I don’t know about you, but I feel like this year’s summer holidays have gone by in the blink of an eye. I don’t know if it’s because last year the children had been off school for months by the time that the summer holidays had arrived that it felt like a longer period. But the was honestly the quickest 6 weeks ever. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about how I really enjoy the summer holidays, although they do often come at the expense sometimes of my own self-care. And I do stand by that, so while I really enjoyed them, there is a part of me that is glad to be back to routine this week,
We didn’t do lots of expensive things in the holidays, other than our family holiday to Wales. We had one day trip out and the rest was pretty much low cost, meeting up with friends and family and playdates. But we really did have a lovely time and we have made some fab memories. Here are a few of our highlights from the summer.
A Trip to Paradise Wildlife Park
Every year my parents pay for a big day out for all of their grandchildren. It’s always a highlight of the summer holidays and lots of fun. For the last two years, we have been to Paradise Wildlife Park, we had hoped to go to somewhere different this year, but because of the restrictions places have got booked up really quickly in advance. But there are some great animals to see there and animatronic dinosaurs are always a huge hit with the children. Bodhi is at the age at the moment where he actually thought they were real which is rather adorable. We’ve got this photo for about 3 years in a row now and I always find it hilarious!
Seeing my Grandma for the First Time in 20 Months
My Grandma is 95, and because of the current pandemic and how vulnerable she is, we haven’t visited her for 20 months. Which is an awfully long time for someone who is elderly and also for how quickly children change too. Historically I have always tried to take the children to see her in the holidays. Now we’re all double vaccinated, we decided to take the risk and visit her. The children mainly stayed outside in her garden and we took her in her wheelchair to the park so she could enjoy the sunshine. It was so lovely to see her again.
Meeting up with Friends and Playdates
The main thing we did over the summer holidays was catch up with friends and that was something the children said they really wanted to do. So they each told me the friends they really wanted to see and I set up plays dates with them. Some were at the park and some friends came and had a play at our house. Which also included Logan doing experiments, baking and much fun to be had in our mud kitchen.
Just after the winter lockdown, Aria’s best friend moved away to live by the sea. I think the combination of lockdown and this news really upset her. But what is lovely is they have stayed in touch, writing to each other and video calls. I had promised Aria that we would drive to see her friend in the summer holidays, so we did that. They were so excited to reunited it made the drive totally worth it.
We did have a small incident at one of the playdates, we met a friend at the park and it had been raining. As soon as Bodhi got there he ran on a damp ramp, slipped and cut his chin open. This, unfortunately, meant a trip to A&E but he did really well and it has healed up nicely. Which is a relief.
Paddleboarding lessons were something a friend suggested as something a bit different to do in the holidays. I didn’t participate as I had Bo to look after, but Logan, Aria, their friends and a couple of my parent friends went and had a paddleboarding lesson. Once again the weather was kind and the children had so much fun doing it. Part of the Thames is only about 20 minutes drive from us and it’s not something I would have thought of doing before, the lesson was only £10 per person which included a life jacket and paddleboard hire as well as an instructor which I think is really good value. The children loved it so much that Logan is considering having a paddleboard holiday for his birthday.
We decided not to participate in the library’s reading challenge this year. Mainly because we didn’t think we would be able to attend the library the number of times that we needed to. This is because in the run-up to our holiday I decided we were going to do outdoor activities only so that we did not have to go into isolation and miss our holiday to Wales. As my children love to read and this is something that I like to encourage we decided to have an at-home reading challenge. Logan and Aria read bonkers amounts – in the holidays more than one book per week. So bearing this in mind, I set them the challenge of 3 books per week or 18 books in total. And in exchange at the end of the holidays if they managed to achieve this I would take them to the bookshop for a treat. The above photos is them virtually running into bookshop on the last day of the holidays.
Holiday in Wales
Finally, I think the best part of the summer has to be our holiday to Wales. It is the same place we went to last year, but it is such a lovely flat and surroundings as well as walking distance to the beach. During the first week the weather was a bit changeable, but the weather in the second week was lovely and we went to the beach pretty much every day. My highlights really were beach trips, watching the children make sandcastles, play in the rock pools and swim in the sea. Aria also learnt to surf after not wanting to in previous years.
Coincidentally my sister had booked a holiday for Wales, so we ended up managing to overlap by one day and spending a day on the beach with her family, which was great. One of my university friends also lives in Wales so we met up with her and her horses and had a fantastic day with her. We met up with her last year and she is so thoughtful with all of things he puts together for the children to do.
For the second week of our holiday, my in-laws joined us. It was nice to spend time with them after lockdown, the children loved having them stay upstairs and the extra attention that came with it. It also meant that my husband and I were able to have a date night, our first meal out on our own in eight months and it was amazing.
Overall, I had a lovely summer holidays with my family. It was so nice not to have the weight of homeschooling on us and to be able to just be a family and enjoy the simple things and pleasures. If these last 18 months have taught me anything, it’s friends, family and the little thing that matters.