It’s been a while since Belle and I have been on a mini-break.
After we got the kittens, I think we were a bit reluctant to go away and leave them on their own, and so the weeks and months passed and suddenly we realised we’d not been away anywhere for ages. With the evenings being a bit dark and gloomy, it was obvious that Belle was beginning to get a bit twitchy at home. She seemed more anxious than usual, and I was definitely feeling like we’d got stuck in a rut.
It was time to blow away some cobwebs, and what better place to do that than at the seaside?
We’ve got some good friends down in Bournemouth, so we headed down to the south coast. Our accommodation was The Beach House in Milford-on-Sea, which is part of the Hall & Woodhouse group. I was a little bit unsure of what to expect, as sometimes bed and breakfasts that are part of chains can be a little on the naff side, but The Beach House was anything but.
It was dark when we arrived, as we’d not set off hugely early. Partly because Belle likes to sleep until about 1pm, partly because I had a massive hangover. I’d had a couple of friends over the night before for ‘a couple of drinks’, which had degenerated rather unexpectedly into about 14 drinks and a poorly thought out live Instagram broadcast. It’s a long time since I have felt that bad and so I needed to leave it as long as possible before driving for two and a half hours.
The front of The Beach House looked beautiful as we pulled into the car park, as it has some really lovely stained glass windows. I love a bit of stained glass. Inside it positively oozed character. The reception area is also a bar, and there was a real fire roaring, and loads of unique details – books, paintings – and plenty of wood, which is exactly what you want in a winter weekend away. Lush.
I know that a caravan isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun holiday, but they’ve always held a special kind of excitement for me.
I think it started when I was about seven or eight and we went on a caravan holiday to Cornwall with my Gran and Grandad. We stayed in a separate caravan from them, but nearby, so I was allowed to run on my own to my Gran and Grandad’s caravan and knock on the door to play games with my Grandad.
There are two things I particularly remember from that holiday. The first is that we went on a trip to Goonhilly power station and my Gran had TWO milkshakes in the cafe, made with real ice cream. To me this was the ultimate in decadence, the kind of thing I could only DREAM of doing as a grown up.
The second was being allowed to spend the night in my Gran and Grandad’s caravan. It was like a holiday INSIDE a holiday – madness!
I’ve since been on loads of UK caravan holidays, especially when the girls were smaller. Caravan parks are ideal for holidays with kids as you normally get a good range of facilities on site should you want them, but you have the freedom and independence that comes with a self catering holiday.
Hafan Y Môr Holiday Park
This summer we went to Haven’s Hafan Y Môr Holiday Park in North Wales. And by North Wales I mean REALLY North Wales. It was FAR. We drove across Wales through the Brecon Beacons though, which was very pretty.
We stayed in a two bedroom caravan from the Platnium range, which was very clean and modern and had a little balcony attached too. I’m not going to bore you with pictures of the inside of a caravan when you can have a proper look here, suffice to say there was plenty of room for Belle to arrange her make-up, which is clearly the most important thing to consider when planning a caravan holiday. View Post
I have very fond memories of Superdrug in the 1990s. When I was a teenager, with nothing to spend my pocket money on other than hair dye and lip glosses, I would spend a lot of time hanging out in Superdrug. We lived in a small town with not a lot of decent shops, but for some reason we had TWO Superdrugs – one on the High Street and one inside the Angel Place shopping centre.
Trips into town would generally be for a couple of hours after school, and more often than not we’d start in one Superdrug, head to the second to see what different stuff they had, and then end up back at the first one to buy whatever it was that we’d seen in the first place. Belle is a big Superdrug fan now. It’s a Superdrug legacy.
When Superdrug asked if we fancied a weekend of glamping at Berridon Farm in Devon, at the same time as trying out some Superdrug products… Well, what’s not to love about that? A wood burning stove, beautiful views, AND a big stash of make up??
Hell to the yes. View Post
Every since I got back from my trip to Croatia with James Villas a few weeks ago, (read about it here), I’ve not been able to stop thinking about our trip to Brijuni National Park.
Can you see why??
Brijuni National Park is a cluster of 14 islands, just off the Istrian coast. If you’re flying into Pula and staying in that part of Croatia then you really MUST visit, even if it’s just for the day. There are hotels on the main island too – Veliki Brijuni – and it would be a very quick and easy transfer if you wanted to stay in the national park itself.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy
We were staying in a James Villa right up in the northern part of Istria, but even then it was still totally doable as a day trip. They have plenty of properties nearer to Pula too though, so worth checking out. View Post
When my taxi driver arrived at my Croatian villa to pick me up to take me back to the airport he looked perplexed.
‘Just you?’ he asked, in his best English.
‘Yep, just me,’ I said. (I was getting an earlier flight to Bristol, so everyone else in the group had gone truffle hunting.)
He looked at me:
Very important to wear a hat in hot weather you know.
He looked at the villa:
‘How you pay for this place?’ he asked me.
I wanted to say ‘because I am a successful woman of independent means’, but I wasn’t sure how that would translate. Also, I was staying as a guest of James Villas, so actually I didn’t pay, although I could have if I had wanted to.
‘I didn’t,’ I said, ‘I write about it.’ I mimed using a pen. I don’t think it helped.
Anyway, my point is that a villa holiday in Croatia is NOT AS EXPENSIVE AS YOU THINK. Read on… View Post
You might think that the weekend just before a big house move would be a BAD weekend to go away, but a couple of days at Bluestone in Wales, away from boxes and bubble wrap, turned out to be just what we needed to recharge our batteries.
I mean come on, who could fail to feel reenergised looking out at this beautiful view?
I’ve not done any editing at all to those photos – I wanted you to see how lovely the light was in the evening as the sun started to go down.
It helped that we were staying in one of the upside down lodges, so the bedrooms were on the ground floor and the open plan kitchen and living room space was on the first floor, taking advantage of the view of the lake.
It wasn’t our first trip to Bluestone – we visited a couple of years ago around Christmas time when I made Belle dress up as an elf – but we were keen to come back again in warmer weather to try some of the outdoor activities. Bluestone is set up in a similar way to a CentreParcs style resort, but I actually prefer it to CentreParcs as it’s a lot smaller and easier to get about. The resort centres around a ‘village’, which includes pubs, restaurants, a cafe, shop and spa, plus there are outlying areas for activities. Everything is within easy walking distance although you can hire golf buggies for the duration of your stay if you want to. (Belle was DESPERATE to do this, but they were a bit on the pricey side I felt.) View Post