Belle and I have been on a lot of mini-breaks on our own. They’re fun. We have our little rituals, which mainly involve planning our snacks and which village-based murder mystery we are going to watch in the evening, and we rub along perfectly fine. Here we are in fact, looking adorable as always, outside our Hoburne Naish cabin a couple of weekends ago:
However, as single adult on holiday with a single child, there is a certain amount of pressure. You have to be the fun one all of the time, and that can be exhausting. As much as I enjoy spending time alone with Belle then, it’s always much more fun when fiancé is with us. (I love his company too, I should stress here – I don’t just like the idea of having him around for entertainment purposes.)
One of my favourite things about having him with us on our recent trip to Hoburne Naish, (which is down on the Hampshire coast, near Bournemouth), was that I got out of swimming pool duty.
Now don’t get me wrong, the swimming facilities at Hoburne Naish are excellent. They have two indoor pools – one main one and a separate one for smaller children – and an outdoor pool too. It’s just that I’m not much of a swimmer and not good at the whole ‘being bothered to get wet just to get dry again’ thing. Belle adores swimming, though, and would happily spend hours in a pool inventing dance routines and making me play dolphins with her. Her favourite game at the moment is scouring the pool for dead bugs and then making me carry them around on my shoulders, so you can see why I might want to get out of it.
This trip though, was different.
On our trip to Hoburne Naish I accidentally forgot my swimming costume but did, coincidentally, remember to bring a stack of magazines and change for the coffee machine. Oh no! What a calamity. On both the Saturday and Sunday afternoon I was forced to sit poolside in the sunshine, reading Vogue and sipping a latte, while fiancé balanced dead beetles on his shoulders.
It was difficult, but I managed it, and fiancé was fantastic, enduring the choreographed pool dances for far longer than any adult should reasonably be expected to. I was very proud / happy to not be involved.
Our accommodation at Hoburne Naish was tip top. We stayed in one of the Becton lodges, which had a double room and two additional single bedrooms, and was basically bigger / tidier / better furnished than our own house. Belle discovered the games console within about 26 seconds, possibly through some sort of teen radar, and, in a similar style, I happened quickly upon a bottle of wine in the fridge. We were all happy.
I’d love to say that when we go away for the weekend that we get up to crazy adventures, or go off caving or snorkelling or something else terribly exciting like that, but the truth is that we don’t do anything particularly jazzy. Weekends away for us aren’t so much about filling every minute with activity, they are about connecting with each other. We might do the same things as at home – cook dinner, watch a bit of TV in the evenings – but somehow they feel different. The very fact that you are somewhere new, without the distraction of everyday life, immediately relaxes you, and makes it easier to focus on each other.
Hoburne Naish has had a massive investment over the last few years. and so now has a very nice looking restaurant and cafe, alongside the pool and all the other classics you’d expect from a holiday park. (We especially enjoyed the slightly retro driving games in the arcade, and I actually had a dream on the Saturday night that I was trying to drive a motorbike on a regular road, but with a massive screen attached to the front of it.)
One of my favourite bits about the park was actually all of the older style chalets, that led down to the cliffs. These are all privately owned now, and I think they’ll be developed soon, but for now, they feel like a little bit of history – a flashback to the old style Billy Butlins holidays. I loved how everyone clearly takes pride in them, and how personal they all are, decorated with flowers and plants.
I think we were all agreed that come Sunday afternoon, we really did not want to leave and go back to the reality of normal life. It reinforced what I’ve always known – that you don’t need to fly around the world to escape normal life, and you don’t need to be surrounded by five-star luxury to relax and enjoy yourself. All you need is a change of scene, some fresh air, and your family, and that’s what we had at Hoburne Naish.
We were guests of Hoburne Naish for the purposes of this review. All opinions my own.