Dress: Zara, earrings: Topshop, bag: Louis Vuitton, Oliver: polo shirt Ralph Lauren Kids, Chinos: Gap.
So, the third and final instalment of ‘Things I’ve Learnt on Holiday with Kids…’ is here because well, the holidays are nearly over and it’s time to reflect again amigos so here goes…
We’ve all had the most amazing of summers and are feeling full-hearted, crazy-grateful for the good times and resolute we’re going to start eating healthily once again, right after one more scoop of dark chocolate gelato (help)!
Seriously, though, a few weeks away in the South of France and a long weekend in London (where we are as I write) has given us all a chance to truly chill our beans, eat happy-making food day and night- and laugh our little hearts out. The latter is the key thing I’ll remember about this holiday I reckon, laughing until it physically hurt and I felt I couldn’t breathe.
My husband is the funniest person I know and my youngest cracks us all up all day long, asking strangers what their name is and where they’re from Cilla style, if women have booby milk for him (erm, he’s not had any in years) and whether everyone and their dog (literally) would like to high-five him, putting out his hand before they get a chance to refuse.
I can’t cope with what a loveable, open dude he is and I’m so incredibly proud of his much more sensible (read less wild) elder brother is too. Oliver has grown so much this holiday- in height and spirit.
…So, back to the present and the last 4 days have been an absolute ball in London, in a city we love, our former hometown- and one of our most favourite places to hang out with the family.
We visit the capital often-I’m here once minimum, sometimes three times a week with work; it’s where I went to university, met my husband and it’s also the city my first child was born in. Talk about memories huh!
London is our forever-love and has big old chunks of our hearts. It’s been lush to be back here with the bambinos and below I’m sharing what I’ve learnt coming here with them, this time-
- Kids are obsessed with those tourist shops you’ve seen on every street corner but have probably never ventured in because…they’re extortionate, full of useless tat and you don’t want to look like a tourist am I right? Take kids to London though and it’s the first place they’ll be sure to drag you into. Oh, and this is what they want from those dreaded places: snowglobes of London (all year round) because who cares it’s still actually summer when it’s snowing in a glass your youngest kid will drop and smash (again), red telephone box keyrings that will break before you get them home (trust me, I speak from experience) and of course #bloggerschildren- emoji cushions (I secretly want for myself-bagsy hiding eyes monkey please). So, we left with two of those bad boys in the end: the delightful poo one my eldest chose who we’ve lovingly named ‘Plop’ and the so-far nameless (shame) winky face yellow cushion, Xander fell in love with. Yes, they’ve ruined my plans for a Pinterest-worthy makeover on the boys’ bedrooms but they don’t half make us laugh and I get to pose with them in an upcoming blog post that will be fun so #winning right? Kinda. They cost £13 and the kids probably won’t care a dot about them by tomorrow. Soz, plops.
- Kids need playgrounds. It doesn’t matter how spectacular the view is for your little ones (e.g the boat set up to mark the anniversary of the fire of London on the Thames earlier today), those guys just want to play, jump, climb and run around like the loons they were born to be. The brilliant playground at the Southbank overlooking the river gets the thumbs up from us and is frankly, unmissable.
- Kids need parks like they need playgrounds and London has plenty of those too, thankfully. One of our absolute faves is Kensington Gardens, right next to our much-loved Royal Garden Hotel- where we spent two wonderful nights- and leads to the magical Princess Diana Memorial Garden where the kids love to play on the huge wooden boat in the sand. Perfection.
- It doesn’t matter how big your hotel room/suite is, at some point in the night, as at home, your kids will find their way into your room. Thank goodness for king and queen size beds is all I’ll say. (On the flip side, the kids loved their interconnecting room at the gorgeous Royal Garden Hotel, a stunning space overlooking the park, where they watched TV and played computer games together and whilst they didn’t spend the whole night in their bed, did give us much-needed space).
- Little ones have limited patience when it comes to shopping (this much I knew already of course) but busy London streets and stores definitely make it harder to control/appease/ bribe kids with chocolate buttons giving you precious time to scope the latest drops in Zara. My husband ended up taking the boys to Whole Foods for sushi leaving me to blissfully shop on Kensington High Street so serious brownie points were racked up there for Peter.
- Most kids relish travelling- and change surprisingly. Kids are pretty adaptable, particularly on holiday as it means adventure, ice cream and tat from souvenir shops. The last few weeks have seen us stay at 6 hotels (!)- and the kids have, for the most part, been as good as gold (still in shock btw) as they lapped up new experiences, people, food and culture, meaning the husband and I have felt like we’ve actually had a holiday too rather than, ‘same shizz, different country/place’. Yay!
- You can of course count on kids to have a meltdown when you least expect it, however good they’ve been- and over the craziest of things too. Last night in Pizza Express the little one started wailing that the crusts on his sliced pizza didn’t look the same. Say what?! Madness. Thank goodness for Peroni hey! Cheers!
- Red doors- and London generally is such a babe, it was made for Instagram. See featured image. We so need to move back!
So there you have it, lessons learnt, beer drank, doors posed in front of- holidays nearly done and dusted. It’s been a blast. I hope you’ve had a corker of a summer too.
The kids are back to school and nursery on Tuesday and it’s going to be a big holiday blues bonanza for us all as we get back to life and back to reality. Something I’ve still not learnt to get my head round, however many times we go away. It’s always tough to start but normal life must resume and worryingly I have to revive my no doubt dying plants back home… and iron some uniform. Wail. Take me back to the South of France…