Kent Traffic, Summer Parties and Dual Centre Holidays

gleam summer party 2017

People of Kent, a question: is it always so horrifically bad trying to get back into London through the Dartford Tunnel? Every time I’ve done it there have been huge queues – a few odd times over the years, but four times in the space of the last two weeks. Always massive traffic jams. Have I just been incredibly unlucky, or is this just something that you get used to and allow for in your travelling schedule? Genuine question from an interested party.

Talking of parties: I took Baby Ted along to the Gleam Summer Party, which is an annual event of epic proportions thrown for all of the staff at Gleam Futures along with the Youtubers and Bloggers they represent. Do you remember last year, when I had a little freak-out at the Cliveden House Gleam party and had to drive home? (Post here.) I was pregnant with Ted, then, so it was funny to be there nearly a year later carrying him in my arms.

gleamfest gleam summer party 2017

Anyway the party, to go full circle with this little post, was in Kent. Ted and I actually had something of a “dual centre” mini-holiday; the party was set in idyllic farmland somewhere outside of Canterbury and our hotel was on the sea-front in Ramsgate. (It was the Albion Hotel, should you ever find yourself in Ramsgate and in need of somewhere to stay. Marvellous breakfast.) So two different scenic experiences – rural and seaside – in the space of twenty-four hours.

Do you remember when dual centre holidays were a thing? I don’t know whether it’s even a term that people use anymore. Dual centre. The last time I heard it was decades ago when my Mum was studying the holiday brochures (pre-internet, kids!) and trying to decide which Gite de France to book. The concept of a “dual centre” holiday seemed so exciting and upmarket. In reality, it just meant that your two week holiday was blighted by the fact that half way through there was the massive upheaval of  re-packing the car and doing another twelve hour drive. When I was about ten we had the ultimate dual centre experience staying at two different campsites in France. They were both Eurosites camping grounds, so the “three bedroom” tents we stayed in were identical. The swimming pools with their bright yellow slides were almost identical. I’m pretty sure that the onsite bars and the supermarchés were virtually identical, and the weather was – you’ve guessed it – hot and, give or take a degree, identical. The only real difference was that the second campsite had pine trees and was about 500 miles away from the first one.

I’ve gone off on a tangent, as usual, but if you want to see what Ted and I got up to on our dual centre mini-trip to Kent, press play on the video below.

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  1. July 11, 2017 / 8:55 pm

    We never did dual center holidays. With four kids you don´t move around if you don´t have to!

  2. Lucy
    July 11, 2017 / 9:04 pm

    I live close to Canterbury and no, the traffic isn’t always that bad! Please don’t let it put you off coming back! I live in Whitstable and it’s gorgeous….Xx

  3. Caroline
    July 11, 2017 / 9:14 pm

    Wow, dual holidays sound exciting to me! :D
    I once stayed in Nerja, Spain, with hubby, and we then drove up to Benidorm. So I guess that was pretty much a dual holiday, and I didn’t even realise.
    We went from one rather built up tourist town, to an even more built-up, tourist town. But we did visit Benidorm palace AND a DIY frozen yoghurt shop, so it was worth it.
    And yes, Dartford crossing/tunnel is always a ‘mare, even though the barriers are now gone, it’s still chaos, especially on a Friday afternoon.

  4. Hannah C
    July 11, 2017 / 9:16 pm

    A dual centre holiday is a ruined holiday; I’ve learned my lesson. I am fairly rubbish at trying to relax on holiday anyway and knowing I had to choreograph the arrangements for a 5-hour train journey between Barcelona and Seville did very little to improve my stress levels.

  5. Clare Hill
    July 11, 2017 / 10:27 pm

    Ah, yes! The minute you mentioned the pine trees, the French campsite holidays of my youth came flooding back. Massive road trips down to the South sardined in the back of the car with siblings before air conditioning was invented.

  6. Leticia Warwick Justus
    July 12, 2017 / 12:36 am

    Thanks for taking us along on your summer party adventure! It looks like it was relaxing and so festive. Gave me ideas for hosting a summer fest of my own. Cheers!

  7. Poorani
    July 12, 2017 / 3:57 am

    Are you wearing blue mascara? I didn’t notice it at first. Ted’s expressions are so varied and funny. I was expecting some footage of busy Angelica.

  8. July 12, 2017 / 7:49 am

    Yes, the Dartford Tunnel is always bad traffic wise! Such a pain. H x

  9. Vickie
    July 12, 2017 / 8:51 am

    Never heard of the phrase ‘dual centre’, but I’ve never understood why people do it. Why would you want to get all relaxed and settle into a lovely holiday in one place, only to have to repack and lug all your stuff somewhere else halfway through? And what if the second isn’t as good?! If I want a city break I want a city break; if I want a beach holiday I want a beach holiday. Not both!

  10. Kate
    July 12, 2017 / 11:17 am

    The Dartford tunnel has always been a nightmare! I have traumatic childhood memories of visiting my aunt in Bromley in the 80s and the doom of the Dartford tunnel! They’re planning a new crossing – the site is the topic of much debate. If you know anyone from Kent, ask them about it. Just get yourself a comfy seat and maybe a stiff drink first because you will need both!

  11. DLA
    July 12, 2017 / 12:30 pm

    there are mirrors sold that you can install in your car… to watch the baby on the back seat.
    of course you maybe can’t check if the baby is breathing properly via a mirror. but you can have a look at the baby without turning yourself around.

  12. July 12, 2017 / 2:20 pm

    The last few times my husband and I have taken the Dartford Tunnel it’s been slow-goings but not as bad as I heard from other people. Whenever we plan a daytrip where we take our car, we make sure never to go in that direction.

  13. Sarah
    July 12, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    Brilliant to see you on home turf. I’ve been to a lovely family wedding at the party venue – and had a holiday practically at home at the Albion Hotel. (They have one or two dog friendly rooms, you know!)

  14. SomeGirlMel
    July 13, 2017 / 3:41 am

    I don’t have IG but I just saw your new hair…drop dead gorgeous! Can’t wait to hear about the Redken NBD Cream. I was just thinking about trying the fine hair version but I was afraid it would feel too heavy or “gunky,” especially since I’m used to serums. I’ll definitely try it out now.

  15. Maireaddy
    July 14, 2017 / 5:31 pm

    We love multi-centre holidays – up to eight locations in a fortnight. But that’s driving or when we’ve gone a long way and want to make the most of having made the journey.

  16. July 15, 2017 / 1:37 am

    I have the same problems the last two weeks! This is some kind of nightmare! I guess I’m unlucky too …

  17. Donna
    July 28, 2017 / 11:33 am

    I recently moved out of a house in the shadow of the Dartford Bridge, I won’t miss the regular traffic jams that happen when the bridge is messed up.

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