(This post is an advert for Wightlink)
I started to intro this post talking about giving myself time off, about not having posted for 5 months, about time and life admin and all the usual guff you find when a blogger hasn’t blogged. But instead, let’s just get into it, you didn’t come here for that. A few weekends ago, we took a weekend of R&R.
Based on the south coast, the Isle of Wight is a place I know reasonably well. My dad used to have a sailing boat and we’d spend some summers going back and forth (with me mostly being the cliche teen, moaning about the British weather), I spent a May half term in Yarmouth and one New Years Eve with the girls in a questionable pub in Cowes. It’s not somewhere we go a huge amount – it always felt a little too close by for a holiday, but it’s somewhere I do enjoy going. It’s quiet and unassuming and there’s something about the water between it and the mainland that makes it feel like a sanctuary (not to mention a proper holiday because you get to go on a boat).
With our wedding approaching in July, work being as demanding as work will always be for a pair of 30 somethings, and everything else that comes with maintaining a sociable lifestyle whilst climbing every metaphorical, societal ladder going, we wanted some time away from the grind. You know, the idyllic weekend by the sea, with the dog (is this Peggy’s first appearance? I think it might be. We got her in September last year, she’s a Bedlington Terrier and our total baby), a log burner, our books. It sounds a little too perfect, but I’m amazed to tell you, we actually achieved it. On Saturday evening, with the living room of our cottage hotter than the sun from the roaring fire Sam had happily made, with only our books for company, it struck me how much good just 24 hours escape can do.
Let’s rewind. If you don’t know the Isle of Wight, or our part of the world at all, it’s an island just over the water from southern Hampshire. It’s got about 140k people living on it, so it’s by no means tiny, but it is very different to what we know (hey, they haven’t got a Nandos). You reach it by ferry, and one of the key players in the ferry game round these parts if Wightlink. They run ferries between two locations – Portsmouth to Fishbourne (near Ryde, the most easterly option), and then Lymington to Yarmouth, which is more west. Wightlink invited us to explore the Isle of Wight with Peggy (dogs travel free and the island is hugely dog friendly) and we jumped at the chance to get some away-time. In the interest of transparency, Wightlink gifted our travel, but we chose to stay for the full weekend and pay for accommodation ourselves. It was the perfect excuse for some R&R!
I found us a little cottage in St Lawrence, just outside of Ventnor. I don’t know the south of the island all that well, but Sam used to holiday in, coincidentally, the exact same village, as his grandparents lived just one road down from our hideaway. It had everything we wanted, including a small garden (puppy life), a log burner, a non-existent TV and nothing going on nearby. I booked it up (I used HomeAway as AirBnB wasn’t coming up trumps), and we set off on the 5pm ferry from Lymington on the Friday after work. Of course, being the first weekend of March, we spent the majority of the journey inside but we did pop out on deck to show Peggy the sights before we disembarked.
We drove along the Military Road to the south of the island, the sun disappearing and the roads totally empty. Just what we’d hoped! We got to our cottage around 6.30pm – I’d had the forethought to buy us dinner from the supermarket at lunchtime and we settled in for the night. What more do two shattered 30 year olds need on a Friday night? Puppy, book, bed.
The next morning called for bacon and avocado on toast, and a slow start to the day. We had a lazy breakfast (which is unheard of for us – we’re usually up with the lark, porridge for two and out the house), played with Peggy, I had a leisurely hair wash and we sat around plotting what walk we wanted to do for the day. The sun was starting to make an appearance and about half past ten we set off to find Sam’s grandparent’s old house. We visited the village post office for some supplies for our backpack and began our walk along the coast into Ventnor. A walk Sam had done many times as a kid, with plenty of nostalgic pitstops along the way, it took us about two hours. We walked high up on the cliffs, and dropped down to Steephill Cove where Peggy got chased by a wave and had her first salt water experience. We met a handful of other walkers, but it was serene and quiet and everything we wanted. Not to mention warm – the spring sun was shining, and Ventnor, with it’s micro-climate, is notoriously warmer than the mainland.
We had a really lovely day – ending our mornings walk in the pub, where we sat outside and enjoyed, not one, but two drinks. This is the least-us turn of events – it sounds small, but we always have someplace to be. On Saturday, we didn’t – so we enjoyed another pint and spritzer before setting off back home to the cottage. We did a total of 12km, so a 4pm reading-induced nap followed before heading out for an early dinner at On The Rocks in Yarmouth (a place we’d visited a few years back and had wanted to return to – turns out I do like steak when I get to cook it myself). We picked up ice cream from the Co Op and headed back to re-light the fire and hunker down for the evening again. I got through about 150 pages of my book that night – one I’d be struggling to get through and am now, after some time spent on it, loving.
The next morning, with a view not to have a hectic Sunday, and the winds picking up rapidly, we decided to make an early run for the ferry home. Wightlink squeezed us on the 10.20am (we were due to stay until 3pm), and we were home within 90 mins. To pop some washing on, give Peggy her weekly bath, have a roast and continue the relaxation before Monday rolled around.
A big thank you to Wightlink for facilitating our trip – the dog friendly part of the ship is the perfect spot to watch the island approaching, Peggy loved her experience! And we’re so grateful for them squeezing us on that early ferry home to avoid the winds. You can get 30% off Wightlink travel until the end of March ’19 with the code KAT. I’d recommend a little dog friendly staycation, it did us the world of good!
If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking to find out more about Katherine-Louise. Run by me, Kat - put simply I'm a 30 year old who is decidedly normal. My blog is a destination for women just like me - the same interests and aspirations, working our way through the same twists and turns of life. Katherine-Louise is designed to inspire and inform; to give you a break from the norm as well identify with the beauty of routine. A fifteen minute recoup, or an hours vacation, it’s the go-to for Everyday-Joe’s, just like me, who want a few minutes off the radar.