Every year we take a trip to my dad's place. He lives in Brittany, and although there are a lot of ways to get there, my absolute favourite is the overnight Brittany Ferries crossing from Portsmouth to St Malo. We get the same ferry almost every time - the Pont Aven - which is by far the best one in my opinion. I love the kitsch mix of patterned carpets, textured tiling and colourful seat designs, and the décor in general, but really I just love being able to get on the boat, dump all my luggage in the sleeping cabin, get dinner, go to the bar for a drink and then sleep through hours and hours of the crossing until morning, when I can get a cooked breakfast and watch the sun rise all blue and inky in the winter sky.
I have an entire set of traditions surrounding this boat journey - I always buy a little plate of cheeses with my meal even if I am completely full after eating the main course, and I also always get a packet of Prince biscuits (they're a bit like the chocolate BN biscuits if you remember those) to eat as a snack in the middle of the night in the cabin.
There's always some kind of cheesy entertainment going on in the bar, which is kind of magnificent against the bleak, blackness of the winter sea spray which pummels the boat as it sails through the night. Plus, the mojito in this bar is the cheapest and most lovingly made cocktail I think I've ever had. We usually sit in the bar for a bit and read or I write in my diary for a while, and then we head back to the cabin where I'll stick a film on my laptop and fall asleep.
I know the ferry isn't really the glamorous option, and some people are probably worried about getting sea sick or being uncomfortable, but while I can't speak for everyone, I've always found that I'm fine on this crossing. I pop a couple of travel-sickness tablets before the boat leaves, and this usually makes me drowsy enough to sleep by bedtime. The cabin is cosy and comes with its own toilet and shower, plus there's this ultra-soothing bagpipe music to wake you up just in time for breakfast in the morning. I have a huge amount of romance and nostalgia attached to Brittany Ferries, and to the Pont Aven boat in particular. For me it symbolises going to visit my dad, and it's also one of the highlights of winter for me, after my birthday!
I hope you enjoyed these photos - I got a brand new lens from Dan's parents for my birthday, so I've been having lots of fun playing around with it.