Category Archives: Holidays

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Post holiday blues

By last Monday I was relieved that we were going home. The post holiday blues were already kicking in this was before we had four rounds of sickness and diarrhea and only one bathroom with toilet in a small living space.

When I got onto the plane I was glad to see the back of Spain. Post holiday blues

One month in Spain most people would swoon at the thought but this time around I was counting the days to coming home at the end of week two.

The first week and my whole body felt like it was disintegrating I was definitely the carrier of this infestation but put it down to the flight, tiredness and my IBS.

Post holiday blues
Post holiday blues

Week three and I was done.

Was it the menopause fighting back, holiday sickness, spanish malaria?

Or had my body finally realised relaxation?

I don’t understand what that feels like.

If I’m lucky I manage a facial once every two years, a back massage every three and the last time I had reflexology I almost passed out, ‘quite normal’ said the reflexologist, ‘I’ve released all the toxins that are clogging up your body, just drink plenty of water.’

I recollect that feeling of walking on air, nothing bothered, me even when a taxi cab almost drove into me and then promptly told me to go fuck myself, how come this is my fault I breezily said to him, ‘it was YOU that tried to run me over.’

Still, I’m in the land of relaxation, that is what it feels like?

What working mother do you know ever gets real time off let alone time to relax?

At my recent HRT check up the one that involves, blood pressure, weight check and general well being my Doctor said to me in passing ‘you should take a nap in the afternoon’ when I recounted my desperate need or rather desire to sleep because I am always tired.

‘Effects of the menopause’ she said, get a power nap after lunch you’ll be up and running.

Having come back from Spain I completely get the siesta thing, too hot to work so take a nap, every time I hit the sunbed, I was off in la la land into a deep sleep and I have to say it works for me.

Eat, sleep, work but there is one small problem with this scenario I can’t seem to configure thirty minutes for a nap.

I can see myself barricading the office door, setting the alarm clock, DeathtoStock_EnergyandSerenity2because if I didn’t you would find me in the morning, head back, eyes closed in nod land.

I love the idea but can’t see it fitting into a schedule that aims to try to fit eight hours into an already rammed six hour day.

The worst thing about coming back from a summer holiday is that feeling you should have done more or made more of the holiday it’s called the ‘post holiday analysis blues’.

We should have done this? 

We didn’t get to do that? 

Why didn’t we go there this time?

And so it goes.

The weather seems to have turned autumnal and a suntan now sticks out like a bare bum.

For half the year you are desperate for the sunkissed look from fake bake, spray tan and sunbeds then, when you finally get the tan you’ve always wanted everyone stares at you like you’ve got the plague when you walk down the high street.

Then there’s all the stuff you’ve put off until you get back from holiday, bills that need paying, dry cleaning that needs to be collected, school uniform and new shoes for the kids, the ironing that you said you would do before you left for the holiday and now it seems to have quadrupled made worse by the holiday washing.

Relaxation VS Stress

Your inbox is full of emails but it also includes that ominous email from the boss which says something like hope you had a relaxing holiday can we schedule a meeting as soon as you are back in the office.

You lie there worrying what does he/she need to talk to me about, what have I done? Your stress levels at this point have gone from ‘mucho relaxo’ to tense and agitated.

You feel disconnected because you have spent 24/7 with family sunbathing, siestas, long lunches, swimming, eating out and enjoying a cool glass of something, so far from reality it is pure heaven.

Reality bites and the work treadmill starts over, the same routine, the same jobs and tasks.

The roads are overcrowded and unbearable and you don’t remember being in one traffic jam on holiday. 

You are faced with aggressive drivers waving frantically for reasons unknown to you. iStock_000017748204Small

You realise your boss is a complete dick-head and wonder why he is in the position he is in and the national debt can be summed up by your bank statement.

Everything comes into focus because you see clearly, you are relaxed, you question why you get so sucked into the work/life abyss, why does it take five days before you are back in the rut even though after every holiday you swear it will be different this time.

You haven’t worn shoes or socks for what seems an eternity and are used to seeing your bare feet, in flip flops, wedges, or sandals and now the prospect of wrapping those pinkies in socks or tights let alone shoes results in you having to mentally prepare yourself for enslaving your feet in footwear again.

The first time it feels weird, unnatural and uncomfortable.

During the holiday you slept in, or had a siesta, no alarms ringing in your ears no one to disturb you no need to set your life by your watch sadly that ends the moment you set the alarm for work and the school run.

It’s that sinking feeling which usually kicks in two days before you are due to leave for home, it is a mix of sadness and emptiness and for me the last day is awful I feel like my life is over.

Post holiday blues they call it!

It is the last night of the holiday and I’m like a possessed woman,  get those suitcases packed, passports and tickets at the ready, is everything done and checked yes it is!

Keeping busy takes the edge off the misery of leaving.

Back in the UK and I fantasise about what it would be like to win the lottery and give up work for good I’d like to get some hens in the garden so I can have freshly laid eggs, be a lady of leisure with only the school run to steer my way through.

Instead, I get mum what’s for tea, mum I  need a new pair of trainers, mum have you washed my shirt, mum I need a lift to town.

Welcome home, we missed you!

 

The diary of a frazzled holiday traveller or is that holiday travel madness

Holiday travel madnessWe are half an hour from supposedly getting on board our plane to head back to the UK and its the usual holiday travel madness.

I am asking myself as I look up at the flight departure board why have 4 flights arrived and are all set to leave at 12:00 midday so how does that work then?

New game, musical airplanes!

How are you going to get four flights off the ground at the same time, worrying don’t you think!

Now the announcer is shouting for all passengers to Liverpool to get to the front of the queue as the plane is ready to depart.

The public once again are at the brunt of bad communication regarding flight information.

The typical british holiday maker is on show for all to see.

Flip flops, shorts, crazy hats not one of them appear to a have any regard for their safety on a plane. A quick exit requires good robust trainers or shoes not flip flops, ideal if we happen to have an emergency landing on the sand!

They are hot and bothered, flustered and fed up they can’t go any faster through security control as they are reliant on the security men and women who are checking and frisking them!

Did I mention that there are only four security people in attendance to check and frisk 600 potential passengers groovy.

You are too scared to shout at the security people to get a move on for fear of being further frisked in an exploratory way if you get my drift especially as they are now all wearing rubber gloves.

It’s the power they wield over you they sense you are tense and in a hurry yet they couldn’t go any slower if they tried, but the voice inside your head is screaming get a move on.

There is another word I feel I could insert here but for those who abhor swearing I’ll keep it clean.

Now on the plane, the flight attendants shout at you with a smile on their faces and tell you to get a move on, find your seat and sit down as “we will miss our flight slot” as if it was your fault you single handedly caused the plane to be delayed.

Having established myself in the seat, I get stuck with the proverbial passenger from hell.

He looks alright until he flashes his beaming “I had my teeth whitened especially for my holiday so I can pick up a bird and get laid” and he’s wearing flip flops too with feet that look like they’ve been through a mincer then I then get the story of his holiday.

I shut up as I feign minimal interest with a faint smile as he rattles on about his holiday exploits.

He looks at my ipad and ‘says is that an ipad,’ no it’s a toaster I feel like saying what the heck do you think it is.

In front of me I have a family of 6, no I mean 6 kids and 2 adults they are the kids from hell, 6 teenagers both boys who have clearly OD’d on coke and mini cheddars mega super-sized pack who are shouting at each other whilst mum is doing her best to calm her clan down.

How do you get time to have 6 kids, I barely have time to manage 2 let alone 6 of the smiling monsters.

One boy decides to literally climb over me to get to his seat.Holiday madness

Horrified at the thought that I’m going to be saddled with one of these monsters on a two and half hour flight, I glare at the mother, she turns to look at me, smiles and it’s the smile between two women who are unwittingly bonded through the virtue of being mothers. It is the look that says sorry and I know that you know how I feel!

Thankfully I breathe a sigh of relief when I discover the boy monster is actually sitting in the wrong seat.

In the midst of all the shenanigans his lordship my beloved husband whom I might add is sitting with our boys in the next aisle seat thinks it’s sooo funny he’s wetting himself with laughter as its always me that appears to get the short straw.

But guess what I’ll have the last laugh because the passenger from hell seated next to me has alluded to the fact that he doesn’t like flying so when we hit clear air turbulence over the channel I’ll be the one screaming WE’RE GOING DOWN BRACE, BRACE!

Ode to the joy of travelling!

See you in the UK. That’ll be next week then!

 

Ode to cystitis…

Picture the scene.

Cystitis
Too much white wine and holiday = CYSTITIS=PAINFUL

Arrive at Stansted Airport book in luggage not over weight first time ever for me.

Go through security with three cabin luggage bags and stroppy power bitch from hell says “no sir can’t do that, that one’s too heavy, you’ll have to go back and check it in!”

But we’ve just come from the RyanAir counter and they were all weighed and cleared.

Mr M (that’s my husband) decides to make a quick dash to the luggage shop to purchase yet another cabin friendly luggage bag, middle of airport proceed to split weight between four bags.

This now works and we proceed through security with stroppy power bitch spitting nails.

Flight delayed for two hours should have taken off at 06:55am now departing at 08:55.

Heavy sigh good me thinks, time to at least peruse Duty Free.

Mr M: I’m going to get us some tea, coffee and breakfast for the kids.

Whilst we start our breakfast and sip our tea and coffee, I happen to notice on the departure board a change to our flight time.

I quickly enquire with the service desk what the status is on our flight departure.

We are going to board you now says the flight rep and then sit you on the plane for two hours just in case we get an earlier slot?

That make sense then NOT!

Quick dash back to boys throw everything together and run full pelt to boarding gate, proceed to board plane and practically throw cabin bags up the stairs along with two kids to get on to the plane such is the frantic dash.

It makes the 100m Olympic final look sedate.

Once seated I am now unravelling my thoughts and ponder how do I keep two boys entertained for two hours whilst we are on the ground plus the two and a half hours travelling time in the air.

The charge on nintendo and ipods will only last so long!

We finally take off half an hour a head of flight time and land in Jerez Spain. The temperature is a balmy 31° degrees.

Hertz rentacar decide to send us twice round the airport to find our hire car. Mr M who is now feeling extremely tired and weary is not impressed with lazy spanish man and I had to intervene to ensure no punches were thrown.

Finally we find the car despite a tour of Jerez airport which I now know intimately.

Arrive at our flat open fridge door and proceed to down as many cold beers as is humanly possible in less than five minutes.

After which I have my cursory glance of our modest apartment.

Don’t quite remember choosing yellow for our walls on our last night back in August but hell, I am sure the colour will grow on me.

Must have been under the influence of…

Worse is yet to come. No hot water!

You know when you reach that point when you’re tired, you’ve been travelling and you’ve had little sleep…

Right, enough is enough I’m off with the kids and I will stay in a Hotel where there is hot and cold running water.

Mr M “don’t worry honey, I’m a plumber, I’ll fix it”

Me: I’m a f*****g tired and hungry mother/wife, I hate Spain, I’m going back to the airport and going home.

By the way you can sell this c****y flat.

PainIt’s now Wednesday and I’ve managed to lay claim to cystitis and haven’t even had sex yet let alone go at it like rabbits as we’ve been so knackered to do it.

It must have been yesterday’s meal and the two bottles of white that did it.

I’m stuck at home waiting for the telefonica engineer to arrive and upgrade our ADSL line and change the router.

Sent Mr M out this morning to buy, hire, steal a hot water bottle. Couldn’t find the spanish translation for “hot water bottle” so he was forced to gesticulate with various hand movements to demonstrate to the lady in the Pharmacy who thought he needed tampons?

I’m still trying to work that one out.

babs
The tea cost looked my like Babs from the Chicken Run!

Finally he comes home with a hot water bottle which looks a cross between Babs from the film Chicken Run and a tea cosy.

Still it’s doing the trick and and am now counting down the time before my next dose of cystopurin thank god I bought some out with me.

Can you get drunk on cystopurin?

Have spent more time on toilet seat than on bar seat, must have been too much alcohol consumed prior to journey to Spain as I don’t do Airports, flying and travelling with children too well.

Now can’t drink for HOW LONG???

Mr M phones me: the hire car has been broken into and his portable mobile phone charger thingy (well you shouldn’t use your mobile phone in a car anyway) and my younger son’s new red hat have been stolen.

Thought you said there was no crime here. Not a happy man.

Just taken second dose on day one of cystopurin and still weeing (painfully) for England and still no wine.

Bell goes, ha, ha, it’s the Telefonica engineer, thought Spain was manana, manana, they are dead on time.

Now have a new router and even faster broadband.

Well, it worked ten minutes ago now its stopped working AGAIN.

Oh what joy it’s raining…

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Why are holidays fraught with stress?

Why do holidays cause tension and stress?
Holidays are suppose to be relaxing, stress free and tranquil?

What is it about a family holiday that makes it fraught with tension and stress leaving you worn out at the end of it?

I know I am not alone because many of our friends reveal that they too come back feeling they need another holiday to get over the one they’ve just had.

Following a recent vacation to Spain I reflected on the aftermath of the holiday which went something like this.

We were so tired that when the Easter term holiday finally arrived the four of us practically through our luggage on to the plane so desperate were we to head for some sunshine, warmth and rest.

The day we arrived the weather at our destination was warmer than the snow and ice we’d left at London Luton Airport early that morning and as we went to collect our hire car and set off on our journey to the apartment I could feel that tension start to melt away.

The kids were snoozing and listening to their iPods in the back of the car and my husband and I chatted about the last few weeks and reflected upon how nice it was to actually have some time together instead of seemingly passing each other in the house like two ships leaving a port.

And that’s where the tension started.

Silly things like driving the car whilst checking the mobile phone.

At home our cars have hands free although I condone the use of using mobiles whilst driving after all what is so life threateningly important you have to use the mobile when driving.

As the journey continued I became increasingly annoyed with him every five minutes checking the mobile phone for emails and text messages.

And, as any good woman would do, I offered to drive.

Back came the answer “aren’t I driving properly then?”

“No!” came the retort.

Holidays and families = frustration
Holidays result in a high concentration of time with family members. Their habits become very irritating.

Having had an exhausting seven weeks leading to this vacation and having left home at 3:45am naturally I was concerned for the safety of us all and this was in no way being disrespectful to my husband who is a good and responsible driver.

But for god sake what is so crucial that the mobile had to be checked so often.

That was my first disgrace and ‘rebuffment’ for bad behaviour.

When we arrived at the apartment it was clean and in an excellent state we usually have a number of chores that we give our children to do including washing hands, unpacking their cases and carry ons and putting their clothes in wardrobes.

I have a very specific job that is to delegate the tasks, unpack and get the linen and beds made.

Simple right?

Wrong!

Here lies the start of the holiday stress.

Children by their very nature have a selective hearing problem they are excited and want to get out and about they don’t want to stay cooped up in a flat when the sun is shining let a lone listen to a list of orders being barked out by tired parents.

Simple jobs become a marathon and a challenge to complete especially if you are a pubescent 13 year old, an irritable tired 9 year old, factor in a 45+ short of patience, quickly irritated father.

Mr M (my husband) has a short fuse when it comes to patience and is easily irritated.

His impatience was further exacerbated by our apparent lack of speed we were applying to our tasks, myself included.

The best way of describing this scenario is liking it to Vesuvius – a slow eruption emanating a sticky froth building to an almighty explosion.

UN flags depicting diplomacy for mothers who keep the peace on vacation
If the UN gave out medals for diplomacy I’d definitely be up there along with millions of other Mothers who lay claim to keeping the peace on vacation.

If the U.N. were handing out medals for family diplomacy going above and beyond then I’m pretty damn sure I’d be up there I suspect with millions of other mothers for the sheer effort I show gritting my teeth and calming the situation.

I watch in frustration at the way this relationship between my two boys and husband deteriorates into a war of words and a constant nagging to get a move on.

Invariably the tension escalates into a riot of words. Then I ask or rather request Mr M should chilax, ease off and actually leave the apartment and get a beer.

My 9 year old steps in showing overt diplomatic skills and I see a career in the diplomatic service beckoning as he shouts”shut up everyone and just stop moaning!”

I, on the other hand follow Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people and I strongly recommend you read it.

Habit 2: begin with the end in mind and habit 3: put first things first, both seem to strike a chord with me at this point.

By all working together as a team the quicker we get jobs done the quicker we are on the move.

In simple terms it means if you help me I help you and everyone wins.

No one’s time is compromised and no one misses out because we all get to finish and get out at the same time.

This in my house-hold along with the 4th habit “win win” is my utopian ideal. But we are long way from that.

Like many working house-holds in the UK when faced with this large concentration of time, 24/7 suddenly becomes a real challenge to get through each and every day without some part of the holiday home becoming a war zone and maintaining peace and harmony is the equivalent of finding gold.

During a normal week, if anyone has a normal week step up here please and tell me or better still show me now.

Families are on an invisible treadmill of school, work and routine.

The majority of house-holds during school/working week will have some perceived routine. Ours is no different in fact it starts when we leave home at 7:30 with my husband often leaving much earlier than us.

A family holiday means a massive concentration of time together and for the majority sharing accommodation significantly smaller than our own homes.

Factor in accumulated tiredness which seems to manifest itself when you grind to a halt at the start of your holiday = no patience or time for each other so naturally irritability escalates like the national debt.

You really get to see and experience first hand each other’s foibles which during a normal working week don’t appear to be quite so annoying.

Picture depicting a happy family enjoying themselves
Families are on this invisible treadmill of work, school, routine that when a holiday it all grinds to a halt leaving tempers frayed.

My 13 year old tries to take on the role of adult by scolding his younger brother mostly to get him into trouble.

There’s my nine year old who considers winding up his 13 year old brother and getting him in to trouble a national sport.

My husband who just gets irritated when anyone of us talks and god forbid someone speaks when he’s on that mobile phone again.

Finally there’s me. I think I’m the only sane and patient person in our household. (Debatable)

The working school week combined has to run like clockwork in order for the majority of us leave to be able to leave on time in the morning.

Working lives have become a grinding treadmill one that has become increasingly difficult to jump off. Factor in the economic climate and many are working longer and harder than ever before leaving the majority of us exhausted.

When a vacation finally arrives we simply are devoid of giving to each other anything that remotely resembles human decency.

In fact I’m exhausted reading this!

Therefore using my infinite wisdom, I came up with some top tips for great family holiday’s.

  • a successful family holiday should involve going to the same destination but each member of the family staying in different hotels
  • invest in a serious decent set of groovy noise reduction headphones that way you switch off and tune out to any arguments, shouting or abuse
  • make alternate holiday arrangements for the kids like PGL or a kids adventure holiday, that way they can’t be blamed for anything or get in the middle of anything. Better still book yourself into an adventure holiday and learn sky diving or mountaineering
  • leave spouse at home or get him/her to stay in alternate accommodation
  • book the kids into alternate accommodation
  • ban holidays altogether and stay at home that way you can make several day trips and if war should break out only one day is ruined rather than several whilst the family take sides as to who did what to who and when!
  • Finally, leave them all at home and go on your own holiday my preferred choice!

What do you think? Are holidays a necessary evil? Do they give us more grief than rest?

Share with me your thoughts don’t be shy.

Tell me about the worst or the best vacation you’ve ever had?

Was it with the family or on your own?

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