Although it already feels so long ago, we had the best summer this year! How about you? We were lucky enough to get lots of time away, spent much needed time catching up with friends and family, soaked up plenty of Spanish sunshine and stretched our legs walking up hills in the French Alps, and closer to home too. For the first year in a long time I can truly say that we made the most of the summer. We’re bloody knackered now though, and pretty skint too, but as our tans fade and we get back into the daily grind of nursery, school and work that September brings, I’m determined to stick with a few of my holiday habits into the autumn and beyond.
Let me start by saying that there’s plenty of holiday habits that I’m definitely NOT sticking with – alcohol at any time of the day, for one, fun as it was. I also developed a dangerous croissant/bread/white carb addiction this summer which I’m ditching before my bum starts to resemble a croissant, and, life affirming as blue cheese is, I really don’t need to be eating a block a day now, do I?
Mixing up mealtimes
Whilst we are on the food thing, one habit I’m sticking with is continuing to try new foods and different flavour combinations, and encouraging the kids to do the same. We all get stuck in a bit of a food rut every now and then. I’m as guilty of that as anyone. I’ll go for whatever is easiest, or whatever I think the boys will eat most of, rather than trying new recipes which often end up getting pushed around the plate by the kids, or chucked over the side of the highchair.
We had some delicious food over the summer, particularly at a Spanish fish restaurant, where the squid ink risotto was divine – the baby devoured it, even though he prefers to only eats beige food at home. And I know that seafood paella will always taste best from a tucked away little restaurant in a Spanish square, but why not try to recreate some of that holiday magic on a rainy afternoon in the UK? I’m determined to reinvent a yoghurt and turmeric dip that we were served with patatas bravas, so good! Since getting back home I’ve dug out lots of my old cookbooks for inspiration and am trying a new dish every week. There’s still plenty of kid friendly pasta and pesto on the menu plan, but I’m chucking in lots of new meals to try too.
Discovering new books
I love to read, and an essential part of my holiday packing is to remember a good book. This summer I read The Power, by Naomi Alderman (brilliant – buy it!). Back home however, I rarely read, other than news apps on my phone. After full on days with the kids, I’m guilty of plopping down in front of the TV, or opening up my laptop and working on my blog, or just wasting an hour scrolling through my phone. I need to get better and stop watching mindless crap on the TV, and instead start a new book. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself to actually do it! If you’ve got any good book recommendations, please do send them my way.
Caring a little less
About my appearance I mean. I’m not well put together by a long shot, but I do try to look at least presentable before leaving the house, even if my hair is dragged back into a messy ponytail for the majority of the time. Every year I pack my hairdryer and straighteners into my suitcase, and I never use them once I’m on holiday – when will I learn? I love that as soon as we’ve arrived at our destination I just relax about what I’m wearing, and how my hair looks. And make up? The furthest I went all summer was a quick eyelash curl and a slick of mascara.
So, in keeping with the holiday spirit I’m caring less about my flyaway hair and embracing the Mum ponytail 100%. And if I fancy wearing leggings and a grey t-shirt on the school run then so be it. Low maintenance holiday mode style at its best.
Breaking those routines
My kids aren’t great sleepers, which in turn has made me a bit of a routine obsessive. I like the baby to have his nap in his cot where possible, as he never sleeps very well in the car or the buggy. But staying inside for 2 hours at the middle of the day, every day of the school holidays, kind of puts a bit of a downer on your summer. I’m strict with bedtimes too. As all three of them are awake before 6am every bloody day, then damn right I want them out of my way by 7pm in the evening. But that doesn’t work on holiday does it, when everyone else has a siesta and is just heading out to dinner when you are putting the kids to bed.
So, summer was a time of random napping. The baby napped everywhere and anywhere; the settee, the baby carrier, the carseat, the pram and very occasionally his bed. We enforced late afternoon naps on the older two when we were away, as this meant we could hit up the Eurocamp disco every evening. And do you know what? Nobody died. Sure, we were rewarded with grotty kids each morning because they still didn’t sleep any better, but this feels more manageable when you’ve all had a good evening the night before.
I’m trying to stick with relaxing on the routine front now the summer is over too, at least at weekends. All three of them still wake up at the crack of dawn, but looking on the bright side, we are never late for anything!
How about you…any holiday habits that you are sticking with into the autumn, or any you are still trying to ditch?