This post is not a collaboration with Sun Holidays or Parkdean Resorts. Our family holiday was not part of any form of working relationship. I am under no obligation to share my thoughts.
As a child, I always imagined that when I had my own children we’d enjoy regular family holidays together. Back then I thought life was a fairy-tale and money grew on trees. Fast forward two decades, life is very different to how I imagined it would be, however, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s just me and my munchkins against the world. As a single mum of two, I often struggle to make ends meet, so regular family holidays are out of the question. In fact, I haven’t been on holiday since I was 14, and I’ve never taken the children away.
As I don’t drive, travelling anywhere is challenging. As much as I’d love to show the children how truly beautiful England is, it’s just not possible. A few months ago I was scrolling through social media when I came across a post in a group with details of when Sun Holidays 2020 began. Sun Holidays is a scheme run by The Sun Newspaper in which you collect tokens or code-words from the daily newspaper. Once you have collected a set number of tokens and/or code-words, you can visit the Sun Holidays website and book a small break at one of hundreds of parks both locally and within Europe for as little as £9.50 per person.
I decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and go for it, I mean, what was stopping me? There’s no way I’d be able to afford a weekend break at full price for us all so I collected the tokens and code-words and excitedly booked a Fri-Mon mini family holiday at a holiday park on the Norfolk Coast, just an hours drive from home. Altogether I paid |£98 for our weekend away, which included 3 entertainment passes, linen, insurance and service charges. One night in London for the 3 of us would cost the same if not more, without all the added extras, so I was over the moon.
When I told the children I’d booked a holiday they were beyond excited. A few years ago they went on a short break with my Mum and Stepdad, but they’d never been away with me. They couldn’t wait. Theo immediately asked Alexa how many days he had to wait until the day we went away, it was so sweet.
Before we knew it the big day arrived. The children set off for school and I double checked, and triple checked, that we had everything they needed. As soon as we got home from school my Mum picked us up and we set off on our adventure. I couldn’t believe it was really happening. I was doing something I had always imagined I’d do and taking my children on holiday!
We had no idea what our accommodation would be like as it was allocated on arrival. I had visions of being handed the keys to a cold, dark and dank caravan, so you can only imagine how gobsmacked I was to walk into our allocated caravan to discover a beautiful open plan living room/kitchen with breakfast bar, a good sized main bedroom with en-suite and a second bedroom with a second bathroom just next door. We had a free-view enabled TV in both the living room and the main bedroom, for us, this was luxury. The children were buzzing with excitement. They ran around opening every cupboard before insisting that we unpack and head straight down to main arena to see what entertainment was on offer.
With a well deserved Bacardi & Coke in hand I watched the children dance along to Baby Shark and the Macarena. The smiles on their faces were priceless. We weren’t far from home and we weren’t in the lap of luxury but we were kicking off our first ever family holiday, just the three of us, and we couldn’t have been happier.
The next day we enjoyed go karts, miniature ten-pin bowling, crazy golf and swimming, it was exhausting, and the children put my patience to the test on more than one occasion, but we loved every second.
In the evening we headed back to the arena. Theo quickly became Spider-Man whilst Mia made her way to the front of the audience to dance. I think they fell asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. On our second day, we went back to the swimming pool and spent far too much money in the arcades. 2p machines are my weakness – I just can’t get enough! It turns out, both Mia and Theo are the same. We came away with so many keyrings and random little toys.
It was everything the children had wished for and more, they loved every second of being on holiday with Mummy. The staff at the resort were great with the kids. They were really helpful if I was being pulled in both directions. I think my slightly strained facial expression at times screamed ‘doing it solo’!
To keep costs down I took breakfasts, lunches and dinners away with us, eating out just wasn’t justifiable. However, on our last evening, we went to a local Brewer’s Fayre for dinner which for us is a treat in itself. We all enjoyed 3 courses of food, and talked about all the fun we’ve had. They both asked if we could visit again one day. I promised them that I’d try and do it once a year. It won’t be long until going on holiday with Mum isn’t ‘cool’ anymore. I am going to make the most of it! Looking back on our first family holiday makes me realise I am far more capable than I give myself credit for and I can do it. We don’t need to be a ‘traditional’ family to make memories like those we made last weekend.
Our weekend away ended all too soon. It had rained all weekend. Storm Dennis had made sleeping in a caravan somewhat difficult, but on the morning we left the sky was blue and the sun shone – typical! We were all quite sad to be going home, but at the same time, I couldn’t wait to sleep in my own bed surrounded by bricks and mortar. Even the piles of laundry couldn’t dampen our spirits.
Our first family holiday was long overdue. It had its fair share of challenges, but the wonderful moments far outweighed the negative. I’ll never forget their faces when I first told them we were going away. I’ll never forget their giggles as I dunked them in the pool and watched them fly down the flumes.
I want this post to serve as an inspiration to other single parents. It is possible to take your babies on holiday without breaking the bank. You can manage away from home on your own. You can be everything your children need and more. Contemplating a short family holiday? Just do it, go for it, you won’t regret it. I’m already eyeing up holiday parks and events for Just The Three Of Us On Tour 2021!