The Fashionable Pan, In Their Shoes
At Saltie HQ we often day-dream of holidays past, remembering those stumbled upon secret coves, and those mouth-watering dishes that somehow always taste better in the sun. Holiday chat has to be one of our favourite topics, so we’re talking to a lady that has some golden holiday memories and must-visits to share.
Debbie from The Fashionable Pan reflects on her favourite holidays and delves into her future holiday hot list.
Sometimes there’s a stand out holiday, sometimes different holidays bring different magic moments. So we’re breaking it down into the sum of great holiday parts - read on for more below!
First up, an all important one for us water lovers, what’s the best beach you’ve even been to?
We’ve just returned from West Wittering and I would say that is one of the most beautiful sandy beaches here in the UK. There’s vast stretches of sand banks making it ideal for young families and the yellow sand, colourful beach huts and sand dunes makes a great photo opportunity! But if we’re talking abroad then it has to be the Maldives for me. I’ve been lucky enough to go twice - once to Lily Beach Resort and the second time to Kuramathi. Both were idyllic, but what stood out for me was the white sand, crystal clear waters, feeding the stingrays and night time fishing. It is breathtaking - postcard picturesque.
One of the best sunsets we’ve ever seen was at Stoer Lighthouse in Assynt, Scotland where the entire sky, as far as the eye could see, was cast red, rippling with the clouds. Tell us about a sunset that made your jaw-drop?
There’s two. One was on top of the Kitzsteinhorn snowboarding with friends. Being on top of the glacier with the sun and snow was stunning. The other was on the beach in Katathani beach resort in Phuket, Thailand with my family. That was magical.
From coast to city. What city puts a spring in your step?
We’re so lucky to live right near London. It’s so diverse and there’s so much to see and do! And London has the best places to shop. After a spot of shoping I love heading to Soho for dinner at Ham Yard Hotel and finishing the day with evening drinks at Archers Street. That’s the perfect day for me. The other city I love is Florence. I could shop and people watch there all day long. Head to Piazza del Duomo and marvel at all the locals in their stylish outfits. I find the fashion in Florence really inspiring.
Do you have a particular spot that took your breath away in terms of seeing nature at it’s most awe-inspiring?
We recently spent the day at Swanbourne Lake in Arundel and it was so beautiful. The water was so clear and it felt like we were somewhere abroad! As it was such a hot day, we walked around the woodland area first then took a rowing boat around the lake and fed the ducks and swans at the same time. The kid's faces were a joy to watch. It’s the perfect place to spend the day.
Some people love to research before they go, others go with the flow. In whichever camp you are, have you stumbled across something that was a total surprise?
We’re a bit of both but we do love stumbling across places or asking the locals. They obviously give the best advice. Swanbourne Lake was an example. We wouldn’t have known about it if we hadn’t asked the manager at the restaurant we ate and it didn’t disappoint. We’re also a family that loves to go for long walks and explore and in Rome we did just that. Every corner you turn is a wow moment. With so much history and culture you'll find jaw dropping spots everywhere - like the stunning backdrops of the Vatican to the Trevi fountains. We just love Rome. Hence why we named our boy Roman!
Mention the word holidays to kids and it’s met with off-the-chart excitement. Was there a holiday you remember the kids really loving?
Gloria Golf Resort in Balek Turkey! So much so that they have asked to go back and we are going next week. They have been talking about it every day and are so excited!
We sometimes plan our holidays around the food hot spots. Do you have a favourite all time holiday meal?
This made me laugh as I’m sure I get withdrawal symptoms if I don’t have rice! It’s my staple dish (being Asian!) and I miss it if I don’t have it! I always have rice at least once or twice when we’re on holiday. I remember going to Gambia years ago and we drove to this remote area where it appeared to have nothing but a small cafe on the side road. I can’t remember the name, but it turned out to be a Chinese restaurant where the owner set up his business for 6 months of the year in Gambia and went back to China for the rest of the 6 months. I found that remarkable and was very pleased as they had rice!
It’s lovely to discover the local crafts on holiday. Do you have any favourite keep-sakes from your travels?
Yes, I have loads but one in particular is definitely my Chanel Vintage bag I bought in Florence. And I have an OM ring I bought from Anjuna Flea market in Goa. We would love to go back to Goa with the kids one day as it holds a very special place to us. The hubby and I went there in 2012 as a healing holiday to mend our broken hearts having suffered with multiple miscarriages. We practiced yoga and meditated every morning and came home feeling much stronger, happier and with a positive frame of mind. It’s an amazing country and a super relaxing holiday destination.
This year many of us have explored places closer to shore. What spots in the UK do you love?
We particularly love Whitstable. My partner’s family stems from there and it’s our spiritual home. It’s not too far from us so we tend to visit at least once a month. The kids love it too. Crabbing is one of their favourite things to do and we always end up buying fish, chips and oysters from The Forge for dinner on the beach to watch the sunset.
Have you had a Slow Travel holiday that you’ve really enjoyed?
We love holidaying in the UK and recently had a lovely time in the Jurassic coast. It didn’t feel long enough so next year we’d love to plan a staycation in the South West starting in Jurassic coast, then heading down to Cornwall for a few days. Breaking up the long drive and discovering new spots and beaches!
Thinking ahead, do you have a holiday hit list? We know the list is never-ending, but can you tell us about a couple of places you can’t wait to visit.
We’d love to go back to Thailand again as it was magical. But I come from Vietnam so to go back and take the kids to visit my birth place and meet my mother’s family will be pretty special. We’d start in Hanoi the capital where I was born as it’s bustling and just beautifully chaotic. Then after a few days we would head to Ha Long Bay and just mesmerise at the scenery, then end up soaking it all in and relax on beaches of Nha Trang. That’s definitely on the bucket list!