Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Travel Must Haves & Getting My Freedom Back! #MarkWarnerMum

Today is the 1st March which means 2 things - firstly it means that I have two children's birthdays to organise this month so I'd really better get on with it!, and secondly it means that it's the closing date of the #MarkWarnerMum ambassador competition - arguably one of the biggest dates in the blogging calendar as Mark Warner Holidays choose their 5 Blogger Ambassadors for the coming year!

This year, Mark Warner have tasked bloggers with sharing their Top Travel Must Haves for the perfect Family Holiday...so I asked my boys what they thought!

Here's what they put on their list:




I have to agree with all of their choices, of course..but I have my own to add too!

Mummy's Must Have List

5) FOOD

Jon & I are what we call Gastronauts - if we're not talking about food, we are pretty much thinking about food and when it comes to holidays - we like to eat well!

Cooking dinners for 3 hungry little boys every night can be challenging & tiring, so the chance to enjoy a week of being catered for by somebody else is a massive part of the holiday experience for us!





4) COUPLE'S TIME!

We had 3 children in the space of 3 years, which is nothing if not EXHAUSTING and as lovely as being Mummy & Daddy is, it leaves very little time to spend together as a couple - particularly when you have your children close together - we now even spend our night times in separate rooms as we are always off seeing to different children all night long!

When we heard that Mark Warner have dedicated childrens nannies offering childcare solutions to parents during their holidays, we could hardly contain our excitement at the sheer thought of a couple of hours alone to enjoy a meal or relax with a drink...it's something we've had very little of since becoming parents and certainly something that would make our holiday so very special!



3) EXCITEMENT!

Although we can see the appeal of lazy, laid back holidays - we have always been the kinds of people who like to get out and DO things. We like to experience the culture, get out and take in the surroundings, and throw ourselves into activities.

My eldest is desperate to try out skiing (and just to finally see some snow!) and his Dad & I would certainly love the challenge of learning too!



2) FASHION!

Now this one might sound silly, but to me a huge part of holidays has always been choosing a holiday wardrobe!

Whether it's choosing elegant ball gowns for a cruise holiday, or choosing functional & funky ski-wear - I love the chance to hit the shops!



1) AND FINALLY...

For the past few years, I've watched with awe and admiration as bloggers demonstrated their creative talents in the name of producing entries for these coveted Mark Warner Ambassador roles. It never ceases to amaze me just how gifted so many bloggers are when it comes to producing content, and competitions like this really do showcase that wonderfully.

But although I loved seeing other people get creative with their entries, I knew that it was something I simply couldn't join in with - because as much as I would have loved the chance to take my young family on such a wonderful holiday, I knew I wouldn't be able to handle the anxiety that travelling brought.

Despite having travelled far and wide to countries like Venezuela in my early 20s, anxiety had really got it's claws into me in a big way when I became a mother and I had eventually given up the fight, forcing myself to live in anxiety's grip rather than go on trying to battle against it.

My fear of flying had become something that I'd built up in my head to seem completely insurmountable, and I'd resigned myself to the fact that I would never fly again. But it made me so sad - to think that I could never take my children to Disney World, that I could never visit New York City like I'd always dreamed of doing - that all of our future holidays would be on UK soil or via a cruise ship.

But eventually, somehow, I found a bit of fight from somewhere inside me and I took myself off to therapy sessions - I saw an NHS counsellor about my generalised anxiety disorder every week for seven months. We worked through some difficult things, and at times it was incredibly tough. But I finally finished my weekly sessions last month, and I have been astounded by how I've felt since. Those sessions have given something back to me that I thought I had lost forever.

And that thing is what I'm listing as number 1 on my Travel Must Haves List... FREEDOM

After years of allowing anxiety to hold me back, I am finally FREE from its grips. And it feels AMAZING.

The thought of stepping on a plane used to fill me with a dread that I can't even put into words...my chest would get tight, my heart would beat faster, I'd feel sick to my stomach...I would literally feel as though the world was about to end.

I could have panic attacks just from thinking about it.

And that was why I knew I had to steer clear of the competition, because I knew that if I won...I wouldn't be able to go.

But not anymore, now I feel as though there is nothing I can't do. It's like the invisible shackles that were holding me back before have been removed, and I am FREE...and I truly feel as though the world is wide open to me, that I can go anywhere and do anything...that I can show my children the true joys of travelling and experiencing everything the wider world has to offer.

Because I'M NOT AFRAID ANYMORE.

I never thought the day would come when I'd even be able to enter this competition, so would we love to win? Absolutely! My eldest has talked about nothing but his wish to see SNOW since he was 2 years old...it would be his biggest wish granted!

But even if we don't win (and there are SO many AMAZING entries that I think I would die of shock if we did!), that's ok ... because just feeling able to enter has proven to me that I've finally beaten my anxiety. And that is win enough for me.



This is an entry for the Mark Warner Holidays’ Family Ambassador Programme #MarkWarnerMum


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6 comments

  1. Fantastic and congratulations! ✈️
    Hope you win! Xxx

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  2. This post is so incredibly moving Hayley. I know what anxiety is like and it's a beast. That is so amazing that the sessions helped so much, it's simply wonderful. No wonder you say freedom you must feel like a new woman. The picture of you all dressed up is nothing short of stunning and your saying Gastronauts really made me smile.
    Love this blog post. It's heart opening to read. I wish you your flight wings whether it be with Mark Warner or to some other destination - aint no stopping you now xxxxxxxxxxxx

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    1. Ahh thank you so much Liska, anxiety is just awful isn't it? I really do feel like life has just begun again in so many ways! Thank you so much for your lovely comment and support :) xx

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  3. Oh Hayley, I am so proud of you for writing this. It is amazing that you now have the freedom to do all the things you have dreamed of. This post is really moving. And that video is so cute. I think we need that teepee if it can take you on such magical adventures. Hugs Lucy xxxx

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    1. Ah thank you so much Lucy, that's so kind of you. Haha it is certainly a magical teepee! ;) xx

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