Our daddy blogger, Harlequins’ scrum half Karl Dickson blogs about his first family holiday with the twins – with not one mention of Saturday’s result against Wales. Ahem.
So my missus brings up the dreaded words a few weeks ago: ‘I think we need a holiday.’
Now normally I would be all over this, googling for the cheapest deals, checking Trip Advisor and making sure we were going to a really great place, but I thought she must have lost it to suggest a holiday with the girls considering they’re not even 3 months old! Then she hits me with: ‘No, not abroad but was thinking maybe Cornwall.’
Cornwall!?!? I would have never called that a holiday destination personally, but I guess holidays change when you have kids. We spoke to some family friends who happened to be there at the same time as us so agreed to go and stay in their apartment.
I have to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it. I thought it would be so stressful and didn’t really see the point for five days and just for Cornwall… well, I was totally wrong. We ended up having the best time! We stayed in an Acorn development, minutes walk from Fistral Beach so the location couldn’t have been better. If the girls were ever playing up, we just put them in the buggy or Wuti Wrap and went for a walk along the beach. It’s amazing how suddenly you don’t let the weather put you off going outside when you have newborns.
If you’re thinking about taking a trip for the first time, let me warn you – you will have NO idea how much stuff you need to pack. Joss started packing the girls’ stuff three days in advance and we were still late leaving as she hadn’t got everything packed. You couldn’t even see out of the car. It was honestly embarrassing when we arrived as it looked like we were moving in for months!
The car journey down to Cornwall was actually super easy as they slept virtually the whole way. Every time they stirred we both turned the music down and held our breath, as to be honest, we had no idea what we would do if they woke up screaming and they weren’t due a feed. There is only so much singing you can do to keep a baby calm on a motorway with hours left on your journey – it would have been a nightmare.
The whole set up for us worked perfectly. We were in one apartment and our family friends had the apartment above us connected by a flight of stairs so we spent virtually the whole time together. It turned out to be such a break for us as we had so much help everyday. The girls did amazingly. I don’t know if you have heard of them but we have had the girls sleeping in ‘Sleepyheads’ since they were born and they proved to be a godsend on holiday. We put the Sleepyheads in the living room on a plush carpet and it was like they didn’t even realise that they weren’t in their cots so the transition was dare I say it, easy. I can’t recommend them more.
I think the hardest thing we found was how you now have to plan everything so much more. You can’t just go for dinner when you feel like it because you need to time it around feeds and sleeps. The other massive consideration with dinner is space. It’s hard enough with a single buggy but imagine trying to find a table where there is enough room for a double buggy!
A perk of where we were is that we didn’t have to drive to any of the restaurants so Joss and I didn’t have to have the ‘who’s driving chat’ which never goes well as we both like a drink. However, the downside of this was that it was quite a bit of walking and I was the designated ‘pusher’ which was fine on the way there but after a massive meal and some drinks, it’s not so much fun.
You also have to forward plan and make sure that you have brought stuff for anything the girls throw at you, like extra food or needing a change of clothes etc, as the last thing you want is them both kicking off in the middle of a packed restaurant. We both have Storksak bags which have been amazing – my Storksak looks like a smart everyday bag but one you can fit all the things that you would a baby bag, including a changing mat in Joss’s so that helped massively. When you have a double buggy you don’t want loads of extra bags and stuff as you take over areas as it is. They were a godsend!
While we were there we went on a lot of beach walks and it was great as we got to use our Wuti Wraps for the first time. The girls have started to get heavier so these really helped distribute their weight so we managed to carry one each without it being too bad for Joss. It actually felt really nice to have them on us rather than in the buggy and they loved them, and would fall asleep in minutes and I think they loved being so close to us. It meant we weren’t restricted as to where we could walk and we didn’t hold anyone up. You definitely have to get used to having them on your front but we were a bit paranoid at first in case we fell or something but you do get used to it pretty quick.
The 5 days ended up flying by and we both wished we had stayed for the week. It is so hard getting everything together for a trip but we would so recommend it – you’re going to be tired and getting used to the massive change in your life no matter where you are so you might as well have a mini break for a change of scenery. It gave us a bit of a boost which I think we hadn’t realised we needed.
It’s a bit soppy but I have to thank the Skok family so much, they were such a MASSIVE help to us and really took us under their wing and never made us feel annoying having all our ‘extra baggage’. We had the best time but know it wouldn’t have been half as good without them.