I have been wanting to write this post since taking our first family holiday back in October, however what with moving house, Christmas, pregnancy and most importantly having fun with my little Rupert, finding time to sit down and put together a slightly longer blog post has not been a top priority. So here I am almost four months down the line sharing our first trip away as a family with you, as well as for myself and us to look back on with the fondest of memories.
Originally we booked our first family holiday to stay at a beautiful cottage in Hampshire back in November 2020, but Covid put a stop to this trip as the UK went into another lockdown. To be honest waiting to take the trip made it even more special, and with Rupert being that bit older he enjoyed it far more than he otherwise would have done at only 10 months old.
After much debate over many beautiful cottages, we rebooked our first trip away as a family through a company we’ve booked through a couple of times before, Unique Homestays.
We left home mid-morning so that Rupert would have his longest nap of the day while we travelled. We did this in the hope that it would lessen the chance of him getting frustrated on his longest journey yet. I think Chris was more frustrated than Rupert, and this was before we had even left the drive, as he battled with locking the car roof box!
Thankfully Rupert was very settled during the long drive. We made one stop and that was to let the dogs and Rupert have a leg stretch, (he did throw a wobbly when it was time to get back in the car, but this soon passed when I presented him with a tractor shaped gingerbread biscuit)!
Five and a half hours after leaving West Sussex, we arrived at the prettiest of Cornish cottages. We had arrived at The Fable, a charming thatched cottage nestled in the Perranporth countryside.
Pulling up on the drive we were greeted by the glorious early autumn sunshine.
The sun made a swift disappearing act for the rest of our time away, however this did not tamper with our plans to simply slow down and relax and enjoy all being together, as well as taking lovely walks with the dogs before returning to our cosy cottage to eat delicious meals and sit by the fire.
Upon stepping inside The Fable, we were warmly welcomed by the cosiness of the heating taking the chill of off the autumn air outside.
Left out on the kitchen countertop was a thoughtfully put together welcome hamper left by the property owner. I find that these always make a lovely added touch when staying at any Unique Home Stays property, especially as most, if not all of the contents are sourced locally.
The dogs quickly sniffed out the treats left for them, along with comfortable beds, towels for all the wet walks to come and general home comforts which was a really lovely and unexpected touch.
All the rooms were homely and completely unique.
As this was our first trip away from home with Rupert, neither Chris nor I were sure how he would settle into his new surroundings.
We really needn’t have had any concerns as he was absolutely thrilled about it! He was extremely interested in EVERYTHING and exploring this new cottage and all its little nooks.
His most loved item in the cottage became a little vintage briefcase which he adored carrying around the cottage throughout our stay.
After unpacking the car, I set about making sure everyone was fed and watered before we ventured out to have a quick explore of our surroundings ahead of the sun slipping away for the night.
We first had a quick wander around the gardens which were perfectly looked after, and Chris sussed out the hot tub for later use.
Leaving the garden, we took a narrow track which ran alongside the cottage and came out on a quiet country lane which we had a wander along before returning to the cottage for supper and an early night after our long drive.
Over the next few days, we fell into a slow and easy pattern of waking up to slow breakfasts in the light and airy kitchen dinner.
Rupert enjoyed all the meal prep sitting underneath or on top of the kitchen island playing with his toys.
After breakfast we would leave the comfort of the cottage to head out with the dogs for a walk along one of the many lovely local beaches.
Rupert spent much of his time falling in the sea (purposely)! While Chris moaned at me for letting him fall in again. After his sea dips and a change into dry clothes Rupert found the wind and the rain all to bitter so we would promptly make our way back to the car.
Arriving back at the cottage after our wet and windy morning walks, the bath was run, and full to the brim with bubbles for a warmup before we sat down for lunch.
More often than not, a power nap would follow lunch ahead of us making our second trip out for the afternoon.
Along with cuddles and playtime.
Of an evening, after supper and playing with either the dominos or similar in front of the fire we would finish our day where we started it, around the kitchen table, sipping on hot chocolates before turning into bed.
As someone who loves to have photographs to look back on, both of the big and the small moments, on our last evening I booked us a family photography session at Holywell Bay. This is a place where I have my own wonderful childhood memories and is somewhere I love. The photographer I had booked was Melanie Grace, a local photographer in the Devon and Cornwall area who specialises in natural family photography. Chris is not someone who shares in my passion for photography nor enjoys having photographs taken, he gets thoroughly hacked off with me constantly taking them, however even he appreciates having these photos to look back on.
All the photos are warm and natural moments of all of us together just being us.
How Melanie managed to capture such stunning images is beyond me, as for the most part Rupert did not want to be close to us, much preferring to wander off on his own exploration or sit with Melanie and look at flowers.
On our last morning, as I was packing our belongings away ready to load the car up, Chris against my better judgment, decided to make a fry up (we had to leave the cottage at 10am). Well, it did not end well, the food was burnt and the fire alarm went of and we could not get it to stop, to the point we were thinking of calling the house keeper! It all became very frantic and neither Rupert of the dogs knew quite what to do with themselves. Chris did not enjoy his breakfast that day and has not made a fry up since! This was not the only time the fire alarm had sounded during our stay as I myself had set it off once too while lighting the fire, this also sent Bunter and Rupert in to a frenzy especially as they had both been asleep up until their loud and rude awakening!
As we drove away from the cottage for the last time, I wanted to give the dogs a decent run on the beach as we had a long journey home ahead of us. We returned to Holywell Bay just as the heavens opened up. We waited to see if it would pass, it did not, so I left Chris and Rupert in the warm and dry in the car while the dogs and I headed out into the rain which soon turned to hail. Poor Bunter was ready to go back to the car at this point. Shiva the hardier of the two, and having had a lifetime of walks with me in all weathers was happier to continue on by my side. It turned out to be the most wonderful walk of all. The beach so deserted it was like it was ours and ours only. Managing to have this break away all of us together especially with Shiva was, without sounding morbid, really important to me as with Shiva turning 14 in April I knew we may not have many more opportunities to holiday with her. As I walked watching Shiva charging across the sand absolutely loving life and dipping her paws in the sea, her eyes smiling up at me, I knew I would forever cherish this walk with her and how happy and full of life she was. The rain stopped or at least turned to drizzle as we made our way back through the sand dunes to return to the car and make a slow drive home to Sussex.
On route home we stopped at Montacute House, which is somewhere we have stopped in the past on our way home from Cornwall with the dogs, it’s become somewhat of a tradition for us to stop in here on our way back to Sussex from Cornwall. It felt peculiar being there this time with Rupert in tow. He enjoyed playing in the trees and sitting down to a hot chocolate and savouring the last sausage roll from the shop in the courtyard before we made the final stretch of our journey home.
The Fable really did make for the perfect base for us for our first family holiday, it was a fun place for Rupert to explore safely, and it was a beautiful and homely cottage so full of character and charm, which both Chris and I fell slightly in love with. Chris even said it was the best holiday cottage I had found for us
to date! There were also so many stunning beaches to explore, St Agnes, Holywell Bay, Crantock, and Polly Joke to name only a few. Having stayed at a few Unique Homestays properties over the years The Fable is now a firm favourite and holds wonderful memories for us with our little family. It was just the break that we needed ahead of our move, and after such a long time of not being able to explore further
afield and to be able to show Rupert more of what the UK has to offer.
I hope you have enjoyed this little break away with us, I know I have most certainly enjoyed writing and reflecting on this time away.
Love for now