Belle and I have some very particular ways of enjoying ourselves. Quite often it involves classic detective TV shows. Sometimes we may have a little hot chocolate or two. Mostly Belle just likes it when I turn off Twitter for a little bit and actually look her in the eye when she talks to me.
A couple of weekends ago our fun involved lounging around in a hot tub and then pushing two sofas together, bundling them up with duvets, and making a little nest from which to watch the brand new episode of Hercule Poirit. There were also milkshakes. We are both so busy with work and school and hobbies that it feels like we really connect at times like this.
We were very lucky girls, and were spending the weekend at Shorefield Country Park down on the south coast near Bournemouth. We received a very warm welcome, despite being quite a lot later than agreed due to a small incident with the sat nav. I say the sat nav but it may possibly have been my fault for typing the numbers of the postcode in backwards. Still, if we hadn’t accidentally gone to Southampton then we wouldn’t have seen the naked cyclist parade. Every cloud and all that.
At home it’s true that I get a little distracted – it’s the inevitable price you pay for the flexibility that a home-working job brings. My desk is in our lounge. It’s no wonder I find it hard to put work out of my mind. Away for the weekend with Belle though I do try hard to switch off and make her the centre of attention.
It’s tricky though. You know how attention shy Belle is.
Our lodge was great – very clean and spacious with all the basics you need for a self-catering holiday. We bought some of our own food to save having to buy things when we arrived and made sure we had bits and bobs for a packed lunch on our days out. All the more money then to spend on ice creams.
We were really lucky with the weather and so got to make the most of the local area. Shorefield park is only about ten minutes away from Lymington, where you can catch a regular ferry over to the Isle of Wight. We went over for the day on the Saturday, (Belle’s first time on a big ferry), and explored the 16th century castle at Yarmouth. We even hired bikes and went for a little ride (fully clothed) and I only complained about 27 hundred times about my bottom the next day.
Belle loves being in water so as well as the hot tub we made good use of the indoor pool at Shorefield. It doesn’t have any flumes or anything like that, but is very peaceful and ideal for young families who just want to be able to splash about somewhere safe.
On Sunday we took a drive down to Milford-on-Sea, which isn’t far at all from Shorefield. We spent a bit of time looking for interesting stones and burying each other but weren’t quite brave enough for a swim in the sea.
I really hope that as Belle gets older she remembers these weekends away and not all the times I have said ‘just give me five minutes to finish this…’
What do you do for quality time with your children?
Some thoughts on planning a holiday at Shorefield – before you go, double check when ‘peak season’ is as some of the entertainment and opening times will be effected by this. I was surprised that June wasn’t considered peak season. Also, although the park markets itself on its website as ‘five star’, I would say this is perhaps a little generous. That’s not to say you won’t have fun and that the staff aren’t all fab, just don’t go expecting The Ritz type service and accommodation – go expecting a standard family holiday park experience and a great base from which to explore and you won’t be disappointed.