We took a trip… away to sunny Spain. We pressed the ‘off’ button. We wanted – correction, we needed – to reboot. It was that or crash and burn (or at least fall over and find it really hard to get up).
There’s something about knowing you’re going on holiday to make it seem like the most-required, most-anticipated event in your life, like if it doesn’t happen at the allotted time, you might just collapse in a heap. We were looking forward to it so much, it had a lot to live up to and I had taken total charge of the event. I had assumed full boss mode researching, choosing, pressing the ‘book now’ button sans-consultation and (thankfully) it turned out just great.
This was down to a few elements.
We flew direct, from our local airport. Crucial. Gone are the days when either my husband or I are up for big treks. Lord knows we did enough of them in our single days but we are officially over them (for now. Give us a few years and we’ll be ready for road again no doubt). We booked our honeymoon solely based on the fact that we would be able to fly direct from our closest airport and now that we have little ones this is a ‘key requirement’ you might say. It just makes sense.
We stayed in a lovely hotel, close to the beach and prom with stuff for little ones (heated toddler-pool, check; playground, check; buffet breakfast and dinner; check) and stuff for bigger ones (family-friendly, so we’re not constantly feeling apologetic/mortified, check; bike rental (for him), check; separate living / bedroom area (for a bit of evening-life), check).
Getting a little bit of sun is a total tonic and the early-April weather was perfect. By perfect I mean sunny, 19/20 degrees-ish, and with a nice sea breeze. We’re so Irish-skinned that rather than freely running around the beach in the nip like the local bambinos, our babies were pretty much covered top-to-toe, with all exposed areas lathered in factor 50. It’s 2017 and we all know better. I am totally over getting a tan, so I usually wore shorts and T-shirts on the beach to accommodate the sandcastle-building, buggy-dragging and baby-jiggling. That and the fact that I just cannot look dignified chasing after smallies in a bikini. I aim for groomed, California-beach-babe – I usually achieve frazzled, Garryvoe-sand-witch (at best). My hair officially hates the heat, I now accept that my freckles will never join up to give me that glorious golden glow I once dreamed of and headlines about skin cancer and sun-ageing now genuinely terrify me, so that jig is up, the sun-ship has sailed… But it’s still absolutely wonderful to feel the evening sun on your back and a warm breeze on your face. It’s nourishing to the core – and for the little ones, it’s total and utter, barefoot freedom.
The change of scene was needed. There were palm trees! And sangria for lunch and a sandy beach and ice-cream multiple times every day (the toddler’s deep-fried, sugar-soaked holiday diet would make me cry at home, but it’s OK to have fun Mama, chill! I’m determined to lighten up…and cram in the veggies next week). We love our life, but mixing it up a bit is essential. A little travel definitely broadens the mind and a week-long holiday freshened our resolve and reignited ideas & goals.
Best of all was the time that we had. We are so time-starved at home – routine-bound and work-tied – that time was our big gain on holiday. There were no jobs, no cooking or cleaning, the phones were put away. There was just time to fill, time to laugh, time to be. We set time aside for ourselves – he swam and cycled and ran (he’s in training) while I generally pondered life, got a facial and went for coffee (I have plans to go into training also – any day now…). The evenings were time for our twosome – kicking back on the terrace with books, conversation, a bottle of vino – seven lovely, precious evenings spent together. And most of all, family time – filled with slow strolls, play, laughs and chatter. Constant, toddler chatter.
For the first time I realised why people say they had ‘a great time’ on holiday. A holiday, in itself, is all about time – and that’s something we needed to travel to find. Gives an ironic twist to the term ‘time difference’ so often associated with travelling abroad… Try as we might, there can be no comparison between the overall quality of everyday, real-life time versus holiday time.
We’re home now. Reinvigorated. Reenforced. Reintroduced.
Thank you holiday! Wish we were there… XO