Finally the day has arrived where my mini summer holiday with my love begins! ‘Excited’ would be an understated adjective for how I felt about this trip. Not only would we be touring around some of the prettiest beaches in Wales, we are visiting one of my dearest friends and her other half, but the best part being that me and my man be together for almost an entire week without interruption. Needless to say that I had packed almost a week in advance, mostly because I like to feel prepared, but also for the reason that I could not contain my excitement any longer and packing seemed like a good way to channel it.
By 3pm I am at work clock watching, the anticipation of Tom finishing work on time and not hitting terrible traffic before swinging by to pick me up. We had been prepared in that the van was all packed, my car had been given to my step dad and I already had a change of clothes for the journey down. As it’s coming up to 4pm, I’m already changing my clothes and closing down my emails. Until finally my phone buzzes and the boy is en route! I grab my stuff and start walking in his direction. He swings by, I jump in and away we go! First camping spot being Waltham Abbey, seemed a logical distance from home and a good pit stop before a long journey the following day.
The campsite was rather nice. Everything clean and fresh. We find a pub not too far down the road and pop down for a bite. Food arrives, my Cumberland sausage and mash and Tom’s fish and chips, which apparently are some of the best he’s ever had! Not long after, we’re all tucked up in the back of the van as the sun sets over the site.
We start early the following day, pack up the van and hit the road. As always, the M25 was reliably awful as always, with its long queues and annoyed drivers in the summer heat, but we eventually got on our way. Arriving in Swansea, Tom thought best to do a recce and check out the nearby beaches. We drive for some time and eventually pull up at Langland for a wander about and some food. Forgetting that we’re now in the butt end of nowhere (apparently), nowhere took card, so our long look at the menu turned into a big appetite tease instead. On checking the time and realising there was no point in trying to catch any waves, we hit the road once more to Steph’s house.
The great thing about having really close friends who are actually really far away, is that no matter how much time passes, you still enjoy each other’s company and pick up where you left off. This weekend was exactly that. After the initial introduction of my amazing new man, my welshie mate and her fella, we all sat down for a couple of beers before getting ready to go out. The Portuguese restaurant lived up to its reputation, the service was great and the food divine. A couple of bottles of wine later and we’re headed for several drinks in town. It’s fair to say that I don’t remember much about what happened after that… I know I had a good time jigging around with Steph, (until throwing up and having a minor breakdown).
So the next morning, (whilst feeling rather worse for wear), we grab some essentials from the shop and hit the beach at Oxwich. The walk to the beach entailed a field of sheep, popping over a stile onto a woodland path which gradually descended until we were amongst the dunes. The weather was perfect and our part of the beach was pretty much dead. After laying down the beach towels, inflating our big blue sofa and applying sun lotion; it was time for a paddle! Being the in sea was bliss, especially to cure my ugly hangover and regain my personality. It’s a rarity for me to go in past my ankles but with the sun beating down and the water so clear, who could resist?
A few hours pass and all of our bellies begin to grumble, so it’s suggested we grab a bite at the pub before having a BBQ later that evening. By this point my sunburn is beginning to beam red! After eating the majority of a sharing portion of cheesy nachos (and sweet potato fries) to myself, we then pootle to the shop for some bevvies and head home in time to chill out, whilst the boys watch the rugby on the iPad. We book our next campsite for the following evening, LLeithyr Farm at Whitesands Bay, somewhere that I had had my eye on for a few weeks.
Sitting in Steph’s back garden in the summer heat that evening made us feel like we were somewhere abroad on a little terrace, surrounded by twinkly lights and candles. You would never have thought we were sat in the centre of Swansea in June! The night before had marginally ruined my body, so after a bit of food and reading some of a crime fiction novel, I was definitely ready to hit the hay.
Sunday was another blazing hot day. The next part of the trip was about to begin and I couldn’t wait! We packed our stuff and headed for Pembrokeshire. On our way to the campsite, we stopped off at Newgale beach. As we looked out at the surfers and paddle boarders floating on the waves, it was obvious that Tom was itching to get in the water. I managed to get my wetsuit on without burning my feet too much on the ridiculously hot tarmac. I genuinely think that I burnt off more calories putting my suit on and taking it off than I did paddling around on the body board!
After floating around watching Tom’s surf moves up and down the wave breaks, we headed to the campsite for a quick shower and change of clothes. A wander round Solva felt like being on an island far away, the water was crystal clear and all the boats were stationery, waiting for the tide to journey back in. We treated ourselves to a fishy meal at a little local pub which was delicious, but the day’s activities started to catch up with me. Not long after getting back to campsite to chill out and read my novel, I found myself drifting. A shame that I felt too tired to go down to the beach to watch the sunset but overall the day had been lush.
We rose early on the Monday morning, the beach was definitely calling us! We were parked up by 9am, already beginning to sweat in the early heat, so we began to explore the beach. I’ve never known a holiday to live up to every postcard picture of it. The scenery was stunning, the beach had rocky pools around the edges and a vast, white, sandy beach. Luckily for me, the company wasn’t a particularly bad sight either… However, one of the most random sights we did see during our adventures was a man, standing alone playing his trumpet at the foot of the cliff. We did wonder if he had made too much of a racket at home, so the Mrs evicted him to play his trumpet elsewhere! I’m definitely a breakfast kind of girl, but I hadn’t realised how much I needed breakfast. The local shop’s breakfast baps were delicious. Feeling positively stuffed, we then got our wetsuits on and headed into the surf.
I would never describe myself as a water baby, nor would I say that I have very good balance. So finding myself clinging to Tom’s surfboard waiting for the next wave was something way beyond my comfort zone! There weren’t many moves that I didn’t make, in that I was flipped backwards off the board, forced under water whilst on the board and leaping out of the surf gasping for air after attempting to make it from my knees to my feet mid-wave. Although, I have to admit; I had the best time trying my skills out on the board! Tom’s patience and encouragement probably had a lot to do with it, but there’s something so relaxing about being out on the water.
The dreamy day at Whitesands soon came to an end and our journey was calling us to head East. with the van loaded up and ready to go, we made our way to Tenby. The heat was almost unbearable, the layout of the town was not particularly helpful and a few tours later, we find a suitable car park and wander into town. The most endearing quality of this seaside town was definitely all the different coloured buildings. It looks like something out of a child’s book. We definitely found the best pasty shop around and sat on a bench looking out over the harbour.
The campsite for the night was rather questionable. The pitch rate slightly high for the facilities and the location not as close to a pub as we had hoped. The walk into Saundersfoot involved one large but gradual hill towards the bay. The theme of cash only was present in the little town was as several places didn’t accept card, so that limited our choice for dinner and any bars. The highlight of the evening would probably be Tom almost falling down a hidden drop in one of the pub gardens. Unfortunately for him, he hadn’t got away with no one witnessing it as two women broke out in laughter along with me. The walk home was a struggle, the hill was much more polite in the descent than the ascent!
The day in Tenby was another hot one. We headed straight for the beach to chill out while we waited for the little businesses to start their day. Many jellyfish had been washed up on the bay, with even more floating around the shallows. A souped up land rover pulled up on the bay to open up shop for canoe and jet ski hire. We found that our last £20 cash would get us an hour on the water in a two man canoe. It felt like we were abroad, the water was clear with fish and jellies swimming around underneath us. We paddle past a couple of private beaches and work our way around the edge of the coastline. As we got close to the beach to come back, Tom wanted to go for a little splash about, however I was mid-daydream and not paying attention which resulted in me landing myself in the water too! With a dripping wet bikini, we drag ourselves (and the canoe) back up the beach on the hot sand and head into town.
On our way back to the van, we pop into a sweet little surf shop tucked up on the corner of the road. A couple of items later and we hit the road to Oxford. The heat increasing with the drive and the roads getting busier. We eventually land ourselves in the centre of Oxford at a site hidden up behind a shop. We head into the centre in search of dinner and some pretty sights, as neither of us have visited Oxford before. However, with the throng of the city and the heat of the evening, we were glad to find a Pizza Express. On our walk back to the campsite, we pop into a couple of pubs as the heat gradually subsides.
The next morning we decide to head home. I can honestly say that the trip had flown by too quickly but every moment had been bliss. Other than regretting not taking my GoPro camera with me for the water action, I had taken some stunning pictures that will inevitably end up on the wall. Sometimes it’s not the most extravagant holidays that give you the break and adventure that you’re seeking…