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Kids, Money, Boredom and Avarice

While we were on holiday this year to Grannies Heilan Hame, it was obvious that lots of kids run to and from the holiday park shop, brandishing the third or fourth £5 or £10 item of the night.  Wheedling loudly, some slurring parents giggle at the kids who are coshing the have-nots over the head with their new-found lighty up things.

The giggling turns to annoyance as they hand over fivers and tenners a time for their kids to pop off and visit the arcades downstairs.   I usually sit as far away from them as I can, scattered among the other disbelieving parents and wonder at how they can give each child £10 – £20 and often much more to spend each and every day they are on holiday.  They fritter it away in arcade machines or spend on rubbish from the holiday park shops.   This year, balloon machines seemed to be the most popular toy of choice.

Given how much my kids struggle, I’m quite pleased with how they take not being so flush with money as many of the other kids.   Mine usually grumble, but they live with it and accept reasonably well that their friends often have a never-ending supply of tenners in their young pockets.

I give mine £2.50 a day each to spend on what they want most days, and they are often happy enough with that.  I top up for a holiday park junk purchase on the last night and they seem to accept that well and I think what I give them is a lot to give kids on holiday.   One of mine gets more annoyed than the others about how much (or little as he sees it) they get, but being on holiday helps and they get on with enjoying it as best they can.

I just don’t know how some families do it.  Do they just not eat at home so that their kids have what I think is a fortune a week to spend on junk? I know it’s easier with one child than with multiples, but even so, it’s still a lot of money per child.

I know that taking kids out for a day is expensive, and that even a cinema trip would set us back a small fortune even if I do take drinks and sweets with us, but I’d never do that every day.  Some of my kids friends are out EVERY day of the school holidays and not to cheap or free things either.

What I can never work out is when these kids ever learn to be bored.   If they don’t learn to be bored, how are they going to amuse themselves from boredom when it’s really needed?  Perhaps having special needs makes it more important that kids learn to cope with being bored, but all I see is a large part of a whole new generation that may end up as whole life credit junkies.

I made sure my kids were bored for part of our holiday, and they relieved it by digging holes in the sand and watching them fill up again when the tide came in.

Grannies Heilan Hame Digging

Lets bring on more boredom and free activities, and get our kids doing more of the 50 things for free, it’s good for them.

Some of the 50 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU’RE 11 ¾ from the National Trust we did again. 

5. Skim a stone.
6. Hunt for treasure on the beach.
37. Check out the crazy creatures in a rock pool

Our things.

  1. Digging a huge hole in the sand and letting the sea fill it in.
  2. Play football on the beach.
  3. Talk to a sheep.





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My Easter Week Holiday Camp Experience

Grannies Heilan Hame from Parkdean, near Dornoch, Scotland

Grannies Decking View 2

With images of gorgeous beaches, sunshine and fun holidays, Parkdeans Grannies Heilan Hame boasts an entertainment schedule that will keep the kids amused and happy for days on end.  We’ve been here before and I have mixed feelings about it, but for the sake of the kids, I psych myself up once a year or so for my personal hell which is the holiday camp.

In previous visits, we’ve either been in cheapie accommodation or taken our own van.  At this time of year, it’s usually been freeze in April in a cheap van, or keep warm in our own van but sacrifice on space.

This year, we splashed out.  Our own caravan hasn’t been dewinterised yet and I refused to go in the cheap freezing accommodation that we’ve experienced before.  It was miserable being cold for a whole week.  The cheaper caravans say gas fire in lounge and heaters in bedrooms, but in reality, if it’s snowing and cold, they don’t even take the edge off in the bedrooms.   Three years ago we went to Dornoch and were lucky enough to get the last heater in a hardware shop to top up the heat (it was really bad snow in April that year).  We didn’t go up for the next year.

I was a little worried as we popped off to stay in the most expensive caravan Parkdean were renting out.

The lounge was comfortable and the kitchen was about the size of the one in our last house, so that was all good.

Grannies Caravan 1

Grannies Caravan 2

On first impressions, I sighed a relief at the central heating in the van, the huge fridge freezer, the lovely clean smelling beds, sheets and pillows, a decking with patio and chairs and an unforgettable sea view.  Actually, it was more than a sea view as we were literally just a few feet away from the breaking waves when the tide was in.

Grannies Heilan Hame 3

Grannies Beach

When the tide was coming in, the sea was very close indeed.  Literally about 20 feet from the decking.

Grannies Beach Tide Coming In

Was the accommodation worth it?

To me, it was. I spent quite a while just watching the waves, the sea and I’d forgotten how much I used to take a sea view for granted when I was growing up.  Our first night was windy and snowy and I loved watching it over the waves while nice and toasty in the van. I’d have to say the view was my favourite thing of the whole week.  I grew up next to the sea and spent a fair while offshore, so the noise of the sea was calming and aided sleep for me, but it kept everyone else awake as they’d never experienced the roar.

Grannies Heilan Hame 1

The kids liked the arcades and I managed to avoid going to the entertainment for a few nights and just curled up in front of the view with a hot drink and my kindle app for company. That’s my idea of bliss.

Middler loved the Sid and Lizzie kids entertainment, but he seemed to be much more aware of the size difference between himself and the little ones bopping away on the dance floor. He wanted to join in with the little ones as that’s where he is emotionally but his growing awareness of his difference is becoming more obvious.   The evenings are what evenings are in entertainment centres.  A bit of singing, some wobbly sozzled folks, a bit of kids shows and some disco stuff in between visits to the arcade.  It’s not my cup of tea, but the kids love it.

The kids did enjoy running about and the arcades easily swallow more change in an evening than most people earn in a month, so they had to be rationed as an activity.

Being right on the beach, middler could potter among the rocks in front of us when the tide was out and be in complete safety.

We could watch him from the van and shout if he got too close to the water.  It was perfect.  He was a little overwhelmed with going down the steps on his own, and was back at the van every 5 – 10 minutes to make sure we were still watching him.

Littlest and elder spent much time playing footie at the goals behind the sales caravans and made friends with kids from Embo who walked through to use the park.

Eldest met a girl from his year at school and arranged a date for the first week home.  How they grow up so quickly I have no idea, but it didn’t stop him helping his brother and digging for hours in the sand.

Grannies Heilan Hame Digging

We didn’t eat in the entertainment centre as we made food in the caravan most of the time unless we were out and about.   We did use the fast food place once, but it wasn’t terribly good.   I think we suffered on the eating out score this week, but the restaurant we visited in Ullapool more than made up for it as that was excellent.

I didn’t like the swimming pool last year as it was filthy (old photos on Instagram if anyone wants to see those) so we didn’t venture in this time round.  There were a fair few improvements to the bar and the entertainment centre looked in much better condition than it was last year.  There were some more things in the kids play area and the space for kids to play in around the vans and at the park and beaches knocks the socks off the space they have to run around in on the Nairn site.

The arrival sheet said that beds would be made up on arrival as a new service, but it wasn’t done.  I didn’t read that until after I had made the bedding up, so it was no bother really as I wasn’t aware they should have  been done.

The view and the placement of the van this year really made it worthwhile for me.  I’d have been happy to be there without the entertainment centre, but it did come at a hefty price of £499 for the week to get a caravan with double grazing, central heating and a great view.

Would I go back – maybe not next year as I’d like to do more of the West of Scotland next April, but yes, I would.  I’ve been spoiled view wise this time round.