Berridon Farm Devon Superdrug

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.

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.

Brijuni National Park

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

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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:

Croatian villa holiday James Villas

Very important to wear a hat in hot weather you know.

He looked at the villa:

Croatian villa holiday James Villas

‘How you pay for this place?’ he asked me.

Rude.

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?

Bluestone Wales review

Bluestone Wales review

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

A little while ago Belle and I went for a weekend in Newquay, Cornwall. From the beach we could see a large building out on the headland.

Headland Hotel Cornwall

Can you see it?

‘What’s that do you think?’ Belle asked at the time.

‘I don’t know,’ I said, ‘but it looks a little bit creepy doesn’t it? Like it could be an abandoned asylum, staring out to sea.’

Turns it out wasn’t an abandoned asylum at all. It was The Headland Hotel, as we discovered when we pulled into the car park in front of what, in fairness, does have a very grand, traditional feel to it. (I did ask and although it was purpose built as a hotel, it was used as a hospital during World War II, so perhaps I just sensed the ghosts of patients past.)

Inside was very far from hospital chic. Instead it had a very classical, opulent hotel feel. Proper chintz, but in a good way, if you know what I mean. Big comfy sofas and swooshes of curtain, framing gorgeous sea views from what felt like every window.

Headland Hotel Cornwall View Post

When your children are really little, going on holiday is hard work physically, but at least you know what makes them tick. Keep the ice cream flowing, car journeys to a minimum and abandon all hope from day one for doing anything that you actually want to do, and chances are that everything will go pretty smoothly.

Holidaying with teenagers is a little more complex.

Being a teenager can be heart-breakingly difficult – you can barely understand your own emotions from one day to the next, let alone anyone else’s. One minute they will be clinging to you, desperate for attention, and the next they will be mad with rage because you dared to suggest that they might like to hang out with you at the beach instead of spend all day in the hotel room on Snapchat.

It’s hard work for sure.

Here’s a casual sunset view from a Villa Plus villas, just to inspire you and make you believe it IS worth it.

Much like toddlers though, if you plan ahead and cater for their needs, you CAN all have an amazing holiday, I promise. Their needs might be slightly different – they are far less likely to be bothered about whether you cut their sandwiches into squares or triangles for instance – but they should be easy to satisfy with a little pre-holiday preparation.

I started off by asking Belle, 14, about the things that were most important to her in a holiday, and whether there were any things that she absolutely couldn’t do without in her suitcase.

Villa Plus then chipped in to help me to come up with some tips to help you pack teenage essentials and choose a holiday destination that will hopefully minimise tantrums. (Yours AND theirs.) Villa Plus has over 30 years of experience  when it comes to holidays, with handpicked villas in some rather gorgeous locations across Europe. Their aim to create your dream holiday – a time together as a family that you will ALL love, no matter what your individual needs. They have friendly, bi-lingual staff in each resort too, so peace of mind for you knowing there is someone experienced on hand should – heave forbid – the worse happen, and the wifi stops working. View Post