Half term saw us pootle off down to the seaside to West Bay in Dorset.
We didn't have a holiday last year, so excitement and anticipation levels were high!
This is the view we had when we walked down to the harbour after dinner, the light was fantastic and the sound of the sea was such a lovely welcome!
The weather was very kind to us only one full wet day and lots of sunshine. We went to Lyme Regis on Sunday and it glorious, these beach huts are on the front, the beach is fantastic, lovely sand and then also rocky/gravelly bits for exploring/finding. A lovely English seaside resort, we'd definitely come back here.
Bit of a walk up the hill to get into town but the views are worth it!
We had a walk up the main Broad Street, found Alice's Bear Shop by accident, which turns out to be the bear shop in a story book we bought for the eldest many years ago from a book signing event in Witney - Chunky and the Bone, it was very surreal and then inside was the actual author and illustrator of the books! It was very exciting! The girls liked the bear hospital at the back of the shop and we were able to buy another book to start a collection!
Next door was Ruby Rockcake which we'd been tipped off to by the lovely Attic24 blog, inside was full of lovely home items, I got an old fashioned milk bottle (pic later!) but could have happily spend more, I did um and ahh over finally getting an Orla Kierly mug, but resisted!
We had a great lunch in the Bell Cliff restaurant, who were very accommodating to get all 7 of us in, including all our beach bags and the buggy!
We bought pasties for tea from Pasty Presto, another tip off from Attic 24 - we found a lot of inspiration from Lucy for our holiday!
They were amazing, I had a lovely chickpea and potato one, it was huge and so nice and filling after a long day at the beach!
We tried fossil hunting on Monmouth beach, which is on the other side of the harbour but we didn't fair very well, even with Grampy's fossil hammer! Still, it kept us all amused!
Bank holiday Monday saw us browsing Bridport, mainly to the vintage quarter, which was quieter than I'd hoped but still good for a rummage.
Wish I'd bought these now!
I did get a lovely Poole pottery cup and saucer for the princely sum of £5, one thing we did notice as a region were the prices, much better value than in our neck of the woods! Even the charity shops were better.
Tuesday was the really wet day, so we took advantage of the caravan park's swimming pools and had a wet walk around West Bay! The caravan park is run by Parkdean and our accommodation was fine, nice and clean, three bedrooms and two shower rooms (one en-suite) but the park wasn't very inspiring, the girls liked the amusements! But the swimming pool was small and only one depth so only the 9yo could swim in it and then the toddler pool was very small and only good for splashing/walking around in. We did brave an hour of kids entertainment at the main bar but it really wasn't our thing! Over all the stay was fine but I don't think we'd rush back there, unless it was much cheaper, it definitely wasn't worth the money, especially being half-term week, this was the first time we'd holidayed out of term time and I'd rather face a stern talking to from the headmistress (or fine!) than do it again.
West Bay was lovely though and the fresh fish should be tried, we had some lovely fresh caught scallops one night which were delicious.
On Wednesday we decided to head west to Charmouth beach. It was an overcast day but still nice to be out and exploring, we found a few more fossils here, mostly by accident in the tide, there's a shop and museum here which is great for fossil information, they have on display a large fossilised Ichthyosaur which was found here in 2000.
When the tide goes out you can see a lot of exposed rocks which are great for exploring!
The forecast looked good for Thursday so we planned to go back for another beach day at Lyme.
On the walk from the car park we found this small nestle of shops with the museum, cheese maker, pottery, sewing studio and brewery. We went back later to get some cheddar cheese which had been matured in Wookey Cave and a selection of beers!
We spent the day on the sandy beach this time, we tried to fill in the large hole left by the previous occupants! Is it a boy-thing to dig as big as possible?! The 9yo liked to go off and clamber on the rocks and even declared she wanted to buy a wetsuit as she fancied a swim!
We had the most delicious sandwiches for lunch from a local shop, my crab sandwich was heaven and the kids enjoyed their lunchbox option.
Just on the seafront is this antiques centre and I could have spent a LOT longer in here!! It had oodles of stuff and the prices were really reasonable, I got some more Poole Pottery - bowls and small plates this time.
And of course, the girls wanted to go to the amusements! I too loved going to these on holidays, so I try not to say no and at the moment they're quite happy with the 2p machines!
As we were walking back the weather was changing, and the showers that we were lucky to miss earlier, started to head in, but in true Brit style we had an ice-cream! I had a delicious turkish delight flavour!
Last proper day of holiday and it was blazing sunshine, so much so that due to the wind I forgot about my sun-cream in the morning - and paid for it later!
This is Burton Bradstock, just round the corner from West Bay, it was actually my least favourite beach, the surface was very sharp gravel and not nice to walk on - even with my trusty crocs on, the 6yo didn't like it either.
But the scenery and the blue skies were hard to dislike, it felt very good being here rather than at home or work!
There's a lovely cafe on the beach - the Hive Beach Cafe, which served lovely seafood but we stuck with our picnic but enjoyed a delicious ice-cream from the stall behind the main cafe, this time I had mango and enjoyed paddling my toes while enjoying it.
This will be my memory of the other side of our holiday as during most of the break our eldest wasn't on top form, I don't think it was a tummy bug but she struggled most days with either constipation or diarrhoea, so she was a little sad on some days which sort of meant that in the back of my mind, I didn't really feel like I was on holiday. There was always some thing to think about, what are they having to eat mostly! The toddler got grumpy when she wanted to sleep and didn't like the feel of sand on her feet!
So as a holiday it wasn't restful or idyllic but with small children is it ever?! I think I just need more practise at holidaying with children! A couple of breaks a year should be mandatory!
West Bay on Friday evening, like saying goodbye.
Saturday, last day of the holiday, up early to get out of the caravan and we decided to treat ourselves to breakfast the Watch cafe (another Attic 24 find)
My full English, with pot of tea was just the way to start an early morning!
It was another glorious day and as it was Saturday I wanted to head into Bridport for the antiques market! Which was great, so many traders, it was bustling, I wish we had something similar nearby.
We managed to pop into Yarn, the local wool shop and the Girls Own Store (yes more Attic24 tip-offs!)
Some lovely stuff in here, I got some fab notebooks, one of those ringing counter bells and a wooden toy book for the bath!!
We bade farewell to my family who were heading home via Dorchester and then grabbed some lunch from the lovely Leakers bakery so that we could have a picnic at the park in West Bay.
Their spelt croissants were fabulous and were great with the Lyme Regis cheese!
After the kids tired themselves out at the playground and we'd bought souvenir biscuits, Dorset Teabags (which are lovely and also available in Waitrose!) and postcards (a little late!), it was with very heavy hearts that we had to admit it was getting late and time to go back home :(
Thankfully the kids slept most of the way and by the time we got back at about 9pm it was actually nice to see our house and be amazed by how green everything looked, (not a lot of green at the seaside I suppose!)
Goodbye Dorset, we'll be back next year!