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Gary and I are off on hols... with the nanny

We're off to Portugal next week. When I say 'we', I mean myself, my four-year-old boy and Ellen, the nanny.

I always find people's reactions amusing when I tell them the nanny's coming on holidays. They say things like, 'you're so good', or 'what a wonderful thing to do'. But although I hate to admit it, the reason the nanny is included is a rather selfish one.

As a single mum, I would definitely not go away to the sun just with Gary for a week again. Last summer we went to Majorca and I was exhausted by the end of it.

hawk

Being away with a toddler on your own is a challenge. Yes, the child had a blast, but I wasn't able to sunbathe with my eyes closed for a minute. You need to watch them like a hawk around water and Gary was in the pool all day long. So I brought three books with me and then brought them back home again unread.

Every evening we visited an amusement park and spent a load of money –€3 for three minute rides, multiplied by 10!. We also went to a rather ghastly pirate show.

Last year, Gary was at the awkward age of three and most of the hotel kids' clubs only cater for children over four. So I had to amuse him all day and all night long.

Now, of course, I have the good memories of us at the beach and I took lots of lovely photos, but I do remember being at the airport checking in for the return flight, feeling exhausted.

This time I am determined to relax and enjoy myself.

The nanny's friend is coming for the weekend, so I hope they'll be able to have a couple of fun nights out on their own.

But I am so looking forward to doing things I wasn't able to do last year on holiday.

I will be able to swim proper lengths in the pool, enjoy some long walks on my own with my iPod, and, best of all, I can immerse myself in a good novel, knowing that Gary is in safe hands.

Cocktail

I will enjoy the fact that we will be going out for dinner in the evenings as a group, rather than just myself and the little man.

I did take Gary to a bar last year on two occasions, but I felt very self-conscious among the romantic couples and the large families all enjoying themselves.

It was weird, but I thought the other people I spoke to felt a bit sorry for me with just Gary to socialise with. I mean, they were very kind and made an extra effort to include us, but it still felt odd ordering a cocktail for one, and some sort of juice for the child.

As a result, I always drank my tipple hurriedly and went to bed early.

This year, I half thought of going to a hotel with a kids' club so I could at least have a bit of 'me' time in the mornings, but Ellen is so much part of the family now, I think I would miss her if she wasn't with us.

Three can be a crowd. But not in our case...


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