Visit Feather Down Farms for their 10th Anniversary this Year

6Y9C2883Glamping has become all the rage and no wonder; it takes all the aggro out of camping so that you can enjoy the best bits! Camping trips are the ultimate family holiday. Kids love nothing better than roaming free and getting dirty. Throw in loads of BBQs and some roasted marshmallows and they’re in heaven. Your kids will always remember the nights they spent tucked up in their sleeping bags and all the things that were amazing or went terribly wrong will become the stuff of legends.

If you are new to camping, then the idea of buying all the gear, carting it out to some muddy field and then having to assemble it and make use of it can be very daunting. At the same time, the most seasoned campers and gearheads can also use a break. Why not save yourself a dark, wet walk to the loos this year and try out some luxury camping.011

Let me set the scene for you…It’s been six months since you last had a day off work. You’ve been jammed in the car for three hours and the sat nav took you off course – twice. The kids are hungry and are starting to get a bit ‘punchy’.

You finally arrive at your destination. The kids pile out and can immediately run wild. They dash off to meet the piglets while you unload the car. As you enter your rustic safari tent you hear the sound of a crackling fire and smell a stew bubbling away on the wood stove. Candles are lit and the beds are made with deep feather duvets*. There is nothing left to do but crack open a bottle of wine and begin to enjoy your holiday.hottub_ShadyMoor_006A

Welcome to Feather Down Farms.

Feather Down Farm Days provides sustainable family holidays on farms across the UK and Europe. They began as a project for the Dutch National Trust to provide high quality accommodation on farms and in doing so, have provided a much needed additional source of income to farmers, thus securing the future of their farms. FDFD offers families a unique low-impact farm stay experience. Your family can see what daily life on a farm entails while providing work for the farmers, and bringing tourism to the local economies of the nearest villages.

The tents have no electricity. The lighting comes from candles and you’ll cook and warm yourselves over a wood stove. Some facilities boast outdoor hot tubs, which are also warmed with wood fuels. Each farm provides a shower block and a farm shop, which operates on an honesty basis. There is no Wi-Fi and no televisions. Bliss. Oh – and each tent has its own toilet.6Y9C2964

You can spend all day at your farm, or explore the area. You can prepare each meal in your tent, or each out all day. The adventure is entirely yours to plan in the safe knowledge that when you return, your tent will still be standing and you’ll have a dry place to sleep.

The tents are the same across the FDFD farms, so you’ll always know what to expect. They are compact and functional. They feature a double bedroom, a twin bunk room and the coveted cupboard room, which can fit two children. There is a kitchen area, with a sink, woodstove and the dishes and cookware you’ll need. There is also a separate toilet room and a dining table. You’ll find a cool box in which to store your food and drink. Ice can be purchased at the honestly shop to keep this cool. There is enough open space in the cabin for a small dance party and seating outside so that you can take in the unspoilt scenery around you. It is important to note that most of the farms are remote and so you can’t just nip out for fresh croissants and lattes in the morning.Hillside-9.jpg.p

What to pack? Wellies. Extra socks. Tough clothes. Rain gear. At least one entire spare outfit. A designated pair of indoor (dry) shoes/slippers. You get the picture. Our kids were up haystacks, in the pigpen, ‘wading’ in creeks, chasing dogs, milking cows, handling kittens, and more. You’ll need towels and dishwashing equipment. Also, if you’re not going to buy the first night meal, then take one that is already assembled and just needs heating. Check in time is generally not until 4, so you have to be ready to feed the hungry masses.

Book early to avoid disappointment as they do fill up quickly, especially during school holidays. To celebrate their 10th anniversary this year, Feather Down Farm Days are offering a free ‘welcome hanger’ to anyone who books before January 31st. Enter the code ‘earlybird14’ to the booking in order to take advantage of this offer.

Anyone booking 6 or more tents on one farm in 2014 will receive a free ‘group feast’, which will vary per farm.

*Most farms offer a bed making service and pre-made first night’s meal at an additional charge. We recommend you opt for this extra.

Global Week of Action in Support of Protesting Cambodian Garment Workers

cambodiaToday, Friday 10th January 2014 marks the beginning of a Global Week of Action against the government crackdown on Cambodian protesters. The week will be marked with protests at the Cambodian Embassies and other locations around the world, including the one in London today.

Violence against garment workers began after Cambodian unions called a national strike on December 24, 2013. Workers were demanding an increase in the minimum wage to USD 160 per month. As protests continued, the police and military responded with violence on January 2 and 3, killing at least 4 people and injuring almost 40.

Labour rights groups and trade unions across the world are expressing outrage at the brutal violence and are calling on global clothing brands to use their influence to achieve an end to repression against workers involved in wage protests and the resumption of good-faith wage negotiations.

The groups, including Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Worker Rights Consortium, Maquila Solidarity Network, United Students Against Sweatshops, International Union League for Brand Responsibility, Workers United, SEIU, Framtiden i våre hender, and CNV Internationaal, The Netherlands, are calling on global clothing brands to take immediate action and contact the Cambodian government demanding an end to the violence and immediate release of those who have been detailed for participation in the protests. They are also demanding that the government adhere to the guidelines set out by the International Labour Organisation.

“Whilst our primary concern is the safety and well-being of those workers who have been detained, we are also calling on brands to look at the long-term implications of their purchasing practices.” said Jeroen Merk of the Clean Clothes Campaign. “Until brands recognise that these practices contribute to the poverty wages received by workers in Cambodia, and in turn the demonstrations we are witnessing, then no brand sourcing from Cambodia can claim to be acting fairly or decently.”

As poverty wages are at the root of the demonstrations, the groups involved are also asking global clothing brands to recognise the role they play and take immediate action including:

Publicly stating that any future apparel and footwear orders in Cambodia depend on:

  • an immediate end to the violence against workers; 
  • the release of all those detained in the wage protests and the dropping of all charges;
  • government re-establishing the right to strike and assemble; 

Paying fair prices to factories, sufficient to enable employers to pay a decent wage;
Supporting the workers’ call for a substantial increase in the minimum wage (to USD 160); and
Committing to maintaining buying volumes from Cambodia if wages were to rise.

Cambodia’s garment industry employs over 500,000 people, is responsible for around 95% of Cambodia’s export industry and is worth €3.38 billion a year. The minimum wage falls a long way short of a living wage, and the poverty wages workers receive contribute to shocking levels of malnutrition amongst the mainly young female workforce.

“These latest horrific developments demonstrate why authorities can no longer afford to ignore the social problems and poor living conditions facing workers in Cambodia today,” said Tola Meoun, Head of Labor Programmes for the Cambodian NGO Community Legal Education Centre.

Regardless of whether you are able to attend any of the demonstrations or events, show your solidarity and make a commitment to finding out where and how the clothes you are buying are made. Consumers cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the flagrant abuses of international labour laws that are committed in the fashion industry. Global brands will continue to exploit people and the land in the quest for cheaper prices until we vote with our collective purchasing power.

Take a look in your own wardrobes this week and you’re bound to find items labelled ‘Made in Cambodia’. There are factories in Cambodia that work ethically – of course – but with a minimum wage of less than USD 160 per month, it’s clear the vast majority of clothes made in the country are done so in an exploitative way.

What’s bought in the past is done and it’s time to look forward and make a commitment to buying ethically sourced clothing. It’s not difficult. Your favourite high street brand should have a sustainability policy on their web site so you can have a read through and decide for yourself whether they are doing enough to ensure the safety, wellbeing and remuneration of the workers who are making their garments.

Regular updates on the developing situation in Cambodia can be found from the following:
LICADHO – Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights
CLEC – Community Legal Education Center

Information on the January 10 Day of Action events can be found here.

Raising for Rana – For the Victims of the Rana Plaza Garment Factory Collapse

raisingforrana bannerThe 24th April 2014 will mark the one year anniversary of the tragic Rana Plaza garments factory collapse near Dhaka, Bangladesh, where over 1,100 people died and over 2,500 more were injured. Most of the people who died were female garment workers. These women were mothers, daughters and wives and the tragedy of their death has left a massive hole in the lives of their families. The majority were mothers and now their children are being raised without them.

This anniversary will be marked in various ways all over the world. Raising For Rana, a not-for-profit initiative has teamed with War on Want, TRAID and the documentary film production company Rainbow Collective CIC to put on a large scale charity fundraising event in London on the day. This will feature the premiere of Rainbow Collective’s brand new not-for-profit documentary film about the aftermath of the disaster and the direct impact it’s had on the families affected. All profits raised from the event will go directly to the families most in need and will make a huge difference to their lives.

Raising for Rana will showcase companies who are producing their goods ethically and there will be some great auctions, raffles and giveaways at the event (line up TBC). The Fableists are donating a selection of our clothing to benefit the cause.

This amazing event is still in the planning stages. Venues, format, catering, schedules and everything else is still being decided. There will be more updates soon, but in the meantime, if your company can help by donating food, drinks, entertainment, décor, rentals, lighting, sound equipment, or anything else required for a large scale event, please get in touch with the organisers via their web site.

Direct donations are also always welcome and they can be made online here.

Follow all the action via Raising for Rana’s twitter feed at @raisingforrana

Bedruthan Steps Hotel in Mawgan Porth, North Cornwall

2012 hotel poolNestled in a bay on the North Cornwall coast, family-run Bedruthan Steps has been welcoming guests since 1960 and was one of the first hotels to focus on sustainable living. The original building has been completely refurbished inside to be comfortable and stylish with an emphasis on eco and family- friendliness.

The décor is bright and simple, with lots of quirky local touches and artwork and the sea views taking centre stage. The accommodation ranges from double bedrooms, to apartments and villas, which offer more space for families or groups.Wild Cafe - Wide

In the restaurant and café, food is locally sourced, so expect to find seasonal produce and a lot of fresh sea food. The menus change daily, dependent on fresh market ingredients. Your kids will find plenty to choose from and will enjoy the Ice Cream Parlour!

SeafoodBedruthan caters to children, while also taking care of parents – and grandparents, making this stunning seaside location ideal for the whole family. Some parts of the spa, the deck area and bar are strictly adults only but your children can make use of the many ‘kids only’ spaces. There are play areas indoors and out, daily entertainment, swimming pools, surf school and the Ofsted registered Children’s Clubs.

Children’s Club sessions include the 3 hour morning ‘Kid’s Clubs’ and in the afternoons families are invited to use the playroom where children can enjoy crafts, art and play time with plenty of toys. In the evening there is the ‘Evening Kids Clubs’ – giving parents time to relax over dinner while their children are in safe play area

The kids clubs are divided into age groups and for teenagers there is a special ‘Teenager’ room where they can listen to music, play computer games – and the surf school is popular too. There is also a babysitting and nanny service, both in the afternoon and in the evening. For children under the age of 12 months a qualified nanny is required.

With all this time on your hands, you can try out the surf school, book in to The Ocean Spa, walk along the beach, or just relax on a sun lounger or in the library.

walkingThis location is also terrific for getting out and enjoying the glorious Cornish lanscape. In addition to the world famous surfing, the beach itself is a natural playground and the hotel is set on the South West Coast path taking you to Padstow in one direction and Watergate Bay in the other. Explore the local villages, or try out food foraging with a local expert. There are local golf courses and the hotel offers a number of special breaks featuring art, crafts, seaside cookery and much more.

surfBedruthan Steps has everything you need for a relaxing and memorable family seaside holiday which you enjoy in the knowledge that they are also taking care of the environment around them.

Rooms from £135 bed and breakfast, double room

villa 2Features & Services:
Bedrooms, Villas, Apartments and Family Rooms
Restaurant and Café
2 outside Swimming Pools
1 inside Swimming Pool
Children’s Clubs
Outdoor Playground
Teenager’s Room
Craft Room & Craft Breaks
Surf Club
Room service
Nanny Service/Baby Listening Service

Source responsibly, making sure to dig deeper by considering the life cycle of all purchases
Reduce waste and carbon footprint year-on-year
Beach clean ups
Solar panels, grass roof insulation, rainwater harvesting and more
Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme

See their full sustainability policy and projects online

Getting There:
By plane: The nearest airport is Newquay Airport ( 10 minutes drive)
By train: Bodmin Parkway Station ( 30 minutes drive)
By car: Located between Padstow and Newquay.

Book now for dates from January 31 2013 on their web site Hydro and relaxation area