Tag Archives: holidays

Sunday Photo 11.10.15

dinos at Paradise Park

Cycling on Holiday with James Villas

 As a family we love cycling on our holiday. In fact it is probably the only time in the year that we do this all together. Bikes even appeared in my camping ‘Must Have Items’. Inspired by all the cycling success of Team GB in 2012 and my husband’s new found enthusiasm for mountain biking I borrowed a bike for our holiday in Cornwall. This was our first taste of holiday cycling and we loved it, especially G. I love looking back at these photos and seeing his happy face, the last one always makes me smile!

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Following on from this we booked a holiday in France the following year and a big part of our criteria was choosing somewhere that had great opportunities for cycling on holiday. By now we had progressed from a seat to a trailer and felt that road cycling was not something we wanted to do a lot of. Towing a 2 1/2 year old on the back of a bike on public roads just seemed a little bit daunting. As a result we opted for Ile D’Oleron which has tons of traffic free cycling tracks and we hardly used the car at all. It was such a perfect place for cycling that we returned in 2014. (You can read more about this trip here.)

camping cycling France

I was intrigued to read recently that the lovely people over at James Villa Holidays have put together some cycling guides for 5 of their popular destinations: The Algarve, Cyprus, Lanzarote, Mallorca and Menorca with a range of routes covering casual easy rides, off road adventures and more challenging rides for the Bradley Wiggins wannabes amongst us!

The routes look really well researched and put together. I love the great infographics that have been created too. Over the next few weeks James Villas will be sharing the routes for these 5 destinations and I will be keeping my eyes peeled for them as I am a sucker for a great infographic! You can view the Algarve one in greater detail here.

James Villa Holidays cycling Algarve

The routes offer a fantastic cycling experience and an opportunity to take  in the scenery and explore the local cultures. James Villas have also asked Gold medal winning road race cyclist Nicole Cooke to give some expert insight and advice to inspire us all with our holiday cycling. Having cycled around both Mallorca and Cyprus, Nicole has lots of tips on things like cycling in the heat and route planning. You can read more of her great tips on the James Villa blog.

Do you enjoy cycling on holiday? I would love to know. If you have never given it a go I can highly recommend it and most destinations these days have loads of bike hire places so it is relatively simple to give it a whirl. I promise you, you will love it!

(To find out more visit the full guide on the James Villas blog.)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with James Villas Holidays


British Seaside Holidays of Our Childhoods

The British seaside holiday is as popular today as it has ever been. Growing up I always loved our trips to the beach, especially as I grew up on the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire border which is about the furthest you can be from the sea in the UK.

vintage Torquay poster

This weekend we are heading down to Torquay for some family time as over the Easter weekend we hardly saw the other half as he was working. I chose Torquay because growing up we went there each year until I was about 7.  Every Easter we would pack up the car and head down to Torquay where my Dad and the hockey team he played in would take part in some sort of tournament. (I think this was just some excuse to have a booze up and when they started having children, they just brought us along too.)

I have loads of happy memories of playing on the beach, visiting the arcades, easting fish and chips and generally having a great time. There would always be a granny in tow (free babysitting I think) who would spoil us rotten as well.

70's childhood Torquay holidays

I chose Torquay because of these happy memories and I suppose I am hopping our little man will create his own happy memories of the place that featured so largely in my childhood. I mentioned this to a friend the other day and she had a similar story in that she took her family down to Sidmouth for a weekend as it was somewhere she went regularly as a child.

This got me thinking, do you take your families and children back to places where you had a great time when you were younger? Or do you tend to always try something new and never look back?

Single Mother Ahoy Weekend Blog Hop

Creating memories that last forever

Creating a Christmas full of lovely memories for our son (and us!) is really important to me when thinking about how I want our Christmas to be. I am a bit late with this but I saw the Mark Warner ambassador program for bloggers was closing today and it got me thinking about holidays in general and creating memories and having fun as a family no matter what time of year it is. For me I think of it as a bit like a bank account. You fill up with lovely, fun experiences when you can so that when you have those tough times which let’s face it we all do, you can ‘draw’ on these memories to help get you through.

For me, growing up, the highlight of my year was our annual family ski holiday. Unfortunately I haven’t been skiing for nearly 20 years, as a) my husband isn’t a skier and b) when I did have the opportunity I was 8 months pregnant but it is something we would really like to do as family in the future.

As a child I was lucky to start skiing from a young age as both my parents were keen skiers, my dad in particular and he was keen to get us started almost before we could walk.


I still remember trying on my ski boots at home before we went which were bright red with blue and yellow clips. This photo was me using the plastic bags we had our lunch in as a make shift sledge, which my dad’s best friend Uncle Ken invented. (This photo is extra special as Ken is no longer with us.)

When we were a little older we returned every year to the same village of Niederau in Austria where both my brother and would take part in the weekly ski school slalom race. Julian would always do better than me (he was and still is a fearless skier) whilst I never did particularly well but was thrilled to get a bronze medal one year which is still in my treasures box today.


This photo is from our first ski trip to Niederau and was taken in the après ski bar called The Avalanche where we had lots of fun with friends both old and new over the years we visited. Each time I look at this picture it fills me with so much love for my brother and our childhood (mainly as this was taken before he became an annoying teenage younger brother).


It is these memories that are my most vivid and happy and from my childhood and as a parent I really hope I can create memories like this for our son. So there is my reason why I would LOVE to be a #markwarnermum as it is family friendly companies like Mark Warner that take the hassle out of planning the family holiday and let us get on with the job of having fun and filling the memories bank account. You never know Garth might be blogging about his childhood holidays in thirty years time.

Pottete Plus and Skip Hop Grab & Go Bag

At the start of the summer I was fortunate enough to be sent a Potette Plus and Skip Hop Grab & Go bag to review. The Potette Plus is a really innovative product, especially for families on the go. Millions of toddlers have used Potettes in the 17 years since they were first created. It folds flat for easy transportation and once unfolded it is as stable as a conventional potty. When folded down it is small enough to fit in most nappy bags or buggy storage compartments and now doubles up as a toilet training seat. The Pottete comes with it’s own carrier bag and some absorbent liners. The liners can also be purchased separately in packs of 10 or 30 and are biodegradable too.   We were also sent a very stylish Skip Hop Grab & Go Bag, both very useful items that I would definitely add to my Camping with kids checklist.

Skip Hop Grab & Go Bag Pottete Plus

When we were out and about during the summer I can’t say I used ours at all. Having a boy we tend to find a small bush somewhere private, but a girlfriend of mine who has two daughters was whipping hers out whenever we had days out together and I can see that if you have daughters they are an incredibly useful piece of kit. However for us the Potette really came into it’s own when we were driving through France and we heard the ‘I think I need the loo’ from the back seat. On more than one occasion we were saved by this handy invention and the fact that it comes with the absorbent liners that when all is finished you tie up and dispose of like a nappy sack. Also when we were camping, it saved the long hike to the amenities block for little legs. Camping in France post here

The Skip Hop Grab and Go bag was a beautiful design and a really good size. It has two handy sections; the large zippered pocket can keep dirty nappies and wet items away from dry clothes, if you needed to store clothes after an accident it would be great.The large pocket has a waterproof PVA lining and the bag also has a handy strap that unsnaps to attach to a buggy or hook. We used the front pockets to store our baby wipes and tissues and kept the Pottete in the waterproof section .  These bags retail at around £13.00 and although not cheap, they look incredibly more stylish than a supermarket carrier bag and a lot more environmentally friendly. Together the Pottete Plus and the Skip Hop Grab & Go bag make a great combination.

I would definitely invest in a Potette if you have daughters or if you travel long distances with boys as it really was great. They retail at around £14.00 and we felt that it was good value for money and we now keep it in the car, as you just never know with kids do you?!!

To find out more you can visit www.maguari.com

Ile D’Oleron and Camping Indigo

It has felt like ages since I last had a moment to get on here. You forget how much you have to catch up with after being away for a week (mainly washing) and then with G starting back to nursery school as soon as we returned it has been all systems go.

We had a wonderful week away in France and camped with a company called Camping Indigo. We stayed at their site Oleron Les Pins which is one of two sites they have on Ile D’Oleron. We took the night crossing across from Portsmouth to Caen with Brittany Ferries and were really impressed with how easy, quick and comfortable it was. We booked a 4 berth cabin with ensuite facilities and it all felt very civilised. The boat even had a soft play area that we had to wrestle G out of when it was bedtime.

After a long journey it was bliss to arrive to our tent, knowing that everything we could need had been provided and we could settle in straight away. We booked a Wood and Canvas Tent IV.  The tents are pretty spacious and we asked to have the same pitch as last year as there was plenty of space around the tent for us to spread out. We only discovered when we were there but as a new addition this year they have added some new tents with a shower and a loo (our friends had booked one of these) and they were absolutely amazing. We were very jealous when we were traipsing over to the shower block after a long day at the beach and they only had to ‘nip’ back to their tent. They had a Sweet Wood and Canvas tent which I would highly recommend for first time campers.


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The island has miles of cycle paths and is all relatively flat so we ditched the car and cycled most places which meant we all came home a lot healthier than when we left. The facilities at the campsite were really good and much improved from last year. We had decided to go back as the tents and the location were fantastic but the cleanliness of the communal facilities were not great but this year they were excellent. Ile D’Oleron is famous for shellfish, especially mussels and oysters which we did indulge in and G loved the mussels. He would have eaten them for every meal if we had let him.






We loved the camping (even if we did get attacked by mosquitoes on a daily basis) and the freedom for G was wonderful. He loved the beach and we set up a little croquet set by the tent which gave him hours of fun. The beaches were clean, with wide expanses of sand, so although the car parking was a nightmare (lucky we had the bikes) they never felt over crowded.

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I would really recommend Camping Indigo and even though Ile D’Oleron is a good 6 hour drive from the Brittany ports it was well worth it. So now the only dilemma we face is where do we go next year?

Wedding Fever and the lovely people at Youmi & Teepee

Wedding fever has hit our village! This Saturday two of our very good friends are getting married here in the Cotswolds. They moved here a few years ago as the bride is from Canada and the groom from Australia. Most of the village is going and all our closest friends from the village will be there so I am really looking forward to the day. My Mum has flown in from where she lives in Budapest to look after G so not only do we get to have a great day out with our friends, this will also be our first wedding without taking G. Over the past few years all the weddings we have been to have been close family so we have had to take G as he has normally been involved in the proceedings in some way or another.


I left it to the last minute and finally decided on my outfit yesterday. House of Fraser have a fantastic 70% off sale at the moment and I got a gorgeous Mary Portas dress (even more gorgeous as the 14 was slightly too big!) reduced from £99.00 to £29.70, some very bright shoes from BHS (again a real bargain at £12.00) and a clutch I bought from Dorothy Perkins a while back.

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The bride had asked me on Friday if I had a children’s tent they could use as a quiet space for the children. I don’t have one but over the past few days I had seen Twitter buzzing about the beautiful children’s tepees available from Youmi & Teepee I got in touch with Alice and she was able to sort one out for us with express delivery so that it gets here for the weekend. Alice could not have been more helpful, especially as I contacted her late on Friday afternoon. I have bought the teepee myself as I love it so much and we wanted it for G after the wedding. The lovely PeacockPomPoms is using hers as a quiet reading space for one of her children and I really wanted to pinch this great idea.


I opted for the Elephant Teepee but they are all lovely and it was so hard to choose. We are also heading off to France camping at the end of August and my husband suggested we take it with us as a day tent for G as they come with canvas carry bags so can be transported easily. I will keep you updated on our adventures with our Youmi & Teepee over the summer. Let’s hope the sun shines on Saturday.



Easter Holidays


We broke today for the Easter holidays, whilst I appreciate the break from routine, not watching the clock each morning as I press snooze and worrying about what I can put in the lunch box to look more like a yummy mummy than slummy mummy, I also dread the long empty days that need filling.


Found on Facebook

This Easter holidays though, for the first time, we have a garden. This means planting, growing and the purchase of a trampoline. Lets hope the weather stays fine so we can get going. I have created a Pintrest board of all the ideas I am loving for outdoor learning activities.


From And Next Comes