Muddling through summer and a trip to Butlin’s Minehead

It’s been a busy few weeks at our little HQ. The summer holidays loomed and have passed in mostly an easy going, whatever kind of way. I was dreading the time off with our little busy bee as she is used to going to playschool five days and a week and there is no way I could match the enthusiasm, energy and general professionalism of her teachers. All that crafting.

What we’ve found is that things are much more laid back. There’s no rush in the morning to get out the door, to get dressed, to get to bed on time because there’s school in the morning. Instead there’s been late nights and late mornings, all day in pajamas, movies, sweets, walks, playgrounds, and yes, crafting.

There’s been guilt too – a little too much screen time if we’re being very honest. It’s the lazy parenting way of taking a break. A little is fine. Too much tells in her mood, in her emotions. If she’s watched too much You Tube you can be guaranteed sarkiness, meltdowns and tears. It’s terrible – it changes her. So we need to delete off the app for a while and ban it I guess. It’s in her best interests to do that. Even if it does mean less breaks for Mama.

Bonnie, our one year old has turned from a placid, smiling baby into a wilfull, screaming terrorist. There are times when I wonder if the glass in our light fittings will crack and smash and rain down on her heads. It’s lucky I’m deaf on one side – I don’t have to bear it as much as the hubby. I’d love to know what musical notes she is hitting – Mariah Carey wouldn’t get a look in.

But she’s so bloody cute. Like heart melting.

Look at that FACE

I don’t know what is is with the second child, I’m so much more relaxed with her – I barely worry about anything. I know she’ll be fine and she has her big sister to look after her. Watching the two of them play and communicate has brought the happiest of mother moments to me – I am so proud of their relationship, how they talk and chat in their own language, August translating for her sister, telling me what she wants.

I think about how they don’t yet know how lucky they are, to be sisters so close in age, to have that lifelong friendship laying out before them. In between the rows of course and and the inevitable screaming matches.

Oh look at our little innocent faces, no idea what lay ahead

We got on our first holiday in a few years, a week long trip to the UK to go to Butlin’s and Peppa Pig World. We had a fantastic time, but the journey there and back was difficult. We’d underestimated the toll it would take on us, driving two young ladies through the English countryside and motorway traffic jams for hours upon hours.

There was only so many sweets I could fling at them. So many magazines and games on the ipad. I would have given anything for an internet connection to hook up You Tube, knowing it was the only thing that might have kept them quiet.

Instead we endured and after some sleepless nights (thanks to our new environment and babies not liking strange cots) we finally got to relax a few days into our trip. We decided against going to Peppa Pig World in the end, as it would have been another three hour journey each way and we could not force ourselves back into the car. We pre-bought our tickets though, so we’ll still take her, hopefully by aeroplane next time.

I was a bit worried about going to Butlins as we’d visited when I was a teenager and we’d encountered some problems, namely the accommodation being very poor. This time round everything went great – our apartment was tiny, but we managed and we were so impressed with what was on offer at Butlin’s, it didn’t really matter.

Me and the Queen faceswapping

There were playgrounds and activities, a huge funfair and indoor and outdoor swimming pool, buggies, amusements, soft play, a circus and massive entertainment venues for the nighttime.

The hubby, Abbie and August generally headed out mid morning and didn’t come back till the afternoon. We saw a whole new side to our nearly four year old developing, confidence at climbing and socialising and generally trusting in herself to have fun. At night the entertainment was fantastic, with professional west end type stage shows, tribute acts and even dance group Diversity, all included in your holiday price.

The whole place felt safe and there was everything we needed on site. I did a few loads of laundry to try and keep up with the avalanche and there was a supermarket.

Swinging around

I would definitely go back, but I would upgrade our accommodation and we wouldn’t do the drive again – which on the last day turned out to be eight hours straight in the car, with a baby who puked ten minutes into the journey. Stuff of nightmares! The traffic was so bad we missed our ferry home, so you can imagine the stress levels that day.

Heading away on holidays took up a lot of my energy. I was very anxious about it and spent a long time thinking about it and organising it all in my mind. As my energy levels can be next to zero somedays I was really worried that I wouldn’t get through them at all, or that I would bring everybody down with my moaning and complaining! In the end, I was totally fine and it seemed to do me good to get out of our home environment.

I’ve been back to the docs in a bid to try and get bit further with the treatment of Meniere’s Disease which I suffer from and also to look at depression and anxiety, which unfortunately can be a side effect of Meniere’s. I have been quite open about suffering from post natal depression on my second child Bonnie and as she’s now one and a half, I’ve been struggling with the fact that the dirty dog still rears its head now and then, taking me by surprise, when I think I am doing great.

Will I always be like this? I asked my doctor, who couldn’t be more understanding. She assured me that no, in all likelihood I won’t and that it’s still a very trying time when you have young children. They were the words I wanted to hear.

It won’t always be like this.

Writing wise, book two is pretty much finished although I am considering making some changes and I haven’t quite made up my mind yet. My gut at the moment is saying leave well enough alone, but as I’d like to be a commercial writer and a successful one at that, sometimes you have to consider changes that you never thought of before. I’ve also been entering some story competitions, but for the past few weeks, I’ve more or less been on a siesta, because I go through such an intense writing and editing period when I’m finishing my books. I need this I think – it gives me time to think, to read and to search for the next book I want to write. I have some ideas in mind, but nothing I want to get stuck into just yet.

Over the next few weeks I’m hoping to concentrate on getting as healthy as I can be, improving the decor in our house and finally getting it organised (does that ever happen though, does it?!) as well as giving our little girl the best fourth birthday she can imagine and enjoying the routine of back to school in September.

Our pace is slower, life is slower. Things are more lean. There’s not a lot of money to go around, but we can honestly say, despite the moments of lows, that are not always in my control, we’re probably happier than we’ve ever been. We have time, we have each other. We have spagetti hoops. And sometimes, that’s all you need.



If you’re interested in taking a trip to Butlin’s – we booked direct through their website. They organise their stays into Monday to Friday slots, weekend breaks and there are some week long breaks included too, but we felt the four night stay was just enough. There are three Butlin’s parks in the UK – we chose Minehead as it’s in Somerset and we could get the ferry over. They offer some great Just for Tots breaks throughout the year and they sound fab as when you have small kids, sometimes you just want to go where everybody knows your pain 🙂 Oh and Mr Tumble often appears. If you can bear it.

December Girl is now available on Audio. Visit Amazon or Audible or click on the cover below to download.

December Girl audiobook
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