The original plan was two weeks in Costa Brava.
We’d researched the exact area we wanted to be in, found a villa, and had fingers literally hovering over the ‘book now’ button when Sam had a (very sensible) wobble.
We were half way through our house renovation. At this point the budget was still plentiful enough to give us grand ideas about holiday plans, but we had no idea how far our money would stretch with everything that still needed to be done in the house (answer: we’ve now run out of money with still a fair few things unfinished in the house). Wouldn’t it be more sensible to NOT drop a load of money on a holiday at this point?
The compromise was a week in Cornwall. We’d spend two thirds less money, and the familiar territory meant we knew without having to think about it that there would be something that everyone would love.
In fact, as soon as the idea of Cornwall was proposed, we were both pretty excited. I can never spend enough time in Cornwall, and we knew the children would love the farm we stayed at two years ago. Rory had been just a baby last time, and we knew that our animal lover would be in heaven doing the feed run every morning. And Arlo, a little bit older and more able to muck in with all the activities the farm has to offer. We were excited to re-introduce them to an experience we’d loved now our growing family was at a slightly different stage. (See Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays for more details of where we stayed).
My family holidayed every year at the same farm in Cornwall for a long period of my childhood. The holiday excitement would start at the first glimpse of Stonehenge, signifying the half way point, and rise exponentially as we entered the winding tunnels of country road with their high hedgerows, knowing we were close to seeing our friends and the places we hadn’t seen for a year. Places like Padstow, Polzeath, Daymer hold lots of memories for me. There is nostalgia around every corner.
The weather was mixed, to say the least. It actually looks a lot more dreary in my video than it felt in real life, but it was essentially dry for half an hour, rain for half an hour, for the whole week. A classic British summer holiday.
I’ll be honest, the reason I was originally angling for a two week break, is that we just won’t get that time with Sam otherwise. The idea of a week’s staycation so we’re not spending extra money being away has been dangled as a compromise. But I know unless we are actually, physically away, like many grand plans, it just won’t happen in the end.
The children really benefited from a whole week together as a family unit. Work is busy, but it needs to be in order to even contemplate family summer holidays, it wasn’t even an option two years ago so I’ll take a week over nothing.
We revisited some of our favourite places. Lappa Valley for it’s ride-on trains and it’s sense of peacefullness, despite being a children’s attraction. Lundy Bay for it’s breathtaking beauty and Bedruthen for it’s sea caves.
Aside from being spoilt with 24/7 family time, for me, holidays as a parent are about being enchanted by my children’s differing, but equally loveable traits. In Cornwall, we had adventurous Rory, always a mischievous smile, jumping in all the muddy puddles and seeking all the thrills. Then there was thoughtful, systematic Arlo – always feeding the outsiders on the daily feed run (the pea hen, the lonely wallaby), and falling head over heels in love with a little goat called Queenie that he just couldn’t bear to leave.
As often happens with new experiences, I watched Arlo grow up just a little bit this holiday. From the way he studiously tidied up after himself without being asked, the amount of ground his little energetic legs would cover without tiring or even the littlest of moans, and his joy at being granted little moments of independence – staying on a farm where there were no cars and everything was within a safe spitting distance meant we could say “yes, you can ride your bike up and down the path. Yes, you can take yourself to the playground.” He revelled in the realisation that he was free to roam much more than he is at home.
Our littlest guy grew out of newborn and ‘up to one month’ sizes whilst we were away and at eight weeks is now firmly in 0-3 months. In a way, Cornwall has signified the end of his newborn days and the start of the next chapter. Since we’ve been back, he’s not a tiny, sleepy little thing any more. But a smiling, gurgling, weightier baby.
He enjoyed a lot of time cuddled up to his mama in his wrap carrier, and his smiles, which have been small and infrequent, became a lot more regular during our week away. (He does officially have a name now, by the way, but after six weeks of going back and forth between two names, I am waiting until the one we eventually chose starts to feel like ‘his’ name before I share it online).
There is a lot to love about Cornwall. The wild rocky beaches. Fresh fish. Cream teas. Abundant nostalgia. I always feel sad to leave.
The beaches make Cornwall for me. I’ve always been fascinated watching the waves bash against the rocks. The sense that waves, the rocks, the tides are all alive in some way, always evolving. They were there before me, and they’ll be there after me. I know every time I return, they will have changed slightly.
Sometimes I think all I want in life is to walk those wild rocky beaches every day with my (future) dog. I’m filled with a sense of calm and peace when I think about this life. I’d be very happy with this, indeed.
I’m not sure it would ever be possible for our family to live in Cornwall. But a holiday house is the dream. Somewhere for all the family to gather, somewhere we can always feel connected to.
Down at Lundy Bay when littlest and I left the more able boys to clamber the steep rocks down to the beach, I got talking to an older lady. Her six grown up children and her gang of grandchildren were all down on the beach, playing in the waves. A holiday for the entire extended family. I didn’t need to hear the pride in her voice to understand how special it was to her to have all her family gathered in one place.
Cornwall is a place filled with an an abundance of nostalgia in every little corner from my years of family holidays as a child. But after this trip, I left filled with nice dreams for our future family holidays.
Maybe one day I will be that proud lady on the beach with her family all around her.
It’s a place where I reminisce, but now also one that makes me smile at the future.
I didn’t take many photos at all in Cornwall. I was babywearing most of the time and find it just one thing too many to juggle when I try to use my big camera as well in those situations. But I did film quite a bit on my little camera, and I’ve turned that into a video of our Cornwall holiday. There are some really lovely moments with the boys that I really love. Being the “Youtube Generation” they have no hesitation whatsoever at getting in front of the camera (in fact, there were a few fights over it!), and I think that their personalities really show through in this video.