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From the Seychelles to Center Parcs in 5 years

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Once upon a time we had a fairy tale wedding in a castle and a honeymoon in the Seychelles. Beautiful white sand beaches, cocktails at sunset and glorious sunshine. To be fair there was no internet and my husband would have been happier if the local hospital hadn’t been on the next island but in general it was an amazing holiday. This year was our 5th wedding anniversary so naturally we wanted to do something a bit special, but the addition of two little people means that a 10 hour flight to the middle of nowhere is a lot less appealing and a bit too pricey. Instead we went for the less glamorous but much more practical Center Parcs in Sherwood forest. We’ve been before and knew it would be a child friendly, comfortable holiday with a reasonably short drive that potty training toddlers could cope with.

We agreed that we wouldn’t get each other presents as we were spending a decent amount on the holiday, but I found out the day before we left that my husband had been all romantic and got me something as a surprise. Because I never know what to get him I decided to make a cake, although naturally I’d run out of everything so had to make a mad dash to Sainsbury’s.

Apparently the 5th wedding anniversary is wood so I made a rectangular cake and cut it into a number 5. The morning we left involved packing the car and decorating the cake with the “help” of 2 toddlers. The wood effect icing and the ivy were my idea, the butterflies were my 3year old’s.

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Times change and so do holidays but we had a wonderful time as a family. The sub-tropical swimming pool was brilliant, the restaurants had crayons and colouring books for the kids and the wildlife was wonderful for entertaining little ones. At night we sat in front of the fire and just enjoyed relaxing.We had such a good time my son didn’t want to leave. In fact he spent the next week saying he wanted to go back.

I look at the last 5 years and so much has changed. We have two wonderful children, a grown-up house in suburbia and are well on our way to being “middle aged”. It hasn’t always been easy and anyone who has suffered sleep loss from a small baby will understand that it really really really is so much harder than you ever believe it will be. Like most people I always thought parents were exaggerating and that my baby would be different and perfect. But however hard it’s been there are moments when you sit quietly and see how worthwhile it’s all been. I can see the light at the end of the (sleep deprived) tunnel and wouldn’t change it for anything.

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