After living in Camber Sands for over a year my family haved decided to come down.  Now I’m more than happy to see my Mother, Father, Step Mother, Step Father, Brother, Sister, Other Sister, Brother in Law, two nieces and a nephew.  In fact I’ve been asking them to visit for a long time.  What I didn’t expect was for them to all come down for a week in the middle of October.  We get lots of visitors during the summer months, it’s something you come to expect living next to a sandy beach and I’ve managed to sort out a few no fail itineraries that keep even the most picky of house guest busy!

But what to do with them in the winter months I wonder.  I’m torn between renting a couple of houses on Whitesands to pile them all into or looking somewhere further afield where my father can enjoy a spot of carp fishing and I won’t be on constant call.    I’ve been told the camber sands holiday parks aren’t that great so I’m considering a few static caravans near  Hastings which seem to cater to my Father’s choice of sports whilst keeping Mother busy on the nature trails or exploring the Old town.

Well, it’s been a while since I posted on here and heading over to the beach on Sunday evening inspired me to get going again.  The winter months have been a busy one for my family.  After moving down to Camber last year we managed to see our way through the wet and windy winter and get to the enjoyable summer months.

We’ve really put down some roots in the area now with my mother moving to Hastings this coming summer to retire by the sea like all elderly ladies!  We purchased a nice one bedroom flat in the art deco marine court in St Leonards on Sea.  Unfortunately this needed a considerable amount of work and wasn’t ready in time for my Mother’s arrival.  She instead chose to rent a cottage in the old town near all the restaurants and bars that she likes to frequent.  his left us with the dilemma of renting out our new acquisition.  As the market is dire we decided to rent rather than sell and I’m going to have a go at self managing the flat.  I’ve just advertised it through a company based in hastings called home Abode.

They take care of all the advertising and allow you to market your property Privately on rightmove, zoopla and findaproperty and handle the viewings yourself. Once you’e decided on a tenant they handle all the paperwork and referencing.  I now have nobody to blame if the rent doesn’t get paid other than myself!

In other news the frogs over here by the pond in Whitesands are becoming a huge annoyance.  When we first moved we thought it was a rather quaint experience listening to the talk to each other during the evening.  I suspect those that rent a property for the weekend think the same.  Unfortunately they seem to have breeded uncontrollably over the winter months and the noise is a pain in the behind to say the least!
Having said that I wouldn’t change it.  I took the children over there the other night and we spotted a family of morehens which were ever so adorable!

As the Christmas period is well and truly over I convinced my delightful husband that it’s time to start planning our summer holidays.  With three children and a dog to cater for previous experience has told me it pays to plan and book early.  With this in mind we first had to work out a destination.  In the past we’ve loaded up the volvo and headed off to the South of France, Been on the eurostar for a week (yes, a week) at Euro disney and an epic flight to Australia for two weeks touring around the country in a large campervan.

Then it dawned on us that we’ve never really explored the UK.  We spend so much time marvelling at other countries we don’t appreciate what’s on our own doorstep.  I’m ashamed to say at the age of 36 I’ve never stepped foot in Scotland,Wales or Northern Ireland.  This, I’m determined to change so after much research we’ve decided to spend a week in a holiday cottage in Wales.  We picked Wales for a number of reasons:

1) It’s within reasonable driving distance of us in east sussex.  With three kids and a dog in the car their are only so many toilet stops you can tollerate!

2) The coast,  I went to University with a girl who raves about the amazing coast line.  Living by the beach as I do, I’m a massive fan of the sea and walks on the beach.

3) Surfing,  My eldest is dying to give surfing a crack.  He’s already akeen kite surfer and apparently cornwall and Wales are the main places in the UK to ‘catch waves’

So with all the above in mind it’s off to Wales.  I’ve located some excellent holiday cottages on http://www.cottagenet.com and now waiting for my darling Husband to sign off the excursion!

I Love Camber Sands

After working in the financial sector for the best part of my 20′s and early 30′s and now having three children it’s rare my husband and I get time alone together. We do manage to eat out on a regular basis but this is with the children in toe.  However, this year I’ve decided to rectify this and have decided to pack the kids off to my Mother’s for the weekend prior to Valentine’s day.  Unfortunately my plans of escaping to Paris or New York were scuppered by my inability to locate my husband’s passport. So it was closer to home I looked and I’ve eventually settled on my valentine’s day plan.

I can’t take credit for this idea, I stole in from a local website that wrote an article on unusual valentine days close to London.   I’ve booked us into a beautiful hotel in the next town a whole 4 miles away called the George Inn Rye.  From there we’ll head to Rye harbour where we’ll enjoy a ride in a power boat ride (and get to have a drive) around camber sands and out towards the channel. I’m hoping the weather isn’t too cold for this!  Back to the town of Rye where we’ll have a romantic meal in Webbes fish restaurant and then back to relax in the hotel.  The following morning is my treat!  a hot air balloon ride over the rother valley which I’ve wanted to do for ages!

Now all I have to do is work out how to extract the money from our joint bank account to pay for it all!

Scallops

Hmm... Scallops

I have to take my hat off to whoever is in charge of organising events in Camber Sands & Rye as we have some really interesting weeks throughout the year.  These are usually based around food which makes me especially happy!

Coming up on 25th February – 4th of March in Camber Sands & Rye is Scallops Week.  I missed it last year as I didn’t move down until May so I’m really looking forward to visiting a few restaurants and trying some of the local scallop dishes.

The reason the area has a week dedicated to it is because Rye has one of the few remaining fishing fleets left on the south coast. who, I’ve been told specialise in catching scallops – nothing to do with the fact that’s all they can catch nowadays!

Over twenty restaurants in Camber Sands & Rye will be taking part and I’m determined to get to at least three of them during the course of the week.  My Mother, who considers herself something of a Delia  Smith in the kitchen has booked us into a cookery school for the day at the local Webbes Fish Cafe.  I’m more of an eater than a cooker if I’m honest but no doubt I’ll work up a healthy appetite sweating over the hot stove.

Camber Sands & Rye Bonfire

Rye Bonfire 2011

Other events of note throughout the year include the bonfire night with a procession through the cobbled streets.  Tt involves lots of other bonfire societies from the south coast taking part – they really seem to make an effort with these down here for some reason more so than anywhere else in the country.  It ultimately ends up with ‘Rye’ Faulkes being thrown onto the fire.

For anyone that wishes to attend this event then I’d highly recommend booking your Rye & Camber Sands accommodation early as the hotels and cottages fill up fast with DFL’S

I’m pretty sure I made a post a few weeks ago saying I would limit my pictures of Camber Sands beach.  Unfortunately I received a new camera for Christmas so I’m like a child in a sweet shop.  I do have to say that even I’m getting a little bored of sunsets so today I bring you a sunrise…..

Sunrise in Camber Sands

Sunrise on Camber Sands beach

This is one of the benefits of the sun rising later in the winter.  I also had the added advantage of being the only one on the beach for around an hour.

I’m making the most of this mild weather by taking the children out on lots of walks. If you catch the tide you’ll find the seagulls picking up the cockles, flying to around five metres in height and then dropping them on the sand in order to break open the shell.  It’s fascinating to watch the younger birds try and fail by not flying high enough. Then to have their cockle swiped.

It’s a cruel world and best they learn early!

On other developments I notice the pontins site is undergoing a long overdue facelift.  It was bought out of receivership by the Britannia hotel group in 2010 I believe.  Hopefully we won’t bump into many people that leave half way through their stay because of the filthy rooms.

On a lighter note, I’m now getting back into the working habit as the children are firmly settled at School. I shall be doing alot of Social Networking whilst I start my new business. Hopefully I’ll manage to speak to people without reverting back to as though I’m dealing with a five year old!

Horses riding at Camber Sands Beach

Horses in the winter at Camber Sands Beach

I often see a few horse boxes parked up in the central car park in Camber Sands and I’m sickened with jealously.  a) because I no longer have a horse and b) I usually step in some of the horse poo that litters the car park and beach.  Anyway, putting aside the inability of a number of horse riders to clean up after their animals I thought I’d write a little guide for those coming down to visit Camber Sands for a hack.

When can I ride my horse on Camber Sands Beach

Horses are allowed on the beach at anytime from mid October.  it’s obviously advisable to check the tides as during high tides there is only around 100 metres of beach.  During the low tides you have around 1/4 of a mile from the dunes to the sea to play around on.

From Easter to mid October horses are only allowed on the beach before 8.30am and after 7.30pm.  This is obiously due to the large number of visitors that frequent the area when it’s hot.

A word of warning the ground can change from hard to soft very quickly in some places so it’s advisable to check this prior.  As a general rule if you’re riding horiziontal to the sea then the ground is the same firmness.  It’s when you’re riding towards the sea from the dunes that problems usually occur.

Where can I park my horse box

Central car park is the only viable place for horse boxes and is directly next to the beach.  Prices are up to £5.00 per day and you’ll be expected to purchase two tickets if you’re taking two spaces.

Kate moss suffers for her art at Camber Sands in 1990

I often hear rumours of photo shoots at Camber Sands beach but always seem to miss the actual event.  So far I’ve heard of Bernard Cumberbatch spending time in Rye and on Camber Sands filming the period drama; Parade’s End, The activia advert, an insurance advert and the boyband one direction all appearing in the last year.

Going back a bit further Kate Moss appeared on the beach with photos taken by Corrine Day.  This photo shoot apparently put her on the map. I’m sure she was pleased with the location as Camber Sands is only an hour or so away from her lovely Croydon.

My personal favourite though is the Robert Dowling Pink Floyd cover for their album Momentary Lapse of Reason.

Pontins finally upgrade their accommodation at Camber Sands

I’ve reliably been informed Camber Sands now has a number of companies offering turnaround services on holiday lets that will quote for making those beds.

I’ll be keeping my ear to the group and eyes peeled for the next film shoot.  I’m investing in some 18th century clothing and will be parading up and down the beach so I’ll be able to step in at the last minute should Bernard Cumberbatch need a leading lady in his next period drama.

If any of the twenty four people who have actually read my blog have anymore knowledge of famous film shoots that took place in Camber then please feel free to let me know.

Not exactly what I imagined I’d be doing when I left London last year.  However,  I’m determined to get the children out to enjoy the local countryside and what better place to start than on my local doorstep.  I’ve been down to  the nature reserve a few times and ventured into one of the many bird hides in the vain hope of spotting a dodo or an orville which I was told visited Rye on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, I’ve never seen either and the warden informed me this was probably down to the fact that a dodo became extinct in 1690 and orville is infact a puppet- damn that pesky husband and his lies!

Apparently 'Planking' is all the rage

Anyway I digest,  the tour was a three hour walk conducted by a very knowledgeable warden who obviously had a passion for wildlife and a tolerance for children!  We managed to see a perigine which was the highlight of the walk, well for me.  I think Ellie enjoyed what is more commonly known as ‘planking

All in all a very enjoyable day.  Rye nature reserve tends to lay on a lot of guided tours or special events for ‘twitchers’ and kids in the summer holidays.  Most ask for a donation which goes back into the upkeep of the reserve and are well worth the money.

Whitesands Development in Camber Sands

I often get asked ‘why Camber‘ usually by friends who pack their kids into the volvo and drive to the South of France each year.  What frustrates me and I include myself in this is that you never appreciate what’s on your own doorstep.  When I was a child Camber Sands had a reputation for kiss me quick hats and nobbly knee contests at pontins.

So much seems to have changed since I visited with my parents in the 1980′s. (yes, I’m that young ;-)) when I returned after a space of over twenty years with my husband and kids in 2008 we were taken aback by the long sandy beach which felt like  our own personal playground.

A new housing development was in the process of being built which friends and visitors often describe as having a chilled out New England theme.  On top of that there was a restaurant called the place on the beach (now the gallivant) which served the most delicious local food such as Romney marsh lamb, lobster and Rye Bay Scallops.  It was ideally situated just behind the whitesands development which is where we eventually snapped up a property in 2009.  The development is now haven for holiday lets and second homes with about 25% lived in permanently.

The open spaces on Camber Sands beach

Camber Sands now seems to be as popular in the winter with dog walkers and couples on a romantic break as it is in the summer filled with middle class families popping down from London for the week in their volvo.

We also have the added benefit of the town of Rye on our doorstep which is steeped in history, excellent independent restaurants and award winning hotels.  It has featured in a number of films including the latest Benedict Cumberbatch BBC drama parade’s end which is due to be shown in 2012.

This is only part of the reason we chose to leave the hussle and bussle of London – but it’s more than enough!

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