A few days before my birthday my boyfriend told me not to make plans on the day. He said ‘we’re going out for the day but I’m not telling you where’. All I was told is that we needed to be on a train to our destination at 7.30am and the train home would be 6pm. I was told to ‘wear summer clothes’ and that the weather would be beautiful. Now I don’t know about you but I LOVE adventures. They are made all the better being a surprise and completely planned by someone else.
The night before my birthday I got out my clothes, Emily’s clothes and packed her change bag. I was told to pack the picnic blanket and the power bars for our phones. I had no idea where we were going at all and I was so excited!
The morning of my birthday I woke up at 5.50am, jumped in the shower and got myself ready. In this time Jordan got Emily dressed and left a little gift bag on the bed. It was my first present of the day and the rest would have to wait until we returned home. In the bag was all my favourite sweet treats and a little wrapped up present which turned out to be another power bank! This was actually the perfect gift as I have an iPhone 5s and the battery is SHOCKING. We picked a couple of the sweet treats for our journey and Jordan hopped in the shower and got ready whilst I finished off my make up (false lashes included) and fed Emily. We were ready to leave the house at 6.50am and made our way to the train station. I still had absolutely no idea where we were going, I couldn’t even make a guess!
At the train station Jordan sorted out the tickets and presented me with my first one. Stafford to Crewe. Train one of three. This did not clear up the final destination at all but I was so so excited! The train was really empty which meant we were able to sit at a table and Emily was able to come out of her pushchair to play. She LOVED the train, absolutely loved it. Sitting on the table, looking out of the window squealing and chatting at everyone and everything. She was banging her little hands on the window and just generally being super cute. As we neared our stop I was really wracking my brain to think where we might be going but honestly, I had no clue.
We had a short wait at Crewe before we could get on our next train. We got some drinks, I fed Emily and we went to wait on our platform. I was then presented with my second train ticket. Crewe to Chester. The platform seemed really busy for this train and I was worried that we wouldn’t get a seat but actually it was fine. Emily was over the moon to be on the train again and kept screaming in delight, which I’m sure all the other passengers were secretly really pleased with. Surely there’s nothing better to hear on your early morning commute than the happy squeals of a 7 month old baby?? We arrived and there was a 10 minute wait for the next train. We were an hour into our journey and I was so excited to see where we would end up. Jordan was giving nothing away. I wasn’t given a train ticket at Chester because this was our final train and he wanted to keep the destination a surprise until we got there.
Our next train was to Holyhead so we were going somewhere in Wales! There were no seats on this train as our pushchair wouldn’t fit through the doors to get into the carriage, we had to wait in the little bit by the doors which was fine. I was looking out of the window for the whole journey. At one point I was convinced I could see the sea but Jordan said it was a crop field covered up and the glinting I could see was just the sun reflecting off the plastic covering. Now this makes me sound really stupid because I believed him until I saw boats and docks! I was getting even more excited at this point because I’ve been going on about visiting the sea side for probably about a year. A few stops passed by and we didn’t get off, then we were pulling in to a station but I missed the announcement and Jordan was getting ready to leave.
We were in Rhyl! I was so happy! Unbeknown to Jordan I had actually been looking at hotels in Rhyl to stay for a few days when Jordan had some time off work. I couldn’t wait to get in to the town and do some exploring. The weather was perfect, the baby was in such a good mood and I was just so happy.
Our first stop was breakfast. Jordan had a full english, I had pancakes and syrup and Emily had a tiny bit of pancake (no syrup) spat it out and had milk instead. It was just a bog standard Wetherspoons but the food was fine and I was in such a good mood that I didn’t actually care. After breakfast we had a little walk along the front, not quite on the beach because the pushchair wheels wouldn’t turn on the sand, but along the path by the beach. We stopped on the way at an ice cream van. Jordan bought a mint choc chip ice cream and I had a mixed slush. Emily shared her Daddys ice cream and then napped the cone off him too! We walked to the other end of town and saw a MASSIVE jelly fish bobbing about by some huge rocks. We were quite high up and we could see all its tentacles and everything so clearly so it must have been huge up close.
After peering at the jellyfish and trying (and failing) to take photo’s of it we crossed the road and made our way back towards the town. Now apparently online Jordan read that Rhyl had one measly arcade and the main thing to do was the beach and a couple of castles you could get to on public transport. However, as we were walking back towards town we stumbled upon about 5 different amusement arcades! Now 2p shufflers to me are as addictive as crack and I could not WAIT to get in there and waste all my birthday money. We checked out what you could win with the tickets and Jordan set his sights on a giant pokemon (750 tickets) and I decided on a huge tub of jelly beans (950/1250 tickets). It was so much fun playing on all the games and winning the tickets, Emily napped for a while whilst we were in there and it was so nice to do something different and fun with Jordan. We wasted money on the grabbers and the 2p and 10p shufflers (we literally won no prizes at all on these). One of the first machines we tried, we didn’t really understand the rules and Jordan just put 10p in and won 100 tickets straight away!! That boy has some luck I tell you!
After we’d been in the arcades for a few hours we decided it was time for a change of scenery. We didn’t cash in our tickets as we wanted to come back and play some more games later on. We fed Emily again and off we went to the beach. I will say we should have done the beach first as we were out in the blazing sun at the hottest part of the day, but no one got burnt (except me) so all’s well that ends well! Emily was slathered in sun cream, Jordan was slathered in sun cream and I was so concerned making sure the both of them were protected that I actually forgot about myself!
This was Emily’s first time at a beach and we didn’t know what she would make of it. I hoped she would love it so I could use that as an excuse to keep on coming back! I had to take her out of the pushchair and carry her whilst Jordan dragged the pushchair across the beach. The wheels literally would not turn on the sand! We picked the perfect spot and set out our picnic blanket. It was so lovely to take my sandals off and feel the sand on my feet. There was a light breeze coming off the sea which was very welcome. We started Emily off on the blanket just looking at the sand and passing her shells to explore but she soon started to drag herself towards to sand so Jordan just plonked her down straight in it. She didn’t know what to make of it at first but Jordan just buried her little bare feet and legs in it and she had no choice about it. We could see her wiggling her toes underneath the sand and she kept trying to grab them, I don’t think she realised the wiggling things she could see were actually attached to her.
We sat on the sand for ages just playing and collecting shells and seeing who could find the best stone or the flattest pebble etc. Then Jordan took Emily off to dip her toes in the sea. The tide had gone out and there were little pools of water left on the sand which is where he took her. I stayed at the blanket to ‘protect our things’ so I did miss her reaction. Apparently she pulled her feet straight back up and looked at her Daddy as if to say ‘what the fuck is this’. He brought her back so I could feed her and he went for a walk to find the sea. I have never breastfed on a beach before and I have to say it was an experience. I think i’m still finding sand in my bra now weeks later! Sandy nips are not the one I ca tell you that for free!
I was really impressed that Jordan had come so prepared for the beach. He had secretly packed towels for everyone and even a swim nappy for Emily. He’d even packed talcum powder as he read somewhere that its perfect for getting the sand off you and he didn’t want Emily to be uncomfortable. He really had thought of everything! We didn’t end up using the swim nappy as the sea was miles out and it was a bit too hot to strip her off completely. Next time we go we’ll do the beach first, that way the sun won’t be as hot and I won’t worry as much about her burning her little shoulders.
After the beach we went back to the arcades to win more tickets. I wanted to try save up for the jelly beans and Jordan wanted to go on the shooting and racing games. I tried an alien shooting game with him but the noise woke Emily up and I was distracted by her and ended up getting killed. Time escaped us in those arcades, I think it’s the lack of natural light. We checked the time and by this point we only had an hour or two left before we had to catch our train so we cashed in our tickets. We’d managed to win 779! As it was my birthday and I had already had a lot of nice things I decided to treat Jordan. I chose a giant charmander teddy for him and some sweets for me. Next we went to tick ‘buy fresh donuts’ off our beach bucket list. I also wanted to buy some magnets, (one for us, one for my friend and one for my family) and some rock. You can’t go to the seaside and not buy rock! I did want to get some fish and chips but we settled on a KFC instead as we ran out of time.
After this we headed back to the train station to eat our KFC and get ready to board our first of three trains home. We got home about 9pm which was such a long day but it wasn’t over yet as I still had my presents to open! My favourite present was one Jordan put together for me. There was a little card that said ‘this voucher entitles you to one brownie making session.’ Inside the gift bag was all the ingredients we would need to make them. It was such a thoughtful and fun gift and really up my street!
I can honestly say that this was one of my best birthdays ever. Everything was just perfect. Emily coped so well in the heat and on all of the trains and she was just a delight as always. Jordan planned the perfect day out for me and I could not be more grateful. I feel so lucky to have such a perfect little family and I can’t wait for all our future adventures!
Well done if you made it this far into the post. It was a long one but I didn’t want to leave out any details I want to look back on in the future.
Love Laura xx