We finally arrived after months of planning and months of excitement…

Our first family holiday with some truly amazing friends, all who I’ve come to know from the crazy but oh so wonderful little app that is Instagram. After lots of research and hours spent Googling, I came across this gorgeous Victorian holiday home-from-home – suitably called ‘Holmthwaite‘ – that could fit all four of our families in with plenty of space to eat, play, sleep and have fun in.

Not only that but it’s set in such a dreamy location, with a stunning backdrop of mountains and fells all around, only a short walk to the lake where you can hop on an old steam boat that chugs across the clear blue waters, and the most gorgeous quintessentially British pubs, cafes and independent shops right on our door step… not to mention countless walking routes and National Trust sites in close proximity.

A weekend just wasn’t enough!

Before I carry on I have to mention who these gorgeous friends of mine are, we have Lauren, Jules and Claire. The most genuine, fun-loving women you’ll ever meet and I feel so so blessed to have these amazing souls in my life. You know that quote ‘Girls compete with one another. Women empower each other.’ Well, this trio is the definition of the latter. I came away from the weekend feeling confident, encouraged and empowered… and there hasn’t been a day since where we haven’t all been in contact.

Although Lauren, Jules and I have all met up lots in person before, this was the first time I had met Claire but you’d have thought it was the 100th time; we all just hit the ground running. Randomly one night a few months ago, Claire and I ended up chatting on the phone for two hours just like we were old school pals or something, I actually can’t remember the last time I ever did that but it was great and made me feel like a teenager again. You know when you have a great friend because it doesn’t matter whether weeks, months or years pass without seeing each other but when you do it’s as though there’s been no time between you at all. These girls are all those kind of great friends!

The icing on the cake of this weekend away was we also got to meet all the fabulous ‘Instagram Husbands’ and for them to finally meet each other and have an outlet where they could totally sympathise with one another haha. Think they saw it as some sort of support group! I think it was an ongoing joke over the whole weekend but I have to say they were all on top form with their photo skills ;), before I forget we have Colin (Lauren’s fiancé), James (Jules’ hubby) and Mikey (Claire’s hubby) – not forgetting the famous kids Ollie & Archie, Oscar, Archie and Caleb. It kind of felt surreal being there, all under one roof and just enjoying each other’s company in the moment.

You can watch my vlog below and see some funny insider footage that makes me giggle so much every time I watch it particularly when us girls were playing the game ‘Heads Up’… what a laugh that was! I hope you enjoy it too! 🙂

Music ‘My Favourite Story‘ by Jack in Water
Brunch on our first full day was all courtesy of Claire and Mikey and was oh so yummy indeed! With two tables plus high chairs and booster seats we were all able to comfortably sit and enjoy meal times altogether.

Soon after brunch we went on a beautiful walk down to the lake where we could inhale the freshest of fresh air and take in the stunning scenery surrounding us that was just breathtaking.

I love this capture above of my personal Instagram husband, Ayman in action. Thank you to the other IG hubby who took this haha.

Doing what little boys enjoy most…throwing pebbles and making the biggest splashes possible.

Little Ollie ended up being full of cold and a little unwell at this point so Lauren and Colin set foot back to get warm and cosy in the house making good use of the traditional wood burner. The rest of us continued to get a few more shots and let the boys play a little longer as they were in their element in the great outdoors and so were we.

We enjoyed a little rest and recuperation after all that fun. What is it about fresh air that gives you the best night’s sleep ever? Well that and these comfy beds combined, we were set for some good quality snoozing.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been away in large groups before but especially at self-catering places it can sometimes get a little tricky with what you decide to do cooking wise. Well wonder no more as Hello Fresh will answer all your prayers. They set us up for the weekend with four tasty meals, super easy to follow and generous portion sizes for all of us which Ayman was particularly happy about as he generally eats two portions in one helping haha.

Since experiencing how delicious and nutritious Hello Fresh meals are, Ayman and I have actually decided to subscribe next month to help vary our meal plans a bit more and give us a bit of structure… I often have a mental block when it comes to cooking.

On the kitchen front for this weekend I just want to give Colin a big shout out and thank you as he prepared and cooked a lot of the meals. Totally his choice because he loves it so much but I was super grateful as it meant us women had more time to sit, chill and chat while the men were busy with the kids and cooking. A slight role reversal hey haha.

Holmthwaite although very big with six spacious bedrooms, multiple bathrooms and shower rooms (so there’s never any waiting at rush hour wash time) still felt so cosy and warm. All the furnishings help make your time there really comfortable with enough room for everyone to sit, play or eat.

You can even enjoy the spectacular views from your bedroom if you fancy a little time out as most of the bedroom windows have chairs or large window shelves for you to sit on. Hugo and I were playing ‘eye spy’ out of this window which is always fun with a two-year-old. In the words of Hugo ‘I spy a bird’ haha.

As Lauren and I are less than three weeks apart in our pregnancy journeys it’s only natural to take a double bump shot in front of a gorgeous window isn’t it?

Bath time fun… how amazing is this tub by the way? It also has a sky window in this bathroom so you can lie back and cast your eyes out towards the mountains – such a lovely way to wind down.

I had to include this picture below of one of the other bathrooms because Hugo’s face was just priceless. This little moment was caught in my vlog too and instantly puts a smile on my face with how sweet they both were.

I think this weekend away was just the start of many more family escapes for us all together. We enjoyed the perfect balance of activities with the kids, relaxation and then games ‘for the grown-ups’ in the evening with a few drinks thrown in (non-alcoholic of course for my bump buddy Lauren and I).

The beauty of being able to put all the kids to bed and then having an evening altogether as adults was such a luxury and were some of my most precious memories from the weekend. It was honestly such a fabulous retreat for us and we would do it again in a heartbeat.

A huge massive thank you to the people behind Holmthwaite, they were beyond helpful and any queries we had they answered straight away. It’s also lovely to know that it’s a family run business and you can tell they go that extra mile in making your stay as pleasurable and comfortable as possible. They literally couldn’t do enough; knowing that I have coeliacs disease they left me some special gluten-free chocolate chip cookies along with other treats and essentials you need like fresh bread, tea, milk and butter etc. If you fancy checking them out or have any further questions then they’d be delighted to hear from you here.

If you’re looking for a place to stay with family or friends in the Lake District then I would highly recommend this little gem, I don’t think it’s going to be the last time we stay that’s for sure :).

And, finally this weekend wouldn’t have been the same without my beautiful girls Jules, Lauren and Claire – thank you for becoming what I consider true best friends. Until next time, live life to the full my lovelies!

Much love