First post decision adventure 

Blimey!!! Writing a blog is harder than I thought!! I’ve been writing this for almost TWO WEEKS!!! I’m going to blame it on the fact I did most of it by tapping away with just two thumbs… anyway…
We’ve arrived at Birmingham New Street Railway Station after being overcharged by our taxi driver; not being ones for confrontation meant we didn’t say anything to the driver but got really cross about it once he’d driven off…! He was 10 minutes late and the vehicle wasn’t suitable for 6 passengers plus all our luggage and car seats!! But hey ho, we’re here now which means we’ve completed the first leg of our journey to Mazzaron in Spain. We could have caught a taxi the whole way there but like I mentioned before we’re always on a massively tight budget so (before the taxi driver overcharged us by £6) the saving of getting a taxi and the train was about £13. Initially we were going to get the bus to the station (total journey cost £18 so a saving of £18 on just getting a taxi) but once we saw our 4 hand luggage cases plus 3 huge car seats and 3 back packs we knew the “10 minute walk” between the bus stop and the railway station definitely was not going to be 10 minutes with all that stuff and 4 kids stopping to look at every crack in the pavement.

The boys are hungry so we go to get them a sandwich at the station, except on entering a store we see they cost £4.50 each!!! What?! £27 for 6 sandwiches!!! Who even pays that kind of price?! I walk straight back out!! No thank you!! We’ll see if we can get a better deal at the airport!! Either that or starve 😳
We get on the train (which was a train to Euston) it’s only one stop so about 10 minutes. We walk up the platform to see if we can find a quieter carriage, but no, each one is as rammed as the next. We got all the kids sat down only to see a little green display above the seats informing us the seats were reserved… on checking our tickets it would seem we also had reserved seats but they were in coach A… we were sat in coach E… we decided to take our chances (while sweating profusely and continually scanning for the seats potential occupant) and stay where we were for the 10 minutes we were gonna be on the train rather than try and move the whole family and all our stuff up 4 coaches! Luckily we were fine, no-one tried to wrestle us out of our seats!!! I can see the businessmen we’ve sat by are thrilled by our arrival, jeez! It’s only 10 minutes!! I’m sure you can cope fellas! 

We’re at Birmingham International! The airport is a quick monorail ride away (edited to add we don’t think it’s a monorail after all… it has 2 tracks so we think it’s a just train!!) the boys thought that was rather exciting and acted like it was a rollercoaster! 😆
We check-in the car seats and things are a little easier, I feel like for the entire time we’ve been counting bags and counting children making sure none have been lost along the way!! We haven’t! Yay! Well done us! We’re clearly gonna be fabulous at this travel malarky! (I say this in jest, we’re literally always only around 5 minutes from total disaster in most situations, feel like the hashtag #wingingit was thought up with us in mind!) 
The last time we were here was about 12 months ago so this is obviously the first time we’ve been to an airport since we decided our big plan… I expect this will also be the last time now until we eventually set off! It’s almost like I’m looking at it with different eyes. As we don’t come very often, security checks, long walks with the kids and cases through terminals, crowds, high prices are no real biggy as it’s almost a one off but I look around while we’re there thinking, this could become “normal”! Could this ever become tiresome?! 

We head for something to eat, Tom suggests Wetherspoons as they’re known for low prices, they offer a children’s meal with a drink and fruit treat for dessert for £4.25! #bargain We’ll have 4 of those then! 
Once they’re fed and taken to the toilet – Noah is a bit obsessed with “blue ice” and wanted to go to the toilet on the plane instead (note to self: check if blue ice is a real thing {edited again to add it is kind of a real thing in that it happens on accident due to leaking but they don’t just dump raw sewage in the sea as their dad had told them}) we check the departures board to find that our flight to Alicante is on its final call! Oh arse! It’s gate 15 so not too far but also not the nearest… we start running as quickly as we can with our 4-year-old Thom wandering zig zag paths either unaware or uninterested – probably both, that we’re in a bit of a rush. We zoom past the cosmetics store where we said we’d pick up our sun lotion as it was on offer… I shout to Tom “we not getting this?!” “There’s no time!!!!!” he replies… I think there’s time, there’s bound to be a queue at the gate, there always is… “come on!! He shouts… “ok!!!!!!!!!!” 

We get to the gate. There’s a queue. I look at him. He looks at me back. I pull a “I told you there’d be a queue” face.  

He turns away so I tell him… “see!!! There’s still time!!”

“There’s not time!”

“There is!!”

“Kelly, there’s not! We’ll just get it there!!”

“But it’s a good price here!!”

*silence – he looks at me like I’m the most exasperating person in the world*

“Come on! I can run! It’s not far! I can run a marathon! Non-stop! And faster than you!!”

“Whatever Kel, just do what you want…”

“Great, see you in a mo 😇”

TBH this is how most our convos go.
I run all the way back to the departure lounge pick up the lotion and run to the check out; “boarding card please!” asks the woman behind the checkout… NOOOOO!!!! “I’ve just ran all the way here from my gate! I don’t have my boarding pass!!”

“What’s your flight number?”

“?!?!???!!! I don’t know??!!!!!”

“There’s a board out there for you to check”

*runs outside to check and runs back in*

“FR2061” (or something like that I can’t remember!!)

“Thanks, £36 please”

I pay and run back to the gate. Yes!!!! There’s still a few people in front of us so I just show my husband a smug grin, he rolls his eyes in response.

A flight attendant comes over and tells us our hand luggage is going to have to go into the hold now. I’m not bothered but Tom thinks it will hold us up at the other end. “If you want to keep your hand luggage with you you need to be here nice and early. Only the first 90 people can put their hand luggage in the overhead compartments” says the attendant.
“You don’t need to tell me that!” says Tom shooting me a look…

“You never knew that!!!!!” I respond

“Well, I kinda knew…”

“No you didn’t!!!!!”
We get to the front of the queue and show the boarding cards and passports to the woman and make our way to the plane. The kids are super excited and keep running off we sort of keep a hold on them but they’re a bit like marbles when you drop them, just shooting off in all different directions. We’re sat in one full row, number 18, the arguments ensue about who’s going to sit by the window. Noah and Thom win prompting tears from Joe, we promise they can swap soon. The captain informs us there’s been some technical difficulty and they’re going to switch off all the power to reset the systems. He does it. It doesn’t solve the problem. Would seem that fixing a passenger airliner isn’t the same as fixing your PC 😂. After sitting on the plane for half an hour we’re all asked to get off. There’s a member of staff at the bottom of the stairs looking rather cross that this has happened, she says to us “this plane has been here since 2pm! Why hasn’t anyone checked this before now?!?!!!” 

Errr… I dunno?! 
On getting back into the terminal Tom gets a message saying the next info will be at 6.30pm… what?! That’s 2 hours from now!!!!!!!! Great. 😐


We decide to head down the play area (Sky Zone) down by gate 54, it gives us something to do by walking there. We play the hopscotch games on the floor and also visit WH Smith and buy TEN POUNDS worth of chocolate. Not impressed at having to spend so much but that was their best value offer (I didn’t complain about having to eat it)
Sky zone was actually really good, there was lots of space down at gate 54 and it wasn’t busy either, we spent the next 2 hours here and the boys were really well behaved (well as well behaved as 4 stereo-typical boys can be!!) we split the time up by throwing in a few running races down to the elusive water fountain down at gate 40 and I even have a trip to boots to buy some nail varnish to cover up my zombie toe nails which I had planned to do before we left but didn’t have time! (I currently have toenails not too dissimilar to the living dead after running the London marathon and blackening 3 of my toenails on my left foot. They’re now at the point where they’re starting to lift off, it’s pretty minging). 


At 6.30pm we look at the board “next information at 7pm” it reads. Tom’s not impressed. We spot planes for about half a second then go back to running around.

Ryanair have issued us with some snack vouchers but they can only be used in certain places. We click on the link that comes on the email. They vouchers are worth £3.50 and can be spent in the champagne bar… what?! What we gonna do with those!!! Our kids only like prosecco!!! Ok, so they can also be used at the Meridian Bar and Burger King but half of us are veggies so Burger King is discounted from the start. We’d checked out the Meridian Bar menu and the cheapest thing is £6.50 for a small mac n cheese. Not ideal, we check the board at 7pm. It says “next information at 7.30pm” 😐
We start slowly walking away from Sky Zone and towards the departure lounge to make a decision as whether to eat or wait. It’s pretty late now so the kids do need to eat… gonna wait til 7.30 and see what it says… 
Gets to 7.30 and it says “next information at 7.50”. We have to feed them now because it’s getting too late even though they’re not saying they’re hungry, the excitement of going on holiday seems have kept them going. Order 2 mac n cheese and some nachos but even with the 6 vouchers we will still have to add a couple of pounds to it. Tom comes back from the bar to tell us we had to pay nearer a fiver because one of the vouchers didn’t work! It came up on their system as already had been used which it hadn’t!!! Very annoying!! 
We wait for the food to arrive, while we’re waiting the notice board changes to “boarding” ARGH!!!!! 

“See if we can get it on paper plates!” I say to Tom as I start packing everything up. “I’ll start walking down with the kids and you sort the food…”
We all meet back up at gate 15, Tom has 2 paper cups of pasta and a porcelain plate of nachos, determined not to waste the nachos as they’d cost almost a tenner we shovel (ok, so *I* shovel) as many as we can into our mouths… glamour isn’t something that comes easy when budget travelling with kids I tell ya! 
By the time we get on the plane there’s been an overall delay of around 4.5 hours. Overall I think they’ve managed quite well.
The 2 hour 15 minute flight is uneventful, just the usual seat hopping, toilet trips, telling offs for kicking the seat in front. We land safely at about 11.45pm local time. 


We pick up our cases off the carousel while repeatedly explaining to the boys that they can’t go on it… they want to know the full details and intricacies as to why they can’t because our explanation of “it’s really dangerous!!” is not sufficient. 

A mini-bus takes us to the hire car centre, we’re there for what seems like forever. Considering it’s 1am and we’ve been travelling for over 12 hours the kids are showing no signs being sleepy unlike me who is feeling on the verge of collapsing into some kind of coma. They make friends with a little boy called Geoffrey (who speaks Spanish – mine only speak English!) and spent the entire time running in circles… which would have been fantastic had this circle not had a perimeter of about 2 metres so after about 10 minutes *I’m* starting to feel dizzy 😐

I have no idea what the time is now, I think it’s about 1.30am. We load everything into the car, little Thom instantly starts a rendition of “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” like, seriously?!?! Only Tom is insured to drive so he now has a 1.5 hour journey in the dark on unfamiliar roads while being exhausted. It’s actually really dangerous tbh, I fully intend to stay awake to talk to him but I fall asleep in under 30 seconds only stirring when we go round particulary sharp bends. Sorry about that bab x (luckily little Tom also fell asleep super quick so we only had to listen to a couple of verses) 

Eventually we arrive at the villa about 14 hours after leaving our home. We carry the smaller kids to their beds and climb into our own looking forward to our Spanish adventure starting tomorrow x 

Car Genie

Look what I’ve found out about today!! The Car Genie plugs into your car and is able to scan for faults, check your battery level, knows where your car is parked (so you can see if it’s been moved) and can detect a crash which triggers a call from The AA.  It costs £29 a year for AA members.  It looks really useful and something I think we’ll invest in before we leave on our travels!  Find out more on the link below x

https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/connected-car