In those days, that feel long ago, before we had children, Chris and I would often get in my little car and head off towards the south coast. I would pretend to him that it would take an hour to get there when in fact I knew it would take more like two; this served a dual purpose – he would only bring enough of his CDs for an hour or so of his music, which meant it wouldn’t be long before I could get the Power Women Ballads on – my very own mix cd of awesome empowering woman music(!) – and it also meant that he wouldn’t be too daunted by the prospect of hours in my tiny little car!
It really was a small car
It was on one of these trips to Sandbanks and Shore Road beaches in Dorset – which are the beaches of my childhood – that we talked about the fact that we’d like to get married and I broke the apparently groundbreaking news to him that weddings (my wedding) would take a while to plan. He proposed a week or so later, seemingly shocked by the fact that one didn’t just propose and then get married by some sort of organisational magic a couple of weeks later. Oh, how little did he know!
This part of the world holds so many memories for me, beach huts in the sunshine with our cousins with warm orange squash after we’d been in the sea as children and then romantic strolls with Chris as an adult. I also went there when my parents separated when I was 23 and sobbed to the ocean.
These days, with a tight budget, not much time away from work and a toddler who is very difficult to get to sleep anywhere apart from his own house, we don’t really have any holiday plans. So, this year we are planning some ‘Holidays In A Day’. Chris and I are pretty good at these. We love an early morning start and a stop en route for lattes. So here’s my latest idea for a Holiday In a Day …
We’d get up early (as if we ever do anything else) having made a picnic the day before and packed bags for the children. When going anywhere more than a few miles from home I always cater for every eventuality; I cannot stand being hindered by not being well prepared so we always have a mountain of food and drink, toys, books, pyjamas, changes of clothes and blankets and buggies and of course the iPad in case we get stuck in traffic (this has been a lifesaver on the M25 so many times).
Chris would have undoubtedly carefully selected some music for the journey with the intensely annoying purpose of ‘broadening my interest’. I like what I like, you know?! I also have the apparently annoying habit of wanting to listen to the same song hundreds of times until I know all the words. We would stop almost as soon as we’d started on the journey for take away coffees to enjoy in the car on the way. Then we’d nip down the motorway towards Sandbanks. It always takes longer than I think – when we get to Ferndown, where my Grandpa used to live, I always think we’re almost there buts its still a little while. I love driving this route, it takes me straight back to all the half terms and summer holidays we spent in this area.
We would aim to arrive at the beach early in the morning and would undoubtedly be very quickly instructed to make sandcastles by our very insistent 3 year old.
Best Beach Buddies – Winter doesn’t stop us!
A little Joni at the beach
This is where I come into my own, not necessarily the making sandcastles but the behaving like a big kid. I love the beach and the sun and the games and the playing. And the ice cream. If we really wanted to make a long day of it we would hire a beach hut as a refuge for Wilbur’s nap time and somewhere to serve the warm squash of my childhood (to my children who probably wouldn’t drink it). Every year, despite my best efforts, I manage to lose the flip flops from the previous year and have to buy new ones. When I came across these on the UGG Australia website I thought they were crazy enough to be perfect for the beach in the UK – definitely beach attire but perhaps slightly warming on the soles of the feet for the unpredictable British temperatures. Would like.
Delightfully strange flip flops from UGG Australia – RRP £40
On that note, I’m pretty sure that Wilbur would have some sort of existential crisis about sand between his toys – so i’d love to pack a pair of these gorgeous little boy UGG shoe/slipper/boot hybrids for him to slip on before he screams so loud that the Isle of Wight rescue boat is deployed.
Spending the morning playing on the beach and paddling in the sea is my idea of perfection. Eating our picnic lunch on deck chairs outside our beach hut and then persuading Chris to let me beat him at crazy golf would also be an important part of our day.
Unbeaten at the Crazy Golf at Sandbanks – I challenge you!
The great thing about being well prepared is that we would aim to not leave for home until the children were ready for bed. If we were lucky this would mean that we could eat our dinner out at the lovely little cafe on Banks Road (which serves the best milkshakes) before retiring to our beach hut to get the children in their pyjamas and ready to go to sleep in the car on the way home.
A perfect Classic Day Out – Cantrell style.
This post is an entry into the More Than Toast and Mammasaurus Blog competition to win a Classic Day Out – All the details are here … Although by writing this I have definitely persuaded myself that we are going on this day out ASAP!