Making The Best Of It

Posted on 25th August 2010 in brighton/ children/ complaint/ contact/ customer service/ Premier Inn/ son/ step-dad

The plan was that my boys went to stay with their dad for a week (commencing Sat 21 Aug) and that me and my OH would go to Brighton for 2 days leaving on the 22nd.

We would never, ever book for a whole week as my ex is too unreliable for that!

To cut a long story short, sadly (for my boys) my ex did not have them at all. Leaving us with our precious 2 days away disappearing before our eyes AND 2 very disappointed boys.

We decided to still go to Brighton with our vast budget of £200(!). After much trawling of the internet we found a nice looking hotel on Regency Square which offered a ‘family room’ that was actually a double room and a twin room with interconnecting doors via a bathroom – for £120. Huge chunk of the budget but at least it meant that once the boys were in bed we would have our own space to quaff ludicrous amounts of wine, eat chocolate and watch a movie.

Unfortunately, when we checked into the hotel it left A LOT to be desired :(

We’d been really trying to be upbeat about not having time alone, we’d accepted that our trip to Brighton would be very different with 2 boys in tow than on our own, but the state of this hotel was a bridge too far.

Quick list of complaints: damp patch on ceiling in twin room, damp pillows in twin room, no tv in twin room, the double room was actually a twin room too, tiny tv in double room, no chair or mirror in either room, bathroom had a back door in it that was half glass and looked out onto god knows what, bathroom had damp all up one wall, bathroom looked as though someone had vomited up again back door, bathroom paint around the sink was falling off in clumps.

There were other things but that will do. So I got our money back (OH was stunned – said I had no chance of a refund) and we walked 5 mins into town and checked into the Premier Inn.

£77 for a massive family room, all clean and all dry – and we all breathed a sigh of relief!

Off to the pier we went and the boys discovered why mummy saves up change in the big pepsi bottle in the lounge! After we’d emptied a disgraceful amount of change into the machines at the pier we went off for lunch at The Seven Stars – the boys loved it and the OH was very happy too as he had a sneaky pint of Bombardier.

We sat on the beach while the boys threw stones at the sea (never understood that, must be a boy thing), we walked along the sea front and wound our way through the lanes. OH showed the boys the shop where we bought my engagement ring (we got engaged in Brighton – didn’t tell anyone – then on xmas day that year my OH ‘proposed’ on one knee in front of our families).

We had dinner in the Ha Ha Bar which was really nice and the waitress was lovely, we were reminded of how good customer service can be!

Back to the room and we popped the TV on for a 5 minute chill out and OH couldn’t find the freeview channels. After much button pressing, head shaking and tutting he rang down to reception and a lady said she would ‘send someone up’ sure enough, 5 mins later a lady came up, pressed 1 button on the remote and hey presto there were the freeview channels! My 9 y/o who was sitting on the bed with my OH (his stepdad) said “That must have been the only button my dad didn’t press!”. #MagicMoment

Bedtime went smoothly, the boys were good as gold and didn’t make a sound after we’d put them in bed (the promised trip to the LEGO store if they were good may have helped).

Next day started with a massive breakfast (the boys were ridiculously impressed with the premier inn breakfast) and then off the the LEGO store where for some reason our £40 of LEGO rang up at £30 – I did query it as I’m too honest for my own good, lol, but she said if that’s what it rang up at then that’s what it was. Cool. They have a snazzy machine in LEGO shops where if you hold the box up to the screen a 3D image of all the little men and the LEGO model come to life – it’s really cool and OH and I played with it while the boys chose what to buy! My 10y/o was mesmerised by the LEGO Architecture range.

We had booked Sea Life tickets in advance online as it is £15 cheaper that way and had a lovely trip around looking at on the fish, the rays were especially wonderful as we fed them and then they kept sort of standing up in the water and showing us their lovely smiley faces! The boys loved the glass bottom boat trip where we saw sharks and turtles and discovered that a cute little yellow fish was the most dangerous thing in the tank!

A late lunch at an italian restaurant was yummy and then we began the trip home – sadly all the roads were shagged which meant that a 2 hour drive turned into a 4 hour drive but we still all came home happy.

In retrospect, although we missed our weekend away, I think the weekend that we ended up with was pretty special too and I know that it has created some happy and lasting memories for the boys.

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  • Reply sheila2010 25th August 2010 at 3:17 pm

    It was horrible for the boys that they were let down by their dad (I had that all too often when mine were small) and I know exactly how much you must have been looking forward to having a bit of time just the two of you.
    But as you said all worked out well in the end and it sounded like you all had a ball. Hope your lovely boys let your ex know exactly what a lovely time they had!!!!

    • Reply mrsljhall 25th August 2010 at 3:31 pm

      I hope so too :) can’t beat that really can you! x

  • Reply Kate 25th August 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Gah, your ex! Sounds like you had a great time tho. Premier Inns are great, aren’t they?

    • Reply mrsljhall 25th August 2010 at 5:35 pm

      They rock! Don’t think I’ll bother looking for a different hotel next time we go there.

  • Reply TheMadHouse 25th August 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Sounds like you really did have a great weekend on a budget. Well done for taking a stance and saying something to the guesthouse.

  • Reply jfb57 25th August 2010 at 6:12 pm

    So glad it went well! I think we stayed at that hotel in Regency Square!!I can’t believe how your ex behaves like this ALL THE TIME. The comment about ‘my dad’ just shows what the boys think. That is what matters & you won’t change their minds!

  • Reply Metajugglamum 25th August 2010 at 8:39 pm

    What a fabulous story, you brave lady. Sometimes it’s not what we plan, but what we get that makes us grin the most … particularly when we tell the stories afterwards eh!
    Lovely engagement anecdote! but sorry Mate … stones at sea a boy thing?? No way, unless I lost a very important part at some point in my physical development. I’m a chuckingstonesintoanytypeofwater addict. #justsayin. You should try it – it’s marvellously therapeutic … and the crosser you are, the bigger the stones and the more satisfying the splosh. Seriously, this shit really works and it’s cheaper than a psychiatrist!! 😉
    Great post Hun. As ever xx

  • Reply Brighton Mum-Teenage Angst 25th August 2010 at 10:19 pm

    It’s sounds like you ended up having a great time, and a definite #magicmoment when your son called his step-dad ‘dad’, awww, I went a little gooey then. Wish I’d known you were coming down beforehand, we always have a few BOGOF vouchers for Sealife hanging around the house. And I agree with Metajugglamum above, stonethrowing, very theraputic!

    • Reply mrsljhall 25th August 2010 at 10:23 pm

      Aw thankyou, will bear that in mind next time. And, to please you I will TRY stone throwing next time too! x

  • Reply andthenallithoughtaboutwasyou 25th August 2010 at 10:38 pm

    Sounds like you had a lovely time, even though it wasn’t what you planned but great family memories. I did think it was sweet the dad comment! Aren’t premier inns great, we love them always stay in them and love Brighton. Going there in a couple of days actually, I love it down there so much xx

  • Reply Michelle Twin Mum 26th August 2010 at 8:30 am

    Sounds like a fab time away. Very sad that your ex can not be relied on to see his kids! but at least they have you to make up for that. I must get aroudn to going to a Ha Ha bar and cantena as you can use Tesco vouchers there and I alwasy love a free meal! Mich x

  • Reply Whimsical Wife 26th August 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Sounds like you had a lovely time – for me you can’t beat anywhere that does a good and huge breakfast!

  • Reply Princess L 29th August 2010 at 1:08 am

    Sounds like a fabulous holiday :)
    Well done you for getting your money back on the awful hotel too!

  • Reply Single Dads Diary 8th September 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Like everyone else who has commented, I think your son referring to your OH as “dad” was lovely.

    Sounds like an excellent weekend. Life is what you make it.

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