Last night, I had one of those car journeys, not really minding if it took me a few minutes or an hour to find the main A road home. The car battered by wind and rain, slightly unsure of my direction due to a lack of Sat Nav, but fired up by an evening of travel talk with friends. Barreling along dark, narrow country lanes, my internal commentary was little like this:
“Is n’t Jo Whiley on the Radio 2 great, I should listen to her more often.” “Oh I love new places, loved the Chapel at Bruton, will go again.” “I’m going to spend more time with bloggers with year, will get organised, bloggers are brilliant”. “Travel is amazing, I’d forget how much I love it, I want to take my boy on journeys of discovery”. “I do love new places”…. and on…
It was one of those drives. Ideas formed, dreams created. Frankly, I could have driven to Folkstone, Kate Thornton interviewing Les Dennis replaced Jo Whiley, a commitment to the school run and no passport returned me to Bristol.
Leaving home earlier in the day, I was in a ‘meh’ January frame of mind, headed for a little Somerset town, with fairly low expectations, I knew I’d be seeing friends, I looked forward to wandering around somewhere different and meeting with a brand which looked good but I knew little about. Damp fields, moody skies, grey roads and a slightly ‘dark’ play on Radio 4 led to Bruton. I’d wanted to visit Bruton, I’d heard there’s a fantastic cafe and bakeryand is cool in ‘ kind of way.’ For me, that is every reason to visit, new place, good bakery, possible celebrity (Shallow moi?). An invitation from a travel brand was easily accepted.
Before children, I took any opportunity to travel, passport in a small bag around my neck, rucksack, a flight. Countless times, arriving at airports, stations and ports, with nowhere to stay and the vaguest of plans. I love new places, I once went to Hull just because I’d never been before (once was enough).
Having a baby shifts many things, holidays are a tilt shift. Having somewhere to stay on arrival takes on new meaning, as do facilities and access. We’ve taken our baby aboard twice. Having him, our perspective on travel changed, we want to explore, but we want it to be easy. When my boy was 2 we spent 10 days self-catering in Suffolk. Everyday we found somewhere different, stunning coastline, in-land cycling, castles, pretty villages. It dawned on us, that for all our exploration of foreign places, there was much of the UK we barely knew, we decide to holiday at home and we want him to appreciate the UK.
Currently, I have that January yearning for long days, sunshine, meals outside, bare feet on beaches, Instead, pots of tea, a blanket and a book is as warm as it gets. With one exception, I’ve barely left the confines of my small patch of Bristol in weeks.
Arriving in Bruton, it begins to rain again, the high street has several shops perfect for browsing; interiors, antiques, prints. I pass old men in wellies, mothers collecting children, no celebs. There are various interesting narrow alleyways and quirky buildings, after a bit of walk, I’m cold.
At the Chapel beckons, it is a world away from a cold afternoon in Somerset, but retains a local welcome, no pretensions. I grab a comfy arm chair and revert to pot of tea, chocolate brownie and a book mode. At the Chapel is a very gorgeous place to while away some time.
Image Credit: Lori Wild and Grizzly. Full Review of a stay: Wild and Grizzly At the Chapel
I’d come for an evening with i-escape.com, firstly let me say, I’m writing about them here, not because they asked me to (they didn’t) but because I really liked them and as I said, I was a woman with January ‘meh’ expectations, not the easiest customer to please. They presented their ethos of stylish, well researched travel destinations to suit all budgets, that welcome children. They demonstrated the i-escape.com/kids website, great layout, cleverly thought out advance search functions, all the really useful information you need when booking a holiday as a family. January blues begin to evaporate, I dredge up thoughts and plans already slightly formed.
Like many bloggers, I meet lots of PR/brand people, rarely have a met a team who had researched their audience so thoroughly. Always swayed by flattery, read my blog and I will love you long time, however, the attention to detail in understanding the travel interests of my family from the details gleaned from this space impressed me. It supported what they’d said; attention to detail. Only the right accommodation makes it onto i-escape.com website. Big Fat Tick of Approval.
OK, I haven’t booked via i-escape.com/kids, but from meeting them last night and chatting to several members of the team, as well as listening to them present, I would heartily recommend taking a browse.
Last night lifted my January cloud and inspired me to focus of blue skies ahead, thank you to all that contributed.
Disclosure: I was invited to At the Chapel by i-escape.com/kids, I paid for my own tea and brownies. I did receive refreshments and a goodie bag courtesy of i-escape.com. All words and opinions are, as always, my own.
What are your holiday plans? Inspire me some more.