Planning a trip as a young family of four is not the most simplest of tasks, yet for some reason we still put ourselves through the stress and at the time think its a “great idea!’ Here’s our Isle of Wight story!
For the hubbies birthday we always try to get away as it conveniently falls on a bank holiday (ok for some eh?) A cousin of ours had tagged herself on Facebook a few months ago into what seemed like the most perfect little retreat in the Isle of Wight and I took her word for it and booked ourselves in for a cheeky little break! I use the word “cheeky” as at the time of booking I was imagining myself child free for the weekend and how romantic it could be with the hubs…then reality set in and the “cheeky” slowly turned into “holy s**t!” Never the less, the ferry and hotel had been booked and we were soon off to visit this beautiful little island.
The truth of the matter is travelling with children is not the most easiest of tasks and regardless of the length of the trip you still have to pack more than what you normally would if it was a cheeky weekend! So, out with the lingerie and replace with a 100 nappies and you’re good to go!
Isle of Wight – The Journey
Everything had started perfectly, all bodies in the house had woken up on time, all were dressed and downstairs before 6.20am, we loaded our pre made lunches into cooler bags (essential for anyone travelling!) we even had time to make flasks of coffee and tea for the journey (again, essential for the journey!) 6.45am and the Safer family were on route…for 5 minutes and then turned back as mummy forget the lunch bag (woops!)
We were back on the road within minutes and the Instagram stories had begun, the Mcdonalds breakfast had been bought and the M25 looked as delightful as any other London road at that time in the morning! That was of course until Alize started acting up (11 minutes into the M25) and started dribbling from the mouth, of course like any mother I told her to stop being a drama queen and chill the F out (sorry, thats what I said in my head!) It was more like “Alize, stop moaning please!” I said please, what more do you want? So like any drama queen she threw up, I’m talking exorcist spew. From car seat to car floor we were covered!
Children and Routines
The problem with my children is they’re routine kids, by this I mean as soon as we do one thing that isn’t the norm they soon tell us about it. This was a lesson to us and to all parents out there like us…stick to your routine even if you’re travelling. Usually my two have their milk at 8 am, they may be up at 6 but they don’t have anything till 8. Of course on this particular morning they had had it 2 hours earlier and to top it off they wanted a bottle of tea as they had seen us making up the flasks! We thought it was great…clearly we thought wrong.
We think as parents the more we stuff into them before heading out the less times we would have to stop for feeding. When I think back to it by 6.45am the poor girl had already had nearly 16 ounces of fluid, plus the smell of our Mc Donald’s, plus they were watching Cars on the DVD player even I feel sick thinking about it!
Ever stood on the M25 hard shoulder and stripped a 2 year old down to a nappy? I have! Ever experienced the true feeling of the wind beneath your wings with the lorries swishing past? I have! The fear of being run over mixed with the worry of missing the ferry all started to home in and I was about to cancel everything there and then when Alize uttered the words “mummy holiday please!” Really? This was not what I had planned love. Bless her.
The Red Funnel ferry at Southhampton had to be the most efficient system I have ever experienced in England. Book online, park in your given bay, get ushered onto the ferry and sail away to the Isle of Wight, it was as simple as that! To be honest I would have swam to the Isle of Wight just to escape the sick smell from the car! We found a comfy spot with a sea view and unpacked our sandwiches like true Turks, there were cucumber slices, cheeses, hams, breadsticks, humous (obviously!) and many more yummy treats coming out of the cool bag.
Parents take note and pack a bag full of snacks, although the boat has an onboard cafe it’s not worth the added expense and who’s children honestly eat what they buy them anyway? The only real complaint on the ferry was the fear of falling overboard. Perhaps it was my paranoia and first time mum on a ferry but it wasn’t safe. The railing between deck and water was not at a level I was happy with and I honestly felt safer being below deck than above.
Isle of Wight – Holiday time
Isle of Wight is a perfect escape for those looking for a quick fix, although you can never guarantee the typical British weather, in 50 minutes you feel like you’re far enough from home and the sound of the sea can relax anyones mind. Don’t get too excited the sound of children soon over takes the calmness and you find yourselves repeating the word ‘No’ 70 times in 2 minutes!
It was a short drive to the quaint little town of Cowes, if you’re looking for a non touristic town with a little row of boutique shops and the cobbled sea within a stones throw then this is the place. Nothing is too far away and if you desire the seaside funfair side of life then it’s easily reachable. North House luxury boutique hotel is a little bundle of perfection. A hotel that has a homely feel, but more like a stately home that you dream to live in. Beautifully looked after grounds, interior that is quirky and well suited, rooms fit for a king and staff that are like friends.
As parents you want to feel that your not going to be looked at in disgust if your child starts rolling around having their 7th tantrum of the day. Here, children were accepted with open arms. Of course there are others who are there having a cheeky weekend and look at you with the “I know that feeling” look or worse “I never want children” look. Either one is quite amusing and easily shrugged off with an innocent smile which really screams out “FEEL SORRY FOR ME!” The lovely Dominique very kindly upgraded us to the best room in the house (I think she saw the pain in my face when I told her about our delightful journey!)
Small Acts of Kindness
That small act of kindness absolutely made our weekend and the room was just A M A Z I N G ! There was enough room to hold a mini rave and I was just in ore of the four poster bed that was as big as the island itself! Once the kids travel cots had been set up the room started to feel rather un romantic and the kids happily splashed in the iron bath that was screaming out ‘Bathe with me’ when I entered the room. Of course I just about had time to wash my face let alone Bathe, the twins loved it though said mummy who was not jealous at all!
This place served pizza to our bed from their sister restaurant at 9 o’clock at night when we were too tired to move, they heated milk for us when we were in time of need, they provided homemade cookies in a tin labelled ‘treats’ when we got round to having a hot cup of tea, their three course breakfast was finger licking good as was the dinners. The service was faultless and even though we longed to have some alone time these gestures made up for that and somehow made us feel human again. Without Lewis and his wonderful team of staff I could have easily cried (a lot!)
Travelling with small ones
Two nights away for some people may be bliss but for parents travelling with small ones it’s an actual nightmare. By the time you’ve settled in you’ve packed the car again and on your way home. Was it worth it? Isle of Wight’s North House Hotel – Yes, Two nights – No! It’s advised (by me) not to put yourselves through the upheaval just to get away for a few nights for a getaway, unless of course you’re childless! We made beautiful memories like any family would, walking by the sea with them was a delight however, changing them after they decided to run into the sea fully clothed was not. Going to the Zoo to meet the lions and tigers was definitely one for the album as was Ali’s busted lip when he tripped over a wobbly pavement.
A family vacation is never smooth sailing yet you look back at your pictures just like I have done and reminisce at the quality time you spent together. If you are going to plan a short trip like we did, make life a little more easier for yourselves. Pay a little bit more and stay in luxury like we did, at least then you feel like you’ve treated yourselves instead of made matters worse!
Tips for Travelling
When travelling anywhere with your car use it to your advantage. Pack it with things that will occupy your kiddies for longer than 10 seconds, you don’t have to carry it about so why not! Most importantly don’t forget my earlier tip of a cool bag and flasks, when they’re empty you can fill them with the cookies made by the hotel and wine to get you through life when it starts to get a bit too much!
Final Thoughts on Isle of Wight
This won’t stop the Safer family embarking on more adventures around the UK, when you find little gems like the North House why wouldn’t you want to experience luxury at it’s finest. We might ditch the kids though, or maybe turn a long weekend into a long week and make it feel like a proper break.
- The twins will be good on our next travels
- They will not be sick
- They will not try and climb overboard(Yeah Yeah!) Love Sev x
More about Sev:
Sev is the amazing blogger behind “Two Babies One Pram“, where she shares her journey as “A Mama to Twins Who Writes & Changes Nappies for a Living” and raising the adorable Ali and Alizé. Be sure to also follow her on Instagram @twobabiesonepram