Life changes a lot when you have a baby. Correct. Your priorities change for sure, and you have to adjust many of your previous lifestyle choices and opinions. However, there is one thing that I was just not willing to give up. Holidays! Now, I’m obviously on maternity leave and not working at the moment which means funds are very tight and I don’t have money to be throwing around, but no matter what my situation in life, I will always find a way to get myself some sort of a holiday. A break away from every day life and a breath of fresh air.
We had a little mini holiday this weekend actually. By “holiday” I mean we went away for one night down to my auntie’s mobile in Courtown. Some wouldn’t call that a holiday but for us it was such a lovely break away. We went down on the Saturday afternoon and left all of our responsibilities behind (well, except for the baby of course). We relaxed, we laughed, we had a couple of drinks (one white wine spritzer for me in between feedings), we got a take away, watched a movie and stayed up late. It felt like a little holiday. We even dressed Billy in his “holiday clothes” which were the cutest shorts and t-shirt combo that his grandad Alan bought for him. This is before we left the house, sun hat and all. I think he looks like he’s about to go to a festival like Oxegen haha.
We had a ball and Billy actually slept beautifully. We decided to bring the bassinet part of the pram (I have the Mothercare Expedior) as it’s like a Moses basket and it’s super comfy. He had a great night’s sleep and we decided that it must have been the Wexford sea-air. The other great thing about a little last minute ‘trip’ like this is that I’m breastfeeding so there was no need to even think about packing bottles, measuring formula and sterilising. It’s so handy.
Speaking of sea air, we had another little adventure on Monday afternoon actually. Daddy Byrne was in work but myself and Billy went off for the day with his Nanna and Grandad to visit his great grandparents in Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow. It’s such a gorgeous place. We had a lovely lunch with them and then we had an impromptu stop off at Greystones beach. It was so gorgeous with the waves lapping up against the rocks. Billy’s first time at the beach. It all got a bit exciting for his Nanna who loves the sea so much that she jumped in wearing her clothes. She had a lovely swim and a cold journey back to Dublin in wet clothes. She still wanted to stop for an ice-cream though. I was never going to argue with that. We had such a great day and again it had that holiday feel because it was somewhere that we wouldn’t go to every day, and it had all the elements of a seaside day out – ie lots of laughs, a trip to the seaside and icecream.
When I was nineteen I was working in The Olympia Theatre part time while studying for my degree in UCD. I wasn’t working much and a shift was only ever about three hours in the evening time, but I still managed to save for an amazing trip to New York to go to my auntie’s amazing wedding. I am the world’s best money-saver when it comes to holidays and to me it is so worth it to just save save save when it’s going to result in a fabulous holiday experience. I just keep my eye on the prize and save whatever I can once all the bills and essentials have been paid. Now that we’re renting our own place it can be difficult to save anything some months. After rent, food and bills there isn’t much to play with, but if it’s for a holiday I will find a way to save even a tiny bit to make the holiday a reality. It could mean saving €10 a week for months and months but it all adds up eventually. I’ll try to cut back on other things or make my money stretch further in any way that I can. I’ve been known to do some crazy thrifty meal planning in the months leading up to a holiday, and this strategy can half the food shopping bill. I’ll make one pot meals, or meals that last two days and use up lots of leftover vegetables in the fridge and freezer so that nothing gets wasted. For example, I did just that yesterday when I made a big Shepards Pie using lean mince, fresh vegetables like courgette and carrots, and the ends of a bag of frozen peas and frozen sweetcorn. No waste, dinner sorted for two days, and it’s delicious. It’s win win.
I’m not the type of person who spends much money on clothes and I’m also not really interested in going out drinking every weekend. A night out and a trip to River Island could end up costing you what your flight for a holiday would cost, and quite frankly I’d rather have the holiday.
Myself and my boyfriend have been lucky enough to have had some amazing holidays together over the past five years. We’ve been to New York, Las Vegas, Portugal, Spain, London, Lanzarote and Leeds to name a few places. We love our holidays. I remember when I first fell pregnant I genuinely had a little moment where I wondered if “that” part of our lives was over. People would talk about having a baby in terms that suggested it was very much the end of certain parts of your life. That I agree with, but I was never going to give up holidaying without a good fight. I quietly hoped that we would have many happy holidays filled with great memories with our little boy but I knew that it would probably be well over a year in to his life before we managed to make a first holiday happen.
And then came a random Sunday night, when I was about 36 weeks pregnant. We were snuggled up watching tv ( I say snuggled but in reality my boyfriend was having his usual evening love affair with Football Manager, laptop firmly snuggled on to his lap) and he turned to me and casually mentioned an Aer Lingus flight sale. Ten hours later I was sitting at my desk in work printing out our holiday itinerary. It was such a buzz for me. The funniest part was that I had just booked a holiday for a baby that hadn’t been born yet, that we didn’t know the gender of (we did, but we lied to the world because we are cruel), and that didn’t have a name (he did. Again, very cruel). And so began the process of booking a seat on an Aer Lingus flight in the name “Baby Byrne”. This gave me such a laugh.
Anyway, what happened was that I had managed to save a couple of hundred euro to help me financially while on maternity leave where my income would just be the state paid maternity. You know, a little extra here and there as some fun money away from the boring bills. It was sitting in my bank account and I thought “feck this, I want a holiday”. I wanted to go on a “family holiday” like the ones you see in the movies with the couple and the little baby. You know, the one that makes you broody and makes you want to book flights for babies that don’t technically exist in the world yet.
So there you have it Baby Byrne, you’re a rockstar who had a holiday before you even had a name, and on the 27th September I’ll be proudly saying your name as we stroll around beautiful Feurteventura. You’ll be 3.5 months and you’ll be with your mammy and your daddy, just like the families in the movies.
This post was part of a Holiday Learnings Linky with the lovely Clorines Wonderful Blog. Click this lovely image to find her post and some great tips about holidaying with a baby.