Day 1: The long 4 hour drive.
And so the big weekend for the cottage came. The initial plan for the cottage weekend was to be in March. Unfortunately, Baby Emily and Edward were consecutively down with chicken pox. We had to shift the dates then. Fortunately, we did so as the weather was much more suitable in May. Less cold and definitely more enjoyable for everyone then.
The cottage of seven rooms was to house four families- 7 children and 11 adults for 4 days, 3 nights. Erhm… Unlike E, I am not a fan of communal living. So, days before the big trip, I had my apprehensions and worries(because we had to cook for everyone for one of the two dinners). I was whining to E about the packing and anything that could be complained about. I supposed he took it in good stride or he is able to tune off very successfully these days. Anyways, it turned out to be quite okay and I am so happy to see the children- all seven of them enjoying themselves so much over the weekend. The thing about being a parent, one can no longer live for ourselves. Sometimes, happiness is about seeing someone’s smile.
Days prior to the big weekend, we told the children about our cottage plans and they were sure excited. Ryan, who is older and understandably more sensible started packing the toys that he thought he needed for the trip. Being the very lazy mother that I am, I only packed and bought everything the day before the trip. I am always surprised by how laid back I am these days. Gosh…
On the day of the trip, we set off at 2ish in the afternoon and only got to the cottage by 6pm, after taking one pit stop where we met Ken and Yiling’s family. So, it was almost a good 4 hours on the road. Thank God that Ryan and Gillian were quite cooperative throughout the road trip. Being the worrier that I am, I keep having possible horror scenes of either of them screaming/fighting/puking. Puking being the worst scenario because it is just gross, we have to clean it and it will smell for the entire trip!
Ryan, Edward and Gillian chilling out at Starbucks during the pit stop.
The Suffolk Cottage!
Okay, this is the back of the cottage. I don’t think I took a picture of the front. According to the owner, this cottage is like 400ish years old. That is like super old. Even the locks for the toilets and doors were like ancient trickery. To me, at least. Hot water for the toilets on the second floor had to be heated using the fireplace on the first floor. No kidding. That is like something so unbelievable.
This room was shared by Gillian and me!
This room is shared between Ryan and E.
This is the bathroom that is thankfully next to our room. Ryan and Gillian did some some time playing in the bath tub. They just love their bathtub time. Heehee.
Dinner was just store bought pizzas by Ken and Yiling. Kids and pizzas pretty much go hand in hand!
After the bath, dinner and some running about, it was almost bed time for all the younger ones. In fact, E and I turned in early as well. It was a crazy 4 hour drive from London, the longest that we have driven so far. Exhausting but so much to look forward to in the next few days!
Day 2: Park/Playground. Lunch at Castle Carvery. More playtime at Castle Carvery.
The second morning was relatively lazy. Everyone woke up and the wives started preparing breakfast for their families. Erhm… everyone’s breakfast looked very fancy. Eggs, hams, sausages, toast. Between my family members, we shared one loaf of garlic bread. *sigh* Long story. No kidding.
Anyways, soon after breakfast, we brought the kids outside the cottage for some play! They definitely enjoyed the free play on the field! Those play stations in the backyard are actually meant for the cottage owner to train her dog. Well… the kids apparently had fun at the stations as well!
With kids, parks and playgrounds are always on the itinerary.
Lunch was at Castle Carvery. It was the typical English spread- roast, fish and chips and whatnots. The special thing about Castle Carvery was that it had an indoor and outdoor play area. So you can imagine that the place was very kids-friendly. After lunch, two families took off on their own while we stayed back with Peizhen’s family to just pass time at the play area. It was pretty much a lazy, catch-up-on-energy day.
I have started putting pens and colour pencils in the kids’ backpacks. They are very useful to entertain them while waiting for the food to come. And if you are wondering, I do allow the kids to watch videos after they have eaten as well. And yes, if you are judging, I also think I am a bad and irresponsible parent. Totally trying to cut this aspect out. Hard. And we are trying to be better parents everyday. Hard.
We returned to the cottage in the late afternoon because Yee Yin and I had to prepare dinner for everyone. The plan was to have two families each to prepare dinner for Day 2 and Day 3. I intended to cook chicken rice…and it was quite disastrous. Because my rice cooker was not working to put it simply. It was a tough evening but thankfully some of the ladies helped out and the rice eventually was cooked. I was really happy when everyone got their dinner in the end and when bed time arrived.
Day 3- Indoor Adventure Centre Adventure Island Play Park. Lunch at The Thatch. Playtime by the seaside at Southwold Pier.
The day started off looking rather gloomy, followed by light rain. Initially, we intended to head to Africa Alive but the rain got heavier and we decided to go for an indoor play park instead. Adventure Island Play Park it was then! Ryan and Gillian had a ball at the play park.
Here’s Daddy with his princess. Gillian woke up with a sore eye. It was quite nasty as it lasted for at least 3 days and went off after we seen a doctor in London for antibiotic eye drops.
Ryan and his latest new friend, Charlotte. She is 5 and he is 4. A rather good age for them to understand each other.
The kids had a wild time for an hour-ish before we went for lunch near Southwold Pier. Lunch was at The Thatch.
I had salmon pasta, E had his steak while the children shared toad-in-hole.
Here’s two pictures of my children looking very earnest in making their wishes. I love how they are always very serious about making wishes and praying to God(for requests!).
Here’s a picture of me and the love of my life.
The evening for Day 3 was much more relaxed since I did not have to cook. Just hung out with the kids in the living room. E took the kids out with Tawei and attempted to fly a kite. But they failed. Had a nice dinner prepared by the other two families and then I concussed with the kids. E even managed to stay up and play cards with the rest of the parents. Amazing!
Day 4- Africa Alive and then back to London!
It was the last day of our trip and weather was fabulous! The four families decided to go to Africa Alive since we all know the kids would love looking at the animals. It was a good decision as it seemed that we all enjoyed our time there. However, some of us had to leave earlier as the dads/mums had to work the next day. Boohoo!
Here’s Gillian on our double stroller that I bought second hand on a Facebook group! 80 quid!
Poor sweetheart still with her sore eye.
We checked out a few animal shows, went on a zoo train ride around the compounds, played in the playground, played mini golf, had our lunch and treat. Basically, we squeezed in whatever activity that we could in those 3-4 hours before returning to the cottage, did some mad packing and drove all the way back to London. No pit stop as the kids were whining too much in the car. This time round, we managed to get back home under 3 hours. That is a feat. Thank you, Mister E for keeping all of us safe while you were driving!
This basically sums up our first cottage trip in London. There were not many pictures taken. Not as many as I would like anyways as I was feeling quite sick throughout the trip. In fact, whilst the kids had much fun at the cottage, I think everyone was glad to be in the comforts of home. Nothing really beats home. I spent the next few days doing the laundry, and trying to care for the two little ones as they fell sick after the trip. Boohoo but overall, we did enjoyed ourselves and would like to be much better prepared the next time!