Family holidays are a great opportunity to make life-long memories and bond with those closest to us. After all, even though families come in all shapes and sizes, they all have one thing in common – they benefit from quality time together. In fact, family holidays can make children happier and smarter.
But it’s quality of time, not quantity, that counts. It might be a cliché – but it’s true. To help your family bond, we’ve come up with eight suggestions for your next holiday. Check them out:
Do you have a go to place to escape to when you are feeling overwhelmed by life? I grew up in Cheshire with lots of holidays in North Wales, I have so many happy memories: I can still see myself sat in a caravan with my Mum and brother eating boiled eggs and soldiers, or walking back to the caravan from the beach holding my Dad’s hand as he contemplated pieces of driftwood, or playing with a brightly coloured plastic toy watch I’d spent my pocket money on, or cooling after a day at the beach under the shadow of Harlech castle.
Wales is still my favourite place to escape to when I want to feel like a carefree kid again. Once with Mr A and my kids, I stumbled on a tiny shop in Harlech where I had once bought a handmade pottery hedgehog and owl as a kid, to find the same items still being made and sold. My kids bought their own, just as I had done. My Mum had died 6 months earlier and it was the most wonderful gift to be able to take my own family back into my childhood once more. I hope my kids will always find peace in Wales and continue the little legacy!
Here’s five reasons why I think you might love North Wales too:
Five years in a row of doing something funny for money with Team Honk for Comic Relief – Snowdon, a Lands End to John O Groats Relay, The Danceathon, The Museum Dash and now The Honk Line.
Thanks so much to all my wonderful sponsors, your generosity will make a huge difference to those living in unbelievably tough circumstances in the the UK and across Africa. There is still time to sponsor, or indeed to raise some money for Red Nose Day on Friday 24th March.
Today I wanted to share some photos to say a huge thank you. We walked 10 miles around London, in fancy dress – I went as the Mad Hatter – and prepared breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea in London Parks.
Currently my kids, aged 8 and 10, haven’t had access to their technology for a week. It’s been lovely, they’ve been out in the garden more, they are playing together, we’ve been to see a performance, we’re all snuggling up together in the evening instead of sneaking off with gadgets to different corners of the house.
The gadgets won’t be gone forever, that wouldn’t be reasonable, or even desirable. Both Mr A and I work with the internet, he makes video games and I write online, we love the creativity it offers and like any self respecting member of Generation X ( did you read that brilliant article about Generation X in the Independent recently?) we want our kids to be able to build with the internet and get the best from it. Sadly, we also we know the pitfalls all to well. Taking time to regroup and give our kids a taste of the internet free childhood we loved has given us all some headspace.
We’re a bit sick of being bombarded with alarmist messages about parenting and screen time, on the flip side we’re also a bit fed up of managing screen time and negotiating their rapidly expanding requests for more access. It’s ok to take charge and to put the brakes on, we’re the grown ups after all.
And to pause. And to breathe.
My 8yo who often pushes me away when I attempt a cuddle these days is curled up against me, watching intently and grabbing my arm from time to time or gently moving my face to deliver questions in my ear. We’re watching Varekai, by Cirque Du Soleil, the world’s largest theatrical producer, each Cirque show combines no-safety-net-daredevil acrobatics from around the world, with a magical theme and storytelling.
Theatre and performance are amazing for the soul and Varekai completely reminds me why I need it and why I love taking my kids. The rush to leave the house, to park the car and the bickering over appropriate treats soon vanish as we feast on on a riot of colour, music, costume, lights, a magical set and thrilling circus skills. I could watch their faces all night, I love seeing how humans performing on stage can elicit such incredible reactions in other humans, and it’s especially magical watching a show mirrored in a child’s face.
I wake in a blind panic, thumping pillows, sweating and heavy breathing as I stumble round the room on my hands and knees. I have no idea where I am and I can’t see a thing. I work my way round the room like some kind of crazed zombie woman. A light comes on and I slowly come to my senses on the floor, my hands on my son’s face. He is muttering at me to get off and my husband is sat up bolt upright in bed, calling my name.
I was looking in my dropbox for photos this week and it struck me that we haven’t really stopped on the adventure front for the last 2-3 years. I was smiling away at picture after picture of trips I had almost forgotten. Of course the minute you see the photos the memories come flooding back, flying up the motorway to the Lake District and jumping straight into a kayak with my 7yo, running along the beach under Bamburgh castle imagining the BFG’s footprints from the film, afternoon tea with Lord and Lady Carnarvon at Highclere Castle, drinking Bloody Marys in a tomato greenhouse in Iceland. We’ve done some brilliant stuff and I feel really lucky to have these adventures. But…
Wild Running in Sherwood Pines, Nottingham
We have trees on our planet that are 2,000, 3,000 even 5,000 years old, yet we seem to still understand relatively little about why trees make us happier, our intuition tells us they do, but why is this? My local old tree is the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest, it is is about 800–1000 years old, Robin Hood is said to have hidden in it, and I love to imagine Robin Hood and his merry men and all the other people throughout history who have walked past that tree – that alone is guaranteed to put any of my stresses in perspective and make me feel like a small dot in a long line of people. Trees ground me.
I’m really excited to be teaming up with Amber Motorhomes to share the chance to win four nights motorhome hire. Amber Motorhomes are a leading motorhome rental company, their premium quality vans are all under 2 years old and have undergone 100 plus safety checks. Insurance for two is included, not extra – a refreshing change! You can find the competition details at the end of the post.
We love motorhomes, we had two amazing motorhome trips last year, our first motorhome trip around Scotland was breath taking, then we stayed in the Ben 10 Rust Bucket which was hilarious fun. They were really special trips, here’s why I think you should definitely take a family motorhome trip this year: