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.
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.
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.
Holidays once you’ve had a baby are a real eye opener. It’s a bit like signing up for a challenge event which you’ve done no training for, the first one you go on with a baby can be a bit of a shock to the system. Gone are the carefree, hedonistic lounging by the pool days. Those day’s are long forgotten. Everything changes once that little person comes along.