The Seaside Diaries

On arrival

CornwallSea DiariesComment

I can remember that as a little girl we had so many lovely family holidays at the seaside and getting there was always fun. There was such a wonderful ritual to it all, the excitement beforehand, the over-loaded car, the journey that always felt like forever, countless rounds of eye-spy along the way and plenty of "are we there yet"s exclaimed. One of my favourite things was arriving wherever we were destined, opening up what would be our home for the week, running round to check every room and then my sister and I throwing down our bags and running off to explore the exciting new place we'd landed in. 

What's funny is now, when I arrive at my destination I still want to do exactly the same thing but those pesky little "grown-up" duties seem to take precedent.  You know, all of those responsible things that you used to leave your parents to do whilst you went to hunt out the nearest playground - probably better go and do a food shop and unpack and make up the beds first. So when we arrived in Cornwall this time, I was good and performed my adult duties, albeit rather hastily, then just like that little girl once did, I grabbed my coat and was out the door.



It didn't even enter my mind to start by exploring the site we were staying at because the pull of the sea was ludicrous and I headed straight to it. I could hear it roaring loudly, calling my like a homing beacon. I followed the sound, my strides getting bigger and then as I made my way over the bough of the hill there it was in front of me in all of it's magnificent, blue glory! I half ran down to the bluff, jumping up on a boulder so my eyes could be filled with as much of it as possible. The wind was whipping around me, cold and biting and I let it. I stood there on that bluff and let the cool, salty gale blow all of the city out of me.  My insides were shouting hello to the sand and the sea and the sky. It was like every cell of my body was humming with happiness. I was here, I'd arrived, reunited again with this magical land and ready to soak up every glorious minute of it. 

A pitstop on the way south

SomersetSea DiariesComment

I was heading down to see family for some birthday celebrations this weekend and as I was pootling along the M5 just past Bristol the sun decided to make an appearance. I had the day ahead of me and no plans till the evening so I decided to make a little pitstop at Burnham-on-Sea. 

I was a little bit wary, being that it was half term week that it would be absolutely heaving with people but I think the overcast morning had kept them all at bay, for a little while anyway, as I sailed into the town and managed to find some free parking without any trouble.

I had the pup with me so embarked on finding out where dogs were allowed on the beach. I did a bit of miscalculating and ended up on the NO DOGS section for about 50 yards and hoped there was no-one around watching as we skedaddled to the dog friendly zone. 

I have to say it was pretty glorious, walking up the relatively quiet beach in the sunshine in the middle of a Thursday which was usually spent in the office despairing over spreadsheets. We made our way out to the light house, well I think it's a light house. It's a pretty fab landmark and I can't wait to go back with my big-boy camera and perhaps an extra pair of hands to help keep the beagle out of mischief. 

We had a lovely walk for about an hour then headed back to the car. Some lovely soul had put out about 10 dog bowls full of water for all of the thirsty hounds coming off the beach. Luna was very thankful for this. 

As I popped her in the car and contemplated where best to find some loos I noticed how much busier it had got. A little bit of sunshine really does beckon out the crowds. I headed along to the pier (Britain's shortest pier apparently) and found toilets hidden in the amusements inside. On my way back out I couldn't resist a cheeky portion of chips to eat as I wondered along the seafront. 

It was a flying visit but a lovely dose of salt and sand that did us both the world of good. 

Getting my seaside fix

DevonSea DiariesComment

There’s this thing that happens pretty much every spring. Ahead of me in the summer will be an exciting holiday booked by the sea and even if it’s only a matter of a couple of weeks away, that suddenly seems just too long to wait and I need a seaside fix. That’s exactly what happened to me this May. So one Friday evening, I decided to jack in some pretty good weekend plans, rearrange everything, talk my Auntie into coming to play and head to the coast instead.

Luckily my family live in Somerset so it’s pretty easy to get to loads of different beaches within an hour. Weston-Super-Mare, Burnham, Brean, Minehead, Dunster, Blue Anchor. But the trouble is, all of these beaches are on the part of the coast which is more muddy and murky brown than golden sands and crystal blue seas so we opted for going a little bit further and headed to Teignmouth instead.

I have to say that I really like Teignmouth and a few times have thought, if I ever lived in this area Teignmouth would be a great spot. It’s a nice size town, close to Exeter, got a lovely red sandy beach and promenade and always looks tidy and presentable. What’s not to like? 

We had a lovely stroll up the busy sea front, so many people were out with the same idea. I was merrily snapping away on my camera while my Auntie wandered along with Oli dog who we’d dog-napped from my sister because we know how much he loves the beach… well, that and the promise of fish and chips.

We were passed a few times by a group of people, one in a wheel chair and the others running alongside it which was attracting a lot of attention. After the 4th pass we asked them what they were doing and the group explained they were running/wheeling 1000 miles for charity. They were such a friendly bunch that we couldn’t help getting caught up in their enthusiasm and of course made a donation.

After about an hour of strolling we decided it was time for some food and off we went to Finn McCools for some fishy goodness. There’s always a queue out the door to this place on a Saturday night so we had to wait a while but the yummy battered goodies were worth it. We found ourself a quiet spot to sit and people watch, because let’s be honest, that is the perfect activity when tucking into your chips. So there we sat, munching away, fending off the odd seagull, and remembering to save a few chips for Oli dog who was not so patiently waiting for his share.

The thing was, after food was done neither of us was quite ready to head back yet. The weather was still warm so we decided to pop along to Dawlish Warren to walk along the dunes and up the more golden sands there. I find it kind of amazing how different the colour of the sand can be just a mile or so up the coast.

Dawlish Warren is another great spot for a walk with the woofies. It’s fab that they have such a generous area where dogs are allowed all year round. It was pretty quiet by the time that we got there which was great. I love it when it’s quiet. We strolled along, me taking more pics of course, and my Auntie now carrying Oli because his little old legs were struggling.

I always find loads of strandline treasures at Dawlish Warren. This evening’s lot included mermaids purses, whelks eggs cases and even a couple of barrel jellyfish. I really think that you’d be hard pushed to find any activity in the world better then a sunny evening sunset stroll up a lovely beach.

With bellies full of batter and lungs full of salt we found our way back to the car and headed on home. My seaside craving had been once again satiated... for now at least. Luckily my Cornwall trip wasn’t far away.  

Beach Huts & Beach Cleans at Seaton

DevonSea DiariesComment

When a friend of mine who had packed up the kids and the dog and headed down to South Devon to camp for the Easter holidays, asked if I fancied joining them for a day I was delighted. One because well, I flipping love the seaside and two because I absolutely love spending time with them. You see, there is this secret that I’ve discovered - when you spend time with kids, it’s like a free ticket that allows you to revert back to childhood too and if you add the seaside in the mix too, well that’s a day of fun and play for sure.

It was one of those magical days. The weather was glorious, clear skies, spring in full swing, a slightly cool edge to the air but plenty of warmth in the sun. I was up early and decided to take the quieter scenic route down to Devon. I arrived at the campsite bright and breezy and was immediately taken by the lovely relaxed atmosphere there. It reminded me of how holidays felt when I was a kid, totally chilled.  

We played at the campsite for a little while and I somehow Auntie Tash got roped into washing up duties, then we packed up the car (no small feat when there are little ones involved) and off to Seaton we went. Considering it was such a lovely day and it was the school holidays, I was surprised at how quiet it was. Not that I’m complaining of course, I love the quiet! 

We loaded ourselves up with all of the usual beach going paraphernalia (bucket & spade included) then pottled on down the esplanade in search of the perfect spot to plonk ourselves which obviously, was dictated by the kiddos to be as far down the beach as possible. Hmm….. After much traipsing we settled on a great little nook under the wave barrier, sheltered from the wind and without another soul around for a good 100m. Splendid.

The kids and Bob (the crazy labradoodle) were having a blast. The ran and played and fought and played and built things and paddled and played. Children really know how to do the seaside. This, I thought to myself, is exactly what it’s all about and I partook in plenty of that play/paddle action myself! 

Bob the Labradoodle always provides plenty of entertainment on our outings. Today he was having a whale of a time thrashing about in the sea, chasing seagulls and generally causing havoc. However, it seems all this fun involved him ingesting a fair amount of sea water which well, let’s just say rather quickly found its way through Bob’s digestive system and out the other end in a rather projectile like fashion. He didn’t seem in the slightest bit bothered bit it, even though the whole process repeated itself a few times. Oh dear. 

Whilst my friend took the kiddies off for a toilet break I grabbed my camera and wandered back up to the row beach huts we’d passed on the way down. There is something so cheerful about beach huts that just makes me smile and this was a fab display of them. There was every colour imaginable and they all looked to be wonderfully well kept. Lots of people where opening up and spring cleaning their huts, making repairs then standing back and discussing their handy work with their beach hut neighbours, naturally with a cup of tea in hand. It was such a quintessentially English scene that I almost chuckled. I found myself ever so envious and wanting to be a part of the little seaside community they’d created. One day, I’ll have my little spot by the sea. 

The rest of the day consisted of a picnic, sand castle building, ice cream eating and hunting for fossils which alas was unsuccessful but I found a gorgeous stone with tiny quartz crystals in it. Of course the day wouldn’t have been complete without a good ol’ fashioned portion of fish’n’chips. There we sat on the sea front, early evening, enjoying the finger-licking fabulousness of salt and vinegar covered fingers. We had to fend off the seagulls and labradoodle alike and we scoffed down the lot. 

Trying to prolong the perfect day we’d been having as much as possible we went for a last little stroll along the beach. I suggested to the kids that we could do a five minute beach clean and clear up some of the litter. I thought this would suggestion would be followed by groans of dismay but instead they thought it was a fab idea and quickly got into a “who can collect the most litter” competition. Trouble is, a whole day of playing in the sun leads to tired kiddos which inevitably ends up in a scrap followed by a strop! Luckily Mum halted that pretty quickly with threats of no beach tomorrow and the beach clean continued peacefully. Only trouble was, they got really into it and 5 mins became 25 minutes and on the way back to the car we had to stop so they could pick up EVERY single piece of litter. “Bloody hell Tash, they’re gonna be doing this all week now aren’t they?” Oops! :-)

Back at the campsite as the sun was starting to go down we had a last drink and then it was time for me to leave. It was with a reluctant but contented heart that I made my way back along the pretty Devon roads, watching the spectaulcar sunset and reflecting back on a truly perfectly magical day. Bliss, this day had been sheer bliss. 

The Pasty Pinchers of St Ives

Seaside Towns, CornwallSea DiariesComment

They say that's there's something magic about the light in St Ives, something that has drawn artists and photographers there for many years and by golly I can't disagree. It's hard to explain what it is really, something about the quality of the light. It seems more saturated and whiter at the same time. It truly is a little bit magic. 

I've been lucky enough to visit the little seaside town a few times now and each time I always find new gems to discover. I love the little streets full of art galleries and trinket shops. The whole place has a slight arty vibe to it that reminds me somewhat of Falmouth but it feels a little more holiday-ey here. 

St Ives, Cornwall Mar 2015

When in St Ives, obviously it would be rude not to partake in a pasty and that brings me to a little story about the seagulls. Now, I'm don't actually mind seagulls, if you put aside the squalking and the such and actually watch them they are quite mighty and majestic birds. My thinking is, it's our fault that they've become the town-bound scavengers that they often are now so we don't have much right to complain. BUT when the little blighters sweep down and snatch the pasty right out of my hands, well that's just darn right rude isn't it?! I have learnt new pasty saving tactics and I shall be ready for you next time my little friends. :-)