Normal service is resuming here on the blog. My power is slowly returning after being sapped in the summer break. Now that it’s October, my holiday to France back in August seems like a lifetime ago, which is essentially what the previous month feels like when you get to my age. My holiday was with my family, and by ‘family’ I mean my husband, the kid, my parents, two older siblings, their respective husband, wife and kids (fourteen of us in total), not many people can say they’d holiday in such a way. It would, I imagine drive some of you bananas but we all get along really well (read as, not in a Waltons-esque way, but we all like a good laugh and a considerable amount of vino). I’ve written two previous posts about our holidays together but this time, having done an epic drive to and from France a few times now, I wanted to write about how we get through it semi-unscathed with the kid in tow.
We had a short break away recently. I won’t dwell to much on the actual holiday aspect of it, lets just say it was a tad stressful. If you read this blog then you’ll know that we had a fairly unsuccessful holiday in Cornwall last year, and it seems we forgot about that completely when thinking we could go away the three of us again. Lets just say in our mind, we were going to have a chilled few days away before starting IVF. But in Olivia’s mind, well, clearly she didn’t get the memo. But hey, on the plus side, we visited a beautiful part of the UK. We headed to Southwold in Suffolk, which is really lovely. Before we went, I had an image of a slightly run down seaside town but actually, it’s almost boutique-esque. There’s the classic quirky pier but head along the seafront and into town and you’ll find a great coffee shop, aside from the costa variety (aka my saviour) a delicatessen, a cake shop, butchers and a really good fish and chip shop. The best we’ve had in a long while. Head towards the sea and the houses are positively gorgeous, seated either side of several greens. We did a few things when we were there, the kid found everything boring bar bouncing on the trampoline that was in the house we were renting. Maybe that’s our next holiday *ponders* Anyway, here are the things we did and what I thought of it all.
After my last post talking about how lovely our house was in France, that made a family holiday sound rather wonderful, right? Well, now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty, how to survive two weeks away with fourteen other human beings, that happen to all be your family! If you get along with your family like I do, then group holidays with them can be great fun, you’re on holiday with people you love and want to spend time with, you get along with everyone and know the general traits of those with you, you get free child care and you make some fantastic fun memories. But, but, but, let’s not rose tint it, it can be hard work especially if like me you’re going away with quite a large group. There’s always a lot of clearing up, swimming costumes on the floor to pick up, dishwashers to empty and potential arguing between the kids etc. It often is your routine at home but multiplied. So, if you want to get the most out of your time away, and if you want to come out the other side unscathed, here’s my tongue-in-cheek guide to surviving a family holiday.
A few years ago my family started a tradition of going on a group family holiday to France, and it’s something that has now become an annual occurrence. France has always been part of our family life growing up, certainly below the age of twelve I recall that we’ve always holidayed there. I can remember spending hot sweltering days by glistening lakes, watching my Pops or brother attempt to wind-surf (and failing miserably) I can remember being dragged round various Chateaus with my parents, eating delicious food and staying in funny little rented holiday homes (one was a tiny pink bungalow, we still laugh about that one to this day). For our annual trip this time round, we re-visited a house that we stayed at two years ago. A rather beautiful, quiet, blue shuttered, ivy clad house called Les Granels.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned to you (I totally have) that me and the Mr went travelling round the world pre baby. Back in 2012 we made the decision to take some time out from work and it was the best decision ever made (bar husband deciding to propose to me, obvs). My husband loves a spreadsheet and immediately set about planning our time away, and I set about finding out what snippets of advice I could online. We found such good information through blogs and through talking to family and friends who’d travelled before, we actually found these options more useful than the classic tool, the Lonely Planet guides. We had an awesome time away, here are my top tips for travelling the world that I want to share with you.