Travel

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Image source: Cafe de Jaren

Morning everyone! I’m excited today as I’ve woken up in beautiful Holland this morning. I’m over for a weekend visiting old friends and I just cannot wait to be in the buzz of Amsterdam. Amsterdam has a very special place in my heart, I am in love with the beauty of the canals, the stylish design boutiques and the abundance of awesome places to eat. Everything is just stylish in Amsterdam. I’ll be taking lots of photos while I’m here so I can share it all with you.

Right now I’m drinking my morning coffee and preparing for the adventures today has in store for me. There is something a little bit heavenly about having a relaxed morning, making yourself a coffee and musing about where the day will take you.

My friend has one of these machines that uses nespresso pods, they are very popular here in Holland and the coffee tastes sublime. Big on their real coffee I’ve heard they think we are a little bit barbaric with our instant coffee over in the UK and I have to say I might just agree.

The Dutch, like the Italians know there is nothing better than real coffee! Similar to over in Italy, there is a lovely coffee culture here with many stylish cafes where you can sit outside on the terrace and watch the world go by. It has to be one of my favourite things to do and I will certainly be paying a visit to one or two this weekend.

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This post is in collaboration with Caffe Cagliari, who have been making the finest Italian coffee for 100 years and make nespresso compatible pods!

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My beachin’ beach – Brazil (Tibau du sol)

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There are just so many things I love about the beach, it is my happy place come rain or shine. The salty air, the cool sea breeze in your face, everything just seems to stop while I take it all in.

When the team over at On The Beach contacted me about a photography competition they were running to find the most beachin’ beach, I knew just the place. I’ve been to some awesome beaches, wide, bracing ones in Holland, white, heavenly ones in The Caribbean (too many years ago!) but the one beach that sticks in my mind is the wild, sensational beach I visited back in 2006 in Brazil.

For me this beach is the one, the one I will never, ever forget. It wasn’t just a lush beach where you could soak up a few rays, it was a raw, wild, natural beach – the very best kind. I walked the vast coastline every day soaking up not only the warm sun but the immense feeling. It was one of greatness, not of my own but of nature and just how big, beautiful and powerful it is.

The beach was wide and long… so long you couldn’t see to the end of it. I felt small and humble as I watched eagles swoop in and out of the trees on the rugged clifftop and the wild waves curl up to the shoreline. The sand stretched out before me following the path of the cliffs, quiet and untouched. Dolphins and porpoises playfully jumped the waves as did the infamous surfers of Brazil. It was absolutely a divine place in all sense of the word. It was a place you felt, touched and breathed in the great beauty of the world.

I often wonder what it is about the beach that draws me in so much, maybe it is the soothing sounds of the ocean, the peace you can find there or simply the realisation as you look out to sea, that adventure is yours for the taking.

Right now I am totally inspired to win, let’s hope I’m beach bound very soon… wish me luck!

While music festivals and family friendly don’t always sit together, they’re not all about drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. There are some fabulously family-orientated festivals across the world, where the focus is on parents and children enjoying and discovering new music together. Here are just a few of the most family friendly festivals where you can listen, dance, craft and camp together:

Off The Tracks festivals

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Stall at the Off The Tracks festival by David Wilson Clarke

What to expect – Off The Tracks holds two festivals at Castle Donnington, in the heart of England, every year, in May and August. Ordinarily a camping and caravanning site, it means there are good facilities, with proper loos and showers. There’s a children’s play area and arts and crafts activities for little ones, along with a line-up that, for spring, includes Jesus Jones and Big Country.

Where to stay – You can stay on-site, in your tent or motor home, and there are power points for hooking up your tourer. Tickets for the event are based on a package which includes camping. If camping is not your style then the festival suggests the Lady Gate Guest House in Diseworth near Castle Donnington.

Into the Great Wide Open

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The Ferris wheel at Into the Great Wide Open by Maarten van Maanen    

What to expect – A pop festival on Vlieland, a tiny island on the coast of The Netherlands, The Great Wide Open describes itself as a ‘dream festival’ for all ages. It offers a mix of music, arts and film, all in breathtakingly gorgeous surroundings. Taking place at the beginning of September, artists on the line-up include Ebo Taylor and The Silhouettes. The event is very much geared towards enjoying the Great Outdoors, so families can listen to music while gathering around campfires and eating seafood from the surrounding flats.

Where to stay – Camping Storetmelk is all about getting close to the elements, staying in tents on the dunes. The site is just a stone’s throw from the beach, where you can have a dip in the bracing North Sea.

Porthcawl Interceltic Festival

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 “The Brim” Porthcawl Interceltic Festival at by Kim Appleby

What to expect – A celebration of the music, songs and dance of the Celtic countries and isles of Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Brittany and Wales, the Porthcawl Interceltic Festival in Mid Glamorgan, Wales, prides itself on offering something for all ages. Taking place from March 7 to 9, it features more than 300 performers, culminating in the Parade of the Celts, in Porthcawl Town Centre, a colourful spectacle with pipers, dancers and musicians.

Where to stay – Staying at Parkdean’s Trecco Bay caravan site makes an ideal base as it’s in keeping with the festival’s family-friendly values, with its beach access, indoor swimming pool complete with pirate ship, dodgems and kids’ clubs.

Primavera Sound

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Primavera Sound by primaverasound.es

What to expect – A good way to introduce children to the world of music, Primavera Sound takes place in May at the Parc del Forum, Barcelona. The festival includes Minimusica, an array of events for children, all geared around a different theme each year.

Where to stay – You won’t find family friendly camping at Primavera Sound. But, there are plenty of good options near the Parc del Forum. The Hotel SB Diagonal Zero Barcelona is just a minute’s walk away and has a rooftop pool for cooling down after working up a sweat dancing.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

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Bonnaroo by Jason Anfinsen

What to expect – Taking place in 700-acres of rural gorgeousness in Manchester, Tennessee, Bonnaroo prides itself on keeping its values firmly in the ethos of the Woodstock generation. Admission is free for children up to the age of six and there is a kids’ club that runs from midday to 6pm along with a colossal waterslide. All that, and music too!

Where to stay – Camping is included as part of the general admission package. There’s a special family camping area for parents and small children to make sure they have the best possible festival experience.

For parents who want to introduce their children to music festivals, these events now offer the chance for a family-friendly getaway. And, while they may not give you all the comforts of home, choosing one of these smaller festivals gives you the chance to enjoy an outdoor music experience with all the family, young and old. featured-post

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