A Fun-Packed Break In The Peak District With Sykes Cottages


There aren’t many family breaks that combine gorgeous interior design, rolling hills and adrenalin-filled fun. Last week, we spent a few days at The Old Temperance Hall in Kingsley, Staffordshire with Sykes Cottages. This place was less of a cottage and more of a huge impressive dream home. Which is unsurprising when you discover that the owners bought the hall five years ago and spent all of that time completely remodelling it to become a five bedroom family home.

The Old Temperance Hall, Staffordshire




So what’s this place like? Well the main living space and kitchen is totally open plan with skylights on the roof, letting in loads of light. Yet in the evening, it still manages to feel cosy. The kitchen has a range cooker and large fridge freezer, and there’s a utility room off to the side with a washing machine, microwave and more storage, plus a shower room and loo. The clever design of the house means you go up one set of stairs to get to the master bedroom, with ensuite and roll top bath. You go up the other staircase to get to two more bedrooms (a twin and a double) plus a small bathroom. On the ground floor, towards the front door, there are two more bedrooms (a twin and a double).





Mr P outside our bedroom


Our few days there were brilliant. We went with my good friend Katie and her family (check out Katie’s gorgeous blog) and The Old Temperance Hall was the perfect place for us to stay – because of the layout, it felt like each family had our own ‘wing’ and then there was loads of space downstairs for the girls to hang out and play. The four-year-old gets on so well with Katie’s little ones, Mads and LL. In fact, her and Mads acted a bit like sisters, in that they would be thick as thieves one minute, giggling and plotting away and the next minute, they’d be falling out and refusing to share a toy.


Taking advantage of the free wifi

Once the girls had gone to bed each night, we’d crack open the wine and cook ourselves some dinner – it’s a great space for having a big old meal like fajitas and then carrying on the night with some more wine and silly games. The cottage has some board games there for you to play, but we played a fun quiz game instead.

The best thing about the location is how much there is to do for families. On our first day in the Peak District, we went to Trentham Gardens (on the recommendation of another blogger friend Kerri-Anne) which was incredible. You’re driving along, in a built-up area, and suddenly it’s there with acres of parkland, a lake, wild flowers and ace things for kids like an adventure playground, zip wire, climbing wall, boat rides and a maze. We didn’t try it but there’s also a barefoot adventure where kids take their socks and shoes off and squelch through mud!


Navigating the maze



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A Lunchtime Date At Yo! Sushi, Bromley


Mr P and I are slight geeks, and whenever we notice there is a new shop or restaurant opening up in our local town centre, we get a bit excited. If one of us spots it, we play the guessing game with the other. “Guess which restaurant is opening up on Widmore Road?!” I’ll say to him, and then I give him clues until he guesses. I KNOW, we are just too crazy for words. The fun we have.

So this conversation happened recently when Mr P spotted that they were planning to open a new branch of Yo! Sushi in the middle of the Intu shopping centre. Yo! Sushi – in Bromley! How cosmopolitan!

Yo! Sushi, Bromley

A couple of weeks after it opened, we went for a sneaky lunchtime date, while the four-year-old was at pre-school. And it was AWESOME. We sat in a booth for four (a bit cosier than the bar-style seating) and for a minute, we were totally mesmerised by the plates passing our eyes, on the little conveyer belt.

yo sushi 1


Once we’d snapped back to reality, we grabbed the first two plates we saw (classic Yo! Sushi impulsive move) which turned out to be duck gyoza and edamame beans. The waiter asked us what we’d like to drink, and asked if we’d like anything made to order from the menu.



That’s when Mr P remembered the wonder that is… chicken katsu curry. We ordered one of those, and went a bit off-piste, ordering a beef teriyaki too. Oh my goodness, the beef teriyaki was good. Well, put it this way: we ordered a second one. …

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Why A Ragdale Hall Spa Break Is Good For The Soul


As well as blogging here (hello!) I also co-edit family travel blog Space In Your Case. One of the things I feel strongly about, with Space In Your Case, is that as well as focusing on brilliant places you can go with the kids, for fantastic family experiences, we also look at child-free breaks and date nights. Which might seem odd, considering we’re a family travel site but I truly believe that for many of us, we’re better parents to our kids if we have the odd night or weekend off. Of course, not all of us are lucky enough to have childcare available nearby, but if you do, I fully recommend doing it. You’ll come back revived, refreshed and with a desire to spend quality time with your children.

The Clarins Mum And Me Time spa day at Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire is designed for (yep, you guessed it) you and your mum. So it’s perfect for either leaving your partner at home to hold the fort for a day, or if he likes pampering too, Ragdale Hall are more than happy for couples to book the package.

I decided to take my good blogging friend Katie to Ragdale Hall – she had been twice before and loved it, whereas I was a Ragdale virgin. Of course, now I can totally see why she was keen to go back for a third time!

Ragdale Hall Spa Break

We arrived at 10am and the staff who greeted us were so friendly (in fact, everyone we met there was lovely) and they explained how the day would work. We were given locker keys and filled in a health questionnaire over a cup of tea. Then we headed to the locker room where we found a fluffy white bathrobe in our lockers, along with our schedule for the day. The attention to detail here seemed spot on – granted it’s easy enough for them to print off your schedule and pop it in a locker for you, but it just gives that welcoming air of ‘We’ve been expecting you’.


Our Clarins Serenity Facials were booked for 4pm which meant we had lots of time to relax beforehand. We headed into the spa area which has a sports pool, a large swimming pool, an outdoor pool (complete with waterfalls – lush) and then lots of different rooms, from a Thought Zone (a dry heat and warm, ergonomic seating coupled with music, images and colours which is designed to inspire positive thinking and inspirational thoughts), a Rose Sauna and a Scented Room (natural materials, fresh aromatic herbs and a gentle hue of colours help to invigorate senses). My favourite room was the Candlelit Pool – where you walked down some steps into a warm pool in a mosaic cavern with lapping water lit by the flicker of candles and a star-lit ceiling. It was magical. Some rooms, including this one, are silent rooms… and we managed to stay quiet while other guests were in the Candlelit Pool but I admit we started having a gossip when we realised we were in there alone!



We decided it was time for tea and cake, so we headed to the Verandah Bar and sank into one of the big sofas. After sitting there for a while, reading magazines, we realised it was soon time for lunch, which is included in the Clarins Mum And Me package. The dining room is huge and feels formal in quite an old school way (waiters and waitresses put one arm behind their back when pouring things) but still relaxed and friendly….

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Trevella Park: A Nostalgia-Packed Family Camping Holiday


I’m not a happy camper. What I mean is, I don’t love sleeping in a tent. Growing up, I can think of two occasions when we went camping as a family and my memories are mainly of being in a tiny tent with my family, trying desperately not to touch the sides of the tent, for fear of the dampness from the rain outside coming into the tent. It was hot, stuffy and damp in there. Our bags were piled into the middle of the tent (“Don’t let anything touch the tent sides!”) and it was impossible to move around without bumping into something or someone.

Those camping trips were big group trips, with our church, and some friends had a caravan. Ah caravans… now you’re talking. They were like mini houses, with tables and chairs, space to move around and yes – you could touch the sides all you like, none of that rain water was coming in. They even had awnings attached to them, giving you a little outdoor space to sit in. Caravans I could get on board with. I have a strong childhood memory of sitting playing cards in a friend’s caravan, listening to the rain come down outside and it just felt so COSY.

So it’s probably no surprise that as a grown up, family camping trips have been strictly off the agenda. And it’s also no surprise that when we arrived at Trevella Park in Cornwall, on a grey drizzly July morning, to stay in a caravan, I had a big smile on my face.


While Mr P was obsessively checking his weather app to find out if the whole week would be a washout, I didn’t care. It could have rained all week, and I’d have been happy.

As it turned out, we did see some sun. And we had a fantastic few days.



Trevella Park is split up into a few different sections – holiday homes (static caravans) in one field, lakeside lodges (which looked well posh) by the lake and then a couple of fields with safari tents, geodomes and space for you to pitch up your own tent or park your camper van or caravan.

Our static caravan looked out onto a children’s play area and outdoor swimming pool, so as we sat on our decked balcony, drinking Pimm’s the sound of kids’ laughter and fun filled the air. Even after our little one had long gone to bed, kids would be on the swings and slide, running around – you could just tell they were being allowed to stay up past their bedtime and thrilled to be playing outside so late….

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Scott Dunn Villas: The Family Holiday To Top All Family Holidays


I recently went on a trip to Mallorca. It was one of the BEST and WORST trips I’ve ever been on. Why? Because it was such a luxurious few days, where every whim was tended to, every desire was realised, every dream was made a reality…. that I don’t think I can ever go on a “normal” holiday again. Scott Dunn have officially ruined holidays for me.

Let me explain further…

The villa we stayed in was incredible. Las Palmeras is around a ten minute drive from the beautiful Pollença and only a 45 minute transfer from Palma airport.



The decor in Las Palmeras is gorgeous – lots of white, neutral tones, with a mix of modern shapes and traditional features. Built in recent years, it could fool you into believing it’s an old finca. There are fresh flowers in every room and big windows that allow the golden light to flood in.




Despite the pale palettes, the villa is totally geared up for families. The cream sofas have throws on them (I can just imagine how grubby they’d look after my four-year-old had put her mucky feet on them and got her sticky ice cream covered hands on the cushions) and there is an insanely well kitted out play room with toys, puzzles, books, costumes – you name it, it’s there. There are four large en-suite bedrooms (including a master bedroom which has a walk-in wardrobe and sun terrace) so the villa would be perfect for two families or a multi-generation holiday.



The garden area of Las Palmeras has lots of grass to run around on, football goals, table tennis, trampoline, paddling pool and swing ball plus a gorgeous outdoor pool, which sits alongside two towering palm trees which the villa is named after.



But the beautiful villa is only part of the reason that this Scott Dunn trip was out of this world. The big thing that sets their holidays apart from the rest is the level of service their customers receive. Every villa comes complete with a small team of staff who are there to ensure your holiday goes smoothly. If you’re anything like me, you don’t feel hugely comfortable with the idea of having a butler or chef – it can just feel weird to ask other people to do things you’re perfectly capable of doing ourselves. But the staff at a Scott Dunn villa somehow manage to be there, ready to help you in any way you might want, in a way that makes it OK. I can’t really even explain how they do it!…

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