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So the summer holidays are nearly over and the kids are getting ready to go back to school. It’s a big one for my little girl as she starts school for the first time…. Feeling old is an understatement but I’m also incredibly proud. We always knew Tristan would be fairly good at school, he’s a calm character with a great sense of humour. His sister though is entirely different…… She’s independent, stubborn and has a temper the Incredible Hulk would be proud of. I’d  like to publically wish her new teacher good luck and notify her my phone will be switched off between 9am and 3. 45pm each day so if you need to, call her Mum!!
It’s quite depressing going back to work after a holiday, so I thought this a perfect time to reflect on the amazing time our family has had….

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We started off with two weeks in Tromsø in the North of Norway (well I say we, I had to stay at home for the first week where my diet consisted of pasta, dried cereal and grapes but that’s a whole other story). My partner is Norwegian and our two kids are half Norwegian so it was an ideal opportunity to catch up with the family. Norway is beautiful. It’s so relaxing and no one ever seems to be in a rush…. A perfect combination for me! We spent the time fishing and eating and as a family we had an amazing time. There were no disasters and nothing to complain about…. then we arrived back into England and things changed: WARNING – RANT ALERT.
Now we had no option but to fly into Gatwick late at night…. It’s a long trip from there home, especially with kids, but we had no choice. “It’ll be ok” we thought. As soon as we landed I knew we’d have problems. The queue for Passport Control was HUGE. We were literally lining up around those stupid zig-zagged barriers, outside the airport and we weren’t moving. It took us nearly as long to reach the check point as it did to fly from Norway. Yes that’s right, I could have boarded a plane and flown to a different Passport Control in a different country in the same time as good old Gatwick let us pass. And the reason for this delay??? Well basically there were only two people doing the checks. TWO PEOPLE!!! I would estimate there was about 1000 people trying to come into the country and two people were there to facilitate this….. Genius! What makes it worse was this was 1am. It wasn’t a busy time. There weren’t many flights due in and surely it’s pretty straight forward to foresee the number of people coming in…. An aeroplane can only hold so many and the flights are booked months in advance.

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So generally a cock up! So along with the nightmare of getting the luggage, finding the car and the journey back we eventually got home at 4.45am. The relaxation from our holiday had been ruined! But never fear, we had decided a long time ago we’d also treat ourselves to a hot summer break and we were booked onto another flight 2 days later to Zante in Greece.
An opportunity to get some sun, darken our pale skins and recharge. This time we were organised. We’d booked the flight from the local airport just 30 minutes away and the transfer to the hotel was just an hour. What could possibly go wrong?…..

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Roadworks!! Aaarrgghhhhhhh the bane of my life. Now I’ve come to accept that there is NEVER workmen actually working at these locations. I genuinely believe the signs and blockades are put up to ensure patient numbers in psychiatric wards don’t diminish….  Road rage must be the number 1 reason for admittance to these places.
Well some genius decided to close off the access roads to the airport. That’s fine, the were diversion signs. Bright yellow signs that helpfully direct drivers down an alternative route to get to your location. However, may I suggest that if you are going to use these signs you don’t stop half way. That’s right, the signs stopped. None to be found. We ended up driving around the Leicestershire countryside desperately hoping to see an aeroplane landing nearby so we could follow it to our target. A diversion that should have added ’10 minutes’ to our journey did in fact add an hour. And this wasn’t an amusing hour of us chuckling to each other about the hilarity of the situation. This was 3am. This was an hour of a tired, stressed and panicked family with 2 kids starting to wish we’d booked Butlins and stayed in bed.
Anyway, eventually we made it and luckily the car parking was easy and we made it in time.
The holiday was amazing. An average of 32 degrees and we spent most the the time in the pool and in the sea. My 4 year old daughter learnt to swim without a float and my son found a whole new audience to discuss football with (not to mention a new kit).
The hotel was great and the staff were fantastic. They were so good with the kids and it was everything we could wish for:

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In fact I’d  really like to share the details as I would happily recommend them to anyone: Di Palai Hotel

Finally our holiday was over. We headed back to the UK with tanned skin and a smile on our face. The flight was great and we were due in at a decent time……  Then guess what??? Yes that’s right Passport Control struck again. It was even worse. We were queuing out almost onto the runway. It was Gatwick all over again.

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It was horrendous! Even the kids with their amazingly entertaining Trunki Suitcases were getting fed up.
We got through and made our way home.
Overall, our holidays have been great. I fully recommend families making the effort to get away whenever they can. Life is stressful and no matter what goes on at work or in life remember what’s important and spend time with those that matter. But my one piece of advice? Avoid British Airports. They are set up to disrupt and I’m starting to wonder if that’s the plan to ensure we go straight home to book another holiday to get over this one. I might be overly suspicious but no one service can be THAT incompetent so regularly surely………….

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