All posts tagged: days out

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Golden Beach, Paros

One of my favourite parts of motherhood occurs in the moments following a day at the beach. Wrapping my children in shorts and warm jumpers, feeding them snacks, their energy spent. Bundling them into the car and filling the space between them. Observing their faces through dappled light on the road home; all tousled hair, sand-speckled noses and seawater lips. Watching sleep wash over them, their breath rhythmic as the ocean waves… Despite living by the sea, these moments are rare. Our beaches are pebbled, our waters freezing. Very few days are spent at the beach, even in the summer.  Last week, though, we were on Paros, surrounded by the most beautifully clear water I had ever seen, and mile upon mile of sandy beaches. We were blessed with unseasonably good weather – bright, sunny, hot. On Tuesday, we spent the afternoon at Golden Beach, a vast stretch of sand to the East of the island, often frequented by windsurfers, though entirely empty in February. The sun was incredibly hot and there was no shade …

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Day Trip to Dublin with Stena Line

It has always been a dream of mine to visit Ireland.  My obsession started with Father Ted and took me through music, history, autobiography and literature, cinema and art… Of course, the Holy Grail, as it were, has always been the idea of actually visiting the Emerald Isle.  This dream came true last week.  It was a last-minute arrangement; I don’t think we were even sure we were going until the afternoon before we left!  We were on holiday at Bluestone Wales, an easy 30 minute drive from Fishguard, so when Stena Line very kindly offered us return tickets to Rosslare, we really couldn’t refuse.  The thought of doing the trip in one day almost put my husband off completely, particularly as I don’t know how to drive, so was unable to take over at any point.  However, I think he got the impression that I would never forgive him if we didn’t make the trip so we were suddenly Ireland-bound!  There are two crossings from Fishguard to Rosslare each day, one that departs at 02:30 …

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Folly Farm

This week, we have been staying at Bluestone Wales, which is such a beautiful part of the UK. Wales is incredibly lush and green, with breathtaking landscapes.  We just don’t have cliffs and mountains in Worthing, and our beaches are certainly not pristine and sandy!  It has been a real treat of a week.  Without question, one of our absolutely highlights was our visit to Folly Farm, just a few minutes up the road. Seeing that it had been voted Wales’ Best Day Out 2015 raised our expectations, yet still they were exceeded.  Folly Farm is like several days out in one.  There is the farm, the zoo, the vintage funfair, the impressive play parks, and the go karts.  We stayed all day and didn’t even see it all.  We started at one of the farm’s many play parks.  All were huge and provided challenging and stimulating equipment.  It was lovely to see a place that understands the connection between a child’s imagination and their physical need to play and move.   Next up, we headed …

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The Forest of Dean

Last weekend, we were fortunate enough to spend some time with Forest Holidays at their Forest of Dean site.  It was verging on the magical from beginning to end, from the hot tub under the stars to the walks beneath the leafy forest canopy. We have stayed in a forest before – the New Forest, to be precise – but we only camped.  Our stay with Forest Holidays was something else.  The little details really made it a very special weekend; things like the robes and slippers in the master bedroom, the underfloor heating, and the forest ranger, Gerry, who taught the children an incredible amount. It probably sounds silly to say, but the forest was so green.  Like, so green.  I can’t even describe its vividness.  It was one of the few places that looks beautiful in photos and in real life.  It was also a place that I didn’t want to leave. Of course, though, we couldn’t stay forever.  We did, however, try to make the most of our time.  On the way home, we stopped …

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Amsterdam

Both James and I had been keen to visit Amsterdam for years before we finally took the plunge this year. From the first time I read about the place at least ten years ago, it did not strike me as a particularly child-friendly city break destination. With its coffee shops and sex shows, red lights and generally seedy reputation, I was a little nervous when we booked our family holiday. I needn’t have worried though. From the moment we left the imposing Centraal Station, we felt safe and welcome. We stayed in Entrepotdok, a 15 minute (ish) walk from the station.  Being so close to the city centre, we hadn’t expected anything so quiet and residential.  We almost felt as though we had taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in a small village.  In Paris, we stayed roughly the same distance from the city centre and there was traffic and noise literally 24/7.  Not so in Amsterdam. It’s no stretch of truth to say that everyone we met last week was friendly and …