So it’s taken me a week to sit down and write this post, but finally here I am, putting fingers to keyboard. Last weekend, we took a little family trip to the seaside and enjoyed a (rainy) few days in beautiful Cornwall. Richmond Daddy and I had done the same trip a couple of years ago and had the best weekend ever, we stayed in the fantastic Driftwood Hotel, which is a privately run Cornish beach house hotel that overlooks Gerrans Bay and is located near the pretty village of Portscatho, near St Mawes in South Cornwall. When we went a couple of years ago, I so fell in love with the place and I started looking in estate agents’ windows and day-dreaming about selling up everything and moving down there for a quieter, beach-side existence. I have to say, I felt similarly tempted when we re-visited the place this time around. It really is just idyllic.
I have this little fantasy about moving down there and living in a gorgeous, slightly rickety, beach house, that is decorated like something out of Coast magazine or what I imagine most houses in The Hamptons to look like, and I live a lovely relaxed life running a gift shop that sells beautiful beachy objets. In my spare time I would wander along the beach, indulging in a love of photography, and feeling the sand between my toes, with my beautiful family around me and perhaps a scruffy, shaggy-haired dog to run alongside us through the surf. Aaaah, maybe one day… one can dream….
Anyway, last Friday, off we set in the direction of Cornwall for a 5-hour drive through the drizzle that was punctuated by a stop-off at the Little Chef in Popham (yes, that’s the one that Heston made-over) for a spot of breakfast. Richmond Toddler enjoyed the Olympic –
actually, she didn’t really, we ordered scrambled egg for her but she was more interested in my omelette, isn’t it always the way?
She was an angel on the drive down, after a bit of fun and games throwing her books onto the floor of the backseat and demanding her “num-num” (dummy), she finally fell asleep and snoozed for the best part of the journey.
When we arrived, we got settled into our very special beach-house rustic cabin, which is set in the grounds of the hotel, looking straight out over the bay. It’s a little oasis of peacefulness and looking out through the windows, the view is just stunning…
After a quick lunch, we got changed and headed straight down to the beach (ignoring the fact that it’s a bit chilly and just a little bit overcast). It’s the first opportunity that Richmond Toddler has had to really try out her new wellies (too cute and she’s now totally obsessed with them by the way, wants to wear them wherever we go!). Seeing her rolling around in the damp sand, did slightly freak me out – it was in her mouth, her hair, her eyes, her boots, her trouser turn-ups and there were even a few grains in her nappy I later discovered… how?!?! how?!!?? – but, I had to just let it ride. She was having a whale of a time and didn’t need mummy attacking her with a wet-wipe every 30 seconds. Fat lot of good it would have done anyway.
She was a giggling sandy scruffy mess and she loved it! Playing with her ball, watching us playing with a frisbee and finding it hilarious every time mummy missed the catch, running around, falling over, collecting stones, trying to eat stones (argh!), running into the surf with her daddy and then running away from the surf as the waves came in. It was fantastic. Chilly, yes. Mucky and sandy, yes. But fantastic.
When I could stand the sight of the sandy vision before me no more, we scooped her up and raced back up the path to our beach cabin. Well, I say raced, what I mean is it was more of a slow and steady uphill plod (she sure is getting heavy these days!). But once back, we brushed off the sand, had a quick wash, then headed up to the main hotel for our early supper – the restaurant very kindly opened at 5.30pm for us, to give us an early dinner ahead of the official opening time around 7, when the grown-ups get to fine dine in the Michelin-starred surroundings (fancy, ooh yes).
Richmond Toddler (and us, her two side-kicks), were however very lucky and had the Michelin-starred kitchen cook especially for us and we enjoyed gorgeous fresh cod, with pureed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Deeeee-licious.
Followed by some homemade cake – lemon drizzle for me, victoria sponge for Richmond Toddler, Richmond Daddy opted for ice cream.
After dinner and once Richmond Toddler had played havoc in the snug, where she took every DVD off the shelf (I put them back tidily) and was fascinated with the decorative ceramic eggs in a bowl, which she duly took out and scattered on the floor (I put them back tidily), we then retired to our cabin, where Richmond Toddler had a quick bath before bed – she crashed in her travel cot and we didn’t hear a peep out of her for the rest of the night – and we cracked open a bottle of wine and watched a film, while the sound of the sea lapping against the shore could clearly be heard: an amazing soundtrack to the evening. Bliss.
A peaceful night’s sleep and we were up quite early the next morning – waking up to the beautiful sight of the sea, was just wonderful – and then after breakfast we headed out for the day to Dairyland Farmworld in Newquay,
which was a fab day out and Richmond Toddler was in her element pointing out all the “baas” (sheep) and “mooooos” (cows). She had the opportunity to feed milk to some lambs and baby goats – too cute!
We took a ride on a trailer attached to a tractor, which she found particularly enjoyable (think she was fascinated by the big muddy tractor wheels) and took full advantage of the opportunity to have a pull of a floppy-earred bunny’s lobes during the “pat-a-pet” session… fun!
It was a great day out and after much hand-washing and sanitizing, we headed back to the hotel for our supper and then spent the evening drinking wine (us, not Richmond Toddler) and watching TV, as Richmond Toddler slept in her little cot, weary from all the excitement.
The next day was pretty horrendous weather wise and it was our last day in Cornwall, so en route home, we paid a visit to the Eden Project, which was a good day out. Shame it was so very very rainy, but still, you can enjoy it despite the weather as so much is indoors. Richmond Toddler proved she’s done with any and all modes of transport now she’s mastered walking as she insisted on walking everywhere all day, which was impressive but also quite tiring for us! Still, bravo Richmond Toddler – god knows how many times she put her hands and her butt in a muddy puddle, I lost count, but she had fun and that’s what matters! Am beginning to come to the conclusion that no matter how I try, she is always going to have some sort of mud, snot, food, sand, grime, milk, or other on her at any one time. I’m fighting a losing battle…
After a fun day out at the Eden Project, we began the long drive home. Amazingly, and probably in no small part due to the excitement of the day, Richmond Toddler slept for pretty much the whole journey – well, at least about 3.5hours of it – as did I… as you can imagine, it was a great trip back for Richmond Daddy, doing all the driving and with nobody to chat to the whole way (actually, he probably enjoyed the opportunity to listen to Radio 5 Live uninterrupted for 4 hours… drives me mad!).
We had a fantastic weekend. Sure, it wasn’t the relaxing getaway that we might have enjoyed pre-baby days, but it was ten times more fun to have our special little girl with us, introducing her to lots of new surroundings and new experiences. She really does make everything that little bit more sparkly, more fun, more special. Thank you for a wonderful weekend Richmond Toddler, you are the best and we love you with all our hearts.