There’s something lovely about getting away for a mini break. I’m not sure if it’s the utter luxury of not having to make your own bed or cook dinner, or perhaps it’s something simpler – like watching a very large tv screen in a hotel room – but whatever it is, a short change of scene can sometimes go a long way to helping you reset and feel refreshed.
Tony and I have always been big fans of mini breaks. Before we had Milin and Jasmin we loved to head out of town at the weekend and book a rental home by the sea, indulge in a little luxury break, or even spend a night under the stars in our teeny tent. Getting away from home makes you switch off somehow, and whether we were exploring or relaxing, alone or away with friends, we always enjoyed having that time together away from the stresses of daily life.
Since having Milin and Jasmin, we’ve tended either to do full, long weekends away or short breaks further afield. This weekend though, the four of us spent a night at Novotel Paddington in London and Tony and I realised that we must be through the hardest baby years because we can suddenly go away again for just one night and it doesn’t feel like too much work. (This is very, very exciting for us!)
We were treated to our amazing stay at Novotel and while it wasn’t a long way away from home (just a tube ride, in fact), it felt like we really were on holiday. Milin asked me this gem on the Picadilly line on the way there:
“Mummy, what language do they speak in Paddington?”
Which I guess summed up the trip for the children. To them, it was a holiday. It was an adventure. It didn’t matter that we were only an hour away from home. We packed a bag, got on the tube, and went somewhere new.
We arrived to a luxurious suite where treats awaited (the macarons were divine). Tony and I had coffees, the children ate chocolates, and we then had a dip in the pool. We had it all to ourselves, and Tony even found time for a sauna and steam. I felt so relaxed suddenly that it was hard to believe I’d only been rushing around the house sweeping up the kitchen floor only hours ago. When we went down for dinner, I turned off my phone and left it behind. Instant holiday.
I don’t think I’ve stayed in a Novotel before, but the little details were lovely. There were gifts for the children on arrival, the huge bath was amazing, the food in the restaurant was superb (prawn tacos were the highlight), and the view from our room on the eleventh floor was enough to keep the kids happy because they could simply watch the trains go in and out of Paddington for hours.
It’s funny how being in a part of town you wouldn’t normally be in can turn you into a tourist. We spent a morning walking along the canals of Little Venice, holding hands, being silly, and generally feeling happy.
Back at the hotel, the children joined in with Novotel’s Superheroes day and loved every second. It was the perfect end to the weekend – cake-making, mask-making, general hero-stuff – they were very happy.
When we got home, Tony and I realised we’d not said a stern word over the whole duration of the break. We’d not taken Jasmin’s buggy and the children had done a fair amount of walking, but they’d been superstars. We’d not heard a grumble, they’d not played up – life certainly is getting easier as they’re getting older.
We came back rested. (Black out blinds are amazing – the kids slept in, in their own beds!) And we came back relaxed and refreshed. Life has been busy and stressful recently. It’s amazing how just one night away can help you recharge.
*Thank you to Novotel Paddington where we were treated to our stay.