There’s a school of thought that when you have children nothing needs to change.
In my PC (pre child) days I was one of those people. I believe the word is, in hindsight, delusional.
Delusional for me on quite a few levels as it happens.
I envisaged that we’d be globe trotting like good’uns as soon as the babes were dry- why I expected this when we were too skint to holiday much when it was just the two of us is a mystery, but I have always had some pretty high ideals!
Like the posters say; dream big and all that.
I envisaged that both myself and my children would leave the house looking serene and polished with hair pulled back into a thick, glossy, swinging ponytail. I look which, frankly, I have never pulled off. Even when I was only in charge of one birds nest barnet.
I envisaged my life would be yoga, lunching and weirdly minimal wiping up of sick and snot and vom. It’s not quite turned out that way and I do know how lucky I am to have a part time job, two gorgeous girls, a wonderful husband and a happy family life so don’t roll your eyes at me too much. I realise things are far from dire straits.
However, I did not, not ever, envisage that I’d be dining on Valentines Day in a Brewers Fayre before falling asleep pre 10pm in a Premier Inn family room…no I was all about Mr and Mrs Smith boutique B&B’s, White Company sheets and adjoining rooms…
Clearly someone told me that child rearing and lottery wins were basically one and the same thing!
I have no idea why I’m like this; I was raised like a regular human with a love of The Little Chef, Harvester and Beefeater- anything food related really (except beans)
Perhaps my experience as a nanny for the well heeled has given me a misplaced sense of what’s normal!
Anyway, if you are still living in the same fantasy world in which I reside- despite having no pension to speak of or private fortunate to secure my old age, rest assured, the real world is pretty ok too and this is how I know…
Our Valentines Adventure to The Premier Inn…
I appreciate that everywhere looks a little bit shit when it’s cold and grey and you haven’t had a valentines card but I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn to say the sun would really have to be cracking the flags to brighten up the retail park and surrounding docks that we drove through to reach our destination of The Premier Inn North Shields!
We walked in and were greeted with a real North East welcome- hooray, people that actually seem happy to be working and interacting not only with the public but with children.
Dean and Anne were quick, efficient and friendly.
Our room was a really great size and, when the big littles first words were
“This is amazing, It’s just like Ibiza!”
My heart melted a little.
I relaxed in the bath whilst the girls chatted to me and Mr L made some Twinnings tea…plenty of tea bags- take note The Grove!!
We headed over to the pub to meet our friends for dinner and again, the staff were really brilliant- orders taken and divided into families to prevent hassle when paying the bill.
Speedy service and no mistakes but, because I knew we were in a place designed for families I wasn’t panicking every time the girls spoke; which they didn’t really because they were too busy in the soft play.
Small gripe here; why does all soft play seem to have inaccessible areas which kids can post rubbish into but the cleaners can not reach to clean.
I don’t want to be asked to retrieve a ball or toy or a raisin from a minging concrete floor covered in fluff, dust and other kids haribo. It’s grim, end of.
Happily, the bits the children are messing about in are totally fine which is more than I can say about many of the other soft plays I’ve
The toys and activities I (for once) remembered were redundant and it was brilliant to see the girls holding their own on the slides and tunnels. When the big littles hairband fell out 3 boys all decked out in Newcastle shirts clamoured to be the one to return it.
Ah- young love!
The food was standard pub grub with pasta, salads, burgers and meats from the grill and the Dennis the Menace inspired kids menu went down well with our girls; what’s not to love about spaghetti Bolagnaise, ham and pineapple pizza followed by jelly and ice-cream?!
Walking back to the hotel (is the Premier Inn a hotel?!) meant we could both have a drink though the fact that the little little seemed to wake every hour between midnight and five made us grateful we hadn’t filled our boots.
I suppose we could have complained about the noise and claimed a refund thanks to the ‘Great Night’s Sleep’ Guarantee but it would take the Mickey slightly given that only noise we heard was from someone we willingly brought along!
We bought breakfast on the day and we were impressed that it was made to order; something else they didn’t do at The Grove! Kids eat free too and ours certainly made the most of that with fruit, cereal and toast to sustain them.
Mr L had the works and I had two boiled eggs which were soft but not snotty. Lush.
We headed off to gorgeous Patricks Christening at 10ish but could actually have stayed until noon which is pretty generous (and unnecessary if you’re with the bairns!)
I’ll level with you. It was a wicked way to spend valentines. I loved it, probably because when it’s quality time with the fam it doesn’t really matter where you are- cue a little bit of sick in your mouth!
I’m looking for reasons to book another break at a Premier Inn, Lenny Henry tells me there’s many an excuse; I think I’m finally coming down to earth and happily, I feel a lot more chilled out here.
What or where have you been pleasantly surprised by- are there more hidden gems we need to wake up to?
Have a Happy Monday.