Did anyone else sort of want to cry when it was Back to School time?
Admittedly, 80% of this was because of all the early mornings in my near future. But part of it’s also because I’m so very aware that this summer is likely to be one of the last completely ‘carefree’ holidays we’ll have.
This term Flea has started Year 10, which means we’re diving into GCSEs. She’s had long chats with me, and with her Dad, where we’ve told her this is where our expectations of her really start to change. This year we expect full effort, good study habits, more independence.
So it makes sense that our summer was about none of those things. We relaxed, we didn’t study, or talk about The Future. We just enjoyed spending time together.
We kicked off the summer with a bit more hockey for Flea. She’s had an odd hockey season, moving to a school with a very established hockey team, and no goalkeeping coach, so she’s missed out on opportunities to play, and develop her skills.
But what better antidote to all of that than the opportunity to spend the day with the England hockey team keeper, Maddie Hinch. Flea had a full day of expert coaching and inspiration, plus the chance to meet loads of other young keepers. Flea had a fabulous time with MH1 Coaching, and we really recommend it if you’re a young keeper. Added bonus – Maddie might just sign your glove!
After the coaching, we booked a very last-minute short break. I wasn’t sure where to go, but I got a great deal on 5 days in the Italian Lakes and we had a great time.
It was really hot in this part of Italy, and we loved spending time on the Lakes. There are several tiny islands on this part of Lake Maggiore, and we loved exploring the tiny cobbled streets, and wolfing down hot slices of fresh pizza. If you’d like to know more, check out our Italian Lakes review.
From Italy, our summer break continued with a week in Scotland with the family. There were 20 of us this year, and I always feel happy that Flea gets to experience a bit of what it’s like to be part of a bigger family.
When Flea was younger she was very close with my brother’s kids, but as they’ve got older, they’ve all got busier. It’s hard to spend time together. This holiday was a great opportunity for that, and I think it does Flea so much good to have those relationships.
Check out our full post about it here.
There were long days at the beach, nights spent by the fire, and plenty of time to just enjoy the peace and fresh air.
Honestly, the week was a challenge for me, in some ways. Usually Flea spends 3 weeks of the summer with her Dad. It’s essential because her school holidays are 9 weeks long, and that’s a LOT of time for me to not be at work.
This year, Flea’s Dad got a new job over the summer, which meant he basically couldn’t see Flea at all.
So work/life balance was a bigger than usual challenge. In Scotland, there was a lot of getting up at 7am to drive 15 miles to the nearest WiFi hotspot so I could get work done. I was dealing with a really aggressive and difficult person at work, and it wasn’t helped by my entire family chipping in and telling me that I needed to be more assertive and I should really just tell them where to go. Tempting, but not helpful!
I was tired and cranky. Flea was 13 and hormonal. We bickered. It wasn’t great. But we survived, and as the summer went on, I got into a better routine.
We got home from Scotland and almost immediately headed off for two weeks at the TUI Atlantica Sensatori resort in Rhodes (full review). Our resort was a short hop from the pretty, ancient town of Lindos, and we had great fun hiring a car and exploring the island.
Flea loved the chance to lounge by a selection of gorgeous pools. To be fair, I didn’t mind this either, and managed to get through no fewer than six books during our two weeks away.
But lest you think we did nothing but lounging I can reassure you that Flea’s appetite for terrifying water sports remains intact. There was jet skiing, parasailing (eek!) and even a weird inflatable spinning thing that got towed behind a speedboat. I still feel quite lucky to be alive.
So there you have it. Summer 2019 was definitely one of our busiest summers in a while, with different trips and places to go.
Hopefully next year I’ll be able to manage work better, and without the complication of moving house, we should be able to plan our travels much earlier.
Overall, though, it was a blast. The older Flea gets the more I think I just want to make great memories while we can.
How was your summer?