The last couple of years haven’t always been easy.
But through the ups and downs, I have always known I have been lucky enough to have the support of my family: both those that live with me and those that don’t.
Through the challenges with the Lion’s health and helping the Bear to cope with the changes that life have thrown at her, I’ve relied on them more than ever before in recent years. I was determined therefore to thank them this Christmas by making it special.
A Christmas they would all remember for the right reasons.
Little did I know when I made that promise to myself a few months ago, that Verdant Leisure would get in touch and invite us as a family of ten to stay in the beautiful Thurston Manor in two of their stunning log cabins. By doing so they made my wish of a very special Christmas so much easier to accomplish.
After all, Thurston Manor is a place that makes magic easy to believe in.
Surrounded by stunning scenery and incredible wildlife, it’s somewhere where easy to believe in your dreams. But more than that, it’s a place that makes the outside world seem far away. Somewhere you can focus on the people that matter the most, and make memories that you know will last a lifetime.
For us it’s meant a four day family break, with grandparents, a great grandparent and three cousins getting very special time together. It’s meant the coming together of my family and my brother’s family. It’s meant celebrating an engagement (not mine before anyone gets over excited), and learning new languages.
The children have played with their toys, the adults have relaxed (and panicked about whether the Christmas dinner would be ready on time – which of course it wasn’t). But more than that we have enjoyed each other’s company.
We have cooked together, chatted together, and spent quality time with those we love.
We haven’t tried on anyone’s toes by being in their kitchen, and no one person has done all the work.
The lodge was easily spacious enough to fit three piles of presents for the children and seven smaller piles for the adults.
Even with ten of us in one for most the daytime hours we have never felt cramped and the open plan space was perfect for cooking Christmas dinner without feeling as though you were missing the party.
As I sit here tonight at the end of an incredible day, I cannot help feel grateful. For my wonderful family, but also for the time we have been given to spend together. I know without a doubt that this Christmas will be talked about for a very long time. We will all be sad to go home.
I wish we would stay a little longer. But alas, work schedules, flights and real life has intervened.
And if I’m honest I’m not sure I would truly ever be ready to leave, even if we were to stay a month.
Quite simply because we have had a perfect Christmas. A Christmas where my wishes truly did come true.