Sorry I was on a “break”…!

I say this with the irony only a working parent understands when half-term is thrust upon you. Our school decided to be good to parents this October and provide our children with two whole weeks off school. Their thinking being that we could book our two week holiday in this time and out of sync with other schools and so cheaper to go away… sadly for us by the time we knew we’d already booked our ‘two week holiday’…. the thought was there….

This left me with the dilemma of having two boys off school, for a full week before any local holiday clubs opened….awesome!

Some of you will remember I had an incredible au-pair for all of 3 weeks over the summer, but she was a game changer. Not only did she have the kindest soul, she was organised, tidy, polite, strict but also so much fun, the boys adored her, like a Spanish Mary Poppins….practically perfect in every way.

Not so lucky this half-term. Fortunately, my stepson having left school in June had not yet secured a job so he was free. Unfortunately, the husband agreed to pay him more than we had paid the au-pair, and the service was not quite the same.

I worked from home one day as I had a hospital appointment, but I advised the 3 of them to pretend I didn’t exist, and to get on with their day as normal. Normal was apparently the boys rising at 6am followed by the stepson at 10:45. Followed by 6hrs of television, before I lost it and threw them in the garden. I was better in the office.

A friend had offered to have the boys on the first Thursday as she knew I was struggling. What she perhaps didn’t anticipate was that we needed to drop the boys at hers for 7am and that as the stepson couldn’t drive I would have to collect them at 7:15pm…. thank you! You know who you are, invaluable!

First week over and it was Holiday club #routine for the next 4 day’s. Packed lunches, swimming kits, but opening hours of only 8:15-5pm. Hardly commuter friendly…

Friday I took the day ‘off’ so we could have a family holiday weekend…. this is ‘off’ in our home….

4:15am alarm, 5am in the car, 8:15 stop for breakfast (McDonalds), 10:30 arrive in Preston, 10:35 decide to go to Liverpool, 11:40 wander around Liverpool, 11:50 enter The Cavern Club

12midday sit beside a distant relative who was there the day before!


1:30 lunch (Five Guys, healthy follow up to breakfast!)

2pm back in car to Preston, 3:45 still stuck on M6. 4pm check into B&B, 5 go to friends house, drink copious amounts or catch up bubbles, 11. Taxi back to B&B, shower eldest who was allergic to cat, bed midnight….Seriously!!

This pace carried on for the next two days. We were shown the delights of Blackpool….(sic)

The beach was nice, just really windy!!! We nearly lost all four kids to the tide as they ran in hysterics away from us into the wind. The hubbies had to do a panic rescue chase after them. All good exercise.

The amusement arcade, was not amusing and the hoards of people that descend on Blackpool at half-term should be avoided at all costs!

Preston saved the day, it’s beauty embracing us after the reality of daytime Blackpool, and we managed to squeeze 10 2-for-1 cocktails into an hour….

Racing the 5.5hrs back to Kent first thing on the Sunday, shattered and hungover only to establish we had lost the youngest’s “blankie” somewhere along the weekend.

“Blankie” has been in the family 9 yrs and I think I’m more devastated than the youngest. We have half of Preston looking for it, but as yet no joy.

As we arrived home to three un-carved pumpkins, a halfterm trashed house and a mountain of washing, I realised the youngest had a birthday party on the Monday, and it was Halloween Tuesday….oh boy, when will it stop?

Party gift sorted, boys off to school (love routine!!) and Halloween supplies brought down from the loft we got back to work…. exhausted!

That’s how we do 3 day’s off… we are not mad, we are utterly stupid!

Halloween yesterday was saved by my incredible friend and neighbour who offered to collect the boys early from school, take them trick or treating with her boys and deliver them back to me once I’d come home from work. Amazingly in the 10 mins before they came home I managed to chuck a few cobwebs about the place, light some candles and stick a screaming witch on the door!

Pumpkins still un-carved, but there’s always pumpkin soup!!

And so to sleep…! Thank god October is over, just got a 9yr old birthday party at the weekend, and I’m back to a little JustClaire R&R!


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