Last week, I took a holiday.
I mean a staycation. Is that what we're calling quarantine holidays, now?
Things are slowly starting to loosen up in terms of lockdown, and by August, it is assumed that many families will be able to travel to other parts of the country to camp, stay in hotels or rent a cottage. I know people are excited about this prospect, as many properties are already booked for the month of August!
Although countries like Spain and Portugal are opening their borders to tourism this summer, it's unlikely that many of us will be travelling internationally for the rest of the year. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - it's a great opportunity to get out and explore new parts of Ireland or return to an old favourite. Until at least mid-July, though, we are expected to stay close to home.
So this was my reality last week. We were meant to be in France, going to the beach (with all the glorious weather of last week), eating stinky cheese and drinking delicious French wines once the kids fell asleep. I had never been to France - I was excited to go. But being home for our holiday wasn't as sad as you might expect.
My kids are little. They would have had a great time in France but, to be honest, they get excited about any little thing. A small dog passes us on a walk? They get excited. I buy them a box of ice pops at the supermarket? They get excited. You can see where I'm going with this!
So, for our holiday at home, we got a little bit creative and focused on fun family time outside, since the weather was so glorious. We pitched our four-man tent and I camped out with the two biggest girls in the backyard. We barbequed nearly every night and finished each meal with ice pops. I inflated the kiddie pool and the kids had an amazing time splashing around.
Two family members came over for a socially-distanced visit in the backyard and the kids were overjoyed (so was I, if I'm honest - I've missed our family so much!). We went for long walks and explored within our five kilometres - we were inspired by this article my colleague Maria wrote about appreciating what's on your doorstep. We discovered a beautiful stone bridge and a small river, perfect for little girls who love to wade but aren't great swimmers. The river was teeming with minnows, so we brought fine mesh kitchen strainers to try and catch them!
We went to visit the ducks in the River Suir, to my three-year-old's delight, and got cosy watching movies in the early evening before bed.
Buying the tent was one of the best things we've ever done (it was only used once before this week for Electric Picnic in 2016 and is still in amazing condition; purchased from O'Meara Camping). We're now inspired to find some other places to camp around the country when we can travel again!
Have you gotten creative with a staycation? We'd love to hear about it - write to us at ICL@farmersjournal.ie.