Category Archives: Family holidays

A few days on the Isle of Man

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Hello, we’re just back from a few days spent on the Isle of Man for half-term.

James’ parents moved to the island about seven years ago, so we’ve been to visit them on several occasions. This was our second time flying there, which makes the journey much more straightforward. Flybe are now running low-cost flights from Stansted (just under an hour away from us) to the island. It’s only about an hour in the air, which is about right for me as I’m not the biggest fan of flying! It’s so much easier than getting a boat there, which involves a four hour drive, plus another hellish three or four hours on a boat with everyone being sick. Easy choice! I really hope these flights continue to run.

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As we’ve visited quite a few times before, we decided to keep this trip fairly simple, and spent most of the time pottering around the local beaches collecting shells, driftwood and other treasures.

The weather wasn’t  amazing – a bit grey and cold, but luckily it didn’t rain. I always forget how cold it can get (about 10 degrees tops during this visit, with the wind-chill factor making it feel even colder at times). But we were there to see family so the weather just has to be what it is. The boys are also immune to the cold and don’t seem to care.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon and after dinner we had a good run around the beach which is literally outside our front door. It’s a sea-weedy, rocky beach with lots of shells and driftwood to be found. We always love collecting as much as we can fit in our pockets!

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On our first full day there, the boys’ Granny had arranged a horse riding lesson for them in the north of the island. After the success of the horse-riding in Wales, they had another fantastic experience. Tommy and Socks were lovely ponies who took the boys round so gently.

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After that we headed to a nearby beach at Ballaugh. This is a good sandy beach, which is great for sandcastles and digging trenches as it has a stream running down to the sea. The boys and their daddy love nothing more than spending hours in the freezing cold digging trenches in the sand. I am less fussed and generally get a bit chilly. I need to be better prepared with hats, gloves, thermals and a thermos flask next time!

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Next day, we walked into Castletown and the boys enjoyed visiting the sweet shop. I also had a good rummage in the charity shop. There were a few good bits – particularly a pastel blue set of Pyrex mixing bowls, sadly too big to bring home on the plane.

In the afternoon we headed off for a walk at nearby Langness, where there is a lighthouse and the old Herring tower. It was a nice walk with lots of little beaches to drop down onto.

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One little beach had the most ridiculous amount of weathered glass on it, in all different colours. I love these soft, pastel coloured gems and filled my pockets with them.

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On our last morning I gathered yet more shells and driftwood while the boys dug more trenches. We flew back that evening. It was a relaxing visit, and I really appreciated a break from cooking!

Now I just have to decide what on earth to do with the huge haul of shells, wood and glass I brought back with me! I have vague ideas of a shell mobile?

Have you visited the Isle of Man?

Pembrokeshire: our holiday in pictures

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Hello! We’re just back from the most amazing week on the north Pembrokeshire coast. This was our third family holiday there – and our second visit to what is possibly the nicest holiday cottage in Wales. The sun came out for us every day, and it was almost as warm as our last trip back in the summer. My heart just sings when we are there… I can’t get enough of its rugged beauty – the turquoise sea and the yellow gorse were just stunning.  We much reluctance, we have returned home, and everything feels a bit flat now we can’t see the sea anymore – but our batteries are recharged, and we all feel much healthier after all the fresh air and exercise. We’re already planning our next trip, and trying not to dream too much about actually moving there. Here are some of my favourite photos…

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