Completely unrelated to my obsessiveness with blogging, I’ve always struggled to switch off. Back in the pre-baby day, my mind would be full of a million work thoughts…it would be hard to slow it down when the out of office went on and invariably took over a week for me to relax. Nowadays I have the same problem and just can’t relax until I am forced to, akin to someone throwing my iPhone in a river.
But last weekend was different. There was no forcing me to do so. On Friday we travelled up to London and then onto Edinburgh with my partner’s family to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. For some reason, I switched off. I left my phone in the hotel room. I waited a little before charging it again when the battery completely died. Instead of snapping photo after photo, I enjoyed the weekend. For those few days, I didn’t think about my job or my blog – I laughed with everyone, I chatted properly to my other half and watched as Emma bonded with her family. I wondered why I don’t do this more – sometimes I need to stop and just be.
I was so excited when the family announced we were going to Edinburgh as I had only been on a fleeting visit once before. There was so much I didn’t know about the city – around every corner was a little more history; I loved rambling around and finding out more. We managed to pack quite a lot into the weekend as well as keep the 4 older kids entertained in the process…there was quite literally something for everyone. So here are just a few of my highlights:
Open Deck Bus Tour to Hollyrood House
To start with, a group of us went on an open top bus tour around the city and were driven through the Royal Mile and onto Grassmarket, where people would be hanged decades ago. It was quite shocking when you recreate that image in your head that it was here that thousands of people would gather round to watch a hanging, as a form of entertainment. It got me thinking about London and where this would have happened, something I’ve never thought of. My brother-in-law mentioned that it was Marble Arch and that the bodies would be taken to a mass grave in Farringdon. We went to a little coffee shop called Deacon’s Cafe which was steeped in history surrounding Brodie Deacon who was a cabinet worker but also a secret burglar. Afterwards we headed to Hollyrood Palace, which was beautiful and so very grand. It was interesting to walk around and find out more about the palace that I knew nothing about, but is where the Royal family often have stately meetings. We all found it hilarious that we rode the bus on the top deck, as we admitted that in London and Brighton we always laugh at those ridiculous tourists who insist on sitting on the top deck when it is freezing! But I’m glad we did as Edinburgh is so hilly and the view from a higher point is worth it.
Bonding with Family
My heart just melted a little more than I knew it could, seeing Emma bond with her family. I could see that she knew her grandparents after spending our week together in August and she just adored the one-to-one time. I didn’t have grandparents who lived near me during my childhood and I saw how important this is for young kids. Grandparents always take that little extra time to just talk to kids and enjoy time together, rather than us parents who keep worrying all day long! I feel like a stuck record saying this, but Emma’s love for her brother is just like no other. So many times over the past 4 days, I have felt so lucky to have him; starting with him jumping onto the back seat to feed her dinner while we were stuck in a traffic jam on Friday night, to holding her without question when she was upset.
Breaking the Routine
If you read my blog regularly, you probably know already what a stickler I am for the routine. Bedtime is at the same time every day, which is great until you want to enjoy some time away! As we approached the Edinburgh trip, I was so worried about Emma getting in the way of the plans for the family and having to be in the hotel room with her away from everyone else. I’m not saying that in ways that didn’t happen, but this weekend really showed me that I don’t need to be so worried about it. Emma is so adaptable and by the end of the weekend, she had already changed to taking a longer nap so she could last all the way to the end of dinner at 8:30pm. What a little trooper!
Everyone Together At Last…
This one will always be the number one highlight – it was amazing to get all of us together (a group of 14!) and spend quality time together catching up. Especially for my other half, it gave him the chance to really chat to everyone as we haven’t been making enough effort to socialise with our friends and family. We both agreed that it was a wake up call that we need to change this. My other half’s sister also organised a professional photo shoot so we could give the grandparents pictures of all the grandkids against the Edinburgh backdrop – it was an inspired idea and I can’t wait to see them. The weekend also made me really excited to head over to Australia; for ages I have been daunted by the journey. But actually I have to remember that it’s so much more than that.
The Caledonian Sleeper Train to London
For a while now I’ve been wanting to try out the sleeper train and this weekend it was time to put the dream into action, as I travelled from Edinburgh back to London Euston on the Caledonian Sleeper train. I arrived to a little cabin with a bed and little table for my bags. It was tiny but very cosy and had everything I needed to get a good night’s sleep. At first I really struggled to get to sleep due to the noise and the motion made my stomach churn very slightly, but soon enough I drifted off and the sleep was pretty good! At 6:20am I got a knock at the door with my breakfast and soon enough we arrived in London, well in time for me to go to work.
So the weekend was different. There aren’t as many pictures of our weekend together as a result but it was wonderful to be together, and feel really welcomed into my partner’s family. I’m glad I switched off this weekend – it was important that I enjoyed the time away and took a break from all the things that usually fill my mind day and night. And now I’m back feeling more refreshed than ever, looking forward to our next trip away!