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.