If you’ve seen much of our Instagram you’ll know we live near the coast. Right on the coast in fact. If you walked out of our back garden and headed across the beach and out to see the next land you’d meet would be somewhere south of Belfast. It’s an amazing place to live but isn’t without it’s issues…
High winds are common throughout the winter and into spring so I can often be seen running out the garden in the middle of the night to weight down the trampoline or chasing an item garden furniture up the beach. I’m an enthusiastic, if not a great, gardener also and my hard work can often been undone within a single storm.
But for all the downsides waking up to a view of the Welsh mountains capped with snow or watching the migrating birds flying down the coast toward their winter homes on the continent is well worth it. Here are some of my favourite things about the place we live.
I’m a keen sea swimmer which is one of the most calming things you can do in your day, you truly feel at one with nature. Calm seas are great to swim in but around the high tides we also get some decent waves so the boys and I love to get our wetsuits on and head out for some body boarding – we try to get Ariana to come too but she’s not a great fan of the cold and even in high summer she’s rarely tempted!
The kids have great fun pottering around near the tide line which sits a good mile out from the start of the beach, making sandcastles or looking for sea treasure.
I made the mistake of creating a new sport of sea-sledging last summer – basically me pulling the kids along in a sledge in the shallow water – it’s great fun for them and means I don’t have to go to the gym any time soon as it’s about the most tiring thing I’ve ever done.
We also have a group of seals that live locally and when we’re out swimming or boarding they’ll often pop along to see who’s making all the noise. The first time I saw them I nearly had a heart attack as a whiskered black head bobbed up out of the water about 30 feet away from me!
We now have a dog so we get even more use out of the beautiful coastal walks down the Wirral coastline – the kids often take a bit of coaxing out but once we get going they love it.
I’ll often bring a bag of snacks or a flask of hot chocolate so that everyone has a treat along the way. It’s good exercise for us all but particularly for me as 9/10 out of ten I’ll end up with one of the little chaps on my shoulders for the last half hour!
I’m no expert at this but it’s fun to use the small amount of knowledge I have to hunt for edible treats that we can incorporate into meals for the kids. They are always more interested to eat things that they’ve found themselves…
- Blackberries are abundant on autumn walks, it’s about the only time we can get Rex to eat fruit!
- Clams – there’s a beach locally where clams grow on the tide line and we go and find a bag to take home for Pasta a la Vongole!
- Porcini – You have to be very careful when picking mushrooms but porcini are quite easily identifiable and there’s a spot locally where they grow when the conditions are right, nope I’m not telling you where…
- Samphire – There’s a few spots where this sea loving plant grows locally, not in great abundance but it’s a nice addition to seafood dishes.
Before I lived here I associated stunning sunsets with being on holiday.
I’d never lived anywhere on the west coast before and didn’t associate great sunsets with the UK. How wrong I was. They are always unique and watching the sunset never getsold. You can’t stop photographing it even though you know you’re never likely to use the shots. It’s just so beautiful.