Our family is away in Spain at the moment. It's the kids first holiday abroad and I've not been on a package holiday since I was pregnant with JJ in May 2013. We hadn't intended to be a family who just holidays in the UK but that was sort of the way things have panned out. We got JJ his first passport in 2006 when he was three and said we would go abroad the next year, of course I then fell pregnant with the twins in November 2006 so that put paid to that plan as neither my husband or I could bear the idea of taking two babies and a toddler on a plane and into the blazing sunshine.
Once the girls were both out of pushchairs and nappies we considered going abroad again but by that time we were having great family holidays in the UK and the kids are really active so I couldn't imagine them enjoying a holiday where they just sat by the pool. I know I've asked JJ many times over the years if he fancies an abroad holiday and he always looks horrified and says no, he enjoys the hustle, bustle and organised activities of holiday camps and places like Butlins in the UK.
I suppose we've also been super lucky in recent years in that we've had one or two short holidays a year to review for my blog and of course since we moved to East Sussex in 2013 we've been a one income family and going abroad isn't cheap. So what changed this year then, you might be wondering? Well it has been a tough first half of the year for a couple of reasons that I won't go into but I felt my husband really deserved a proper holiday. Something different, a break from the norm, so we dipped into some savings.
Last year we holidayed in Telford, staying at a friends house and taking day trips and it was superb, we had an amazing time as a family but it was still real life, if that makes sense. Going to a theme park, shopping mall or National Trust site are things we can do any time. Being here in Spain with (near) guaranteed sunshine, crystal clear warm sea and no TV are completely different and boy are we all loving it.
I've already asked the kids if they have a preference for a UK or abroad holiday and this is winning hands down. So what have we done to win them over so quickly? Nothing much is the answer. We've eaten (foods they aren't keen on), we've slept (on beds they deem too hard), we've played cards as a family, we've been reading, colouring and loom-banding but most of all we have swam and sat. My husband and I mostly do the sitting and the kids the constant swimming, jumping in or diving.
They are having the time of their lives and funnily enough, so are we. Complete downtime as a family is really valuable. Yes, there are still those tense moments (bickering over nonsense, pushing each other in the pool and the cries of I'm bored when we have to have some shade time) but generally all is good in our world right now. I was a bit worried on the first day that I'd forgotten how to relax but it's ok, day two and I have surely remembered. Nothing beats that feeling of early morning sun on your face as you lie there thinking of nothing much.
I admit it, JJ and I were wrong, the kids love just being by the pool or more precisely being in the pool. The twins are working together to improve their stamina when out of their depth, JJ is actually swimming rather than just lolling around and Miss M has made friends with a Russian girl who is teaching her to dive. I've got some serious blog work to do if we want to go on holiday abroad again next year as it sure isn't cheap. Long gone are the days of my husband and I going out for the evening and having a good meal and a number of drinks for just 20 euros. But I've got a feeling that we will be going home truly revitalised and ready for whatever comes next.
One thing left to say really - Viva la España!
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