Home from Home
I've written about my love for Southbourne before. But as I sit in our flat, typing this post, I feel more at home than ever. In our home away from home.
I look around and there's photos of all our weddings, photos of the Grannies when they were 2 and 4 years old, reprinted family Christmas tradition photos, where we all crowd round a makeshift tripod and hope for the best! There's a photo of my parents, in happier times, my Auntie and Uncle before they parted ways too and photos of my grandparents.
We owe this wonderful to them. My Grandpa saw an investment opportunity over 35 years ago and every year since I was born, I've pulled up at the concrete steps leading up to the 60's square block of flats that on the outside, couldn't look more ugly, but on the inside are bursting with love, warmth and memories.
The westies know we are near a few miles away. Mabel starts whinging, clambering out of their dog bed and onto the suitcases squeezed in around them and the boys start an incessant "Are you nearly there yet?!" line of questioning.
It's kind of become our test of true friendship, as silly as it sounds. That when we bring our lovely friends to stay at the flat, we know those who love it as much as we do will be friends for life. As soon as you step in the front door and open the balcony doors and let the sea air flood the flat, you are home. A seaside home for everyone.
All of us have had our first holidays here, me at 6 weeks, Ollie at 4 weeks and Sammy learnt to walk here. Precious times with photos and videos I pour over all the time. Last times and first times. All of which evoke the most powerful emotions, just like your home does.
I can't wait to wake up in the morning, walk the dogs down to the bakery, buy a cottage loaf and a poppyseed plait, as we have done every visit, and pile the wagon with goodies for the beach hut. We say it every time we come down to Southbourne, but we will never ever sell this place. It's not just concrete blocks and mortar, it's the history of our family.
On Friday our friends who are here with us will head back to Somerset and a new set of best friends will arrive for the Easter weekend. We've been counting down the sleeps over text messages, wishing the time away until we are all reliving last year's fun down at the hut. Laughing at the Dad's braving the sea, watching the children have the freedom to play on their own on the stretch of sand beneath the beach hut, and trying to take a hundred mental pictures of simple happy times.
It's not always sunny of course, but it feels sunny. Does that make any sense?
It's been a pleasure to work with Hive and talk about their #cominghome campaign. I guess it's made me realise how lucky we really are to have this home by the sea. That those same overwhelming, incredibly powerful feelings when you step through your front door, that hit you like a tidal wave of nostalgia. And you are home.
What makes you feel at home? Hive would love you share your coming home moment for a chance to win an amazing competition. A coming home experience like no other worth £1500!!
Tomorrow we are packing a picnic, exploring Christchurch and dragging the bbq down the zig zag path, armed with pjs for the wagon ride back up. Because that's what Easter holidays are for. Sandy toes in sandy beds. Wonderful.