Soul Food: Family Fun in North Wales

For the peeps who like a nostalgic backstory:

So my mum and dad brought Foxhole in 1979 (when I was two) and we’ve been holidaying there ever since.  As a child we’d pack up for the six weeks of summer and head down to the Llynn Peninsula to our haven on Llanbedrog Beach, a little white cottage on the edge of the sand, Foxhole.  The summer days would be filled with sandy sandwiches, castles, swimming, football, frisbee, crab catching, walking, bbq’s, fry ups, ice creams, sweeties, boules, water skiing, canoeing, sailing, new friends, old friends, sisters, late nights, lazy mornings, blue lips, sand cars, hot baths, roaring fires and we LOVED it.

Holiday houses have a smell and the moment we stepped in this summer, it hit me like I’d just been pulled back in time to 30 years ago.  But the thing is it’s not just the smell, it is literally everything, Foxhole is a magical place that makes time stand still, a place that feeds the soul in massive great man sized portions, Foxhole is a very special place.  This summer we headed down with Ol’s oldest sister Geraldine, her husband Jake, their daughters Emily and Bella, with Em’s bff Evie along for the ride too.

Holidays can be expensive, kids can take time to settle but not at Foxhole.  It’s home away from home and everything is familiar.  We still did ice cream o’clock everyday, the kids were on the beach in their jimjams most mornings and we had the best family holiday.


For the aspiring photographers:


This holiday I wanted to experiment with a completely stripped down kit, here’s what I took:

1 x Canon 5D Mark 111
1 x 50mm 1.2 L Series lens
2 x camera batteries
1 x battery charger
1 x macbook pro
1 x calumet card reader
2 x 32 gig Sandisk Extreme 111 compact flash cards
1 x crumpler pretty boy camera backpack

Pro’s of a one lens kit:
1. You can’t beat a fast  prime lens, you have a quality of glass that can create an image that a zoom lens just can’t.
2. You have have to move, you have to work to get the image, it makes you more aware of your position, more creative with your compositions.
3. You are not bogged down with switching up lenses.
4. You can achieve a really creamy, beautifully shallow depth of field, which allows greater creativity.
5. It’s light, you can just sling your camera over your shoulder and you are off.

Cons of a one lens kit:
1. You’re restricted to one focal length which can sometimes be frustrating as it rules out wide panoramics and long compressed tight shots, it can be restrictive.
2. Having just one focal length means that you need to anticipate your shots to a higher degree, which is a good thing, but for the odd reactive shot you may not get the best as you don’t have the right focal length.

On my wish list:
I’d really like a camera handbag, I’ve been carting my Crumpler backpack around for years now and although it’s solid, neat, light, inconspicuous, it’s not very girlie and I fancy a bag that looks like a handbag, for holidays mainly.

I’m particularly fond of the Epiphan!e bags but there are loads out there:
http://www.cosycameras.co.uk
http://camerahandbags.co.uk/

Top tips for photographing your family holiday:
1. If you’ve got an SLR then take control, read up on exposure (http://jessicalouisebell.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/exposure-shutter-speed-aperture-and-iso/) and get your camera in AV (aperture priority) mode.
2. Make an image don’t just snap, in other words be proactive not reactive.  Observe what is going on around you, anticipate and move into position before making the image.
3. Get down onto the childs level.
4. If you are using a very shallow depth of field then focus on the subjects eyes.
5. Establish the location with lots of landscape and detail shots of your surrounds, they help tell the story.
6. Photographing your holiday requires some basic story telling, so of each scene try taking a wide, a tight and a detail shot.
7. Try interesting compositions; reflections, shadows, using objects to frame your subject, getting high and low - the key thing is to think about what you are shooting and to create a set of images which give an interesting perspective unique to you.


The local knowledge for holidaying in Llanbedrog:

http://www.dayoutwiththekids.co.uk/things-to-do-family/Pwllheli/Kids-Fun

You will find everything you need to know about entertaining the kids on the ‘dayoutwiththekids’ site but here are a few of the things we can recommend:

Pwllheli Funfair: small and exactly as it was when we used to go 30 odd years ago.  A few dodgems, bouncy castles, arcades, ride ons... the boys LOVED it and we went almost every day!!  There is a killer chippy next door, we’d grab fish&chips on the way back to Foxhole then eat them on the beach straight out the bag.
Pwllheli Cinema: With 354 seats and a creative schedule including film, productions by local and national touring companies, ballet, opera, plays, pantomimes and concerts.
Llanbedrog Beach Cafe:  right on the beach and a stones throw from Foxhole, it’s been taken over recently and the food is cracking.  We had our daily icecreams here and a the odd cheeky beer.
Hells Mouth:  stunning as it always has been, and a magnet for local holiday makers seeking out some waves.  There’s a small car park and a van selling food and another selling surf gear.
Abersoch surf shops:  you can pick up a really decent kids 2nd hand wetsuits for as little as £10 from most of the surf shops in Abersoch - definitely recommended, even in the summer months. 

Turtle Gallery:  In Abersoch this local gallery sells photographic prints of the area, of which we have a few and Foxhole is featured (http://www.turtlephotography.co.uk/).
Gwesty Ty Newydd, Abadaron:  This pub is right on the waters edge so much so that at high tide you can feel as if you’re on a ship.  The village of Abadaron is very chocolate box cute, with some decent local walks, the pub food is simple and tasty, but you go for the view not the food!
Headland Walks:  Our favourite local hike is up the cliff path from Llanbedrog beach to the Tin Man, where the view is spectacular, then around the headland, all the way to Abersoch if you wish. The more adventurous do a day walk up Snowdown....

So here is my B&B experience film of our hols.

Enjoy!

Sxx