At last 10 months and 29 days of preparation come to fruition. Our day of departure has finally come and we are about to embark on our first family ski season.
It’s a relief, after the meticulous (and stressful) planning, to be off with no more to do but bundle up the sleepy girls (it’s 5 am and -9 outside) tucking them into our van packed to the rafters. We’ve stayed overnight at our friend, Purple’s house in Brighton. It cuts 3 hours off our total drive time and means we can do the entire journey in a day. Bonus.
Pulling out in the dead of night it’s much the same start to any adventure.
Preparations for ski season departure + 9 awesome baubles for travel lovers to hang on their Christmas Tree
Whilst snow continues to silently fall in the Alps, we, amid endless to do lists & mounting piles of kit, can’t suppress our school child excitement. Epic conditions so far indicate it could just be the best season for snow since 1999! Turns out we couldn’t have picked a better season to go (aside from the feeble miserable pound).
Why female adventurers are vital for girls + 6 inspiring picture books for determined girls this Christmas
We all want our girls to be confident, daring and bold. Don't we?
Boys have Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider to fan the flames of literature whilst Bear Grylls is revered as Chief Scout by thousands of boys across the UK. Brownies lack no real figurehead with which to electrify & inspire and gutsy heroines seem rather thin on the ground since Nancy Drew. After attending the Shextreme film festival in Bristol a couple of weeks ago, it struck me again how vital it is to have female explorers and adventurers as role models for young girls.
If you're looking for stocking fillers, here's my top 6 picture books of real life pioneering women to encourage your girls to break boundaries.
Women Explorers - Perils, Pistols & Petticoats tells stories of pioneering women explorers before 1900. A great read for girls aged 10+ (£7.35 Amazon). Helen Thayer's Artic Adventure tells the real life story to 7-10 year olds of Helen Thayer, the first woman to travel solo to the magnetic North Pole pulling her sled with no outside help (Amazon £6.79).
Last New Years Eve we made the gargantuan decision to head for the Alps this Winter for a FAMILY SKI SEASON. With the onset of October, we’ve said adios to Summer and are rapidly ramping up Winter preparations. So why did we decide to do it, what does it involve and could you do it too?
With the explosion of working remotely, the dream of a family ski season can become reality
Swap canvas for wood by booking into one of these cute hobbit houses for the weekend. Set in the heart of Exmoor, slap bang next to Wimbleball Lake, these pods are perfect for families wanting to get out on the water and guaranteed to keep you cosy this Autumn.
If you’ve never visited Sark, the tiny traffic free island in the Channel Islands, put it firmly and squarely on your bucket list! I’d been hankering to visit Sark for some time and with a family trip to Jersey organized, I seized the opportunity to tag on a 4-night stay.
Perfect for autumnal weekends or rainy days, the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth is a great way to switch kids on to the threat of our oceans and how we can all play a part in protecting it. Plus after one entry, you can return free for the rest of the year!
An escape to La Valette Campsite, perched on a cliff top on the East coast of Sark, makes a perfect base for families to explore this traffic free, cycle happy island, only 24 miles from the French coast of Normandy.
Epic views from La Valette campsite
I love catching a ferry. It’s normally the start of a great adventure. Ferries are the very essence of island hopping, more often associated with our Mediterranean neighbours, than the UK. But we forget that we, as an island nation have numerous ferry ports dotted around our shores. Albeit less glamorous than Capri, Mykonos or Santorini, UK ferries do link us to some pretty fabulous destinations.
In a bid to start exploring some of the cool locations that UK ferries can drop you to, we took a Condor ferry from Poole to The Channel Islands and on to St Malo in Normandy.
Approaching the Channel Islands - a scene more reminiscent of Greece than the UK
Whether it’s sandy beaches, water sports or history that floats your boat, Jersey is now the hotspot of the UK for family holidays. Post Brexit, the increase of terror attacks in Europe and the dwindling value of Sterling abroad means more families than ever are keen to stay closer to home. With more sunny days than you can shake a stick at and deserted sandy beaches, this Island paradise is a must for families wanting to try somewhere new inside their own borders.
Here are our top things to do as a family in Jersey.
Location, location, location! If its tranquil beach side living you’re after then La Ferme du Vau Tocque on the South West coast of Jersey is the perfect family getaway. A stone’s throw from the beach, this restored farm cottage in over an acre of grounds, nestles in an idyllic position on Ouaisne Common far from the hustle and bustle of life.
Want to instill the travel bug in your littles? Need some literary inspiration for imminent Summer road trips? Here are our firm family favourites - books to connect your kids to nature and amped with the adventure spirit.
This weekend we were the guests of Outdoor + Active, a fantastic adventure activity centre nestled into the South East corner of Exmoor National Park. With a glut of water sports activities on their perfect lake side location, and an equally impressive array of land based action, we were seriously impressed with what this centre had to offer families. If you’re like us - an outdoorsy family, loving anything with a faintly adventurous whiff, then put this place firmly on your radar!
Whether you were firmly in the Brexit or Remain camp, the UK has now voted to leave the EU. Waking up to a world in shock, & after hearing the term ‘seismic’ reiterated countless times in the press, one thing is clear - that this mammoth decision will affect us all in many ways in the days, weeks and years to come.
Those of you who love to travel and live abroad inevitably voted in. Restrictions to free movement may have dire consequences for UK residents wanting to travel, live and work inside Europe.
But how will it affect family holidays and travel affordability for UK based British families this Summer and beyond? Below I outline 7 key points concerning travel and how it affects my family.
What does it mean for UK families holidaying in Europe?
If you’re able to emotionally detach from your family home and want to maximize it’s potential whilst sitting empty, then Airbnb’ing your home to fund your family travels could be for you. Following on from my previous Airbnb post Live in a Tourist Hotspot? Fancy a free holiday? Airbnb your gaff and get going here's part 2 - 10' Airbnb Do's and Don'ts
Do - add local photos to your Airbnb profile
Throwing yourselves into the festival season or planning a summer holiday on the road? If your camper is bursting at the seams, ease cramped conditions by investing in a drive away awning. We were delighted to have the chance to review the pole free Vango Idris II Airbeam Drive Away Awning during our half term week in Cornwall.
If you’ve got an active family chomping at the bit each weekend, frothing for something fun and challenging, booking in a day at the Adrenalin Quarry in Cornwall is an absolute must!
We live in a popular surf village in Devon where during the Summer holidays a huge percentage of local families upsticks and rent out their houses to holidaymakers. We’ve now joined their ranks and have successfully let out our house now a handful of times. Last Summer we were booked out with guests for 5 weeks back to back which funded our 5-week European family road trip. Not to be sniffed at! It’s not up everyone’s street but for families who want to travel or save it’s definitely worth the effort. Here’s why:-
Saunton Sands, North Devon is a tourist hot spot
Do you take your children out of school for family holidays? If so, you’ll have been glued to the outcome of the case of Jon Platt in the High Court last Friday.
Are some of us born to travel? Is there really a gene that gives us the desire to be on the road? Are we escaping to leave something behind, merely inquisitive, looking for answers or just thirsting for adventure? I explore the myth of the wanderlust gene and the fact that scientists can now prove it exists.
A little closer to home, this review on a UK family run motorway service station, may seem mundane, but pulling over on a road trip up North last weekend, I was so wowed, particularly the thought put in for families, I thought it was worth sharing.
With our family exploring the possibility of spending next Winter in the Alps, I was interested to hear that a Montessori school had opened in the Chamonix Valley. With education being such a contentious point for families making the leap abroad, we jumped at the opportunity for our girls to have a half-day taster session whilst recently on holiday in Chamonix.
Proper kids backpacks are a rarity in this day and age. Surrounded by a vast array of plastic Disney emblazoned options, most kit is cheaply made rubbish which could never endure a long haul trip.
I wanted my girls, who at 3 and 6 were old enough to carry a small backpack on our 9 week trip, to contribute to lugging around our necessities and to get savvy with the cold reality of what every traveller experiences - limited capacity and what to pack. Which toys to take was their decision. They knew the size of their luggage & that they had to carry it - an important lesson for a prospective world traveller.
New Zealand with young children can be tricky if you're eager to do some serious stomping. Most trails are just too hardcore for little ones, and the landscape is often not varied enough - crucial to keep interest and banish boredom. Abel Tasman National Park perched at the northern edge of the South Island, is the smallest of NZ's national parks but brilliant for kids. Not limited to purely hiking the coastal trail, families can mix it up by catching water taxis and kayaking different sections of the 5 day trail. Surrounded by turquoise water, golden sands and verdant rain forest, four remote huts offer simple dorm accommodation. With no electricity, these huts are a real adventure for families who can get back to basics and really connect with nature, whilst having a safe option 'out' via water taxis should it all become too much.
The Family Freestylers are us - the Nixon family, who relish travel adventures both near & far