It’s that time of the year when you mind wanders to the dream of summer. Endless sunshine, trips to the park, flip flops, barbecues and my favourite drink of all time… Pimms. Even if the weather gods chuck in a north eastern downpour the kids soon get used to soggy sandwiches and the quick pit-stops to put on the emergency pac a macs. It is the summer and positivity is my middle name!! (well actually it’s Frances)
By mid-February, it feels like summer will never come although you just can’t escape TV adverts with smug families walking along crystal clear beaches and kids hurtling down slides at water parks.
Last June, we headed off to Walt Disney World, Florida and took in a 3 day cruise on the Disney Dream. As expected, the holiday was amazing but didn’t come cheap, so we are tightening the belts this year with no traditional 2 week abroad break on the horizon. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as we have the following breaks to look forward to in 2016.
1. Kendal Calling
Kendal Calling comes highly recommended by our friends Liv and Lee. The last time I went to a festival was a folk festival (end of the road) with my parents, before we had children. Other festivals previous to this were V Festival and Leeds as teenagers. I’ve been reassured that Kendal Calling is not full of drunk teenagers (not that I have anything against them. I was once one) and it will be a relaxing weekend in a gorgeous setting seeing some great live music… surrounded by drunk 30 somethings. I’m mentally calculating just how many wine boxes I can fit in our Nissan Note once the tent paraphernalia is squashed in. And my camping chair will be coming. I’m too old to stand up all day!
We hope to head down to Yorkshire at some point in the spring to enjoy some traditional donkey rides, fish and chips and the kids favourites… the 2 pence machines. Imogen’s face of determination waiting for a cheap keyring to fall and the almost lottery-winning squeal of glee when it does, is worth the money alone. At only two hours drive it’s almost good for a day trip and if you are looking for great accommodation look up my parent’s holiday home.
3. Making the most of National Trust
We are annual pass holders at the National Trust so will be partaking in a few visits this year once the weather improves. Although, most of the properties local to us open all year, they are definitely more pleasant to visit in the summer with a picnic. Favourites are Gibside, Wallington and Cragside. This year we’ll also try and venture a little further away with the National Trust, possibly even camping!
4. Disney Paris Half Marathon
The Hoopers will be attempting the inaugural Disney Paris Half marathon in September. We will be staying on Disney property at the Hotel Cheyenne, enjoying 2 days at the parks before the big run! Eeek!! Need to up my training seriously… there’s only so many selfie stops with Disney characters along the way. I need to be able to get round without needing oxygen.
5. Butlin’s – October Half term
Technically not the summer, but seeing as we barely wore our coats last October I’ve got high hopes for another Halloween heat wave. We are returning to Butlins to meet up with friends from as far and wide as Kent and Great Yarmouth. Another weekend of eating and drinking too much and enjoying some top quality entertainment. We usually go to Butlins at Skegness, at around a three hour drive it’s not too far, but it also coincided with a similar distance for our Great Yarmouth friends. We’ve been back to this resort around four times now.
No set plans yet but we plan to make the most of the tent this year and have some cheap weekends away. We would love to see more of the Northumberland coastline and we hope our friends will come with us… the kids have more fun with their pals to play with. Again, no doubt wine will feature heavily. Last year we ventured to Winshields and Alnwick Rugby Club, both were amazingly cheap, but also bare in mind we’d just returned from Disney!
This summer we will be at the mercy of the British weather and hope that for once the Daily Mail and their attention grabbing headlines of ‘Britain’s heatwave’ and ‘water shortages’ may actually come true. There really is no greater holiday when the sun is shining that being in the UK… but just in case I may have grabbed a copy of Thomson Family Summer brochure for next year. You can never be too prepared!