s o l o

For my birthday this year, I asked for a weekend with no kids.  Yes of course I love them so much it hurts, but theres not much time to be a couple with a family of four.  I wanted the gift of time.  I wanted to be able to hold hands and hang out together and be the people we used to be pre kids.

Well, that hasn’t happened, yet.  But I got a call from Nalu Beads and they wanted to set up a shoot down at the coast.  I could have turned it into a family trip with a bit of work however it didn’t really work out with the husbands job. I half jokingly suggested that I could go on my own for three days, which would be enough time to get the shoot done.  And he say YES!!  I was stunned, three days away, on my own?  This was serious business as I don’t get much alone time these days, and as much as I love being around people but I also very much like being on my own.

So the week came and of course, my youngest decides to be a bit under the weather. I stayed at home for two days straight with the kids to rest them up so they could attend nursery so that my husband wouldn’t need to be off work, or worse… I couldn’t go on my trip.  Kids know, they just know when you need them to be well.  Crafty buggers.

I packed my car up with my hiking gear, surf gear, wake gear, travel gear and a skate board, just because.  In preparation for my trip I had already cleaned my car inside and out, I even cleaned the inside of the windows.  I had no child seats in my car and no blanket on my backseat to prevent child grime.  Off I went.

I arrived at the most beautiful cottage (I’ll blog about that separately), where there was a wood burner fired up ready for my arrival, to make it all warm and cozy. The fridge was stocked and there was wine on the side along with snacks and yummy Devon fudge.  I was in heaven.  Until I went to bed, and then I was even more in heaven surrounded with gorgeous bedding (and the thought of knowing I wasn’t going to be woken up at 6:30am with “muuuuuum, can you wipe my buuuuum?”).

The following morning, after a glorious sleep-in, I enjoyed my cereal in peace while watching netflix (I don’t have netflix at home – will reconsider immediately). We were shooting with photographer Gareth Williams until around 3pm and then I was free to do as I pleased.  Seriously?  No plan or agenda.. what the hell was I going to do with myself?

Well I went to check the waves of course.  There were waves, decent size, but no one was out.  I watched and waited.  One person went out and another one suited up. I didn’t need to think twice, well I kinda did because I didn’t know how cold it was going to be, but I quickly changed, put the fins in my board, faffed with the key pod (we don’t use this any more as one of us is always on the beach with the kids – and if you don’t know what a key pod is, its basically a giant padlock that you store your car key in and lock it to the car somehow), and off I went!

I was in the ocean!!  Life was good.  I can’t say I had a good surf; but I definitely had a fun surf.  I was in my Mystic Diva 5.3.mm (neck entry – I’ve never surfed in a neck entry suit before… turns out, its pretty damn great! Should have done it sooner).  I was also in 7mm booties, 5mm gloves and a bloody surf hood that had a little peak on it which I forgot about but it was very handy when duck diving to keep the water out my eyes.  Now, props to those wintery surfers that can crush it with all the gear on, but I most certainly did not.  I hadn’t surfed in the UK in the winter since 2010/2011, thats a lot of years out of practice.

Surf done and kit packed away, I headed to the local watering hole to grab myself a shandy (I know but I was driving) and a bag of dry roasted peanuts.  I sat outside in the late afternoon sun and watched the waves rolling in with salty dreads in my hair left over from my surf hood (surf hoods are a girls worst nightmare, even with braids).  Complete and utter heaven. Following this slice of heaven was another slice of heaven brought to me in the form of cocktails and a yummy dinner with the great company of a local friend of mine who is also the owner of NB.

Netflix and chill.  Shower.  Bed.

After another uninterrupted nights sleep and a completely quiet and blissful breakfast, I was ready for another day of shooting.  We ventured off the beaten track to find a secluded cove, and once we were finished up there, we chowed down on some locally made slices of peanut butter and chocolate goodness – they were ridiculous!  Fuelled up and ready to go we hiked up into the forest for the next part of the shoot.

Again we rounded up around 3ish so there was time for a surf.  We bundled into the Gareth’s van and off we went in search for waves.  Rae (from NB) and I surfed together back in 2011, so it had been a while, but I’m so stoked we got to finally surf together again on this trip! (She’s a pro, trust me).  Unlike the day before, the swell had died down and cleaned up a bit, 2-3ft offshore, it was perfect!  I followed Rae around like a white on rice – because she’s local and knows her shit.  Needless to say I had my best ever hooded winter surf, and possibly one of my best surfs in the UK because there was no one out, we just kept getting waves!  After that we all headed to the local for a well earned pint..

That evening I headed back to the cottage where I stuffed my face with local fish and chips while enjoying some wine and you guessed it, Netflix.  Seriously, I know I said I was in heaven previously, but I really was in heaven.

After another lovely lay-in and child free breakie, I met the guys at the NB HQ to check out the shots from the previous two days shooting.  The shots are amazing and I can’t wait to see the finished product!

After some shop talk I left to go check the waves to see if I could get another surf before I made the trip home.  The swell had completely died off so I grabbed a sarnie from a local deli, grabbed an ocean side pew and enjoyed my lunch watching the ankle nippers rolling in.

I got home just in time to see my babies before they went to slumberland.  It was worth leaving a bit early just to see their little faces when I walked through the door, they were so cute.  I wouldn’t change being a parent for anything, but my god it was great to get away for just a few days for a bit of down time.

the ocean and i

The ocean and I go way back.  My first encounter was in the south of France when I was eighteen months old.  My folks walked me down to the ocean and apparently I just kept on walking until the water was nearly over my head.  That was it, I was sold.  I needed the ocean in my life.  Like many millions of other who feel they have a connection to the ocean, I have my reasons as to why I love it, and I’m sure you do too… Here are mine:

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1. Calmness.  When ever I pull up to the ocean, no matter what its doing, I get a wave (pun intended) of relief wash over me.  If you get the feeling you’ll know exactly what I mean, if not, its quite hard to describe.  Its like I’m exactly where I need to be.  The calmness sets in and time doesn’t exist.  (I get this feeling when I’m near any body of water which is probably why wakeboarding has stuck with me seeing as I’m landlocked!)

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2. The lifestyle.  I absolutely love waking up not have to worry about clothes or make up.  When I’m on a surf trip, everything is stripped back.  No outfits, no make up, no hair styling.. just glowing skin smelling of sunscreen, salty hair and slightly burnt lips.  Its the simple life and its fabulous.

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3. The beach.  I have always loved the beach, but now I have a new love for it because of my kids.  I’m doing all the fun stuff that my folks used to do with me, like build sandcastles and bury each other.  The beach is a much more valuable place for my kids to play than an indoor play centre.

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4. The ocean.  If there are waves you can surf.  If the conditions are not right you can do anything else, swim, jump over waves, body surf the shore break, paddle board, the list goes on.

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5. My body.  I absolutely love what the ocean does to my body, because I’m using it, it keeps me fit and healthy.  The salt heals everything.  Everything.  Also there are more negative ions around large areas of water which boost our mood and help us stay positive.  (Seriously, google it).

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So if you’re an ocean lover like me, high fives!  If you’re not, get yourself to your nearest body of water, take a moment to just stare in silence and see you can feel it.

 

Whats Social Media got to do with it?

As I sit hear listening to the baby monitor going off signalling its the end of nap time and my (laptop) work comes to an close for another day, I look at my saved ‘Posts’ box on my blog.  There are so many started yet unfinished blog posts from the past year or two.  Wondering why I never posted them, I read some.  Maybe I feel they might not be taken well, perhaps I feel I’m being too honest or sweary, or some I feel that are great memories to me but might bore others.  Why would others care to see a another photo of me: at a lake, at the beach, in a yoga pose, in a gym, in a winter wetsuit, in a bikini… cue the athletic gear lifestyle shot.

But I’ve just remembered that this is the age we live in now.  Its not the same as 10 years ago, or five years ago, or even last year.  I have never relied so much on my phone for work, information, contact, camera or goggling.  Everything is done via an app, I even use pinterest to get new outfit ideas instead of buying a magazine to see whats on-trend.  Apart from the September and March Issues of Vogue.  Obvs.  I like to think that I sit quietly and read it while drinking my vanilla latte in Starbucks.  I never do.

I got to thinking about how social media has changed our lives.  You never switch off because you can access all your work just on your phone.  Where does the work stop and the time off start?  Cue the I’m working in my on-trend office space shot.

After noticing that I spent a ridiculous amount of time on my phone a couple of years ago, I try to leave it until certain times.  Times when it doesn’t affect others, like during nap time.  I try not to ‘play’ (AKA Social Media, but Soc Media is actually part of my work so I shouldn’t call it ‘playing’) on my phone in front of the kids.  Obviously work calls come in and some need to be dealt with immediately, but have you tried to be on a work call with a one and three year old fighting for your attention?

What has social media done for me?  Its allowed me to make quite a smooth transition from being a Pro Wakeboarder into being a Wake Ambassador. Cue the wake lifestyle shot.

After popping out a couple of kids and having all the pregnancy and recovery time off from riding, the wake standard has naturally evolved (to a ridiculous level I might add) and without having the same amount of time to dedicate to riding that I used to, I have not progressed how I’d imagined it to.  I still have fun though.  Cue the riding shot.

Photo: Toby Oliver

Social Media has given me the platform to promote myself and my sponsors.  

How do you do this I hear you ask!  Well first, you must have your own Soc Media channels.  Over time you start to build up your following.  Do this by picking the theme, brand or image you want to portray to people.  I cleaned up my Soc Media outlets about a year ago when I finally realised that mixed photos of my kids, selfies and wakeboarding weren’t really doing it.  Then over time as you get more established, brands, companies or agencies approach you for various things whether its shooting product for them, doing a blog or instagram post, or becoming a Brand Ambassador.  And sometimes it works the other way, if you love a brand you might want to contact them for a collaboration.

There are so many blurred lines now with jobs when it comes to Social Media. People ask me what I do.. I find it hard to give them an answer most of the time.  I do so many different things: I’m full time Mum (to two boys, absolute effing nutters), I’m a Housewife, I’m in Property Management, I’m a Wakeboard Coach, I’m a Wake Ambassador and I work on my Social Media, Blogging and Instagramming.

I guess what I’m trying to get across is that Social Media has helped me develop and still developing where I’m trying to get to.  I have an image or a goal in my mind where I want to be and without Social Media, it would never happen.

And why on earth did I write this blog?  I guess because I’m at a point where I can get back into blogging more regularly again and I didn’t know where to start.  Like I said before, I have so many unfinished or unpublished posts, this one is to blow off the cobwebs. Enjoy xx