Butlin’s, Butlin’s, Butlin’s. Butlin’s by the sea.

Yep, that’s right. We just got back from our first holiday as a family of four, at Butlin’s (Skegness).

What can I tell you about it?

Well, for a start, forget any preconceptions you may have about Butlin’s being tired and dated, because it isn’t – or maybe it is and I’m really easily pleased.

The resort had everything, there’s literally nothing more that any child could want from a holiday. Great swimming pool with rapids and slides for all ages, a fun fair, parks, aerial adventure stuff, ice cream parlours, football, Quasar, activities, a beach, entertainment (we just missed Diversity but the Teletubbies were there so ya know, swings and roundabouts) etc etc etc and it’s all free.

Teddy could not believe his luck when he saw the resort. To say he was excited would be a massive understatement. Even Posey seemed to understand this was the holy grail of British holidays for kids.

We arrived on Monday afternoon and checked out on Friday morning, giving us three and a half days, but it wasn’t quite enough.

In order to fit everything in (between Posey’s naps), we had to run around like nutters. Whizzing the kids from one ice cream fuelled adventure to the next, we came home absolutely shattered and full of nasty colds.

We stayed in the ‘gold’ apartments and while that accolade may be a bit of a stretch, it was perfect for us. Three bedrooms, kitchen/diner (with a dishwasher) and a shower room. Our lounge had patio doors which opened out onto what looked like the Teletubby hills, so the kids could run around outside (while waiting on us adults) and make friends with the other gleefully shrieking littles.

It may not be as glamorous as Centre Parcs but in terms of value for money, affordability and what it offers young children, I have nothing but positive things to say about Butlin’s. However the WIFI is shocking. I realise now how much I’ve come to rely on it, but there’s a lot to be said for a little time away from social media. By the time we were coming home, I’d come to terms with the hiatus and learned to embrace it.

Did you miss the gazillion photos of my kids doing mediocre things?

As incredible as the resort was, let’s not forget that this was a holiday which involved a 4 year old and a 20 month old. Needless to say it was neither restful nor stress free. Both of my Beastlies were exhausted from the pressure of being on holiday and all that entails (looking happy, having maximum fun) and getting less sleep than usual.

It wasn’t like one of those holidays you see advertised by James Villa’s where everyone is smiling and lounging around the pool. Oh no! I predict ‘lounging’ may have to wait another 5 years, minimum.

There was lots of tear-arsing about after a toddler who didn’t want to sit in the stroller, exasperation over the amount of energy a pre-schooler has and trying to ensure everyone had just enough sleep to function without losing their sh*t.

We bickered and there were mini strops and tantrums (from adults and children alike), but I take relief from the fact that every other family was doing the same thing. Everywhere you turned there was a child wailing on the floor or a parent on the brink of implosion. Yet we, as parents, persist with making incredible memories for our little ones, even when they are having a ‘moment’. I certainly wasn’t the only Mum uttering the sentence ‘shall we go home-home?’, in an attempt to regain control of a holiday going sideways.

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves and our families to have a good time?

All that aside, it was amazing – Teddy already wants to go back – we are looking at booking for next year. For those on a budget (like me), I’d recommend booking early so you can pay it off in chunks and go self-catering (or stay on the caravan park) to give yourself the option of a couple of ‘meals-in’, to not only save pennies but also give your kids the chance to breathe for a bit while not having to be ‘on show’ all the time, displaying how much fun they’re having.

I will spend the next week in a Zombie-like state, washing all the clothes, nagging The Bearded Manc to put the cases back in the loft and trying to regain some sleep & recharge the cells after a hectic few days, but it was all totally worth it to hear my Beastlies giggling together in their room at night, while making Mighty Eagle noises (when you know you know) and becoming the best of buds.

That, my friends, is priceless.

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