During lockdown my husband and I were in isolation without our children. It was the longest time that we have ever not seen them and even with Zoom, Skype, and all other forms of modern communication we still desperately missed them. Finally when we all met up we decided we should book a family holiday together as this would be something to look forward to.
Of course we couldn’t agree where to go in the UK or find somewhere that could house all 9 of us. Suddenly I had this lightbulb moment and said why are we going away when we could all stay in Henley-on-Thames and enjoy all that our home on the banks of the river Thames has to offer. And so the idea of a staycation was born.
Everyone loved the idea and so our two daughters ran with it and created an itinerary which was terrifyingly active but did allow the oldies to have the occasional nap!
It was an exciting, exhausting and exhilarating week that has made 2020 a year that we will never forget (as if we could forget it after Covid-19 ripped it apart.)
Everyone arrived on Sunday including our Ocado order which all got eaten over the course of the week.
It was early to bed as Monday we were under starter’s orders at 7a.m.
7.00am and we were all off to our local Nubodi Pilates studio for a group lesson on Reformer beds. The men may have been stronger but us girls were so much stretchier.
This activity was swiftly followed by ‘Garden Games’ and picnic lunch. Boules seemed to be the favoured pastime as I believe a few members of the party were a little exhausted (and sore) from Pilates. Monday evening was Paddle boarding and Pizza (build your own) evening. Luckily the weather behaved for the paddle boarding and we all fell into bed relieved that the next day was a ‘Mindfulness’ one.
Our eldest daughter has a girlfriend, Lizzie, who has recently trained to be a sound healer and she had agreed to come and give us a session. (Follow her on Instagram). I knew nothing about Sound Healing but I can honestly say it was the most meditative and relaxing one hour I have ever enjoyed. If you have never experienced Sound Healing it is difficult to describe it adequately. It affects people in different ways. I felt as if my body was floating and my mind was completely empty. The sound waves are so musical (at one point many of us thought it was a CD) and they travel through your body and if you allow them to they become your focus. I am sure this is a bad description so click HERE to find out more.
Feeling suitably chilled we were relieved that, after lunch, our eldest daughter got us to pick a name (of those present) out of a hat and we then had to paint that person. She provided the acrylics and canvas. It was a perfect antidote to the morning’s event as we were all quite drained physically and emotionally.
A quick paddle board where I fell in (no pics thankfully) when my youngest daughter, who was busy chatting so didn’t see me slow down to avoid a branch, crashed into me. But it was all good fun and no damage done.
That evening we had a Greek evening with an outside chef (Matt Woodley) providing all the themed food. He cooked, served the food and did all the washing up – now that is a real holiday for me.
It was International Dog Day so it was time for a long walk with our two Doodles. Of course it started with breakfast at the Blue Tin Café in Stoke Row, a long walk and then lunch at the Cherry Tree. As it was the penultimate day for Rishi’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme everywhere was packed. Numbers were down on this activity as a few members needed to catch up with their work.
Home to get ready for Margaritas and Fajitas evening sitting around the newly acquired outdoor log burner. We had to dress up – to be honest I cannot remember the theme but it seems as if colourful was somewhere in the title.
It was Boozy Brunch day in the garden and a highlight of the week. Our daughters were throwing the party and had invited amongst others BackPacking Granny, The Page Turner and Jane Gordon.
The weather was definitely on the turn and the sun did not even make a guest appearance for the party. However that did not stop the revelry which was helped with Fried egg & bacon baps, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagels, Bloody Marys & Bucks Fizz and so much more. What a spread!
The afternoon was recovery time as Matt, the chef, was back with Italian evening followed by card games which woke everyone up and got the competitive spirits roaring.
This was a very special day organised by OH. A boat trip on a beautiful Edwardian style boat to Sonning and lunch at The French Horn. However as soon as we boarded the boat the heavens opened and it poured all the way there. However summers in Helford, Cornwall had trained our family to just carry on. As someone said it is never the wrong weather, just that you are wearing the wrong clothes. We had come prepared with raincoats, rugs, alcohol and snacks. The rain did not dampen our spirits and the lunch at the French Horn was so good that by the time we did the return trip we hardly noticed the weather.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY:
Time to chill, a few more card games and a bit more entertaining and gradually the team drifted away. The house is so quiet without them. On the plus side I can find my kitchen scissors, the coffee order is now just one Cappuccino and a Lungo, and I haven’t had to unload the dishwasher six times today. However the fun far outweighed the work and we have so many hilarious memories of the week. In a way the weather made it as we just had to be inventive and throw ourselves into all activities.
On the Sunday we opened Stella magazine and found this small piece ~
Would we do it again? Without a doubt. I think the lesson we all learned from the week was that we have so much to offer in our own houses and the surrounding British countryside, sometimes it is just nice to stay home and enjoy what we have.