We have soft, gooey, sentimental feelings towards North Star Club. The same way you might about the place you got married, met your other half, or made your baby. We didn’t do any of those things there – although they do offer a wedding package and I’m sure there is a lot of baby making going on in other cabins (definitely not mine) – but the lovey dovey feelings towards the place are definitely there. Maybe it’s because we were one of the first families to visit when we stayed last summer, just weeks after it opened. Maybe it’s because we treated ourselves to a stay there with the profit we made from selling our old house, a celebratory holiday. Or, maybe it’s because it’s just so damn magical. I’m swaying towards the latter.
Both of our previous visits to North Star have been during the height of summer. It seems that we’ve become cowardly campers who only holiday in the UK when we have a higher chance to be greeted with alright weather (alright is the best we can muster up in the North). So, when North Star contacted me to ask if I would like to visit in the winter to capture a different vibe, we dubiously agreed. As it was a certainty that we were going to either freeze to death, or be caught in an almighty snow blizzard (a woodland break in the winter can only end that way, right?) we decided to try and persuade a few family members to tag along and share the peril that awaited us. Luckily, the persuasion didn’t take long and they were booked to join us before we’d even finished asking.
Well, just incase you were wondering, we didn’t die of hypothermia and the snow blizzard I was anticipating to barricade our doors, never did happen. The weather was surprisingly mild, leaving cases that were packed full of thermals, winter coats, snow goggles and ski trousers completely redundant. We didn’t use even half of it. The bags of marshmallows, sachets of hot chocolate (and o.k., the bottles of gin) however, were all all empty at the end of the trip. Experiencing the forest in the summer with just Dominic and the girls was truly wonderful, but rolling around the forest in the winter with six adults, one teenager, two kids and a toddler was just something else altogether.
Our mornings at North Star Club were what mornings should be – slow, lazy, pyjama’d up and filled with fry ups and coffee. And after we spent the morning yo-yoing from our beds to the outdoor table for food and back again, we’d eventually decide to change from our bacon scented pjs at around midday. Our afternoons were filled with leisurely walks, sitting by the campfire, hunting for bugs with the kids, and eating and drinking some more – seriously, we never stopped. Unlike when just the four of us visited in the summer, now with our small army, we used the Woodshed everyday. The Woodshed is a communal area created from an old converted barn and it oozes rustic charm. It’s dimly lit, snug, warm and is filled with Chesterfield sofas, fur throws, a log fire, books, games and the Honesty Tea bar (a small area filled with coffee, cakes and every flavoured tea you can imagine. You help yourself throughout your stay and settle what you owe at the end). This became our second home during our stay and if we weren’t walking (or eating food), we were lounging around in there….most likely eating food.
As the evening turned dark at around 4pm, we’d wrap up and head to the camp fire together. Toasting marshmallows, singing songs (yes, we really are the modern day Von Trapps), and just being together. No phones, no iPads, instead we actually all talked to each other, something we haven’t done as a collective for quite some time. We laughed, we burnt our lips on the scorched marshmallows, the ones who were off duty from watching the kids drank, we discussed how we were going to create a camp fire in our own gardens in the hope that we could recreate the same atmosphere once we left the magic of the woods (F.Y.I. not one of us has followed through with these plans), and we panicked every time Penny and Hugo ran towards the fire without fear. And although the camp fire smell lingered for days, it was worth it, as these were my most treasured moments. What’s not to love when you have fire and smores?
Our nights ended with a marathon board game session, Articulate being the game of choice. And as with any games night that involves family members, our competitive sides reared their ugly heads. As the gin and wine flowed, so did the need to win and I’m still quite surprised that we all left with our partners still intact. I’m pretty sure that if you look through the back catalogue of reasons for divorce, ‘not explaining a topic quick enough during a game of Articulate’ will be in there. Look it up, I bet I’m right. Once the winning couple basked in their Articulate glory for a while, we all headed to our beds, ready for another day of eating, drinking and lighting fires.
Here’s a little vlog of our magical stay – look out for the You’ve Been Framed Moment
With thanks the the lovely people at North Star Club for yet another perfect stay.