A sunny September weekend away in Brighton by the North Sea a few weeks back, was just what this frazzled family needed.
Hitting the beach for some sought-after Vitamin D and Vitamin Sea (!) provided us all with the perfect chance to pause and regroup after a heavy few weeks of stop-starting school after lockdown, illness plus sleepness nights and a long wait for a Covid test for Oliver (which I ended up paying for and was relieved when it returned with a negative result).
Not only was Brighton the break we needed to rest our weary bones but it was a sweet old balm to many a missed holiday this year, and most importantly, the best way to celebrate my little ‘baby’ boy and son-shine, Alexander’s 8th birthday!
Xander and I share the closest of bonds, and while Oliver, my eldest son is absolutely my best friend and confidant (we’re so similar it’s silly, from our tastes in telly and music to our sense of humour), Xander remains my sweet precious baby.
My Mum and I often refer to Xander as our ‘little bunny’ thanks to his big, kind brown eyes and his fluffy cloud of spiralling curls that frame his face. His cuteness warms my heart. Ditto, his gentle, caring personality which makes him popular with family, friends and his teachers too. Everyone loves little Xander.
Teachers has commented many times on how polite he is. The first to hold open a door, he’s generous to a fault (something his older brother often takes advantage of)!
He’s the first to share his sweets, toys and games and he’s the last to hug us before we sleep before bidding us all goodnight John Boy style. He likes to sleep with his entire teddy collection (16 at last count) and likes to take at least one cuddly toy, everywhere with him!
Don’t be fooled by the teds that he’s got, the kid’s a deep thinker, storyteller extraordinaire, maths whizz and empath to the core.
He’s utterly magnetic, drawing everyone in with his wide smile and loveable ways. What a champion dude.
…He’s literally not stopped talking about his birthday weekend, weeks later, bursting with gratitude for the memories made together from jumping waves by the shoreline to collecting shells and pebbles (the shiniest stones were his faves) to riding ‘the spaceship in the sky’ aka British Airways’ i360 (more on that later) and watching the sun go down stuffing candy floss into our faces!
Next time, he said he’d like to visit the museum of illusions, the Upside Down House, you can see here (there just wasn’t enough time on this particular trip).
Before I forget, a huge heartfelt thanks to fabulous Laura Pauley, author and founder of Love Saves the Day PR and Communications who kindly arranged absolutely everything you see here as part of a complimentary press trip for us all, from the hotel stay, meals, parking and entertainment.
Laura is a magician hostess with the mostess who makes things happen, and we’re all indebted to her. Thank you for your generosity, time and energy spent making the weekend so wonderful Laura.
Excitingly, you can win a trip to Brighton yourself by entering a competition at the end of the post too. We like to share the love, here!
…So back to Brighton. Arriving in this happy place after far too long since our last visit (when Oliver was just a wee baby), we stayed in a grand family room at the majestic Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel overlooking the pier on the beachfront.
Peter and my folks and brother actually stayed at the Hilton one Christmas back in the day, pre kids so it was pretty poignant heading back there with the boys in tow, a very real marker of how much we’d both grown as a couple, with a little family of our own!
We were completely spoiled on check-in with dreamy room service (pizza, burgers and hallumi superfood salad) plus the comfiest of beds (ours must have been a triple King size, it was that big) and swan and elephant towel sculptures Xander LOVED (he actually cried when Oliver unwrapped his elephant). Bless!
After the best sleep we awoke to the buffet breakfast of dreams (with strict and reassuring safety measures in place) before a leisurely swim (6 people per hour) in the hotel’s warm pool which saw Xander regain his confidence in the water again, which was a joy to see!
Followed by a long, warm dip in the pretty pool.
Sunday also saw us lap up epic views of Brighton and Hove and beyond thanks to British Airways i360. The views on a clear day also span the South Downs National Park, the UNESCO Biosphere and all along the coast to the Isle of Wight 49 miles away. Wow!
The spacious glass viewing pod was created by the team behind the London Eye and like it’s big bro, this too is one smooth ride into the clouds, but with a bar in its centre (yay), and capacity for lots of people (even with social distancing) within the pod. Slow, steady and not frightening at all, it’s the ideal way to see Brighton up top and is an absolute must-see when you’re visiting. Alexander was jumping for joy when we reached the top!
After the ride, it was time to refuel so we dined on a delicious seasonal menu al fresco downstairs in the West Beach Bar and Restaurant filling our boots on fresh seafood, giant burgers, fish and chips, cauliflower cheese and seasonal salads. Yum!
Oliver is smiling on the inside. Ten year old turning moody teen, here!
They even treated Xander to a mini birthday cake despite us protesting that we were all too full for dessert (a first here, admittedly!)
He took his Victoria Sponge in a takeaway box and scoffed it later but loved the Happy Birthday sing song on the beach and felt like a very special boy indeed!
What a banger of a weekend in Brighton!
This photo of Xander chatting to my Mum (his Grandma) below makes me laugh my head off, he looks about 25 doing a deal on the trading floor not an 8 year old on the beach living his best life (!)
Maybe my baby boy is growing up after all!
Thanks again Laura!
To win one night at the Hilton Brighton Metropole for 2 adults with bed and breakfast and a sparkling wine ride on the i360 please do enter below.
Terms and Conditions:
The hotel win is redeemable within 6 months, the i360 within 12 months.
Please follow all the entry requirements on Rafflecopter.
No cash alternative.
If the winner does not respond within 7 days of the notification email being sent, a new winner will be selected at random.
Ends 30th October 2020.
Enter more competitions here.