When I was pregnant with the Little Baby I took a pregnancy yoga class. Once a week, I could switch off and focus on breathing and relaxing. During that class we were asked to visualise our happy place or places. Mine were a scrolling slide show through being with M, listening to Pip laugh and would then flash to a scene from one January, sitting in a cocktail bar in an underground room in Bath surrounded by my girlfriends. Every year a big group of us take a weekend off from work and life and family and go away together. We leave the children at home and prioritise spending time with our friends.
It started as a celebration for a couple of us celebrating a big birthday but it really is one of the highlights of my year. We rent a big house, cook, eat and drink together. Between us we cook all of our meals, drink wine, cocktails and coffee together and really, do very little. Some weekends we’ve been on a pub crawl (and one year the place we rented was above a nightclub, so we danced til 3am) and done some shopping, or been to the spa, but mainly we hang out together just like we used to as we did when we were younger, either at university, or when we all first lived in London.
I think the best thing about the weekend is that it isn’t anyone’s party. It’s not a stag or a hen do. No-one owns it and no-one has any more say than anyone else about where we go or what we do. It does require one person to take the lead on looking for properties, as with 15 or so people, that can take a while to get right, but that doesn’t mean it is their party, just that the booking is in their name!
Every year so far we have the same debate – stay in the same town or try somewhere new. So far we have stayed in 4 different properties in Bath, all of which have been great for different reasons. This year though, we are debating whether a weekend in the countryside might make a nice change. We use a variety of different methods to search including looking for last minute holiday cottages as every now and then an amazing property has a last minute vacancy and it can be a good way of getting a decent property for a smaller budget. I have actually always been surprised by how many options there are for large groups. Even limiting the search to within 3 hours drive from London we are spoilt for choice; it is more of a challenge getting everyone to agree whether to prioritise facilities or bedrooms! The one thing we are always agreed on though is a table big enough for us all to sit round and eat together on the Saturday night.
Photos from our last weekend away – this is a collaborative post.