It takes a Village

This is a still from a film Brooks worked on recently called Cold Hands.

It’s written and directed by Mac Carr, shot in beautiful Falmouth, Cornwall. 

Brooks’ portrayal in the film really is stunning, and I hope you get a chance to see it. I’m a little biased, of course, but it really is a fantastic film. 

Being cast in films and TV projects means that sometimes he has to be away filming for lengths of time – either in the UK or abroad.

His jobs are often fun, sometimes crazy and intense, at times weird and unexpected. 

He can tell you all about that time he arrived in the Ukraine on a grey winter’s day to film an advert and he was picked up at the airport by a proper James Bond caricature villain. 

This man was huge. A good 2 meters and 2m wide. (Okay. No. But he was huge) 

He was standing in the arrivals foyer with a note that said Brooks in large letters. Brooks walked up to him and said cheerfully that he was Brooks. The man didn’t respond, but rather looked at him in complete silence. Then he simply gestured for Brooks to start walking. 

The James Bond villain walked him, in silence, to the car park where he gestured for Brooks to get in the back of a huge black Mercedes (- villain). 

There was a bullet proofed window between him and the driver (- villain) and the man drove him, in silence, all the way to the centre of the town to a manicure salon (er… – villain?) and then later the hotel.  (- villain).  Again, all in silence. 

Brooks rang me so many times that night. To make sure the kids and I were okay of course. 

Although we’re obviously overjoyed when he gets a job, because it’s his passion in life and he works so hard, it’s tough when he goes away, not only from a logistical point of view. 

Anyone with kids will tell you that it’s not an easy feat to look after kids on your own and three of them? 

Well, let me tell you – it’s a completely different ball game altogether. 

It’s the Big League people. 

This house runs a military camp. 

Everything is ready and set out the night before. 

The kids know the drill. When daddy is away, they must help mummy more at home.  When daddy is away, mummy turns into a drill sergeant. 

The food for the week is prepped and ready. The school bags are ready for school, their water bottles, packed lunches done, books, after school and club stuff sorted, tennis lessons, guitar and piano lessons, Taekwondo, football and swimming and Lord knows what else – all of it has to be ready and organised.  Mine and the kids’ clothes are ready and laid out ready for the week. We arrange play dates, we head to the library and go to the park after school.

Sounds fun yes, but it’s exhausting. 

If you’re on your own you don’t really get a break either. My kids have never been great sleepers and so they tend to be up a few times every night. 

I also sometimes get a bit scared. It’s a big house and I’m forever grateful for my dog’s presence – just in case. 

Gorgeous Friends

It also reminds me how lucky I am to have the best of friends.  My friends will offer to give the kids a ride to and back from school, have them over for play dates – you name it. 

Especially if you’re an immigrant like myself and my family are miles and miles away. My in laws are incredibly supportive as well, and will always help when Brooks is away. 

There’s a saying isn’t there. It takes a village and never was a truer word spoken. 

Travelling with kids – Alcudian Pins Review

Beach in Alcudia, Spain

Or… Hotels that cater for Swenglish families, and why the Swedes not say sorry when they bump into you.

When you find a hotel that caters for your Swedish❤️English family it makes you so very, very happy. It almost feels like “home from home from home”.

It’s like a beautiful village, filled with your people. You can speak English and Swedish, sing snapsvisor with gusto and bring out all your glorious Swenglish-ness… You could start your day with a wonderful fry up followed by a game of Kubb (and the people around you would totally know the rules) ending it with wine from a tetra pack container.

We sometimes travel with our extended Swedish family and as it happens TUI (former Thomson) also operates in Scandinavia. Bonus!

One of these hotels we’ve found is Alcudia Pins in Playa del Muro, Mallorca Spain. It offered pretty much everything we were looking for. We wanted a child friendly hotel in Spain with a *Bamse kids club, pools, a beach nearby and All Inclusive.

And we knew we wanted a hotel with bilingual reps. It’s so important that my kids are exposed to, and get to practice speaking, Swedish – especially with other kids. Swedish adults tend to switch to English as soon as they hear my kids aren’t native, whereas kids generally won’t. (Mind you, Swedish kids are unbelievably good at speaking English nowadays!)

Alcudia Pins

The hotel delivered on all accounts. As I mentioned above, the reps were amazing and looked after our son so well. He was a bit worried initially but soon got the hang on things. He loved being in Bamse club and having the advantage of being able to speak both languages really boosted his confidence. Whenever there was a word or a phrase he didn’t understand the reps would help him out. I was incredibly proud of him, as it must have been quite daunting, and hard work at times.

The hotel was really clean and hotel staff couldn’t do enough for you. Always smiling and saying hello. I don’t know why, but I find that so important. Staff taking the time to look up and greet you. The hotel room was spacious and had everything we needed. The decor was bit dated perhaps, but it didn’t bother us really. We had a one bedroom apartment, with a lounge area, a kitchenette and comfy beds. Our view wasn’t amazing, (overlooking the road) but it didn’t matter as we didn’t travel abroad to spend time in our hotel room.

Jackson on sun lounger

Alcudia Pins is ideal for families as there is so much on offer. Obviously the pools and the beach are a great draw, but there’s also table tennis, a games room/amusement type games and small rides, a playground, a soft play area – you and your kids will not be bored!

As it’s ideal for Families it is overrun by kids. If you get annoyed by little ones running amok and playing, splashing around and generally being kids then this hotel is not for you.

We ventured out of the hotel a few times and it was a welcome break.

One of the trips was to a really fun acrobatic/circus show called Pirates which I will highly recommend!!

(Unfortunately the transfer was quite long, about an hour or so, and as I’ve mentioned previously my son gets travel sick so… yeah, not great. He ended up wearing a fantastic pirate souvenir t-shirt though so he was happy! Every cloud and all that).

Church in Old Town

We also went into the Old Town and it’s beautiful. The market was amazing – but make sure you haggle. Also, if you end up buying a beautiful brown leather bag, at a great price JUST FOR YOU, beware that it may be camel and will NEVER EVER EVER smell like anything else but camel even though you’ve literally tried anything and everything from newspapers to vinegar to leaving a cloth soaked in bleach inside the bag to actually just leaving it in the garage for months and months to get the smell to go away… Or so I’ve heard anyway. (Ahem)

The restaurants were great and there were many options to choose from. We were All Inclusive with the kind of food which generally caters for everyone. At the pool bar there are the usual suspects, burgers and sausages, jackets with different fillings and the buffet restaurant near reception had a fantastic variety of food to choose from. The themed restaurants are definitely worth a visit as they are table service and is a nice change from the buffet restaurant.

We never had to queue for very long, (albeit it was starting to get busier our second week at the hotel), and there was always plenty of seats in the restaurants. Staff, again, super friendly and helpful.

But – and herein lies a HUGE difference between our beautiful cultures… as it got busier and guests had to interact more due to space limitations – it became very clear that the English and Swedes have two very different ways of approaching certain things in life.

Swedes will happily wait their turn in a queue – as will the Brits. In this we are equal. Swedes will not eat the last meatball on the smörgåsbord, neither would the English eat the last roast potato, but with physical contact, the Swedes show their true Viking colours…

Palm Tree, Old Town

I’ll explain.

In England, if you’re walking down the street, and you’re accidentally bumped into – you apologise.

The person who bumped into you apologises.

Then you apologise again, for, well… having to apologise and the person apologises to you again for having to apologise for having to apologise in the first place. (This goes on for all eternity).

In Sweden it goes like this:

You walk down the road, person bumps into you, they continue walking.

End of story.

Sometimes, if the physical contact is great enough, if they step on your feet/toes say, the person MAY say something like “Oj!”, roughly translated to “whoops”.

My husband really can’t understand this behaviour at all. It’s hard to explain really. Swedes aren’t bothered about it all and it’s not like we don’t say sorry because we’re rude, it’s just… well, one of those lovely little differences.

Alcudia Pins pool, nighttime

The evening performances were great. Obviously geared towards kids and families but the standard was pretty high. We always managed to get a seat and there was a bar right by the stage.

All in all, our two weeks flew by and we had a fabulous time and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

We’re always on the look out for Swedish❤️English hotels so let me know if you’ve been to any recently!

Kram

Jessica

Jackson at Bamse Club

*Bamse is a Swedish cartoon character. He is the strongest and kindest bear in the world. Definitely not a Viking. I think he would say sorry if he bumped into you. Most definitely a Swenglish Bear.