Labor Day, Malibu

Sep 12th, 2015 Beach, Nature

We ended summer much as we began it. In search of cooling off. You’d have to check your calendar twice to know it here in Los Angeles, but summer is at an end. Given the fact that we don’t have a swimming pool, we headed (once more) to the beach. It’s what you do in California.   As a boy from the suburbs of London, I’m still struggling to grapple with the concept that a sunny (key word here) beach lies less than an hour away. And yes, they really do surf on it!

Malibu Beach

The tide was high, the beach scarce and the surf and the swell aggressive. We splashed and ventured and got sandy and gritty for most of the day.  We are lucky enough to have friends who live on the beach – generous enough to open up their homes, their decks and their beach to us. We made camp under the timbers of one of the houses that – to me – always seem to defy the principles of engineering. Namely: a wooden framed house, founded on stilts burrowed into the sand and that seem to reach out to the ocean itself.

Malibu BeachMalibu Beach

I’m still finding little piles of sand around the house and in the pockets of shorts – but oddly enough it doesn’t trouble as much as it should. That’s the magic of Malibu I guess.  Or maybe I’m just learning to let go a little more…?  Nah, couldn’t be.

Mallorcan Beaches

Aug 14th, 2015 Beach, Self Discovery, Travel

Beach excursions present a whole host of idiosyncratic challenges. Logistical, practical and aesthetic.  We searched for calm, secluded beaches with some sort of a beach club, or restaurant and found a couple that were great.  One was on the south side of the island not too far from Palma. The beach itself was a little more crowded than we would ordinarily have liked, and because the south side of the Mallorca is windier, the surf was a little rougher than was ideal for the boys, but it was still a great spot.  We managed to find a stretch of beach with a sand bank that jutted out a reasonable distance into the Mediterranean’s bath-like waters, and which allowed us – much to the delight of the boys – to venture ever so slightly further out from the shore line than good sense would normally allow.  Both Jaxon and Skyer loved the feeling of adventure that came from being out the additional distance.  They are at the age now where every crashing wave, no matter how small, presents a seemingly infinite number of ways to dunk, splash and jump about.  As each took their turn in the surf, squealing and shrieking with delight as I clung to their wrist, it’s impossible not to be moved by the purity and simplicity of the situation.  The sensation of absolute joy derived from the simplest of things – in this case – the ebb and flow of the tide – invariably makes me feel a twinge of nostalgia sending me tumbling back through the recesses of my mind to reminisce and remember similar moments from my own childhood.  Self-reflection is, for me, part of the continuing fascinating journey of parenting.  Jaxon and Skyer present me with a continual reminder of my own upbringing and give me cause to take breath for a moment and reflect,  analyze and remember events that I thought were long ago forgotten.  It’s somewhat indulgent perhaps, but I don’t seek to compare or compete in my minds eye.  Rather, for me, I have discovered that my own children’s upbringing offers me a unique and re-invigorated opportunity to look back and remember aspects from when I was a kid.  Starting – as all memories do – with places and events, before deepening and developing into sensations, feelings and finally, analysis. Moreover, I find that I am given an opportunity to re-evaluate and revisit anew the actions and attitudes of my parents.  To view them through the lens of being a parent myself.  I wonder how I would fare were Jaxon to give me such scrutiny? Invariably my parents emerge far better now, than I credited them at the time.  Creating more than a slight pang of guilt for perhaps being too tough on them.  But then I’m also drawn to the differences – both positive and negative – about each respective childhood. Opportunities, lifestyle and societal.  If I linger here for too long I can very rapidly descend into a rabbit hole of rose-tinted nostalgia.  Which quickly becomes self indulgent and self-defeating.  Instead, I remind myself that, knowing what I know now, about all the challenges of being a parent, all the shortcomings of my parents and all the struggles that we faced together – if we can all survive that, and emerge the other side – then that must, at least, give one cause for hope, mustn’t it?

It’s always great to have a bite to eat with the sand between your toes.

Mallorca Beach

Whatever happens don’t forget to bring your bucket and shovel.  Still the two key items no self respecting Beachwood Boys Club member should ever be without.  Simply indispensable.  No matter where your kids are from, be it the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles or Sloane Square, London the number one beach activity in my opinion remains the sandcastle.  It’s extraordinary to see that some things don’t change.

We have a grab bag with towels, sunscreen, bottled water and our bucket and shovel ready to go at a moment’s notice.  We learned the hard way. Forget them at your peril.

Mallorca Beach

Oh yes, did I forget to mention – the enormous, delicious beachside seafood paella?

Seafood PaellaMallorca BeachMallorca Beach

You can’t keep Luca out of the action for too long.

Buddies at the beach

The second beach that we have found is on the other side of the island, nearer to where we are staying.  Balneario Illetas boasts a beautiful cove and scorching hot white sand, offering crystal clear, calm waters that are ideal for us as the children can splash and play in near bath-like conditions.  There is also a great, bustling restaurant when you need a bite to eat and plenty of shaded sunbeds off to one side of the cove – perfect for making our HQ for the day.  It has the feel of a private beach, that happens to be open to the public.

Balneario Illetas, MallorcaBalneario Illetas, Mallorca

Deià, Mallorca

Aug 12th, 2015 Beach, Inspiration, Travel

This place is breathtakingly gorgeous.  Achingly so, in fact.  Authentic, off the beaten path, and yet sophisticated and chic at the same time.  Like a found jewel.  You instantly want to treasure it and keep it all to yourself.  We are here with my sister and her husband and their two children, Luca and Ivy.  So yes, the Beachwood Boys Club has admitted a girl as a member.  We’ll see how that goes for all concerned.  We rented a villa, which I have to say is absolutely the way to go.  As nice as five star hotels are –  and no matter the “child friendly” policy of the establishment – I never feel fully relaxed in a hotel with my rambunctious boys.  Plus there is the convenience factor that a hotel can’t provide.  So we are very happy with our villa set up.  Lots of good places for outdoor eating, a nice pool, spacious, modern kitchen with all our gadgets and creature comforts – nestled in the beautiful mountainside of the island.

The town of Deia itself is phenomenal.  Quiet, unpretentious and elegant.  It does not need to impress its uniqueness upon you.  It simply has to be.   All this, while boasting several wonderful restaurants and eateries ranging from the understated Village Cafe – the gazpacho is quite remarkable – all the way through to the family run, Michelin starred Es Racó des Teix where we found the foie gras and the amuse bouche spectacularly good.

But enough of such restaurant review type chat!  This after all is about the kids right? Right?  Well, in Deià we seem to have found that perfect balance of having enough to stimulate and entertain the children – splashing in the pool with the cousins, trips to the beach of course, visiting the local markets and towns, while keeping us older folk engaged at the same time.  We are certainly loving our nightly ritual of cooking out under the stars at the Bar-B-Q.  And long may it continue – we don’t want this week to end.

Deia montage

The founding members of the Beachwood Boys Club reconnect with their cousins.  Picking up right where they all left off, in spite of living on the other side of the world.  So great to see.

Dancing in DeiaIMG_4783

MMMM…Malibu

Aug 1st, 2015 Beach

Summer is in full flow and that can only mean one thing.  Time to hit the beach. And where better to land than Malibu?  Endless white beaches, beautiful homes and a chilled out, effortlessly chic, vibe.

If, for whatever reason, you tire of the powder soft sand, million dollar homes and melodic crash of the waves on the shore line, The Malibu Country Mart is but a short drive down the end of the street.  We, at the Beachwood Boys Club, certainly don’t relish drudging round the stores of a weekend, but even we recognize a good spot to shop when we see one.  Great brands, some wonderfully fresh places to eat and a vibrant ambiance, all encapsulated within this laid back, easy, breezy vibe.  More importantly, it also boasts a rather wonderful sand box playground area – always alive with the buzz of kids playing – enabling us to tag team the shopping.  Well being more honest, this allows Rachel to go shopping while I make sure the boys are suitably entertained and engaged.

Malibu Country Mart

Malibu Country Mart

Malibu Country Mart Playground

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We managed to sneak in a visit to the Aviator Nation store at the end of Pier, where the boys had an impromptu rock out session on the sound stage.

Aviator Nation

Malibu Farm restaurant at the end of the Pier is now a well established staple for both locals and day-trippers alike.   The fresh, organic, farm to table, food was fabulous and although the place was mobbed when we went, we managed to order and get seated relatively painlessly.  Still –  if you want to get the authentic Malibu vibe you should avoid the weekends.

Malibu FarmOrganic Food and Rescue Bots – what a great combination.

Malibu Farm Salmon

Malibu Pier

A near perfect blend of effortless chic, breathtaking beauty and unaffected glamour.

Malibu Beach