This year has by far been the busiest year to date on all fronts. We kicked off 2019 with a business class trip to Thailand with our friends to celebrate a wedding and ten days in Bangkok and Koh Samui. Thailand is one of our favourite places in the world, the last time we visited was for my 30th, six years ago!
We had a few other trips planned throughout the year, Disneyland with the children, a yacht in Palma, Mykonos with our friends and Puerto Banus for the whole month of August.
We have been planning a full house renovation and extension after getting full planning permission two years ago, and this Summer was the perfect time to start while the children were on their six week Summer break. The work started on 1st June so we had a full eight weeks of living in mess, dust and dirt. By the time it was 1st August, we packed up our suitcases for four weeks and headed to the sunny costa del sol!
Not only was it tough having to do my daily routine juggling the children, work, and deep cleaning every night after the builders had gone, but also having to pack for a whole month for the four of us was a huge task. Making sure we all had everything we needed was stressful as I didn’t want to risk forgetting anything we couldn’t buy in Spain, so here are my top 5 tips of packing up a family of four for the Summer;
Check in an extra suitcase
I added an extra case onto our flight booking which I used simply for all our full size toiletries and electrical appliances such as Paul’s shaver, my hairdryer, a portable DVD player to name a few. On the plus size there was also extra room to fill it up with any new purchases I wanted to bring home.
Bottles of Fun
I packed full size hair and beauty products in my extra case as I didn’t want to take travel size items that would run out after one week. Its important to feel that you have all your luxuries while you are abroad because I have never found a Boots The Chemist or a Afro-Caribbean salon to buy the same UK brands I know and trust.
Four divided by Two
It is impossible to pack for a full 30 days, so I packed the equivalent for a two week stay. We all had one full case of just clothes which would then be washed and ironed to wear again for the last two weeks. I packed just enough socks, underwear, bikinis and clothing for two weeks for all four of us which just about fit neatly in the cases.
First, Second and Third Aid
Always make sure you take a mini pharmacy with you so you’re prepared for any accidents or allergies. I stocked up on calpol, a first aid kit, piriton, painkillers and the boys medicated prescriptions for their eczema. I am not a confident flyer so I bought some CBD oil and passionflower tablets to take on flight. I even packed mosquito repellent plugs!
It can be a worry to think of everything to pack for children to keep them happy and entertained, so we took a portable DVD player with their favourite movies to watch and the ipad for games. In addition, I also let the boys fill a rucksack full of their favourite toys to take on the plane and to play with whilst we were away. We had a concoction of wrestling figures, books, trains, cars and power rangers! With Rocco being at school and doing after school activities, I also purchased some educational workbooks on phonics, maths and spelling so he could do 20 minutes of homework every other day, which would then be rewarded by going into the pool in the villa to swim and play.
All of the above really helped me plan and get organised for our holiday and we were all set to go on our adventure. Our villa in Puerto Banus was stunning, five minute walk to the harbour, shops and restaurants and we had our own private pool and rooftop sunbathing deck. We hire a nine seater Mercades Vito for the month and a two minute drive from La Quinta which is a stunning neighbourhood littered with multi-million pound estates, golf courses and more fantastic bars and restaurants.
The next four weeks were spent with our friends and family visiting us, and taking them to some amazing places in Spain, including lots of fun activities for the children. We didn’t want to come home! With the last bits of renovations happening back in the UK we were in contact with our builders via face time daily and didn’t feel too much like we were that far away.
All good things have to come to an end and its was soon time to head back to Manchester to see our brand new house. We had our builders, decorators, DIY team and domestic cleaners all giving it a final 60 minute makeover on the morning we arrived to make sure the house was spotless on our arrival. It was fair to say we were overwhelmed and so happy to be home once we saw our beautiful home.
Blood, sweat and tears had gone into this four month project and we finally got to see the finished results. We are so proud of our team who helped us create our dream home, and now it was time to enjoy it, in peace, with my little family.
Home Sweet Home