Readers will know we have embarked on a few getaways this year. We have journeyed to Wales, Spain and Portugal thus far. Latest on our list was the one and only Butlins in sunny Minehead. Despite some of the more exotic destinations on our travel list, I must say this is one I was probably most excited about. We were invited to stay during ‘Tots Week’. A week with non stop activities aimed at the under 5s. So with the promise of endless fun and children’s entertainment I had visions of happy children making for happy parents. With excitement however comes great expectation so I was cautious to quell my excitement and keep some degree of level headed dread about the week. After all when did the new holiday #goals become kids rides, little tykes cars and Red Coats? It’s not like we were jetting off to sit cliff side in Santorini necking champagne.
That said, I have said it before and I will say it again, Butlins is not to be sniffed at. Don’t knock it until you have tried it. It is not the place you might remember or picture. Comments on my Facebook and Instagram posts throughout the week show that this pre conceived idea of Butlins remains strong. People were genuinely surprised at the quality of our accommodation. At the picturesque setting and high standard finish. Once again we stayed in the new style chalets and I would challenge anyone to find fault with them. They are bright, spacious and tasteful. Importantly for us however was the outside space. We could open our patio on to a large grassy area and a pretty man made lake, adequately fenced I might add. The best bit about this, was allowing our children to run around outside. We had a beautifully sunny day and after a busy morning of keeping the children happy we decided an afternoon in the sun was in order.
There we sat, outside, playing skittles, cards, watching the children playing with their scooters and bikes as we enjoyed something cold and bubbly. We watched our children make friends with our neighbours, we made friends with our neighbours. It was a gorgeous day and we had achieved the goal happy children happy parents. It gave me a glimpse into my future, a bitter sweet glimpse. I saw the future where my children go off and play with friends, like minded beings of their age, preferring their company to mine. It was exciting yet terrifying. Over and above all though it was heartwarming to watch. My son, my once poorly boy was in and amongst it. Laughing, running and playing with the best of them. To see his enjoyment made me smile from the inside out.
This wasn’t all he threw himself into. When we last visited Butlins some 9 months ago, he was still just a bum shuffler. He couldn’t walk and was left behind, often on Nanny Pat’s knee or watching from the pram as his sister ran off with her cousin onto the rides or the park. Now however he was a force to be reckoned with. He has found his feet and he ran from one activity to the next. He threw himself into everything, went ‘up in da kkky’ on the airplane ride and reached new heights as he climbed to the top of slides.
This was my boy, my once poorly boy who was unable to breath or feed without assistance, who ‘failed to thrive’ or grow, who failed to meet milestones and who’s health and functionality was always tested and in question. He was well and truly thriving and loving every second of it. There was nothing he didn’t do and he followed his sister everywhere and on everything. I couldn’t be prouder of the children my babies are becoming.
I watched them freely mix the playdoh colours in the arts and crafts (no they’re not allowed to do that at home, yes really), dance at the tots disco, play in the parks, the little tykes towns, ride the train, play with the 2p machines and sit and read in the pop up library- it all gave me the warm fuzzies, because they did this together. They lapped up everything tots week had to offer as a twosome as brother and sister actually enjoying each others company and it made me smile from the inside out. It’s not just the little ones who can be entertained either. Yes we were here for tots week, but there is a great indoor pool that suits all ages, bowling alleys, go carts, high ropes, bars, pubs, restaurants – you name it there is something for all ages.
The best part though, my daughter, for now, remembers it. Every day since I have asked her what she would like to do today and everyday she has said ‘go boughtlins mummy?’ . The brummie in her is starting to show already. I said in my previous post that I spent many a summer holiday in Butlins and I knew just how exciting the prospect of a holiday there was to a child. I do believe it is already growing in my two year old. She already associates it with a place of fun, something to enjoy and look forward to. It makes me so happy to think that I (granted, with the help of this huge holiday park) am bringing this same level of excitement and pleasure to my daughter, that she too will have something that she is eager for and loves to do each year. That her and her brother will feel like the luckiest kids in the world counting down the days until they go ‘back to Butlins’. Yes I am speaking from experience here. I see now why my Nan did it, why every year she took me and at least 4 other grandchild along those windey roads to the Minehead coast, she did it for us. I love her for it and I hope to do it for my children. I hope to give them the memories she and Butlins gave to me. Memories to hold and to treasure for a lifetime.
So once again, Billy, it has been a pleasure and we can’t wait to see you again soon.