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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Friday, 21 March 2008

The dollshouse

Nicola & Pete plus daughters Lola, now 9 and Nell, now 7, spent last year exploring Britain in a carbon-light manner. Our spring 2008 challenge is to give up waste from 24 March to 24 April. Most posts are by Nicola (as it was her silly idea). This is how it’s going:

Nell loves playing with her dollshouse – a fine example of a detached Edwardian suburban 3-bed that I would loathe to live in because there's no where to store clutter! I bought it for her from a secondhand stall at an "antiques" yard by Sawbridgeworth station for Christmas 2005 and it’s been a big success. All the Sylvanians live here; sometimes the Bratz (acquired from the carboot sale) do the cleaning.

For some time Nell has been asking if she could redecorate (!) and so last weekend while Pete and Lola were at the football, Nell and I got painting.

Nell did all the work, choosing colours from half-full tins of Auro and Farrow & Ball paints that we used to decorate the real house. We were inspired to do this after Miranda, my Scottish-based cousin Dermot’s wife, told us she’d commissioned a miniature copy of one of the houses her children grew up in and then working with her daughter, Emily, had decorated every room as it was.

This was a bonding, skilful project for mum and daughter at the time; now that they’ve moved house it has ended up giving them the most gorgeous memory of their old place as it was circa 1995. It's a work of art now, and one which no doubt will be handed down to generations of little uns.

Verdict: there’s other ways of getting rid of old paint and wallpaper scraps, but this was really fun.

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