31 weeks – our first family road trip

This week has been crazy fun/busy. We set off to Pembrokeshire, Wales on Saturday, which is around 5 hours from London and we were both really dreading the journey. Hubby because of the long driveNs me due to my back and we were both concerned about A and how she’d cope with being cooped up for such a long time.

The plan was to set off super early to avoid traffic getting out of London, but since we’d had a later-than-expected night (catching up on Game of Thrones!) we actually ended up leaving an hour later than planned. Mr A is a lot more relaxed when it comes to time keeping than I am, but even I wasn’t too bothered for a change. It was a beautiful day and I was just glad we were getting away. Thankfully the traffic was still light and we made it out of London in record time. As we were so worried about A we’d planned on making as many stops as needed along the route but after the first half hour in the car she fell asleep and didn’t wake up until we were approaching Bristol, about 2.5 hours into our journey.

We decided to make a quick stop in Bristol, just to stretch our legs and let A have a little run around. We actually ended up spending just over two and a half hours there! The weather was beautiful and we found a lovely spot in the park and we figured the running around would tire A out for the next leg of our journey so hopefully she’d go in for another nap.

Getting back on the road the second time was a little tougher, we’d been spoilt by our stop over and the weather was glorious so being in a hot stuffy car wasn’t great! It was the start of the Premier League season (football) so Mr A was happy to listen to that, I on the other hand was not but since he was driving I figured it would keep him distracted and happy! (But I’ve concluded that football commentators might just be the most annoying people on the planet)! The drive into Wales is stunning and although there was a load of traffic leading up to the toll booth, the Severn Bridge and the views on either side made up for that. We decided to take another stop, this time for about an hour and then finally made it into Haycastle, Pembrokeshire around 7pm, which made the whole trip about 9hours!

The hubby booked a barn conversation for us to stay in, with one bedroom, through-kitchen lounge area and bathroom. The three of us slept in the double bed easily and comfortably, but the two sofas in the lounge could have easily accommodated two more. I’m pretty sure we were offered a travel cot but declined however when we have the next one it might be necessary but the space would still be fine. I personally thought it was the perfect size for a family of 4 with children under 5. The barn was located in what seemed like the end of the world. It was a 20 minute drive on the most beautiful and scenic country roads and the only other properties in the area was another slightly larger barn (the milling barn) and the home of the couple who owned the properties. Otherwise we were surrounded by acres and acres of land. The couple own a small farm with pet pigs and hens and have an enclosed space with a large pond which we were welcomed to roam around in.

It was only a short break, 3 nights, so we wanted to squeeze in as much as possible without exhausting me. On the first night we drove down to the local beach, Newgale, http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/explore-pembrokeshire/beaches/newgale/ and had a quick walk around. It is a sandy beach but it’s backed by a pebble bank formed after a BIG storm in 1859. Unfortunately we went when the tide was coming back in (always be sure to check tide times!!!) so it was entirely pebbly but nonetheless stunning! A couldn’t run around due to the pebbles but we still managed a good half hour walk before heading back to our accommodation for dinner.

The next day (Sunday) was crazy busy. We wanted to do as much as we could as the weather for Monday was predicted to be very wet. We started the day with a visit to Picton Castle and gardens followed by a trip to Haverfordwest Town Museum which unfortunately was closed but we still spent about an hour wondering around the outside and finally we made our way to Marloes Sands beach which was a bit of a walk, and I recommend not taking a pushchair as we did, but was absolutely stunning. We spent ages just writing messages in the sand, dipping our feet in the sea and just being amazed by the natural beauty that surrounded us. That evening we decided to drive down to Fishguard and have dinner at the halal Indian restaurant Jeera

It was a crazy busy day and we got back to the barn about 10pm but it was fantastic. We had a really good night sleep and we’re ready for the next days adventures.

Monday was also our anniversary so we were hoping to do a nice afternoon tea in St Davids. We headed to the town and decided to start the day with a visit to St Davids Cathedral Built upon the site of St David’s 6th century monastery St Davids Cathedral has been a site of pilgrimage and worship for many hundreds of years and remains a church serving a living community. Unfortunately as we entered the cathedral the heavens opened up and it started to pour. After two hours of wondering around and a quick tea break the rain still hasn’t stopped so we decided to head back to our barn rather then risk being caught out in the downpour. We knew that A would want to run around and use up some of that toddler energy so it didn’t seem fair to take her in the car or in a child seat in a restaurant. We decided to watch an early evening movie and play at home before heading out to Somethings Cooking My husband had heard great things about this place and had been talking about it all trip. I like fish and chips as much as the next Englishman but I have to admit this was probably the best I’ve had in a while. I really enjoyed all the food we had throughout the trip. We had breakfast at the barn every morning but ate out or ordered in all our other meals.

We started our return journey the next morning post breakfast and with only one stop for lunch we made it back to London around 4pm. Although we’ve travelled to Malta and Glasgow with A, she was under 6 months at the time and they didn’t really feel like family holidays. In some ways they were easier as we’d just strap her in her sling and head off anywhere we wanted but this time, with A being 15 months and mobile, we really had to factor in her needs. Holidaying with a toddler is certainly challenging but it was probably my favourite trip to date. We packed our days as fully as we could but also, as anyone with children will tell you, we had to be flexible so we won’t too disappointed when inevitably our plans changed. It helped that A was in a really good mood throughout the trip and didn’t have a single tantrum. I was expecting the journey to be a nightmare but somehow she slept or was amused with food or her books and toys. I would always advise to factor in an additional half hour to 45 minutes when doing anything with children.

So now that I’m 31 weeks pregnant it’s unlikely I’ll be able to go away again. Although the drive wasn’t as bad as I expected (I advise you take a pillow for any long trip!), I’ve spent the last few days since being back feeling really tired and not been up to much at all. I do still try and do a walk every day but some days it’s only for 15 minutes. I’m not sure if I felt this tired with A, I remember being bigger and more active, but I think with my low iron levels in this pregnancy I definitely feel more tired. Of course I’m also breastfeeding and running around after a toddler so I’m sure that’s really zapping my energy levels. I’ve got my 31 week appointment with my midwife on Monday so will do a post after that, hopefully they’ll let me know if my iron levels have improved.

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