With the girls in school, we have had to take our holidays in the school breaks for the last five years or so, which has become a little bit tiresome. It isn’t just the expense, although that is a big factor, but also the sheer amount of other people whose kids are always far more badly behaved than our own – or at least that’s how it appears us and to every other parent in the same position! No chance of sunbathing peacefully by the pool or having a quiet dinner together when what seems like the entire population of children from the UK are either having a water fight around you or ‘hanging out’ with their new friends, chatting excitedly or playing on various phones or handheld consoles. So, what can we do? We can’t take the girls out of school. Quite apart from the legal aspect, they are getting to the stage when it matters if they miss lessons and I don’t want them to get behind at this point. I believe that, in the past, schools could authorise up to ten days of holiday each academic year, but now that the government have decided there will be NO authorised leave except in ‘exceptional’ circumstances, that is no longer an option anyway. Probably a good thing, however, as, although a few days off school may not have caused a problem, any longer than that then just think of all the algebra and science the girls would have missed that the hubby and I don’t have the skills to help them catch up with! After much consideration and family debate, we have decided to go on a late sunshine holiday. The autumn half term break has been flagged as our summer holiday this year. There are usually plenty of sunshine holidays still available around then and they can be much cheaper and should be less busy. I always say we’ll go somewhere with a bit of culture, but, although I love a good gallery or museum, by the time we get to our destination and relax for a couple of days, we only really manage a day or two that isn’t by the pool or on the beach and the whole family is happy with this. The girls have iPods and the latest teen romance books, probably with a vampire involved somewhere, hubby has something filled with car chases and Russian spies and I have the trashiest novel I can find. Stereotypical but true! After a few days by the pool I can actually feel myself relaxing and it really does do me the world of good; soaking up the sun (slathered in high factor lotion of course) really puts a smile on my face. As this is a week instead of our usual two, it may seem a bit short, but we have the option of going away again later in the year. Who knows, we may have a snowy week as well!