This week me and Mr T managed a couple of days away WITHOUT ANY KIDS!! With baby Twinkle due in less than 12 weeks we decided at the last minute to take what will probably be our last chance for some time together and have a mini 'babymoon' before she arrives.
Tinker was heading to the seaside for a couple of days with her dad so we asked Grandma and Grandad T if they would have Totsy for us and fortunately they were more than happy to. We are so lucky to have them, we never have to worry about finding a babysitter and best of all they never make us feel guilty about asking them, they always treat it as if we are the ones doing them a huge favour which is really lovely. Even better is that the girls absolutely ADORE them and so I never have to worry if they are ok as I know they will be having a great time and won't be giving us a second thought.
After some deliberation we decided to head to our favourite UK city, Liverpool. We really love it there and visit a few times a year, if you've never been it's well worth a visit, there is plenty to do, the shopping is brilliant, there are so many places to eat delicious food or stop for coffee and the people there are just so friendly! It is definitely our happy place so seemed the perfect place to spend a couple of days just the two of us.
There are lots of great places to stay, lots of small boutique hotels which are always my preference plus all the big hotel chains are there and we have also stayed in some amazing apartments which have been both luxurious and practical when we have visited with the kids. After a bit of internet research though we managed to get a great deal at the independently owned Hope Street Hotel which was actually the first hotel we ever stayed in together a few years ago and is lovely.
On Thursday morning Tinker was collected by her dad, then we dropped Totsy off with Grandma and Grandad and off we went excitedly, just us two! Don't get me wrong I do treasure (almost) every moment with the kids but getting a break every now and then is such a lovely treat.
We spent our days relaxing, eating delicious food and drinking (hot!) coffee or mocktails (for me) and beer or whisky sours (for Mr T). The Cosy Club (great for any time of day from breakfast through to cocktails and dinner), The Brunch Club (a firm favourite of ours, a visit to Liverpool is not complete unless we eat here), the Salt House Tapas (all delicious but the wild mushroom risotto was seriously good and my marmalade no-jito was gorgeous!) and Rococo Coffee House (lovely coffee and delicious cake) were all fantastic.
It was a really laid back couple of days, because we have visited so many times previously we didn't feel the need to dash around seeing all the sights which was good as at 28 weeks pregnant I'm pretty slow at walking now and got slower and slower as the day went on – plus there was more than a hint of pregnancy waddle! Unusually, especially since I started blogging, I took absolutely no photos (honestly, not even one!) and stayed off social media (oh ok, not completely, there was the odd scan through Instagram!) and the photo below is the one and only snap Mr T got of us but for once it was refreshing to just be in the moment without any distractions or burning need to capture it in a picture.
We did quite often fall into the usual parent trap of talking about the kids, it's impossible not to when they are the centre of our world. But the distance gave us chance to count our blessings, we know how lucky we are to have them and each other.
I am by no means a stress head usually, I think I'm pretty laid back and relaxed most of the time (obviously this doesn't apply to the 20 minutes before the school run or those days when the kids are determined to push all my buttons!) but until I spent a little bit of time child-free I didn't properly realise how I never really switch off. Just walking (waddling) along the street was super relaxing (without constantly scanning the street to make sure the girls weren't running off, walking into people, about to step off the kerb or having to answer questions about why is TopShop called TopShop or how do cars get flat tyres etc) Mr T and I were able to walk along hand in hand and have an actual conversation (rather than just one about whether we had remembered the nappy bag, or one that gets interrupted every two seconds and eventually abandoned!) and relax in the hotel without half an ear listening out for a little person and I have to say it was lovely! Of course I missed the kids (honest, I did!) and when I finally checked my Instagram it was full of families enjoying days out and I did feel a tiny bit guilty (for almost two whole seconds) but time for us was really really nice, just to be Nikki and Dave and not just mummy and daddy!
Spending quality time with Mr T was really perfect, it turns out we still really enjoy just being together and I really appreciate the fact that he was so attentive and didn't even once moan about the fact that at times my walking pace was so slow we were almost in reverse! We walked an average of about 11,000 steps each day which would normally be no problem at all but carrying so much extra weight currently it meant my back and feet were suffering by the end.
Family time is so incredibly important to us but I think (I hope) that we are also pretty good at making time for each other and not taking each other for granted too much, but having said that, of course life is busy and with work, a big family and a home to run our time just for each other sometimes is less than we'd like which is why it was so nice to have some uninterrupted time away together. It will probably be quite a long time until we get away again for a couple of nights but I think we both realised that if only for the next few months before Twinkle arrives we will try to make more of an effort to have a few date nights before breastfeeding and exhaustion make this impossible for a while.
Of course by Saturday afternoon we were really excited to see the kids, and we arrived home just as Totsy arrived. We were super pleased to see her though she was fairly disinterested in us, we just got a smile as we swooped in to cuddle her tight then a hopeful 'Sister?' so she made it pretty clear who she had actually missed! Fortunately Tinker arrived not too much later and again had eyes only for her sister and wasn't too bothered about us!
Before long of course Liverpool already seems like a distant memory and it is already like we've never been away. But the constant demands for snacks, crafts, drinks and general attention are just that bit easier at the moment as me and Mr T catch each other's eye and share a smile above their heads.
*Disclaimer* Just to clarify, the businesses mentioned above are included as my personal recommendations only and (sadly!) I haven't received any payment or incentives from them.