We were away last week, our usual five day Easter jaunt down to the Dorset coast to spend time with my family. It's a holiday that I really, really look forward to each year, a lovely, gentle time away from home and a chance to touch base with my family who I only see three times a year. I occasionally question the fact that we do the exact same thing year after year after year (this will be the 9th year of my Dorset Spring blog posts), and very occasionally I think longing thoughts about heading to somewhere warm and European. But essentially, this is a time for me to see my folks and I enjoy being somewhere so beautifully familiar that holds a very special place in my heart. It's very much more than just a short trip away from home for me and I can't see us giving it up, well not any time soon.
As you can see from the above photo, our first morning at our favourite beach café was a wet one. In some ways this weather suited us as the whole place was near deserted (unlike last year when it was warm and sunny and heaving with people). Even though we usually love to sit outside on the decking, this café has a large tent-like extension which allows you to still feel like you are connected to the outside whilst staying warm and dry. Our brunch was as delicious as ever (breakfast ciabattas all round, with a mug of especially good coffee) and by the time we'd finished scoffing, the rain had miraculously stopped falling. So off around the harbour we went....
....marvelling at the unexpected sunshine when just half an hour before it was absolutely tipping it down. The weather was very Jekyll and Hyde for the whole week, pouring rain one minute, bright sunshine the next, talk about unpredictable.
The Sunday morning when we were at West Bay, the tide was high and the wind was gusty so we took an exhilarating stroll along west pier with the waves literally splashing up over the sides. The air was full of salty sea spray, it landed on our faces and the taste of it instantly took me back to my childhood. The Little People thought it was great and took their chances walking right next to the wall in the hope of actually getting a soaking. Mad little things that they are.
The sea was very rough....
It came in at such a rate! We could literally see the rain sweeping along the coast towards us.....
The stormy weather at the start of our holiday did give us an excuse to stay put in the warmth and comfort of the house, which in my honest opinion was no bad thing. The Little People seemed happy enough watching films, playing on their gadgets and stuffing chocolate into their faces, and I had my crochet bag with me full of colourful cotton yarn. Last Easter when we were down in Dorset I was crocheting my Harmony Blanket, the Easter before that it was my Coast Ripple, so it did feel a little strange to be blanketless this year. I made up for the lack of blanket with a very pleasurable mandala making sesh - I'm making some more large hula-hoop decorations for Yarndale (remember these ones I made in 2014?). I'm using a really lovely free pattern from Bella Crochet blog this time -I'll show you more very soon (currently on my third one, mandalas are sooooo addictive).
A day after the storm had passed (we found out that storm Katie was the cause of the wild weather), we woke to blue skies and sunshine and decided to make it a Lyme Regis Day. Oh joy!
I found that my love affair with this pretty seaside town has not diminished, I love it so very much here.
Everything about it charms me, it's so pleasingly colourful and visual and guaranteed to set my heart fluttering.
In our stroll along the sea front we discovered a tiny new-to-us café here at the edge of the beach called Blue Sea Café, you can see it there in the above photo. I can't resist the lure of a coffee with a sea view, so I took charge and quickly shimmied the family to a table before they could think about denying me one of my favourite holiday pleasures.
I almost squealed when my coffee came to the table and I clapped eyes on the blue and white striped cup and saucer (little things like this please me so much), and the coffee was unbelievably good too.
The Little Peeps had ice cream of course, but I took the above photo to show you how my resident Nail Guru decides to decorate her nails for Easter. Pretty cool eh?
After our lovely mid morning coffee stop, we carried on strolling along the beach....
....and round to the harbour. We didn't really have an agenda, other than to pootle at leisure, which is something I adore doing. I am indeed a very, very accomplished and experienced pootler, I was born for it I'm sure.
It was lunch time now, so we decided to go up into the town in search of some fodder. Up through the gardens we went, with beautiful views out across the beach and harbour below.
Our lunch came from the delicious Cornish Bakery, there is something very satisfying about eating a hot pasty straight from the paper bag whilst sitting beside the sea. We found a bench sheltered by the sea wall with stunning views out along the Jurrassic coast, it was a lovely al fresco lunch in more ways than one.
Sometimes when we are in Dorset we struggle trying to make plans that fit in with the various members of my family, especially when my brother is also visiting with his family in tow. We make a large group altogether (nine adults and five children) and so although I would much prefer to wing it and not make plans at all, I have to toe the line and behave. We managed two large, pre-organised family rendez-vous last week - a superb pub lunch on Easter Monday, and a lengthy morning coffee session a few days later. I absolutely love going out for coffee and am very very lucky that in my normal life I manage to do it most days (well my studio is above a café, which is more than a bit fab). For family coffee outings we usually head to The Hive Beach café at Burton, with fingers crossed for the weather so that the Little People can leap around on the beach whilst we sit and chat at length. It was great to catch up with my brother and his family, to find them well and happy and to watch cousins reacquaint after a few years worth of growth.
This is our new-best-favourite beach at West Bexington which we discovered last Easter, we were here in the middle of last week for an impromptu picnic lunch.
It's so amazingly unspoilt here, and aside from a small car park, some very handy 'facilities' and a quirky little café that is more often than not closed, there really is nothing else here except miles and miles of shingle beach.
After we'd eaten lunch, we sat a while on the beach....
....I get such a rush of happiness seeing my crochet blankets out and about doing their blankety thing! The colours are so bright and happy and absolutely sing out against the more muted colours of the seashore.
I had Little B chattering away to me for a while, then he went off with his big sister to throw pebbles into the sea, leaving me to sit and daydream....
....it was delicious spending time there, listening to the sounds of the sea with my thoughts and memories quietly drifting in and out of my mind. So peaceful.
The last day of our holidays was probably the best day weather-wise. It was still pretty cold but the sky was wearing a most beautiful shade of blue, accessorised with the most cutesome little fluffy white clouds.
As we weren't leaving until late afternoon, back to the sea we went for one final last walk around the harbour. I loved the 'sun pennies' sparkling in the water, it was hard to capture on camera as the light was so bright. Bright and beautiful - oh I love being by the sea so much :)
The Little People were on their scooters this morning, so it was quite a speedy jaunt around the harbour and out onto the pier. We sat a while in the sunshine, breathing it all in whilst the Little Peeps whizzed around us on their wheels. I find myself instinctively trying to capture the essence of that wonderful beside-the-sea feeling that I love so much, as I know I will crave it once I am back home.
Ahh, and here is lunch, so so so good! We bought lunch from one of the little kiosks beside the harbour and sat on the riverside wall to eat it hot and fresh. The Little People had sausage and chips, and J and I shared this pot of freshly cooked whitebait with chips. It was really delicious, simple seaside food eaten greedily with fingers.
And so another lovely Dorset holiday passed quickly and happily, and I am rather pleased to report that I haven't felt nearly so blue about being home again this time. I feel OK, I really do. Kind of a relief really!