This weekend Florence & I headed up to Northampton with my Mum & sister for a trip down memory lane. My Nan – Nanny Ann as I called her – lived in Northampton for as long as I knew her and I have so many wonderful memories of the holidays and weekends I spent with her as a little girl there.
She lived in a tiny flat overlooking Northampton Race Course where they used to hold their annual Hot Air Balloon festival. We used to go each year & I have some lovely memories of watching the balloons with her and it was lovely to revive that tradition with Florence and her own Nanny.
We travelled up on Saturday and after a *slight* one hour detour through Essex thanks to a user error with the SatNav we arrived at our Hotel – The Premiere Inn in Northampton town center. The hotel is only a year old and was really lovely with super attentive staff & free weekend parking close by. We got settled into our room where Florence had a play & a nap after the long drive. She was so good!
At 5pm we headed to Billing Aquadrome in time to have a wander around the festival though sadly upon arrival we were informed that neither of the two main events would be taking place due to the wind & rain forecast. We would still have to pay the full entry fee to get in despite the balloon flight & glow being cancelled so instead we decided to give the Saturday a miss and went to get some dinner – the only balloons in site on our dresses! Libby chose a roast dinner & so we booked a table at the Toby Carvery in nearby Wooton. It’s a really family friendly pub & the food was actually really delicious. Florence made friends with our waitress and certainly stole the show as ever!
After dinner we went back to the hotel and watched a couple of girly films. It was like an old school sleepover! While there was a travel cot in the room, I had Florence in with me over night as it had been a long day and I knew she wouldn’t settle anywhere she couldn’t see me.
We set the alarm for 5am in the hope that we’d have more luck of seeung some balloons in the morning. As soon as I woke I checked the weather & twitter – the rain & wind had cleared and the balloons were going to fly! Off we went down to the Aquadrome, Florence and my sister still in their pj’s.
We watched as the crews prepared their balloons for lift off, fires roaring & filling them with the all important hot air until they were ready to take to the skies.
As the sun rose, the balloons took to the sky and filled it with rainbow colour. There is something so calming and beautiful about a sky full of hot air balloons floating off into the distance.
Florence loved all of the colours and it was so lovely to see my Mum repeating history with her own granddaughter.
Once the field was empty and the sky was full, we watched for a while and then went back to the hotel for breakfast before going out to explore Northampton town centre. It really is such a lovely town full of beautiful grand buildings and charming little cafes.
We passed the hospital my Nan used to work in, visited the market square where I would play on the roundabout every single time we went there and after a spot of shopping sat out in the sunshine by the children’s sandpit where Florence had her first experience of sand between her toes!
And once Florence was fed and changed it was time to make our way back home. We had such a lovely girly weekend and I can’t wait to go back this time next year.