A plethora of challenges

How has your summer been, friends? It feels like yesterday that I was wiping away a tear at being handed Big’s registration card as she left Pre-school. I feel like I fell asleep and missed a chunk of the holidays. They’ve whizzed by.

Sleeping is not something I’ve been doing much of, though. Medium has always been a tricky sleeper. Ever since she was tiny, she’s bed hopped in the middle of the night. This has never bothered us. She would just snuggle up and go straight back to sleep. In the last month, this has changed drastically. She wakes several times a night and just screams. She’s awake – it’s not a night terror – but there is no reasoning with her and, as yet, we’ve not found a way to calmly settle her. She can be up for hours, intermittently screaming, crying and settling. A nasty ear infection and perforated ear drum hasn’t helped. That, coupled with her insistence that she can’t fall asleep unless I’m in the room, is both worrying and exhausting.

I had successfully employed the Gradual Retreat technique when she insisted on me being in the room some time ago. I will brush that one off and try it again, but discussions with the Health Visitor about the midnight screaming haven’t really helped. She believes it’s associated to Medium’s developing imagination and awareness of her dreams. I’ve bought books to read to her to help her understand this, but I don’t hold much hope. I don’t hold much hope of ever sleeping again. I’m averaging between three to four hours a night and I can feel my grasp on reality slipping a little. I made a cup of tea this morning, then swiftly threw it in the bin and put the teabag in the dishwasher. It’s amazing how your ability to function deteriorates along with your sleep.

Alongside employing sleep training techniques with a very stubborn Medium, I’ve started my journey back to health and fitness. I’ve joined Slimming World and the gym. Dieting with a side of sleep deprivation is hard. My body is crying out for chocolate, crisps and caffeine to get through the day but, as yet, I’m staying strong. It’s fine to fall asleep in yoga though, right?

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A plethora of challenges

Family friendly breaks: review 3

Chris Rea famously sung that the road to Hell was the M25. I raise him the A303 in the summer holidays. It took us seven and a half hours to reach Devon. We left at midday, and I’d booked Tesco to bring holiday grub to our cottage at 7pm. By 5pm, I’d phoned the owners who promised to pop our order in our cottage. I hadn’t expected to arrive and find it completely unpacked and put away, but quickly realised this placed me closer to my much craved glass of wine quicker than expected. Phew.

This summer, we booked a fortnight at Long Furlong Holiday Cottages (http://www.longfurlongcottages.co.uk) in the Hartland Peninsular, Devon. We love Devon. It’s our spiritual home. I just wish it was easier to get to. Once there, we quickly got over our terrible journey, though.

We chose Long Furlong because they had amenities for the kids and for us. Big loved the playroom, which fortunately was directly opposite our cottage. We could sit on the terrace with a glass of wine while she and Medium played. They both loved the pool (a large indoor  thats 1m in depth throughout and a wave pool outside). We loved the spa and both had several lovely treatments – my facial was one of the best I’ve ever had.

Long Furlong is ideally located for several fabulous beaches. Our favourite was Sandymouth – miles of golden sand and fabulous rock pools that were deep enough to swim in!

Days out included several trips to the Milky Way – a theme park with just about everything. From rollercoasters to archery lessons, birds of prey demonstrations to a Star Wars memorabilia exhibition, this place is diverse and vast and our girls loved it.

We loved walking around quaint Covelly and gaining inspiration at RHS Rosemoor. Our gardener looked a bit worried when we talked about our plans for a vegetable garden.

And what of our cottage itself? It was comfortable and clean but plastic flowers and an electric rather than a real log burner did make it feel less than five star. We asked for a clean half way through our fortnight and it took persistence from the owner to persuade the cleaners to do so. All said though, we wanted for nothing and enjoyed our family bubble.

Family friendly breaks: review 3