A few years ago, Sam and I learnt the value in taking two solid weeks off work. We now do it annually, usually in September. For 2016, that fortnight has just come to an end and we had a lovely time. “Where did they go?” you might wonder. Well actually we didn’t go anywhere. We took the term ‘staycation’ very literally and stayed at home for two whole weeks. Two. Whole. Weeks. It was wonderful!
Initially I had planned to book us a week away somewhere but didn’t get round to it. In the end staying at home seemed very appealing so we did that. After a less than relaxing trip to Lisbon, Sam and I both just needed some rest and relaxation. Staying at home meant no packing or travel. It also meant that H could continue to go to nursery. I’m sure some would think it wrong of us to send our daughter to nursery during our holidays; But H loves nursery and needs time with other children to tire her out. She’s unaware that we’re on holiday but the 6 days she’s been at nursery have been a true holiday for Sam and I!
So here is an account of the fun we had during our two weeks of ‘holiday at home’. Whilst I wouldn’t want to do it every holiday, I would definitely do it again. For anyone who just needs a bit of down time to get their life and head in order, I would certainly recommend it!
We started off the holiday by taking H to a ‘Gravity Tots‘ session at ‘Gravity Force‘. She thought it was wonderful and wore herself out running back and forth on the various trampoline activities! She especially loved the Tumble Tracks.
H was then back to nursery from Tuesday to Thurday. Sam and I went out for a lovely lunch at Cote Brasserie and another (on a different day of course!) at Aqua in Welwyn Village. We exercised. We did some tidying in the garden. We watched some TV. We played on our laptops. When we got H home from nursery, we all played in the garden until bedtime. Then I used the little bit of extra time in the evening to do some proper cooking.
We took H to Whipsnade to see the animals. We previously went in March and it was horrifically windy and wet; The weather looked to be preparing for a repeat when we got up on Monday. But fortunately the rain reduced to a drizzle and disappeared by lunch time. H loved seeing the different animals. She was in awe of the sealions. She chatted to the lemurs and showed them her Monkey toy. She waved at the prowling tiger and said “Goodbye” when we moved on!
When Mini H went back to nursery on Tuesday, Sam and I kick-started a couple of days of heavy garden work. Our lawn is raised and there was a small gap between the lawn wall and the conservatory; I have been so anxious since H started walking incase she fell down the gap. So we used the time to finally install some planters to cover the gap. Not only does it make the garden safer for her, but it has also given me some more planting space! I’m so happy with the result. The shrubs I have used are all quite small but will grow to fill the space over the next year or two. Coupled with the new fountain Sam installed a few weeks ago, the garden really feels like ‘ours’ now.
It wasn’t all hard graft though. We went for an amazing lunch at Brasserie Blanc in St Albans on Tuesday. It was a leisurely 90 minute meal (I had potted crab and moules – delish!) and the food was so tempting that I completely forgot to take a picture of it. I did sneak across the road afterwards and get a Tarta de Nata from The Pudding Stop though and remembered to snap that before gobbling it up with tea that afternoon! (To make up for all the ones I didn’t eat in Lisbon you understand…)
As a Thursday extravagance, Sam and I went for afternoon tea at Luton Hoo; It’s a large and impressive stately home about 30 minutes drive from where we live. We’ve ‘done’ afternoon tea before but this place was properly swish (it even has slightly ‘snooty’ staff as a 5* hotel must). The tea was served a little slower than we might have liked – I assume to give value for money – but you could not fault the offering. We had a leisurely stroll round the grounds after too…which are amazing!
We rounded off the week on Friday with H by visiting Hatfield Park Farm. Since the schools had gone back it was really quiet. The little train was sadly not running but H loved the tractor ride – it gave her a really good view of all the animals. She then walked herself round almost the entire park and loved the freedom. I felt so relaxed letting her do so because it was a quiet field surrounded by fences. We’ll definitely take her there again!