Travel: Embers Camping and Tips on Picking the Right Campsite for your Family

A couple of weeks ago we decided to go camping. We’re not brilliant campers – we don’t own fold-out tables or shelves; when it rains we seek refuge in the pub; and in the mornings we’re more keen to find a decent coffee shop than we are to boil a collapsible kettle (who even knew there was such a thing?)! But we do like to camp. As a family, there’s nothing more magical than snuggling up together under canvas, telling stories by torchlight, and waking up to the smell of (someone else’s) bacon sizzling over a log fire. Embers kindly …

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Travel: A Weekend in Guernsey

Just look at that view. Spectacular, isn’t it? This is Guernsey. The view in Guernsey You’ll see a lot of lanes like this one on the second largest of the Channel Islands, and most of them will lead to a similarly beautiful panorama. This is where I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend, because this is where my brother and sister-in-law live. Thirty-five years ago they holidayed on the island, never intending to make their home there. But my brother stumbled across a job vacancies board, and they’ve been there ever since. This weekend I visited on a rare …

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Climbing the O2 Dome – what to expect when you climb the millenium dome

We’ve had a couple of big birthdays in our family recently. Just before Christmas, I made a big song and dance about turning 50. Ok, so really it was all an attempt to justify the complete wardrobe haul spending spree I went on. Call it mid-life crisis, if you will. I don’t care. Once you’re 50 it’s ok to stop caring what others think, right? Anyway, it was great, we celebrated in New York – well, mid-flight en-route to the Big Apple, to be exact, but who’s counting? Oh yeah, right. That would be me. Anyway, again… my brother and I …

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Wicked: an Alternative to the Panto at Christmas

When my kids were young they loved a pantomime at Christmas. It’s the slapstick, the limerick nature of it all, the cheesy jokes, and the audience participation – it never fails with younger kids. But Maddie is now 12, and though she still wants a special trip to the theatre at Christmas time, she has outgrown the panto, seen the Snowman, and is not yet old enough to really appreciate a full ballet production of the Nutcracker. So we went to see Wicked. It has exactly the right amount of fairytale and costume excess to fit the bill of a …

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Kidzania London review

A review of Kidzania London, where the kids are in charge of learning about real life on the job.

If you have children, Kidzania must be on your radar. Mine had been begging to go for a while, so over the half term holidays we booked in, and I have to tell you, they were really excited, especially my eldest, who was looking forward to the independence of forging her way in a mock-up of the real world. Billed as a ‘real-life role play experience,’ Kidzania offers children the opportunity to get a feel for what it might be like to take on over 60 different workplace roles, earning money in return for tasks completed. Here’s what to expect …

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Travel: Piran Meadows – Luxury Family Fun in Cornwall (review)

Piran Meadows resort and spa is a wonderful mix of family fun activities, and complete relaxation

Luxury (noun): two pillows per person.   Hoseasons Cornwall Piran Meadows Review When I walk into a bedroom which will be mine for the duration of my holiday, and see abundant pillows, I know I’m on a luxury trip. There’s usually a TV on the opposite wall, and I know I will sit, plumped against my copious pillows reading my book, or watching a movie with my family. Luxury. So it is at Piran Meadows, in Cornwall, a small resort in White Cross, not far from the glorious beaches of Newquay. And of course, that’s not the best part. It …

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Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Family Review

Two things stand out immediately when you walk past Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! in London. First, a model of the tallest man in the world, who has always freaked me out so much on nights out in Piccadilly; and second, this awesome Mini Cooper. This year marks a rather big birthday for me, and I love my soft top Mini, but I’d be prepared to trade it in for this one. And what girl doesn’t need a million Swarovski crystals for her birthday? Once you’re inside the museum, there is no end to the OMG! moments, as you explore …

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Taking Kids to Planet Hollywood London (review)

The kids had the best time at Planet Hollywood. And it wasn't just about the food...

I have to say we’ve had the best summer. Quite apart from the weather playing ball for once (shhh…), we haven’t been away on holiday. And that’s a good thing. Instead, we’ve had a series of brilliant days out, lots of them in London. The kids, at 9 and nearly 12, are super company, pretty safe to take out in a crowd, and capable of doing some walking without getting tired. (Though I do have to carry their stuff as the day wears on). Without a doubt, one of our best days out was spent around Piccadilly Circus, visiting Ripleys …

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Travel: Why I love British camping

I snuggled down in my sleeping bag, and wriggled my ten-year-old toes. I was far too excited to sleep, my Dad’s torch flicking signals on the canvas, fearful shadows urging me to stay in the tent. Joanna lay next to me, but she wasn’t asleep either. Both of us were eagerly awaiting midnight, so we could eat our Blue Riband biscuits and declare that we had experienced a real-life midnight feast. In the event, we wore ourselves out giggling well before the appointed hour, and I set my purple-faced alarm clock so we wouldn’t miss it, as we dozed off. …

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Perfect Somerset Country Cottages, and a Wedding!

There is nothing more wonderful than the English countryside. Especially on a glorious sunny day, sitting in a garden full of buzzing bees, with a glass of something cold. Except perhaps a whole weekend of it. We’d looked forward to my nephew’s wedding with the kind of anticipation that comes of receiving an invitation to an August date in the cold, dark months of Winter. We’d booked Poppy Lodge with Sykes Cottages right away, and pored over the photographs, dreaming of summer. But we hadn’t counted on such a perfect weekend – you never know what the English weather will do, …

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A Day Out at Liverpool’s Albert Dock (review)

Imagine a square half mile that provides enough entertainment for the whole family for an entire day. It’s not a theme park, or a festival (although it has a festival atmosphere this summer); it’s just a city attraction that will keep all ages happy just hanging out together. I’m talking about the Albert Dock, in Liverpool, a small but vibrant commercial centre built around the historic old dockyards of Liverpool’s port. It’s years since I’ve been to Liverpool, but it’s only 2 hours from London on the train, so we decided to have a day out somewhere different now that …

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Travel: Treehouse Glamping in Norfolk

Sunrise treehouse at West Lexham in Norfolk is the perfect home from home for a relaxing glamping break.

Advertising disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you click them, for which I thank you. All opinions and imagery of West Lexham are my own.  Treehouse Life Is there anything more lovely than camping in the woods? Waking early to sunlight peeping through the leaves, and the sound of birds singing the sunshine into the day. Or snuggling down by a log fire in the dusk of evening, hot marshmallows roasting in a flame as fairy lights twinkle. It turns out there is. Sleeping (and living) in a treehouse. I have always wanted …

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50 Secrets you Need for an Incredible Trip to Somerset

#SecretSomerset: some hidden gems in Somerset and Exmoor.

  Finding the real Secret Somerset How do you choose a restaurant in Hong Kong? A gondola ride in Venice? A beach in the south of France? Amongst all the choice, how do you find the really good stuff, the dish that will set your taste buds alight, that perfect little bay with the gorgeous sunset, or the boat that will leave you with lifelong memories? You follow the locals. Of course, you see the Eiffel Tower and you walk the Great Wall, but often it’s the things you don’t think to visit that become the greatest stories of your …

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Where to see Bluebells in Hertfordshire

Photographing in the bluebells at Ringshall

Ringshall, 2008. It’s been years since I updated our photo albums. Since the Bug was born, in fact, and I somehow lost a whole section of time in my day. It was something I always pushed to the bottom of my list, from where it nagged me weekly. For seven years. Last week I finally began the process of sifting through old images on old laptops and even older hard drives; and I found this picture of my daughter, aged 4, in the woods at Ringshall, on the Ashridge estate. It’s not the perfect photo – I don’t do Photoshop, …

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