I love to travel. I’ve travelled the world (literally) and can get quite itchy feet in between holidays so am always planning our next adventure. Much as I do like a bit of a relaxed holiday from time to time, I do prefer a bit of an explore. Hubs isn’t great at sitting still either and with active kiddies we, in general, prefer to be out and about a lot on our holidays. We have been abroad with the kiddies but we love our UK holidays too. There are some stunning places in the UK, and our recent holiday took in one of my favourites, the Lake District.
It’s been a bit of a cheeky one as it is in term time. Monkey isn’t yet 5 so as he’s not yet of “compulsory school age” we can get away with doing it without getting a fine, and as the timing worked better for my parents, and little brother and fiance, to join us, we decided to do it. Plus of course it was much cheaper.
We rented out a lovely, and very large, cottage for the 8 of us, in Lakeside at the south western edge of Lake Windermere. I have been to the lakes a few times before and just love the lakes and mountains.
In short we’ve had an amazing week. I will write some more posts about some of the specific places we’ve visited over the next few weeks but on the whole we’ve done so much! Here’s a brief rundown (with tonnes of photos, obviously!)
We’ve seen a castle and an aquarium.
We’ve been on a boat trip up Lake Windermere, visiting Ambleside and Bowness along the way.
We’ve been to Beatrix Potter’s cottage, Hill Top and had afternoon with a gorgeous view at the hotel next door. We’ve been to the Claife viewing station on the edge of Windermere and the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead.
We had a day close to the cottage, with a nature trail and adventure play area followed by a yummy lunch at a nearby hotel, before taking an amazing walk through the stunning woods opposite our cottage.
We visited Coniston and Tarn Hows where we saw some stunning waterfalls and amazing scenery before stopping at the Bobbin Mill to learn how bobbins were made. (This was actually fascinating and the tour was much more interesting than I thought it would be!)
Finally we visited another lovely castle with the most amazing gardens I have possibly seen, and a lovely wild adventure trail.
So it has been a busy but amazing week. We have seen and done so much… and yet we’ve barely touched the surface in terms of things to do up here.
Well we are home from our holiday, are up to date on laundry and life is getting back to normal. It is nice to be back in our own bed and to have more space for the kids. The cottage we were staying in is gorgeous and quaint and we are so grateful to our friend letting us stay while he is out of the country… But it is also very cosy to contain 2 children and not that child safe for our crazy climbing LM.
We were lucky with the weather though and got out and about loads, as you may have seen on my previous posts, and we really did have a wonderful time as a family.
Of course it wasn’t without its challenges and ups and downs though. Hubs was reading an article about something business related and in it contained this great quote.
“Becoming a parent is a wonderful thing, but it robs you of a certain freedom. That is: the freedom to do nothing. To sit around, to lounge, to waste time, with no responsibilities or duties tugging at your sleeve, no endless mental to-do list to tick off.
Last week, my wife and I took our two-year-old son on holiday. We had a lovely time. But, as every parent knows, a holiday with a toddler isn’t a holiday. It’s a job.
That job, beginning at dawn each day or earlier, is to entertain, or at least contain, an insatiably restless two-foot whirlwind of wants and demands. It’s fun. But there isn’t a moment of silence or solitude.
You spend six months looking forward to your holiday, so that you can take a break from work; then you spend your holiday looking forward to your return to work, so that you can take a break from childcare.”
It’s so true as holidays before kids are so different to holidays after kids. I imagine they continue to change and as they grow that you can have relaxing times. But when they are little it is a full time job keeping them entertained, regardless of where you are!
For hubs this was a working holiday and we are hugely lucky that he can basically work from anywhere with an Internet connection and can do some work out of business hours, which meant he was able to spend a few hours each day with us exploring Dorset and having fun with us. This made my life much easier than it is at home as obviously I am normally on my own with the kids all day when he is at the office.
There were challenges though as there always are with kids, especially with kids at different ages with different ability levels. Sometimes I really struggle to do something that makes both of them happy at the same time. One afternoon I got out the paddling pool thinking they would love it. Monkey refused to get in and LM lasted about 30s with constant attention then got bored. Sometimes I wonder why I bother as they are happier plonked in front of peppa pig or paw patrol!
They did enjoy our days out though and the beach was a real winner this year. On our holiday last September LM hated the sand so the beach was a stressful trip. It is lovely now as she adores the sand! Monkey is still very nervous of the water but he did go in the sea, and LM hates the waves in the sea.. But they both love the sand and we were lucky with some lovely warm pools created by the tide going out which LM really loved. Its not a relaxing day as they do like us to be involved at all times but they were so happy so at least it wasn’t too stressful!
By completely random coincidence some very good friends of our happened to be on holiday in Dorset at the same as we were. Jo and I met travelling in Argentina of all places about 9 years ago and we have stayed good friends but with living 2 1/2 hours away we don’t see each other more than a couple of times a year. Especially now there are kids to think about. Its pretty amazing though as our eldest 2 are 6 mths apart in age and our youngest about 5 mths apart and they all get on so so well.
We saw them more in the last 2 weeks than in the previous few years and it was so so wonderful. We had a couple of beach days together which were fantastic and made it a bit more relaxing as at least we could take it in turns a bit to be with the kids and the kids entertained each other a lot more which was wonderful.
They also came for a play at our cottage one day, and brilliantly, when their relatives joined them for the second week and we’re able to babysit they came over one evening for a glass of wine and a natter without children interrupting us. It was so so lovely.
Some of our other very good friends from home were also down in Dorset for a weekend at the end of their family holiday to Devon so the kids adored meeting up with them too for a day out at Monkey World. Again it helped having other kids for our kids to play with, and other adults for us to natter with. It also helped having a bit of solidarity when our little madam threw an almighty tantrum at lunchtime… And vice versa when their son didn’t want to eat his dinner. Much less embarrassing when you can talk about it with your friends rather than just have everyone in the place staring at you while you try and deal with it. They still stare of course but it definitely helped having company.
Because our little lady really has tested us while we were away. If anything her behaviour has improved towards the end and now we are home but she was a nightmare at times and when she goes oh my goodness she is so loud. As one of the friends we met up with put it “she certainly has a voice!” and she most definitely does. She really struggled to settle for the first couple of days at the cottage and the tiredness from bad nights sleep and lack of naps really affected her so we were hugely relieved when she got used to her surroundings and started sleeping better.
Most of the other tantrums we had with her were around food… We had an absolutely disastrous meal at Prezzo one evening which was just a stressfest of her screaming and us scoffing as quickly as we could while paying £45 for the privilege. We had a couple of other lunches out which were better… mainly because they were places that served baked beans, and because I had a dairylea dunker ready as back up as I knew she’d at least eat some cheese if she decided they weren’t the right baked beans. (I never do this at home but sometimes avoiding the stress in a restaurant is so worth it). Hubs is adamant that we are having no more meals out until she is a bit older though as it just isn’t enjoyable!
On the whole Monkey was a really good boy while we’re away but he did get tired as the time went on “I’m so tired from all the days and days” which made him tired and fractious at times.
I’m not trying to paint a negative picture of our holiday, just a realistic one. Its easy with all the smiles and golden sunny images for it to appear perfect, which of course it wasn’t. We had so much fun on the beach, with friends and on days out. There was lovely times at the cottage and on the play area. But when you have 2 children under 5 nothing is without its challenges, and even holidays can be hard work. So much as I loved it and in many ways I am sad that it is over… I am glad to be home. The kids were so excited when they came back to all of their toys and everything that is familiar. I am not terrified every second that LM is climbing on something or reaching something that she shouldn’t. She can go outside without tripping on a step and scraping her legs (almost a daily occurance while we were away).. Oh and at home we have a dishwasher (yippee) and the ceilings are high enough for hubs to stand up straight without banging his head haha. So it is good to be home.
Do you find holidays with kids hard work or is it just us?
Last week we were on holiday. We had a lovely week in Menorca but it wasn’t without its challenges… life with 2 kids rarely is I think! Here is a little about our holiday, in a nutshell.
So it started off pretty well, Monkey loved the plane journey and was so excited to be flying bless him! LM was less impressed, especially by the delay when we were sat on the runway for ages! She did sleep a bit though thankfully and we survived the journey pretty well.
The hotel was lovely we loved our apartment and it was in a great spot, not too far from the pool but not too close for it to be too noisy in the evening. We opted for a 2 bed apartment which was very spacious and meant that hubs and I would have our space once the kids were in bed, compared with previous holidays where we have been stuck on the balcony or in the bathroom while Monkey was asleep.
The restaurant was nice enough and there was plenty of variety in the buffet. The downside was that the set times were a bit later than the kids normally eat so was a bit challenging keeping them going some days… and the restaurant environment was a little distracting for LM at times so the dvd player and baby jake came to our rescue at most mealtimes. I know there was other people judging us and I probably judged us too but it was worth it to he able to eat without juggling a wailing baby. At least there was lots of other families with small children there which was brilliant as lots of us in the same boat trying to keep babies and toddlers happy.
LM absolutely adored the pool and was desperate to be in there whenever we went near it. Both hubs and I had so much fun with her in there which was lovely.
We also sometimes set up a dinghy with some water and toys so she could have a play in there and she adored that too.
Unfortunately though Monkey was not a fan of the pool. It was very cold as the water was being constantly recirculated and really didn’t ever get warm. As a result, after the first day Monkey point blank refused to go in and if we attempted to coax him in we were met with screams, shouts and full on meltdowns. Joy. Such a shame too as the kids pool was great with slides in and so all the other kids seemed to absolutely love it.. and LM had absolutely no problem with the temperature. We did occasionally persuade him to play by the side of the pool or paddle a little… but it took a LOT of effort!
There was a lovely little beach literally within 5 mins walk and it was gorgeous, really secluded and surrounded by bushes so very peaceful. The only downside was that it is a preservation beach meaning that they are not allowed to remove any of the kelp and seaweed that washes up onto the beach so the beach was covered. Monkey and Daddy still had a fab time building sandcastles and we got LM paddling for a bit… but sadly she didn’t much like the sand so wasn’t happy there for long.
So we had one little one who didn’t like the pool and one who didn’t like the beach. Not exactly a recipe for a relaxing beach/poolside holiday. After a couple of days we realised we needed to do something else as the kids were driving us mad and we were getting snippy with each other.
Our first little outing was a trip to the capital Mahon to visit the market. Monkey had a meltdown to end all meltdowns and we ended up using the naughty spot on a random street corner while I walked a screaming LM up and down in her buggy to get to sleep. Not exactly the best start! We did turn it around though and had a lovely boat trip on the harbour and a nice lunch. I will write more about that in a seperate post though.
The following day was a very chilly day and we planned on going to the little zoo on the island which was really lovely as many of the animals have been rescued and have lovely big enclosures to enjoy. Unfortunately it poured with rain shortly after we arrived meaning we go soaked as we looked round. We still very much enjoyed it though, and because of the rain we practically had the place to ourselves. The kids loved looking at all of the animals and running from shelter to shelter!
In the evenings after dinner we generally wandered around with the kiddies, Monkey made friends with other kiddies and LM loved toddling around. She really is a sociable little thing and kept going up to people meaning I had to have a few slightly awkward conversations, but for the most part people cooed over her and she basked in their attention! One evening after walking around she had a little cry but got over it and we didn’t think much of it. I carried her back to the apartment where I looked down and realised my shorts were covered in blood! She had a nasty nasty cut on her toe and we felt like terrible parents for not even realising. Poor thing.
There was a mini disco at 8.30 every night that I am pretty sure Monkey would have loved as he loved dancing on the stage and dancefloor but LM was too tired to stay up for it and as they were sharing a room it was easier to put them to bed at the same time. So hubs and I took a few drinkies with us up to the apartment and either read our books, compared photos or just had a natter. Quite nice to have a change from tv and blogging that takes up our evenings normally!
The journey home was similar to the first and LM slept a bit on the plane but took a lot of entertaining the rest of the time. Monkey was really good but it was still hard work and by the time we had got our bags and the car and made the long journey home from the airport it was nearly 11pm. A very long day and I think we are still recovering actually!
It was a good holiday but it definitely had quite a few negatives unfortunately. I am not sure we will do the same type of holiday again at least not for a while, and hubs is adamant he doesn’t want to make a plane journey again until LM is around Monkey’s age, as he feels that the stress of the return journey wiped out the benefit of the rest we had gotten that week. I don’t feel that it was quite that bad but we do enjoy our UK holidays too so will stick with those for a while I think!
When you think holiday, you very often think seaside or beach. Not all holidays of course but they do seem synonymous. For our holiday to Yorkshire I knew that most of our days would be spent exploring the countryside inland, but, Monkey does love the seaside so I wanted to see what the Yorkshire coast offered us in terms of beautiful beaches, and we were not disappointed.
We kept an eye on the weather forecast and chose the best day weather-wise to head to the coast, as we knew it may be a little chilly or breezy compared to inland. First stop was Whitby. Hubs had been before many years ago but I had never been and it was a gorgeous day and Whitby is a lovely seaside town and really picturesque.
It is also very hilly! We were in Yorkshire so I know I shouldn’t be surprised but pushing the buggy up some of the steep hills definitely gave my legs a good workout compared to the flats area that we live in! We loved the view from the clifftops down to the lovely beach below and across to the aAbbey. After visiting Fountains Abbey we decided not to see Whitby Abbey up close and focused on the town itself, having a lovely wander round, and we stopped at a gorgeous child friendly café for lunch.
We then headed a little further North up the coast towards a little place I had found called Runswick Bay. A lovely small fishing village in beautiful enclosed bay with a gorgeous sandy beach. It was a lovely day and with the bay being enclosed we were very protected from any coastal breezes and had a lovely time.
It was LM’s first time on a beach and she was good as gold lying in the shade of our wind protector while Monkey and Daddy had a whale of a time making castles and exploring the beach.
It was such a beautiful spot and I was so glad we found it. The hill to get to the beach is massively steep though so worth bearing that in mind when thinking about carrying things/children.
You may have noticed that things have been a bit quiet here lately.. and that’s because we have had a bit of a change of scenery. For the last week we have been on holiday in lovely Yorkshire!
Hubs doesn’t like me talking online about going on holiday until after the event. I’m not sure why as I highly doubt any of my lovely readers are stalkers who would rob us the second we go away but as I can’t categorically prove otherwise I don’t argue the request.
Anyway,we have had such a lovely time. We have seen the ruins of castles, abbeys, & temples and have been to the seaside.
We have spun in the sunshine, chased bubbles, eaten picnics, walked through the woods, built sandcastles and met up with friends.
In some ways going on holiday as a parent feels a little like a busman’s holiday. You still have all the same things to do and children to take care of and it can definitely be stressful at times. I swear I packed just about everything imaginable, including the kitchen sink, but still somehow managed to forget things we needed and have had to buy! (Thankfully we are in Yorkshire though not on Mars so can buy things :)).
We still have a toddler to entertain and a baby who needs feeding, changing, playing with etc. but the change of scenery does do the power of good and there is no (or at least less) housework to worry about for the week. Hubs and I get to spend some time together, sharing the load of the childcare and we have had lots of lovely fun as a family.
Plus we have been to able to enjoy some gorgeous views of green rolling countryside and absorb a lot of history. There will be some more detailed posts about the fab places we have visited over the weeks to come :).
My word this week is scenery. How has your week been?
At the weekend we took our little family on a short little Norfolk holiday. Our last little holiday as a family of 3 before baby arrives! We looked at a variety of places to go but it was all last minute (as we wanted to see how I and my pelvis were faring before we booked anything) and didn’t want to go too far from home as long car journies aren’t great fun in late pregnancy.
We considered going to Butlins as then there would be no cooking involved, but even on offer we thought the food packages were quite pricey and honestly we weren’t convinced about the quality of the accommodation. I don’t mean that to sound snobbish but we wanted to be comfortable. With Hubby being as tall as he is (6’2″) we really need a king size bed, especially now I am the size that I am too! But we also wanted it to be a good bed. We stayed at a Premier Inn when we went to a wedding recently and honestly had such a rubbish nights sleep as the King Size bed there was basically solid as a rock. We wanted this to be a lovely relaxed holiday and so wanted to find somewhere offering comfort.
(I’m sure there would be other benefits to going to Butlins such as the other things included, but with Monkey the age he is I am not sure how much use he would have got out of the other activities on offer, he is generally happy as long as he can have a run around somewhere!)
After a bit of a search we came across Poppyland Holiday Cottages. They have a number of holiday cottages to rent in Norfolk and they had availability at Rectory Cottage in Overstrand, just south of Cromer on the Norfolk coast. We felt that with doing breakfasts ourself and eating out all of the other meals it would still cost around the same as a Butlins trip, and we would hopefully have more spacious and more comfy accommodation.
We were not disappointed!
The cottage was gorgeous and the lovely king size bed was perfect, not too soft, not too firm… just lovely really. I even slept better on that bed than I have at home on our lovely bed recently, it was wonderful.
There was lots of little touches that welcomed us to the cottage including milk in the fridge, a bottle of wine, tea bags, yummy chocolate biscuits and fresh flowers. They were very family friendly too, and, knowing we had a 2 year old with us, they kindly provided a lovely box of toys for Monkey (you may see in some of the pictures that Monkey very quickly aquainted himself with the toys!) and a baby monitor. They also have a travel cot, high chair and stairgates available if you need them. Very reassuring when you have little ones and lovely not to need to pack everything.
Overstrand village was a very sweet little village and we were walking distance from the beach (even for me!) which was lovely – although the tides were not in our favour much this week and generally low tide was in the afternoon during Monkey’s naps. We still managed to get some good beach fun in the evenings though and the weather was very good to us.
We spent some time at Cromer and nearby Sheringham and in general had a lovely relaxed weekend together. Sadly Monkey came down with a cold on the Saturday so we did have some wonderful grumpy meltdowns in restaurants which as a parent always make you feel wonderful. We let him have ice cream for lunch on Saturday as he seemed to have a sore throat and it was the only thing that cheered him up – but oh my you should have seen the judgement and disapproving looks coming from other people in the cafe. We weren’t too concerned and chuckled if anything, but I do wish people would mind their own!
We did lots of holiday things – played on the beach, walked the promenade and went on Cromer Pier. We played with stones on Sheringham beach and ate lots of Ice Cream! We went in the penny arcades where Monkey proved to be hugely skilful at one of the games and won enough tickets to get himself a cool glider aeroplane. He was very pleased with this and we were quite impressed by his skill/fluke! We treated ourselves to some lovely meals out, including a yummy fry up breakfast at the local cliff top cafe in Overstrand one morning.
A couple of more detailed posts about specific places to follow, but here are a few of our fave shots of what was a lovely and relaxed few days away, at a gorgeous holiday cottage! It was a lovely little cottage in a great spot and we will definitely look to go back at some point when no.2 is here!
On our holiday last week we spent a lot of time at the seaside. At Gorleston beach to be precise. Just south of Great Yarmouth there is free parking right next to one of the loveliest beaches I have been to in a long time.
Corton Villas are a block of 6 privately owned 3 bedroom holiday homes located on the Waterside Park resort, in Corton on the outskirts of Lowestoft. The resort itself has properties owned by a whole variety of different companies and private owners, but I can only really speak about the ones we stayed in, which were of a really high standard.
Rubbish picture, didn’t think of taking one of the outside so this is the only one I have, cheesy grins and all!
Last week we had a very lovely family holiday. We didn’t go anywhere glamorous or exotic but we still had a wonderful time. We stayed in some lovely self-catering accommodation in Corton, a small village in between Lowestoft, Suffolk, and Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. It was a lovely place, and I shall write more about it in a separate post.
Just a short post from me as we are on our hols at the mo (though it’s almost over, sob :() but we have a very definite Word of the Week this week!
Quite fitting as we can see the sea from our little holiday home and have been to the beach at every sunny opportunity, but mainly this is our word of the week as it is one of the words Monkey has learnt this week.
Throughout the week he has been shouting and saying “Sea” at basically every opportunity! Now there are obviously two meanings Sea and See. Most of the time it has been very definitely directed at the Sea, but as the week has gone on he seems to have started saying ‘see’ when he wants us to look at something, which is also very cute.
Anyway, I am sure I will be sharing lots more of our holiday with you, but for now I am going to go and make the most of every minute we have left! I will just leave you with a quick piccy of Monkey enjoying the beach.