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Our annual family holiday on the French canals (Canal latéral à la Loire)

As regular readers to this blog may know, every year for the past four years my family has taken an annual trip on the French canals. The tradition started the year that Theo was born, when I mentioned at Christmas that I’d always fancied doing a narrow boat holiday, that off the cuff comment lead to us booking a holiday in Wales and a couple of years later, we moved on to holidaying in Europe…

Since 2015 we’ve built up a good relationship with Le Boat who we holiday with and we share our photos with them to use for publicity in return for them throwing in a few extras and doing us a good deal. Last years Thames trip even resulted in Alice appearing in their TV advert, much to everyone’s amusement!

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Trustedhousesitters review : How we saved over £1000 on kennel fees in one year

For us 2017 has been (surprisingly) the year we’ve opened up our home to strangers. As well as having a couple of Air BnB guests, we’ve also had housesitters for the first time and it’s not only saved us money, but enabled us to travel more and stay away for longer.

I was introduced to the website Trustedhousesitters.com last year by a friend (scroll down for 20% discount link). What’s unique about the site is that the majority of their housesitters offer their services for free in return for staying in your house, so we were lured in by the potential massive savings we would make on kennel fees when we went away.

Us and our New Zealand housesitters Graham and Maree

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My birthday trip on the River Thames with Le Boat

My birthday trip on the River Thames with Le Boat

by Clare Mansell

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may remember that we take regular holidays with our extended family on river boats in France. This tradition begun a few Christmases ago when I mentioned I’d always fancied a canal boat holiday and the rest of my family (surprisingly) agreed. A couple of glasses of wine later and some googling and we had our first trip booked staying on narrowboats in Wales. Despite the dire predictions everyone made about the weather, the holiday was a surprising success and the next year we decided to try river boats in France.

We’ve now had two summer holidays with Le Boat in France and over the years we’ve also developed a good relationship with them, so they throw in a few extras in exchange for photography and videos. This summer we had hoped to holiday on their new Horizon boats, but for one reason and another it never quite happened.

However Le Boat didn’t forget about us and when one of the new boats became available for a day on the Thames, they offered it to us in return for some digital content. Entirely coincidentally the day also happened to be my birthday and it was (mostly) beautiful weather… we were very lucky.

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Our two week holiday at child friendly gites in France

Earlier this month we returned from a fortnight’s holiday at La Grange Du Moulin in Charente Maritime in France. As regular readers will know in previous summers we have holidayed on boats in France with my family, but this year my sister decided they wanted to do something different and so we were left with a blank canvas and a bewildering range of options.

Living so close to Portsmouth and the ferry terminal it made sense to head back to France again and as we’d had the Charente region recommended by Le Boat, I casually started googling Charente and child friendly gites.

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