I caught up with Claire Winlow from Red Kite Days to talk about her favourite family activities in Oxfordshire, top tips for surviving lockdown with three young boys in tow and the glory of a Sunday roast …
I’m always intrigued by the names people choose for their businesses. What’s the story behind yours?
I thought flying a kite captured the feeling of free family fun outdoors and could be enjoyed at any age. It also has a subtle link to the Red Kite birds in this area. They were flying overhead when I sat in a little café in Goring with my sister having a brainstorm.
What inspired you to launch Red Kite Days and what does the future hold?
My in-laws used to look after my eldest for a few days during each school holiday. To help them out I used to pull together a list of what events were running and when, as well as ideas for days out. They were all scribbled down by hand on a piece of paper in those days but became the base for Red Kite Days.
I’d love to expand to cover a wider area. My friend Sarah Edwards in Cheshire has just started Red Kite Days Cheshire and is discovering lots of great places I’d like to go and visit too, when lockdown is over.
Tell us a few things about yourself that other people might not know?.
I never drink the very last bit of tea in my cup, I’ve flown a helicopter in Nigeria (just for a few minutes) and I was ‘Best Girl Newcomer’ 1992 at my local curling club.
You’re a mum to three boys – what advice would you give to other outnumbered mums?
I’m still winging it! What makes the biggest difference is getting out for plenty of fresh air and exercise. It doesn’t have to be structured, walking in the woods, jumping in puddles, climbing trees, razzing around on bikes works just as well as rugby training. With a good bit of exercise, they sleep better, eat well and niggle with each other less.
How did you survive Lockdown 1.0?.
It all seems to come back to exercise. We crammed home schooling into the morning and then made sure we got out to the woods in the afternoon. Lots of space and it’s amazing what it does for your mental wellbeing. Creating little at home events too helped break up the monotony of every day being the same. We had great BBQs, creating the biggest splash in the paddling pool competitions and races to get to the ice cream van before it turned the corner.
Describe your perfect family celebration.
A perfect celebration for me always includes food. A big Sunday roast with fluffy Yorkshire puddings, lashings of gravy and lots of family chat around the table.
Quick fire round:
Best place for outdoor play?; Best place for a family dinner?; Best gift for boys under 10?; Best place for a family walk?.
Outdoor Play – Cuttleslowe Park in North Oxford for variety and space
Family Dinner – Mamma Mia Pizzeria in Summertown
Best Gift – Beyblade’s have been really popular in my house
Family Walk – Kirtlington Quarry is great to walk through the woods and down to the canal.
What family events are coming up in Oxfordshire for Christmas?.
Coming up for Christmas it’s hard to know what will still be running, but for outdoor experiences there are Christmas light trails at Fairytale Farm, Blenheim Palace and further afield at Waddesdon Manor.
Lemon drizzle, sticky toffee or red velvet?.
Sticky toffee pudding.
And finally … social media is at the heart of your business, who do you follow for inspiration?
The 5 minute mum for easy at home ideas I can set up with my little one and Future Path Life Coaching to keep me focused and balanced.
How can people get in touch with you?
Bluebell Ceremonies – Creating beautiful, bespoke ceremonies to celebrate the special moments in your life.
Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and the Cotswolds.