My £9.50 Holiday, BBC1: Heartwarming stuff that reminded me hard-up holidays were the best days of my life

Programme Name: My �9.50 Holiday - TX: 15/07/2013 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Embargoed for publication until: n/a - Picture Shows: The Pearson family from Southend in BBC1@s My �9.50 Holiday
Programme Name: My �9.50 Holiday - TX: 15/07/2013 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Embargoed for publication until: n/a - Picture Shows: The Pearson family from Southend in BBC1@s My �9.50 Holiday
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I’d assumed the brace position as I switched onto My £9.50 Holiday, the latest in BBC1’s The Cost Of Living season looking at the impact of the recession on Monday night

I was expecting a sniggering portrayal of the families taking a weekend break in a Skeggy caravan park courtesy of a £9.50 offer in a tabloid newspaper. Far from it. This was heartwarming stuff and proof that what really matters is not what you buy your kids, but the time you give them. A mum eked out the cost of her family’s night out with a bag of juice drinks from Aldi (ten for 99p; bargain) and went home pleased there was still 70p in her purse. Dad happily stirred the oven chips; their kids wanted nothing more than the company of their parents in a stress-free environment for a change. There was no want, want, want from anyone; no expensive aspirations. It was so refreshing to witness children understanding and accepting a phrase so familiar to me when I was growing up: “We can’t afford it.”

~That Skeggy park reminded me of the brilliant holidays we spent in tents and caravans. We were too busy playing to nag for things. Eating out? The luxury of fish and chips on the seafront.

It made me realise how wrong we got it when we started believing that granting our children’s every wish and whisking them off on a Med cruise was good parenting.