Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006


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Camping Les Ormes

My husband is a cyclist and likes holidays that involve immense amounts of pain. I am a sybarite and like holidays that involve beautiful things to eat, drink, read and look at. This is why our holiday at Camping Les Ormes in the Dordogne valley was perfect for us both. From the minute we arrived, I knew I was going to be happy:

Our tent was perched on the lip of a hill, with a view of the pool:

Inside, wine and roses waited for us:

As did crystal tea light holders:

Bright white linen:

A piano:

A chandelier:

And thoughtfully chosen books:

Everywhere I looked, there were strong design values:

And places of beauty for the eye to rest:

Best of all, no-one seemed to mind that after about 20 seconds our perfect pitch looked like this:

The campsite has 100 pitches on 25 acres of landscaped terrain. It has a pool, a bar and a restaurant and enough space for posses of kids to run around happily while their parents sip rose and contemplate reading a book. Staffed by two industrious Dutch couples, who have imbued it with their flair for design and people’s happiness, Les Ormes attracts campers from all over Europe. We met German, Spanish, British and Dutch families, all of whom were equally friendly and happy for their kids to run around with ours. One of my favourite things about Les Ormes was its non-sexist staffing – the teams of students working there ran the bar, worked the restaurant and cleaned the tents regardless of their gender. My other favourite thing was the price – it cost slightly more than other campsites we have visited, but at just under 500 Euros for one of the very chic safari tents for a family of four, I think it’s very good value. A Les Ormes holiday comes highly recommended!

(PS As a novice mystery writer, I have placed a red herring somewhere in this post. Can you find it?)


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It’s Staycation Time!

My family are right on-trend with our plan to stay home for the summer holidays. As we drove back from France yesterday – which is not as glamorous as it sounds since it’s less than a two-hour drive and the campsite was one kilometre over the border – German radio was full of top tips on how to enjoy holidays at home. Callers mooted things like having breakfast in your pyjamas, having coffee in bed and not worrying about hotel hygiene as reasons why they enjoy staying at home. Having never given hotel hygiene a moment’s thought, I loved the last one. It’s so German.

After two nights’ camping, I can report that I like staying at home because when you turn a tap, water comes out of it. I also like not having to walk through a damp forest to go to the loo in the middle of the night. And I like not meeting strange men coming out of the co-ed ablutions and wondering if I am going to get the toilet they just used. The campsite was budget-friendly though (€20 a night for a caravan that sleeps four, kitchen equipment, linen for one double bed, a barbeque, gas and a tent pitch) and pretty, and at some point in the holidays, when I get over the water/loo thing, we’ll go back.

The two main reasons mooted for people to holiday at home, or in Germany rather than in another country, are finances and the threat of swine flu. However, Thomas Cook’s new offer for Germans to reserve loungers in advance might be enough to get the population onto budget flights to Turkey. According to yesterday’s Independent, for the first time in a generation more Britons are holidaying in the UK this year than abroad (probably to avoid the Germans and their deckchairs). Marketers have leapt onto the Holiday At Home concept, and sales of picnic accessories and barbeques are soaring.

With my kids on holiday from Thursday this week until mid-September, I’m compiling a list of cool things to do at home. Here it is so far:

* Ride bikes

* Learn to cook something new

* Eat lunch at the river

* Eat lunch in the garden

* Keep diaries

* Go to the library

* Go to the pool

* Hire DVDs from the library or borrow from friends and have movie nights

* Cut up old magazines and make a collage

* Have friends for a sleep-over

* Go for a walk in the forest

* Read in the hammock

* Learn to ride the unicycle

* Bake cakes and invite friends round for a tea-party

* Collect and press leaves

* Go roller-blading

* Camping in the garden

* Pour Mummy a stiff gin and tonic and take it to her in the hammock

Any ideas warmly welcomed.