Waiting to be matched, we took the opportunity to have one last holiday, a final foreign fling. It turned out that waiting took longer than we expected or hoped and that we like travelling more than we realised. One last holiday became several, taking in various holiday hotspots across Europe, including the Canaries, multiple city breaks, and Greek Islands. Heeding the warnings that we may never holiday abroad again – and certainly not in the same way – we made the most of our time as a couple, enjoying lazy days by the pool, exploring art and culture, and eating and drinking whatever we fancied whenever we fancied.
Since Little Chick has been with us, I haven’t missed many of the things from my ‘old’ life. I certainly watch far less TV and while I miss the shared conversation about last night’s viewing it’s no great loss. I can opt for quality over quantity and in the golden age of TV there’s plenty to choose from. But when we booked our family holiday – probably our only break of the year – I knew that my life had irrevocably changed. Four nights at Butlin’s in Skegness had never featured on my travel wishlist.
But our break has been brilliant, and this has genuinely been one of our best holidays. As our first ever family holiday there is a danger that I am viewing it through rose tinted glasses, but we all enjoyed it and, so far, there has been little fallout upon our return.
We were blessed with glorious sunshine for most of the week. I have always argued that I would happily holiday more in the UK if the weather was better and this week was testament to that. Butlin’s mid-week mid-term is good value (booked in advance, using discounts, and opting for self-catering): it is also quiet. Having the run of the resort and being able to enjoy everything it had to offer was incredible, though likely unrepeatable.
We were able to spend however long Little Chick wanted on each attraction, allowing him to try every ride and every piece of play equipment. Little Chick loves playing in water and the outdoor fountains kept him entertained for hours. If we hadn’t insisted, he was getting cold he would still be there, laughing loudly, and sidling up alongside the bigger boys, joining their gangs. Water, sunshine, a fairground, new friends, and ice cream – who could ask for more?
We ventured into Skeg itself: I’m a sucker for a British seaside resort. We needn’t have bothered. Skegness was pleasant enough, but, apart from high street shops, Butlin’s met all our needs. It’s private beach was better than the main one in the resort (cleaner, more secluded, and more convenient) and was the highlight for us all.
Watching the Other Mrs Reed Warbler and Little Chick run playfully in the shallow waves made me cry with happiness. I may not have the hormones associated with childbirth but becoming a mum has completely heightened my emotions, both good and bad. Hearing him giggle as we pretended to miss the ball and land face first on the sand was simply gorgeous. Alternating licks as we shared ice creams and watched the gulls, 99s have never tasted so good.
It probably helped that the holiday began and ended with visits to Granny and Grandad’s house, depositing and collecting the dogs from their own mini break. We had worried that it could all be too much, but breaking the journey into several legs helped keep us all sane and seeing Granny and Grandad helped further those relationships. Little and often has been key: two more meetings in quick succession has helped enormously.
Overall, our first holiday was a success. We kept things low key, maintained routines where we could (food, bathing, sleep), and tried not to overanalyse everything Little Chick said and did. We were aware that it might be tough, but we didn’t look for problems, making us all more relaxed. We were blessed with good weather and learned lessons for the future (book a ground floor apartment; the disco is great in theory but disastrous in practice; and don’t rely on the onsite shop for topping up groceries). Butlin’s was our holiday house (clearly distinguished from our home) for five days: it has given us hope that we can enjoy more family holidays together in the future.
“Oh, I do like to be
beside the seaside
Oh, I do like to be
beside the sea…”