It’s been a whole week already since I woke up from a mini lie in on Good Friday, my birthday, with Sean, Ella and Sienna laden with gifts! My best present – a surprise weekend away!
I had had very fleeting suspicions that Sean might be taking me away for the weekend. The odd little comment that got me thinking. But I dismissed it. I wondered who would look after the kids for the whole weekend, and whether Sean would want to be away from them when he had a few days off work to spend with them. It didn’t stop me having daydreams of Paris, Amsterdam, or maybe even New York!!
So, I was very surprised when I was told that my birthday present was a weekend away to….drum roll…Blackpool!! Well, actually Fleetwood, just outside of Blackpool! To be honest, I was absolutely made up!!! It’s so lovely to have experiences as a family and to spend some uninterrupted fun time together. So, it was perfect!! And it means that the New York surprise can be saved for next year!
We’ve stayed at Haven holiday parks before as a family. Once when Ella was about the same age Sienna is now (10 months) in North Wales, and another time when Ella was nearly two and Sienna 5 weeks, in Cleethorpes, when we were invited by Haven to review one of the holiday parks (you can read the review here). For the stage our family is at, they’re actually the perfect getaway. You can throw everything you need in the car, the dog can come too, there’s no worries of how to keep them entertained on a plane, there’s unlikely to be issues of being uncomfortably hot and grouchy, and there’s so much to entertain them on site.
We set off around Friday lunchtime, expecting it to be about an hour’s journey in the car. Of course, we hadn’t really considered the impact of the Easter weekend getaway. So, the journey was more like two and half hours. Both girls slept for some of it, and both girls whinged for some of it! But, it was a beautiful day for driving and I always love getting a bit of one-on-one car chat time with Sean. Is it just us who put the world to rights on car journeys?
We arrived before check in time so had a little wander round, and a quick drink outside so that Ned could join us and stretch his legs. Sean left me with the girls so he could stock up at the supermarket. And it was then that Ella discovered her favourite thing about the whole holiday – the soft play slide (or the ‘party slide’ as she called it!) that was in the main amusements centre. She spent lots of time over the course of the weekend on that slide, climbing round the soft play to get to it and then whizzing down it! The slide was pretty dominated by older kids in the evening, but it didn’t put Ella off. She stormed past them all, waited for them to get out of her way at the top of the slide, and proceeded to fly down it!
The Friday was the best weather day. Unfortunately, the other days were pretty wet, or heavy showers mixed with brilliant sunshine. We decided not to venture in to Blackpool, and to save it for a train trip another weekend when we would be guaranteed to stay dry! There was enough for us to do on site, and we did have a little drive one day for a fish and chips lunch. Got to be done when you’re at the seaside!
Over the weekend, we took both girls swimming, and Sean took Ella a second time on her own, while Sienna was napping. We spent time at the ‘party slide’. Me and Sean enjoyed a few afternoon drinks in the caravan while the girls napped and prepared themselves for an evening of partying. We had lunch in the onsite bar/restaurant. We played bingo (and won…nothing!). And we enjoyed the children’s entertainment in the evening. Another big bonus for us is that we can head to the live lounge come the evening. Ella is entertained by the children’s entertainment, rather than being bored in a bar or restaurant. And we can enjoy a few drinks. We presumed that Sienna would sleep in the pram in the evening, but she only had a snooze on the last night. The other two nights, she really enjoyed the entertainment as well, staring at it in awe!! It’s perfect for little ones, probably up to the age of about 5 years old.
That’s what we really love about going somewhere like Haven. The kids are kept entertained, which makes it much easier for us. And staying in a static caravan, rather than a hotel room, means the kids can go to bed, and we don’t have to go to sleep too. Although we were up for only a short time after them!
It was a really lovely family long weekend. Had we stayed at home, I think the poor weather would have meant we wouldn’t have got up to much at all. So, I’m really glad that Sean chose to surprise me for my birthday and for us to get away from the everyday and have some fun together.
I didn’t actually take many pictures at all while we were away. I couldn’t take them in the pool, Ella was busy a lot of the time on the slide, the caravan we were just chilling, and the evenings I often forgot to bring my camera out with us. But here our a few mini snippets from our weekend away…
Sienna watching Ella going on the slide, yet again!!
Sienna actually started crawling that morning before we left! An extra birthday present for me! She enjoyed exploring whenever possible!
Sean and Ella having a little break from dancing!
The big bonus of the evening entertainment – entertained kids meant we got to spend some time together too, though most of it was spent watching Ella dancing!
And luckily, the Easter Bunny found us!