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.
The husband and I headed down to Cornwall recently for a week of sunshine and relaxing with the kid. We’d been given some hotel vouchers so we decided to base a little trip around one night at a nice hotel, spending the rest of our time in a holiday park chalet. Now, I’ll be honest with you, despite having stayed in some very cheap and cheerful, hostels pre kid when I went travelling with the Mr, the types where the mattresses tipped inwards so you both slept in a dip, I turned my nose up at staying in a holiday park. As I’ve gotten older, I like certain comforts and to me and my inner snob, a holiday park conjured up images of dreary, chavy, loud arcades and chain smoker parents. Not my idea of a holiday. Possibly a bit unfair and biased? Yes, I know but I’m being honest and I didn’t think it was my cup of tea thank you. When we decided to go to Cornwall, I’d initially looked at lots of Air BnB houses and found a few lovely little places, but the Mr soon put these plans to rest as the price of a Haven Chalet was so cheap compared to what I was looking at. So he went ahead and booked it despite my reservations.
Back in November the husband and I decided that we wanted to go away. We started off looking at going abroad with the kid, Tenerife was an option but not being able to confirm whether crèches were open, with it being off season and all, laid rest to those plans. We looked at further away destinations like Cape Verde (where all the celebs seem to go to be photographed on a beach) but money just started to go into silly prices so we decided to look closer to home. Centre Parcs was another option but oh my that’s expensive, for a three night mid week stay with a small person under two we were looking at more than five hundred pounds. After going round the houses for a few weeks and ultimately arguing about not being able to agree on a destination, we ended up opting to go and stay with our in-laws for a few days. Not quite the tropical destination I had hoped for but hey, there was a plus point. They are based down in Dorset and we’d found a fancy spa hotel called Chewton Glen right on the edge of the New Forest to book ourselves into for a spa day. It looked like the perfect place for a day of relaxing, just what we needed.
A year in from having a baby and although my husband and I have had nights out together, we haven’t been away or had any real time for ourselves. I mean real, ALONE time, without the baby. Before Christmas we were asked the usual questions about what we wanted, and we decided to ask for Mr and Mrs Smith vouchers. Mr and Mrs Smith is a smart website which reviews lovely hotels here in the UK and abroad, and when booking through them you can get various deals or added perks like afternoon tea (as we did) or a bottle of champagne in your room etc. Me and the Mr agreed we wanted to stay in a spa hotel so after creating a short list and after much deliberation, we decided to book Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa.