As you might be able to tell from my lack of posts so far this week, it’s a busy one! I have so many things I want to write about but no time to actually get writing. However one thing that I wanted to make sure I wrote about, before we got too far away from Christmas, was two wonderful trips we had in December. The first (this post) was to Newcastle the weekend before Christmas and the second (my next post hopefully) was a trip to Disneyland Paris, the weekend after Christmas.
On Friday 18th December, the girls had already broken up from school the day before and so we had a fairly lazy day. However we packed and got ready to go away, setting off for my mum’s house around 6pm. There we met up with my partner Chris, who had just finished work and was leaving his car there and the four of us set off on our weekend away. We were staying in a Travelodge in Newcastle (technically Gateshead)and it was one I hadn’t been to before so I was excited. I vowed to not get stressed with the kids and really enjoy this family time we had near Christmas! The journey is a fairly long one, about 3 hours, but we broke it up by stopping for a Burger King dinner at a services on the way. This meant it was about 11pm when we got to the Travelodge but the lady on the desk was wonderful and friendly, meaning that even though it was late, check-in was stress free.
We pretty much headed straight to bed and so in the morning we didn’t bother to set an alarm – just getting up when we woke naturally. Chris headed down to collect the Breakfast boxes, while the girls got dressed and I jumped into the shower. I have to admit to being a little disappointed with the Breakfast boxes – I’m sure there are people out there who like that type of thing (like a Graze box I guess) but for us they were just too much fruit/nut/seed, especially on the first morning.
On the first morning there was only one “Good Morning” box left and so we had three “Rise and Shine” boxes. The contents of the Good Morning box were better than the other – having Cornflakes and milk, orange juice, a Nutri-grain bar (strawberry) and a blueberry muffin. The “Rise and Shine” box on the other hand had a heavily seeded, fruit and nut muffin, with an almond and something cereal bar, a yoghurt and some orange juice. Needless to say we didn’t eat much – Lily had the blueberry muffin and Megan had the cornflakes, while Chris tried a bit of everything and left it. I didn’t even attempt anything as I just knew I wouldn’t like it. Though this was a big disappointment, I have to admit it was the only one of the whole stay.
After getting dressed, we headed out in the car, down the road two minutes to the Metro Centre. Here we planned to spend the whole day, even meeting up with Amy for part of the day. When we arrived, it was easy to find short term parking so we entered on the ground floor and started to wander around. Since we’d not really managed breakfast that morning, we treated ourselves to fresh pretzels and that was amazing!
In the afternoon we wandered around the top level of the shopping centre. However when the girls got tired (and Chris wasn’t feeling 100%) we sat down for a coffee and to catch our breath. After a while Amy and I wandered off to Primark together and left the girls with Chris. Eventually we headed back and sat down again for a short time. We decided what we were going to do next and since it was almost time for Amy to leave, we said our goodbyes. I headed to the car to drop off the bags and Chris took the girls into the nearby arcade. Though we aren’t big into gambling or anything, we do love our 2p machines and the girls love anything that spits out tickets!
After killing some time in the arcade (and spending plenty of money), we cashed in our tickets – the girls very kindly got Chris a Pac-Man tankard) – and headed back to the Travelodge. Here we all just lay on the beds and chilled out for a while. The girls claimed their free half an hour of wifi on their iPads, I read and Chris played on his phone. Eventually we decided we should eat dinner and so we headed out of the Travelodge again and went to the nearby TGI Fridays (literally a 2 minute walk).
Despite the fact it was a Saturday night, TGI’s wasn’t too busy. They fitted us in to a nice booth and we got a lovely server who made balloon animals for the kids and gave really good service the whole night. Going to TGI’s is a real treat for us as at home our nearest one is at least an hour away. It was nice to spend time just chilling out, enjoying a glass of wine (because we walked) and eating amazing food.
After dinner we were full and tired and so glad to not be far from the Travelodge. We walked back, the girls got changed for bed and then lay there playing on their iPads for a little while. I read again and Chris played on his phone and once we felt our food had gone down, we all went to sleep.
Again in the morning, we just woke when we woke naturally. Chris went for the breakfast boxes and this time we all managed to get the “Good Morning” boxes. This meant that Megan and I could both have cornflakes and Chris and Lily could have blueberry muffins. Sadly Chris was the only one to like Strawberry Nutri-Grain bars too so we just packed those to take home with us, along with some of the orange juice that was left. We packed up all our stuff, checked out and headed to the car. We’d have a lovely weekend away and the Gateshead Travelodge was so close and easy for the Metro Centre (and TGI) that we would definitely go back again!
We headed home and stopped for lunch at a services on the way. It was a lovely weekend break but it was good to get home too!