This last week saw us pack up the car and trundle down the M1 for our holidays. With saving for a wedding high on the agenda, we're not planning on any big foreign jaunts this year so a stay-cation was the order of the day. Our lovely friends Laura and Stuart were getting married and since the journey down was so far, we decided to extend our stay and make a proper little seaside holiday out of it with some friends.
As a kid, we often holiday-ed on the Jurassic Coast - I have fond memories of Lulworth Cove in particular - but Christchurch and Mudeford was a new one on me. The views from our holiday home were spectacular and it was just a few short steps until we were by the sea. The weather could have been nicer (we were hoping for scorching sunshine and got more 'cloud cover' instead) but it was so refreshing to be by the sea - and to be in a place with absolutely no phone signal at all, although it made planning anything with the group a bit of a nightmare!
Most of our time was spent eating, drinking and chatting - which is as it should be when you're on holiday. There were walks on the quay, spying on the buckets of people catching crabs and treating ourselves to ice creams on the beach. Is there anything better than a Mr Whippy eaten by the sea? We wandered through the cobbled streets of Christchurch and in the evening sipped cocktails and nibbled pizza at a pre-wedding shindig. We cooked up a storm in our kitchen and invited everyone to our table - passing round bowls of deliciousness and topping up wine glasses.
I'm a big fan of group holidays - they manage to be both sociable and relaxing at the same time, which is pretty much my favourite thing. In the last few years I've really discovered my extroverted side - time spent with people I love is exactly what I need to feel happy, inspired and ready to face the world. This group holiday was particularly special though, because I got to hang out with my favourite little lady.
I have no doubts that being the parents of a toddler is exhausting work. She may look like an angel but the terrible twos are certainly on their way. But I can't think of anything more joyful than having Martha around. It's a cliche, I know, but her laugh is just so uninhibited and bright that it makes my heart happy. It's so amazing how much she changes and learns in between our visits. Like when she grabs at your camera and says 'cheeeseeee' with the biggest grin on her face. How fun is that?
Oh, and isn't this just the cutest thing you've ever seen? Little people are the best.
Christchurch is certainly a beautiful part of the world and one I'm sure we'll see more of in the future - if Paul's parents don't retire here, then I'll be very surprised! I just wish every week could involve walks on the beach, cheeky ice cream breaks and being surrounded by our fantastic friends, don't you?