Happy Blue Monday, said no one ever. The “most depressing day of the year” is here. We won’t argue with the sentiment. Put mildly, the whole month grates. It feels like life is buffering. Unable to download.
And what about those new year resolutions? By the third Monday in January, your good intentions are critically endangered. Ours too. It’s true, we’d rather be sunning ourselves on Dawlish Warren than having this conversation. But, if you’ve already given up, know that you’re not alone and it isn’t too late.
The difficulty is that a year is a big commitment. And most resolutions are too ambitious. “I’ll go to the gym every other day”. Starting with a bite-sized commitment of one week is the way to go. Below are 5 to-dos for you to try this week. It’s best to get some of these out of the way, others are a pleasure. Each will make you feel better and help beat the January blues.
Blue Monday 2020 is blue all right. A day of glittering frost and the clearest sky. Air so fresh it stings. A few lungfuls will blow away the cobwebs as the winter sun floods you with Vitamin D. The outdoors is a powerful antidote to feelings of lethargy and depression. That’s also a hint that if we went out in it more, we’d suffer less in the first place.
On average, us Brits spend 90% of our lives inside. But this is problematic. We are governed by our biology, and it wants us to be active. We evolved to walk and run, with sharp senses and soft feet, through forests, across hills and valleys.
Scientists are discovering more and more about why being outside is so healthy for us. There is a lot to show for our reliance on nature. Our DNA adapts to enable us to sync our circadian rhythms, including our sleep cycle, with the changing seasons. Also, our white blood cells are boosted when we breath in the chemicals – phytoncides – released by plants. We belong outside.
If your work keeps you indoors, take your lunch break outside or try to walk or cycle as much of your commute as possible. It’s worth the effort to feel as great as humanly possible.
Eat More Plants
Whether you’re doing Veganuary or not, plants are a priority. A diet rich in plant-based foods is best for your wallet and your health. Not to mention the planet. Did you know, berries and leafy greens – like spinach and kale – actively boost our mood? Rather than cutting “bad” foods out (looking at you, bacon), why not start with a new recipe? This winter warmer springs to mind > BOSH’s Ultimate Chilli .
Hygge At Home
Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Scandinavian word with no direct translation. It encapsulates a feeling of cosiness and wellbeing. Like when you slip into a bubble bath, belly-laugh with your friends, watch an open fire flicker. It has become a “winter saving mode” for the Danes, to get them through their gloomy winters. In January, Copenhagen receives an average of one meagre hour of sunlight per day.
Having a hygge home could brighten your winter too. Amber light creates a relaxed atmosphere, so turn your screens onto night light mode, or better still put them away. Light a candle or a salt lamp, then unwind in its soft glow. Snuggle under a weighted blanket, or invite family and friends over to eat and be merry.
Get Your Finances In Order
No one’s favourite job. Working out finances is tedious and we often perceive it as daunting, stressful, even unmanageable. Tedium aside, this is misleading. We feel much more relaxed and in control when we know where we stand. Work out your income alongside outgoings like bills, your rent or mortgage, and essentials like groceries. Clearing the bank statements and pay check will clear your head, too. When you can see the wood from the trees, you’ll be able to budget much more effectively.
Book Your 2020 Holiday
Here’s one we can all agree on, you deserve a holiday. We may be waiting a while for the long sun-filled days of summer, but you can get your holiday in the calendar right now. Once it’s scratched off your to-do list, you’re free to look forward to the holiday rather than stress about the logistics.
Planning ahead also gives you more time to book time off, research the best things to do, and save money. These help you get the most out of your holiday. We’re thinking ice cream galore, undiscovered gems, fun-filled Devon days out, and fish and chip dinners on the beach.
January may not be the best month, but the January sales are the best time to book a holiday. When you book a 2020 holiday at Lady’s Mile during this month, we’ll pay 15% for you. It’s our way of saying happy new year. We look forward to spending the best bits with you.
There’s nowhere quite like Devon, for many reasons. For a start it’s arguably the prettiest county in England, with endless rolling hills, a ruffled blanket of green stretching to the horizon. Secondly it has some of the finest coastline to be found anywhere in the world. This is no understatement.
South Devon has been one of the UK’s top holiday destinations since the days of top hats, corsets, and stiff promenade strolls. The mild, oceanic climate of the South West gives long tropic-like summers. Coupled with its superb beaches this gave rise to its other name—The English Riviera. And that it is.
There are lots and lots of beaches in South Devon—here are the best—to save you time on your South Devon adventure.
This one’s on our doorstep at Lady’s Mile. Our local beach, and it’s a good one. Half a mile of pure sand backed by dunes—with a blue flag award. There’s also a 500-acre nature reserve, with rare plants and in autumn, wild fowl from the frozen north flock. They travel to the Exe estuary to enjoy the warmth and shelter. Much like the rest of us.
Dawlish Warren isn’t just a beach. You’ll find all sorts here, including a surf shop, cafés, penny arcade and a pub. It’s a wonderful day out for everyone.
Another local beach, just across the estuary from Dawlish. Exmouth is on the cusp of the Jurassic Coast, known for its mysterious fossils.
Exmouth beach is great for families and has two miles of soft sand with watersports hire available. A short walk will see in you in Exmouth town, with a full range of facilities and places to grab a bite. The front also has some classic seaside attractions, including swan boats, which the kids will love.
This one is ironically named, because it’s light shingle. Despite this, it’s still one of the most popular beaches in South Devon—just not fit for sandcastles unfortunately. Slapton Sands is in an arced bar, between the sea and a freshwater lake. Not only does it look picturesque, but it’s place of special ecological interest.
Here, open water has turned to marshy reed beds, and eventually will become woodland. This is known as ecological succession.
The process above has created a unique habitat, favoured by rare flora and fauna—making Slapton a perfect place for wildlife watching.
Although Slapton is small, you’ll find all the facilities you need.
South Milton Sands
With its rock arch peeking from the waters, South Milton Sands is the most recognisable beach in South Devon. This isn’t what makes it a go to family beach, that would be the strip of pure golden sand, with seasonal lifeguards and safe swimming.
Plus, it’s a haven for marine wildlife—including dolphins and seals. It’s very exciting for the kids to spot them, if they’re about. Also, at the end of the beach are some rock pools to inspire them. The biodiversity of rock pools is impressive—who knows what they might uncover jetting about in the seaweed.
Blackpool Sands is another shingle beach. However, what it lacks in sand it makes up for in prettiness. Enclosed by lush pine scattered hills in a sheltered bay, it’s one for the cameras, and a mellow place to while away an afternoon.
Whilst it feels a little off the beaten track, it still offers good facilities—including watersports hire and a beach café shop.
Teignmouth Town Beach
This is true English Riviera. A long sandy beach with one of only 50 remaining Victorian piers in the country—still in full working order with all its amusements. It’s the essence of a Great British Seaside holiday.
Because it’s so long, even in the height of summer you’ll find a quiet patch of sand to yourself where the kids can paddle in the sea. There are also family attractions along the front, including a skatepark. Play park, and crazy golf. And of course, ice cream huts.
Teignmouth is one of Devon’s gems.
Hope Cove Beach
Easily one of Devon’s most wonderful spots. Hope Cove has two sandy beaches, each modestly sized—but family friendly and part of a little chocolate box village. Hope cove is in South Devon’s wider Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty—and surrounded by rugged cliffs and in summer wildflower flushed headlands.
Here you’ll find a restaurant or two, and a coastal trinket shop to keep you busy after reclining on the beach.
Meadfoot Beach Torquay
Close to Agatha Christies Mile in Torquay, Meadfoot is a calm shingle beach popular with families in Torquay. The view is lovely, looking across the expanse of Torbay beyond shag rock towards Brixham.
There’s a café at Meadfoot, serving up classic British favourites—but you’re only a moderate walk from Torquay town with everything you could possibly want.
Watcombe Beach Torquay
This is lesser known than Meadfoot, and access is tougher. It’s worth it though. Watcombe Beach is like something out of Never Never Land, flanked by steep wooded hillsides—a secret lagoon for your family to explore.
Due to the heavy descent from the car park to the beach café, this isn’t recommended for younger kids. Unless you fancy carrying them.
Opposite Burgh Island with its Art Deco masterpiece hotel, award-winning Bantham is South Devon’s surfer’s paradise. It’s up there with the best beaches in the country, a huge sandy stretch that often gets big swells. This doesn’t mean in not suitable for kids, the shore at Bantham is so gentle the breaks happen further out. Usually there’s a nice distance of kid friendly shallows.
Across the way, nearer Burgh Island is Bigbury-on-Sea. Not quite as imposing a beach, but from here you can take the famous “sea tractor” over to the island—which is mesmerising for kids, as it trundles through the waves.
Lady’s Mile Holiday Park
Our family run holiday park in Dawlish is perfectly placed to experience all South Devon has to offer, including the brilliant beaches above.
We’re dedicated to making sure your holiday is fun, comfortable, and one to remember—for all the right reasons.
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‘The English Rivera’ enjoys warmer weather than the rest of the UK, but the green rolling fields give away that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. We get our fair share of rain. Luckily, there is plenty to do in all weathers. From world-renowned marine centres to adventure parks with a difference and rural petting zoos.
Here is a family-friendly bucket list for when the weather isn’t playing ball, and a bucket and spade on the beach won’t cut it.
For the Water Babies
Waves Leisure Pool, Torquay
When the weather is bad, kids can easily get cabin fever. Sofa/duvet days sound like a great idea until their excess energy turns into grouchiness. For those days, Waves Leisure Pool is just over in Torquay and has everything you need for a fun family day out. The pool is easy access with a sloped floor especially for little ones, and there is loads to keep older kids entertained, too. The flume, water jets, and wave machine inject good-natured excitement into the day, and there are also additional water-play activities and a toddler slide. Besides, the water is a balmy 30 degrees, a lot more comfortable than the sea!
For the Animal Lovers
Pennywell Farm, Buckfastleigh
Facebook these days is about 90% videos of unbelievably adorable fluff-balls. From dinky piglets, to soft-muzzled puppies. One of the stereotypes mainland Europe says about us Brits is that we love our animals. In 1989, the husband and wife team who set up Pennywell Farm took this truth and ran with it…straight into a field of goat kids. Alpacas, miniature donkeys, highland cattle…Pennywell Farm has them all. Spending a day cuddling and bottle-feeding the babies is certain to melt the hearts of your kids.
National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth
Fans of BBC Blue Planet will be in their element at Plymouth’s Aquarium. It is the largest and best aquarium in the UK. It is open year-round, and every day they have feeding sessions and other attractions that allow children to see creatures from the deep up close. Their exhibitions also teach children about the importance of wildlife conservation and issues like plastic pollution in our oceans.
Living Coasts, Torquay
Another turning to the deep to banish the blues. See playful African Penguins and Macaroni Penguins, as well as Otters, Rays, Octopi and Seals. Every day, there are informative ‘talk and feed’ sessions where children can see the animals up close and learn about their behaviours.
Paignton Zoo Environmental Centre, Paignton
Paignton Zoo was founded by twentieth-century conservationist Herbert Whitley back in 1923. It is now part of the Wild Planet Trust, along with Living Coasts. It is a centre for fun, interactive learning and it puts conservation and animal welfare at the heart of everything it does. The zoo is home to more than 2,500 animals and includes specially designed habitats – from savannah to wetlands and tropical forest. It also boasts fun and interactive play areas and a Jungle Express train to take the kids even closer to the action.
Devon’s largest theme park is popular for a reason. The indoor play area is full of ball pools, toboggan rides, slides and towers; perfect for children of all ages and any weather. Meanwhile, the Cyclone Canyon Zone and the Sea Dragon Swing Ship offer an exhilarating thrill hard to find anywhere else. The park is thoughtfully set out in woodlands, with different areas and activities to keep you entertained all day. Don’t miss it.
For the Adventurous
Kents Cavern, Torquay
One way to avoid the rain is to go underground. The extensive caves of Kents Cavern began to form around 2 million years ago. Within their rock layers lie clues that reveal the story of the last ice age and the evolution of humans. Unravel them with the help of experienced guides and learn about the incredible history of the area. Torbay is included in the UNESCO Global Geopark scheme, which marks out the most amazing geological places in the world. If this isn’t enough, Kents Cavern has much to offer children, with fun activities that include an ice age animal hunt and stone age trail.
Exeter’s Underground Passages, Exeter
Exeter’s Underground Passages were built to house the pipes that brought clean drinking water into medieval Exeter. A guided tour of the passages is a memorable, exciting experience. Even children won’t fail to be struck by their atmosphere and sense of history. It’s an exclusive attraction, too; they are the only passages of their kind in Britain to be open to the public.
For Your Wild Child
Just Get Wet and Muddy, Anywhere
Okay, okay. This may not be for you. That’s fine—but hear us out. We have beautiful beaches and countryside on our doorstep, and there are benefits to visiting them in bad weather. For one it’s fun, in a get-stuck-in sort of way. Most kids love getting sandy, wet and muddy. It can be annoying for you, but if you accept that their clothes will need a wash and they’ll need a shower, it can become quite freeing. Secondly, the waves are usually better, so bodyboarding is even more fun. Finally, any bad weather is a brilliant beach clearer; you’ll often find you get the bay all to yourselves, and then as if by magic the rain will ease off! If not, at least no one can see how mucky the kiddies get.
Whatever you get up to, return pink-cheeked and smiling to a warm welcome at Lady’s Mile. Our fantastic facilities set the tone for a happy family holiday.