Don't snub the 'Staycation'

It's often hard to admit that we need to take a break from 'real life' every now and then. We are always busy with meetings, house work, family events, replying to emails, catching up with friends, food shopping, gardening....the list goes on (and on!). I think as Brits we also love to complain about how busy and tired we are. I'm learning to embrace the long afternoons and evenings sat at the sewing machine because the alternative is quite frankly a little terrifying. To have a real stab at this 'setting up a business' malarkey I need to accept that it's all or nothing - or I literally could be left with nothing. But I've also established that taking a break is fundamental to a healthy mind and soul.

A couple of weeks ago we set off 'South' in our camper van. We bought the VW LT28 (a work van to those who have little care in vehicle knowledge) last June and have been renovating it since. Long story short we discovered a lot of damp and it needed a lot more work than expected. Countless late nights later and a lot of help from Dan's Dad and it's finally feeling like a home on wheels. The 10 day adventure ahead of us was a break we were really looking forward to. I recently read that 'staycations' are set to be at the highest level yet this Summer. We are so incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful country yet most of us choose to holiday out of the UK. The economical impact of holidaying throughout Britain will be hugely positive, and the fewer people travelling abroad, the better in the eyes of Mother Nature! In a bid to keep you all local this summer (if you haven't already booked a break!) I'm going to share a few of the beautiful places we visited and a few tips on keeping your summer holiday planet friendly...

We spent the first night in Croyde and had a morning surf before heading down to Bossiney - a small village just outside Tintagel. I'm beginning to appreciate the British coastline more and more every time I visit - parts of it are truly breathtaking. However we've all seen Blue Planet and all know that something needs to be done about the amount of plastic and waste in the Ocean. In fairness the beaches we visited were all reasonably clean - perhaps due to the #2minutebeachclean campaign (I'll pop a link at the bottom of the post). There are small stations with rubbish bags and litter pickers to enable you to spend a few minutes collecting waste. You can upload your location and a photograph of what you've collected to a world map on their website. This is a great step, but given the amount of press coverage the plastic issue has had recently I was pretty shocked to see no recycling bins at any of the beaches we visited. We kept our recycling and disposed of it at the nearest recycling points instead.

After Bossiney we headed down the coast towards Padstow and spent our evening at Harlyn Bay enjoying the glorious sunset. Whilst in Tintagel we'd met a couple who collected Mussels from Bossiney Cove and urged us to do the same! Our Bossiney mussels travelled down to Padstow with us - it's pretty hard to keep a bucket of mussels and water still whilst travelling in the bounciest van in the world! It was a bit of a soggy journey! I'd like to point out at this point that we did make a bit of a faux pas in all the excitement of foraging for fresh local food. We've since learnt that mussels shouldn't be picked in any month that doesn't contain an 'R' as the summer months are when they're breeding. Even though in future we now know when we shouldn't and shouldn't be mussel fishing, eating local food is great way to support local communities! We tried to buy only fresh produce from independent shops including fruit and veg, homemade chutney and free range organic eggs! The quality is ALWAYS worth the extra few pennies! And for those of you who may be concerned, the mussels went down beautifully - and stayed there!!!

We spent the next few days travelling further down the coast through Newquay and Perranporth before dropping down to Praa Sands on the South Coast. We managed to 'wild camp' 7 out of 9 nights and spent the remaining 2 on campsites. This meant we mostly washed (I use that term VERY loosely!) in the sea saving on a hell of a lot of water and heating! I know this most definitely isn't everyone's idea of a holiday, but as a regular festival goer I've learnt that going a few days without a shower really isn't the end of the world! I spent a while searching for smaller, family run campsites in a bid to support local businesses. They cost a hell of a lot less than the holiday parks and are often basic enough to have minimal impact on the environment. They are mostly based on farms or within fields and woodlands meaning that keeping the land safe and clean is a priority. We also managed to pick up a new camping kettle at one campsite - it and been left in the laundry room with a 'Free to a good home' note on it. Such a great idea to swap and give away unused camping equipment rather than throwing it in the bin!

We dropped down to Penzance and Mousehole before heading back up the South coast through Porthleven and up to Mevagissey and Fowey. As a lover of Cornish Harbour towns it felt only right to indulge in a fish and chip dinner! However we were shocked to find very few shops that served local, freshly caught fish. It seemed totally ridiculous that boats of fish were coming in thick and fast every morning yet the produce was being shipped straight out of the villages. We very rarely eat fish due to the environmental impact of fishing, and it really put us off! For those of you more eager to only eat sustainably caught/farmed fish (a very gray area) check out the Marine Conservation Society 'Good Fish Guide' (link at the bottom of the post).

For the final few days of our trip we decided we preferred the North coast of Cornwall so made our way back up towards Bude before spending our final night in Croyde where it all began! We used an app called Park4Night to find places to stay - you can search for all kinds of facilities too including daytime carparks! I'd highly recommend a trip down to Duckpool just outside Bude. It's a very rocky cove but such a stunning spot. The carpark is run by the National Trust with a donation box - they put a lot of effort and work into maintaining our countryside and coastlines so it's worth respecting the trust and popping a few quid in the box. Most coastal carparks cost an absolute fortune to park for the day so its a really good deal!

I'm hoping that some of these beautiful photos have encouraged you to think about holidaying in the UK. There is SO MUCH to see and do - and not just in the South! Please do also think about where you stay, what you eat, what you leave behind and how you can lessen your environmental impact. Our country should stay beautiful enough for our children and their children to enjoy too, and it's up to us to ensure it happens!

Tips for a planet friendly camping trip:

1 - Make sure you dispose of all litter - you may have to take recycling away with you until you find a recycling point.

2 - Join in with the #2minutebeachclean

3 - Try to buy fresh, local produce where you can

4 - Swap/give away unused or unwanted camping equipment. Try out Gumtree , Ebay and 'For Sale, Free or Wanted' pages on Facebook.

5 - If buying a fish and chip supper, find somewhere that sells local, freshly caught fish and seafood and check out the Marine Conservation Society website or App for the Good Fish Guide.

6 - Remember to take reusable water bottles with you - most cafes will willingly refill and you can stock up at campsites. I've got a Klean Kanteen bottle and its great - the only bottle I've had that doesn't affect the taste of the water.

7 - Try to use environmentally friendly washing up liquid!

8 - ENJOY OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY!

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