The 80-20 Rule of Holidays

sam in pool

Our holiday was 80% amazing, and 20% hot-sticky-cross-cranky. Or at specific moments, 80% hot-sticky-cross-cranky and 20% I’m a parent, get me out of here. There’s the stuff that can happen on any holiday – even before kids, or when they’re older and a trip away (presumably) becomes a relaxing event. Like when a dying wasp leaves its ...

Three campsites in France: comparison and review

Beach in Carnac

Recently, I asked my seven-year-old if she remembered Sequoia Parc, the campsite we stayed in, two years ago in France. "Of course I do - it had a dragon pirate ship thing beside the pool," she said. "No," I said, "That was Clarys Plage, last year." She was sure I was wrong. I was sure I was right. ...

Same place, different century

Office Mum: beach St Jean de Monts

Twenty-six years ago, my parents took the ferry to France and made their way down to St Jean de Monts, with four of us rattling around in the back-seat. The roof-rack that held our suitcases was covered in water-proof tarpaulin, secured with rope. My parents found their way by following a big, unwieldy map; cracked in ...

Mr. Pilkington breaks a heart

Office Mum: photo of Emmie

All the talk after the first kids' club visit was about Darragh-from-Dublin. Or Mr. Pilkington as he was known by those in the know. Emmie had gone on her own for this first visit, but her enthusiastic stories of painting and treasure hunts and Darragh-from-Dublin were enough to convince Clara to join her the next ...

5 things I haven’t learned at all about holidaying with kids

Office Mum: photo at pool

Every year, bright-eyed and innocent, I look forward to going away on holidays - to reading and relaxing and resting, and to getting lots of sleep and sun. And every year, I am yet again taken by surprise to find that the holiday isn’t quite the chilled out, easygoing, restful experience I expected. Here’s what ...

Holidays with a dash of toddler

office mum photo of son on scooter

Holidaying with a toddler is kind of a contradiction in terms – if you expect, that is, for a holiday to be a relaxing affair. If you like high-octane adventure holidays, where you come home exhausted after two weeks of running, climbing and water-based-activities, then of course, holidaying with a toddler could be right up ...

Sea change

office mum photo of coffee

“Thinking of taking the ferry to France?” I said. “Here are some tips!” I said, like a girl who knows a thing or two about driving to France. Then this year happened. It started out really well – too well really. We were more organised than ever, and managed to leave the house earlier than planned. ...

Out of the office (by the skin of my teeth)

office mum photo: passport

"That's where I got my passport photos mum, isn't it?" said Emmie who is five, as we walked past our local Fuji photo shop last Friday. "Yep, that's right - we'll have to make sure we all bring our passports when we go on holidays next week, won't we!" I replied. "Do you have a passport mum?" ...