Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Our First Family Holiday

It had been planned for ages.  Ever since hubby and I got back from our honeymoon in Florida, we vowed we would go back in 2012, this time with my sister.

Then in June last year, we found out I was pregnant.  It wouldn't exactly be a practical holiday, travelling all that way with a baby, but I was still all for going to Florida.  However, my hubby and my sister conspired against me (ok, common sense prevailed) and we have postponed Florida until next year.  

We had to go somewhere this year.  I find that if we have time off from work and just stay at home, and not plan anything, we tend to just doss about and before we know it, *poof!* 2 weeks have gone and hubby is back at work.

So we thought we'd go somewhere in Britain, a staycation if you will, and settled on Birmingham.  Not exactly exotic, or anyone's first choice for a summer holiday, but my aunt, uncle and cousins live there, and it meant we could visit as we rarely get to see them.  T

Obviously this is the first time we have been away with a 5 and a half month old, and may have overdid the packing.  I packed lots of nappies and outfits, some toys, blankets etc etc.  It was Birmingham, not the middle of nowhere, I could have just bought nappies should we have ran out, but I like to be prepared.  I did all of the driving (my car, my rules!) and we stopped a couple of times to feed the little one.  I had been a little worried about how Samantha would cope with all the travelling, but she took it all in her stride! 

We got to spend lots of time with my aunt, uncle and cousins, which is a miracle as they are usually so busy.  My aunt and uncle are both peripatetic music teachers, and are both involved in orchestras and private teaching, but we caught them on a "quiet" week.  The kids both love Samantha, and it was great for them to see her as she will be much bigger when they see us next.  

Birmingham made a great base for us.  On Tuesday we went to Stratford.  We visited William Shakespeare's birthplace:


Hubby outside Shakespeare's Birthplace

We took a stroll down the canal side, and to the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre:



And we chilled out by the riverside:


On Wednesday we went to the Sea Life centre, and we saw some incredible looking fish! The light wasn't very good and we weren't allowed to use the flash on the camera but we got some incredible pictures of amazing creatures:


We found Nemo!



Then on Thursday we took a trip to Warwick Castle.  It was superb, I really recommend it if you are down that way.  One thing I will say though, is it's quite expensive, so check out the 2 for 1 deals.  We got a 2 for 1 deal through the o2 Priority Moments.  Saved us £22!  


Warwick Castle is very impressive; it sits on 64 acres of beautifully landscaped land. 




We did most of the tours, including the raising of the portcullis:


"Ye will be met with a most horrible death, should ye try and storm our castle"

the Ghost Tour, which was made even more creepy by this guy because he was slightly creepy himself, and told the most wonderful stories:

I refused to go down here tho, too creepy and I'm a big wuss!
 We watched the flight of the eagle show, which showcased all the bird of prey they keep at the castle.  The eagles were flying right above our heads and swooped down over the heads of all the school children who were sitting in front of us.  We were very impressed, these birds are MASSIVE! 





Everywhere we went, we seemed to be followed by one of these big noisy dudes:


And they look spectacular when they do this:


The only disappointment was that we couldn't do the Dungeon tours or the Merlin Tower experience, as Samantha was too young, plus it would add an extra £10 on to our entry tickets.  
After all the wandering about it, all three of us were absolutely shattered.  Well, except for Samantha who managed to sleep her way round the castle! Even through the noise of the peacocks.  

We had a great time, topped off with a balti with my aunt, uncle and the kids on the Thursday evening.  We were ready for the drive home on the Friday, through the stormy rain that seemed to follow us all the way up the M6!   By the time we got home, it was jammies on, and cuddle in, and plan our next adventure:


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