With Father’s Day approaching, it’s time to celebrate all things dad – although I’m sure you also do that for the other 364 days of the year too! With this in mind, I’ve teamed up with travel agent Thomas cook to not only share some of my favourite holiday memories of my dad, but also bring news about their #DadMoments competition where you could win a £1,000 gift card to put towards your next holiday. More on the latter below.
But first, let me share some of my own #DadMoments. This wasn’t as easy as I envisaged. Firstly, I had a really nice upbringing so I’ve got plenty of great memories from my childhood to look back on and attempt to choose from. Secondly, at the ripe old age of 32, I’m finding that a lot of my memories are actually merging together due to my old age. And thirdly, I had to task my folks with looking through album after album of old photos to find photos that married up with my memories!
Although we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, it never felt like we were short of something to do – particularly when it came to holidays. I guess it was the fact that we weren’t well off which meant that we had to make our own fun and entertainment. Obviously my bro and I weren’t really aware of this at the time, but in hindsight, what they achieved without excess money is pretty incredible. Something I’ve touched on in learning to be a dad from my dad.
As such, a lot of stuff we used to do didn’t cost much – if anything at all. We had a small, old caravan – which later became a medium, newer caravan – so spent a lot of our holidays at campsites by the seaside. Our entertainment used to be stuff like building sandcastles on the beach, spending our 2p’s in the amusements, playing rounders, badminton or tennis at the park or playing board games in the caravan at night. We’d then occasionally do something a bit bigger like go bowling, to the cinema or see a show. Money wasn’t the prerequisite for fun – family was.
It seems strange in today’s society, but I have very few memories of going to restaurants and eating out. The norm for us was to always make our own food, find somewhere to pull over in the car, get out a rug and eat our ‘pack up’. This would often see my dad driving around for ages getting more and more annoyed as my mum looked for the perfect rural picnic spot for us to decamp and eat our sarnies. A pretty mundane memory – and probably pretty boring for you to read (!) – but our home-made sandwiches and all-weather picnics have always stuck with me as quality family time.
The majority of things we did on holidays was as a family, so 99% of my memories are of the four of us. There were times though when what we did was just with my dad. For instance, my mum wasn’t / isn’t a fan of water, so going into the sea or going swimming was just a lads, lads, lads activity. Similarly, when it came to thrill-seeking adventures like roller coasters, dad was the one who came on with us as mum took her position as chief photo taker and coat / bag holder. I’m not sure if he enjoyed it, but he didn’t have a choice as it was his job as dad!
It’s these kind of memories that I’d like Toddler L to have and look back on when she’s older. For me, it doesn’t have to be anything big or special – although I’m sure that helps (!) – but more about quality family time spent together having fun. The funny thing is that Hay and I have so many awesome memories of holidays and short breaks with Toddler L already, but at nearly three, she’s not going to be able to remember any of them!
Share Your #DadMoments And Win
As part of this campaign, there’s a chance to win a £1,000 gift card to put towards your next holiday with Thomas Cook. Simply share a favourite holiday snap of you as a dad or you with your dad to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #DadMoments.
To see the entries to date and check out the full terms and conditions, head on over to the Thomas Cook Dad Moments page.
N.B. This is a commissioned post written in collaboration with Thomas Cook.