So before we had kids we loved going on holiday and would go away about 3-4 times a year. We would have a big holiday (eg. Kerala), then a few short breaks and usually a spontaneous one where I would treat Hubbie or he'd treat me. That's how we went to Morrocco for his birthday the year before we had Brown Bear. We took Brown Bear on holiday a few years ago and he was so well behaved on the plane that an older couple sitting opposite the aisle from us commented that they hadn't even known a child was on the plane. I think that's a compliment. We have taken UK holidays more recently with the boys and it's given us a great idea of what matters to us. It's by no means an exhaustive list, but here - in no order - are our top ten holiday essentials.
Adventure: My boys love to try new things and as Blue Bear has suddenly become a real daredevil a holiday is a great way to channel this. Last year Brown Bear and I tried surfing for the first time and the year before we went skydiving together - on a cruise ship. We're certainly not short of bravery ! A holiday is the perfect opportunity to have a go and often the boys will make friends with other children who inspire them to step outside their comfort zone. Admittedly, so far that has meant feeding rabbits or chasing a goose with a big net, but it's all good practice. Eventually I'm sure they will graduate to some impressive feats in exotic locations. Ok so I'm sure you can do a bungee jump in a car park in Croydon, but I'm not about to. No, sorry I'm just not.
|Daredevil Blue Bear|
Don't try this at home: Being on holiday is a great chance to do things you don't get to do at home. That might be to eat food we don't usually eat - Blue Bear graduated from only eating the cones to the whole ice cream last summer. Maybe it's the change of scene that makes it more appealing to do things we don't usually do, or possibly it's the 'relaxation' that comes from being on holiday. Yeah, I know that hardly sounds like a typical family holiday, but just being away from the daily routine can be relaxing. That alone can inspire the interest in having a go at something I wouldn't normally try at home. It was while we were in Rome that Hubbie reminded me that on holiday I could just stay in bed all day if I wanted to. Oh the chance would be a fine thing.
|Pancake tossing for the first time|
Delicious food: When we're in Cornwall I make a beeline for a cream tea and Hubbie mainlines pasties for a week. The boys love ice cream of all types and we let them have it pretty much every day because, well we are on holiday after all. Eating is one of the highlights of a great holiday for me.
Time for Mummy and Daddy: We don't always get to spend time together any more so having time to go out for a meal or to hang out together on holiday is just precious to us. Holidays change when you have children. Rather than lying in we're up at early o'clock and instead of strolling through market towns and hanging out drinking and eating we have to find things that entertain kids. So the next essential makes this one possible for us...
|Time off from being Daddy and Mummy|
|Aah, holiday fun|
Kids' Clubs: At first we weren't so sure about leaving our boy with people we didn't know. Then we realised that he prefered to spend time with other children and that it meant we could have a break and just lie by the pool, or take a fitness class, or (now don't tell anyone) just lie in bed. The staff are trained, CRB checked and often much more fun than we could ever hope to be. I don't blame the boys for wanting to go !
|Busy Brown and Blue Bears|
Travel broadens the mind: We always hire a car when we go abroad so that we can manage transfers ourselves and take day trips or just pop out to the shops under our own steam. We took a road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas years ago and when the boys are older I'd love to do something like that with them. Not least as I think they'd enjoy the soundtracks we pick while we do long drives - nope second thought they'd hate the music, but still it would be funny to hear them complain about our uncool taste.
|Beep beep, make way|
Being in nature: Whether it's sunny or snowy being outside and exploring our surroundings is a huge part of a holiday for us. I want to take the boys skiing because while I'm not the best skiier it is such great fun. We're also keen to take them to India to meet family, but also to see a completely different landscape from the one they are used to. South London and Kerala have very little in common !
|It's only natural|
Neo: When we go away it's really important to us that Neo is being cared for and we enjoy our holidays knowing he's happy and being visited by a wonderful catsitter called Lauren who comes in, feeds him and plays with him. I think he actually likes it more than he lets on really as she does spoil him a bit.
|We love Neo|
Flying on a plane !! What child doesn't love the excitement of air travel ? From dragging a trunki through the airport to the fun games and snacks that we pack to keep them entertained it's all so much fun. I took Blue Bear to Croydon Airport to take a look up close at this plane in preparation for his first holiday. Brown Bear was lucky enough to get to meet the pilot when we took him on holiday and hopefully Blue will get to do the same.
|Wow is it a real plane Mummy ?|
Brotherly love: My boys have been brothers for two years now and we've come such a long way in that time. From being two only children who didn't want to share parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, toys or a cat they are now loyal and devoted to each other. Holidays are a chance to bond and often the people we meet have no idea that we have an adopted and a birth child. On holiday they are just brothers. They bicker, they play, they laugh, they wake up ridiculously early and they gang up on us. It's everything we wished for when we longed to be parents.
|My gorgeous boys|
For now, though, I'll just say that we'd love to be Mark Warner ambassadors. Fingers crossed...