First things first, do you live in the countryside or the city?
Sarah – I live in the countryside, in fact Kent, the garden of England! I returned back to the county I grew up in about 5 years ago and I love it here.
Vicki – In the city (about 8 miles from the centre of London to be precise!)
Mari – We live in between. We are only a 50-minute drive from the centre of London (traffic depending!) and our town is on the Thames leading out towards the sea. It only takes us 50 minutes to get to the coast where we spend most of our weekends. Our town, which is a busy place and slowly becoming part of an extended London, is still surrounded by the Kent countryside. So we are fortunate to be within easy reach of many beautiful parks.
Kathleen – I do not actually live in the countryside, nor in the city… so yes, somewhere in between! From my house, I’ve got a beautiful view on a canal with trees and a walking path besides it on one side and on a pasture with sheep on the other. But when we drive for about 15 minutes (without traffic jams that is), we’re right in the centre of one of Flander’s biggest and loveliest cities, Antwerp. I love living here. It’s nice and calm, but still very close to the hustle and bustle.
Did you go on any UK holidays are a child? If so, which ones bring back the fondest memories?
Sarah – We did holiday in the UK when I was younger. My family did not have a lot of disposable income when I was little but I remember some wonderful UK adventures. One trip that stands out was an idyllic break to Minnis Bay near Birchington in Kent. I remember the beautiful sandy beaches, colourful beach huts, taking photos with my first camera and eating ice cream on the Promenade with my little sister.
Vicki – We used to have a UK holiday at least once a year when I was a child. I remember staying in a house (I suppose the 1970s equivalent to AirBnB) in Sandbanks by the sea for a few years in a row; as well as staying on a working farm in Wales, feeding chickens and riding horses.
Mari – I did and I have a clear photo in my mind of a trip to Cornwall when I was about 3. Obviously, I can’t remember that particular trip but I do remember holidays at Bognor Regis with my dad. I remember finding a £1 note and thinking I was rich – I probably was as it was the 70’s!
Kathleen – My first trip to the UK was when I was about 19 years old. It was, of course, a trip to London, but combined with a couple of days in Rye, East Sussex. I was going to write my thesis about some little towns situated in Kent and East Sussex and as this was in a time before the world wide web existed, I was going to do some research on the spot! I immediately fell in love with England’s countryside, as did my boyfriend at the time (now my husband). I guess this is when we became true Anglophiles.
Which three activities from following selection would feature on your perfect UK getaway?
Sarah – It would depend on what day of the week it was as I’m very fickle about travel as I just love everything about it! If I had to choose three things though I probably would pick immersing myself in the history of a place as I love to learn the unknown stories of tourist attractions as well as Instagraming the architecture, art and curios I discover along the way. I can be a bit of a nerd and love to learn new things, have new experiences and visit new places. I’d then definitely wander through some art galleries as being a creative person I love seeing art in all its various forms particularly iconic pieces and finally would treat myself to some yummy things to eat at a food festival – after all I am on holiday!
Vicki –Now that I have a young family, our holiday priorities have changed. Although I’d love to hang out in the nearest bar or go to a food festival, the reality is that we like spending time reading, relaxing and playing in the pool with the kids. Holidays are about escaping from the every day, getting some much needed sun, eating well and not going very far from pool or beach.
Mari – Oh, tricky one. I must say the art galleries are my favourite place to visit, however, I have to go alone as my family aren’t as passionate as I am. I would love to trek in the wilderness and visit a food festival.
Kathleen – Immersing yourself in the history; wandering the art galleries; heading to the nearest bar.
What have been your all-time favourite holiday reads? What are you reading right now?
Sarah – I’m definitely a non-fiction type of a girl and I love an autobiography and I always try and read at least one book when I’m away. My current reads are – No Room For Secrets by Joanna Lumley, Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, and I Like You Just the Way I am by Jenny Mollen. My all time favourite? Well when I was travelling Greece when I was 20 there wasn’t room for many books in my suitcase but I bought two with me – a well thumbed copy of American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis and also Dune by Frank Herbert both books that I must of read at least 5 times each over during the year I was out there. Both definitely ‘Marmite’ books – you either love or hate them – theres no in between! However ultimately they became as much of the trip as anything else I experienced.
Vicki – I’ve just finished reading The Ice by Laline Paull, which I read while lazing by the pool in Cyprus. It’s a thriller set in the Arctic, with a strong environmental message. My next read is something completely different – Wildflower by Drew Barrymore. One of my favourite holiday reads is The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh – beautiful.
Mari – Right now I am reading The Moth which is a collection of short true stories, each one more fascinating than the other. As for favourite holiday reads, I love to tuck into a mystery or a drama, something that keeps me wanting to turn the page. I also enjoy mindfulness books as holidays are the time I try to look after myself a bit more.
Kathleen – During my numerous trips to England, I have bought many books in those lovely second hand bookshops. I love reading Maeve Binchy and to me her books are perfect holiday reads! At the moment I am reading ‘Emma’ by Jane Austen.
Would you blog whilst on holiday? To what extent do you feel you’ve achieved a blog/life balance?
Sarah – For me blogging needs to feel organic and not forced. I might schedule a few posts before I left but once I am away – I am away. One of the reasons I started my own business and blog part-time was to have more time with my family and that time really is sacred to me – after working full time in a high pressure role for far too long I dont want to miss things. I want to be as present in my children’s lives as I can and that takes discipline in regards to working. Particularly with something like blogging its easy to go “Oh I’ll just quickly do that on my phone…” but I know my children would just see mum ‘on her phone again’ so it gets put away.
Vicki – I don’t blog on holiday. In fact I take a more or less total break from all social media, and only check my emails once a day. I find I can’t truly relax if I blog while I’m away as I would want to keep in touch with readers and reply to their comments.
Mari – Not these days, however I have been known to blog on holiday in the past. Today it’s more about appreciating my family and enjoying every moment. Life is too short to spend it reading and my family moan if I am sat at a computer!
Kathleen – When going on a holiday, I schedule my blogposts in advance. I do however keep my Instagram account up to date when on holiday. I’ve got a full time job and a family to take care of, but blogging is my most important hobby. I put many hours in my blog and it is something I am really proud of.
If you could go on a UK staycation with three famous people alive or dead, who would you pick?
Sarah – David Lynch, Andy Warhol & Albert Einstein. Imagine the creativity of the conversation!!!
Vicki – Sue Perkins (I loved her autobiography, have been a fan since her BBC London radio show days and find her authentic, warm and hilarious Stephen Fry (who wouldn’t want to spend time with this genius storyteller) Tina Fey (another funny, clever woman whose biography had me crying with laughter, who I’d love to spend time.) The key to a holiday companion is to keep it light – I admire plenty of other people but holidays are for relaxing and having fun so anyone with a political leaning is off the list!
Mari – Dalai Lama, Princess Diana and David Bowie
Kathleen – OMG this is a difficult question… three famous people… Jamie Oliver: he could take me to all the lovely restaurants/pubs and bars Kate Middleton: she could take me on a tour of all the royal palaces and estates Jane Austen: she could take me on a tour to 18th century Bath, Winchester, Chawton. Yep… that would be a wonderful holiday!
If you could live out the rest of your days any where in the UK, where would you choose and why!
Sarah – I’ve always said I wanted to end my days when I’m old and grey by the sea. I grew up on an island, I spend as much time as possible at the beach and always feel my calmest and most content when I can hear the sounds of sea – whether it be calmly lapping at the shore or be roughly crashing waves. I think it must be in my blood – maybe I was a mermaid in other life! If not one of the lovely Kent costal towns such as Broadstairs or Whitstable then maybe Swanage in Dorset or Padstow in Cornwall would be just lovely.
Vicki – London, where I live now. Best city in the world. As the song goes, there’s no place I’d rather be.
Mari – It would have to be the coast and it would have to be south so I was near my family. I’d say south coast somewhere – warm (ish), beautiful and easy reach of London if I need to get there. I was born in London and it’s my favourite place to be.
Kathleen – This is a difficult question… we have seen so many beautiful things in the UK already! We’ve been to Wales, the Lake District, the Peak Disctrict, Kent, East Sussex, Cornwall, Devon, London… and this summer we’ll be visiting Dorset which looks also very promising! But out of all our holidays we’ve spent in the UK I’ve got the fondest memories of the Peak District. We were stunned by the beauty of nature. Yes, I could certainly live overthere! But preferably in a little town and not off the beaten track.