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A-Z countries

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.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Croissants or dog care?

Pete, Nicola, Lola and Nell spent 2007 travelling around Britain, now they're home but still keeping their carbon footprint down (and when there's a dog doing a lot of legwork). This post is by Nicola

One Saturday my family were all in Islington Music, just off Cross Street, waiting for the customer in front to stop chatting. She was obviously a journo (Rosie Millard a Sunday Times writer), had lots of kids (4), a patient hairy dog lying at her feet (see pic above) and an interesting story - she was off to see six unexpected bits of France in a few weeks time. Her problem was she didn't know what to do with the dog for the next three months.

"We'll have him" I said rudely interrupting, "assuming my husband will agree". Well we had to get served somehow... Pete looking a bit startled managed to say yes and the girls were ecstatic. And so it was that Disney the dog joined us for about three months last summer while his family went off to film their travel series, Croissants in the Jungle. As much as we like travelling we felt we got the better deal - and when Disney had to be returned to his family we missed him so much that we ended up finding a Border Terrier replacement, our puppy Vulcan.

While Rosie and family were off to see the Dom Toms, the bits of France that shouldn't really be France (but somehow are) including the tiny islands up in Newfoundland, St Pierre et Miquelon, Martinique, French Guyana, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and La Reunion, we got to hear the occasional travel snippet (Rosie's blog and postcards to Disney...). The places sound amazing, all cultural islands shored up financially by La France. Translated I reckon this means that crossiants in the UK are a great deal cheaper than French jungle breakfast bars.

You can join Rosie and family on their travels, described temptingly by the Travel Channel, as "part contemporary history, part family disaster movie" thanks to the complexities of having to film with four increasingly fed up children. If you like travel and the BBC sit com Outnumbered, you are sure to love this show which is on thursdays at 9pm. Have a look at the Travel Channel highlights here.

This entry is missing two rather cruical facts - dogs have a whacking carbon pawprint if you feed them meat, deal with their poos, leave the radiator on at night etc, and, secondly, flying around the world to French colonies busts a lifetime's carbon supply. In my own and the Millard families defences the answer is "we know", and as a consequence, and in another small part of this crossiant v dog coincidence are both users of the local car club when we are not poundingIslington pavements between the parks our dogs love.

Monday, 4 January 2010

2009 roundup

Pete, Nicola, Lola and Nell took time out in 2007 to travel around Britain. Now we're home but we still like to travel with a carbon light footprint, and share ideas about how to do this... This post is by Nicola

2009 roundup - well our family has now visited by default 77 countries without really leaving the UK. We certainly haven't flown anywhere either (all very inspiring if you are a 10:10 fan/groupie). I haven't included postcards from amazing places which is vocarious travel, as is reading the travel supplements, going to the Embassies, eating in a themed restaurant or flying around using google earth.

I think introducing myself and the family to 77 countries without leaving Britain (except the one time we took Eurostar to Lille, France for three days during 2009) is a triumph. The idea even got picked up in the Guardian's Saturday supplement on 14 June 2008, see here. And then was reprinted in 2009 in the Guardian's Rainy Day Book, details here.

Most cold months I pretty much abandon this blog as I have to work the winter to take the summer in a leisurely way. But this year I will also be thinking more about green childcare ready for for the publication of my new book, Homemade Kids: creative, thrifty and eco-friendly ways to raise children, due out in July 2010. I've set up another blog for those entries so if you're interested have a look at my new homemadekids blog which is especially easy to add comments to. But when we travel I'll be blogging right back here. After all there are another 50 countries to locate...