It’s already been well over a month since we returned from Crete.  I had the best of intentions to get a post up as soon as we returned so I wouldn’t forget a single detail but, as it tends to do, life got well and truly in the way! Florence started school a few days after we returned, some of our best friends got married and Elsie decided 4am was a good time to start the day!

The holiday came out of nowhere really, we found ourselves with a little extra free time before Florence started school and we thought we should really make the most of the cheaper deals once the schools had gone back after the summer break. We’ve stayed at the Sensatori resort in Egypt previously and it was stunning and I’d seen a few photos of Sensatori Crete online and read some good reviews so we booked it up. Sensatori resorts are renowned for being family friendly as well as a little luxurious and this holiday certainly didn’t disappoint.

We flew out to Crete with Thomson on a Dreamliner.  Matt and I both love flying so we were chuffed to be on one of these snazzy aeroplanes – not least because Matt is well over 6ft and tends to struggle with leg room on a standard aeroplane. Dreamliner’s are a little speedier and so the the flight time was only about 3.5hrs. I can’t lie; we were both nervous about flying with a 3 month old baby but we needn’t have been as she was as good as gold. Elsie fell asleep during take off as she’d just guzzled a bottle and woke up about an hour later and was quite happy wondering around the aeroplane or just standing and having a nose on our laps.  The young couple sat across the aisle from us complimented both girls on their behaviour during the flight and also loved Florence’s window stickers and had never seen anything like them before.

We landed in Crete early afternoon and waited on the transfer bus for what seemed like forever. It was my first time in Crete and it seemed like such a barren place; buildings half finished, not much going on and homes fairly run down. I’d only ever really seen the popular tourist resorts on TV so it was a contrast to what I’d imagined. However, the sea was stunning en route to our hotel and shimmered in the sun. It was the most beautiful bright blue-green colour.

We arrived at the hotel around 2:30pm, just in time for lunch and, whilst waiting to be taken to the restaurant, I noticed Jacqueline Jossa (Lauren Branning, Eastenders), Dan Osboune and their family also waiting around. I thought that if this hotel is good enough for a soap star then it’s gotta be ok!

After lunch we were shown to our room.  It was in the closest block to the main restaurant and lobby which was handy with the kids and we’d also paid to upgrade our room to a swim up room.  Now, in our heads a swim up room has a channel of water, a bit like a lazy river, passing by so you can float around the resort.  However, what we actually got was a semi-private pool between us and three other rooms.  It was stunning but, you know when somethings just not quite as you’d pictured it to be?  The water in the pool was pretty cold so you really did need to wait until the sun had been shining for a few hours before braving it but that didn’t stop Florence and she was in there pre 9am most days! The room itself was huge and the kids beds were behind a set of sliding doors which was ideal as it meant Matt and I could stay up a little later without disturbing them too much. Having said that whenever we did stay up later in our room we usually sat on the balcony as we could hear the entertainment and people watch those stumbling back from the bar.

Before we left the UK we pre-booked (payable) afternoon sessions for Elsie in the nursery so we had a couple of hours a day to unwind.  Florence was really keen to see what the kids club was all about and so we took her along to a session and she loved it and ended up spending large parts of the day with them.  It was really good; they ran morning and afternoon sessions and then there was either a party or movie from 7:30pm-9:30pm and best of all it was all included in the price.  During our stay both girls had a sleepover in the nursery until about 11:30pm which meant Matt and I had a proper evening to ourselves to enjoy dinner and drinks in the adult only areas.

Speaking of which, the adults only area was always really busy but was well separated from the family zones.  The family zones were great – especially the spray ground. The water was shallow enough for kids to play in without too much worry and the equipment was all non slip and very clean.  My only little moan about the spray ground area is that the sun loungers were of a lower quality to those in the rest of the resort. Oh and one other thing….the floors are so slippery in some areas of the resort; especially around the main pool.  The staff tried their best to lay mats down wherever they could but we did see a few people take a tumble.

The bar service during the day was good. We were staying at Sensatori Crete on an all inclusive basis and so drinks were flowing all day long; the prosecco was good (and I should know) but the wine wasn’t up to much and could have been mistaken for Sarsons! There were loads of other drinks on offer for the kids too including milkshakes and slushies.

The resort itself was pristine and this was no more evident then in the buffet restaurant. We’ve had some bad experiences of buffet restaurants whilst on holiday but this one was lovely. Absolutely sparkling clean, well managed, plenty of staff and lots of useful signage. The food variety was good local dishes as well as the usual fare. Thankfully we managed to avoid the dessert table most nights but they looked incredible.  Had I let myself my 4lb weight gain over the week would have been more like 14lb!

I’ve done enough waffling now so I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.  I also made a mini video of our stay to capture some of those moments I’d like to remember such as Florence and Elsie swimming.

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Finally I’m getting around to blogging about our week in Cornwall – Elsie’s very first holiday!  With everything thats happened since it feels like a lifetime ago! I won’t go in to detail about what we did everyday as it’s all a bit of a blur now but we did spend a large amount of time at the beach or exploring all the cute cornish towns nearby. The weather, after the first day, was glorious and we certainly made the most of it.

We stayed just outside the village of Goonhavern near Perranporth in a rented apartment which we found on Google through a lettings agency. The apartment was set in a converted farmhouse on a small holding surrounding by fields. The main reason for choosing the accommodation was the location; we knew we wanted to base our holiday around Perranporth as we just love the beach and the town – it’s so typically British seaside! The other factor when choosing the accommodation was the proximity to the local village pub, which we have visited before and loved. However, the details online failed to mention that although it’s less than a mile walk to the pub it’s not a walk you could do safely as about half of it requires walking along a pretty busy road.

We set off from Gloucestershire around 2pm on Saturday 20th August and, after a stop for dinner in Taunton, arrived at our destination around 8pm. It was a long journey but we completely expected it and the kids were as good as gold! As you can imagine that night was really about unpacking and getting the kids in bed so we could enjoy the next day. The owners of the apartment had very kindly left out some homemade scones with cream and jam, a bottle of cider and a bottle of cloudy apple juice.

As I mentioned above we visited some of the beautiful towns local to Perranporth including; St. Ives, Padstow, Rock and Mevagissey. We had the most amazing curry takeaway from a restaurant called Jaipur in Perranporth and also had fish and chips from a chippy called ‘Assalt and Battery’! Now you can’t visit Cornwall without trying a cornish pasty or two and we had an amazing one from the award winning Chough Bakery in Padstow. No wonder I gained a pound or two!

The day before we left we had a drink at The Bowgie Inn which, I’m pretty sure, has the best views of any pub I’ve ever been to – just have a look at this….

bowgie inn, crantock, cornwall

I took about a million photos so I won’t bore you with any more chatter and will share some of my favourites with you.

As much as Matt and I have loved all our visits to Cornwall over the past few years, I think we’ve been about 5 times, we are ready to try somewhere else. Perhaps Devon or further along the south coast.  If anyone has any great suggestions pop it in the comments below as this dreary weather is making me want to book a holiday!

oak ridge farm, cornwall, goonhavern

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mevagissey

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perranporth beach

LapBaby, goonhavern, the new inn, cornwall, perranporth

 

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So Sunday started, as most days do at the moment, at around 2am. All three kids had been in bed since 8:30pm Saturday evening and Elsie had already awoken for a feed at 11pm and thankfully went back to sleep quickly and without fuss. The second feed came at 2am. Matt was out on a stag do so I trundled down to the kitchen and made a bottle in a pretty robotic state. It’s like I’m on autopilot at night. Mind you, I do panic I’m going to come face to face with a burglar every time I open the kitchen door!

Elsie had soon drained her bottle and I put her back down and flopped into bed. Not even an hour passed before I heard more crying. This time it wasn’t Elsie but Florence; she’d had an accident in her bed and needed a change of sheets. Yay! Time to strip the bed.

Right back to bed for me-until 4am when Matt strolled in and decided to take over the whole bed and snore like a warthog. Finally back to sleep when Elsie woke at 5am for yet another feed. She’s supposedly going through a leap so I’ll let her off. Once again I put her back down and within half an hour I can hear Logan coming into my room complaining about having been bitten during he night. I put some Sudocrem on him and sent him back to his room. Now, it’s coming up 6am and I am awake. The sun is shining and Elsie is stirring.

First stop on days like these, and any other day for that matter, has to be the kettle. I make a coffee and sit with Elsie. Logan has come down and watches Stampy Cat on You Tube in the lounge. It’s some weird Minecraft thing if you’re wondering.  Soon after he comes in for breakast-he chose multigrain hoops, or Cheerios to you and I.

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I’m catching up on the Olympics whilst drinking my coffee and then head to empty the dishwasher and tidy up the kitchen. In the meantime Florence comes down and has a couple of Weetabix. She then disappears off with Logan and I’m left in peace. I didn’t expect to see Matt for some time.

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I finally get on with breakfast and make myself a poached egg on toast. Elsie’s sucking her hand by this time and ready for another bottle.

poached egg on toast

I need to get everyone ready for about 9:20am as we were heading off to collect something I’d bought on eBay but the kids had other plans and decided they wanted to colour. Because Logan spends the majority of time at his Dad’s these two seem to get on really well and I love to see them together.

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Matt showed his face around 8:10am and I made him tea and toast. Don’t think he was feeling the best! We all got out the house and headed to Stow on the Wold. It was a long journey as Elsie was pretty unsettled for most of the way there. We eventually found the address and I picked up my purchase…..a Bumbo seat for Elsie. I paid the grand total of £6.5o and it’s in almost perfect condition. I don’t think I could have parted with the £35 RRP.

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On the way home we stopped at the local farm shop for some sausages. Matt and I both fancied a sausage baguette for lunch so that’s what we had. After all, what are weekends for if not for indulging?! The diet can start again on Monday. Logan had a panini for lunch and Florence a sandwich. It’s not usual we all have something different but we had some rolls and bits to use up before they expired.

After lunch we all felt as though we needed to get out, except Matt – he wanted to sleep but did actually come with us, so we went to the Country Park in Evesham. It’s really lovely their now; cafes, shops and a play area for the kids.

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millets fair shop evesham

We left armed with ice creams and the kids were shattered. It was time to take Logan back to his Dad’s. After cuddles and kisses it was time to make the 40 minute journey back home to Cheltenham.  Minutes before we arrived home I could hear Elsie emptying her bowels and so she was thrown (not literally) straight into the bath when we got home. Florence requested beans on toast for dinner which Matt made for her.  Later, once Florence was in bed, Matt and I had a curry, watched a bit of Dinner Date and went to bed.  Shattered!

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Next weekend we’ll be in Cornwall so of course I’ll be blogging and vlogging that!

Thanks for reading!

Caroline x

 

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With what will most likely be my last pregnancy coming to an end, I am beginning to wonder if I am too old to start again.  I don’t mean on the baby making front, oh no! I’m talking about my ‘career’.  I use inverted commas as I don’t feel like I’ve had a career since 2011.

Following the birth of my son I went back to work within a matter of weeks and continued to progress in a role I thought I’d be in for years to come. Fast forward to November 2012 and the birth of my daughter I started a new role. It was more money, more travelling and generally more responsibility but it never suited me and this is the point at which I started to fall out of love with my career.  I missed my daughter weaning, walking and generally growing up. I was there at weekends but I was’t really instrumental in making those daily decisions for her.

Leaping another four years forward I am still in the same role, for the same company albeit my working hours and responsibilities have changed somewhat.  I am a week away from maternity leave and facing a four year stretch of childcare – geez I make it sound like a prison sentence….

But…..what happens in 2020 when we’re waiting to hear what school Baby M has been allocated? What are my plans come September of that year? I’ll be 36 when my youngest starts school – in my mind this is no age and I could easily have another 15 years of work ahead of me. But doing what?

I’m not the person I was in 2009 pre-children.  That person wanted to work in a corporate environment and sit around meeting tables. Now all I want to do is make sure I’m at the school gates for my kids ride home. I doubt I’ll ever go back to working a full time office job.  It just doesn’t work for us.  Matt works hours which are longer than 9-5 and so I will always be responsible for school runs. So that basically means I find a job between the hours of 9:30-2:30 or I work from home.

I don’t, as far as I can tell, have any major talents.  I feel I haven’t found the vocation which sparks excitement in me.  I’ve always loved creative roles and feel I made many mistakes in my educational choices as a youngster. I chose an academic route i.e. university when I think, with hindsight, I would have been more suited to a hands on, vocational qualification or work based learning programme such as an apprenticeship. I know I’m in danger of sounding old but kids these days seem to have much greater access to a variety of career paths.

For now I am just at the thinking stage, I’m certainly in no state mentally or physically to make definite decisions about the future.  For now, at least, I need to be a mum.  I need to cherish the last few weeks with Logan and Florence and rest. I need to wash tiny clothes and work out how to shave the areas I can’t reach. I love to do too much and tire myself out but during this pregnancy my body is having none of it.  Everyday, like clockwork, I hit the 2pm wall and my body says enough is enough.

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It’s been a great weekend. Sadly Logan wasn’t with us as he was at a wedding with his Dad.  Friday night kicked off with a lovely lasagne, if I do say so myself!  Florence and Logan both love pasta and so do Matt and I.  It’s become a bit of a tradition to have pizza or pasta with a side salad on a Friday night as it’s relatively simple and I know we’ll have clean plates come the end of the meal.

Saturday mornings are usually busy with getting Logan to swimming but as he wasn’t here I made the most of the break and drank coffee whilst watching Saturday morning TV. Matt had to do a few hours work so as soon as Tesco had delivered our groceries he left us to it.  Florence pottered around either playing or using her Leappad.  We met Matt around 11am and headed to the farm shop to get a chicken for Sunday lunch – it was a little pricier then a Tesco chicken but it was soooo worth it.  The chicken fell off the bones. Anyway, back to Saturday. We popped to Halfords to get a bulb on the car changed and then headed to the café at M&S.  Florence had pasta and Matt and I shared a couple of toasted sandwiches and crisps.

The rest of Saturday was lost to housework and football.  I had a sneaky rest whilst Florence was in the bath and come 6pm we were all sat down and Florence had her first proper takeaway pizza! She opted for ham and sweetcorn whilst Matt and I shared the hottest pizza I’ve ever eaten….I’m surprised I didn’t go into labour!

On Sunday, as we’d done most of our weekend chores, we decided to head to Bristol Zoo.  The weather wasn’t the best; drizzly and windy but we had a great time.  Well, Matt and I did, Florence was decidedly underwhelmed and just wanted to eat the picnic and go to the zoo shop.  I remember being the same when I was little – the picnic was the best part of most days out to me!

When we got home I put my feet up while Matt made us a delicious roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings, except stuffing as I forgot to order it. We put a film on once Florence was in bed but it was pretty awful so we ended up watching Dinner Date and went to bed around 9pm!  All in all a great weekend!

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