We are very lucky that Mr C’s dad decided that he wanted to retire to a caravan this year. Literally, he sold his house, bought a caravan in Hastings, and now lives his days chilling out in his very cool not-so-little den! What this means for us is that we pretty much have the perfect family holiday destination ready made for almost whenever we fancy a break!
Last weekend we decided to drive straight from work on Wednesday to Hastings to visit Grandad, and we invited a friend and a her daughter along too. Needless to say, the kids loved every minute, and certainly didn’t want to leave on Sunday! Caravan holidays are great when you have small kids, but also have their own unique trials!
Caravans these days are a far cry from the caravans I remember as a kid. Big C’s van is like the perfect miniature flat, complete with en-suite in the master bedroom, epic power shower, fully operational kitchen and can comfortably sleep 6 (as we tested). With that, however, does come a certain amount of organisation. The 2 girls thankfully decided that they wanted to share a single bed. I’ve never seen anything quite as cute as 2 small children snuggling together to go to sleep!
Our friend took the other single, Big C got to keep his bedroom, and Mr C and I took the pull out double in the living room, with Wills in his travel cot. As great as it was that we were all comfortable, it did mean that in the mornings we had to get straight up and fold the bed away. Any lingering on getting that done just meant a caravan full of people who couldn’t move without stubbing toes, whacking knees, or falling into things!
A shower is not ideal for a lot of kids. While some might find it a fun experience, my kids just looked at me like I was nuts! After a failed but valiant cleaning attempt made by Mr C, I remembered something that my mum used to do in caravans. Basically, we plugged up the shower drain/plug and filled the base of the shower with about half an inch of water and then let the kids sit down in that. We then washed them using flannels, washed their hair and got them straight out. They didn’t exactly get the fun bath time they’re used to, but they were clean which is really all that matters!
Storage for clothes in caravans these days is pretty epic. There’s just as much wardrobe space in Big C’s caravan as there is in our home, but we decided to keep our stuff in our little case rather than unpack. Mainly because I didn’t want to have to repack before we came home again!
We also decided to make use of the launderette on site and get all our washing done before we came home. We were all back to work and nursery on Monday, and getting this done made our Sunday evening prep so much easier, and definitely relieved some of the Sunday evening blues!
Preparing food for everyone was so easy! Like I said, the van has a fully fledged kitchen, so I had total access to a full size fridge-freezer, oven, hob, microwave and toaster. If I’d have wanted to, I could have whipped up a spag bol no bother. We even had barbecued sausages for breakfast on Sunday.
If we were going for a full week, I probably would have hit the local supermarket and got some essentials in. With all the usual mod cons to hand, I would have no concerns with getting the whole family fed in the manner to which they are accustomed!
Even though we had a great 4 days, there were some ‘well this is bloody typical’ moments. We kicked off the weekend with me getting really ill – I’d felt rough at work the whole day Wednesday, which ended up with me in bed for most of Thursday. I barely slept that night, and had to go to a walk-in centre for antibiotics for what turned out to be throat, chest, AND ear infections! Woe is me! Our friends daughter is quite possibly the clumsiest human I have ever met, bless her! She tripped over her own feet in the van and ended up with a beautiful shiner just under her eye, which obviously stressed her poor mum to the max! (*update* turns out she has an ear infection too, which was throwing her balance off and resulting in lots of falling over!)
By the 3rd day I think we all had a touch of cabin fever, and being on holiday with 3 very small children started to take its toll a little bit. Someone once said to me that going on holiday with small kids is just waking up really early and barely getting any sleep in a different place. This couldn’t have been more true on our second and third day. We let the kids stay up REALLY late playing in the club house, dancing and generally having fun, and I guess we were all secretly hoping for a lie in the next morning. We were all up at 6am! Pfft…
That being said, all in all it was a lovely weekend! Most importantly of all, the kids absolutely loved every minute, the weather was mostly good, and we got the standard joy of real fish and chips by the seaside. What more could you ask for?! The trip was a welcome final reprieve before action stations for The Big Move in 2 weeks!!