I thought I better go live on this summer blog post before it’s Christmas! It’s taken me forever to get round to it and I think the delay is two-fold. I switched off completely while we were away (yay) and as it wasn’t a review holiday, there wasn’t the same urgency to write about it once we returned home and life has been busy. SO BUSY. When is it not with kids and school moves, a house to find tenants for, the list goes on (I won’t bore you)…But back to the summer and a nourishing staycation exploring Devon.
Our first time by the English Riviera, if London were closer, we’d move there in a hot minute.
Bagsy me the baby blue house please!
I mean look at the views. And Peter’s insane camera skills.
I’ve summarised our best bits below and I also made a short vlog of our trip as nothing quite captures a vacay like a video huh. Scroll to the bottom to check it out (after you’ve read the post, obvs)!
I’m going to blow up these photos and frame them for our new house (when we finally sell our house in Yorkshire, post Brexit and can buy here in Windsor)!
Go breathe in these seascapes.
Just imagine doing yoga with that sea front from company? Dreamy.
The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly meeting up with old and new friends and their families, and all the uninterrupted quality time with Peter and the kiddies. It’s the people who make the holiday/wedding etc as my Mum always says, and wow did these guys make it special.
First-up, we met with my filmmaker friend Chris Hines who often edits my video content (and even edited himself in the one below) and his girlfriend Talya for tasty vegan grub (the vegan burgers are insane) at gastro pub The Drum Inn in the hilariously named (if you’re as immature as I am that is), Cockington Village, with its pastel pink exteriors and pretty white fences that make you feel like you’ve entered a 3D fairytale set. Again, I’d move there in a minute (if it was named something else)!
Another evening was dedicated to pizza scoffing and arcade games galore with the wonderful Hayley of one of my all-time favourite blogs Sparkles and Stretchmarks and her beautiful family in Torquay.
We all loved hanging out. I literally had to restrain myself in the arcades too as those penny machines are SO addictive. I think I’ve got a gambler in me, somewhere!…
After dips in the cool but invigorating waters in Torquay and several meals on the waterfront at Las Iguanas (I was as addicted to their food as the gambling it seems), we drove North, stopping off in Exeter for a long, Italian lunch with my fab pal, the formidable, Catherine of Not Dressed as Lamb where we nattered non stop, fuelled by carbs, duly burnt off thanks to a schmooze around the historic city-the Grade I and II listed Tudor houses overlooking the show-stopping Cathedral are just stunning, and the shopping was ace too.
I popped into the biggest Primark I’ve ever seen and a highly curated TK Maxx for some bargainous finds. Peter only rolled his eyes once during the shopping trip so I think I got some retail training in with that one this summer ;)!
Arriving in Biden, full of pizza and laded with Primarni goodies, we spent 5 days with one of my closest friends in the world, the utterly gorgeous human (inside and out) Tamsyn of Feed Me Beautiful and her brilliant little family. Tamsyn is raising 4 children solo after a devastating rugby accident rendered her husband Alex paralysed and blind. Her courage, determination and warmth makes her an inspiration. She is a warrior and I feel blessed to call her a best friend.
Hanging out with Tamsyn is always such a tonic, her positive outlook on life, despite and because of the adversity she’s suffered and the blanket of love she wraps everyone in, around her, is a gift I will never take for granted. Real friends should be treasured. Tamysn always makes everyone feel so safe, and nourished in every sense of the word and her heavenly plant-based Thai curries and dips were to die for. Give the girl a TV show and quick!
Yummy…and check out the kids’ hot choc concoctions below!
Tamsyn, our newly appointed North Devon tour guide, drove us around in her ‘Mumbus’ as I called it (which fits Alex’s wheelchair in) whizzing us to all her favourite places: the Coffee Cabin cafe by the sea for vegan chocolate mug cakes in the picturesque village of Appledore and then to Westward Ho! Beach with its breathtaking shoreline and natural sea pool the kids splashed around in until sunset before tasty wood fired pizza thanks to Pig and Olive Westward Ho Pizza on the Pebbles .
I’d move into Appledore tomorrow if I could!
Westward Ho! is bursting with cafes, restaurants and gift shops bu the sea.
Braunton Sands is a must-visit if you’re in North Devon. The kids are still talking about sand dune-sledging and surfing on the banks, today.
Look at them go!!!
Oh and how could I forget this pic…Here come the girls….being Insta dingbats in our twinning playsuits. We do love a bit of twinnage do Tamsyn and I!
We laughed until we almost weed ourselves that week (especially when Alex grabbed by ample bottom), we cried, and cried for Alex and all that has been taken away from him and all that he still is, and we put the world to rights as per then we laughed and cried some more.
Tamsyn is not just my wellbeing guru but my parenting one too. I could sit and listen to her wisdom for hours. A mum to tweens and now, teens, she has ALL the nuggets of gold. She’s the Mr Miyagi to my Karate Kid, always leading with love and compassion, placing trust into her children and respecting them so she receives that in return, and her brilliant, bright, fun-loving and caring kids are testament to that.
I hope I become as great a mum as Tamysn.
…I left Devon a different girl to be honest, changed beyond any expectations I might have had of a summer staycation.
I saw first-hand how hard emotionally and physically tiring life can be for Tamsyn, how thinly spread her role as mum, dad and carer is, yet how full of grace she is. How she looks life head-0n and allows it to flow as it should, as we all should, just as the waves on the shore do.
I left, topped up with the unconditional love I witnessed and received, the vegan microwave chocolate mug cakes I ate most days (no wonder I put on 15 pounds this summer) and the cold water swims that pricked my thighs and eased my mind in a way I’ve not felt before.
I felt grateful to have hung out with friends who love so boldly and live so courageously. In the moment, not missing life or focusing on the unimportant and banal. Just being. Having fun. Living vividly.
Despite the rain we were faced with for most of that week, on the occasion that the sun came out, I distinctly remember Tamsyn and I throwng off our cardis and running outside, soaking up everyone warming second, our heads turned to the sun. I think that sums us both up so well. We ride the storms, embrace the rain but face the sun whenever we can.
‘It will come out again, soon’ Tamsyn would reassure me, whenever it creeped behind the clouds.
And it always did.
The thing about Tamsyn and I, I realised during the break, is that neither us ever stop believing the sun is far away.
And believe me I’ve hung on to that Devon sun over these past few months. I’ve let that week away in North Devon linger within. Maybe that’s why it’s taken so long to write this.
Some posts are just meant for yourself, and others force their way out when they’re ready, after they’ve been fully absorbed.
A perfect storm.
Devon, you were a dream.
Watch the vlog
Read about more of our trips HERE.