The next big event in our new lives as parents was the first trip away from home which was early in May. Although we’d said life wouldn’t change once we’d had George, we didn’t literally mean nothing, we weren’t that deluded & knew that somethings were always going to have to change to some extent. One of my huband Rob’s passions, & something I’ve grown to love too, is his car & we regularly attend a number of car shows around the country with a fantastic group of people from UKSO (find them on their website/forum & facebook amongst other places!). Japfest at Castle Combe was the first big show of the year for the club & was set to be the biggest gathering of Toyota Starlets since we’ve been on the scene (which is a while!) so we were keen to go & make it down there in the car that Rob had spent much of the winter building! Normally its a one day job with us leaving home at 1:30am, driving almost 200 miles to Castle Combe Circuit meeting other members on our way down, spending the day at the show & then setting off to drive home again at about 4pm. Its a long, long day & certainly wasn’t going to be practical with an almost 12week old baby!
The first issue we hit was packing. What on earth were we going to need to take with us?!? We’d never travelled overnight with a baby, let alone away for an entire weekend! What clothes would we need? How many nappies? So many questions! To be honest, we completely winged it & figured that if the worst came to the worst then we’d just end up having to buy bits & bobs whilst we were away. I have no idea what we ended up packing but I do know that we probably ended up taking far too much & didn’t use half of it! Luckily, as I was still breastfeeding & not embarassed about doing so in public, we didn’t need to worry about sterilising bottles or expressing whilst we were away. I think that would have been a step too far for me. To be honest I think that’s one of the main reasons I’d continued to breastfeed, I’m too darn lazy to bottlefeed because of all the work washing & sterilising!
We’d decided to book into the Travelodge at the final meeting point of the convoy so we could stay overnight on the Friday. It was actually quite nice as it meant we had a nice lazy day, taking our time heading down & taking breaks as & when we (or George!) needed to, we even managed to pay a visit to Bicester Designer Village. Once we’d made it to the hotel, we checked in & decided to head out to get some tea. Due to getting lost trying to find TGI Fridays, which was supposedly only about 8 miles away, with a sat nav who had no idea how to find it we ended up getting back to the hotel at about 10pm. We then ended up chatting to some other people who had travelled down for the show meandning we finally ended up getting into bed at about midnight!
Then we hit the next problem(s)… The travel cot. And the hotel room.
Not something we’d even thought would cause us a problem. George has been a very contented baby, slept in a cot since he’s come home & occasionally co-sleeps but we’ve never had a problem with his sleep. He was in his little sleeping-bag, just asleep & we put him into the travel cot, exactly as we’d do with his cot at home. All was going well. And then we turned the light off. And he woke up like a shot. I should probably explain. Unlike a lot of people, we sleep with the curtains open at night meaning that there is always some degree of light coming in through the windows whether its street lights, car lights, moonlight or sunlight in the morning. It works pretty well at home at the moment because it means he doesn’t wake up the second someone accidentally turns the big light on in the bedroom (I’m looking at you Rob!) or the minute the sun comes up. The hotel room had curtains which, seen as it was a ground floor room, we’d closed. It turned out they were blackout curtains. And George wasn’t happy with the whole situation. Whether it was the darkness or the fact he felt so far away from us in the travel cot I have no idea but luckily we had previously co-slept & the hotel room had a decent sized bed so we ended up bringing George in with us where he settled instantly. So my first tip, if you’re going to take your little one away, perhaps have a test-run with the travel cot & blackout blind first!
We woke up & met up with the convoy when they arrived at the services then we all headed towards the show. I’ll not bore you with the details but we had a fantastic day watching a variety of track sessions, drifting & looking at a LOT of japanese cars! Then it was time to get back in the car & head up to Wales to visit my Mum. We knew it was going to take us a while to make the journey because there was no direct route. We made a stop to feed George & whilst we were in the services the heavens opened which meant we ended up sitting the worst of storm out which delayed us by a good half an hour on top of the time George too to feed. We got pretty wet getting George back into his car seat seen as it had to be fitted into the back of a tiny 3-door car but we got back on our way.
Then we hit another problem, George decided he’d had enough of being in the back of the car on his own, he’d had enough of his ear defenders (yes we made him wear ear defenders in the back of the car!), he wanted his Mummy & went into meltdown. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, I’d just get in the back but the back seat was covered in luggage. This resulted in us moving George into the front (no airbag, don’t worry!), me driving with my hand on his face when I could & Rob ending up in the back. So, tip 2 would be to really think about how you’re packing the car & where you’re going to sit if you’re doing a long drive. Then we realised the battery was going to die on both phones before we got to my Mum’s. Could anything else go wrong?!? We switched one phone off & plugged the other in to use as sat nav but the charger just wouldn’t keep up with what the phone was using. We finally got there after much hilarity with the phones, sat nav & getting lost in the back of beyond but we arrived to family, an amazing, homecooked meal & a beautiful house! George even spent the night in his travel cot until about 5am when he settled in with us.
We spent most of Sunday pottering around the house & we decided to head home late afternoon. The drive home was pretty uneventful & we finally got home at about 8pm. Still a long weekend but, for the cost of a travelodge room & tea at TGI Fridays, I definitely think it was a better way to do it than to try & do it as a day trip. It meant we got a nice long weekend away too!