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INTERVIEW: Heather Peace on motherhood, traveling with babies and writing new music

INTERVIEW: Heather Peace on motherhood, traveling with babies and writing new music

Heather Peace
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Sponsored: Earlier this month, we shared this sweet video of former Waterloo Road and Lip Service star Heather Peace’s staycation in Cornwall.

Since then we met the openly gay actress and singer to get the lowdown on her family trip to Portreath in Cornwall, with her wife Ellie Dickinson and their three daughters: two-and-a-half-year-old Annie, and twins Lola and Jessie, aged four months.

The family headed to the gorgeous Gwel an Mor in Tregea Hill, Portreath with Hoseasons for their trip.

Here, the Fairytales singer talks long-distance car journeys with three infants, the destinations she can’t wait to visit and the music she’s currently working on…

You were delayed the day of your trip – what time did you arrive at Gwel an Mor?

We got there at 1am, put the kids down for 2am and had a glass of wine together and got to bed for 2.30am. When we got up the next morning, super early, I had no concept of where we were – and we got the sunrise. The beach was amazing!

How was the weather?

Absolutely beautiful. There was only one day when the sun didn’t come out.

What was the accommodation like?

Three double bedrooms. The master bedroom had an ensuite. There were twin beds in one and a single in the other. They set up three cribs! We called ahead with a list of what we needed, and the woman said ‘yes’ to everything. Baby bouncer, steriliser, changing mat, high chair. Insofar as what we had to pack, that made a massive difference. I think a lot of places expect you not to travel with babies.

What else did you like about it?

The hot tub was incredible. We got to go in that while they were sleeping! What was lovely is there wasn’t a central complex. It has a separate soft-play, cafes, restaurants, lodges dotted about. Then all these separate facilities, like a tiny village. It was really special, and quite high end. Also the staff. They were so helpful – they couldn’t do enough for you.

What was the highlight?

The wildlife walk. Absolutely amazing. There were reindeer, goats… The wildlife ranger Gary was wonderful with the kids. He was rearing a little baby squirrel that had fallen, he took out this tiny baby mouse the size of 10 pence piece, he got the little fox to kiss my daughter, she held the owl… She’s quite a brave little girl, but she was beside herself. She did not stop talking about it! When you’ve got kids it’s all about their enjoyment. It just is.

Why aren’t there these types of activities available everywhere?!

They want to make it the most family-friendly place. Now they’ve opened golf and a fishing lake too. It keeps expanding. But it still doesn’t feel like there’s a central hub, which is great. You do feel like you’re out in the wild. There’s no glass dome in the middle or anything.

What spa treatment did you have?

A full body massage. It was amazing. I needed it! I’m not a girl who ever went to spas – until I had kids. I couldn’t see the point, I saw it a waste of time, sitting still. My relaxation was working out, running, swimming.

You had a meal in the Terrace restaurant…

They delivered it to us! That’s what I mean, people couldn’t be more helpful. They did a grand job. It arrived piping hot. We had seafood and steak, a cheese platter… It was local stuff. I had the crab linguine.

Was this your toddler’s first holiday?

That she’ll remember. She called it her ‘adventure.’ We took her to Thailand when she was nearly a year, and Spain when she was seven months. We haven’t been away at all since then, about 18 months.

What’s motherhood like?

I’ve had an amazing life, and I left motherhood really late. I’m 42. Life was getting a bit ‘right, OK’… it lost some of its pizzazz. The kids have put that back. That’s the truth of it.

I can’t imagine parenthood – I’m on my phone every five minutes!

I’ve got a two-and-a-half-year-old. Even if there is that time, and she’s watching something on the TV, I feel I’ve got to be aware that I’m not on my phone all the time, because it’s learnt behavior. When I’m with her I try to put it down. If all you’re doing is staring at a phone, it’s soul-destroying for them.

Would you agree that you really have to put the legwork in if you want to head up a same-sex parent family?

You do. Had I not met Ellie it probably wouldn’t have happened. She was on track with it. But the amazing thing is it can’t happen by accident. None of these kids are not wanted. You have to go on a long, old road.

Did you get out and see the countryside at all during your trip?

No! We were so gutted! And a friend of Ellie’s lived close by! She literally said her favorite beach in the whole world was a 15 minute drive away, and we were on our way back! We had three full days and four nights, and that was enough. We had a day at the beach and had fish and chips – Annie was in the rock pools! – a day at the complex, and on the final day we went swimming and went on the soft play. We’re from Brighton – I realized Annie’s never seen a sandy beach that she can remember. She was running wild. Feral!

Brighton must be a lovely place to bring up kids!

We’re in the process of moving house, and we could get so much more for our money elsewhere. But I don’t want my kids to be the only ones with two mums at school. It’s important to me they’re not singled out. So we’ll be staying.

The two babies Lola and Jessie are really young – what’s your advice to anyone traveling with kids of that age?

They’re four months old – teeny tiny! My advice would be the time you travel. We knew that from having had Annie and driving up to see my parents in Yorkshire. We did it once in the day, when you might get an hour and a half where she’s sleeping, and then it’s just bedlam. There’s no point! A five-hour journey takes eight hours, you’re stopping at services. They’ve got to get out and run. So travel at bedtime and go through the routine. Give them the bath, give them the milk, put them in the pyjamas, and it’s guaranteed…

How many countries have you been to?

It’s quite a lot. I used to have a world map I’d put pins in. Sri Lanka, The Maldives, loads of places in Europe, Australia, America. I ran the marathon in New York City!

Where’s left on your travel bucket list?

India, but my wife’s not interested, which makes me quite sad! She said: ‘We’ll have all the time in the world once the kids have gone to university’ and I said ‘Just so long as you’ll do India with me…’ I’d love to do a safari in Africa, that would be my dream. Then probably an island in the South Pacific.

What are you plans for the rest of this year and next year?

I’ve got some things happening music-wise. I’m writing a lot, trying to get into the groove of finding space to write to be honest. It’s a creative process and you need space to not get it right, and that’s quite difficult with the kids. So me and Ellie are getting into the groove of her giving me that time and space. So that’s what I’m concentrating on. There are a few acting meetings coming through, a potential film. My year ahead is about combining the two and understanding what that means for us as a family. The idea of going away – for Waterloo Road I was away Monday to Friday every week – and getting my head round that would be quite hard now.

Does motherhood inspire you creatively?

It should do! I’ve written one song for Annie, but quite often I don’t know if it’s twee. Only you know how you feel about your kids, and is that really that interesting to anyone else? Probably not!

Find out more about Gwel an Mor or discover more UK holidays at hoseasons.co.uk.

Hoseasons is a client of Gay Star News.