If you follow my Instagram, you’ll know we haven’t had the easiest of times lately. Work and life in general have been making things not bad but just sour and so after a run of illnesses, teething and rubbish stuff, J came home from work one day and said, ‘let’s go away.’ We had a quick local search but most things were fully booked given the short notice and on a whim, I searched for Edinburgh. It was a long shot as it was the week before the Fringe started but it’s only two hours drive from where we live and straight up the A68. So when my favourite family hotel chain (Holiday Inn) had space, we booked it.
We woke up the next morning, packed our bags, made a picnic and got in the car! We tried to time it so we were getting in the car around the girls nap time and it all worked out perfectly. Our first stop was just before Jedburgh where we got the girls out the car for a bottle and supervised crawl around. We’d packed some toys suitable for the car and so for the second half of the journey they entertained themselves. They only started to get twisty about fifteen minutes before we were due to arrive at our hotel so I managed to squeeze in the back with them then.
I should be on commission for Holiday Inn’s as I’ve gone on non-stop about them since our first UK break with the girls. We stayed at their Edinburgh City West hotel this time in a Junior Suite and once again, it was perfect for our needs. I love having a separate room where the girls can sleep peacefully without me and J disturbing them and their suites are great for this. It means we can still have a little break and relax even though we’re with them and we don’t have to worry about the bathroom fan or TV waking them up.
We explored the shops on our first night there and ordered room service once the girls were in bed. I’d took a Lush Bath Bomb with me so had the most relaxing bath before an early night in bed.
As we’d all been so poorly, we didn’t make any big plans and just decided to have a nice slow weekend away. We’d been to Edinburgh (without the girls) before so instead of going into the city, we stayed outside exploring the parks and enjoying the very unusual Scottish heatwave. We’d timed it perfectly as home had horrendous thunderstorms. Forgetting how horrible the hill Edinburgh Zoo is built on is, we booked tickets and then completely regretted it when we realised how unfit we were!
It’s not the biggest of zoo’s but I love their penguin parade and it was a lovely day out. Most of our time was spent wandering and enjoying random ice creams and food, soaking up that amazing pre-Fringe atmosphere. J’s actually never been to the city during it and we saw so many shows advertised that we wanted to go to. I desperately tried to convince him to stay longer but work was getting in the way.
After our first trip abroad, I’ve got a lot more confident about traveling places with the twins. I’m happy to just pack our bags and head off in the car anywhere right now and not worry about it. We’re off on our first long haul flight to Disney World in November and we’ve booked for a little winter sun break to Lanzarote in January. I think I was more panicky when they were on formula but now they just drink cows milk and are eating food we do – I just think what will be will be. I no longer have a massive packing list or worry about what to take… my only real requirements for them is to book a family room or suite and to take their own bed sheets and sleeping bags for comfort. Worst case scenario, even abroad everything else can be purchased in shops.
Although I don’t have a packing list, I am planning our trip to Disney World in terms of what rides and activities they’ll be able to do. Myself and J have been several times and we’ve always stayed off-site in a town house or villa. This time, we’re staying on-site in Disney, so magic hours and meal plans are really going to be helpful with having the girls with us.
I love looking at little trips to go on as a family and I’d love to take them to Beatrix Potter World, Peppa Pig World and of course J’s and my old stomping ground, London. I was even googling glamping sites. So if anyone has any recommendations for family short breaks with toddlers in the UK and further afield – I would love to hear them to add to my list.
Whenever we’ve been away, I’ve had loads of questions on Instagram about how to do it and I really don’t have any magic answer, other than pack your bags and jump in the car. You only live once after-all and what’s the worst that can happen?!