Holiday No.2: The one with the elephant and the binge drinking

We took our second ever family holiday a couple of weeks ago. Neither my husband nor I are brave enough to take our little girl abroad yet, so for now, we’re limiting ourselves to the UK and this time it was Perthshire in Scotland. We’d chosen the area because Little B is currently in the midst of an elephant obsession. In fact, she has been captivated by elephants since she saw her first collection of dead stuffed animals in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh a few months ago.

We’d shortlisted all the zoos within a 4 hour radius of our house, and plumped for Blairdrummond Safari Park. It wasn’t too far away. It was open. It had an elephant. It met all our key requirements.

The entire holiday would be based around this elephant. Little B would see the elephant and be off her chops with excitement. Throw in a couple of farm visits and one or two quiet, relaxing days and that would be our holiday sorted.  And it was. Well, apart from a just a few glitches, obviously….

1. The cottage and the farm

Our cottage was slap bang in the middle of farmer territory (and on a farm, no less).  We knew this would be the case, but what we hadn’t registered was that it was September (frigging September) and that this was an arable farm. Cue tractors rattling past our cottage at 15 minute intervals. All day and all evening.  And then there was the harvesting of the field, 20 metres from our cottage.  At night.  Thankfully we weren’t woken by this, because we never really got to sleep in the first place. (See below)

Our view. Yep. Fun, fun, fun on the farm.

2. The travel cot

Yes, thank you Mothercare, for your wonderfully designed travel cots, illustrated with bright jungle animals. Toddlers love bright jungle animals. Thank you for encouraging our daughter to repeatedly remove her sheet and mattress from the travel cot in order to view these animals. Thank you for making these animals look so wonderful that she felt compelled to repeat this action on average 6 times per night during our holiday, before finally going to sleep, only to wake up uncomfortable in the early hours because at 2am her parents had had neither the energy nor the will to replace the mattress and sheet for the 6th time.

3. The binge drinking

I should have seen this coming.  On day 2 of the holiday, Little B was indicating a reluctance to take any nap whatsoever. By the evening she was a bit worse for wear, so quite soon after dinner we bathed her and she had her milk. But she had too much milk. She realised this before we did, and just before we put her to bed, she projectile vomited all over herself, me, the carpet, and finally, the bath. At least last time’s holiday vomit was contained within the cot. I don’t think I need to explain the chaos that ensued, suffice to say that the washing machine was switched on. Again. And yes, I cried. Again.

4. My near death experience

Despite having travelled to our cottage looking like we’d just designed and entered a ‘How much crap can you fit in an Audi A3?’ competition, we still managed to forget a few essentials which necessitated a quick shopping trip to Perth.  While there, we decided to have lunch at the M&S cafe which was on the first floor of the store. We waited patiently for the lift, and as the doors opened to reveal what felt like 200 people, our 22 month old shouted (in the clearest and loudest voice I have ever heard her use), ‘EVERYBODY OUT!’. The people in the lift laughed. I almost died.

5. The elephant

Ah, the elephant. This was to be the highlight of our holiday. We arrived at the Safari Park (later than planned and having forgotten spare nappies obviously) and worked out our route so that the elephant would be one of the last things we would see. Imagine how excited Little B would be when, after seeing a whole host of mediocre animals, she would be presented with what in her eyes was the veritable King of the Jungle.

We wound our way through the goats, ponies, pigs, sheep and alpacas, before moving onto the penguins and sea lions. Then, after lunch, we made our way to the bigger animals: the giraffes, lions and tigers. We passed a huge play area, the likes of which I have never seen before (and I’ve seen a lot of play areas), and Little B stopped to play in the sandpit with the buckets and spades. It was a beautiful sunny day, she was happy building sandcastles, and we were looking forward to showing her a real-life, non-stuffed, breathing elephant.


After 20 minutes or so, it was time. I can’t express how excited I was at this point.  We headed off to see the elephant. We walked up the path to the viewing area in anticipation, talking in excited tones to Little B about what she would see when we eventually got there. As we neared the end of the path, there it was. The elephant. Trunk, tusks, the whole shebang. And this time, it was even alive.  As I pointed  towards the elephant, I admit, I may have let out a slight squeal.


Little B looked at the elephant for a few seconds, and as a smile slowly developed on her face, she turned to me, and in the lovely voice she uses when she’s really happy and amazed by something, she said three words that will stay with me forever:

‘Play sand pit?’

Play. Sand. Pit.

I did not cry. Not until we got back to the cottage anyway.

Harvesting, projectile vomiting and sleeplessness aside, we did have a lovely time on holiday and have now reached the point where we can look back and laugh. The Safari Park was a great day out, even if the elephant wasn’t the success I’d hoped for and Little B fell asleep before the start of the Safari Drive.

We managed some other day trips and had a great time at Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre which has the most beautiful view from any play area I’ve ever seen. We also enjoyed a morning at the Beatrix Potter exhibition at Birnam Arts Centre, where Little B had a fun time making cups of tea in their Beatrix Potter-themed play room.

Gorgeous view at Auchingarrich
Knocking back the much-needed caffeine at the Beatrix Potter exhibition

I’m learning to accept that holidays with a toddler are never going to be the most relaxing, but they’re a rare chance for the three of us to spend uninterrupted time together and for that, I’ll take the stress and sleeplessness. But I’d rather not have the vomit next time, if that could please be arranged.



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27 thoughts on “Holiday No.2: The one with the elephant and the binge drinking”

  1. Toddlers are never interested in the things you think they will be, it’s soul destroying! And by the way, it doesn’t get any better, sorry to say. Every year I put my heart and soul (and bank account) into planning what I think is a fab birthday party for my daughter (7). Every year she is like “meh… it was ok” And gives me a list of things she thought were crap about it. -e.g. You know that tinkerbell cake you stayed up all night baking and decorating and you were so chuffed with you posted it on facebook? Well I wish you hadn’t put jam in, I hate jam. Next time can you buy the one we saw in the shop?” Aaaaaargh!!

  2. Laughed so hard at this, in pure sympathy because I can imagine all of it! Scotland is beautiful and your daughter is exceptionally ungrateful. Jokes. I can relate to the zoo – recently we went en masse to our local zoo, which we’ve spent £100 on annual passes for, and the baby tigers were out. I was cooing and photographing and ovary-squeezing, and my toddler was yanking at my arm to go back to the fucking slide. Thank you for linking to #Chucklemums!

    1. Oh, I feel your pain. What is it about slides and sandpits?? I wouldn’t care, but she still loves toy elephants, Elmer, the elephants on Jungle Book, and the other day she even sat through a documentary on Burma (A DOCUMENTARY ON BURMA!) because there were elephants in it! And I bet she’d still love the stuffed one in Edinburgh if we took her again. Live ones just don’t have the same appeal apparently….

  3. Oh no. Sorry but this made me smile, although only because I could imagine this happening to us! After sickness hit us on a trip to Lisbon, we stayed at home for our 2 weeks off in September and sent the girl to nursery. Best. Holiday. Ever. Hope you have recovered and that next time your holibobs are sick-free! #FamilyFun

  4. Oh nooooooooo! I am with you on the travel cot, what is with that? Why do they make it so stimulating? It is like putting baby into its own mini rave club! Thanks for linking up with #FridayFrolics

  5. Ahahaha nooe holidays with toddlers are not holidays! We are currently in Spain With out two and one year old combo. It has actually been a successful holiday, but the last one certainly wasn’t! I live in hope hey get easier. I’m sorry I couldn’t help but chuckle a little bit at the elephant because that is be exact same thing that would happen to us. They can be so fickle can’t they? Well disputed a few hiccups in glad you had a good time – we had projectile milk vom gate too. Oh the joys. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

    1. I’m glad your holiday has been successful and I’m also hoping that things will get easier in future. At the minute I’m finding that it’s not a holiday unless it involves cleaning up copious amounts of sick at some point! Sorry to hear you have also experienced vom gate – I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!

  6. I have yet to have a relaxing family holiday! Pre kids my husband and I went away for a proper relaxing holiday. Anyway we were driving around and got a bit lost. We found ourselves in the middle of nowhere with the roads becoming more like gravel tracks. Then we saw it. An elephant! Turns out we had somehow driven through a back entrance to a local safari park. It was very surreal though! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

  7. This is brilliant! We too have a holiday vomiter. Every. Single. Holiday. Even mini breaks! It’s always the first night too so that we don’t escape it on the shortest of short breaks. We wake up in the night hearing coughing and within seconds I’m up and trying to find something with which I can clean a carpet and mattress. I even pack “vom cleaning” essentials now. This never happened on holidays before babies!! Pleased you had a good time in the end though x

    1. Noooo! I thought it was just bad luck with the vomiting! I didn’t realise it could be a regular thing. Looks like I’d better stock up on disinfectant travel miniatures before we go anywhere else. Just when I thought I couldn’t get anymore glamorous….

  8. Despite the tractors and the vomiting it sounds like you had a lovely time. And it looks like little one enjoyed it too.

  9. oh no! Holidays with little ones are just a recipe for disaster aren’t they? I took my 2 year old and 5 month old on an 8 hour journey to France to stay with my sister in law, only to get there with two kids projectile vomiting and the baby ending up in A&E. The first part of our trip ended up with us spending two nights in hospital while he was hooked up to a drip. Oh the joys! Love your elephant story. Kids, eh? LOL #KCACOLS

    1. Oh dear.. Looks like things could have been a lot worse for us! That really was an awful start to the holiday and must have been so frightening too. I hope they both made a speedy recovery. There’s never a dull moment is there?

  10. Holidays with kids are never going to be relaxing g until they turn into teenagers I reckon! I do feel your pain with the whole elephant situation. We regularly plan fun days out which we are excited to to tell the boys about and their reaction is always underwhelming! What gets me is that they then get excited about the most random things. Like the other day, they asked what was for dinner and I replied “jacket potato” and seriously I kid you not, I’ve never seen them so excited about having potato for dinner!

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday x

    1. Haha, I can relate to that – my little girl is also a bit jacket potato obsessed! What is it about potatoes?? I’ll definitely be focusing on the simple things from now on. No more chasing elephants for us!

  11. Love it! ‘Everybody out!’ is exactly the sort of thing my little ones shout at strangers. And they’re never interested in what you intend them to be are they? On our zoo trips it has always been me going on about the big cats and, in fairness, the kids do get excited. The cats of course are invariably nowhere to be found and doing nothing – usually sunning themselves in the far distance where we can barely see them! I never learn.

    Thanks so much for joining us for #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time.

    1. Thank you! We’re new to inappropriate comments – until that point they’d been kept within the house, but it seems that she’s now quite happy to go public. As long as it doesn’t get any worse than the ‘everybody out!’ incident, we should be ok! (Fingers crossed….)

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