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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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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First Family Holiday

Packing for your Little Pickle’s first family holiday.

Packing for your Little Pickles’s first family holiday

Do you remember the time when you used to book a spontaneous long weekend or holiday and could throw a few things in and travel with just hand luggage? Well, those days are just a distant memory as you embark on holidays with your little pickle…and the kitchen sink in tow!

It’s an exciting time when you decide to take the plunge and leave the security of your own home, with everything in its place, and embark on your first family holiday; but that first time can also be overwhelming as you deliberate on exactly what to pack.

The age of the child can make a difference to what you pack and what becomes an ‘essential’ but here we share our top tips on what to pack for your first holiday with a weaning baby.

Feeding Essentials

If you have just started your weaning journey then you’ll also be supplementing your little pickle with breast or bottle feeding too. Luckily you can pack your boobs but for the bottle feeders amongst us then there’s a few extra essentials to remember!

    • Bottles & Teats
    • Sterilising tablets or sterilising bags

 

  • Ready made formula / powder to make up as you go (remember if you’re flying and taking this in your hand luggage then pop it into clear bags as per usual liquids – security will allow liquids over 100ml if it is for babies, but it will still go through a security search)
  • Milk powder dispenser pots are perfect for the journey as well as days away from the hotel

 

Top tip! For the journey – take or make up enough feeds, plus a couple more, in case of delays.


Food and Weaning Essentials

Plan your baby’s food around the number of days you are there and take enough for each sitting – then add a few more! We recommend taking pouches where possible and lots of snacks. Of course there will be food available, but let’s face it the majority of babies are fussy, so to rule out your baby going into starvation mode then take what they’re used to and cut out one element of stress whilst away. Breakfast is usually the easiest as it’s a home from home; cereals, toast, fruit – ideal if you are baby led weaning – so you could skip packing the breakfast items.  

  • Cup/Beaker
  • Baby bowls
  • Baby spoons
  • Spare pots to keep snacks and leftover ‘pouch’ food in
  • Resealable freezer bags to keep leftover food in or used spoons/pots
  • Disposable bibs – saves on handwashing and also lightens the load on the return
  • Cover all bibs – especially for those baby led weaners!
  • Washing up liquid to wash cups and bowls up (we told you those carefree days were over!)
  • Most hotels provide highchairs but you may want to take a travel seat or a highchair ‘insert’ to ensure that baby won’t slip from side to side

Top tip! Take more food and snacks than you’ll think you need. And remember to pack them for easy access for the journey to your destination!

Travelling and Sleeping

When you’re away, it’s hot – hopefully – and you are likely to go exploring so a pushchair is an absolute must have. A lightweight umbrella fold stroller is the most ideal to take but consider whether your child will be happy and comfortable in there for long periods of time. If you want to eat later than their bedtime, the pram is likely to double up as a portable bed for a few evening hours. A large lightweight muslin cloth can be used to drape over the pushchair to stop beady eyes gazing out at the entertainment (do be careful – ensure it is lightweight and allow for air to flow through).

Dependent on the hood on your pram, you might also need to pack the sun shade/parasol to keep delicate skin out of the sun’s blazing rays.  

A baby carrier – it may not be used when you reach the end destination, but it’s super useful for the airport/transfer part of the journey, giving you a free hand to pull the extra cases and to find passports/boarding passes quickly.

You may want to also consider a travel case if your pram is of a high value – airport handlers are known to chuck items about – even those marked ‘fragile’.

Don’t forget to book a cot or travel cot with your accommodation – we would then recommend taking your own sheets. If your baby has any particular toys in their cot at home, take them along with you – it helps to have something familiar to them on their home away from home

  • Lightweight stroller or babies usual pushchair
  • Pram case
  • Parasol or sunshade
  • Large lightweight muslin
  • Travel sleeping bag
  • Baby carrier/Sling
  • Cot sheets and linens
  • Familiar toy/blanket

Top tip! A travel sleeping bag is well worth taking, you can get your little one ready for bed before you go out in the evening and then do the ‘pram to cot’ transfer when you get back – no need to redress or cover them.

Hot Holiday Clothing Essentials

So you’ve imagined yourselves lapping up the sun, but now the day’s getting closer you’re starting to think more practically. Remember those carefree holidays we mentioned? Babies aren’t great in the heat, so you can wave goodbye to hours basking in the sunshine around the pool. But no fear, there are many ways to keep baby cool in the heat and ensure your first family holiday is memorable for all the right reasons!  

  • Sun lotion/block – Factor 50. Check the UVA rating on the packaging has 5 stars (or at least 4)
  • UV swim suit/swim vest and sun hat with neck collar
  • Night time babygros/PJ’s – likelihood is that the air conditioning will be on in the room and, so it will be cooler than back home
  • Lightweight dresses / trousers – linen is a lovely cool fabric. Make sure that they are not too tight – nothing worse than a hot and bothered baby
  • Swim nappies – if you plan to be at the pool every day then plan to take at least four nappies per day. There’s nothing worse than a ‘code brown’ and it’s even worse when it’s from your child!
  • Float seat – babies are like eels at the best of time, so to ensure no nasty accidents happen in the pool, pack a swim seat to allow them to bob around safely
  • Pool toys
  • Pop up UV tent – takes away the worry of baby being out in the sun as you frantically search for some shade, this way they can relax inside with their toys or enjoy a nap, whilst you enjoy a few rays
  • Magicool / Water spray. Pushchair fan

Little Pickle's Holiday

Top tip! If you have room in your case, take a small paddling pool with you. It’s ideal to have by your sun lounger with a little bit of water for baby to play and splash about in and keep cool


Other Must Takes

  • Baby monitor
  • Wet wipes – ideal for wiping sandy hands and melting icecreams, as well as wiping down tables and highchair trays
  • Antibacterial wipes / gels
  • Toys
  • Travel changing mat
  • Travel adaptors
  • Travel wash – take a few tubes! For weaning babies, there’s sure to be some of the orange stains on bibs, collars and sleeves – don’t leave them to grow mould during the week, put them into soak and hang out in the sun
  • A mini chemist – calpol, thermometer, saline drops, plasters, rehydration sachets
  • EHIC cards
  • Comforters and/or dummies
  • Nappies
  • Nappy sacks
  • Sudocrem
  • Moisturising creams – the pool chlorine can dry out skin
  • Rug for baby to lie/sit on
  • Camera (and charger) to snap all of your happy memories

Top tip! The sunshine is amazing at bleaching out stains from clothes and bibs so be sure to make the most of the rays.

Lastly, and the most important, be sure to enjoy your holiday and make the most of being away from your everyday life. For the little things you may have forgotten, don’t panic – you will be able to buy most, if not everything, whilst you’re away.  We wish you a happy holiday!

Written by Jess from Prosecco Mum, you can follow her on all the socials below

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