Monday, 5 August 2013

Two very different weekends

It's Sunday morning, I'm nursing a fuzzy head after consuming two bottles of red wine and I'm sat on a terribly comfortable sofa by the fireplace in a luxury hotel. This time last week I was perched on a wooden model ship sipping free Kopperberg listening to Sons & Lovers play live whilst my two children played hide and seek in the sunshine.

Who needs to be child-free?

Well, we did. This weekend we were able to leave our offspring in the capable hands of grandparents whilst we had some time to ourselves. This was a very welcome break, a chance to chatter uninterrupted, to use the toilet in private, to enjoy a three course meal without fish fingers and to rediscover your partner all over again. The best bit about our stay was that it gaves us an opportunity to feel refreshed as well as an opportunity to miss our children; when we pick them up this afternoon seeing their squishy faces once more reminds us how much we love them....(pass the bucket). I love the way that one can never be truly child-free no matter where you are, our children are always with us, one way or another. For us this weekend, it was in the form of a pair of my Son's dirty boxers which we discovered just before breakfast tucked inside a shoe.

Festival family

It's lovely having a short break from those we spend all of our time with, however, there are also so many things which people may consider not suitable for young children which actual are. Attending festivals is one of these- Kendal Calling last weekend could not have been better suited for those with children.

Of course be sensible, take some protective headphones, plenty of sun cream, wellies and plenty of healthy and not so healthy snacks (as little ones love to waste your hard earned money on sugary treats). The festival is not a squeaky clean festival (why would you want that anyway you dullard?) there are plenty of groups of singleton teenagers looking for a good time, lots of individuals who have taken intoxicating substances and a noticeable amount of people walking into things- however, there are lots and lots of families with children of all ages. Our experience of the intoxicated folk was their exceptional friendliness as we were repeatedly stopped to be high fived and told how cute our kids were followed by the odd apology for being 'a bit drunk'.

In the festival itself, was a dedicated children's area, complete with three free bouncy castles, disco, craft activities, circus acts, an entertaining man with a portable set who told us funny stories and sang songs involving his captivated audience, picnic tables, child only toilets, classes and workshops which were on all day every day. The site itself has plenty of green space, woodland to play in and lots of things to do for big and small kids. Don't forget that there is also ten stages of live music, teenagers will love you for taking them somewhere like Kendal Calling.

The security are hot. I mean really hot. Nobody is getting in or out without their permission, all children are given a wrist band with your mobile number on too, in case a game of hide and seek goes a bit wrong (like a four year old deciding to hide in the portaloo).

We were in the dedicated family area, which was quiet. When our children got tired we took them back and we slept, we all slept well for the three nights we were there. Yes, it was hard work carrying the children about, and yes we didn't get to stay up till 3am but we did have a great time. We experienced the festival together as a family and our children will have great memories of spending quality time with  their parents. They are festival kids and we are a festival family.

Children don't hold you back, they just change things a wee bit.