The kids absolutely love it, the dog absolutely loves it and I absolutely love it so it's a great way of getting them outside during the holidays when they'd much rather be curled up on the sofa, their faces stuck in a tablet.
Although I'd perhaps prefer my temperatures to be a little warmer, there's something nice about heading to the beach in winter and finding it completely deserted. When Meg and Eli are at school I will often take the dog for a walk along the beach closest to us and sometimes I don't see another soul the entire time I'm out.
On this particular trip, when I was at a loose end during the Christmas holidays, we did see a couple of other brave souls at the beach. Braver than us actually because they were actually in the water. This absolutely fascinated Eli and he hasn't stopped talking about getting his own wetsuit since.
Within minutes of being there, the kids were both soaking wet and completely sandy. Eli seems to have a strange affection for rolling around in the sand; the minute we arrive he likes to try and find a large dune and then just roll himself down it. I honestly haven't a clue why!
Meg on the other hand is much more artistic; her favourite game is to find a quiet, secluded spot with a clear space of sand and then to create a sand sculpture or picture. She will spend ages shaping and moulding the sand until it looks the way she wants it to. I love watching the way her brow knits together in concentration, sometimes her tongue pokes out as she thinks over what she wants to do next; perhaps my least favourite part however is when she turns to me, a big wide smile on her face, declares that she is finished and asks me to identify what she has made...err, a sand mound?!
Then we always finish off with a run across the dunes. We recently visited Lytham St Annes and although the beach was nice, both the kids commented that they missed having the dunes to race up and down. I always see it as a challenge for me to let them have a little bit of freedom here; because of the nature of the dunes I can't always see where they are and there have been a few moments of panic when I have thought Eli has done a runner but taking the dog with us is always a good thing as she will go and locate them on command!
Spot the children!
And of course there's nothing which quite matches up to the feeling you get after spending a few hours with the brisk, salty air of the beach. The exhaustion which runs through your limbs and the ruddy look which appears in your cheeks. Not to mention the moment we get home and Eli takes off his wellies and proceeds to dump an entire mountain of sand on the hallway floor...