You need to make time for your family no matter what happens in your life – Matthew Quick.
I wasn’t going to blog about my recent weekend away because it was family time, a time that didn’t revolve around making content or keeping my social media up to date, although I did have a mini photo shoot in the most incredible location at Betws-y-Coed in North Wales… but I had such an incredible time that I wanted to relive it all over again in the form of a travel diary post… something that flits in and out of this blog quite often.
I won’t bore you with how excruciating the car journey was to The Wirral… the entire six hours it took when the Satnav specifically said 2.5 hours. The road works on the M6 are horrific, plus there was an accident along the M53 which caused a major backlog. Let’s just say, Friday was a bad day to travel. My mood wasn’t helped by the fact that I couldn’t catch up with my bookish best friend – devastating and annoying – and I missed my wax appointment because of it. Not only had I been looking forward to feeling freer, let’s say, I was excited for a catch up with my beautician. Anyway, we got home safe, and did a last minute whip around Tesco for some birthday treats before heading off to Harvester to meet up with the weekend gang.
Harvester, as always, was incredible. The six of us sat around a large, round table (there’s a knights joke that I can’t think of to be inserted here). We all had various styles of salad; mine was less green, more pasta and much more bacon and onion bits that I care to admit. I stuffed myself with ribs, was devastated that I didn’t change my chips for sweet potato fries and even had a whopping dessert. It felt so good to catch up with my cousins and their partners after not seeing them for so long… it’s been a month, but it felt like longer.
We didn’t leave for Wales until about 9pm and it was my turn to drive. Despite driving across Australia alone and for far longer, my nerves were adamant to be heard. I don’t know what it is with me and driving a different car to my own, especially long distance, but it gets me all crazy lady-like. And, as always, I was completely fine and ended up enjoying the drive.
As soon as we hit the caravan (not literally) in Anglesey, North Wales, the bottle of prosecco was popped, the beers opened, an exciting secret was told and we got ourselves cosy in the caravan that was second home to my family and I since I was in my pre-teens. The caravan park itself, my mum has been going to since she was a toddler. It is safe to say that this place is home from home… despite its new, shiny caravans, extensions and complete revamp.
I had such a good sleep on the Friday night. I don’t know if it was because I was exhausted from the drive, the tranquillity of being away from home, or the prosecco from the night before. Warren and I were woken up with the offer of coffee from my lovely cousin, Heather, and that was us up and out of bed before you could say how many sugars? The lot of us had breakfast together and got ready in top speed (not so easy with one bathroom, an extra loo and six people) to set off to Zip World Fforest in Betws-y-Coed, a Snowdonian village that is quiet and beautiful in its own right. During the drive, we passed stunning scenery of hilltops and mountain, valleys and lakes. It is no wonder people go to North Wales for a little bit of peace and beauty in the world. I’d forgotten how incredible it is.
As much as I focused on the passing landscapes, my mind was on the Fforest Coaster aka the Tabboggan ride… I was more than nervous. I’d never been on one, wasn’t comfortable with the fact that it was a ride I would control and have had it instilled into me that I probably wouldn’t like it since I was a kid. All of that was churning in my brain. Everyone else was excited and it was only when we got told that we could go on it as a two that I came round to the idea. The first part is the worst: climbing up to 100 feet in a straight diagonal whilst you are in control of absolutely nothing! Plus, the waiting of that impact that is to come. The bubbles in my stomach quietened a little after the second go, and with some goading by the relatives, I plucked up the courage to go alone. Of course, I ended up preferring it (once I’d gotten over the fear) when I could control it myself… only this time we all got backlogged as someone was going down at a snail’s pace… not me FYI!
After the tabboggan rides were over, we had a short wait until the big whammy… the Zip Safari. I was in no way nervous about this at all until we were being trained on the three lots of safety carabiners and clickets. My head was a little boggled. It’s a good job we all had to practice multiple times before we were allowed to ascend to the tree tops. The order we went in was perfect. Kerry (practically my big sister) was in front, me second, Warren third, then Heather, James and Dan… The final three enjoyed shaking the obstacles for each other and I would have probably cried if mine were so much as touched. I did not realise how terrified I was going to be until I started literally hugging the trees. The zip lines themselves were so much fun and a complete thrill, but the parts when I was standing on a bit of wood attached to the tree (completely safe btw) were more than nerve-wracking. The winds were high too, not exactly blowing a gale – strong enough to sway the trees with people on them. We all managed to get a few selfies and videos on Dan’s GoPro before we zipped down the final line and headed to the car park. I cannot recommend doing Zip World enough; next time, I’ll be braving the fastest zip line in the world for definite!
By early evening, we had started the BBQ. Burgers, sausages, crisps and dips alongside prosecco and beer were strewn across makeshift tables and chairs for easy access as we all gathered outside. Logs were thrown into the log burner in the centre set alight for ultimate warmth as the skies darkened. But first, we had a surprise birthday celebration for Kerry who turned 29 on Sunday! We put up banners, sang happy birthday and gave cards and presents. Even the little things like celebrating a family member’s birthday is such a poignant moment and really makes you appreciate the best things you have in life. Back to the barbie… everyone was having such an incredible time. We laughed and joked, ate good food, drank a lot and made some fantastic memories whilst sat around the fire. It made me think of all the times that the older generations had done this, how, as a child, I couldn’t wait to be a grown up to have moments like it, and how lucky I am to have incredible people a phone call away. The evening was one of the best I’ve had, but it was to get much more exciting, because then…
James proposed to Heather!
We all knew it was happening apart from Heather herself obviously and it was such a beautiful, incredible moment to witness. Of course, the champagne was popped and we all toasted to the beautiful couple and the future ahead.
After an early morning read (at 7am) and falling back to sleep until 9.30am, I got up to join the earlier risers. Sunday morning was slow, just as they always should be, especially on holiday and especially at a caravan. We had coffee, ate breakfast, chatted about anything and everything before tidying up and saying goodbye.
Six hours later… Warren and I arrived home, ordered curry and watched Monsters University. The perfect end to an incredible weekend!
Have you ever visited Zip World? Would you go and have a thrill at the top of swaying trees?!
Love, Faye xo