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 Sophie Pender-Cudlip who runs Country Child magazine and is a mum to four children

This is Me
I moved back to Dorset 6 years ago with my family, having grown up here as a child. Relocating to the country with children is heaven, but often it’s hard to find out what’s going on in the area. Two years ago, I set up a magazine called Country Child with a close friend. Country Child is a free, quarterly magazine that is distributed to more than 7,000 families in and around Dorset, primarily through school book bags and Waitrose stores.

What is your favourite type of holiday to go on with kids?

Having a rather large family can be a bit of a hindrance to going away on holiday. Not only can it be massively expensive but also, due to the ages of the children, we often struggle to get the right accommodation. I like to go away and have a real holiday – by that I mean no cooking, cleaning, washing, making beds etc, which means we often steer clear of villas and opt for hotels. Our absolute favourite holiday destination is Cambodia and the Far East. It may be a long way, but it’s cheap, an amazing experience for the children and parts of the country have not yet been ruined by mass tourism.

Are you going away this year?
We would have loved to go back to Cambodia this year but due to us being more restricted to school holidays, we can no longer take the kids away mid-term. We have therefore opted for a week in Le Richelieu in Isle de Re, followed by a week in a house in the Charente region of France near my brother’s house. The first week will be the real beachside, relaxing holiday and the second will be lots of fun with all the family.

What’s your best/worst/funniest holiday experience?
My best holiday experience was when my husband and I went to The Residence, The One and Only Royal Mirage, in Dubai. It wasn’t because Dubai was by any means my favourite holiday destination – far from it – but it was complete and utter luxury and there were no children allowed so we were child-free for 5 days. At the time, our first two children were 4 months and 21 months, so we were totally exhausted. We spent most of our time sleeping and eating – heaven.

Our worst holiday was when we went on a very over priced holiday to a Greek island with all four children. The children were completely bitten alive by mosquitos and we had a wasp’s nest in the garden, so the children spent most of their time indoors.

The funniest holiday experience was whilst we were on one of our trips to Cambodia. My brother and sister in law decided it would be a great idea to take us up to the jungle to stay in a lodge in Kep. They didn’t have children at the time, so thought it would be a breeze for us. We ended up driving for hours in the heat up to the jungle and then stayed in this wooden hut on stilts. There we were trying to put up a travel cot, with frogs in the loos and on the walls, mosquitos everywhere and it was pitch black. Lovely for a couple but not so great when you have lots of kids with you. We did laugh a lot afterwards though.

Do you have a top travel tip to share about going away with kids?

My tip is travel light, particularly when going long haul. You don’t need half the things you think you need and end up carrying masses of bags for everyone.


What’s your favourite game to play in the car with the children?

Each person chooses a colour and then your colour car when it passes. The most cars wins.


What 3 things would you take away with you in your suitcase?

Baby wipes, a pre-loaded iPad, and a spare battery pack for the iPad. (Sorry, but technology is a ‘must’ when going long haul with 4 kids!)

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3 Responses to What’s in Your Suitcase, Sophie Pender-Cudlip?

  1. julia says:

    Thanks for taking part and sharing your holiday experiences Sophie. Glad you saw the funny side of the frogs and mosquitos in Cambodia. Can totally relate to the frustration of spending time indoors due to insects – recall a hot summer in France when my son was toddling and refused to go out in the garden because of the flies!

  2. Sue Bailey says:

    Who was looking after the 4mth & 21mth old when Sophie and husband had their great holiday in Dubai? Grandpa & Granny are a good necessity – but were also fairly shattered!

    • julia says:

      Hats off to all Grandpas and Grannys everywhere – I know we couldn’t do half the things we do without a helping hand :)

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