First stop was a trip to East Sussex. I've never been to a festival in my life, showers and hair drying having previously been a priority for me. But as I've got older – and having a baby is a great leveller – I've felt a bit more able to go hang out in a field. And of course, festivals are basically luxury events now. Anyway, we booked a room at the really lovely Barnfield Farm B & B (okay, we still didn't camp) and went along to the Love Supreme festival near Glynde.
The B & B was gorgeous, really baby-friendly, with a super cosy made-up cot waiting for us after our sunny drive down from London. The converted barn looked onto the rolling South Downs, with a friendly sheepdog for company, so evenings were spent on a blanket enjoying the view, drinking local cider and throwing the ball for the dog while the baby slept upstairs. Heaven!
The festival itself was really nice – a short walk from the B & B through gloriously sunny country lanes. We set up our parasol and sat in one spot all day drinking cider and listening to the music. Chic played, as they did seemingly every other festival this summer – just brilliant party tunes that you know every note of, one after another. (I think it is essential to dance in a field as the sun goes down at least once every summer.)
|This is the view from the waltzers at the back whilst Chic played. I had a little detour on the way back from the loo|
We also went to the beach at Seaford, which was crystal clear, deserted, but a bit chilly. Arthur loved the sea, he'd do a little sharp intake of breath at first and look quite serious, but then relax into splashy funtimes. So cute.
We did a quick two hour pop to Brighton on the way back, the best way to enjoy it in my opinion; it was packed even though it was just a random Monday afternoon. We wandered the North Laines, got some delicious icecream from Gelato Gusto, and drove back to London. I'm not really into Brighton but it is nice to pop to every few years. Ha!
For our proper holiday we went to San Sebastian, in the basque region of Spain. We'd booked flights to Biarritz intending to go to Cap Ferret but had left it last minute and all of the available accomodation was out of our price range. So, with friends in San Sebastian and it having been on our visit list for a while, we changed our plans. We booked an apartment in a modernist block high on Mont Igeldo with gardens and a pool. It was absolutely heavenly.
The apartment was all windows along the side, with a fir tree almost touching the balcony, looking out over the valley. There were owls twit-twooing, birds of prey shrieking and donkeys honking away. It was so nice we stocked up on cheese, ham, fresh fruit and bread, nutella and pink wine, and hardly left our little spot in the shade of a lilac bush near the pool.
|Arthur loved long holiday lunches|
OK, we did make it to the nearby town of Getaria for a spot of grilled fish for lunch and a trip to the beach. (It turns out beaches are a bit of a pain in the arse with a baby - sand and pebbles everywhere. The pool was much easier.) I'd intended to go to the Cristobal Balenciaga museum (it is his hometown) but was too much in lazy holiday mode and didn't make it.
We also managed to get up to some London fun. The Canary Wharf jazz festival is essential for me every year. I absolutely love catching the DLR there, it's like the robot space train weaving through the city. It was VERY exciting for a certain 10 month old boy. Having a picnic among the skyscrapers and listening to some live music is awesome too. Troyka were particularly good to zone in and out to.
We went to a few of our favourite haunts - like a stroll around Blackheath, where we used to live.
Lunch at Banners in Crouch End. I absolutely love it there, it has a really buzzy diner feel and piled high brunch plates of ackee and saltfish with spoon bread. It's another very child friendly place. (Here's Arthur summoning the waitress.)
An afternoon wandering around Greenwich, with a trip to favourite pub next to the river, The Trafalgar.
Just a couple of trips to the lido at Parliament Hill - one day I went and it was so crowded with yoots that the police were on duty with a metal detector outside. Bad vibes. So I went to the swimming ponds and got bad-vibed there as well by a witchy old local lady who pushed past Arthur's pram and hissed that children weren't allowed. Unfriendly, London!