Carol Smillie Interview. Carol Smillie is one of the best loved Scottish television presenters who has worked on some of the best UK shows including Changing Rooms, Best of British Wedding Venues, and Dream Holiday Home. The television presenter who was born in Glasgow, Scotland has now branched out from her successful television career to become the Founder of Pretty Clever Pants (www.prettycleverpants.com).
We decided tosit down with Carol Smillie and find out more about her holidays and what type of holidays she and her family prefer.
- Carol, as a child what was the best holiday you went on?
Nothing exotic, every year we used to drive to Newquay (with my Mum smoking all the way!) I seem to remember Fistral Beach as being a hot favourite. My dad even had a wooden surfboard!
- Can you remember what age you were when you first went abroad and where did you go?
I didn’t go abroad till I was 16, on a school ski trip to Italy. I remember carefully wrapping up all the little pots of jam and cutlery on the plane to take home and show my Mum & Dad!
- What age were you when you first went on holiday abroad without your parents, and did it make you feel proud that you were able to pay for it yourself?
They hadn’t been abroad since the war, so I finally took them to a gite in the south of France when I was about 28. I thought I should, as by then I was a travel reporter for the BBC!
- Although a holiday is a time for relaxation, a lot of parents worry when it comes to booking a family holiday. They worry about their children becoming bored and there not being enough facilities for them to enjoy. What advice would you give to those parents?
You make your own entertainment. I hate it when kids say they’re bored! They have every moment of their lives, it seems, packed with entertainment, sometimes they have to fit in with what YOU want to do! Get them involved in cooking or old fashioned pursuits like rockpooling, or kite flying, and limit electronics to only certain times of the day, and don’t pander to their moaning!
- When you book a holiday is it a family decision, or do you book a holiday that you feel your children will enjoy?
My kids are all grown up now, but when they were younger, as long as there was a beach and plenty of sunshine, they were happy. Of course life is far easier if the kids are happy, but it’s your holiday too.
- What do you look for when booking a family holiday?
Sunshine, spacious accommodation, minimal travel hassle (ie direct flights if possible) great food, interesting town not too far away and a bit of nightlife
- There has been a lot of talk over the years about parents taking children out of school to enjoy a cheaper holiday. Some teachers have said parents should be allowed to take children out of school while the authorities have said it is wrong. Where do you stand on this issue?
I totally understand the cost saving involved, and I’m glad it wasn’t an issue when my kids were younger! That said, if they’re at an important stage of their education, it isn’t worth taking them out, but in junior school, it seems less of a problem. I often think they may learn more out of the classroom at a younger age than, in it
- Do you feel the government should work with the travel industry to make holidays more affordable during the school holidays so parents don’t have to take their children out of school and face a fine?
I’m not sure the government are to blame on this one, It’s the fault of the travel operators if you ask me. Parents should not be held to ransom for having children, and if holiday companies reduced the cost, they may get more loyalty and bookings
- What type of holidays do you prefer, cruise holidays, beach holidays, or holidays where you can explore?
We did go on a cruise once, and the kids unanimously voted it one of the best holidays we’d ever had. They were the perfect ages 6, 8 &10 and they’re was so much for them to do, Nowadays we all want a sunny beach, and good food, total relaxation.
- Is there a place in the world you would love to go to but have never been?
Yes LOTS! My eldest daughter is currently travelling the world and writing it all in a blog www.findusfaraway.com and I’m green with envy at most of the places she’s been! I’d love to go and visit an orang-utan sanctuary in Borneo
- What advice would you give to parents who travel on a plane with young babies and are worried about what other people think when their babies cry?
Forget them, no one lese hears your baby cry the way you do. Take plenty of distractions, something to suck on, (for their ears during take off and landing) and Calpol!
- What one item will you not go on holiday without?
Mosquito repellent, I get really badly bitten without it and it’s miserable!
To learn more about Pretty Clever Pants designed by Carol Smillie, please visit www.prettycleverpants.com