Is there much worse than the post-holiday blues? Oh yes, having the post-holiday blues and a poorly child. Or maybe the post-holiday blues, a poorly child and a husband who is working away? BINGO!
The week has been a bit of a write-off, starting with a catalogue of errors on Monday which included filing the car up with petrol when I’d left my purse at home, Elfie weeing in her car seat, the internet not working at the Gym for my only two-hour child-free work window this week… yeah. I nearly went back to bed there and then but persisted with positive thoughts, thinking the week couldn’t get much worse.
It did. We’ve had loads of snow, I’ve been in an absolutely vile mood and then the flu struck. Will is away working which means I’m flying solo (sans car as well, dammit) and there’s been nobody I can share the hell of the all-night toddler illness with. Thank god for CBeebies, eh?
I received a text from Will this morning – he perhaps sensed what was going on from my subtle 4am messages “MOST AWFUL NIGHT EVER!!! ELFIE’S ILL!!! SHE HAS A TEMPERATURE!! WHERE ARE YOU?!!” – and he told me I deserved some lie-ins and treats this weekend. My second thought was (my first thought was “too right, boyo”), what would I do? If I could have any treat at all, what would I ask for? And the honest answer is that I have no idea. A facial? A massage? A nice juicy steak? Maybe. But mostly I’d want to return to last week, when we took a little family holiday.
Not counting my Sister-In-Law’s wedding in Madrid last year, this was our first break as a family of four. We booked a gorgeous country cottage in the New Forest near Fordingbridge for three nights, hired a car that was fancier than ours and took off with no plans but to relax and be happy.
Hideaway Cottage was brilliant. A recently renovated property, it’s in the chocolate box village of Damerham which is about half an hour away from Bournemouth. We booked through Baby Friendly Boltholes, a genius website that has only child-friendly luxury holiday accommodation on its books, and I can’t tell you how much stress was removed with the knowledge that all our baby crap would be there for us on arrival. We’re talking the boring stuff that you always need to remember: sterilisers, baby bouncers, sippy cups, playmates, toys, baby monitors, DVDs, bath seats… literally EVERYTHING was there, we just needed to take clothes and a bit of food.
When we arrived there was a bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc waiting (my absolute favourite) with some Tyrrels crisps, fresh eggs, organic butter and bread and a home made lemon drizzle cake. Divine. I pottered in the lovely kitchen cooking a lasagne for us all and drinking the wine whilst the kids went absolutely crazy exploring. The toys – oh, the toys! The toys were brilliant. There was a selection of toys for all ages and if we’d spent our four days on holiday in that house playing with them all Elfie wouldn’t have been bored. She was in her element and said she wanted to stay there “for ever and ever and ever”. There’ll be more on Hideaway Cottage at MAMA very soon, but I’d recommend it to anyone with small children looking for a luxurious and relaxing break in the area.
Because I had some sort of Malory Towers Midnight Feast ideal in my head I said the kids could share a room: I imagined them whispering to each other late at night and waking each other up with stories in the morning. That didn’t happen… they just woke each other (and us) up at 5am every day. Or rather, Elfie did: “HOLIDAY TIME, HOLIDAY TIME!!”. The only thing not included with the cottage? Kids that sleep til 11am.
We didn’t make any plans for our holiday apart from to visit the beach, some family friends and Steph. And MAYBE Peppa Pig World, weather depending. Happily, we did all those things, including Peppa Pig, which was pretty horrendous, especially in the driving rain. Naturally Elfie had a ball and has asked to go back every day since.
We had a great meal at Westbeach in Bournemouth which is beautifully situated on the beach next to the pier – we tried to eat there at the exact same weekend last year when it wsd an unseasonable 18 degrees: it was so busy we couldn’t get in. This year it was approximately 4 degrees so the beach was deserted. The kids had homemade fish fingers and we gazed out to sea. Awesome.
We met up with one of my blogging BFF’s Steph and family at Christchurch Harbour – a lovely day that involved wine and lobster. And chatting, lots of chatting. She wrote about it much better than I did at her blog. Check out my handsome husband!
Then there was Peppa Pig World. What is there to say about Peppa Pig world? I appreciated the signs around the park reminding gentlemen to keep their shirts on (seriously) though there was no need for that as we froze our arses off, but Elfie thought it was heavenly. We went on every single ride, including Grandpa’s little train four times, and spend a good half hour in the amazing softplay. There’s a shop where every single thing you can buy has got Peppa Pig on it (E came away with Bubble Bath and a sticker book, Will and I got Daddy Pig and Mummy Pig socks respectively). The food was horrendous and expensive – £30 for two jacket potatoes, a kids meal and a couple of drinks! – but we will definitely be back.
So yes, if you offered me one thing to get over the awfulness of this week it would be to go back to our lovely family holiday. I’d even go see Peppa again. Failing that, I guess a lie-in, manicure and massage would do. And maybe more holiday Marlborough.
We were guests of Baby Friendly Boltholes and Hideaway Cottage on our minibreak: thank-you so much to them both for an wonderful time.