Friday, 30 August 2013

Country Coastal Cornwall

As regular readers of this blog you may well be aware that I am a Cornish lassie who at 17, moved out of county to go to University.  By the time I had completed my degree I was priced out of the housing market and couldn't afford to return to the county.  We make regular trips back and I'm so grateful to my Mum for having an open home to welcome us to return to.

We're happily settled in Somerset now (still in the SW 'leg' of England) - but the beaches just don't match that of the Cornish coast.  All of my side of the family still live in Cornwall - and we were fortunate to stay with my mum for a whole week of the summer holidays.

Hubby had a fortnight off and we headed on down to make the most of the summer sunshine that we've been enjoying in the UK in recent weeks (how lush has it been to have consecutive days of sunshine?!)  Such a simple JoY!

Each day, we took a leisurely approach to breakfast (my pain management is so much more effective if I give the medicine time to work before tackling anything!).  Then we'd pack a big picnic and choose the part of the coastline we were headed for whilst supping our morning coffee.  We have the inside scoop as 'locals' - we know to avoid the big touristy sites - they're best out of season!! 

My favourite place St Ives is home to swarms of visitors at this time of year and it so detracts from the natural beauty you can enjoy out of season.  I also love the sometimes rolling often crashing waves of the north coast but due to the whole Rick Stein additional tourist effect on Padstow (and the local area) and the Boardmasters Surfing contest happening at Newquay, we avoided the North Coast on this visit. 

In my opinion, Cornwall is at it's best when you have an expanse of clean sand and bluey, turquoise sea - like here at Mevagissey:

So, amongst our various desires were rock-pooling ambitions, body boarding needs, a family meet with cousins to accommodate plus some all important beach combing (me and Ru) and skimming (Ben and little man).  I do think it's such a man thing to throw rocks into the sea for hours...

all the longer for us girlies to hunt for seaside treasures I guess!

On each day we were rewarded handsomely in our efforts.

Gyllnyvese near Falmouth is the best beach for rock pooling in my experience.  The sheer variety and abundance of sea life is amazing.  Little man absolutely loved fishing and after catching fish, crabs and shrimps he exclaimed "I'm a good little fisherman mummy aren't I?!'  As a little boy that needs lots of reassurance to boost his confidence this was quite a breakthrough and added immensely to my enjoyment.  When it comes to rockpooling, I revert to an excited childlike state.  My degree covered a good amount of marine biology and I do so enjoy the thrill of finding life in these little rock pools.  We often show other children our finds before returning them to the sea - they are often incredulous to see the star fish and feel them on their hands.  My littlies love to catch little crabs - the smallest nicknamed 'pea crabs' as they scuttle across their palms.

A small sea urchin and cushion star fish were amongst our haul.
We had 3 large buckets of crabs caught with a line and net off a local harbour wall - next time we'll take a normal bucket as they looked tightly packed by the end of our crabbing time!  Bacon is our bait of choice for crabs, and boy - do they love it!! 

We had over 17 after 2 hours of crabbing - each of us was successful in landing crabs of various sizes so all were happy. 

These again were returned to the sea - probably to be caught again by the growing crowd of tourists that had gathered after lunch!

On a misty, wet day we drove to St. Mawes and enjoyed fish and chips by the sea.  There was lots going on in the water and the photo doesn't do it justice - that's the mist for you, although it was still pleasant to be out in!  We pootled around the independent shops and watched the world go by.

And this beach had the most sea glass that I have seen at one time.  Such lovely worn, tactile pieces of days gone by...  I'll post about that another time (when I've got a decent photo!)

This plus swimming, visits to local parks, a Vintage Country Fayre...

...and meeting my gorgeous new niece Kaja (Cornish for Daisy) meant for a wonderful holiday.

What a fabulous break we had.  Relaxing days, long and happy. 

The worst part is always leaving to drive back up the motorway... it's always nice to be home but I do so wish we could make our home in Cornwall.  However, work opportunities and cost of housing eliminate that option.  So good to visit though - I'm proud of my Cornish heritage and it's so fab to see many posts across blog-land here and here writing of their enjoyment of their own holidays in Cornwall during August!!

Happy Days,

J9 x

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Friday, 23 August 2013

A Day to Celebrate

Just over eleven years ago, Ben and I got married.  We've been together since we were 18 - both met at University so we've been together almost half our lives.  It was rather lovely to explain that to the kids whilst they sat in the back of the car on our way to our celebratory lunch.  It's the first year they've both 'Got it!'

We very rarely eat out so it has become an annual event to celebrate with a good meal / outing during the day.  On this occasion we headed to The Swan at Wedmore

Just look at that lovely selection of fresh bread!!

Wedmore is a gorgeously quaint little village.  It's definitely in a more affluent area of Somerset and it is so lovely to visit!  We pootled around the little artsy shops and admired beautiful gardens and floral displays...

And on the journey home we stopped by Ashton Windmill for the first time. 

We've passed this in the car many times although you cannot grasp the true splendour of the building from the road.  This is a wonderful windmill - smaller in stature than all other's that I've seen.

The blades looked magnificent standing tall against the blue sky.

The children absolutely loved playing around the mill - spies, tag and hide and seek were the order of the day.  They played happily for the afternoon - such buddies and so content - bliss.

As I went to photograph the view towards Brent Knoll from the far side of the site (the big hill on the horizon)

I noticed this:

I'm such a romantic I loved the sentiment - it reads "Nigel and Claire - In love with each other, In love with this place".  Padlocked to the back of the Windmill.  I returned to my spot on a nearby bench, told Ben all about it and he went to inspect it too.  It somehow felt poignant to notice someone else's declaration of love on a day we were celebrating ours!!

Aww... isn't love grand? .  Hope you are feeling a bit of love wherever you are...

J9 x
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Saturday, 3 August 2013

Pretty Filter - An Update

As you may know, at the beginning of the year I vowed to go through my entire house and look at it with fresh eyes - tidy, organise and prettify where possible!

This has sometimes meant purchasing suitable storage which, on a tight budget can be a little tricky.  I've kept my eye out at local charity shops with certain shapes / objects in mind.  This does mean that timing is out of your control - but it does mean that when you see it - you've got to get it!!

Such as:

These fabulous roomy under-bed drawers.  They are actually really large and although they were orangey pine I knew they were solid wood - strong and sturdy.  Plus, at £15 for the pair I felt I got a good deal!

A little bit of 'Cath K' always seems to work wonders...

Another little pretty filter project has been for my bread making ingredients.  I was fortunate enough  to be given a friend's bread making machine a couple of months ago.  Because I've been making a loaf every evening ever since (on timer for lovely fresh bread in the morning - yum) I'd been leaving the ingredients out on the kitchen worktop.  It wasn't exactly aesthetically pleasing (it's currently a very small kitchen) but the bread made it worth it. 

Until one day I had enough!  I've been picking up kilner jars as and when I see them in the charity shop and decanted some of the dry goods into them - prettier already.  Then, I had a gift voucher for a local garden centre and bought a lovely enamel trug type thing. 

Great - that's better.  Mission accomplished!

Finally, my bedside table was organised as a temporary measure way back here when I did a quick refresh of the bedroom.  It is such a pretty tray table - but entirely unsuitable for bedside use by a messy person like me.  I found that I became frustrated with clutter and medicine covering the surface constantly so this

became this:

You may also recall way back when, I got these beside tables - and sadly, they've been waiting for me in the shed to prettify them since then.  So they finally called to me this week and a makeover was achieved.  Paint that I had in the shed too made this a really thrifty makeover.  Clutter hidden.

Hooray - gosh, I have done a bit of home loving lately...  In the heat we've been experiencing lately I've felt like I've done a lot of lounging.  Maybe the lounging was interlaced with some sporadic prettifying.  Love It.

And what of the stuff I've been culling?  Whilst I love to donate to charity shops and do so when I can - I cannot afford to give everything - if I can generate money from it to put back into the household.  So I've been selling on online auction sites and even did a few car boots recently!

I did two weekends of car boots (making just shy of a much needed £300!!!) and then took the rest that couldn't be passed on to friends or family to the charity shop.  It felt so liberating to free up this space - and although it's strange to say (in a new to me OCD kinda way) - my loft is wonderfully organised now (even for a clutter junky like me!)

The hubby is happy with less clutter, free surfaces and better organisation and I am happy that the much loved things are now visible instead of looking lost amongst the multitude of things!  Now that's happiness in simple things ;0)

The summer holidays will undoubtedly cause more clutter and chaos - but this is a home not a show home and whilst I love the styling in so many of the beautiful blogs that I follow - regrettably I cannot sustain that level of perfection!  I love my home and I find real joy in many of the items that I have chosen, thrifted or been given.  However, the occasions that they are staged beautifully- without the chaos of our everyday life, are fleeting.  But that's OK.  Indeed, I am a firm believer in this poem:

Whilst my children are no longer babies... the same sentiment applies.  School holidays have started and we shall embrace family time together.  The hubby has two precious weeks of holiday which started today and we shall visit my family down in Cornwall for some of that time. If my posts are less regular during August I apologise - normal service will return once school break is over! 

Hope you manage to enjoy some home loving over the coming weeks!  Our building work starts in early September and I've been spending a lot of the early part of the summer holidays doing crochet whilst the children have been playing in a variety of parks.  I love the portability of this craft and will be sharing some of my makes next time!

The winners of my goodies will be sent their parcels on Monday so watch out for those!
Wishing you happiness and sunshine in your parts of the world.

J9 x
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