Stress-free Holidays with Little Ones

May 3, 2013
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When you are desperate to get away but just can’t quite commit to the cost and effort of packing the family off to the airport, generally on a dawn flight with a long transfer on a sick-making coach at the other end, why not consider Brittany?  Loading everyone and everything you may need into the car at home, relaxing on a mini cruise and arriving at your final destination within minutes of reaching the port in France, is so much less exhausting.

I really don’t know how I would have faced holidays with my two little ones when they were both in nappies if it was not for the ease of our home in Brittany and Brittany Ferries. In the early years I did travel a lot with the children (I used to take them with me wherever I went) and I remember the agony of long haul flights sitting or even standing through the night so the baby could get some rest on the seat, at my expense. I remember the embarrassment when my toddler took to kicking the chair in front of him and enraging a grumpy business man who thought I had should be able to control my fractious 3 year old. I remember the time my tiny baby had a terrible ear infection and just screamed from the agony of the pressure for four long hours on the way to Greece. The passengers were fed up and I was terrified and helpless. We know that other passengers walk up the aeroplane aisle towards a young family praying silently that the single empty seat in amongst them is not theirs!

So where possible I advise staying away from air travel. Yes, I honestly think that the best holidays I had with my boys when they were little were in Brittany. I would generally pile them into the car with all their usual bits and pieces (Toby insisted on taking a huge cuddly ‘Sheepy’ everywhere he went – we still sell them at JoJo – and Ben travelled with a sleeping bag and a collection of ever increasing toy cars). I wedged us all in the car (often with another mum and her kids) and set off for Portsmouth, an easy drive from London or Wales. The excitement as we approached the ferry grew and grew.

brittany beach

Fun in the sun on a JoJo shoot, in Brittany

Brittany 4

Brittany is the perfect backdrop for our Spring/Summer catalogue shoot

The boys JUST LOVED Brittany Ferries when they were younger. It really is a fantastic operation; clean, efficient, with excellent service and probably as child and parent friendly as possible – with both delicious little bottles of Orangina and great French wines. Their first excitement was checking out the cabin. The boys always took top bunks as soon as they were able to climb up alone (before that, cosy cots were supplied), then off we’d go to check out the restaurant and children’s play area. The ferry trip might include a film at the cinema, the games room and any on-board activities, including the favourite magic show and disco. The holiday definitely starts the moment you board the Brittany Ferries, for kids and us parents. The adult restaurant is amazing – langoustines, delicious tournedos of beef and a crème caramel for me – all washed down with a nice bottle of Burgundy, recommended by the sommelier, and generally delicious and very reasonable. I’ve had some of my best ever meals on Brittany Ferries!

Two weeks of beaches, country or coastal walks, feeding the chickens and BBQs, dressing up as medieval soldiers and going to festivals, playing Guess Who and generally having proper family time with very little distraction from technology, was always wonderful. There is so much to do in Brittany that you could take a trip every single day, but equally I have spent whole weeks in my cottage without leaving the garden, just reading books, cooking easy meals, sleeping on the lawn or chatting to the local farmer. It is a simple life, but simple is sweet.

Sadly my teenage boys are not keen to go for long this year. I’m told by others parents with older children that these idyllic rural holiday locations fall out of favour during the ‘spotty’ years.  As soon as the boys grow up, I know they will want to come back out and there is always the hope that in (many) years to come, they will enjoy spending time there with their own children. As a result I won’t be using the cottage too much in the next couple of years and have decided to let it at a really reasonable rate to other families and friends. I can’t bear to think of it being underused, and with our JoJo offer of 20% off Brittany Ferries, this really does make an incredibly good value family holiday destination. So, if you are considering a holiday to France this year, take a look at the page I’ve set up on Owners Direct. I am pretty sure this is the best value holiday let you will ever find!

Brittany cottage

The cottage in Brittany - we've had some great times there

You can find all the rental details here: http://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/france/FR19552.htm

20% off Brittany Ferries voucher: http://www.jojomamanbebe.co.uk/pu++brittany-ferries+1

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