Every month we’re going to be interviewing a mum or dad about their holiday experience with kids and get a sneaky peek into what they like to take away with them in their suitcase. This time it’s Sam Wyndmus, writer, broadcaster, champion of British cheese, and real ale nut.
Sam is probably best known in the South East as BBC Radio Kent’s Food Historian. As her day job, Sam is the chef patron of The Coastguard, the award-winning pub and restaurant set on the beach in St Margaret’s Bay, Kent where she lives idyllically with her husband Nigel and their three little girls and 6 month old son. Sam can be found at http://blog.thecoastguard.co.uk
What is your favourite type of holiday to go on with kids?
We live on a beach, all be it pebbly, so the children don’t really consider the seaside as being a holiday as such, more a way of life. To counter this we tend to go on city breaks which is a truly different experience to the norm for them. So far we’ve managed Barcelona, New York, Krakow, Paris, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London all together and it’s really surprisingly easy. Most cities are children friendly with dedicated parks, children’s activities, transport, groups, museums – you name it, it’s probably available.
Are you going away this year?
Hopefully. My husband and I work full time in our restaurant and due to our location we are usually busiest during the school holidays. Now our eldest child is in school it’s really difficult to get away.
It irritates me that the prices rocket as soon as school is out. Surely, there is some way that school holidays could be staggered across the country a little more. I’ve always often wondered if the summer holidays could be shortened by 5 days which could then be redeemed during the rest of the year at a time mutually agreeable to both school and home (ie NOT during SATs etc).
It would be lovely to plan the odd day where you could take your child out to a museum when they can actually see the exhibits without queuing for hours or go on a short holiday out of season when it doesn’t cost the earth… Family holidays are a vital part of a child’s education and life. Not everything is learnt in the classroom. Calling in sick is openly spoken about as an option, however, I think this is totally the wrong work ethic message to give to your child. In any case, they seem to be able to drop in ‘inset’ days all over the place supposedly without ruining the children’s education.
Sorry, I’m ranting. Misread the question for ‘what would you do as minister for education’.
What’s your best / worst / funniest holiday experience?
Barcelona. I went online and found a guide who we booked for the first afternoon to give us an insiders tour of the city. The brief was that there had to be something for me (foodie), my husband (craft brewing), and 3 little girls aged 14 months to 5 years – one of which was infatuated with olives.
Our guide, called Niki from Antiques and Boutiques, was brilliant. She was British but had lived in Barcelona forever and knew every corner. She was amazing with the children who all fell in love with her. BA had broken our buggy board in transit so we only had a small buggy between the three children meaning the nearly 3 year old had to walk. With Niki’s help to keep her entertained she walked for the entire 5 hours around Barcelona.
Niki not only should us everything we’d asked to see and more, but she had researched children’s activities that were on over the weekend and gave us her mobile should we ever be in need of a translator. She even advised were we could pick up a new buggy (cheaply!) for the following day.
Do you have a top travel tip to share about going away with kids?
Don’t panic about taking everything. Unless you really are going to moon, the chances are the place you are going to has indigenous children with much the same needs as your own, given a few cultural differences….
What’s your favourite game to play in the car with the children?
The ‘Bet you can’t say’ game. Basically, you (the adult) pick a word and say ‘bet you can’t say …. gobbledegook!’ All the children scream ‘gobbledegook’ (or your chosen word, age specific…) and then you say ‘no, surely not…. Ok, but I bet you can’t tell me what it means!’ And so it goes on. You can’t extend it to then betting they can’t spell it or, as they get older change it to a different language. Oddly, my lot love this game.
What 3 things would you most like to take away with you in your suitcase?
Well if it were for me….
1. A really good fiction book (don’t think I’ve read one since waiting to be induced with T my eldest nearly 7 years ago…)
2. A size 8 dress that actually fitted me (unlikely as I’m at least a size 14 now!)
3. My apple mac disguised as something so really really boring, I’d be left alone to use it!
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