Alphabet Dating – ‘I’ Date

Ilfracombe, Insects, Ice cream and Injuries. 
So our H date was planned by me and was back in mid February….. I’ve been not so subtly dropping hints to Thomas for the past two months that it’s definitely his turn and that we were supposed to try and do at LEAST one date a month, if not two, otherwise we will still be on round one of alphabet dating when we are 70. So, imagine my delight when the other week he says “so are we still doing that alphabet dating then?!”


I’m apparently waaaay too indirect with my hints… “Oi Fat Tom it’s your turn to plan a date – what are we going to do? Thomas when are we going to go on our I Date? So Tommy next weekend is looking pretty quiet, what about doing our next date then?” were all just too subtle. Lesson learnt.

It’s going to be pretty much impossible for either of us to top the H Date because that was just next level fabulous and involved so many people and secrets and so much planning, but Tom pulled a serious corker out of the bag for our I Date that was definitely unexpected.

We try and keep our date plans secret from each other when we can as it’s more fun that way but Tom was thinking out loud the other day and did mention Ilfracombe and I think my wide eyes and manic grin sealed the deal on that one. He mentioned camping too so I was all ready to spend 6 hours putting up our oversized tent that sleeps 12 people, burn some BBQ food, sleep in the tent for a few hours and then spend another 6 hours trying to take it down and fit it back into the teeny tiny bag it came in (WHY?!). I love camping, it’s one of my favourite things to do ever but for just one night it can be a bit of a ball ache.

Turns out Tom agrees.

So, after we went for a run and I went to my Slimming World class on Saturday morning we got home and Tom got to work painting his miniature nerdy model things. He has a big nerdy competition coming up where other nerds who also spend insane amounts of money on tiny little models that can’t actually be seen by the human eye all gather in a giant arena and discuss how they have all spent months slaving over these little guys and then they all turn on each other and compete for the best painter award and it’s very very serious and not to be sniggered at. This year it falls on my birthday weekend and Tom has been a DREAM guy and bought me a ticket to go with him as a birthday treat…. a story for another day.

Tom wasn’t mentioning any plans so I watched reruns of Project Runway and napped – dream Saturday morning. At lunchtime he woke me up and told me to pack an overnight bag. EEK! We shared a suitcase – Tom’s side had one t shirt, one jumper, pants and socks, a toothbrush and some deodorant…. his side also had 3 pairs of my shoes that it turns out I didn’t need, my make up bag that I didn’t touch, two pairs of pyjamas for one night because you just don’t know how cold you’re going to be do you? Two books because obviously I was going to spend our whole date night reading at record speed aaaaand a very large washbag. My side of the suitcase had basically every item of clothing I have that fits me which isn’t a lot but it’s definitely too much for one night away. I still didn’t have anything to wear today btw…

Tom told me to pack a bag for Otis too while he sorted out the car and loaded our suitcase and my 26 carrier bags and backpacks because that suitcase just wasn’t enough space for one night away.

I made us a super low syn pasta salad because Tom had uttered the fateful words “would you be ok with eating some non slimming world/diet food this weekend?” YOU DON’T HAVE TO ASK ME TWICE KIDDO – I’m all over that potentially very unhealthy and totally off plan food because it’s all about that balance right?!!!! Balance shmalance, there’s not enough salad in the world that could balance out this weekend’s extravagance BUT I did try my best to be on plan until the very last minute. So low syn pasta salad for the drive…. which was apparently not up to scratch as despite having three whole portions of the stuff in his Tupperware, Thomas decided to stop off and get a MacDonald’s too. I think he has a deep rooted fear of going hungry, which would never happen ever because he doesn’t go an hour without eating…

ANYWAY, I resisted (even though Maccy Ds chips are gluten free and delicious) and had a small skinny latte instead. Feeling smug and extra slim because turning down chips actually makes you lose a stone instantly, I took over the driving and the DJ-ing and treated Tom to a medley of Emyoncé performances from very old school Beyoncé to Blue circa 2002, High School Musical, LaLa Land, Rod Stewart, Elvis and Eminem. Wonderful.

Tom navigated and we arrived at our home for the night – Sunny Cove Hotel in Ilfracombe. He said it was a nightmare to find somewhere dog friendly near Ilfracombe that wasn’t totally run down and grotty OR a crazy overpriced beach hut. This place was GORGEOUS. There was a wedding going on (more on that later) so we settled into our room and then decided to go off exploring so that we were out of the way whilst photos and chaos was going on outside. Our room was in a little annex to the side of the hotel with its own front door which is perfect when you have a giant dog that most little children scream at. This way we were able to just slip in and out of the hotel really easily and not bother anyone. For a dog friendly room it was lovely – not shabby and worn at all – still clean and fresh and holiday-like. Otis pulled a Tom (see H Date) and walked smack bang into the glass doors in our room that lead to a patio as soon as we arrived! It’s definitely not as funny seeing your dog hurt himself as it is seeing Fat Tom do the same.

We were told that “just 500 yards down the track” we would find a secret little beach. LIES. Bearing in mind that we aren’t massively fit anyway, AND we had already gone for a run that morning, I’m fairly certain that this walk nearly killed all three of us. Going down to the beach was OK. Sure, it was 25732 steep steps but gravity helped us and we all managed just fine. We spent an hour playing in the sea and waiting for the tide to go out a bit more as that meant we could creep around to the next coves and find more secret beaches. However, we should’ve been reserving every ounce of energy we had left in us as the climb back up to our hotel was GROSS. Actually vile and insulting. I always assume that because FT is a lanky bastard (that’s why his nickname is funny yeah?) that he’s just naturally athletic. Not true at all. We were both crawling and stopping every few steps to wheeze to each other and pretend that we were just appreciating the view and taking it all in when actually we were contemplating forward rolling back down the steps to the beach and living out the rest of our years down there. I’ve watched Bear Grylls – The Island, I know how to catch a Cayman and cook it and I’ve also read Swiss Family Robinson so I also know how to make a bad ass tree house. Alas no, we needn’t have worried. After what felt like 5 hours we made it back up to the top to see that it had only taken us 15 minutes. It’s a good job neither of us is at all dramatic or that could’ve been way worse.

Tom would like me to add a statement in here that he found an insect on the walk and that begins with “i” so it needs to be included in the blog. The insect was a May Beetle called Ian (convenient 🙄) and Tom “rescued” it from a spider’s web and massaged it (for real, like an actual full body massage with one finger, it was awkward to watch) until it was able to walk again. Ian then shat on Tom’s hand which is apparently how they say thank you to humans for saving their lives.

After our walk (torture) and insect rescue (weird experience) we decided to make the most of the hotel’s spa facilities. I don’t know what came over us but we had to pool to ourselves and swam 20 lengths (you know when you’re pretending to be super casual but actually you’re racing each other and even though he’s a foot taller than you it’s really important that you win because swimming and being a mermaid is your thing) and then we played. I was all “I’ve just washed my hair so I’m not getting my hair wet OK?” – cue Thomas dunking me underwater. So, handstands, holding your breath underwater competitions, who can do the best impression of Otis swimming, trying to teach Tom how to float (I don’t get it, can’t everyone just float? Aren’t we all born with the ability to just stay still and float? I’ve been trying to teach him for 10 years and I will never stop but the fella really cannot float) and then we went in the sauna and got alllllllll chilled and zen, post swim.

We went back to the room to find Otis who was also totally zen just chilling in his bed and watching the wedding going on outside. Quick showers, warm clothes and off to Ilfracombe beach on the hunt for something gluten free that I could eat. I will say that Ilfracombe is AMAZING for gluten free – I can’t believe the difference since last time I was there. I’m totally down with gluten free eating being a health fad that loads of people are following because they think it’s healthier as it’s made life SO much easier for those of us who don’t have a choice. I’m hoping people of Devon spread the word to their neighbours in Cornwall as trying to track down a gluten free pasty last year was impossible and I ended up with someone selling me the insides of a pasty wrapped up in tinfoil instead and charging me extra for the privilege.

I digress.

We found a place called Lynbay’s Fish and Chips which did gluten free eeeeeeverything. As you can imagine I was beside myself with excitement and very nearly ordered one of everything. In the end we went for standard cod and chips with curry sauce and mushy peas. They had to cook it all separately from fresh so while we waited we found a wine bar and I got a little bit tipsy very quickly. I don’t know if it was the sea air or all the exercise but I was a cheap date nonetheless and being even more hilarious than usual.

The fish and chips were AMAZING. It’s such a novelty for me to be able to eat food like that and actual batter – could’ve cried happy unhealthy deep fried food tears (nothing to do with the wine). We walked down to the harbour and sat in the sand with our blanket and ate sandy fish and chips and shouted all of the rude words we could think of at the seagulls that were after our leftovers. Foolish seagulls, there are no such thing as leftovers when you’ve got a girl who is forgetting about her diet for the weekend and a boy who thinks it’s normal to eat 21 Krispy Kreme doughnuts in a day (that actually happened).

We did a bit more exploring, went to see Damien Hirst’s amazing ginormous statue and waited for the sun to go down and then we made our way back to the hotel.

When we got back the wedding was in full swing and the music was LOUD. If you can’t beat em, join em, so we got some drinks from the bar and went and sat out on the decking where we tried to plot a master plan of how we would crash the wedding (intruding 😏). Thing is, if it had been inside the hotel I think we could’ve got away with it, but the party was actually in a marquee with some burly looking lads stood outside and a load of inquisitive children/bridesmaids hanging around too. I don’t think we could’ve played the “we’re evening guests” card either as we were both wearing every single item of clothing we had brought with us – a clear and dry night it was, a warm night it was not. So, instead, we lay on the wicker sofas wrapped up in 100 layers drinking our beers and G&Ts, Otis by our side, looking out on to the sea and singing along to their live music (which was brilliant) whilst making plans for our own wedding. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

I was woken up bright and early this morning by Otis nudging me and gesturing to go outside so I got up and I’m glad I did as it was the MOST gorgeous sunny morning. We went to breakfast and saw all of the bridal party and agreed we definitely couldn’t have risked showing our faces at breakfast had we managed to crash last night’s wedding – so it’s all for the best because I don’t like to miss out on food.

Breakfast was quick and we were quick to pack up and leave the hotel too as we wanted to get to the beach as early as possible to make the most of the sunshine. I read a blog about dog friendly beaches and one that kept getting mentioned was Putsborough Beach so we went there. They have the fanciest public loos I’ve ever met. They were nicer and cleaner than my bathroom at home and I really like my bathroom. The beach was gorgeous. Sometimes I don’t think I give England enough credit, I go on about wanting to move to Australia but today I lay on a beautiful sandy beach, I played in the clear sea, I caught the sun and I wasn’t 24 hours and two plane rides away from my friends and family….

Now, this is a story involving myself and Tom and we are a bundle of chaos, so something had to go a little bit tits up. That thing would be my back. Longtime followers of my Instagram and blog may remember that I slipped a few discs last year and was not loving life, well…. I can’t yet tell how bad it is but something’s gone awry in my back and it’s all feeling very familiar. I don’t know exactly when it happened but I do know that me trying to get up from the rug where I had been lying for an hour seriously amused FT until he realised how bad it was. I was like a poor sad overturned woodlouse rocking from side to side trying to build up enough momentum to roll onto my side….. and then be stuck on my side. Just when you’re thinking life’s a pile of roses and you’ve got alllllll your shit together and your back has healed and you’re running again and BAM. I got too cocky. Anyway, it’s something I’m used to and I know how to deal with so it’s going to be FINE (she says, at home and needing a wee but stranded on the sofa because I can’t get up by myself and Tom is MIA).

It took a VERY long time to walk back to the car but we got there in the end and made our way back to Ilfracombe for some lunch. We found a place called The Tea Garden that did gluten free cream teas – YES Ilfracombe, you dreamy little seaside haven. We had sarnies and cream teas (and FT had an ice cream float because he’s a child) whilst Otis slept at our feet and we fought off seagulls. Again, as mentioned in previous blog posts I’m terrified of birds and they don’t get much scarier than seagulls. As I was in no state to leap out of my chair and run if one came for me. I had kind of resigned myself to the fact that today was probably going to include deathbyseagull but what a final meal to go out on eh?! Scones are a really new thing to me as I don’t have a massively sweet tooth and just never fancied them before but since starting slimming world I’ve developed this really annoying NEED for sweet stuff all the time and now I think scones are up there with my all time favourite things. Cream first then jam yeah?!

We went for a little wander around the shops to walk off our lunch and also Tom had spotted a little sweet shop night before that sold rhubarb and custard ice cream and the poor kid was starving after his sandwich, crisps, scone, tea and ice cream float so we went on a mission to find that. Otis and FT shared the ice cream much to the amusement of the 284682 tourists also at Ilfracombe today (is it just me who, despite being one myself, really despises other tourists?!) and then we decided to head home.

I slept all of the way home in the foetal position with the chair rolled all the way back because that is how we roll when our backs are useless.

This weekend is up there with my favourite weekends in all of ever and I know I say this alllll the time but if you’re thinking about alphabet dating or you’ve been together forever and you’re totally bored of each other orrrr if you’re trying to convince your partner to do it but they’re not keen just DO it. You won’t regret it and you will make a whole load of memories that you probably wouldn’t have made otherwise.

All that aside, it’s time for some seriously budget friendly dates now. J next and my turn to plan…. Jam sandwiches and Jenga?!

Over and out ✌🏼💛


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