Holiday? Holottawork more like it …

We’ve just spent a week at the Lake District. I’d love to report that it was a fun-filled, stress-free and relaxing seven days away but I’d be a big fat liar if I did.

It’s about a four and a half hour drive from our place in London. So add almost two hours to that and you’ve got a far more accurate idea of our travelling time. We made five stops on the way. FIVE … Three toilet stops, a petrol stop and a lunch stop.

We had to stop three times in the first forty minutes alone, so my holiday anxiety levels were at fever pitch before we were even an hour into our trip. I firmly believe Valium was invented for times like this.

We arrived at a house in Ambleside that looked nothing like the photo of the cute 18th century cottage I saw on the internet. It had the past week’s tenants worth of rubbish piled at the front door and the kitchen had an awful sewer smell to it. According to the website it was a ‘short five minute walk into Ambleside’ but they didn’t mention the fact it was on a hill so steep that I could hardly push a buggy up it (and it was really handy for my Mum with her broken foot), nor did they mention the building site five metres from our front door. Or the death trap of a cot that fell into fifty pieces when I was putting the sheets on it.

Good times.

Anyway looking beyond all that the kids were happy and didn’t care so pretty much immediately set their minds to other tasks, like bothering the neighbours. In the first afternoon Luca decorated their car with stones.

IMG_7303It really would be very unfortunate to be renting the holiday house next to us. The amount of noise my children generate is staggering. My neighbour in London once told me her daughter sleeps with ear plugs in so I’m fairly aware how annoying we are but I don’t know how to cure my children of their noisy nocturnal insomnia.

Anyway it would appear that 18th century villagers favoured heat retention rather than sound proofing when building their cottages. The house next door was really just an annexe of our place so the unfortunate neighbours had 5.30am wake ups every day. They didn’t smile at me once when we crossed paths outside. It figures. They’d come on a hiking holiday with no children and I’m imagining if children were in their future plans they’re probably reconsidering it now.

It was only on the last night when everyone was asleep and it was quiet that I heard the neighbours dog sneeze through the wall as clear as a bell that I realised just how much noise we must have inflicted upon them. I should probably stock up on ear plugs and offer them to holiday rental neighbours in the future.

Moving on. My third child, Charlie, is an extremely fussy eater. I won’t bore you with the details but no nutritionist, child psychologist, behavioural eating specialist, pediatrician or GP has been able to help with his eating problems. He only eats about ten different foods but when we go away from home the list shortens. So all he ate for the entire week was Pringles. I’m not exaggerating, nothing but Pringles.

Unfortunately we also had the added angst of Easter. My kids were on a permanent sugar high for the entire week and didn’t really eat much else the whole time. When we’re on holidays all my eating rules don’t apply so they completely gorged themselves on eggs all week. And Pringles.

One afternoon we took the older kids hiking (walking really) and about 100m into the walk Luca fell over and grazed his hands and wanted to go back to the car, so Rob unlocked it and we climbed into the very back row of seats, forgetting there were child locks on the car so Rob and Holly walked off and Luca and I were stuck in the car the entire time playing ‘I spy’ for the afternoon because I didn’t have the key and couldn’t climb into the front. We didn’t hike with them again.

Injury wise there was only one. Jude was crying all afternoon and I couldn’t work out why so I changed his wet nappy and when I took it off it was full of pebbles and dirt. He’d been outside with Luca so I asked him where the stones came from and he said “Oh I forgot, he fell off the wall onto his tummy”, so I lifted up Jude’s shirt and his tummy was completely grazed and bleeding down to his nappy line. Turns out he’d stage dived off a 1.5m brick wall onto a gravel path. Being the fourth child I didn’t even notice.

But by far the biggest catastrophe of the week? Most definitely this ….


It was so cold that the Nutella froze. It was the clincher, there was no recovering my holiday after that.

How was your Easter?

Despite all my complaining Rob and I had an amazing day of hiking while Grandma minded the kids. It was worth the rest of the week's angst!

Despite all my whinging, Rob and I had an amazing day of hiking while Grandma minded the kids. It was worth the rest of the week’s angst for this amazing view.




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