Staycation: Isle of Wight
When I randomly saw vouchers advertised in the Sun it was a sign! So I decided to take my family to the Isle of Wight for a short Caravan break.
I have thought about doing this a few times before, but for one reason or other never got round to it. I honestly think it's because picturing three boys aged 15, 5 and 2 in a Caravan for 3 days and 2 nights made me a bit anxious o_O
But we really needed a break, so I went for it. Booked us in at Thorness Bay Holiday Park, booked the Ferry crossing from Portsmouth and shared the good news.
There were mixed emotions; The 15 year old wanted to know if there was WiFi... obviously. The 5 year old was a little worried about the Ferry, but I showed them where we were going and how we were getting there and with everyone's questions answered we started planning.
The drive down to Portsmouth was great. I was running on schedule, organised and didn't have to raise my voice once, which is pretty abnormal when getting ready in my house, they were so excited about the trip they wanted everything to run as smoothly as I did.
We laughed, sang and played I-Spy in the car to pass the time and arrived at the Ferry port with so much time to spare that we went and had a look around Portsmouth town centre... Not much to report - lol, but it was refreshing to be somewhere other than South London.
Boarding the Ferry was fun I haven’t been on one for 10 years or so and it was like my first time all over again, and sharing that with my family felt special. They were so relaxed and well behaved, I was able to take everything in, even down to my 5 year old explaining to my 2 year old why the small boats where attached to the big boats.
It only took us 35 minutes to cross over to the Isle of Wight, most of that time was spent with me attempting to tell the boys about the different types of boats we were passing, only to be corrected by my 15 year old every time - who knew he knew about boats?! Maybe he isn't spending all his time on Snapchat after all...
As soon as we arrived on the Isle of Wight there were visible differences to our neighbourhood, it was so peaceful and picturesque. The Caravan Park was only a 15 minute drive from the Ferry so we were there in no time.
Our van slept 6 and there were 5 of us, so everyone grabbed a room and threw down their bags, hungry but ready to explore. While I whipped up a quick snack the boys discovered the indoor pool. I think I need one at home because they were so exhausted afterward they were like new children. We took a drive down to the beach where I tried to fly a kite, running up and down like a mad woman with very little result, when I stopped and looked around everyone was engaged in their own activity, from stone skimming to sandcastle building. This is what I had wanted, everyone seemed at peace with themselves and each other.
My 15 year old son has become a little hardened, living in South London you need a pretty thick skin,
but as every moment passed I saw the layers peeling away and he was my munchkin again,
interacting with his little brothers and step dad as a child and not a South London Teenager.
When in Rome you do as the Romans, so I threw myself into the experience like all the other families and went to the Entertainment Complex, I left the kids to mingle and went to the bar. They were so relaxed and free, I watched my 5 year old who I thought was socially shy walk up to children his age and older and start conversations and join in games without any prompting and because of this the 2 year old followed suit.
There were no other teenagers there really, but the 15 year old slotted in wherever suited him and one minute he was playing football with his brothers and the next he'd be playing pool having a cheeky shandy - no more than one I hasten to add.
There was so much for the boys to do together they reconnected as brothers, no arguing, no fighting just love all round - something I long for at home. We have quite a small house so things boil over quite quickly, but the Caravan was laid out in such a way that we seemed to socialise with each other more.
Obviously as a Mum you're never really off duty, but for those few days I didn't feel like I was "on duty".
I was free to not think about dinner, free to have a cheeky drink at 4 o clock and to tell the kids to have what they want off the menu and IT FELT GREAT!
To anyone thinking about it i'd say DO IT!
Next time I go I will definitely go with more people and stay for a week, as there's so much to do and we ran out of time.
This experience was simple, but very effective, well needed and highly recommended.
We loved every minute!