If you’re looking for inspiration for days out, then Jan White’s beautiful book ‘Seven Bays in Seven Days’ should definitely be top of your amazon wish list (or buy directly from her). It’s a guide book with a twist.
Creating unforgettable family days in South Devon.
Instead of pages of difficult-to-read, pictureless Times New Roman, Jan entices you and your family to each of the seven bays with her gorgeous watercolour paintings giving a glimpse of the wonderful coastal views, villages, fauna and wildlife that is ready to be experienced. Both the illustrations and the information of leisurely walks, wildlife to spot, crafts to make, recipes, as well as all the important need-to-know information such as parking and toilets are so skilfully weaved together that they sit perfectly alongside one another. It is neither a book of paintings, nor a guide book; but somehow it is both.
The leisurely walks – roughly an hour long – are a perfect length for a sling walk with babies or toddlers. Older toddlers and children can be motivated on by trying to spot Jan’s inspiration for each of the pictures, or at the beaches they will love finding and identifying wildlife that the book illustrates, be it: starfish, rockpool fish, crabs or sea anemones at Wembury beach; fish, bivalves (shells to you and me) at Slapton Sands; or grasses, birds, footprints at Dawlish Warren. There’s something to interest everyone. When back from the walk or wildlife spotting, tuck into a one of the delicious picnic lunch ideas – recipes donated by local chefs, and then have a go at one of Jan’s ideas of things to do or make, either at or inspired by the seaside such as beach hopscotch or shell candles.
Little Devon loves the 120 sketchbook-like pages, which reveal years of family fun days out, and provide many more for the readers. It would make a perfect gift, but make sure you order two as you’re not going to want to give your copy away.
“It is neither a book of paintings, nor a guide book; but somehow it is both.”
Where to buy
Seven Bays in Seven days is available to buy from Jan herself here, from Amazon using our affiliate link here, Waterstones South Devon, SouthDevon Chilli Farm Loddiswell, and from Words and Pictures Gallery Teignmouth.
Getting to know the author: Jan White
We asked Jan…
Please, tell us a little about yourself.
Retired from a career in education, I am married, have a family of four children, four grandchildren, and two cocker spaniels, all who make my life very happy and make me smile a lot! I started to paint a few years ago having not pursued it since school. I am passionate about our coast lines and my interest and inspiration from them grew.
Your paintings are lovely. What made you turn them into a book with a guide element?
Travelling the British coast gave me the opportunity to make travel logs, filled with drawings, paintings and all kinds of interesting facts about each area. This led me to look closer to home, South Devon which is beautiful! Two years ago I decided I would like to use my travel log experiences to create a book around my artwork and began working on ways to use my love of art and the coast to create special and memorable family days out in Devon.
I researched with young families, what they wanted from a day at the seaside, and which elements were most important and a number of similarities came back like “activities for the family”, “walks”, “we want to make a full day of the outing”, “is there parking, toilets, a cafe?”
This then led me to plan seven days outings from start to finish adding picnic lunches, craft ideas as well as recipes from local chefs to make as a special evening meal at the end of each day. Each bay has it’s own unique attraction and offers family opportunities to explore and enjoy!
What’s next? We couldn’t help but notice your book is just South Devon. Is there going to be a series?
I would like to start working on another book next year, location and subject undecided as yet, but I’m always open to suggestions!
What’s your favourite family day trip?
That’s a difficult one, there are so many! But if I have to say one in particular it would be Exmouth. From the start of the Jurassic Coast with the Geo needle making it’s statement as you enjoy a wonderful walk, with stunning views, to descending to the vast beaches of hard sand for running to sand dunes for softer play. Settling for a family picnic before exploring the RNLI station and looking around their huge lifeboats, a family favourite! Further on and a stroll round Exmouth harbour completes a wonderfully full and happy day……. Home for dinner!
What’s your funniest/most frustrating/cherished memory from when your children were little?
There are, as with us all, so many moments… At this time of year I am always reminded of a cherished Christmas when our two youngest children, both primary school age, decided to play Santa! On Christmas morning we discovered a carrier bag covered in sparkly ribbons on the landing, directly outside our bedroom door. My husband and I both looked at each other before opening an attached, beautifully home made card wishing us both a very happy Christmas from Santa! Inside was filled with wonderful gifts, all wrapped with lots of cellotape! Presents of chocolate truffles made at school, hand sewn mini cushions, also made at school, baubles from the tree, hair clips, beads and trinkets bought from the school Christmas Fayre, a book, some nuts (from the kitchen cupboard) and of course Mandarins! The children denied any knowledge of the bag all day, delighted they had both pleased and fooled us! It brought more than a tear to my eye!
Looking back, what would you like to say to yourself at the time when your children were little?
I always worried, I’m sure like many parents, that everything must be perfect, was I doing the right thing, are my children developing well, am I doing enough, what else should I be doing? Looking back… the most important part of a family is being together, enjoying each others company and experiencing new learning and activities together. The rest takes care of itself!