It’s fair to say HALFTERM strikes joy and fear into working parents in equal measure, depending what’s happening in the world of you and your gang.
Time off = Time for the family!
Working = Time to sort the childcare?! <<EVERYBODY PANIC!>>
*runs around, achieving nothing.
Given that I only started on Heart Breakfast in February I didn’t feel I could take the week off but equally I could feel myself being ripped in two at the thought of trying to juggle 4 am alarms, a 4-hour live show, then doing the hours drive home to bring the half term mummy-magic for the rest of the day. Then I had a brainwave.
If the mountain won’t come to you – go to the mountain!
I discovered that The Camping and Caravan Club have a lovely campsite 5 minutes from my studio, meaning I could carry on working and the kids would feel like they’d had a holiday. What’s more, they had a spot of *glamping on offer in the shape of set-up Safari Tent. It’s a yes from me! #WIN
*To be clear, the words glamour and camping can never be used together in my mind, never mind morphed into one word! But the experience isn’t about glamour, it’s about getting some quality time together as a family and, for me, it was about making the best of a school-free week.
So this halfterm, we found ourselves sleeping under the stars at Gullivers.
The tent was amazing! Set in a field of 6 other Safari Tents we all squealed with joy for various reasons – the kids because they had a bunk bed waiting for them – me because I realised we’d arrived at the holy grail of camping – A SHOWER. IN a tent. I KNOW!
No sight is more fantastical to a happy camper than a shower, so a PRIVATE shower? Stuff of dreams baby!That said, I wouldn’t want my shower passion to take away from the rest of the set up, which was all “safari” styled with it’s wooden floors, cream canvas and animal prints – not to mention double wooden bed, dining table, fully equipped kitchen and bathroom.
We even had a veranda outdoors (dah-ling!) complete with directors chairs for those evening chill-out moments.
The place was perfect for a camping experience, without any of the hassle of setting up. All we had to take was our bedding and towels and, although I wasn’t taking any chances with the weather and went with sleeping bags AND duvets, we were plenty warm enough in the tent. I felt slightly over-dressed on that first night in my full jogger / sleeping bag / duvet combo!It was also perfect for our halfterm as it meant I could sneak out at 4.45 am to my “day job” – and then be back with my babies by 11 am for some half term fun.
Which we totally had!
The campsite is next to Gullivers Land Theme Park, so we spent a happy day exploring everything the place has to offer. The park was perfect for my family with 70 rides for 2 to 13 year olds. Although parts of the park could do with updating it kind of adds to it’s old-skool experience and we loved its choice of rides and manageable size, enabling families to get the theme-park experience without leaving everyone exhausted and cranky!
Tickets cost £15 each if you get them online, making Gullivers Land one of the more reasonable theme parks and the place also has the options of a Splash Zone, Dinosaur and Farm Park and Nerf Zone. The kids loved it.
We also got to explore Bounce, the UK’s first indoor trampoline park. How much fun can one family handle? With it’s 22,000 square feet of interconnected trampolines and state of the art equipment including a dodgeball court, slam dunk hoops, the kids were in heaven!
Also just a cycle path away is a cinema, indoor Snozone, Free-falling, Shopping Centre, High Ropes and stunning lake with watersports.
The campsite is managed by the lovely Debbie and Jason Emery and they run a tight ship and were a joy to deal with. The shop was well stocked with everything you could possibly need as a happy camper and Debbie and Jason really seemed concerned to make sure everyone had a great time.
The laundry / shower / toilet block was always clean and well kept and the whole campsite had a great atmosphere. There was even a play area.For a working week, we all ended the week feeling like we’d had a mini break, thanks to the safari experience. Our evenings were spent sitting on the terrace with a glass of wine while the kids ran around on the grass, enjoying the late-night novelty and relishing their new found freedom.
The kids loved exploring my work surroundings. They even came into the studios one morning to see me in action and to end the week, Kaya came with me to a Race for Life event. I even managed to get her on stage in front of the 3,000 strong crowd!Only problem is? Kaya and Akira now think I spent all my day swanning around Gullivers Theme Park and catching some air at Bounce!
Gullivers was a brilliant find and it’s a weight lifted to have found such a good way to cope with my work/life balance during holiday times.
I have no doubt we’ll be back soon for a bit more safari style. And a bit more quality time as a family – and couple.