Holiday! by Helen J Rolfe

2014 saw my return to the UK from Australia, and December was the most magical month. With the lead up to Christmas from the cold and the dark, to the twinkly lights and the preparation of all the food, I couldn’t get enough of a cold Christmas. But now …


What I’d really like is for someone else to plan a holiday for me – do all the booking, the shopping for everything I need, then just tell me where to be and when and I’ll love every minute. But of course, it doesn’t happen that easily.

I’ve already started to think about where to go and when, because this year of course, we are in the Northern Hemisphere so it’s all a little different. Do we head down to Cornwall for a week and relax at the British seaside, avoiding airports and passport control? Or, do we go all cultural and head over to Europe – Paris perhaps? Or should we make it all about the kids and go to Center Parcs or Eurocamp?

Now can you see why I’d like to outsource the job of the planning to someone else?

Thinking about holidays this year has brought back some memories of holidays that have stuck in my mind, so I wanted to share some of those thoughts with you. I may inspire you to try something different, I may inspire myself to get something booked and quick…but most of all I hope that you enjoy reading about my three most memorable holidays:

Florida – the good old U.S.A

In May 1997 I went with a group of five friends to Florida. It always stands out in my mind as the most memorable holiday because we got to watch the shuttle launch of Atlantis. We’d visited the Kennedy Space Center days before and saw the shuttle on the launch pad, but the excitement didn’t really kick in until the launch itself.

From memory it was four o’clock in the morning and as the countdown began over the loudspeaker – “T minus 10 seconds…t minus 9 seconds…” that was when I knew I was about to see something amazing. As the shuttle left its Launchpad the entire sky lit up … it was something that I’ll never forget. I just wish it had been in the days of Facebook and I could’ve shared the moment with everyone!

Hamilton Island, The Whitsundays 

I went to Hamilton Island three times so it felt right to include it in list.


Hamilton Island is one of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia. What I love about the island is that it feels like an escape from everything, yet if you want it to be, it can be action-packed and exciting.

There are no cars on the island except a few vehicles for transporting passengers to and from the airport, delivering goods to the hotels. To get around you either walk or hire a golf buggy. We did both but the buggy was so much fun when we decided to take it a bit easier! There’s a freedom zipping around in the sunshine and in all that fresh air that is difficult to replicate anywhere else, and we spent the week snorkelling, eating at amazing restaurants, and just escaping reality for a little while.hol3

I also made the most of the balcony and the view over the Coral Sea. I curled up with a good book more times than I can remember 🙂




Center Parcs, UK

In 2011, on a visit from Australia, I met my brother and his family and my parents at Center Parcs. I’d never been anywhere like it before…hiring bikes, swimming every day, cooking barbecues outside our chalets.

This sort of holiday came without the hassles of passports and airline tickets, without the delays at the airport and the fear of lost luggage. Center Parcs was so organised and I left after four days feeling tired, but a happy tired. It was a real getaway and all that fresh air a blessing. There’s so much to do there for kids and adults.

So… tempted by any of the ideas above for a holiday? We’d love to hear all about your favourite holiday, or your worse – if you dare to share. I must admit I’m close to booking Center Parcs, although I’ve heard Eurocamp is pretty amazing too.

Let the investigations begin!

Helen R 🙂



9 thoughts on “Holiday! by Helen J Rolfe

  1. Seeing the Atlantis launch must have been a tremendous experience, one you’ll certainly never forget. We went to Center Parcs when the boys were young teens but could only afford the cheapest time of the year, the first week of January. Yes it was perishing cold but the chalet was toasty and the forest was magical with its coating of frost. I swam in the outside part of the pool, in warm water with sparkles of snow drifting down from the night sky. You don’t get that in July! I have no idea where I want to go this year either. Shall give it some thought after your lovely post, Helen.

  2. No wonder you are having trouble choosing where to go Helen, all your possibilities sound great. Personally I love France and its lovely to pop over even for a weekend, which is quite possible from Bath. The three holidays you wrote about sound lovely and have really whetted my appetite for planning my own this summer. I think we’ll go camping in Wales where we can take the dogs and there’s lots of ancient buildings and beautiful scenery.

  3. Those holiday experiences sound magical, Helen. After leaving an Australian summer, to arrive in a British winter, I’ll bet reality is kicking in fast. No wonder you have holidays on your mind.

    Personally, I love Cornwall. It’s the most amazing place, and the perfect destination to spend your summer holidays. All those beautiful little villages, fabulous scenery, great coastline, hidden coves, history, and mystery! It’s a very mystical place, to me. It kind of weaves its spell around me. We loved it so much we got married there. You wouldn’t even have far to go. 🙂

    This year, we’re having a traditional bucket and spade caravan holiday at the good old British (Lincolnshire) seaside with three of our children, in-laws, and four of our grandchildren. Should be chaotic. Next year, we’re going on a boat in the Norfolk Broads with our eldest son and his family. The year after that, we’ve decided to have a week in Somerset and a week in Cornwall – probably just the two of us. Yes, we’ve planned ahead this time! I love holidays. Can you tell? 🙂

    Wherever you choose, hope you and your family have a wonderful time. xx

  4. Thanks girls… I think Paris is on the cards but I ink a few days would be enough with kids. We may try Cornwall too in the summer 🙂
    Helen R 🙂

  5. Ah, holidays! Like you, I find January a trial and I have to get some holidays booked then to cheer me up… so, during the last month I have booked three! We are renting a converted barn on the edge of beach at the Llyn Peninsula in Wales for two weeks at Easter, then in May we are going to Center Parcs in Holland and in the school summer hols we have booked an apartment over looking the bay in Puerto Rico, Gran Canaria for a couple of weeks. If feels much more cheerful having these to look forward to, but I am hoping to squeeze in a few weekends away too – possibly even one to New York for one of my closest friend’s 40th birthday celebrations. Like Sharon, I LOVE holidays – as you might be able to tell! I can’t wait to hear where you choose in the end 🙂 x

  6. No wonder you are thinking holidays Helen, with this cold weather. I love you holiday snaps too. A few days away would be fantastic and I’m trying very hard to persaude my husband he needs to leave the farm and come with me to Paris!!

  7. I’m loving the sound of Hamilton Island and getting around on golf buggies. I miss holidays. I used to go often with my friend Catryn when we were both single. We learned to dive in Turkey one May and went back to do our advanced course that same year in the August and we took a month off work and went to NZ/Australia and Bali. Good times. Unfortunately mortgages, pay reductions, and a family mean I now struggle to afford them but I still have many fond memories of distant lands … xx

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