My birthday is the 19th of January and as you may know from previous years, I like to do something fun for it as it's so soon after Christmas and everyone is a bit miserable in January. In late 2019 I started making plans for my 36th birthday. I asked my friends who were my "bridesmaids" at the vow renewal if they wanted to come, and I asked my mum, stepdad, aunt and uncle if they wanted to come too. Eleven of us agreed to go, so I looked around for some cottages in December.
My mum said we should stay somewhere easy to get to in case of bad weather, because sometimes it snows over my birthday and she was right, none of us wanted to get stuck in that. I looked at a bunch of places, but couldn't choose anywhere. I was getting quite stressed and then just after Christmas Lee had a look too. He found The Limes, in Swanwick near Alfreton. We booked it through Airbnb. I have a referral link here, which can get you money off your first trip (and earns me a bit of credit too!) if you've never used Airbnb before.
The house sleeps fourteen people so that was good for us. Everyone paid and Lee and I ordered food for the whole weekend but asked people to bring their own alcohol and some snacks. For instance, my friend Von doesn't like to eat a lot of lactose so she brought her own almond milk and dairy free crisps.
So on the Friday Lee and I set off. He said he wanted to buy me something else for my birthday as he'd been struggling to think of things so close after Christmas, so I said we should go to Elsecar heritage centre where there's a big antiques centre so that I could look at the jewellery. I invited my mum and stepdad along to meet us for lunch first. They agreed, so Lee and I set off to Elsecar. My mum told us they were in the cafe, perfect.
Only, we got in, no mum or stepdad. The minute I saw that I thought "My mum's misunderstood me; they've gone to Wentworth Garden Centre instead of here". I dunno why, I just knew that's where she was! I tried to ring her but there's not much signal in the garden centre. Eventually she rang back and she was indeed there! It was quite funny, it didn't really matter as the two are so close so they finished their lunch and we had ours and they came across to join us. We went in the antiques centre and I picked out a really pretty ring and my stepdad bought himself a woodwork tool and then we all set off to Swawick.
It was really easy to find the house, and easy to get in. Lee and I were there first and we just went around the whole place opening doors. It was HUGE. On the ground floor was a big kitchen, living room, huge conservatory, TV room, downstairs loo. On the middle floor were two triple rooms, both with ensuite bathrooms, and a twin room, with another bathroom. On the second floor was a double room with ensuite, a twin room with ensuite, and another twin room, and another bathroom. There were cupboards and all sorts of stuff hidden all over, it was fun to investigate! There was also a games room above the garages which had a full size snooker table, a pool table, and a football table in it. A real perk, really fun to play!
My mum and stepdad were close behind us. We chose which bedrooms we each wanted, and then unpacked all the kitchen stuff. We made two lasagnes - a meat one and a vegetarian one. When Sarah and Tom arrived, the six of us sat down to eat together.
I've been on holiday with Sarah before, and see quite a lot of her, but I haven't been away with Tom before so it was nice to spend more time with him. We played some games and before too long Von and Lucinda arrived, having made really good time travelling up together from London. They had some food and we all chatted before having quite an early night as everyone was tired!
Here's my photos from Friday:
Lee cooking on the huge cooker
My mum cooking
Archers and lemonade in a huge balloon glass!
I had asked my mum to make a lemon cheesecake for the weekend as hers is delicious, so she did, but as Lee doesn't like lemon, she made a double chocolate one too. They were both so good! Everyone enjoyed them, there wasn't much left of either by the end of the weekend!