Last week, as I took the keys out of my pocket and raised them to open my front door following a week’s holiday in Majorca, I breathed a happy sigh of relief.
I’d got through seven days away with my five and seven-year-old daughters and we’d had a great time.
It all started when my partner Serena and I had to wake them up at 2am thanks to an early flight from Gatwick.
They knew what was coming and both were super-excited so were quite happy to jump out of bed and pull on some comfy clothes for the taxi journey to the airport.
Once we arrived and watched our luggage travel into the distance on the conveyor belt, we made our way to airport security.
This time it was a breeze for Alyssa. Three years ago, when she was just two, she was roughly frisked by a stern-looking security woman who didn’t seem fazed by a child who was clearly upset at being womanhandled by a complete stranger.
The good news is, on this occasion, Alyssa was not looking as suspicious and no frisking was necessary.
Then came the short two-hour flight with Thomas Cook airlines. As we boarded the plane, I thought it was a nice touch that the crew handed both my daughters a small bag containing playing cards and crayons to help pass the time.
I love it when a company maks these little gestures which help makes life so much easier for parents.
With the crayons’ help and a few episodes of the children’s TV show Bubble Guppies downloaded to my phone, the time did pass quickly and before we knew it we were collecting our luggage and making our way to our accommodation.
It was clear that as soon as we arrived, my girls wanted to make their way to the pool. But before that could happen they had to be smothered in sun lotion. I feel sorry for seven-year-old Caitlin as it appears she has inherited my skin type which only needs a few minutes in the sunshine before it turns cherry red and leaves a sore and itchy burn. So regularly applying the lotion was essential.
Of course, once they were pool-ready, I had to cover myself in the lotion too, although one day, even after covering every part of my face in factor 50, I still managed to resemble a red pepper when it was time to pack the towels away and get ready for dinner. The good news was I wasn’t the only one. With the majority of the hotel guests being British, I blended in nicely.
We had such a great week and with the kids now going back to school, it was so nice to be able to spend all day and every day with them.
It was also nice to come back to a sunny Portsmouth. No matter where I go, there is always no place like home.
Oh, how I missed the pebble-dash
A family trip to the seaside usually mean we make our way to the pebbly Southsea or Eastney beaches.
They’re the closest to where we live and it’s where I would visit as a youngster, so it’s really nice to take my children to the place I enjoyed as a child.
I’m aware we have other beautiful beaches in the surrounding areas that don’t require you to walk the harsh stony gauntlet from towel to wate.
But on our recent family holiday to Majorca, I was especially looking forward to spending time on a beach with golden sand that runs through your fingers with not a stone in sight.
Without a cloud in the sky and the temperature up to 33C, it really was a beautiful spot to be in.
But I soon realised the golden sand was not my friend.
It just gets everywhere and when it was time to go home, try cleaning the sand off a five and seven-year old. It’s not easy.
Yes, Southsea and Eastney beaches are stony, but to me, they are pretty much perfect.