If you’re a regular reader then you’ll know I work on our family business Scream Factory. If you aren’t then to give you a little insight, it’s the largest purpose built Halloween Haunt in the North East and even for me, knowing where all the scares are, is still absolutely terrifying. We were lucky enough to be nominated for two awards at the European Scare Awards held by ScareCon at Alton Towers last week and as much as I wanted to go along with the team, having 11 month old twins, I didn’t think I was going to be able to.
Then J came home from work and surprised me that he’d booked the hotel and we were going. Panic set in… the thought of been stuck on a four hour car journey with twins didn’t strike me as much fun, nor did the idea of ruining our routine. However you’ll be pleased to know we survived and the girls couldn’t have been better! A few people asked on Instagram for some tips so I thought this was maybe the best outlet.
To make life even more awkward, I had a spa day booked for the Monday we were meant to be traveling down and my treatments weren’t until mid-afternoon. The girls usually nap at 10am and 2pm now so that screwed up the plan to set off before their naps. So we decided to cheat and only travel half way with a night in Sheffield first splitting the journey into half.
Whilst I was pampering at the spa, J had suffered a rather difficult day with the twins who hadn’t napped well and whilst he tried to pack and get the car ready had constantly sought attention. Needless to say he looked rather relieved when I got in at 4pm! We packed the car and had set off ready for 5pm and Edie and Mabel went out like lights. They were both asleep until we stopped at Wetherby where we did nappy changes, gave them some snacks and grabbed a picnic tea for us from Marks and Spencer.
We were back on the road within 30 minutes and swapped between various Disney soundtracks which the girls seem to like. As we got closer to Sheffield, they both started to get quite twisty and I realised they were probably ready for their bedtime bottle. I climbed in the back with them and gave them half to keep them going till we arrived.
We were staying in the Royal Victoria Holiday Inn and I absolutely cannot recommend it enough for families. This was by far the best hotel we’ve stayed in with the twins and we even fitted through the door with the Bugaboo. We booked an executive room and this meant we had some extra space for the girls. We rearranged the room a little so their extremely comfy travel cots (provided by the hotel) were in the living area, so it was like they had their own private space. There was a sort of separator between the sleep / living spaces so moving the cots meant we could even watch tv quietly! I’ve never dared do this in any other hotels for fear of waking them up!
Along with breakfast and a meal for J on the night, the whole stay cost us £90 which I think was an absolute bargain. All the staff were super friendly, even when the cleaner had to rescue us after we managed to lock ourselves out after breakfast. To confirm this is not an ad, I was just really impressed.
We packed up after breakfast and headed off for the second leg of our journey. They both fell asleep but Edie woke up after about 40 minutes, obviously with still quite a while to go. She was ok though and sat playing with her toys! Mabel woke up after an hour and when we were about 10 minutes away threw what appeared to be a teenager style sulk complete with bottom lip pout and refusal to look at anyone.
We were staying at Splash Landings and having never been to Alton Towers before, I had no idea what to expect. After a little confusion at checking in, we were put into an accessible room as we were told that other rooms couldn’t accommodate two travel cots for H&S reasons. The only issue with this is that we usually bath the babies on a night but the room only had a walk in shower.
A special deal had been arranged for ScareCon attendees so we had no option on this occasion but I would love to go back and try the CBeebies Hotel next door as it looked spot on for families.
J kindly volunteered to stay with the girls while I got to go party at the awards which was so much fun – I hadn’t had a night out since I was pregnant and the amazing news was that we won! I snuck back into the room late on the night using my phone as a torch and thankfully managed to get in and changed without waking anyone up.
We weren’t staying over on the way home, so decided to split the journey up by stopping after 1.5 hours at the services and then again at Wetherby. We were lucky the weather was nice so I popped Edie and Mabel on the grass to crawl around for a bit before getting back in the car.
When we eventually got home, the girls didn’t want to go to bed at their usual time and after a couple tried and failed attempts we gave up and let them stay up. I kept the tv off and played on the floor with them trying to tire them out. It seemed to work and we gave them another 3oz of milk each and tried again. Both went off to sleep and weren’t up till 7am the next day!
Considering I wasn’t looking forward to going because of having to take the twins with us, I actually had a brilliant time and even though J never made the awards, he still enjoyed it. It was a change from our normal routine and I think that really helps. I’m not sure how other twin mums feel but I often struggle with how monotonous the days can be.
The whole trip was so successful, I’ve already started planning other adventures we could go on! I’ve summarised a few of the things we took did below, that I think really helped make life easier and the trip more enjoyable for the girls.
- Split the journey up: If you can afford to have a stop off and split the journey up. We weren’t too bothered about staying in a really nice hotel, it just turned out we got lucky!
- Rearrange hotel furniture: I’m not saying go wild and chuck things out the room but it doesn’t hurt to move travel cots or seats around to make a space for you and a space for baby(ies).
- Car Mirrors: Ours came free with our Maxi Cosi car seats and they’re great. We can see them and they can see us and it really helps.
- Toys: A couple of days before going, I took a few of the toys they usually play with away and popped them in a bag. I rotated these on the journey so they didn’t get bored.
- Bedtime Routine: I always try to keep this the same. So bath + bottle + bed. I also took a couple of top sheets away with us and added them to the travel cots the hotels had provided so it smelt like home.
- Service Stations: Where possible we tried to stop in places we knew we could put the twins down and have a crawl around so they could use up some energy, google maps is great for checking this out.
- White Noise: I use our Whisbear as part of our bedtime routine so took him with us! On the first night, neither of them woke up until the next morning but on the second, Mabel had a little cry out. I don’t rush like I used to, as the cry sensor on Whisbear kicks in and sets him off – she was back to sleep within less than a minute. He’s an absolute must pack on our list!
To confirm, I wasn’t asked to write this post by anyone other than a few followers on my Instagram and it doesn’t feature any affiliate links. It’s purely my honest opinion and tips for making traveling with twins or babies less stressful. If you have any to add, I’d love to hear them!