Last Monday we set off, car laden with books, toys, nappies, bucket & spade, a years supply of Ella’s kitchen cheesy pie … and a “few” bottles of prosecco .. we were off on our first holiday with a toddler to the seaside and it was going to be what memories are made of; paddling together in the sea, fish and chips on the harbour and a few evening drinks whilst as we had been reliably informed the baby would sleep soundly all night exhausted by the sea air … hahaha …. on Tuesday afternoon we were driving back home through the welsh hills listening to a combination of Jeremy vine and “soothing” lullaby’s (twinkle twinkle is now like nails on a chalkboard!)
Long story short … the caravan holiday by the sea didn’t go according to plan and after the longest 1st night with a poorly baby … and by that I mean a night of claustrophobic rocking, crying, rocking, crying, screaming, snapping, more crying and just pull your eyes out of your head, wtf have we done to deserve this hell on Earth the next morning and braving the storm I headed off for a walk with Bodhi along the coast path to hopefully blow away some of the cobwebs! Now I have to be honest this was the most enjoyable part of the holiday as there is just something hugely cleansing about walking along a stormy sea, rain pelting down and getting drenched to your pants, however reaching our favourite cafe (amazing place, so relaxed, lovely staff and yummy food – pls go and check it out if you visit Tenby!) Mark arrived and sniffing back a double shot latte in record time and reviewing our options … we decided to just suck it up and spend the rest of the week at home, although NOT doing chores, but making the most out of our time, staying in holiday mode and having a staycation!
It was one of those “what’s right for my family” moments, you put everything else aside, the idealistic plans you’ve made, money that you have spent, the dream of the best clotted cream ice cream (ahhh!!) and the secret hope that you may have a much anticipated romantic night by the sea with your husband (sorry darling!) … and you just have to trust your instincts and mine told me that this holiday just was not going to work!
So one week later, Mark has gone back to work, there is a huge pile of washing, we both have caught the sun whilst endlessly running round trying to keep Bodhi in the shade … because we had a sunny staycation; We had the best holiday at home – we have picnicked in the park, walked barefoot in the grass, had a gin fuelled bbq, been down on the farm, explored a castle, done ALOT of walking, eaten breakfast out everyday, had a whole date hour alone together with cocktails, my face is aching from smiling, my baby boy is full of giggles, my soul mate is relaxed … and all 3 of us have really happy and content souls after the most perfect decision we could have made.
The holiday lowdown – The Places we spent our happy holiday.
Pethau Da Cafe
We stopped at this fantastic cafe on route to Tenby for lunch and were blown away, the food was delicious and the service was amazing and so friendly … check out their specials board, as they are just that.
Kiln Park – Haven Holidays Family Friendly Park 10 mins walk from Tenby and right next to the beach. Note; search for the size caravan you think you need and then book the next size up and if you have little one finding its feet, make sure you baby proof as soon as you get there, lots of foam and masking tape needed!
Cafe Pura – Independent cafe, super relaxed, super chilled, boho vibes, good coffee, yummy food and happy faces.
Play & Explore –
Button & Bear THE BEST bookshop in the whole world, there is coffee, cake, a play area for littles, weekly events and it’s a refuge for parents. It is owned and run by the most gorgeous, knowledgeable, helpful and wonderful people that are a combination of Mary Poppins, Mother Tersea and your best friend.
Home Farm, Attingham A working farm, part of the Attingham Estate, which is just wonderful at this time of year, with lots of newborn animals to watch and even help feed … note; don’t wear canvas trainers!
Shrewsbury Castle To be honest, for me its not about the museum and its collections, but I find this one of the most peaceful and stunning spots in Shrewsbury, which is also safe for the little cub to run (well wiggle) around with Daddy, whilst I sit and sun myself.
Shrewsbury Quarry Park What is there not to love about this park, it has everything (even toilets for a poopsplosion may it arise … and it always will!!) with the ducks in the dingle, the playpark, endless parkland to sit and picnic in the sun or under the shade of the tree lined promenade and is just the most joyous place to spend a sunny day with family and friends (and prosecco!)
Eat & Drink –
Dough & Oil “Let the good times roll” – no more I need to say other than their own ethos … order the hipster, sit in the window and just relax, feeling cool and hip and full of good vibes.
Plantkind Vegan What Picnics in the park are made of! Think of ottolenghi style dishes, with lots of fresh ingredients, even the beige loving Mr H is a huge fan of these salads. My tip; Order a large salad box and a separate box of falafels and hummus, especially if you have a one year old that will keep asking for more. Then go and sit in the quarry and enjoy. Ps, You may even be lucky enough to catch a smile from chef Vlad.
The Coffeehouse One of the top family friendly (and by that I mean you are always surrounded by friends, who are just darlings whether you are a regular or a new comer!) places ever! There is nothing they will not do to help, the coffee is always just how you want it … hot and strong … and little ones (and us big ones!) are not just tolerated, but encouraged to be themselves, even when food flinging or having a mini melt down!
Csons Ahhhh what is there not to love about this place and the family that run it, its posh nosh (and by that i mean really good fresh food that anywhere else you would pay a little fortune for!) The environment however is relaxed, friendly (best hugs ever!) and is great for families, parties and even on the very rare occasion (pre baby in our case!) a romantic meal for 2!
Libertines Bar “Cocktails are the epidural of parenting” A favourite place for happy hour (I say happy hour as that’s as long as I get these days before having to be home to do the bedtime routine) This is my go to place with Mr H, when we can get some together time, but also my mummy night hang out … with an amazing cocktail menu that caters for everyone (even in my preggo days of mockatils!) it’s an institution now in Shrewsbury and the gorgeous dappa gents that mix it up are something straight from The Great Gatsby.
Note: There are many many wonderful local places In Shropshire which although didn’t visit them during our staycation, we just adore and I am drafting a blog post on how to “tourist in our town” including all these special places – well as many as I can, we are very spoilt here!
Hope everyone has had a lovely few weeks and made the most of the sunshine … plenty more to come i’m sure of it!
Big hugs, A x