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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

That Holiday & #MarkWarnerMum

There's something so exhilaratingly exciting about going away on holiday. That excitement is akin to Christmas but with the promise of a change in scenery and to completely switch off.

Holidays, have always been something I've felt were important. Just because, sometimes, they feel like little chances to live your life to the full. No work commitments. No washing up. No worries. Every night is a chance to dress up. Every mealtime is a chance to go all-out.

And I don't know - when I'm away, surrounded by new scenery, stripped back, I notice things again. I notice how William's eyelashes hold water droplets after he's been in the pool. I notice how Mark's smile will forever be one of my favourites. And suddenly I notice sunrises, and sunsets. I see the little touches, like reflections on the water, and how peaceful the sea looks at night. And I feel daft saying this, but when I have those chances to go away, I feel like pinching myself.

Because really, if I can pack it in a suitcase, or have them sat beside me as I soar through the skies, that's really all I need.

I got to go away on holiday this year. And I never expected that to happen.

I started the year as a single mother, with one wage, trying to keep me and Bill afloat. And that didn't leave room for holidays. I didn't think, in my wildest dreams (which can be far more often than I care to admit) that I would meet a man who'd want to take me, and my son, away with him.

And it felt like that one week, that one holiday, kind of made us a family.

A blended, modern, different family.

I saw all the things I wanted to.

And I felt all the things I wanted to feel.

My son had an amazing time. And new experiences. And he hasn't forgotten. He sees photographs around our home and he'll often point them out and tell us what he remembers.

Mark and William bonded. Really and truly.

And it was the thing I needed to see.

I wanted them both to be happy. So I could be.

We spent a whole week in each other's company, which seems daft now. It seems normal. But back then we'd joke about toilet humour, and I would worry about our dynamics. But I didn't need to.

We always had time for us. Maybe not the nights out dancing. Or seeing lots of sights. But somehow on holiday, a balcony, with a sleeping baby on the other side of a glass door, with a few drinks and a game of travel Rummikub, felt like really good fun.

I would wake up every morning, and be the first up. Sometimes I would step out on to the balcony and watch the sun come up. I'd breathe in that air that felt like it came from another world - balmy and sweet. And I'd grin and feel so lucky.

Every single second, we spent as a trio. It didn't matter that we had a little guy with us. Or we had to ask for a high chair. Or order millions of ice creams. Or run around after little legs, too caught up in excitement.

That holiday, earlier in September, was the making of us.

And my only regret is that I spent every second hoping and praying that it wouldn't all end when we got home.

I was so nervous.

I wanted desperately for this person I'd fallen in love with to be as happy as he was making me. I needed to see us working.

And we did.

And I won't forget the late afternoon, at the end of the holiday, when Mark asked if he could move in. And I remember looking out on to the balcony and bursting into tears, because, in that moment, I think I was happier than I had been in a long time.

Months on. The date we set passed. And we're a family now. Bona fide.

And we may not have been made the normal way.

But we're happy.

And so, I'd like to go back. Next year. I'd like to have the chance to take these boys away, and thank them.

Because, during a year that felt like a bit of a rainy day, they were my sunshine.

*This is my entry, in hope of being a #MarkWarnerMum - which is an opportunity to become a 2015 Ambassador for one of those most brilliant holiday teams I know. This would mean the world to me, and so many others I expect, but I can only keep my fingers crossed! 

A Christmas Haul

This is just a quick post to let you know that my latest video is up!

A Christmas home haul - full of decorations and stuff I don't really need. I've been hoarding it for ages, so I'm so excited to get it all put up on Sunday. Which brings me on to the appropriate time for sticking your tree up? I didn't realise there was a rule on this, but we're going for 30th November as it's the closest weekend to 1st December, which is best for me when I work full-time!

Winter Breaks for Christmas

I woke up this morning and it was beyond cold. The sort of cold where you are already running late and realise you have a car to de-ice kind of cold.

It's officially one month until Christmas, which is pretty much the most amazing thing isn't it? I have almost finished buying Christmas presents now. But I do want to spoil my family this year, so I have a few more things to buy.

One thing I would love to do, but never seem to, is go on a little romantic break at Christmas. Whether you decide to go to the Hocking Hills luxury cabins, or have a tropical adventure, one thing you can do is give your loved one a surprise that will not be forgotten. Mark and I are going on a break to Ox Pasture Hall in January, but, for now, here are a few surprise ideas that you can give your significant other this winter break:

Go on a tropical adventure. With the freezing temperatures of winter, it might be a good idea to surprise your other half with a tropical adventure this Christmas. Imagine relaxing by the beach while drinking champagne and watching a view of the sunset. This will be a romantic getaway that both of you will enjoy.

Indoor picnic. Picnics are fun during the hot summer days when you can enjoy the heat of the sun. However, you can also do this during the winter time. Prepare an indoor picnic for your special someone. Set a picnic blanket by the fireplace, get some fluffy pillows, prepare some wine and cheese, and set the mood by playing your favorite tunes as a couple. You can even roast marshmallows indoors for a sweet treat!

Snow adventures. If you want to make the most out of the winter chill, book a cabin at a lodge where you and your partner can experience all sorts of snow activities. Try skiing, snowboarding, or sledding. If you prefer a romantic trip, why not have a romantic evening enjoying the hot tub? In the daytime, build a snowman or enjoy the beauty that nature has to offer.

Decorate your home. Surprising your significant other doesn’t have to be expensive. If you want to show your labor of love, why not decorate your home by yourself to surprise your loved one? Hang Christmas balls, decorate the Christmas tree, bring out candles, and make your home more fitting for the holiday season. As a special treat, mount a stocking with the name of your loved one and add a surprise inside!

Scavenger hunt. Another surprise activity you can plan for your other half this Christmas season is a scavenger hunt. Leave a list of clues for your partner. Hide Christmas gifts all over your home and watch as your loved one finds and opens the presents one by one. This is a fun activity that your partner is sure to enjoy.

Movie night. When it’s cold outside, sometimes it’s better to spend time indoors with your significant other. Wear your pajamas, prepare cups of hot chocolate, and watch Christmas or romantic movies while enjoying each other’s company. This may be a simple surprise, but it sure is rewarding. Mark and I have a list of films we're planning on watching, during the break, I'm so excited about this. Which is possibly a bit sad!

Do you have any getaway Christmas plans?

*PR Collaboration.
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