First of all a big thank you to Chrissie at Single With Kids for inviting me along to this Christmas weekend with my children. I have been wanting to try out one their single parent holidays for a while now and this was too good an opportunity to miss!
The weekend guest list included about 35 children and their parents. The setting was Hargate Hall at Wormhill in Derbyshire which is a converted country house that is now holiday apartments with some communal areas. My children and I were very excited as we drove up a twisting country road in the dark and saw the lights of the house ahead.
When we entered the hall we were made welcome by Chrissie and given a choice of a shared apartment on the ground floor or a separate one on the first floor. My seven year loved the thought of climbing the ladder to a mezzanine so we opted for the first floor one.The apartment was well kitted out with a sitting/dining room/kitchen, a bathroom and a double bedroom with the mezzanine over the bathroom:
After getting all our bags upstairs and unpacking the children started to get to know the other youngsters whilst I joined the adults round the main hall fire:
Everyone else had been on an SWK trip before but they were all very welcoming to a new face. Chrissie and Richard served up mulled wine, minced pies and stollen to help us all unwind after our journeys to the house. It was quite hard to get the children to bed with all the excitement but eventually tiredness won the day:
As for me I stayed up chatting with the other parents well past midnight! It was lovely to have real company of an evening and we were quite a mixed bunch by age and background which made for a range of conversation.
The next morning we all awoke to snow which sent the children running out to try out their new sledges. They were having so much fun many of the adults had to have a go including me:
|photo by Chrissie|
We had to retreat indoors for warming drinks and a hot soup lunch before my children dragged me out to do more sledging in the afternoon. We also explored a bit more of the grounds though it was too cold to wander too far. Afterwards we came in to get ready for the highlight of the weekend a Christmas party with a visit from Santa and entertainment from Mr Norman Tinsel a magician. The majority of the guests joined in the fancy dress theme and we all looked very colourful:
Once Santa had given each child a present they were entertained by Mr Tinsel. Some of his magic tricks even had the grown ups puzzled! He also did dance competitions and got us all doing a conga round the hall. A throughly enjoyable couple of hours which everyone but the teenagers seemed to love.
The kids were then fed from a buffet. This was the only negative thing over the weekend as the organisers had experimented with an outside caterer and his choice of food was not enjoyed at all by the children. His adult buffet was better but most people didn't think it was very good. The puddings were delicious but the rest could have been improved on. Apparently in previous years one of the mums had provided the buffet but this was a change that may well not be repeated.
To keep the party going a very impressive karaoke machine was brought out and the children had a great time murdering the songs on the list. Some of us brave adults had a go at rescuing the tunes. My daughter had tried to have some quiet time in our apartment with a DVD but once persuaded back out she spent at least 30 minutes singing karaoke!
The next morning I was invited to another apartment to share breakfast as I had eggs and she had sausages and bacon! It was good to see a larger apartment, this one had 3 mums in it plus 6 children spread across 3 bedrooms. My children were jealous of the tunnel bed on the mezzanine floor. Then it was out for a last sledging trip before digging out the car to go home:
We were invited to share a pub lunch before going but I wanted to make sure I got back well before dark. They were a lovely bunch of mums and dads and my children both got on well with some of the other children. I am going to be keeping an eye on the web site for some holidays in 2011 either camping or in Youth Hostels as I we all had such a good time.
Well done Chrissie and Richard on creating such a great holiday company for lone parents and their children and I look forward to coming again and hopefully bringing some other single mums with me!