The blues of the Auvergne

I’m finding it a challenge to adjust to being home after our Europe road trip. I miss the freedom of being on the road, and being out in the open air camping. We’re slowly finding our groove, and working out ways to incorporate some of the bits from our holiday into our everyday life at home. Some of these are lifestyle-based (less TV, more eating outside in the garden etc), but some of them are aesthetic too. The last stop on our trip was the Allier department of the Auvergne region in France, where I was seduced by the beautiful spectrum of blues…

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Campsite activities for young children

We loved being away with the kids for a month, but it can get tiring needing to keep them entertained 24/7, especially when most of the campsites we chose to stay on were on the smaller side – a compact playground (if we were lucky) and a swimming pool (maybe). When you’re camping, space in the car is tight, no matter how long you’re going away for, so we didn’t pack many toys, but what we did bring has kept the kids occupied and happy whenever required, so I thought I’d share what we took… Picnic blanket Better than a…

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The colours of the Cinque Terre

When I saw a photograph of the clutches of tightly packed houses in their pretty pastel shades clinging onto the steep cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea, I knew that a trip to the Cinque Terre (or ‘Five Towns’) in Liguria, Italy had to have a place on our Europe road trip. The picture in my mind was ridiculously romantic – puttering along the coast in a small fishing boat, pulling into the small harbours each of the villages and strolling around, soaking up the Italian mood and watching village life go on around us. Of course the reality was a…

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Lunch stop in Gandria

Before we left the UK I saw a photograph of a gorgeous-looking village in Ticino, Switzerland called Gandria on Pinterest (where else?). When we looked at our driving route from Locarno to Lake Como and realised that we would drive right past Gandria, it seemed just the place to stop off for a break on our journey. We weren’t disappointed. We parked up and followed the narrow, winding pathways down to the tiny harbour where there was a perfectly-placed bench to eat our picnic and watch the ferries on the sparkling Lake Lugano go past. The village was quiet and…

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Cycling the Medieval walls of Lucca

After visiting Florence earlier this week (beautiful but busy – the throngs of tour groups definitely took the edge off its magic for me although the buildings were breathtaking), we spend yesterday exploring the medieval walled city of Lucca, whose laid-back vibe we absolutely loved. The best way to get a feel for the city is to cycle round the top of its walls (these are so spacious there are parks and playgrounds up there) with a view of the city on one side and views of the surrounding countryside on the other. As soon as we saw these hilarious…

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