Sofie Lambrecht, mum of five, recounts:
Two-Day of de panne!
At the invitation of Westtoer, we visited De Panne, with our five children in tow. As De Panne is only a three-quarter of an hour’s drive away, the distance is just perfect for a two-day trip.
Hello, my name is Sofie Lambrecht, married and mum of five children.
When I became pregnant with my eldest son, I decided that I would stop working, to become a housewife or stay-at-home mum, as I prefer to be called. I stay at home for the children, not for the housekeeping. Somehow I was under the illusion that I would turn into a domestic goddess, would have freshly baked cookies on the table every day and that my house would sparkle.
Nothing could be further from the truth, but one thing I was definitely right about is that I would genuinely enjoy it and that my family would be all the happier for it. What I couldn’t have predicted when I started blogging a number of years ago was that it would initially grow into a major hobby before getting completely out of hand. Once I had discovered Instagram and my passion for creative photography there was no going back. I still stay at home for the children but now I am also self-employed.
I love what I do. So, what do I do? Well, firstly I am simply myself, wife and mum and, as a self-employed person, I share photographs on Instagram about myself as a mum, my sizeable body, and life in general, like great outings for instance! On my blog, I also post stories about parenthood, activities, body positivity, outings and plenty more.
De Panne is equally great in windy weather!
The plan was to follow a free sand-yachting lesson on the first day. Through rain and, especially, wind we went to the starting point but unfortunately it was far too windy and not safe enough to go sand yachting that day. A real pity because we had been looking forward to it so much. For the record, you can book your free sand-yachting lesson via dekust.be. There are plenty of other initiations, really cool and a great way to try your hand at something new.
The wind reached a speed of 6 to 7 Beaufort on that first day but we weren’t going to let it spoil our fun. We hired go-carts and pedalled them up and down the promenade. A breeze when we had the wind in our backs, a bit of a job in the other direction but the kids had the time of their lives! The many beaming faces on the photographs speak for themselves, no matter how hard they had to pedal, they couldn’t have enjoyed themselves more.
Pancakes and shopping perfectly possible through wind and rain
After all that pedalling we treated ourselves to gorgeous pancakes and then headed for the shopping street of De Panne for a spot of window-shopping and to buy ourselves a few knick-knacks. Shopping is always great, rain or shine. Come evening time, we went to our hotel, cobwebs cleared and happy out.
Staying at C Aparthotel Zon en Zee with seven
C Aparthotel Zon en Zee is huge and really quite chic. We shuddered at the thought of the litres of sand our gang would leave around the place but it turned out to be just fine! We were given a room for six with a cot for our youngest daughter.
Our hotel room
There was a sitting room with dining table (four chairs and two stools), a 2/3-seater couch, 2 armchairs, a kitchen with everything you could need bar an oven and a dishwasher, a separate toilet, a bathroom and a bedroom. We decided to put our five children in the bedroom: in a bunk bed, a doubled bed and a cot. It worked perfectly. The room was big enough and really nice. We slept on the sofa bed in the sitting room.
The hotel was A OK, sparkling clean and really comfortable. Our hotel room would have been just perfect for two adults, two children and one baby. For a family of 7 it was a bit of a squeeze but it wasn’t an issue! An added bonus was that we could log into our Netflix account via the TV. Brilliant for us once the kids were in bed.
The breakfast buffet was delightfully extensive, fresh and scrumptious. There was something for everyone. The colouring picture for each child and the colouring pencils on the table were a nice touch. Super! Check out the hotel’s website here.
Hoeve Paepehof (pet farm)
On Sunday morning, the wind was still fairly strong. Not fancying the idea of our youngest flying off on the beach, we decided to visit Hoeve Paepehof, a nearby pet farm. A wonderful farm where you immediately feel welcome; can admire the animals (rabbits, peacock, pig, lama, sheep, hens...) at your leisure and have something nice to eat or drink. It also has a great outdoor playground and indoor play attic. Check out the pet farm’s website here, they even organise fun activities now and again!
Top tip for the epicureans among my readers
After our trip to the pet farm, our stomachs began to rumble and we headed for Armalot, a tiny restaurant with about 8 tables inside, where we had been invited for lunch. We had the largest table for seven; the other tables mostly seated two or four people. The place was beautifully decorated, gleaming and cosy. The owner welcomed us with open arms and told us - of his own accord - that the children could chat and do their own thing.
By then, our children had already discovered the sandpit and slide outside and were playing away, really great! There was also a terrace with tables but the weather wasn’t exactly conducive to outdoor dining. Armalot has a limited menu, so parents with fussy kids, beware: they don’t serve French fries! But they do have a special kids menu with chicken or fish and vegetables. I couldn’t recommend Armalot more highly: the decor is stunning and the hosts are really charming! Booking is essential, so go and have a look on the website.
And on to Plopsaland
After lunch, the weather started to improve and we decided to check out Plopsaland De Panne. Our thoroughly enjoyable afternoon there was the icing on the cake of marvellous weekend.