people who don’t understand the appeal, are the ones that have never been. So here’s all you need to know about camping, if you’re a cynic, and why it makes for a brilliant holiday with little ones.

    1) It Makes You Realise How Little You Need

    Even though we inevitably pack the car until it couldn’t possibly hold even a pair of socks more, it’s refreshing how little we need to take with us in the grand scheme of things. It makes me want to get rid of everything else left in the house once we return home. I talk about camping being a ‘back to basics’ retreat and people who have never been assume that means forgoing any comforts or treats, but in fact, the opposite is true. When you have so few things with you, you enjoy those things you have so much more. They have an increased value. Less truly is more.

    2) It’s a Great Excuse to See More of the UK

    Just knowing we can pack up the car and head off in our home from home, makes it feel much easier to explore every nook and cranny of the UK. I’m determined for us to see more of it as a family and not keep returning to the same places time after time. So far, we’ve been to Wales and Gloucestershire, and will be making our way down to Cornwall later this summer, as well as a couple of festivals too. From the Midlands, no matter which direction you travel in – you’re guaranteed to find somewhere beautiful.

    3) It’s Cheap

    The campsite we stayed at over August bank holiday last year cost us £11 a night. For the whole weekend, we spent less than £35 on accommodation. I mean, tell me what other holiday you could go on that offers that kind of value for money? It meant we didn’t mind paying to go on nice days out or treating ourselves to a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the cafe. And we can afford to do this many times over the year! Perfect.

    I know there’s the temptation to buy lots of expensive kit for camping holidays, but that needn’t be the case. We borrowed a tent off our friends last year and it was fantastic. If you ask around, I’m sure you’ll know someone with a tent and some bits and pieces they won’t mind you borrowing so you can test it out for yourself before investing in some camping gear for yourselves. I’m glad we did that as it meant we knew exactly what we wanted when we came to buy our own this year, and we couldn’t be happier with our Kampa Paloma 5 Air.

    4) It Doesn’t Matter About the Weather

    This is another bonus of a cheap holiday really… If I was paying lots of money to travel abroad, I’m going to want some sunshine. I’d feel shortchanged if I didn’t. However, when it comes to travelling in the UK, I’m always expecting the worst. It’s one of the reasons I made sure our tent has a high waterproof rating, and why I always pack our wellies – no matter what the forecast. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors, it just means you need to be more prepared.

    On our last trip, the weather was forecast to be thunderstorms. All weekend. I packed like it was monsoon season. Every item of waterproof clothing I could find, layers and layers of clothes and Pickle’s big puddle suit (which I picked up for the bargain price of £7 in the Sainsbury’s TU clothing sale).

    As it turned out, it barely rained at all (bonus!). But at least we were able to put his puddle suit to good use at Slimbridge Wetlands Centre, where he could play without fear in the splash park. Annoyingly, his wellies weren’t quite big enough to fit his suit inside them, so I’m already eyeing up some Spiderman wellies in a bigger size for our next trip.

    5) They Will Love It

    Look at his little face and tell me he’s not having the absolute time of his life. Being able to get up in the morning and go and run about outside from the very start to the very end of the day is his idea of heaven. Running around with the other children makes him giggle like nothing else. And all of that laughter and excitement is music to my ears. It does mean LPD and I barely get a chance to sit down (oh, how different our holidays are these days!) but I’m sure that’d be the case whether we were sat outside a tent or by a pool. And if I’m honest, I think I’d rather him exhaust himself with laps around a field than by a pool. Keeping a toddler safe by a pool doesn’t sound like my idea of relaxation! Although, one day, I’d happily be proven wrong.

    Are you Tempted?

    So, have I persuaded you to give it a go? My main advice is to not be put off thinking your children are too young or too mischievous to make camping work for you. Have a read of my 5 essentials for camping with a toddler and prepare to have a truly memorable trip away. Maybe you’ll catch the camping bug? I’d love to know if you’re reconsidering it.

    Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post.

    Camping, Countryside, Lifestyle, Parenting, UK Travel
    / June 10, 2018
  • Mowgli Walk at Bluestone

    Five Precious Memories from Bluestone Wales

    If you were to ask me what I think the most important part of any holiday is, I’d tell you it’s the making of special memories. I honestly don’t think it matters where you go, as long as you make the most of the time you have together as a family and just drink in as much of it as you can, you’ll come away with a treasure trove of stories and experiences to cherish for years to come. We certainly did just that after our midweek stay at Bluestone Wales earlier in May. After what has been quite a stressful and upsetting start to the year, the break away did all three of us the world of good and both LPD and I have been heralding it as one of our most favourite holidays ever – and that’s saying a lot!

    Countryside, Lifestyle, Parenting, Reviews, UK Travel
    / May 29, 2017