5 Ways Kids Ruin Your Holiday

We’ve just come back from a fabulous week in Devon. The weather was great, we got out and about quite a bit and the kids were mostly good. BUT here’s 5 ways that they (OK that’s mostly the toddler) wrecked the holiday:

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The Toddler looking pensive moments before she threw a huge tantrum about walking up the hill.

1. Waking Up Time. The toddler woke up between 5.30am and 6.30am EVERY SINGLE day on our holiday. I mean come on, it’s a holiday, couldn’t we possibly get a 7am lie in just once? Typically, the first Monday after we got home, she slept in until 7.30am. How do they know how to do that?  Yeah… thanks for that.

2. Wanting to Go Home. How bizarre that despite having a daily countdown for months on end about when we were going on holiday, the toddler after 2 days of finally arriving, asked -“When are we going home?” This line of questioning happened all week. Every day we’d go to a beach or out somewhere and she’d be asking “When are we going back to the holiday house?”

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Having a tantrum & wanting to go home after a complaint about too much sand.

3. Food. Meals out had to be catered for the very limited palettes of the kids. No fancy seafood restaurants for us. No browsing the range of eateries and bistros perhaps taking in a pre-dinner cocktail. Now choice is instead restricted to – Which restaurant is most likely to do sausages or pasta? Which burger joints might be open at 5pm? Which would be fairly child friendly? And which would best tolerate the noise of a tantruming toddler?

4. Going to Bed. Just when we thought we could properly relax with a bottle of wine and enjoy some grown up time alone. The toddler refused to go to bed. Up – down, up – down – I felt like a bloomin yo-yo putting her back in to her bed for hours on end. Eventually we had just enough time to drink a glass of wine before going to bed, exhausted.

5. Not Walking. We have ditched the pushchair a while ago. The toddler has mostly coped well with not wanting the buggy. But on one particular day, decided to throw the most God awful tantrum at the foot of an enormous hill with the car at the top. Husband had already gone on ahead with cool bag and older child leaving me to carry bags, blankets, towels and other gumpf along with the screaming toddler under my arm in full view of the beach up the steepest hill in history.

As you can guess, we’re going through a particularly “difficult” stage with the youngest. But despite her many grumps and grumbles, we still did manage to have a marvellous holiday!

Any other ways that kids spoil your holiday? Let me know.

 

And here’s some of the nicer moments!IMG_1593

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Cuddle Fairy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Pink Pear Bear

Norfolk Family Holiday for 10

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Last year was terrible, we lost my father-in-law to cancer in July and at the end of the year, my mother-in-law decided that we needed something to look forward to, and so booked and paid for 10 of us including my husband’s two sisters and niece and nephew to go away over Easter.

Barn Accommodation and Pool

We had high hopes about the accommodation – Great Barn Farm in west Norfolk after seeing the pictures on the website, but as soon as we arrived, we knew that it had exceeded expectations;  the place was amazing.  As a working farm, some of the out-buildings had been converted into self catering accommodation. We stayed in The Cattle Sheds which was the biggest. A huge open plan lounge and diner which managed to easily fit all 10 of us and an extra 5 guests on Easter Sunday round the huge dining table.

The decor was very  effective mixing the old barn building with new simple interiors. The bedrooms were spacious and comfortable, but best of all there was an indoor pool, jacuzzi and steam room which we shared with the other guests who we rarely saw meaning most of the time we had the whole place to ourselves. We had trouble keeping the 4 kids out of the pool for the entire week!

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Family Tribute

Knowing that the entire family, complete with my husband’s visiting three aunts would be together over the Easter Sunday, my mother-in-law took the opportunity to scatter my father-in-law’s ashes at a nearby beach. We chose Brancaster beach for its beauty, lovely coast-line and nearby golf club which seemed a fitting tribute. We took my father in-law’s beloved classic car – an MGC to the beach and despite the aftermath of storm Katie, the skies remained sunny and blue. My brother-in-law read a beautiful poem out about the sea. It was a little emotional, but lovely.

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Brancaster Beach

Horse Riding

My husband’s cousin and one of his aunts live in Norfolk and so we took the opportunity to visit them on our break. They own 3 ponies and so much to the excitement of all kids, they were allowed to sit on and walk round the paddock. It was the first time both of our girls had sat on and ridden a pony and they both loved it. I was surprised as Alice, our eldest, is scared of dogs, cats and flies but seemed completely at home with the ponies. We’ll definitely be visiting again this year!

Days Out

After a few days of doing family activities we had a couple of days left to explore. I’m not overly familiar with the north Norfolk coast but from what I saw, it seems beautiful:

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There’s a mini train which takes you from the car park down to the beach which the kids loved even if it was a bit pricey. The beach is beautiful and as the weather was warmer, the kids were in there element building sandcastles, collecting stones and shells and running around letting off steam.

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Wells-Next-The-Sea

Blakeney and Cley

Blakeney is a beautiful little quay with some quaint little shops. You can do trips out to visit seals or spend some time crabbing. If we were visiting without the kids it would have been great to walk the couple of miles round to the next beach (Cley). Instead, we wandered around soaking up the atmosphere and sunshine and then drove over to Cley. It’s a shingle beach but this didn’t matter to the kids who continued to collect stones and dodge the rather turbulent waves. There’s also a stunning windmill nearby which is now a luxury B&B, I quite fancy staying there sometime!

Food, Drink and Family Bonding

As with most holidays, we ate and drank a lot! Red wine, gin and tonics, ice creams and the inevitable Easter eggs all played a heavy part. I need to to focus on being a bit healthier now that we’re home! We had a few late nights up talking and one very funny drunken dancing night where my sister-in-laws and I even managed to get the aunts and mother-in-law up dancing.

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Next Year?

I feel like we’ve all had a good break as well as a fitting tribute to my father-in-law. We’ve had a good mix of family bonding, swimming at the pool and days out, but still feel like there’s a lot more to see of Norfolk. My mother-in-law has already said she wants to book the accommodation again for next year, so here’s hoping.

Have you been to Norfolk? Any tips or recommendations for our next trip?

 

 

Mummascribbles

Super Busy MUm
Cuddle Fairy

Down On The Farm

Down On The Farm

After a week of everyone in our household being ill, a few days away over the half term break is just what we all needed. We went to stay with my husband’s aunt and uncle on a farm in south Wales. There was no phone signal as we drove through the village and I wondered how we would cope over the next few days with no contact with the outside world.

Food

We arrived at lunch time and Frances was busy making lunch. Not sandwiches or a salad, but a full on pie dinner followed by ice cream. We soon realised that food dominates heavily and over the course of the following days we were constantly being fed from cooked breakfasts in the morning, huge 3 course dinners for lunch, freshly baked cakes mid- afternoon then later on supper of pizza or cheese and biscuits. Cooking is more than just a way of being the perfect hostess, food is fuel and the work on farm is physical. At 73, Ken is still getting up at 6am and going straight out to do work on the farm. I can’t see him ever retiring, farming is simply a way of life.

Nostalgic

After our first heavy lunch, we set out to walk off our food. The kids were delighted that Meg, the 3 legged dog would be joining us. We walked through fields of cows and sheep down to the river. The beautiful views seemed to stretch on and on, Frances told us that they own almost 200 acres and it was breath-taking to look out over the valleys and fields and think about how little this place had changed over the last few hundred years.

My husband got quite nostalgic as he remembered long summer days playing with his cousins out in the woods and fields all days, only ever coming back to the farm to be fed. We did a huge circular walk which little legs Eva coped well with, and ended up by a lovely looking old house where my mother-in-law was born and grew up. It felt weird looking at this house to think that this is where the family all hailed from. The kids couldn’t quite believe that this was where Grandma lived when she was a little girl.

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The house where Grandma lived.

Male-Dominated

The next day the kids got a ride on the tractor and quad bike with Uncle Ken which they absolutely loved. Ken was going to the cattle market in the nearby village and we decided that we’d go with him. It was fascinating to watch the auctioneers sell the livestock even if we had no idea what was being said. I noticed there was hardly any women at the market and it brought it home to me that there is a really strong culture in the farming world in which men still dominate. Other than technology, not much has changed over the years. It seems to me to be a very lonely and insular way of life, you eat, sleep and work all in the same place and may not see much of other people. But one other hand, as I saw at the cattle market, there is a huge sense of community. The farmers all know and look out for each other and they have known each other for years; there was plenty of stories going around about the fun and antics they got up to whilst growing up.

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Stepping Back in Time

We only stayed on the farm for 2 nights but it really felt like a proper break. No texts or constant checking of the mobile phone felt like we were stepping back in time. It meant we only had to concentrate on the conversation, views and farm way of life and I loved it.

In Sickness and In Sickness……

In Sickness and In Sickness

We are all in recovery. This past week every member of our household has fallen ill. It started with Alice, she picked up one of the hundreds of germs doing the rounds at school and it rapidly turned into Tonsillitis. Our plans last Saturday for a much needed catch up with friends in Ealing was cancelled and the next day I woke up barely able to swallow. The doctor confirmed that I also had tonsillitis despite the fact that my tonsils had been removed 20 years ago. My youngest daughter came down with a virus and upset stomach and my husband had the worst of it all….a cold.

I always know when I’m ill when I can’t drink my beloved cups of tea or read a book. The days have blurred into one with most waking moments spent in front of children’s TV. It will never be too soon before I have to watch another episode of Mickey Mouse Club House or the ridiculous Grandpa in My Pocket. And because we have all been stuck indoors with severe cabin fever, quarantined from seeing any friends or visitors, the arguments and bickering started to escalate. Not just the kids but between the husband and I too.

Depressed

That’s the horrible thing about feeling ill, you start to get really down with it as well. Everything feels like a huge effort and you think that it will last forever. This past week I’ve been thinking constantly about all the things I should be doing whether it be working on my freelance business, writing a blog post or simply doing chores around the house, but I just didn’t have the energy to face any of it.

The lack of fresh air, different surroundings and interaction with other people all made me feel incredibly low. Annoyingly, this together with the constant lying around on the sofa only amplifies the little voice that you normally quash when you’re feeling stronger and more confident. You know those self-depreciating little questions like “What am I doing with my life?” “Should I even bother trying to continue freelancing?” and “I really should be trying to do something fun or educational with the kids rather than just watching another episode of Grandpa in My Pocket.” ETC. ETC.

I was annoyed to have to cancel a girls’ night out and miss out on some meetings at Alice’s school. But mostly this week I was sad to miss out on her first ever parents’ evening. I’d really been looking forward to this not only to find out how Alice is progressing, but also to satisfy my constant curiosity to find out just what goes on at school every day!

 The Simple Pleasures

Just when I thought Alice would never gain any colour in her face or that I would ever feel like eating food again, the antibiotics suddenly started to kick in and little by little I began to feel human and I noticed some slight improvements with everyone else too. Yesterday was our first time out of the house in 8 days. We went to the park, fed the ducks and stopped at a café for tea. It’s funny how something so basic can seem so significant. I felt strange and a little wobbly at first to be outside again, but the simple pleasures of being in the fresh air on a mild autumn day watching the kids play and seeing the beautiful colours of the leaves on the trees all made me smile and think of the positives in life. Illnesses and negative thoughts are now banished. I’m on the mend and on the up!

Hope you keep well and avoid the germs out there!

Family Holiday, Memory Maker

Family Holiday

This time tomorrow I will be off on a flight to Lanzarote! I can’t wait for a bit of sunshine and a break from the usual routine. This holiday is unusual because there will be 14 of us. Yes you did read that right – 14! My mum and dad are very kindly treating my 2 sisters and I plus all of our respective families to a week in the sun.

People’s reactions to the trip tend to fall into one of two categories: laughter or horror. Many can’t understand why on earth I’d travel abroad with my entire immediate family complete with 6 small children aged 5 or under. Yes, I guess there is a potential for arguments and yes, I hope we can all have a fabulous time and manage to return back to the UK still talking.

Of course with so many children mostly of toddler age, it is hardly going to be a quiet affair. There will probably be at least 1 child having a meltdown about something at any one given time.

So Why?

So why on earth are we doing this? Other than the sunshine, I truly believe this holiday will be a real memory maker for my 3 year old daughter. For one thing she’s never been on an aeroplane before. I can’t wait to see how she’s going to react to being up in the air. Secondly she absolutely adores her 4 cousins, 2 of whom are older or younger than her by just a few weeks. These 3 girls always get on well together but they’ve never been with each other for longer than a morning or afternoon. So to be spending a full week in each other’s company is going to be really exciting for them. No doubt they’ll be the odd spat, but I really believe that this holiday will cement an already beautiful friendship. At 3, I’m hoping that this holiday will be a strong memory that my eldest daughter will treasure forever.

My 21 month old daughter will probably not remember this trip, but she will undoubtedly love spending time with all of her favourite people. If the weather is kind, our water baby will also love the outdoor pool that we have at our villa.

I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with the kids but also the adults too. It will be great to catch up properly with my sisters, their husbands, my parents and my own husband too! Sometimes everyday life churns on so quickly that you don’t get the real chance to sit, take stock, relax and talk properly.

I’ll report back in a week or so and let you know all about our family holiday.