We were invited to stay at Rossendale Holiday Cottages free of charge. All opinions are my own.
Last weekend, we headed away for a couple of nights. After a really hectic week, we jumped in the car almost as soon as we got home, and headed over to Rossendale Holiday Cottages. It was getting dark as we drove, and we were all a bit exhausted, a bit hungry and a little bit grumpy.
There’s nothing quite like going away as a family to really help you to reconnect with each other. So often, it can become a constant cycle of working out logistics, or of working out how many nights the other parent has been out or how many get-ups you’ve had to do. For us, it can almost become a bit of a competition: who is the most tired this week?
Tiredness breeds resentment. So you start to resent the sacrifices that you usually make willingly. I admit, I start to hold a grudge that I’m the one doing all the housework, the tidying, the life admin… Because I forget who I’m doing it for. I get the ‘me, me, me’ mentality, thinking that my work, and my role, is the most important.
I almost forget who I’m doing all this for.
Does this sound familiar? Perhaps you too have that whispering, resentful voice going around your head every now and again, directed at your husband, your children, your partner.
We needed to reset.
We needed, quite simply, just to spend time together. It sounds so obvious, but spending time together is one of the ways we fall back in love with our partners. We realise how lovely our children are. We give them the attention they crave, and they respond to it.
So heading away on a Friday evening was a very good plan.
One of the loveliest things about staying at Rossendale Holiday Cottages for us was that we didn’t have a long journey to get to it, although it felt far enough away to be a break. It only took us 40 minutes or so, and it was a spectacular journey over the Lancashire hills.
Rossendale is North of Manchester, and in South-East Lancashire. It’s proper ‘Mill-town’ country, with steep hills and valleys, and a dramatic landscape. You can see, in the towns, the outlines of the old mills and factories – it’s basically my GCSE History in the Industrial Revolution brought to life.
Rossendale Holiday Cottages
We were staying in Rossendale Holiday Cottages, which is a gorgeous site with cottages, rooms and glamping pods.
We stayed in the Barn, which, despite being a single-storey property, was definitely spacious enough for us, and would be ideal for a family with 3 children.
Everything was beautifully presented, immaculately clean and of a lovely quality.
On the Saturday, Storm Brian hit the UK, with freezing winds and absolute downpours. We stayed inside, keeping warm and dry. The cottage itself was really well insulated and absolutely warm and snug.
The open plan living room and kitchen area were great for the children. They played really happily, spent ages colouring in at the kitchen table and we borrowed a few toys and jigsaw puzzles from the games room. The kitchen was really well equipped and included a dishwasher – something I really appreciated.
There was also a big kitchen table, which we could all sit around. Although we usually make an effort to eat together, in the last few weeks, it had become a bit fragmented. Tim had been getting home from work late, so I would eat with the boys, or they’d eat at a friends’ house or at nursery or after-school club so wouldn’t want much dinner. Meal times had become a bit of a battle to be honest, so it was lovely to eat together properly over the weekend. We brought our booster seat for Samuel (who is almost growing out of the high chair), but there was a high chair available in the games room.
The sitting room also had french doors which opened out onto a little gravel area outside, with outdoor seating. I imagine this would be a real sun-trap and a gorgeously sheltered spot in drier weather. We closed the curtains firmly on the rain once the boys had gone to bed so that we could drink wine and chat in peace!
A Chance to Relax
A long corridor ran from the living room to the far bedroom, with the family bathroom and the second bedroom off the corridor. The second bedroom was a good size. Ben absolutely loved being able to sleep on the top bunk, and was more than happy to go to bed at 7pm both nights, leaving us with our evenings free.
We also had space to put up Samuel’s travel cot. I appreciated that the room was really dark, with no lights from outside. Both boys slept really well on both nights we stayed, with Samuel not waking up until after 6am, which is definitely a lie-in for him. You really cannot underestimate the power of an undisturbed night’s sleep!
The family bathroom and the en-suite bathroom were really lovely, with heated towel rails, lots of space (ideal for bathing splashing toddlers) and showers over the baths. They also had charging points for electric shavers and toothbrushes.
Our bedroom was particularly restful. Decorated in grey and white, it was a beautifully calm space, with lots of space around the bed. The bed was so comfortable, and the duvet was one of those which was really light but still incredibly warm. There was a table in the corner which I used as a dressing table but would easily work as a desk too.
There weren’t any cupboards in the bedrooms for clothes storage. Instead there were hanging rails. We actually thought this was a great idea, as they could be moved around. We moved the one from the boys’ room into our room, so that they could have more space. The only thing we really missed was somewhere to put our bags.
Most importantly for us, though, was that it was a chance to reconnect with each other. We took the boys out to soft play on Saturday morning, which was the first time since July that we’d all been together to a soft play as a family. Normally, it’s something one parent will do to give the other some breathing space at the weekend. We played with toys, watched films, talked, played games and coloured pictures. I took Samuel out to the supermarket to pick up a few things and got caught in a really heavy downpour. We didn’t bother leaving the house after that!
A beautiful location
If the weather had been good, I imagine we’d have still stayed on site a lot. There’s a gorgeous island on site where the boys would have played really happily, and there’s a play area down in the village. Rossendale Holidays run events such as Yoga Retreats, and I imagine they are absolutely blissful, as it’s a lovely location.
For us, Rossendale isn’t that far from where we live, so we knew lots of the attractions around already. If you’re looking for a great location in the North West, Rossendale has a lot going for it. It’s an easy drive from Rossendale to Manchester, with all its attractions. It’s in a stunning rural location, with brilliant walks and mountain biking. The Visit Rossendale website has lots of walking routes too.
It’s only 40 minutes from the beautiful Ribble Valley, which, again, is great for walking, mountain biking, shopping and has several historical attractions and lots of great pubs and restaurants.
It’s actually a great base to visit lots of Lancashire from, as well as closer attractions including the Bury Steam Railway. You could easily fill a couple of weeks – and if the storm hits, it’s easy to get cosy in the cottages.
The only thing I would say as a word of caution would be that you would definitely need a car. There isn’t much within walking distance – and plus, you’d miss all of the great attractions that Lancashire has to offer.