Family Travel

Holidays in Devon with Marsdens Devon Cottages

As a child we always holidayed in the UK, with our go to places being Devon and Dorset. We spent many a day on the gorgeous beaches and visiting the wonderful attractions there. When we got married, we actually went to Devon on our honeymoon, it had the most amazing time.


Woolacombe in Devon is one of the most beautiful locations in the UK, having been voted UK’s best beach in 2012. It is also found in the top European beaches and regularly within the top 20 beaches in the world. Woolacombe is home to a 3 mile long, beautiful sandy beach, that gently slopes down the Atlantic ocean, so it’s very popular with surfers.

Set in North Devon coast line, it is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Many areas are now owned by the National Turst meaning it will be looked after for generations to enjoy.

If you are looking for a somewhere beautiful to visit then Woolacombe is the place to go, with little shops and restaurants to visit. With lots of little villages near by to visit, and coastal walks. You will always have something to do.

My Aunty has been taking her Grandchildren to Woolacombe each year for a mini holiday, for the last 8 years. They love it. Although I have visited as a child, it’s somewhere I would love to go back to with my own children.

Marsdens, Woolacombe Cottages are gorgeous and they have so many available to choose from. I have picked out a few that I would love to stay in.

My top Marsdens Devon Cottages in Woolacombe


This is the gorgeous Highfields, a fabulous open plan bungalow. It has recently been renovated to a high standard that gives that beachy feel from walking through the door. Highfields sleeps 4 people, with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, all bed linen and towels included. There is an enclosed garden and plenty of parking. With Fabulous see views and if you fancy a stay in the winter there is a log burning stove. Although no pets are allowed here it does make a lovely holiday home. Oh and there is wifi, a plus note for most people with families now.

Palms 1 is an awarding winning cottage, with it’s very contemporary interior and sea views. It’s just lovely. Sleeping 4 people in 2 bedrooms, bed linen and towels, open plan kitchen and living space. There is also private parking and a private garden. Palms 1 also allows you to bring a dog with you, the location is perfect for hours of dog walking.

Broadside is a lovely bungalow, which has garden of beauty, decked patio area for enjoying during the evening or for having you breakfast at. I could imagine spending hours just taking in the gorgeousness of this garden and wishing mine looked anything like it. Sleeping 4 people, it has everything you could want from a holiday get away in Woolacombe.

Number 53 is a detached bungalow, sleeping 6 people. It is a gold award winning cottage, with a fabulously large garden, sea views and a beautiful interior. Number 53 has 3 bedrooms, and not only does it have a wonderful garden there is also the decked balcony area that has plenty of seating for everyone to enjoy.

So what do you think to my picks? I would love to spend a week visiting Woolacombe and although it would be fabulous to visit during the Summer I think it would also be a great place to visit during the winter months. I am starting to think it might be the place for us to go for February half term.


*This is a collaborative post. Images are credited to Marsdens Devon Cottages. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*


Making memories in Crete

2017 was the first time we went abroad as a family. In fact it was the first time me and the Hubby has been abroad in the then 11 years we had been together. We headed to Crete one of the many Greek islands, with our 2 very excited children and my Mother and Father in law.

We chose the tiny little coast town of Almyrida and the most fabulous private villa up on the hill side about a 5 minute drive out of the town itself. We hired 2 cars from Rental Center Crete that we collected at the airport nice and easily, it was about a 45 minute drive along to the coast from the airport to our villa. The drive gave us time to take in the beautiful island.

The villa

Our villa was fabulous, set up the hill with views over the valley, across the town and out towards the sea. The villa also had it’s own private pool, set in a olive grow. The villa had 3 bedrooms, 2 double and a twin each with ensuite bathrooms on the ground floor. Then upstairs there was an open plan kitchen, dinning and living room, with doors out on to the wrap around balcony. The balcony became home to breakfast, board game in the evenings and many glasses of wine of the adults.

The Beach

The beach was lovely, sat right in Souda Bay. We spent a couple of lovely days on the beach. We hired lounger chairs from the local hotel at €3 each, but it was also perfect because it mean that the bar staff from the hotel came down onto the beach taking orders for food and drinks.

Although as a family we had been on UK coastal holidays, being able to spend a whole day on the beach was lovely. We made sand castles, played with the beach ball and swam. We ordered food and drink from the hotel bar, which was all reasonably priced. For those couple of days of family fun making memories was worth every penny that the holiday cost us. Even now almost a year later we are talking about the holiday and the child are asking about when we can return to Crete.

The food

Greek food is some of the best in the world. Freshly made salads that are just out of this world, fresh fish dishes are very popular, things like moussaka, stifado, souvlaki are all popular. They also cater wonderfully for the children. The hubby tried the very popular lamb and goat meals, while I stuck to the fresh fish and salads. Oh I also loved the fried cheese, stuffed vine leaves, that we shared for starters most evening. Every time you go into a restaurant for a meal, they bring you ice cold water to drink while you choose your meals, they when they bring you your bill they bring out a small dessert, or bite size piece of cake.

The Island

making memories in crete

The island of Crete is just beautiful, steeped in history. We visited Chania and Rethymnon both old Venetian harbour towns. We wondered around, popping in and out of the shops and beautiful cafes. If you love seafood you must pop to Rethymnon as the restaurants around the harbour have the most amazing selection of fresh sea food. Although we didn’t you can take a boot trip out to sea from the harbours which we plan to do when we next visit the island.

Even though Almayda is small town, they have everything we wanted. A couple of small super markets, a bakery that sold the tastiest cakes, an ice cream shop, only a hand full of shops and then a nice selection of restaurants and taverns.

We loved our week in Crete, the Cretans are some of the friendliest people you could wish to meet. All so helpful in shops, brilliant with the children and in the restaurants more than happy to explain what the food is and what it contains. We are going to go back but next time with think we will look at an all inclusive holiday. We have found some great ones here We made memories that will last a lifetime and cannot wait to make some more during our next adventure.

Have you ever visited Crete? What did you think to the island?


*This post was made in collaboration with Holiday Gems. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*

A weekend Glamping at Caalm Camp in Dorset

We have been on many a camping trip and really enjoyed our time on a campsite but never glamping and never in January. However this is just what we have been doing glamping the last weekend of January in rural Dorset. We had a very rare child free weekend and took my brother in law and his girlfriend away with us to start the beginning of his 30th birthday celebrations.

Caalm Camp Dorest

Caalm Camp is a few miles outside of Shaftesbury and they have 6 traditional Mongolian yurts for your glamping pleasure there is also Caalm cottage if glamping just isn’t your thing.

On arrival at Caalm Camp we were greeted by Mark who owns the farm with his wife Caryl, he explained that he had lived there all of his life. Caalm Camp was named after the family members – Caryl, Anna, Ashley, Lisa and Mark, I just love that the whole family are part of it. The family have had yurts on the farm for 7 years now and unlike most yurt sites they are open all year round. Offering long weekends, Monday to Friday and full weeks. 

Facilities at Caalm Camp

Mark took us down to see the facilities that have for guests to use during their stay. Each yurt has its own fridge and cupboard in the large kitchen with everything you could really need for your stay. Pots and pans, plates, bowls, cutlery, cookers, kettles, sinks, toasters all the basics to make you glamping experience as glamorous as possible.

Each yurt is also given it’s own wet room with toilet so you can lock all of your toiletries into the wet room and only you have access to it. Perfect, no need for carrying wash bags around with you. There is also no need to worry about taking towels with you as these are provided. The showers are on a push button that lasts a couple of minutes at a time, just make sure you let it run for a bit before you get it as at first its cold. But it soon warms up to a nice hot shower.

There is also a communal dining room and lounge area with plenty of tables, sofas and a TV. Some toys and games for the children and some DVD’s to watch. Also highchairs if you have little ones needing them.

Off the back of the communal space is the barn games area, with a pool table and a table tennis table, we did use them during our stay it was quite good fun. More fun than the pool table and table tennis was Ruby the goat and Sammy the sheep, they live in the barn. Although Sammy kept well out of the way Ruby was so friendly and more than happy for you to pat her. The children would have loved her.

Traditional Mongolian Yurts

After Mark had shown us around the communal area, he took us to meet Daisy our yurt for the weekend. Welcomed by a green wooden door hand painted in traditional Mongolian style. On entering the yurt we were surprised by the size but also how warm it was in there. Mark had put the log burner on about 30 minutes before we arrived and it was lovely and warm. The log burner was set in the middle of the yurt and has a metal cage around 3 sides to stop you being able to touch it or falling into it. There is a log store fully stocked up with wood that had been cut to the perfect size for your log burner which is free to help yourself too.

Should you want to use coal on the stove at night to keep it burning, then you can buy buckets of it within the communal area, at £3 a bucket. Each bucket is enough for a night. However we had taken some with us as I had read a review saying you needed to take your own. But at only £3 a bucket it is just as cheap and easy to buy it from there. Also if your fire does go out then you can buy fire lighters from the communal area as well at only 20p each.

In the yurt there was a double bed and two single beds, a couple of chairs, drawers for storage of clothing and under the single beds there was wooden storage boxes that slide under. There was also a mini kitchenette area, with a single induction hob for boiling the kettle for a hot drink. The kitchenette was equipped with the basic items needed for a BBQ.

The roof of the yurt was made up of beautiful hand painted wooden latticework leading to the centre and the source of light. A large domed open space, letting the log burners chimney out. The dome is covered to stop the rain getting in, but allowing the light in and allowing you to see the nights sky.

Outside the yurt there was a wooden picnic bench, bbq, fire pit and then a tap for fresh drinking water. Each of the yurts are set nicely apart so you have plenty of your own space. There is also a communal fire pit and seating area. Which would be perfect if you were going with a group of friends or for new friends you had met while there, great for sitting around and toasting marshmallows. Yummy!

No cars are allowed on to the yurt field, but you have the used a the cutest pink wheelbarrow to take your items down to your yurt from the car park.

After asking us if we had and questions and telling us to contact him should we have any questions or and issues, Mark left us to unpack and settle into our home for the weekend.

Our weekend at Caalm Camp clamping

Day 1 – arrival

We had taken with us our camping chairs as our booking confirmation email advised us to do so. Also I had taken a tea towel, washing up bowl, washing up liquid, bin bags, kitchen roll, toilet paper, wine glasses and a washing up sponge. I was unsure what items we would need so thought I would just take a few items for just encase we needed them. However the only thing we really needed was a tea towel, washing up sponge and kitchen roll. Everything else was there waiting for us to use.

The first thing we did after unpacking the car was get the kettle on. I love a good cup of tea. I had taken a few bits with us, tea, coffee, sweeteners for me, milk, hot chocolate, marshmallows, ooh I also took our BBQ skewers for toasting the marshmallows …… this was a brilliant idea. I mean who doesn’t want to toast marshmallows over a fire. Just a few basic bits that I knew we would use. Not forgetting the very important cannot live without gin and various different tonics.

On the journey down we decided that we would try and eat out and about to save cooking but cook bacon sandwiches in the mornings.

After settling in and unpacking a few bits, enjoying our cups of tea we decided to head out and find a super market and somewhere nice for dinner. We headed into Shaftesbury to the Asda store to pick up a few bits before having a drive around to find a pub for dinner. We ended up finding a pub called the Ye Olde Two Brewers that was located near the bottom of Gold Hill. It was fish and chip night and that is was all had and it was yummy. The staff were really friendly and welcoming, the food was good and men were happy with the selection of beer on offer. I would recommended a visit to Ye Olde Two Brewers pub if you are in Shaftesbury.

Heading back to our yurt, we re-stoked the log burner, set the fire pit going outside and made up some gin and tonics. We enjoyed a couple of hours around the fire pit, drinking, chatting and toasting marshmallows.

Day 2 – Tanks, Indian and Gin

After a fabulous night sleep we woke up to rain. Lots of rain. Getting up to shower and cook breakfast before heading out for the day. We had planned to go back into Shaftesbury to walk Gold Hill, or better known as Hovis Hill, however with the rain we decided to venture to The Tank Museum at Bovington which was actually well worth the visit. I found the first world war and second world war area really interesting but after that both the ladies were feeling just a bit tanked out, although the men loved it all and while us ladies went and had a hot chocolate they continued to look around the tanks in awe.

After we had finished with the tanks, we made our way back to Shaftesbury and got an Indian take away from a restaurant called Chutney in the town and took it back to our yurt. It was yummy and soon eaten by us all. We spent the evening playing card games and drinking gin and tonics sat around the log burner keeping us all cosy and warm.

Day 3 – Gold Hill, Farm Shop, Sunday Lunch, Cheese and Gin

On the Sunday morning we made our way back into Shaftesbury to walk Gold Hill, I was expecting a long very steep walk. Yes it was very steep but it wasn’t very long, the one nearer our home in Lincoln is a lot longer. We wondered around the town although just about everything was closed because it was a Sunday. However we did find a little café for a Devonshire cream tea. Yummy! The town of Shaftesbury is beautiful and very old, full of little shops that I could spend all day wondering around.

As recommended by Mark we went to the Kings Arms Inn for Sunday lunch, it was great. The pub offered a carvery style meal, with the choice of 5 different meat and then lots of vegetables. It was only £11.95 each and we all ate the lot, I honestly couldn’t fault the meal. It was really busy, we struggled to get parked when we first arrived, which is always a good sign. Before getting there we popped to The Udder Farm shop, it’s well worth a visit if you are down there. A great place for picking up a few nice bits to eat, we grabbed some cheeses, fresh olives and stuffed peppers for our cheese night.

After dinner we decided to head back to the yurt for a lazy afternoon, in fact we all wanted a sleep after a big lunch. However the girls decided it was be nice to take a walk, it was cold, wet and very muddy. We walked a good couple of miles around the fields and back down the road before arriving back on the farm. It was really nice just to have a good walk after the big meal. The boys were reading their books when we arrived back, after a nice cup of tea we headed into the games room to play pool and table tennis. I’m not going to lie it was cold in there, but then it is a barn so to be expected.

The evening consisted of cards, reading, lots of gin and then cheese. We baked some brie and camembert in the kitchen and enjoyed it was some freshly baked rolls and chutney. Not forgetting the olives and stuffed peppers we bought at the farm shop.

Day 4 – Home time

We got up fairly early on the Monday morning to pack up, we needed to be out of our yurt by 10. So after showering I made breakfast, in the communal kitchen while everyone else was getting ready, packing up their bits.

We spoke with MarK about our stay and he checked that everything went well, we had no reason to contact him while we were there, as we had no problems with anything. Although he would have been on hand should we have needed him.

After loading the car and doing a final check, we started our 4 hour journey home to be back in time to collect the children from school.

Glamping is fabulous

We had the most amazing weekend away at Caalm Camp. The facilities were great, we had everything we could possibly need while there. We thought about going back in the summer, however my Hubby thought we would loose some of the fun of the cold weather and enjoying the log burner. So we are planning to return next winter with the children. They will love it. Not only the glamping and everything on the farm but it is also it is so very positioned for some fabulous attractions, Longleat, Monkey World, the Jurassic Coast line and so much more. All places we want to take the children.

Everyone should try glamping even if it’s just once.

Thank you Mark and Caryl so much for having us to stay for the weekend. We had a truly wonderful time and we cannot wait to share the experience with the children.


*We are given the weekend in the yurt in exchange for a review. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*