Four things I learnt on our family holiday

Number 1: Rain doesn’t matter – as long as you’re prepared.
Since I was the only person in the family who went on holiday without a raincoat this is a top tip for me. In my defense I made sure everyone else had theirs and after a quick divert to some shops, I got one too.

The point is that we had a smattering of rain (heavy at points) throughout our holiday but it truly didn’t matter – we had coats and what is best described as a steely determination not to let a little thing like rain affect us. In fact sitting in the hot tub at the place we stayed, whilst it was raining, is one of my highlights from the holiday.

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(I can’t explain my daughters socks in the picture – something to do with tucking your trousers in being a sensible thing to do in rain apparently? To be clear – She didn’t get that from me.)

Number 2: Make sure you know what the day trip is.
My husband did a great job of planning activities and visits around the area we were staying – truly some wonderful places including the beautiful Chirk Castle, N’s favourite Crocky trail, the lovely town of Chester and the fantastic Hawkstone Park Follies to name but a few.

One thing we didn’t do though was take any information with us about what each involved so by the time the day came for a visit we couldn’t really remember. The result was that we were on several occasions a little caught out, such as our trip to a VERY hands on farm park during which Ellie was wearing her beautiful, new, long, WHITE dress.

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Number 3: Laughing is the best part of the holiday.
Listening to the children in fits of laughter on numerous occasions during the holiday was simply brilliant and I remember on several occasions wishing I could bottle it. On other occasions I was too busy laughing myself to think about it.

One of the most memorable ‘funnies’ of the holiday was courtesy of my step son who when walking out of the Thomas event at the Langollen Steam Railway asked how much we had paid to get in. Having explained it was £44 for our family he suddenly announced in a loud voice that he would call this episode of Thomas the tank engine ‘Thomas and the 44 pound disappointment’. (We actually had a fab day at Langollen with the steam trains, the lovely town and the horse drawn boat but he’s 9, so forgive him not enjoying Thomas the tank engine.)

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Number 4: Managing without wifi for a week is horrible.
Combined with no signal on your phone at all – it was truly shocking. I’m aware how pathetic that must sound but trust me, every single member of our family missed having wifi during the holiday and however sad it sounds, it’s something I shall look for in our next break away.

Wow…time flies

So this might be a sign of my getting old, but there’s no denying that as we hit the half way point in our second week of the school holiday, time is simply flying.

If I’m brutally honest I was wondering as the holiday approached, how long it would be before I was wishing school was back on. I’m aware that might sound really sad, but it’s the truth. Of course that moment might still come but – with a week and a half down already and two weeks where Ellie will be away with her Dad fast approaching – I’m now thinking the holiday will just not be long enough!

More than time flying though – I’m shocked at how I’m already forgetting what we’ve done so far in the holiday! How pathetic does that sound?!

We’re having such fun and I want to make sure I not only enjoy every minute of it, but I remember every minute of it too. So here’s some pictures that represent our first week of the summer holiday…

A home made box for the loom bands has been created and the loom bands sorted!
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We went to Rosliston Forestry Centre to enjoy the fresh air, open space and bouncy castle.
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We enjoyed yet another day out with the National Trust, visiting Wightwick Manor.
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Believe it or not we have actually had some time to relax, which in Ellie’s case seems to mean constant snacking.
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I guess that’s a pretty good summary of our first week of the summer holiday – so let’s hope this post aids my failing memory; and reminds me that the days haven’t just disappeared in that ‘getting old time warp’ but have really been enjoyed.

Our perfectly simple wedding

For anyone who read my ‘wedding negotiation’ post it won’t be a surprise to know that just over a week ago we got married. For anyone who didn’t read that post, you can read it here!

The plan was to have a small affair which was romantic, easy to organise, not costly and well … soon. This translated into a wedding day just two months in the making and, I swear, very little stress.

Originally we invited just parents so with our children, us and both sets of parents the wedding would be just 8 people. As we prepared for the wedding though we soon realised that whilst we wanted a small affair, we did want to share it, so we invited siblings and their families. I was also lucky enough to have a friend who was happy to just come to take some photos at the ceremony.

Essentially we picked what parts of a wedding we wanted and what we didn’t. Here’s how it went:

11.30am – registry office ceremony in the beautiful town of Lichfield. We chose our own music and some personal promises but kept it simple. We surprised the Dads by asking them to be witnesses and my step son gave us the rings. It was all very relaxed but still felt like ‘an event’.

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nice family

12.30pm – after photos in the park we headed to Ego just across the road – a Mediterranean restaurant – where we’d booked a table for us all. They were fantastic – menus printed with our married names on, great food that suited everyone and brilliant service.

2.30pm ish (i wasn’t checking the time!) – went back to our house which we’d lightly decorated for Cornish cream tea, wedding cake and later some sandwich platters we’d ordered from Sainsbury’s.

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The cake was Madeira bought from marks and Spencer’s – it tasted great but assembling it had needed the help of a friend who could fix the fact the layers didn’t fit together!

Finally everyone left about 7pm and we put the kids to bed before heading off for our wedding night at Hoar Cross Hall. It was something Richard had booked in secret and only told me about at the registry office in the morning. He equally hadn’t told Hoar Cross Hall that it was our wedding night so I have to say all credit to the man on reception who didn’t skip a beat when we turned up in our wedding gear, but simply said congratulations and quickly sorted out an upgrade to our room!

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This was our room (well part of it!):

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Hoar Cross couldn’t have been a more perfect end to the day. We sat on our private verandah drinking champagne and prosecco we’d been bought as a present and could not stop smiling. The hotel was quite simply a beautiful setting in which to end our day.

People worry about having to spend a fortune getting married and there’s no doubt that a small, low key wedding isn’t what everyone wants, but for us this was an intimate and relaxed day. It was our perfectly simple wedding.

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