A weekend away without kids vs a weekend away with them!

Last month hubby and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. As it was a big one, we decided to go all out and have a fancy weekend away in London, just the 2 of us. No kids. I get giddy just thinking about it! I know we are lucky to have family close enough to look after them so we can do things like this and this but it is still a pretty rare occurence. Maybe once or twice a year!
So I am going to bore you with some of the details of our luxurious weekend away, and make you a little sick with envy, but hoping to make you smile a bit too!

Travel
When you are going away for the weekend, you obviously need to get there somehow! We chose the train to London.
Train journey as a couple
– get on train, the slow train is fine
– find a seat
– have a snack and drink
– listen to music/snooze/read/watch the scenery go by
– get off train (nice and relaxed)

Train journey with kids
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– get on train – the quickest one available in order to get you to your destination as fast as possible
– try to find somewhere to sit where you can all be together, preferably with a table, where you won’t annoy other passengers or they won’t annoy you
– go to the toilet which will inevitably be as far away from your seats as is possible
– have multiple snacks and drinks
– go to the toilet
– play games
do colouring and other similar activities
– go to the toilet
– listen to “i’m bored” and “are we nearly there yet”
– read the Gruffalo (4 times)
– and yes, you guessed it…go to the toilet
– gather all belongings which seem to have spread far and wide
– finally get off train (already stressed)

Accommodation
Your accommodation needs to be comfortable for your weekend away. Last weekend we stayed in total luxury at the Hotel 41 – which has been rated the top hotel in London on Tripadvisor for a few years and is extremely exclusive!

Hotels as a couple
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– check in at a leisurely pace
– maybe drink some champagne in the lounge 🙂
– go to your room – a nice double room will suffice
– make yourself comfortable and investigate the rooms facilities – tv, mini bar, bathroom etc.

Hotels with kids
– check in whilst trying to keep the kids entertained
– wish you could drink some champagne
– drag kids and luggage to the room – a family room is essential with enough beds for everyone (preferably actual beds not sofa beds as you can guess who will end up on the sofa beds and it won’t be the kids – to be fair its normally Daddy as Mummy gets the joy of squishing into the bed with kids)
– check to see if tv has any kids channels just in case you may end up stuck inside
– queue up to use the bathroom after all the kids have used it
– enjoy the tap water available on, well, tap
– unpack massive suitcase whilst hoping you have remembered to pack pants and pj’s for everyone

Which moves us on nicely to
What To Pack
We took a small overnight suitcase with us to London. For two of us we didn’t need that much.

What to take as a couple
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– spare underwear
– evening clothes
– change or partial change of clothes for next day
– wash bag with toothbrush/toothpaste and deodorant

What to take as a family
– multiple pairs of spare underwear (just in case)
– 2 spare changes of clothes (just in case)
– 2 pairs of pj’s (just in case)
– sensible shoes
– plenty of socks
– wash bag containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, hair detangler, calpol, plasters, wipes, bath bubbles or wash, suncream (you never know), vapour rub (someone always has a cold), nappies, bottom cream and so on and so forth.
– favourite toys/teddies
– books
– entertainment- colouring books/tablets/games
You can hopefully leave the kitchen sink at home…

Things to do
As a couple you don’t have to worry about little legs getting tired, where the nearest Mcdonalds is or where you can find a decent toilet!

Eating out
As a couple
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We enjoyed a lovely meal at the michelin starred The Square restaurant in London
– dine at leisure
– eat fancy food
– enjoy an accompanying drink
– stay out late
– enjoy each others company

With kids
– find a kid friendly restaurant (Mcdonalds is usually ideal!)
– eat at about 5pm
– rush through the meal
– demand people eat their food
– worry about all the other diners
– insist people sit down

Activities
As a couple
– leisurely strolls
– or fast-paced sightseeing
Whatever you really want to do is fine. There are no constraints! Relax and enjoy!

With kids
All activities must be
– child friendly
– educational
– must have a playground
– ideally no shops where little people will demand “stuff” just for the sake of it
Also don’t forget those eyes in the back of your head. No-one wants to be the parent of the child that fell in the pond.

Trips with kids can be super fun and rewarding. But if you are hoping for relaxation then I highly recommend leaving them behind. And relive your past days, when you were just a couple!
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