My Perfect Joules Weekend Away

Being on maternity leave somehow makes me hanker for a holiday even more than working full time, so when Joules set a Bloggers Challenge to write up their idea of a perfect family weekend away, I was well prepared. All those hours of getaway-dreaming would finally be useful!

We live in a beautiful country

Center Parcs forest

Exploring this rich, colourful forest has to be the highlight of any Center Parcs break away!

LPD and I love making the most of the beautiful country we live in, so can often be found enjoying UK getaways. From the bonnie breath-taking scenery of Scotland to the vast moor landscapes of Devon, or the seal wildlife on the Norfolk coast to the dolphins in Wales’ Cardigan Bay, we truly are spoiled for choice. Luckily, as we’re based in the Midlands, we’re ideally situated to easily travel to all corners of the UK but although we’ve been separately, we’ve not yet travelled to Ireland as a family – so maybe that’s next on our hit list? Coincidentally, they’ve just announced they’re building a new Center Parcs in Ireland… Fate, perhaps?

Doing something for the first time

babies first visit to the beach seaside

Pickle taking in the scenery with Nanny Pol, his first visit to the beach!

As I’ve discussed before on here, I’m embarrassingly a creature of habit so in order to piece together my perfect weekend, I’ve looked back on past holidays for inspiration, starting with our most recent jaunt which happened to be Pickle’s first EVER weekend away and his first experience of the seaside.

It was so exciting to take our baby boy to the beach, it really made me realise how special it is to do something for the very first time so no perfect weekend would be complete without some kind of completely new experience! Even better if it’s something new to all three of us.

Getting there in style

boating canal Birmingham

We had such fun last year taking our friend’s boat down the canal in Birmingham for a pub lunch. Here I am steering the boat, under the watchful gaze of LPD’s best mate!

Weekend breaks are so short in duration, that it’s worth making the most of every single moment – which includes the journey there and back. Travelling in style should always be encouraged, like the time we took this boat along the canal with our friends shortly after we got married. It was such a memorable day. Our friends kept their boat well stocked and supplied, so we enjoyed cups of tea and even a glass or two of wine as we leisurely boated along to the pub!

Keeping well *ahem* hydrated

minimoon scotland whiskey tasting

LPD and I enjoyed a wonderful tour of Dewar’s Aberfeldy distillery on our minimoon last year.

Talking of drinks… it’s very important to stay well hydrated during a weekend away. We took this responsibility very seriously whilst on our minimoon to Scotland straight after our wedding last year, sampling the local delicacy at Dewar’s Aberfeldy distillery. Now that we have Pickle to consider, perhaps we may have to curtail future drinking on our upcoming family holidays but nevertheless, a gin tour would be an excellent addition to the perfect weekend away (hint hint, LPD).

Nearby must-sees

Stonehenge must see landmarks

LPD and I visited Stonehenge as a birthday treat for me a few years ago. Arriving super early meant we almost had the place to ourselves. Amazing.

Treat your home like a tourist. Whether you’re staying five hours away from your home or five minutes, there are always attractions to visit that you probably ignore as a local or national resident. I don’t think I have ever considered buying a tourist guide for the UK in the same way as I do when going abroad, but really, I should. We all should. You never know what gems are hiding in plain sight!

Scrumptious Food

mushroom risotto Raymond Blanc

The most delicious food I have ever tasted – mushroom risotto courtesy of Raymond Blanc!

Whilst I’m quite the fan of a self-catered holiday (too many camping trips – old habits die hard), eating out for at least one meal is a getaway MUST. Now, I’m not expecting a repeat of the dizzying gastronomical heights of the two Michelin star food of Belmond Le Manoir (NEVER have mushrooms tasted that good!) but you know, anything along those lines would do. Or somewhere that does a decent pie and chips!

Having said that, I don’t think you can beat a morning cuppa in the fresh air – whether you’re sat on a beautiful terrace draped in a luxury robe or sat in your trackies outside a leaky tent.

Embrace the unexpected!

log swing Scotland

LPD seemed sure I wouldn’t a) fit on this or b) do so without breaking it. But that smile on my face showed I proved him wrong!

One thing you mustn’t forget to include in any perfect weekend… An element of spontaneity. The one thing you can’t plan for. Before Pickle came along, an unplanned stop would be something like proving I could swing on a log without breaking it! But now, the unexpected is more likely to be an unscheduled dash to a baby change room or getting distracted by a kids clothes sale. Or let’s face it, cancelling all plans because it’s just too much fun watching his gorgeous smiling face or snuggling up for a morning snooze.

But really, who knows?

family

Let me be honest… As such a new Mom (11 weeks and counting), I don’t have a lot of family weekend away experience to draw on. I don’t yet know what works and what doesn’t. I haven’t made mistakes to learn from yet… but my god, am I excited to do just that. I’m looking forward to driving for 5 hours and then realising we’ve left all the baby’s clothes at home. I can’t wait to spend a whole weekend cowering in the shower block because a freak storm has caused the most horrendous leaks in our second-hand tent. And I’m counting down the days to our future family holiday where we end up staying right next door to an all-hours raving nightclub and don’t get a wink of sleep. Because it’s surely all the imperfect moments that actually make the perfect family weekend? Those are things we remember and end up talking about for years and years to come. So without wanting to sound like the end of some horrendous corny American TV movie, really the only thing I absolutely need for the perfect family weekend away is my two boys.

perfect family

Any time spent with my two gorgeous boys is perfect to me.

P.S. But all those other things I mentioned would make it super nice.

21 Comments

  1. Carl Davies
    August 18, 2016 / 1:16 pm

    Sounds like you’ve had some amazing holidays LPM. Where was the place you got to go Seal watching in Norfolk? That sounds awesome.

    • August 18, 2016 / 1:52 pm

      Oh god, baby brain has hit and I can’t even remember… I think it was called Horsey Point? Or something like that. It was a National Trust place anyway and the boat trip was amazing!

  2. Katie
    August 18, 2016 / 1:24 pm

    A perfect holiday is with the ones you love..doesn’t matter where you go!! ♡

  3. Katie
    August 18, 2016 / 1:49 pm

    Oh this makes me miss the UK! But feel free to plan a future holiday to Aus sometime soon… I would love a cuddle with Pickle!

    • August 18, 2016 / 1:51 pm

      Oh yes! But a trip to Aus demands far longer than a weekend – but it’s definitely ON THE CARDS. Ahh what an adventure that will be!

  4. August 18, 2016 / 3:00 pm

    Would love to be able to travel in a boat too! That sounds like a fab holiday 🙂

  5. August 18, 2016 / 10:29 pm

    That sounds like the perfect recipe for a great time.

  6. August 18, 2016 / 10:45 pm

    Aw this is the beauty of the UK it is full of hidden treasures in places were you least expect them. Ah its a great time to have a weekend away!

  7. August 19, 2016 / 7:45 am

    What a fab weekend and that food looked amazing!

  8. August 19, 2016 / 7:57 am

    Your perfect weekend away sounds fab to me too! If you’re with the people you love, anything is great 🙂
    I love mushroom risotto, although mine is not usually that posh, lol 🙂

    • August 19, 2016 / 8:06 am

      Ha ha, my mushroom risotto is no where near that good either! So badly craving risotto now…! Yummy.

  9. Rob
    August 19, 2016 / 11:49 am

    Really informative. Was looking for some good holiday ideas and here they are

  10. August 19, 2016 / 1:37 pm

    This is a great inspiring post. Travelling on style is the way to do short weekend trips.

  11. August 19, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous getaway! I love weekend breaks

  12. August 19, 2016 / 11:15 pm

    Some beautiful memories here and would make a fab weekend x
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  13. August 20, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    That looks like a great weekend! The food especially looks like a wonderful treat 🙂

  14. August 25, 2016 / 8:19 am

    What a great holiday. Beautiful pictures, looks like an amazing time 🙂

  15. August 25, 2016 / 2:04 pm

    What a great holiday. Sounds like you had an amazing time. And you also look so cute!!

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