Oyster & Pearl is like a flower press for memories, carefully collecting and preserving our days with a heavy dose of nostalgia.
How did you get into blogging?
I started a (terrible) LiveJournal blog back in 2005, just as a place to exercise my writing muscle. I’d dabbled with journalism in my early twenties before being sidetracked into the world of film PR. I picked it up again in 2011 when my youngest son was a baby, as I needed an outlet for my creativity. Since then, Oyster & Pearl has grown into a family and lifestyle blog that contributes so much to our lives and has taken us on many an adventure.
What are the three top things you look for in a destination?
1. Weather. That’s not to say I’m a sun-worshipper, but the local climate is such an evocative aspect of any travel. If we’re going somewhere cold, I want snow, ice and shivers. If it’s a hot holiday, make it scorching, please.
2. Beauty. Travel brings out the nosey in me and I become magpie-ish, peeping through doorways, clocking new colours, shapes and smells, and capturing it all with my trusty camera.
3. Food. Last year, I wrote the recipes for a diet book based on the food eaten by the clean-living monks of Mount Athos in Greece. But I couldn’t stick to Mediterranean ingredients alone and introduced culinary influences from all over the world. I see travel as research, and I bring as many ideas home with me as I do memories.
Where is on your wishlist for 2015?
Amalfi is somewhere I’ve never visited but have always dreamt I would. Italian food is the pinnacle of flavour and quality and history, and the idea of eating my way around that beautiful coastline is pretty special!
I’ve never been to Scandinavia, either, and I would love to visit Copenhagen. Danish design is just perfection.
Further afield, I think Sri Lanka would be a good way to gently introduce the kids to a very different culture. Plus, the coastline looks incredibly beautiful, and I’m more than a little obsessed with curry.
If you could only visit one country for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I am a true Francophile so it would have to be France. It holds such a special place in my heart (despite a couple of rather torturous French exchange visits as a teenager!), in particular the south coast – the Fondation Maeght art gallery is my favourite in the world. And I adore Paris. It brings out my inner flaneur.
What’s your favourite or earliest travel memory?
In 2000, three friends and I spent three months travelling across the United States, flying into Seattle and out of New York. We had no idea how we’d get from one side of the country to the other, but we did and we had the best time doing so. All the big cities and sights were explored, but the off-the-beaten-track places proved to be just as interesting. And we went up into Canada and down into Mexico. We covered a lot of ground, and brought home snow globes from every destination.
What do you never leave for holiday without?
My camera. It’d be so incredibly frustrating not to be able to snap our adventures. Having said that, I take so many pictures on my phone that maybe I could cope without a DSLR.
Any top tips for travelling with kids?
My kids have visited France a couple of times, and the Canary Islands last year. So they’re okay on planes, although we’ve had to ply them with devices to keep them occupied on longer journeys. My seven-year-old has his own camera and likes to record his own snapshots of our travels, so batteries and memory cards (and, when home, scrapbooks and glue) tend to keep him busy.