The Hamlet - Melon Holidays

A diary of a single parent holiday – melon holdays

A diary of a single parent holiday.

As a parent, I feel holidays make up an important part of childhood. I have so many fond memories of family holidays as a child. When I became a single parent the thought of holidaying with the children seemed a bit daunting. Just one adult to 5 kids in a place you don’t know can for some seem like a too bigger challenge.

However, this challenge has become a lot less daunting with the help of a fantastic new company called Melon holidays. They specialise in holidays for single-parent families in the UK and abroad.

During the Easter holidays, we were invited to try out a Glamping holiday in Lancashire.

The Hamlet - Melon Holidays

Sunday 1st April

We headed north up the M6 to Lancashire for our adventure on Easter Sunday. On arrival at Salmesbury Hall, we were greeted with friendly reception staff who informed us about everything going on in the hall during our visit.

We headed through the grounds to find our Shepherds Hut and pod. Being a larger than average family the normal family (sleeps 4) wouldn’t give us all a bed so the pod close by enabled the older children to sleep comfortably. The Shepherds Hut was well equipped with a shower room and central heating. There were double bunk beds which comfortably slept 4. Plus electricity and USB points to charger phones or similar.

Once settled in we headed to the hall for a tour with Betsy Bumblebee, it was a very light-hearted but informative. The older kids loved hearing more about the history of the property.  We then headed off-site to get dinner. The weather wasn’t too kind to us so we didn’t really have a chance to set up a BBQ. Plus I wanted something quick and easy after travelling.

Single Parent Holiday
Melon Holiday’s – Glamping Accommodation

Monday 2nd April

After a settled nights sleep, we headed to the Hall for a pre-booked delicious cooked breakfast with some other single parent families that were also booked on this holiday. It was lovely to have a relaxed breakfast with other families not having to worry what others may think of you as you are all in the same boat so to speak.

The weather still wasn’t on our side, we even got snowed on during our walk to breakfast. Once we had had breakfast we headed into in Samlesbury Hall for a Storytime, Treasure Hunt and Craft Morning with Betsy Bumblebee. The kids giggled along to the story before we headed around the hall in search of the picture clues to complete the treasure hunt. Whilst the kids searched and explored the hall, it was lovely to have a grown-up conversation with other adults. Once the hunt was completed, it was time for a craft activity for the kids to cut, stick and create to their heart’s content. Then Betsy Bumblebee herself checked the kids treasure hunt answers and gave them a little Easter treat.

single parent holiday
Activities at Samlesbury Hall

During the afternoon we decided to head off sight, to visit my sister who lives locally for tea. If you are staying in the Hamlet at Samlesbury Hall, they give you a key to the outer gates so you don’t have a curfew and come in once the Hall is closed to the general public.

Tuesday 3rd April

We started off taking our time and chilling in the Shepherds Hut, plus making the most of the power shower (this and the toilet alone has me hooked on Glamping rather than trudging to the shower block on normal camping holidays). Once we were sorted and ready to take on the day, we explored the adventure playground and let the kids be kids and get muddy.

This day was definitely the best day weather-wise on our trip. Meaning we had could explore every inch of the grounds including the Bee Centre and other animals on site.

Then in the evening, we lit a fire as the sun went down and created the most special memories of the holiday.

As the kids told me they loved this holiday and were enjoying time with Mum being switched off of technology. Yes, I am that business mum that spends too much time on her phone! Our last night left me feeling calm and relax, just what a holiday is all about.

single parent holiday
Fire Pit and Hot Chocolate Time


Wednesday 4th April

Our final day and time to head home, we took our time to pack. The kids played hide and seek in the grounds and then we headed on our way home.

Before we arrived at The Hamlet, Melon Holidays sent us full details of local places of interest to visit. Plus a full list of things going on a Samlesbury Hall. This means that parents can plan activities ahead. I like to take one day at a time when we’re away but it was lovely to know what was going on locally too.


Melon Holidays have Glamping Trips to Samlesbury Hall, The Hamlet: 27th May29th July26th August21st October

Plus trips to Malta: 26th July20th October
Majorca: 25th May12th August19th October
Tenerife: 26th May15th July20th October

Disclaimer – We were offered a holiday in return for an honest review, all thoughts and photos are my own.

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Little Pickles Markets Goody Bags

A Day in the Life of A Market Organiser – Promotion Day

The Daily Life of a Little Pickles Markets Organiser – Market Promotion Day

I first became an organiser after seeing how much fun it looked when, as a new mum, I attended a market as a buyer. I have been organising markets now for 5 years in the Hampshire area. I have a girl of 7 and it fits perfectly around family life, school runs and my other part-time job.

A typical ‘Pickles’ admin day begins with the school run. Once that is done, I come home and get myself a cuppa! I sit at my desk and prep for the day. This begins with making a to-do list! (Lists are life after all😉)

Once that is done I will complete admin tasks at my laptop and printer. This includes things like printing leaflets for future markets, emailing information to sellers, replying to enquiry emails or filling our sought-after goody bags!

Once that is done, and I’ve ticked the things I have completed off with a big green ✔️ I will sit down for lunch away from my desk and either read a magazine or watch the TV for half an hour. This is when I will quickly complete any family life admin like making dentist appointments or ordering shopping online.

Market Promotion

I usually schedule my visits to venues after lunch so I can add it in with the PM school run. So once lunch is done I collect together what I need, including my important to do list and set off. These visits can be anything from delivering advertising, putting up a banner or meeting a new potential venue.

Once I have completed these tasks I head off to collect my little girl. I love the fact I can be there for the school runs and I know she does too, especially if it’s a day I bring a treat! It’s a comfort to know that I can also reschedule jobs when I am needed to collect her if she is poorly. It is so flexible I really can fit it around family life.

Written by Clare our Portsmouth, Wickham and Chichester Organiser

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Market Day

A Day In The Life Of A Market Organiser – Market Day

A day in the life of a Market Organiser – it’s Market Day!

As soon as I wake up my mind is on the market.  I post a reminder on a few local Facebook pages and then go through the things I need to take with me. I’m very organised so packed my bags last night, but my 3.5 year old son has a tendency to remove items and add strange household objects and toy cars to it! My son stays with my husband on Market Day but it won’t be long until he can come along and help me which is one of the things I love about my job.

I arrive early to the venue to prepare the hall. This is quicker at some Markets than others depending on the size of the venue and if we supply tables or not. Turns out that putting up 6ft tables is a great workout!

I’m always prompt to let the sellers in as I know how eager everyone is to set up. I tick each person off as they come in, direct them to where they need to be and answer any questions they have. I absolutely love chatting to the sellers while they set up. I get such a buzz organising and managing events (control freak!) so I’m totally in my element at this point. 

I really enjoy wandering around the hall to see what fantastic items people have on offer at such low prices. I have to exert self-control but usually buy something for my son; you can never have too many cool t-shirts right? (Especially when they’re from Next, in perfect condition and only cost £1!) 

I genuinely find it odd that so many people still buy everything brand new from shops. I’ve always shopped second hand and it just makes sense – you’re saving money and reducing waste. Maternity and baby items are only used for a few months so they’re often still in perfect condition once parents have finished with them. Little Pickles Markets give parents and grandparents an opportunity to make some money back on these items and clear some clutter from their house! 

Before long, excited Buyers are queuing outside the door, peeking through to see what they’re going to make a beeline for! Some buyers come armed with a shopping list, others are just on the lookout for a bargain. 

The sellers are excited too and there’s a real atmosphere building as I open the doors to buyers who come flooding in. I can’t give them their change fast enough! Before I know it, the hall is packed and there are clothes and toys flying everywhere. 

There is a constant flow of people coming and going – bags bursting and trips being made back to the car because they can’t carry any more!

Buyers leave with huge smiles on their faces, telling me about the bargains they’ve picked up and how much money it’s saved them; their excitement is infectious. 

In no time at all the last few buyers are leaving with their arms full of bargains and the sellers begin to pack away. I walk around and speak to each seller – most are thrilled as they have a lot less to take home and have made some money! Lots of sellers also book for the next market to sell the rest of their items. 

I tidy up the hall, take down the signs and banners and make my way home feeling pleased that I organised such a great market, gave people the opportunity to sell their unused and unwanted items and allowed other parents and grandparents to pick up some bargains. I can’t wait to show my little boy what I bought for him and tell my husband how much money I saved on it! 

Written by Vicky, Hedge End and Southampton Market Organiser


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Weymouth Sealife Centre

Octonauts Shark Mission

As a family we like to head out on an adventure. The Little Pickles love fish and other ocean creatures. Weymouth Sealife Park is always a fantastic day out. And this Easter the Octonauts have returned and are on a special Octonauts Shark Mission.

At Sealife Centre they will be recruiting young ocean explorers to take part in an all-new, deep-sea adventure as Octonauts: Shark Mission runs until Sunday, April 15.

Join Captain Barnacles, Peso, Dashi, Shellington, Professor Inkling, Tweak, Kwazii and Tunip in a thrilling quest to uncover the secrets of the ocean’s most jaw-some predators.

Octonauts Shark Mission

Come face-to-fin with Weymouth SEA LIFE’s fascinating family of resident sharks – from guitar sharks to black-tip reef sharks – before meeting some of your favourite characters from the show, including an exclusive meet and greet with Shellington available only at SEA LIFE, and his Octonaut friends.  

Help the Octonauts crew solve the mind-bending puzzles of the mystery tanks and find out which sharks can live to be 400 years old, which sharks can smell a single drop of blood in an Olympic size swimming pool and why some sharks have skin as rough as sandpaper.

Visit Professor Inkling’s colour lab, take a special dive of discovery with Dashi and follow instructions from Captain Barnacles to make a shark puppet.

Honorary Octonauts and their families can capture their special day in the Octonauts photo area for a treasured memento of their magical marine expedition, while all children will receive a personalised certificate signed by Captain Barnacles to take home, as wellas a Shark Mission pop badge.  

There’s also plenty on offer for older kids, couples and adults, exploring sunken cities, looming shipwrecks and mystical underwater caves brimming with weird but wonderful creatures, from octopuses and turtles to stingrays and starfish.

Octonauts: Shark Mission runs at Weymouth SEA LIFE from 30th March – 15th April and is included in the usual admission price, with tickets starting from £14.50 per person.  

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