New Years Blues
So we have been a little quiet, as we decided to take the brood away for New Years to the gorgrous Welsh Coast Line, to a place called Bluestone in Narbeth (well, near there). The grey and brooding welsh skies over the pembrokshire national park, was a reminder of just how beautiful the landscapes of the UK can be. As we zipped around on our electric golf buggy, with 'free range' kids undertaking tasks like - being elves, making willow wreaths, cooking with Mrs Claus, it was probably the last year we will get away with the magic of christmas with the youngest children. One poor actress (elfing it up), got quized constantly by my 7 year old son about her 'fake ears', until she threatened to send him to the mouse king to be turned into a Nutcracker! (fairplay to be honest as I became the embarassed mother in the group).
Whilst we were away, with some time to think, plan and organise, our attentions quickly turned to planning the year, what breaks away, what we wanted to see, experience and do witht he children. We are of the firm belief that memories carry more weight than things!
Every year I jet off, for work and adventure, mistrusting planes increasingly, and so this year we have decided to Staycation, in the UK. Admitedly we do have slight concerns over the whole Brexit debarcle, long passport ques, lack of info over travelling post March, and the idea of doing that with the kids, fills me with dread! We have been looking into boating in Ireland, a lodge in Cornwall, Scottish Highlands, Norfolk Broads and more.....
Last summer was a scorcher, and climate change isnt going away any time soon, so unless its a short journey, or we can train / public transport into Europe (sounds more glamorous in my head, until I factor in 4 kids, rucksacks, lost toys on trains and more...), we are working our way through ideas here in the UK. One thing is for sure, 6 people in a static carvan in the south of France (37 degrees), with no air con, is NOT happening again!
Time passes so quickly, its 12 weeks until Easter, the Creme Eggs are by shop counters, and yet I have only packed away the Christmas Decorations today! It feels like the year is scheduled for us, whilst also fitting in around school holidays, juggling jobs and the desire to grow The Hive on a weekly basis.
So how do you find the right place, unless you know someone who can recommend? I have used several fantastic websites over the years and am going to share some with you, as sharing is caring....
If your going to dare overseas then can I recommend;
Pagel France - baby, toddler and child friendly holidays in the South West of France - we loved our Glamping Tent Experience
Huttopia - fabulous campsites and glamping, great prices and child friendly from baby to teenager!
Camping Castel - great camping and glamping based around historic buildings in France. You can find a few hidden and not to overly commercial gems all around France.
Le Village Western - Part of Castel Camping - but we have been twice and we love it. Western Style Ranch Glamping / Caravaning / Camping and Statics.
UK - Staycation....
Alistair Sawday - an amazing collection of properties for all reasons and occassions - great search tool as well!
Luxury Family Hotel Group - the title says it all, and the facilities are fabulous. The Ickworth and Fowey Hall are favourites.
Bluestone Wales - a fabulous Free Range Holiday with your kids, Centre Parks 'ish' without the overly commercial value and the additional costs / activities are low and worth it. Hire a Golf Buggy as the steep incline may kill your calves unless you fancy a helth trip in the welsh sunshine. The spa is also well worth a few visits.....just saying!
Canopy and Stars - I do have a penchant for a Safari Style Tent and a Wood Fired Hot Tub, and you can find plenty with Canopy and Stars....a wonderful way to spend a weekend!
Drovers Rest - we spent a recovery holiday here, with no children, to recover from 3 weeks of bickering in the French Heat. Your hosts are marvellous, the facilities are top notch and you can come and go as you please. Its spitting distance from Hay on Wye for some literary catching up!
Meanwhile enjoy the last few weeks of candles at 4pm, log fires, warm blankets, twinkly lights and casseroles, soups and epic breads and stoggy cakes.....I am a huge fan of winter, and planning for when the sunshine arrives, but enjoying what mother nature does as it sparks back into life.