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When I was a little girl I was a staycation princess with my family venturing overseas just once to the golden island of Ibiza when I was 8 years old.
Since growing up and moving home, I’ve still maintained my homegrown persona but I think perhaps that’s more due to the old purse strings rather than through a determined choice!
Michael and I enjoyed our first (and only, so far!) holiday abroad together back in 2014 when we visited Marrakech in Morocco. I had planned to lose lots of weight, look absolutely amazing and laze around the pool getting drunk on all-inclusive booze but instead I waddled around at 5/6 months pregnant, gobbled up all the food and moaned about the hot weather.
It wasn’t what we had intended but what we had eclipsed our original dream completely. It was a magical week and whilst we were sunning ourselves by the pool, Michael felt Lily move on my tummy for the first time, it was such a wonderful experience.
Mersea Island (2003)
So, back to holidaying at home, I’ve talked about past experiences before but one of the trips I haven’t touched on yet was a long drive down to Mersea Island just off the Essex coast (with a stop off at Colchester Zoo on the way!)
My family had a friend over there who lived on a houseboat and it was a delightful little place to spend some time away for the summer. We stayed in a caravan at one of the local holiday parks with a great big pool and fun activities. It was awesome, we had such a great week!
On the way there, my (then) step-sister and I would badger our parents with the highly annoying ‘are we there yet?’ question every five minutes. You’ve got to think, this was back in the early 00’s and we were being subjected to a utterly boring 6-hour drive. We were given sweets as a bribe for staying fairly quiet and being good, magazines to entertain us, puzzle books to distract us and when all else failed, we would happily make up our own car games before falling out, as usual.
I was thinking about this the other day and marvelling at how life was so much simpler back then with no iPads to binge-watch Netflix the entire way or play Fruit Ninja. I mean goodness, I bet the journey wasn’t overly joyful for our parents but it was fun for us. I used to love getting cosy in my seat (I adore travelling anyway after years of being ferried up and down the country from one parent to another) with my sweets in my door well, magazine on my knee and back-up puzzle books and toys on the middle seat next to my own.
Of course, our cars were different back then as well. We used to have ALL of the windows open because the air-conditioning was like Mr. Burns blowing on you and we had to put up with whatever boring grown-up songs came on the three (!) available radio stations because DAB and Spotify hadn’t even been thought of yet (I’m starting to feel quite old writing this!)
I used to love travelling so I didn’t really mind the drive despite my protesting and I was used to long journeys anyway as my Dad lived a few hours away. I remember being armed with the latest Harry Potter book (I think it was The Order of The Phoenix) that had just come out that very day on the way there (and stopping at ASDA to pick it up!) and being ‘right in the mood’ for getting my head stuck in to the story with my back window open and the sun peaking through.
My highlights of the week were playing in the huge adventure-style park at the site and splashing around in the pool, sharing a room with my step-sister and wondering whether I could put up with ‘sibling-hood’ on a full-time basis (it seemed pretty fun but I guess the novelty would probably wear off eventually), eating our dinner by the sea and spending my holiday money on pretty things adorned with shells or fairys.
The island is connected to the mainland UK by a causeway that gets cut off at the high tide and as kids, we found crossing this and driving across a route where the sea would be later the most exciting part of the entire journey!
Going on the houseboat was pretty cool as well, it was really large inside with wood panelling all around and even when it was anchored to the shore, as the tide was in everything bobbed up and down gently. It was quite relaxing and I remember thinking that I wanted a similar boat of my own when I eventually grew up.
We even went on a little rowing boat out on the wild waves and I felt so proud of myself for feeling excited and fearless whilst the rest of my family went a little green around the gills!
One of my best memories from the week was my first attempt at crab-fishing with a little orange set and a huge bucket. I’m not even over-exaggerating when I say that we filled the bucket really quickly, honestly we must’ve caught over 50 crabs, their little pincers snipping as we popped them in.
We had a lovely week and as I’m an only child, it’s the one big family holiday that sticks in my mind as I had somebody around my own age to play with and share the experience from a kid’s point of view.
What’s your most memorable family trip?
Do you have any plans for any upcoming holidays with your family?
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Fancy winning £150 worth of Amazon vouchers to stock up on your favourite nostalgic items and bring the family together on your next road trip?
Well here’s your chance! Kwik Fit Insurance Services (KFIS) have just launched a new competition with the chance for two entrants to win and all you need to do is pop over to the KFIS website and share your own most memorable family road trip as part of their Nostalgia Lane campaign (make sure you have a read of the terms and conditions as well, the link at the very bottom of the page!)
Whilst you’re there you can also check out some top tips for travelling the old-fashioned way from myself and some of the other parenting bloggers involved.
Good luck to you all and I hope you’re enjoyed reading about one of my favourite family trips from my childhood.