• Newport Beach: 9 activities for families

    I spent my University days in Newport Beach, California. School was nearby and I teamed up with about 500 students to share a three-bedroom flat on the Newport peninsula. I cleverly arranged all my classes for Tuesdays and Thursdays – so I ...

Newport Beach: 9 activities for families

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I spent my University days in Newport Beach, California. School was nearby and I teamed up with about 500 students to share a three-bedroom flat on the Newport peninsula. I cleverly arranged all my classes for Tuesdays and Thursdays – so I had a 4-day weekend and a day off in between! I loved it … and managed […]

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Surf City USA: Finding the Hollister web cam and learning to surf!

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I first learned that Huntington Beach in California was the surfer paradise behind the Hollister brand by accident. It was a cold Autumn day in Edinburgh, grey skies were threatening rain and  thankfully we had remembered to bring wooly scarves. Coincidentally it was my first trip to the gorgeous city, even though my Scottish husband […]

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Sonoma wine country for families: Activities for kids

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Let’s not kid ourselves, think Sonoma, and you probably think wine. Preferably in a glass and in your hand! And it’s no wonder, this California county has more than 400 wineries. Really good award-winners too, like Buena Vista, Jordan and Simi. Couple that with Northern California sunshine, and you have a recipe for a really good […]

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San Francisco: Getting the most out of City Pass

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Visiting San Francisco? Lucky you! I’ve travelled around the world and the “city by the bay” is one of my favourites. It’s small enough to be manageable, but cutting edge too – with that unstoppable Northern California energy. San Francisco offers some of the best museums and activities in the world, especially when it comes to […]

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A girls’ weekend in Austin, Texas

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If I lived in Texas, I’d live in Austin. It’s a vibrant green patch famous for its tech start-ups, music scene and food trucks that serve items like Navajo fry bread tacos, jerk chicken and curry goat. It’s a very cool place.Actually, it’s a very HOT place, often reaching the 100s in summer. Air con, and a swimming […]

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Beignets with melted chocolate and homemade blackberry jam

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I’ve been in Austin visiting a friend and this morning she made these delicious beignets with homemade blackberry jam and melted chocolate!   It’s a Bobby Flay speciality and you can find the recipe and a list of all ingredients/directions on the Cooking Channel web site. In addition to the blackberry jam, we just melted a little bittersweet […]

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A great British seaside holiday

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 A great British seaside holiday at Bunn Leisure Holiday Park in Selsey The beach. The seaside. I love it. I was born in California not far from Santa Cruz and grew up making sand castles and running through freezing Pacific Ocean waves. As a teen, I went through a period of being a surfer girl, which […]

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Favourites: Gliffaes Country House Hotel in Wales

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  Every once in a while you find a hotel that you really love. The kind where you make mental plans to return nearly as soon as you put the key into your room door and plop onto the down feather comforter. It’s exotic enough from your own home to make being away really special yet has the feel […]

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A mobile home holiday in Brittany!

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A mobile home holiday with Al Fresco at Domaine des Ormes in Brittany! I’ve always wanted to visit Brittany. It’s so convenient – especially from southwest England. You can take an overnight ferry and wake up in France – within reach of a cafe creme and fresh baguette! I also secretly love camping. Not real camping, […]

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The Modern Family goes to Cornwall

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  The Valley in Cornwall: The Modern Family Cornwall reminds me a bit of California. There are long sandy beaches, golden-haired surfers and a focus on fresh, seasonal food. There are bits that are distinctively different, like the coastal cliff walks, hedgerows and of course the ever-present pasty. The weather is variable. You can have glorious […]

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Spring pasta: Linguine, asparagus, borlotti beans, pancetta & chicken

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  Ah, Spring. With the arrival of nicer weather comes a plethora of fresh veggies. This dish was inspired by Alice Waters of Chez Panise, but I’ve added by own touches, and can you believe I gathered ingredients for this dish for just £1.42 per serving! Try it, you’ll like it. The girls loved it too. […]

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Take an #AtlantisSelfie to win a luxe holiday in Dubai!

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  The Modern family recently visited Atlantis, The Palm, the luxury resort in Dubai. You know, the one which is really popular with families because of the fabulous waterpark, where you can swim with dolphins and zoom through miles of water slides! OK, I’m exaggerating a bit. We visited a mini version of it. The Bluewater […]

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North Lake Tahoe: Spring skiing and lazing by the lake

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  The Modern Family on North Lake Tahoe Skiing One of the best things about visiting Northern California is having North Lake Tahoe a short reach away. Just a 4-hour drive from San Francisco, this snow sport mecca has the highest concentration of ski areas in the world (12 downhill and 5 cross-country).  Coupled with […]

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Spring: Yosemite’s best kept secret

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  Thinking of visiting Yosemite as a family? Try going in the Spring. We visited this Easter break with Visit California and now I’m a convert! In Spring, there are no crowds or traffic jams and the waterfalls are at their very best. The weather is pleasant – think high teens and 20sC  (60s/70sF) on the […]

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The Modern Family tries zip-lining!

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  “Is this your first time zipping?” Brian, the sandy-haired owner of Yosemite Ziplines and Adventure Ranch and our guide for the next two hours, greeted us. I hung for a just moment on his use of the word zipping, feeling a bit like a skier amongst a group of boarders, and wondered if I’ve been […]

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Wales: Going down a coal mine

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  Visit Wales sent the Modern Family to The Valleys to see what they could discover and learn. As part of the trip we stopped by Blaenavon, a World Heritage Site which is the birthplace of the industrial revolution. A living historical jewel, Blaenvaon offers several places to visit (see list below). But the absolute MUST […]

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