And just like that – we’re home

Total bookworm book count: 41

Dr Seuss said, “Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened”.

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So, reflecting back on the past 5 weeks, in a freezing cold winter, with piles of washing to work my way through and suitcases to unpack, I’m smiling.  A big, warm, wide smile.

That was a great holiday.  IMG_0323

There are always things that you think, I must remember that.  We should so do that again.  Or I must never go back there.  You often forget them as the weeks pass, so – here are my top tips off the back of this great trip.

  1. Fighting with the small person over writing a journal, is absolutely worth it – fighting her over hair and teeth every day – not so much!
  2. Buy a Life Printer or similar (you’ll find them at the apple store) and print photos to stick in the journal as you go.  It’s small, light and cements memories daily.  It’s also lots of fun. IMG_0475
  3. All churches eventually look the same – so pick the ones that you really must see – the ones that are unique or different and flag the rest.  The churches I remember from this trip are, St John’s Co Cathedral in Malta, Rocca della Madonna in Taormina and the Sistine Chapel.  Every other one has merged into one and I can’t separate them out in my mind easily.  The one’s that matter are not necessarily the big ones, they are the unique ones.
  4. Trying to do too much with a 10-year-old in tow is not worth it – pick the highlights, build in gelato stops, sit in cafes and watch people, rather than need to be doing things all the time and most importantly book hotels with pools and buffets.  Kids don’t need a lot more than that. IMG_2335
  5. The Kobo was worth every penny.  She still came home and just wanted a real book – but we didn’t need to haul 30 odd physical books along with us.
  6. Children survive just fine without TV WiFi and computer games.  In fact, we watched no TV (other than America’s cup races) for 5 whole weeks.  She never played a computer game and the only need for WiFi was for Blogs.  What we did was talk, read and be a family.
  7. Pack cards.  They are small, the games are endless and they can be played anywhere.  Last Card became our go to and by the end of the holiday – Charlotte was a master, whipping both her parents easily.   The competitive streak was hilarious.
  8. Know what you all need and build it in.  Travel in a family is about compromise.  Each day we did something for Mum, something for Dad and something for C.  And gelato – did I mention gelato? IMG_0860
  9.  Diets can happen when you get home. Eat local and eat and drink it all!  It is as much a part of the experience as sightseeing and gelato goes straight to your hips!
  10.  Do it – really – go.  Don’t wait – don’t put it off.  It will still be there – but you may not.  Kids grow and become teenagers, health fades, stuff happens.  Go when you can, make it happen.  It is worth every penny.

The biggest benefit of our trip was 5 glorious weeks in a warm family bubble that didn’t get popped by work, school, life.  We could just be together, have adventures and make memories and that doesn’t happen in everyday life.   That is my magic highlight.

IMG_0438It didn’t come cheap.  And not everyone will be lucky enough to do it – but if the biggest highlight is solid family time away from life’s distractions anyone can make that happen.  And everyone should.

I’m going to make more of an effort to switch off the phone, focus on the family, play cards, read together and just be….

In the meantime – the husband is online – working out the next one…

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Highlights from small heights

“You can find magic wherever you look.  Sit back and relax all you need is a book.”

Surprisingly the end of a holiday isn’t that hard. You adjust to the cold quickly and soon enough work swallows you up and its like you never left. Occupy yourself with the everyday magic of life such as: the last letter in your homework for the day, the call for lunch, the joy of the sight of the ball scoring in the opposing team’s goal, lessons you actually enjoy, snuggles from Mum, licks from dogs and most importantly books.

Home is a place of familiarity and sometimes after five weeks running around Europe that’s exactly what you need. Auckland isn’t as luxurious as the Burj, as historic as Rome and Sicily, as beautiful as the Greek Islands or as interesting as Malta but its home and somehow for me it makes it better than anywhere else in the world.

Auckland fun rating: 11 out of 10.

Charlotte’s two top tips: Hold on to the holiday while it lasts but don’t forget that coming home really is the best part of the trip.

 

 

 

 

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