Joanne Davies and husband Sam Orton were typical city dwellers - but when the couple started a family, the limitations of London living became all too apparent. Sam and Joanne decided to swap 'the Smoke' for an altogether different lifestyle - better for them, and their children.
Sam works as a computer programmer for a London-based betting company - a job eminently suited to home-working - so the couple started househunting. They settled on Llanfairfechan in North Wales - close to the seaside for the children, and handy for Joanne's parents, based just 50 miles away in Chester.
"I feel so lucky," Sam says. "I work in a converted bakery at home, so I see a lot more of Joanne and the children. So yes, although I still have a lot of work to do, the day-to-day pressure is off."
Life, then, is a lot less stressful, though with three young children - Lilia and the twins Louie and Mabel - never dull! "We really are living the dream," says Joanne. "We have free-range chickens - Lilia is chief egg collector - a lovely house, a beautiful coastline on our doorstep, and Grandma and Grandpa an hour up the road. What's not to like?"
Just one thing, perhaps. Booking holidays - especially self-catering holidays - can be a stressful business, and all the more so with small children in tow. What if it's damp? What if the telly doesn't work? What if there's no hot water? But for Joanne and Sam, even this stress is removed. The children's doting grandparents are also - you guessed it - Bondholders; and Sam, Joanne and the kids have grabbed HPB holiday opportunities with both hands.
"We've had some fantastic family holidays with Joanne's Mum and Dad," says Sam, "as well as some with just us. It's a hassle at the moment, with the twins and Lilia the ages they are, to get everything organised for a holiday, but we know that at the other end, everything will be perfect, every time. We have to take an awful lot of 'kiddy-clobber' with us - but we can, at least, leave the kitchen sink!"
Joanne's parents have steadily topped up their HPB holding over the years, and Sam and Joanne are now doing likewise. "Ultimately the HPB investment will be passed on, and it's nice to think that the beneficiaries will be able to continue enjoying great HPB holidays," says Joanne. "But in the meantime it just seems fair to contribute. We don't want to steal all of my mother and father's Holiday Points!"
For the time being, the family are happy to concentrate mainly on HPB's many UK sites. "We went to, and enjoyed, El Pueblito de Alfaix, but right now, it's generally easier for us to just load up the car and go, rather than dragging the children in and out of airports and on and off aeroplanes," says Sam. "But as they get older, I'm sure HPB's overseas sites will appeal more and more."
Sam has one cavil, however. "I've given up trying to explain to my father that the Holiday Property Bond is NOT timeshare!" he laughs. "The fact that we can holiday where we want, when we want...It's a concept my Dad just can't seem to grasp.
"Still, I suppose in one sense he's right. Timeshare it's not; but in terms of quality times, shared with family and friends - yup, Dad's bang on the money!"