Normally, when writing, I sit at my laptop with a hint of an idea and see where it takes me. I have a start and sometimes an anecdote or two, but it's rare that I have a middle or an ending in mind.
Today, I have so much to tell you about my Mother's Day trip to Watergate Bay Hotel in Cornwall with Joules, and my final sentence is definitely going to be along the lines of it being an incredible experience and how lucky I feel to have been invited, that I don't really know where to start.
It's hard to put what an amazing time we had in to words.
But I need to.
Not because Joules have asked me to. But more so, so Paul can replicate it every Mother's Day from here on in. The bar has been set.
That would be nice, obviously. But, no. It's because it was three days packed with brilliant memories, and like a lot of my memories, with a head filled to the brim with with absolutely anything and everything, I'm sometimes in danger of forgetting them.
So, here goes. This is my Mother's Day. The Joules way. Which I happen to think is the best way EVER.
It's a nerve-wracking thing, leaving your children to fly off and meet a group of almost-strangers from the internet. It's not an everyday occurrence. Not in my countryside-based life, anyway. But having met the Joules team at DFS (read about my adventures in chair making) and knowing how lovely they are, and also because they invited my mum along too, it felt as exciting as heading off on holiday with a group of friends.
On arrival, mum and I walked in to our beautiful coastal-themed room to find an itinerary packed full of fun things to do and a personalised weekend bag packed full of amazing things to wear (it's the Paddington Grey Checked Weekend Bag). Having asked us to choose a coat and a pair of wellies prior to the trip, we assumed it would hold just those. But, no! The Joules team well and truly spoilt us: tops, trousers, swimwear, nightwear, activewear, accessories ... all picked just for us. 'Better than Christmas', was a phrase uttered by more than a few on us on more than a handful occasions during the three days.
I like clothes but it's home accessories that have my heart. Those of you who followed our trip on InstaStories will have heard me squeal 'pom poms' several times.
Look at that throw.
Our beds were made with Joules linen. I've long been a fan - the dahlia duvet cover set is on my bed at home. I may be persuaded to go to the yellow side after sleeping under the Whitstable floral version, though.
Despite the showers, it was heavenly being so close to the beach. I get slightly nervous when not surrounded by green but the sand, sea and sky are excellent substitutions. The Watergate Bay Hotel sits just a few steps from the beach so these amazing views were pretty much visible at every turn, both indoors and out. It also gave us plenty of opportunities to try out our new wellies and raincoats!
Joules Spring Summer 18 collection
We had a closer look at some of the latest additions to the Joules ladies range. Bold colours, florals and stripes are the perfect combination in my eyes so I've already started compiling a lengthy list. But can you guess which item stole the show and caught everyone's eye? The leopard print leather espadrilles! I think we're all hitting refresh waiting for them to appear on the website.
Original and hand-drawn prints are Joules' speciality and it was so interesting to hear from the design team about how and where they get their inspiration, and how they compile their mood boards.
Drawing, sketching, painting, scrapbooking ... my efforts can only be described as dire ... but watching the experts at work and with a rather delicious gin and tonic in my hand, it was one of my favourite parts of the the trip.
Having mostly worked in corporate roles my entire life, I find creative people intriguing. I want some of their talent to rub off on me!
Please accept my apologies
When I spotted the choice of Nordic walking or R&R on the itinerary, I had every intention of hitting the beach, poles in hand. But then I spotted the pool. The pool with an unobstructed view of the sea. And I couldn't resist. While my mum sauntered along the sand with her sticks (thanks to Holly for the photograph), I donned a swimsuit and sat enjoying the sun's rays hitting the water. It was an hour so, so, SO well spent (particularly as I had the pool to myself).
Shopping and sunset in Padstow
I sometimes feel like I'm the only person in the world who hasn't been to picturesque Padstow so it was with a hop and a skip that I boarded the mini bus to take us there. Shopping and sunset in one of the UK's prettiest seaside towns? Yes, please!
It was such a lovely evening, marred only by having my photo taken. Uncomfortable, much? One day I'll get over my fear of cameras. One day!
And see our shopping bags? Mine contains presents for my boys. Mum's? Presents for herself. Some might say I'm the kinder of the two of us but others might suggest she's the wiser. I'll let you decide.
As you can imagine, having just moved house, I've been pouring over Pinterest and interiors magazines recently. Despite saying I'm in no rush to decorate, I know it won't be long before I pick up a paintbrush. The Watergate Bay Hotel ticked all the boxes for bright, bold interiors but with a charming, relaxed vibe. I particularly loved this corner with cool blue shelving mixed with a red and white striped backdrop and red and wooden chairs. I'm now thinking that I need more red in my life ... and in my home. What do you think?
Our gorgeous gang
One of the biggest highlights of the entire trip was spending it with our amazing girl gang ... my fellow bloggers, their mums, mother-in-laws, sisters, and the wonderful Nikita and Holly from Joules. They made the three days for me. From excited hugs at Manchester airport, to 'can you believe it?' comments after spotting the amazing treats in our rooms, to wine-fuelled discussions about the strange world that is Instagram.
Please do check out them out ... you won't be sorry.
Anna: Blossoming Birds
Amber-Rose: Amber-Rose Photography
Bunty: Bunty Living
Emily: Brick Dust & Glitter
Rebecca: Roses and Rolltops
So, Joules, thank you so much for a truly amazing time.
Same time next year?
It won't take me long to pack my bag.