I’m a firm fan of the mum break. I don’t think it makes you any less of a mum to admit you sometimes need time out, and I don’t think it means you love your kids any less if you crave occasional periods of respite from the mayhem of raising small people. Obviously, for many of us, a regular mum break isn’t always possible. Real life doesn’t always throw up opportunities for time away without the kids (unless you’re an A-list celeb with an entourage of nannies in your household).
That’s why last week was so special. I went on a trip to Cornwall organised by clothing brand Joules, invited along by my buddy Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog. We stayed in the very swish and Instagrammable Watergate Bay Hotel near Newquay and, within about half an hour of arriving, I felt the relaxation wash over me (of course the prosecco at lunch might have helped with that).
Before I go on, I should say this was a HUGE treat for me. I don’t live a glamorous lifestyle – most Thursdays I’ll be rushing not to be late on the school run and then battling my toddler into the car for her weekly swimming lesson. I’m not Kim Kardashian. Drinking prosecco at lunchtime on a weekday is not my usual thing. And that’s why this trip was such a luxury for me – it was a rarity and I soaked up every second like I soak up every drop of wine in my glass on a Friday night. Except I won’t be drinking wine from now on – I’m ALL about the Tarquin’s Gin after our gin tasting session on the Wednesday evening.
Living so close to the seaside in Devon, it’s easy to become a bit complacent about our coastline. But arriving at Watergate Bay was a welcome reminder of how we don’t need to venture far to find stunning beaches. This location provided the ideal backdrop for 48 hours of total relaxation and the beach gave me the perfect opportunity to put my new Joules wellies to the test…
Aside from the picture-perfect interiors, huge attention to detail and wonderful pampering and gifting opportunities organised by the Joules team, the thing that made this break really special was the little things. Drinking a cup of tea in my dressing gown, without any little hands tugging at me to make multiple pieces of toast. Chatting with friends without being interrupted by eager small people wanting to join in (or monopolise!) the conversation. Having time for a hot shower in the morning without anyone banging on the door saying they need a wee or asking me to help put their socks on (turns out Alison makes a very considerate hotel room buddy!).
Of course, inevitably, I missed the kids. That’s always the way of things isn’t it? Even when I was slightly tipsy on cocktails and the excitement of being out in a grown-up restaurant past 9pm (highly recommend the steak at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, by the way) I couldn’t help thinking about the girls and wondering if they were sleeping soundly or playing their new favourite game – musical beds.
We visited Padstow for a few hours (in which I also enjoyed a browse and bit of shopping in the Joules store – isn’t shopping so much more enjoyable when you don’t have a toddler in tow?!) and it was a joy to just wander around taking photographs. There was no Instagram-phobic husband around to rain on my parade and no kids rolling their eyes at mum wanting to pose in front of “yet another” colourful wall. I do love my family so, but their unwillingness to humour my Insta-tendencies sometimes leaves a lot to be desired…
(Whoever lives in this house probably gets Insta-exhaustion too, at the sheer number of people wanting to pose for a photo against those pretty pastel walls!)
One of the things I loved about the trip was chatting with other bloggers – my time is so taken up with mumming and working that I often forget how isolating working from home can sometimes be. It was great to spend time with my pal Alison, finally meet Lucy in real life, and meet Carrie, Annali and Alex. Plus, it was nice to not always be the only one faffing about with a phone or camera.
In typical mum style, I got up at 5am on the final day of the trip in order to drive back home to Devon in time for the school run. I had butterflies of excitement in my tummy at seeing the girls after two nights away, imagining them falling into my arms and covering me with kisses. What did I get? Tears at the very sight of me because they were both disappointed they weren’t going to a friends’ house to play before school, like they’d done after school the night before. That’s gratitude for you.
Five days on it all feels like a bit of a dream. The relaxation, pampering, amazing food, beautiful interiors, interesting conversation and total luxury all seems so long ago. But what remains is my steadfast dedication to the benefits of a mum break, some gorgeous new additions to my wardrobe (HELLO pretty yellow jacket and chelsea boots of dreams) and a sense that, actually, I’m probably not doing a bad job of this mum thing after all.
To see a behind-the-scenes look at the trip, check out the video I made while I was there. Apologies for the slightly tipsy, out-of-focus me at the end!
Thanks to Alison for inviting me along as her guest. And thanks to the team at Joules for the incredible treats and amazing attention to detail.