12 Getaways of 2017: When I went back to work in February 2016 we made the decision as a family to try and have one weekend away a month. It didn’t need to be anything fancy or expensive  it could just be one night somewhere which gave us some family time. Time away from the daily grind, the housework and the washing… which indecently always seems to pile up regardless of how many washes I do each week. So where did we go?

January Cambridge: As it was his birthday Hubby had the day off so we took advantage and left straight after school, meaning we missed most of the bad traffic and arrived at the Premier Inn Cambridge City East around six. I am not going to go into the hotel as I wrote all about it my review post here. Over dinner that evening we planned what we would like to do. I had already brought a little guide book and map, since we are both insanely busy I knew we wouldn’t get round to planning anything before we went. Monkey is now at the age where he has input into the days activities too. It worked well keeping him engaged over dinner and avoiding the inevitable mummy can I play with your phone question….. Read More

24 hours in Cambridge with Kids

February Warwick: In February we visited Warwick for our monthly weekend away, while there we visited Warwick Castle and then on the second day we were a little stuck. I had visions of us wandering around the city taking in the old wobbly buildings, exploring the streets and maybe stopping for a drink or a curry. Just like we did in our 24 hours in Cambridge. However the weather had other ideas and it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be an option. Of course we will have to visit again so its not all bad news. But it did leave us with two little ones to entertain, and it had to be inside and not soft play…. Read More.

24 hours in Warwick

March London:  I am so glad we did visit last weekend as we had a great time. The experience has left me wondering why we haven’t done it before and secondly we are going to make a conscious effort to visit more often. To become tourists in our own city…. Read More

April Tregenna Castle Cornwall St Ives: Tregenna Castle is perfectly situated to explore the beautiful area of St Ives and with a number of Kiddy friendly attractions on its door step which made it the perfect spot for us. We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis, eating in their Brasserie restaurant one night. The resort has extensive facilities onsite and a number of different options including the apartments, cottages, lodges and the hotel itself. So you should be able to find something to suit all budgets and tastes….Read More

May Eurocamp Hourtin-Plage: Over May half term we were lucky enough to travel to Hourtin-Plage in France courtesy of Eurocamp. Having never holidayed in France, in a holiday parc or with Eurocamp I was unsure what to expect. When speaking to friends and work colleagues who have, they all said the same – that they had really enjoyed their holidays and we would have a great time. I guess the question is did we?… Read More 

We loved it so much that I wrote up all that we got up to while with visited… which ended up being quite a bit .. Diary Post One and Diary Post Two.

June Riverside Retreat: Riverside Cottages is located in rural Hampshire. I remember driving up to the wooden gates both excited and nervous by what lay in waiting, the gates opened automatically and I drove into a small parking area. Then it hit me it was so peaceful, I had literally come off the dual carriage way about a mile ago. Yet I found myself in the middle of the country side, a large green area in front of me, the sun shining and all of a sudden I felt at peace. I know it sounds a bit corny but I really did feel the weight lift from my shoulders….Read More

July Big Family Festival: There has been an ongoing argument in the Mudpie Fridays household revolving camping. Before getting married I use to go on an annual camping trip with the girls to a music festival. Hubby never came refusing to – apparently he doesn’t do camping or outside music. Now I know for a fact the last point he does do but it has to be on his terms. Having kids has meant that I don’t do those camping trips anymore, either because I was pregnant or breast feeding. But now Monkey is five and Kipper is technically a toddler (sob) I thought it would be a good idea if we gave camping a go. No matter how much begging I did I still got the same answer – NO l don’t camp. Now don’t get me wrong I never give up so I suspect at some point I will get my way… eventually….Read More

August Oxford:  For August we went to Oxford. Having friends that use to live near Oxford we know the surrounding area  reasonably well but we don’t know the city very well at all. I was looking forward to exploring but the weather soon put pay to that. In fact we got completely drenched in less than five minutes of getting out the car. The heavens literally opened and we could not find any shelter. So when we turned up at the Story Museum we looked like drowned rats…. Read More. We were also lucky enough to visit Oxford Castle Unlocked

September Tuscany with James Villa Holidays: Hubby and I will always hold Italy close in our hearts. Our love affair started when we spent our honeymoon driving around Northern Italy, starting in Venice we worked our way through Tuscany and Umbria before finishing in Rome. Eight years later with two children in tow we decided to try something different for our Summer holiday. Having discovered last year that we really are not packaged holiday people we decided to try out a villa holiday instead. At the end of August we travelled to Tuscany Italy, staying twenty minutes from Volterra with James Villa Holidays in a villa called Poggio Alla Palla. Which translates to I head towards the ball…. Read More 

October Cheddar Gorge & Rockley Park Haven: We were lucky enough to visit two places in October. The first was Cheddar Gorge with Land Rover. Last weekend we asked to take the new Land Rover Discovery on a family adventure as part of their new campaign ‘The Discovery Adventures’. It really struck a cord with me as its all about discovering the great British outdoors in all its beauty. As part of the campaign they have launched a series of immersive adventure podcasts narrated by our handpicked celebrities, each based around a specific UK location such as Cheddar Gorge, Mother Shipton’s Cave, Savernake Forest, Dartmoor and more… Read More 

A couple of weekends ago we were invited down to Rockley Park in Poole Dorset by Haven to experience a family getaway. Since going back to work at the beginning of this year after finishing my last ever stint of maternity leave family time is so important to me. I am always looking for new things we can do together as a family and also we try to spend a weekend away a month. When I am looking for a break in the UK be it for a weekend, a week or longer there are a few things which I look for. I am after a location near to the beach, somewhere that allows us to get outside and enjoy the outdoors and a good base to explore the local area. Ideally I would opt for self catering to give us as much flexibility as possible but with a pub or good restaurant nearby for those days when we can’t be bothered. On paper it sounded like Rockley Park ticked all these boxes for us. So what did we think?…. Read More

November London & Port Lympne: Again we were lucky to visit two places in Novemeber, first a stay in London with Park Plaza County Hall. So as part of our half term adventures we planned an overnight stay in London with Park Plaza County Hall. The hotel is the perfect location for both the London Sea Life Centre and Sherk Adventures both of which we wanted to experience. It’s also about a half an hour walk from London Victoria. When travelling with the boys I try to avoid the London Underground as much as possible because of grappling with a buggy… Read More

At the end of half term we were invited to spend the weekend with Panasonic at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent for the ultimate glamping experience. We had such a brilliant weekend and its something that will stay with us for a long time. Our weekend started in the hotel itself with an introduction to Panasonic by the Naked Nutritionist. Since it was very close to Halloween the boys dressed up for a little party as we learnt all about how to get more vegetables into our family meals…. Read More

December – Oxford & Legoland: We travelled up to Oxford specifically to review a Christmas event. There seems to be a new craze spreading across the country when it comes to festive days… or rather evenings out…festive light trails. There is something magical about wrapping up warm and heading out into the dark evening. Made all more special by beautifully lit up gardens and buildings. We were invited to Blenheim Palace to experience their ‘Christmas at Blenheim‘. Its only the second year they have run such an event and I can see why it proved so popular first time round. We had a magical evening out…Read More.

December also saw us take our annual trip to Legoland with some friends to meet the big man himself.

We have been so lucky to have manage to go away each month in 2017. I didn’t think we would make it at all. Naturally I am looking forward to our 2018 adventures which include Eagle Brae, Windsor, Centre Paris, Milton Keynes and The French Rivera. I am also working on a number of other exciting getaways which I hope to be sharing with you soon.

If you can I would suggest trying the same thing, remember it doesn’t need to be expensive, £12 a night on a camping site will still give you that time together as a family which is what it is all about.


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Some of the getaways and attractions mentioned in this post were provided in return for an honest review. Some we paid for ourselves. 


  1. Tee Simpson

    Rwally good list. Might have to plan one for this year

  2. Tee Simpson

    Some fab places here. Hoping we can have a getaway this year

  3. Kayleigh Watkins

    They sound like beautiful places to explore, we tend to hibernate in the winter and have lots of fun and adventure in the spring summer and autumn, we live in South Wales so get a lot of rain unfortunately xxx

  4. sandy ralph

    wow thats a lot of trips, i need to get some more planned

  5. sharon stanley

    we definitely need to have a few more trips out this year. It looks like you all had a great time and of course created memories that will last a lifetime 🙂

  6. sarah pearce

    Wow you get around!lol. Thanks for the great review on the big family festival,will be looking into this. Can I just ask the family ticket? How many is it for please couldn’t see a family ticket in the price list x

  7. Looks like you had a wonderful 2017. We went to London & Spain last year

  8. A S,Edinburgh

    What wonderful getaways, thanks for sharing. Personally, I’d especially love to visit Warwick Castle and Tuscany.

  9. I would love to take the family to the July Big Family Festival.

  10. Kate Davies

    Some fabulous trips, I love the huge bed.


    You’ve been to some fab places, really enjoy watching your videos

  12. Tracy Nixon

    Lots of great places to take the family! Thanks for the reviews!

  13. Kerry Taylor

    This is going to be out New Year’s resolution! We are so exhausted by the end of the week, we tend to do the library and the local park, and then just play at home. But I want us to get out and explore more, and once a month adventures sounds like a great idea!

  14. Lucy Burns

    So great to see a family holidaying together

  15. Deborah MacKenzie

    I would love to visit Lego Land as old as I am; it amazes me what can be made out of those bricks.

  16. That bed is huge! I’d like to have a wee bounce.

  17. Jessica Woods

    Very lucky children been to some beautiful places x

  18. Hannah Wallington

    These are some great trips. I need to make.more of an effort to get the family out.

  19. What a lovely post and set of pics. The children will remember the fun and excitement of those breaks forever.

  20. Lorna Ledger

    Crikey, you have a real mix of holidays! The South of France is lovely, can;t wait to read when you go there x

  21. Wow – what a great resolution, I’m impressed! We have a couple of things pencilled in but not sure we could manage every month. Happy New Year! x #BloggerClubUK

  22. What an amazing year for you all. I really want to visit Cambridge, I’ve never been before and it’s on our list to try and get there this year. Can’t wait to see where you end up this year. I know Scotland is one! x

  23. wow you’ve certainly inspired me so much! I love the challenge to begin with, such a good idea. Tuscany looks wonderful, poole, riverside retreat. I’m off to watch some of your videos 🙂 #bloggerclubUK

  24. Wow Clare it’s amazing to see all of your trips lined up in one post like this! What a great year you had for travel. Staying in London is a great idea, I find when you live somewhere you don’t properly visit and do tourist things!

  25. I love the idea of doing a weekend away a month, that’s awesome and you’ve seen some great places! #BloggerClubUK

  26. That’s an impressive amount of travel. I like the France and Italy ones best. #bloggerclubuk

  27. Rachel Atkinson

    Brilliant. Looks like you had lots of fun

  28. What a great idea. You certainly visited some great places. With four kids I’m not sure we could afford 12 trips! Might be able to manage one per quarter though.


  29. You’ve had some amazing trips this year! I think we were in Cambridge at almost the same time, I can’t believe it’s nearly a year ago! We had more trips last year than ever before, I think we will try hard to get away as often as possible this year, now we have the tent we are hoping to make the most of the warmer weather come spring! First stop – Scotland!

  30. What a fantastic year you’ve had! We stayed at Rockley Park when our daughter was a baby, loved it!

  31. We love days out and UK travel. I hope we can have a few more trips away and explore slightly further away this year. We really enjoyed LEGOLAND and our national trust pass. We got married in Tuscany. I hope we can go back one day with the kids.

  32. I think the UK has so many wonderful places to visit and there are some amazing places on this list. I really want to explore Oxford, Cambridge, Bath and the south West Coast a bit more. I also like the idea of exploring the Norfolk coastline as well.

  33. Lyndsey Cooksey

    You’ve had a great 2017 of trips away! Top of my list would be Lapland UK as your videos are so magical and the children look so excited! Once in a lifetime chance! We do alot of Haven holidays, our favourite being Lakeside and Green acres but Rockley Park looks good to go to. We love Cheddar Gorge too but not been for a few years. Hope you have more adventures in 2018!

  34. keri brooks

    You have been o some awesome adventures my daughter would love these. Love the big bed we need 1 of these any family days is magical I agree even a walk along the beach hope 2018 brings you loads more adventures .x

  35. Margaret Gallagher

    So much to see hope ill get to a few of these this year

  36. sarah mcvicar

    lots of lovely places, we love camping so that’s on our list this summer x

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