What?! might be your reaction to this but let me explain. While we lived in London, away from our families, our support network consisted of close friends and a babysitter who we occasionally used when we wanted to head out for a dinner just the two of us. And that didn’t happen very often at all, she was more of a back-up when I had some work commitments and neither of us was able to be with her during the day. So, naturally, she came with us everywhere we went and travelled and it never occurred to us that we could have left her home with our nanny for a night or two if we felt the need to escape. Maybe we just didn’t need an escape… 🙂
It was back in 2018 when my friend had invited us to her wedding in Romania that I was considering not going at all because attending a wedding with a then-10-month-old didn’t seem to be such an enjoyable idea. We were looking at flights and made some tentative plans when my husband said ‘why don’t you just go alone with your friend?’ ‘How do you mean, alone?” I remember asking. Odd that I didn’t even consider it as an option or suggest it but my husband did. I was regularly pumping milk so we had a little back-up and didn’t have to worry about her milk feeds. And I had zero qualms about leaving her with my husband who had developed a very close relationship with our daughter despite all his work travels.
It was a very liberating experience, travelling with a friend, and only having to worry about myself again. I did have to pack my breast pump though and do some expressing in the hotel room but that didn’t put my friend off and we just turned it into a little joke between us. Exploring Bucharest in the 30+ degree heat and high humidity was great fun and the wedding was a real experience in itself. Romanian weddings start really late and it’s normal to be served your third main course at 2am in the morning. We lasted till 3am, meaning we didn’t get dessert. 🙂 I can’t say I got a proper full night’s sleep as we flew back the following day and we were up relatively early to squeeze in a spa visit. It was still relaxing to wake up to an alarm rather than a crying baby. This is the place – Therme Bucharest – it’s impressive and well worth the visit before your flight home, it’s very close to the Otopeni airport.
Anyway, that was a bit of a flashback to my first time being away from her that long. A freeing experience but, naturally, I also missed her a lot. I got regular updates from my husband and I remember looking at her photos on my phone during the flights. When you’ve been inseparable since birth it’s to be expected, right?
Last weekend was my second time spending the night away from her and the first time doing it together with my husband. While not a big deal to many parents, it kind of was for us. For instance, we could control the music in the car – we didn’t have to listen to Frozen or Moana but were free to choose our old favourites. Small things, eh?
We drove to Vihula Manor for a one night’s stay. We happened to drive past about a month ago and decided to come back for a longer visit because it looked like a magical tiny village covered in snow and all lit up in the dark. In the meantime my sister offered to babysit so we quickly changed our original plan and booked a room for ourselves only without the child’s bed 😉 . The spa and leisure centre is brand new, only opened last year and that was the first place we went to. It all felt very safe as guests were given 1.5-hour slots to enter the area to avoid it getting overcrowded – plenty of space to sit in sauna by yourself, swim without bumping into anyone and sip a refreshing drink within a safe distance from other people. We did leave when a group of about 12 people came in…
The manor’s main restaurant was supposed to close at 9pm but they didn’t manage to do that. Personally, I think this is such a silly rule – restaurants and bars can open here but must close at 9pm. Is it a widely known fact that COVID-19 is more infectious after 9pm?! Our dinner really did seem rushed but we didn’t get our main course till just before 9pm after waiting for it over half an hour and there were no signs of anyone being ushered out at that hour either 🙂 . We left the restaurant at 10pm, took a lovely walk on the grounds, and headed back to our room where we both crashed watching TV. Very romantic indeed. But how well did we sleep… We sleep well at home too, some nights she wakes up for a wee, but it was particularly nice to just wake up and not by someone going ‘mum, mummy, mum, mum’ the first thing when she opens her eyes!
The following morning we had my favourite part of the accommodation package – spa treatments. The facial with ESPA skincare products was a beautifully fragrant experience and left me in such a relaxed mood for the rest of the day. And then it was time to check out and drive back to our cute little firecracker.
I’m so ready to do it again soon! She’s also that much older and easier to look after and I don’t need to stress whether she’s napped or eaten properly. She can communicate her needs well and kind of look after herself too so who wants to babysit? 😀