Monday, 12 September 2011

Organic Holidays giveaway

Today I have another nice little giveaway for you as part of the Soil Association's Organic September initiative, but as is my wont I also have an inspiring little tale which is an encouragement to those hurtling towards the half century and feeling washed up on the shores of motherhood, gazing in a bemused fashion at our wrecks of CVs and wondering what on earth a middle- aged woman with a patchy employment history might do to earn a living.

Well, I have been talking to a lady called Linda Moss recently, and her tale stands as an inspiration to us all. (In fact, she has just been made an Eco Hero here.)

A dozen or so years ago she was looking for a place to stay for her holidays - she had been working for an organic veg box scheme and rather fancied going somewhere a bit eco-friendly which served organic food. She couldn't find anywhere, or even a website or directory to guide her, so she thought to herself, why not start one up?

Linda wasn't deterred by her lack of computing skills or lack of experience - she went to an evening class to learn how to use a computer, and just ploughed on ahead, setting up a website, Organic Holidays, now one of Times Online's Best Travel Sites, and publishing a book, Organic Places to Stay, which has gone into several editions, and won the People's Book Prize Award last year. Linda says modestly, 'If I can do it, anyone can.' I found her can-do attitude to inspiring, and a real antidote to that feeling of 'if only I could'. She shows that, actually, there is no need to write yourself off because of your age, or perceived lack of experience or ability - just get on and do things, be determined to follow your dreams and ideas, and you will get there in the end.

I first came across Linda when a friend with a lovely off-grid B&B recommended the Organic Places to Stay site as a great one for marketing small B&Bs of an eco-friendly turn, and so we joined up, but I have also gone on to find this website a really useful way to find special places for holidays and short breaks, as well as courses in all sorts of crafts and skills. It list both B&Bs and self catering cottages, and covers locations all around the world.

Linda has very kindly offered to give away three copies of her award-winning book to my lucky readers. Anyone can join in - and at the same time you can give me a little help, if you please, as I am in need of a bit of inspiration.

To enter the giveaway, just pop over to the Organic Holidays website here - and then come back and tell me in a comment where you think that I and the Head Chef should go on our long wished for holiday, somewhere nice where we can get a bit of peace and quiet, and also go on a few outings (easy-peasy!).

The giveaway will be open for one week - I'll give you an extra chance if you blog about it or link to it in your sidebar, but don't forget to tell me that you have.

I am looking forward to seeing where you think I should go on my holidays - a nice little end of summer season break would be just the thing!


gill said...

How about Ireland? We go every year and it's a fabulous country - If you went to the Arran Islands you could tell me all about it. I've always wanted to go

Elizabethd said...

What a brilliant giveaway, and what a good idea of Linda's to set up such a worthwhile site.

I'd go to Cyprus for a bit of end of season sun, and stay at the Natura Beach hotel. It's got reasonable reviews on Tripadvisor, is very organic-conscious, and has home grown food.Go!

Irina said...

Great book! there is an organic farm a few doors down from us and it's great. You should come and visit us (although we're not in the book). co.Clare in Ireland is the best!
thanks for the chance

Tracey Todhunter said...

Golly! Too many gorgeous places to stay - If it were me I'd pop over to Orkney, looks like there are some lovely places to stay there and I can recommend a friend to does survival courses there too - he even does Ladies only ones :)

Katy Cameron said...

Oh, I found this site a couple of years ago when I was going up to Skye. The place I stayed (albeit I was camping) was in a lovely location - out of the way, but easy to get to many things, plus a great view towards the Cuilins:

Alternatively the west coast of Ireland is lovely, and if you're a Father Ted fan, this is near FT country (and you can go and have tea at the house!)

Don't let the fact that the west coasts of both Ireland and Scotland are being battered by a hurricane right now put you off ;o)

Jooles said...

I have just come back from the lake is just stunning x
what a lovely giveaway
jooles x

Pipany said...

Hi Pomona. Well, of course I will say Cornwall though the weather has been dire - late Sep and Oct are usually glorious with trips to the beach a must after school. Special autumnal light and loads of villages to go see. Moors, woodlands, wild north coast and mild south coast with coves and rivers galore. Sold it to you? Mind you, I quite fancy a trip to Shropshire myself! x

summerfete said...

This looks like a lovely idea.
I think the one in Crete looks far away and you can't go wrong with Greek food.

Keep on with the decluttering, you'll be so glad when you can enjoy the simple things and not stare at the clutter and all the dust!

Cheryl said...

Hi Pomona, so nice to meet you. Thank you for visiting me and your kind word. I am very new to this world, but love it so much.

How far do you want to travel??? What about South Africa??? As I am form South Africa originally I recommend it and I see that on the Organic site is a place called Monkey Valley Beach Nature Resort in Noordhoek, Cape Town. It is truly the most beautiful place to see and the wine route is amazing! Or if you need to stay near home the Lake district is my favourite!

I will add your giveaway to my blog - I think it is a wonderful giveaway!!

Noelle said...

Thinking back at all the difficulties encountered last Spring with air travel in Europe (oh yes, I was there!)I wanted to suggest something near yet different: how about this one?
Either way, your idea is great and I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday!
Thank you for the contest opportunity!

dragonfly said...

I needed to read this post today. I'm approaching dilemma time (not necessarily age...) and keep having thoughts about exactly the things you talk about here.
I have bookmarked the organic places to stay site - it's fabulous.
I'm not sure how far you'd like to travel, and I can't guarantee sunshine, but Llandeilo is gorgeous, as is the rest of Camarthanshire.

Isobel said...

Thank you for your comment, dear Pomona. Oh, you gotta go to Tuscany!!

If it was me going I wouldn't think twice!! Look at this place?? Gorgeous is an understatement!
(I am actually supposing you are looking for a super holiday as the price is a bit... you know... but still... what a place!!)

Karen S Booth said...

Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog today!
I think you should come to France and stay in my B and B, but as I am not on the organic site, how about a small chateau in the Loire valley here:
Lovely to meet you and the book looks great!
Karen @ Lavender and Lovage

faith76 said...

I think you should try Baltimore Cork Ireland. I love Ireland myself as my brother lives over there and I've only ever visited Dublin, Swords but it is fantastic. And if I had the opportunity I would love to stay at the Garden Retreat at Cork as looks like a good place to escape.

Thanks for doing this giveaway.

Leah x

harmony and rosie said...

For me that has to be the simplest question ever. Go to the Ashby House in Vancouver. I have just come back from Vancouver and stayed very close to Bute Street, it is the most fabulous city, that doesn't feel like a city one bit and believe me you would love it. Oh, and please take me with you .. that was the deal wasn't it?

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Pomona,

It was lovely to discover you and your blog and thanks for visiting me.
What a wonderful book and giveaway and such an interesting idea.
Thanks for sharing and have a lovely week


Janine Peter said...

Being from Canada it's been my dream to visit the UK; however, as the assignment is to suggest a location for you to visit, I would have to vote for Lasqueti Island, British Columbia. We have spent many vacations on coastal BC and Vancouver Island, it really is a beautiful part of the world.

What a great giveaway, thank you for offering it!

Hippywitch said...

What a lovely blog you have over here :-) Thanks for the comment on my blog!

That website has some beautiful places to stay on it, spoilt for choice really! Whay not come to my neck of the woods (well a few miles up the road anyway) and go to Morthumberland. I love this one

There's lots of places to visit in the area too with Alwick castle and gardens and Cragside House and loads of pretty villages.

Nicky said...

Without a doubt go to Tuscany! My hubby and I went to San Gimingano in September - not too hot - lovely! Busy little village but we had a small place just outside the walls in an olive grove - hah! Bliss!

Tabiboo said...

Sounds like fun. Thanks for the yolk tip - I made carbonara in the end.

Nina x

Thistle Cove Farm said...

I really like Tarifa, Spain; it's centrally located in southern coastal Spain but Portugal and Morocco are easy day trips.

noknittedknickers said...

Cashel House in Connemara gets my vote. I can't guarantee the weather but the scenery is just breathtaking. Fab giveaway, thanks. C.x

Jo said...

Wow, so many beautiful places, yet I would have to say I'd visit West Winds Yorkshire Tearooms in Upper Wharfedale right here in beautiful Yorkshire. There are some wonderful places in the Yorkshire Dales and I'm lucky enough to be within driving distance to visit them, how lucky am I? You certainly wouldn't be disappointed if this was the destination for your's and the head chef's holiday. Plenty of peace and quiet, lots of scope for relaxation, yet beautiful places to visit. Linda is so inspiring setting up this website and writing such a wonderful book. I've added your giveaway to my sidebar.

Emily said...

Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog. You're right - it's very satisfying turning something unused into something new, isn't it - especially if it has memories attached to it (like my animal fabric does).
I love the aran cushions on one of your recent posts - that's a great idea.
Emily x

taylorsoutback said...

A few years ago a bunch of us stayed at a lovely villa in Bucine, owned (Fabio Catola and an excellent cook in his own right!) Centrally located and only 45K from Florence by train. Oh, and Fabio's family also has their own vineyard and olive grove.

(Funny - my own dream trip is to England!)

evaowl said...

Love your suggestion about organic holidays. I'm a follower of your blog and I've made a post about the organic holidays web page. You bet I have a suggestion for your holiday too - since I'm Slovene, I just have to say Makek. It's the only one on the list, but Slovenia is full of bio farms - they are called Biološka turistična kmetija, but you can have an exhaustive look at
Enjoy! Eva

Lola Nova said...

What an inspirational story, I love it!
I am off to check out the site now!

Suzy's Vintage Attic said...

Hi Pomona

Very interesting post and just the kind of book that interests me as I am very much for all things organic where possible. The giveaway is such a great idea!
The best place I can recommend is the one which makes me feel totally at peace when I go there. Helford Village in Cornwall. I go for walks around Frenchman's Creek and St Anthony. It may not be exotic but it's heaven to me!
Isabelle x

Julia said...

I'd stay in the UK and enjoy the end of the harvest season. For you, I chose "Pheasant Cottage" on the Isle of Wight, home of long walks on sandy beaches and of course garlic farms!
Sited on a farm you can wander around and find endless inspiration!

Wherever you choose, I am sure you will have a wonderful break!

elizabethm said...

I think you should come to Wales and love the look of if you fancy a huge family party.
Not sure I am allowed to say that if you want a two bedroomed far from grand but lovely cottage you should come to us
we are a tiny version of perfect!


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