First family holiday, just us!


You all know we went away for a week, but did you know it was our first family vacation? Sure, we’ve gone on transatlantic flights – but that was to visit my family. We’ve also gone and stayed with TMD’s family.

As far as holidays with just our little family go, this was IT! We went pseudo-camping (think electricity, running water, full working kitchen in a little cabin, mixed with longish walks through SNOW to get anywhere) about two hours north of where we live.

I picked this place because of the indoor Subtropical Swimming Paradise. I love me some swimming pools, and this country is sadly lacking in pools in hotels and things. Seriously. And basically no outdoor pools, at least when compared to Country A.

I can firmly recommend the Subtropical Swimming Paradise for Thanksgiving week (a new family tradition, perhaps!). It was mostly families with babies and toddlers (no Thanksgiving here in Country B), so no big kids going apeshit splashing….ha ha, big kids. Hope you enjoyed being in school while we went on the water rapids, waterslides, wave pool, and toddler pools!

I liked this place because it has activities from baby age through to kids, teens, and adults. Lots of progression for future trips, even though I hope Snort & Coconut just want to stay in the pool area the whole time.

Things I want to remember:

At one meal, Coconut finished first and was roaming around. Every now and then she would come by me, and I’d hand her a tiny piece of food. Then I heard raucous giggling, from two kids. She was stood looking up at Snort, who was still at the table, and he was putting food in her mouth!


In the toddler area, there was one pool for very little ones, and one pool for slightly bigger little ones. That pool had two waterslides, and Coconut was determined. She kept climbing out of the toddler pool and marching over the the big pool, trying to climb up the slide.

One morning we were there before anyone else, so I told TMD to just take her on the smallest slide before we got caught by the Age Police. TMD climbed up to the top, set Coco down, and then Coco essentially came down the slide on her back, by herself. The look on her face as she whizzed by me was extraordinary. I have NEVER seen her look so happy, so joyous!


In other swimming related new, Snort managed to fall and his entire body was underwater, despite the lifejackets they both wore. I guess lifejackets are pretty fucking useless in eight inches of water when you are flat on your back, but whatevs.

It was like time froze, and a lady nearby scooped him out while I was reaching for him. He just blinked, rubbed his eyes, and grinned before toddling back off to the water fountains he loved splashing in. Water baby!


We were lucky enough to have the best fucking cabin in the world, considering it was the cheapest one – seriously a few steps below economy.  We had to bring our own toilet paper, people.

But luckily the people who own the fake camping place understand the families deserve some good times. Our cabin was the closest to – you guessed it – the Subtropical Swimming Paradise – and also situated right on a lake. So we had plenty of little visitors.

Namely, ducks….and consequently Coconut learned the word ‘duck!’ which she was prone to enthusiastically yell, 700 times in a row, every time the ducks appeared. There was also plenty of quacking….from her, and him. And the ducks, I suppose.

Both were a bit shocked by the sheer size of geese, but Snort was particularly amazed by squirrels. His whole face lit up and he couldn’t take his eyes off this little ballsy squirrel that hung out with the ducks. TMD bought duck food, and tried to open the patio door to throw some out to convince him to stay around for Snort’s sake, but the fucking squirrel ran at TMD, much to her horror, and tried to push past her into the house.

He got no food that morning.


We also took the babies to their first fireworks! It was lovely, really. Everything was Christmas themed, so lights everywhere, music playing, etc. The fireworks were over the lake.

Due to some finangling mistakes with our borrowed double stroller and common sense, we had to babywear them to the fireworks. TMD was horrified because, as you all know, I’ve been in a pretty bad relapse (week four as we speak). But I really didn’t want them to miss the fireworks, so we popped on a baby each and walked down to the big lake.

Coconut was speechless, which is pretty rare. Her eyes were huge and staring. Snort apparently just kept beaming up at TMD. So sweet.

They were both on our fronts, but really at this age the back would be better – they both were leaning their heads right back so they could get a good look around.


Our last morning we went to softplay, where Snort latched onto a giant hula hoop and would not let go. He took it on bike rides, on the seesaw, everywhere. He was also blown away by the slide. He’d never been on one, not really, and I held him as he swooped down (and his big blonde hair stuck up in every direction from static electricity!). The second he bumped down to the bottom, he held his arms out to be picked up and given another ride!

Coco ended up being pushed round on a bike that was way too big for her feet to reach the ground, and she freaking loved it. She adores being on bikes.


Our main afternoon activity (we went swimming every morning…those fucking changing rooms!) was walking around the little centre – though we occasionally watched people play indoor badminton or wandered through a sweet shop (an incredibly big hit with both kids – all of the colours, tiny little sweetie toys and tins, the big clear candy canes filled with stuff). Coconut is enamored with walking and fearless.

She just walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. And got pissed if you tried to direct her or lift her up.

Snort really had the opportunity to practice as well, and our few afternoons in this place saw him get like 300% better. He, too, is fearless. He made friends with every adult male for miles. Including a crane driver who told me he could see my boobs.


Snort’s mad giggles when we were in the pool singing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ and lifting him up and then speed splashing him down into the water. The kid loves this song anyway, but when it involves multiple throw downs into water, he BEAMS. Love.


All in all, it was a rockin’ holiday. Singing reindeer, glow in the dark swans, a trip to the emergency room. All of these are ingredients in any great trip.

I can’t wait till our next time away. It should hopefully only get easier. It takes so much TIME with 15 month old twins to get ready to go anywhere. For any activity we did, we easily spent three times however long it was just getting ready to walk from cabin to activity and vice versa.

They slept on a twin mattress (ha!) we dragged into the lounge next to the couch. Hopefully next time they can sleep in the freakishly tall beds in one room, and we can sleep in the freakishly tall bed in the other.

I adored our trip and could write another million words about how I manifested a McDonald’s, the fucking blizzard we experienced (by Country B standards, anyway!), paninis for lunch ‘a’,  the way they both sucked down fruit smoothies from Starbucks, or the items yanked from the grocery store shelves that exploded when they hit the floor.

Another time, maybe.

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2 Responses to “First family holiday, just us!”

  1. kate 2bkate Says:

    Love this!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I know exactly where you went! my whole family has been going there once a year since the kids (my nieces and nephews) were, well, maybe a tiny bit older than yours. They’re now in their teens/early twenties and still loving it. We did the soft play, swimming and play ground thing – and now they’re chatting up the bar staff and staying out long after we have gone to sleep.
    It has become a very special place for us and a lovely tradition. A little bit of magic in some small bit of land in the middle of the country.
    Kirstie x

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