The dog friendly tale of Jess and artist Sasha Harding’s South West Coast Path walk.


On a chilly autumn morning, I found myself catching my breath while looking down on the harbour at Mevagissey. Sniffing around my feet was my companion, a six-stone Rhodesian ridgeback dog called Jess. She and I had set off on foot from Minehead in Somerset 26 days earlier. In just under four weeks we’d hiked 361 miles, but we still had a long way to go. Ahead of us stretched another 270 miles to reach our destination, the end of the epic South West Coast Path.

The SWCP is one of the longest national trails in Britain, making its way across vast beaches and along exposed cliffs, through forests and over moors. With every mile there is the chance to see an array of wildlife, seals and dolphins, choughs and lizards, not to mention the many species of wild flowers. But for me the best thing is that the whole path is dog-friendly. It’s quite something to be able to set off with your four-legged chum on a ramble that could potentially go on for months. And that is exactly what Jess and I did.

Walking side by side for seven weeks brought us together in a way that I couldn’t have imagined. We shared the same struggles, we slept together, ate (enormous quantities of food) together and limped in sync at the end of the day. We revelled when the sun came out and shrunk into ourselves when it rained, squeezed together under my umbrella. I looked out for her and she made me feel safe. On more than one occasion, as a lone woman, miles from anywhere, I was grateful to have Jess nearby. Her calm demeanour helped to dampen my overactive imagination, particularly my worries about the threat of werewolves whenever we encountered fog.

At the end of a gruelling day Jess was the perfect drinking buddy, in that she didn’t drink, so cost me very little. However her presence, curled up in front of a crackling fire, or begging for pork scratchings from a fellow punter, was a great way to start a conversation. I lost count of the number of times I heard “your dog’s gorgeous, what is she?” I loved being able to tell people that ridgebacks were originally bred to hunt lions. Something about the dichotomy between her fearsome heritage and laid-back demeanour made people smile.

At the start of the trip I had worried over whether Jess would be allowed in the pubs along the way, but we were never turned away, in fact Jess was often shown to the cosiest spot, invariably in front of a fire. At those moments I was happy to tag along as her sidekick and reap the rewards of the best seat in the house.

If the pubs were friendly, then the B&Bs and hotels we stayed in rolled out the red carpet for my furry friend. When the dining room was reserved for those on two legs Jess and I would be set up in a quiet corner of our own, from where we could happily watch the comings and goings of the other guests. More often Jess could accompany me into the dining room for breakfast, and would grab the opportunity to take a quick nap under the table. The only thing guaranteed to rouse her from her slumber would be the mouthwatering smell of cooking sausages, and on more than one occasion while I tucked into an enormous full English breakfast Jess was brought a banger or two.

We made the most of every mode of transport whilst on the coast path, from the steam train that raced alongside the River Dart, to buses and ferries and even a cliff railway at Babbacombe. Jess took each new vehicle in her stride and was soon leaping aboard ferries and jumping on and off buses like an 18 year old backpacker.

For all her poise, Jess did show her hunter’s instincts every now and then. One memorable time she ran full pelt towards the cliff edge after a herd of moth-eaten wild goats near Crackington Haven. Fortunately my panicked shout of “STAY!” stopped her in her tracks as the goats scarpered over a ridge. Another time, while walking through fields near Exmouth, she caught a young rabbit. Appalled, I screeched for her to “DROP IT!” and it bolted down the nearest hole, apparently unscathed. One afternoon, while I was sketching the fishing boats on the shingle shore at Budleigh Salterton, I heard an ominous crack and turned to see Jess treading on a crab. Luckily a nearby fisherman noticed the plight of the crustacean and pulled Jess off it before popping it back into a large blue bin.

 

There are an awful lot of animals, both domesticated and wild, on the South West Coast Path, and it’s vital to keep track of your dog, especially near cliffs. After the hair-raising experience with the goats I kept Jess on a lead unless we were on a beach.

Seven years on, I look back at walking the South West Coast Path with Jess as one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. She is nine years old now and starting to go grey around her muzzle, and our walks are no longer measured in miles but minutes. Recently we’ve acquired a new addition to our pack, a miniature dachshund called Peanut who, despite her diminutive size, has boundless energy. While I’m looking forward to rediscovering the South West Coast Path with Pea, seeing it afresh through her eyes, I’ll never forget my 630-mile walk with Jess.

This limited edition map of Cornwall, beautifully illustrated by Sasha, shows many of the locations she visited.  Check out Polpier’s Instagram Feed for the chance to win it.


Sasha Harding is an artist and author based in Cornwall. Sasha wrote and illustrated a book, A Brush With The Coast,  about her adventures on the South West Coast Path. A new revised edition is available from her website here.

 

Wedding Decoration Ideas from Helen Moore of Whitewood & Linen Blog

Whether your wedding is to be a grand or intimate affair, one thing is for sure, it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Here, Helen Moore Stylist, Blogger and Crafter from Whitewood & Linen takes a look at simple decorative ideas for those wishing to create their own personal and individual day.

Keep in mind three simple rules when you are planning your special day:

1) How much money do you have to spend?

2) How much time do you have to achieve your goals?

3) How much human resource is available to you? Perhaps you have family members or friends happy to donate their time and skills as a wedding gift? Don’t be afraid to ask those who are bakers, decorators, crafters, florists or gardeners for contributions of help towards your big day. Nobody wants too many toasters and a team effort can add to the fun and happiness of a successful wedding.

Determining the answers to these three questions, creating a plan around them and then working to that plan, will reward you with a special and individual look for your celebration.

In this article we shall take a look at personalising tables and room décor. Firstly, decide how you want your wedding décor to look and keep in mind your three simple rules. You could begin by addressing your flower displays. If your budget is small and time is on your side, you could grow a selection of inexpensive and simple blooms of your own from a few seeds or ask your gardening guests if they would grow them for you. If on the other hand you are short on time, you could look to buying your beautiful blooms locally from a grower or flower market.

 

Displaying your choice of flora can be done in many personal and budget friendly ways. Recycling and decorating tin cans ahead of the big day is a fun way for everyone to get involved. Painting each tin to compliment your colour scheme and adding a pretty rag ribbon for a decorative finish can have a stunning effect.

 

Recycling doesn’t have to stop at tin cans. Glass jam jars and small bottles collected in advance make wonderful flower vessels. Maybe a friend who writes beautifully, could lend a hand and scribe the wedding couples’ names on torn strips of fancy paper as their wedding gift. Try typing simple messages directly onto scraps of pretty linen and cotton and attach decoratively with ribbon or glue. Use in groups or individually for flowers and essential candles on your tables.

 

Another simple and effective idea for table décor is beautiful decoupage on tin cans. Decorative paper napkins, tissue paper and pretty gift wrap are all suitable materials to use and each tin will look perfect complete with colour co-ordinating string. Use to hold essential cutlery and napkins on tables or food and drinks stations. These versatile vessels can be used to store bright paper drinking straws or pens and crayons for younger guests. And filled with small sticks of rock or sweets, these tins would appeal to guests of any age.

 

And if children are joining your special day, remember to keep them occupied throughout the speeches. Try dressing your tables with rolls of brown parcel paper or simple white disposable table cloths and encourage a game or two of snakes and ladders, dot-to-dot or maybe even a happy drawing of the special couple. You may end up with some portraits that make you smile as much as the official wedding photos.

 

When it comes to decorating your room or gazebo, bunting and garlands are always a clever choice. For an inexpensive option, invest in or borrow a large hole punch; a star shape, flower or heart makes a perfect template. Keeping your own theme in mind, choose from newsprint or brown parcel paper for a rustic look or candy coloured card or floral paper for a more vibrant decor and get punching. If you are handy with a sewing machine or know someone who is, join the shapes together in a simple running stich to your required length. A similar effect can be achieved by sticking two shapes either side of clear wire or twine with PVA glue. String and layer lots of bunting for a fuller effect or stick to one single length if your look is more minimal. Add fairy lights to create a magical mood as the evening draws in.

 

You could try your hand at a more traditional fabric bunting, choosing colours and textures to suit your day. Leave simple raw edges showing or tidy up with a quick running stitch on the machine or even by hand. Remember your resource and time rules and maybe ask a crafty friend to donate their time as your wedding gift.

 

And as dusk falls on your magical day, remember to subtly light up trees and magical pathways as well as your tables, with the help of decorative tin cans and glass jars once again. Your choice of jars will look particularly effective decorated with glass paint selecting a design as flamboyant or simple as you like. And if you don’t have resource or budget for glass painting, simply reach for delightful rag ribbons or simple string once again.

 

Search for more creative ideas on-line; Pinterest is a fabulous search engine full of wedding ideas. Create an old-fashioned scrap book with endless magazine cuttings and leaflets you collect in the build up to your big day. This could also become the prettiest and most personal of keepsakes for the future. And don’t forget your local library for a wonderful selection of old and new books packed with ideas to make your wedding day as unique and as special as you would like it to be.

Many of the ideas in this blog spot can be found in Helen’s blog, Whitewood & Linen. Helen writes weekly stories full of ideas for individual crafts, up-cycling furniture and styling as well as design tips for special events and the home all from her beautiful Shepherd’s Hut, Belle. Visit whitewoodandlinen.com or follow Helen on her Instagram page for more creative and inspirational ideas for your special day.

 

Eve and Johns Wedding

Update: Barney Walters Photography have been nominated for Easy Weddings “Wedding Of The Year 2018” Competition . Please vote for them here.
Weddiing of the year 2018

This blog is taken from barneywalters.com

Polpier and Penpol are two houses located on the top of the Cornish coastline in Mevagissey. This was the setting for Eve and John’s wedding, and what a magnificent setting it was for a beautiful day – in every way. Eve and John planned a fairly intimate day with their close friends and family from across the globe to come to Cornwall to witness their vows against the Cornish coastline backdrop, and then party the night away in the Polpier house.

Being from Cornwall myself I can say this; this is not what Cornwall looks like every day – and thus Eve and John were blessed to have Cornwall looking at it’s absolute best for their celebrations.

Polpier and Penpol wedding venue is super in that the two houses are located approximately one hundred meters apart allowing for separation in the morning between the bridal and grooms parties, without actually being all that far apart. As you’ll see from the images below, the boys were able to help set-up the garden in the morning before getting ready in the Penpol House.

After the ceremony on the lawn, the reception started and a relaxed few hours on the grass was enjoyed by everyone Eve and John had invited. Later in the day, we strolled down to the harbour of Mevagissey with the newlyweds to allow them to take some much deserved “time-out” and create some awesome images in the afternoon light that we were gifted with.

For a small intimate wedding in Cornwall by the coast, you can’t get much better than Polpier and Penpol – a beautiful day in every way.

More images can be seen at barneywalters.com

Barney Walters – Photographer
Website: barneywalters.co.uk
Email: info@barneywalters.co.uk
Call: +44 (0) 7725 081 283

Mevagissey Feast Week

We love Mevagissey Feast Week. As well as being the oldest saint’s celebration in Cornwall, it is a fantastic celebration of present day community as a gang of local volunteers create a week of family fun.  From a fancy dress extravaganza through the streets, to live music on the quay decorated with flags, a fish auction, stalls selling local food and a firework display, it is a real chance to join in with an authentic Cornish experience.

Mevagissey Feast Week also holds a special place in our hearts because of weddings where the couples and their guests have broken off from their reception to join the parade. They’ve also gathered on Polpier’s front lawn in the evening to watch as colourful fireworks are reflected in the harbour water. Holiday guests have enjoyed al fresco drinks on the terraces with the sound of live jazz, sixties favourites or the Mevagissey Male Choir drifting up to entertain them.

Hub of activity on the Jetty photo ©2012 Paul Williams

This year Mevagissey Feast Week runs from Sunday 24th June to Saturday 30th June and promises to be better than ever. We still have some availability should you want to have a holiday with entertainment laid on. Please check out www.mevagisseyfeastweek.org.uk for this year’s programme details.

Fireworks over Mevagissey ©2011 Sally Mitchell

Ten Top Tips For Self-Catering In Cornwall During the Summer Holidays

Summer is a wonderful time to visit Cornwall and self catering gives both privacy and freedom. However, years of holidaying with children, relatives and friends has proved the following tips can make for a happy experience for everyone.

  1. Information is power: check out your venue’s website. This should help with everything from what you pack to planning days out. Our website has descriptions of the bedrooms so you can have the arguments to hand about which is best for you. The chief booker gets a handbook with information on all appliances and how to use them and it’s a good idea if someone in the party reads it before arrival. If there are any concerns, for example asthma and bedding, it is much better to email beforehand so special requests can be dealt with.
  2. Set off very early. Later the motorways are going to be jammed, literally, so shove the kids in their pyjamas in the back of the car at dawn and just go. With luck, they will sleep all the way and you can wake them for a late breakfast in Cornwall. In self catering, check in will be in the afternoon (ours is at 4pm) but this is a chance to explore near your accommodation. We recommend a relaxed wander around Heligan Gardens. You can feel extra smug as friends and relatives send text announcements about delays, engines over-heating and children rowing.
  3. For those who choose to leave later in the day, have some fun games for keeping the kids amused as they will be awake the entire way saying, ‘When are we going to be there?’ We used to play ‘Spot the caravan.’ How we laughed. It’s a good idea too to have bottled water for long delays on hot days and the empties are useful for small boys who are caught short between service stations.
  4. Take a map. Vital for when the SatNav breaks down and there’s a diversion on the motorway, particularly if the driver is male so it’s a point of honour to never, ever to stop and ask for directions. A map is also vital for your stay because there may be no mobile phone signal and SatNav will not show that the shortest route is down a narrow winding lane where your car’s paint work could suffer along with your nerves.
  5. Nothing leads to bad temper faster than hunger and low blood sugar, so have your first meal sorted. We are happy to take supermarket deliveries before guests’ arrival, so you are well stocked up, and welcome guests with a Cornish cream tea. Our Property Manager Amanda Craze does yummy ready to cook meals or there are delicious fish and chip takeaways in Mevagissey. A good supply of alcohol is also vital to sooth frazzled nerves. Do not plan a mega trip the next day for the children as the first night can turn into a party.
  6. While having the basics delivered from a supermarket is sensible, self catering is an opportunity to enjoy local produce. Not only will it be fresher, it will add to the experience of being somewhere different to home. In Cornwall, this can mean anything from bakery Cornish pasties and Kelly’s ice cream, to bbqs with farm shop meat and vegetables or visiting harbour fish stalls to pick your fish of the day. There are also plenty of local drinks to choose from, including Cornish Orchards juices and cider and the famous Camel Valley sparkling wine.
  7. To give the head chef a break, plan some meals out. Cornwall has wonderful restaurants, but if you want to get in at Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw or Paul Ainsworth, book well ahead. It can also be more relaxed to visit restaurants and pubs you can walk too. No worries about drink driving and if you are in a mixed age group, there’s also the flexibility of splitting if some want to head back to base while others enjoy another coffee or nightcap.
  8. Eating out can be expensive though and self catering is perfect for stepping back in time to the more frugal 1950s and taking a picnic for the beach. Those innocent Enid Blyton escapades can amuse even the most sophisticated teenager because of their novelty. Just be careful you pick a less popular beach so they don’t bump into their cool friends when they are rock pooling and have a total melt down. The less popular beaches do involve driving down narrow lanes or walking from the car park across fields but you’ll feel you deserve your picnic after the effort.

  9. Deciding what attractions you really want to see is good in terms of both finances and time management. A few carefully selected days out can heighten the holiday mood but no one wants to over spend or feel they are on a tread mill. Factor in distance, parking and pre-booking tickets for popular destinations like the Minack Theatre or Eden Project. It’s also a good idea to check their websites to see what’s on. We once set off at dawn to visit the St Ives Tate – four adults and five children – to arrive and find an obscure Japanese artist was being featured rather than Alfred Wallis. Not quite the Cornish experience we’d had in mind.
  10. Take a chill pill. You are meant to be on holiday so this is the time to turn off social media and ignore emails. If you feel you can’t, then select a once a day slot for checking out what’s happening and stick to it. Don’t fret about everyone being ‘together.’ Family time is precious, but it can be a shock to be 24/7 with your nearest and dearest. A little time apart can make it sweeter, whether it’s going for a solitary pint, indulging in a long, hot bath with your favourite author or couples heading off to make use of their National Trust membership. When you gather for meals there will be more news to exchange. And don’t forget to play some board and card games or do a jigsaw – nothing says holiday more than that.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please follow us on Instagram or Facebook to get daily updates on life in Cornwall and notices of when the next blog will appear.

Amandasig

Wedding Photographer Toby Lowe’s ten top tips on loving having your photograph taken


Beautiful photographs from your wedding day are something to be treasured, but can be difficult to achieve if you loathe being photographed. Despite elegant clothes, a make-up and hair stylist and a stunning backdrop, awkward poses and rictus smiles can ruin the end result. Experienced wedding photographer Toby Lowe has generously shared his ten top tips to couples on how to put the demons to rest and model up before the camera.

  1. Forget the glossy magazine front covers and celebrity social media. Toby explains: ‘Hating being photographed is a common problem which is growing as more people are taking photos and sharing them to often unpleasant peer review. People really need to relax and remember a photograph is a time capsule of your life, not a photo shopped advert, but a true record of your wedding day. Obviously you want the photographs to bring out the best of you but it should be of you, not a touched up fantasy.’
  2. Getting those best photos of you, means you and the photographer getting to know each other as good photographs are based on trust. ‘Rather than just looking through a photographer’s website to see if you like their style, spend time with them at the booking stage,’ advises Toby. ‘Ideally this would mean meeting up but if distance is a problem, then skyping or facetime is a good idea. You will be spending up to 14 hours with the photographer on your wedding day so a personal relationship is key.’
  3. Talk to your photographer honestly about what makes you nervous about being photographed. Toby says, ‘A lot of people have a feature they hate, whether a double chin, crooked teeth or their nose. Often that hatred is not based on fact, rather an unkind remark that has stuck or the merciless teasing of a sibling, but if your photographer knows how you feel they can shoot from angles you feel more comfortable with and will not be trying to persuade you to do things you suspect highlight your flaw.’
  4. A very important point is to remember to breath. ‘If people are feeling tense, they start holding their breath and become stiff and that really shows in photographs particularly the ones of just the bride and groom,’ explains Toby. ‘I ask couples to take 3. They close their eyes, breath in slowly to the count of 1, 2, 3, hold the breath, then open their eyes as they expel the breath. That takes the tension away and is when I get a really great relaxed shot. I really recommend couples practice breathing in this way before the wedding day.’
  5. Another thing for couples to practice beforehand is how to pose in a way that looks natural and is also flattering. Toby provides some simply followed instruction on this, ‘Don’t stand with your legs apart like a guardsman, instead put one foot ahead of the other and about 5cm apart, creating an L shape. Then lean forward on the front foot. This means you lean into the camera so you are engaging with it and this focuses attention on your eyes. And don’t get confused with the catwalk strut where the model leans back, that’s designed to focus attention on the clothes and the attention should be on you.’
  6. Arms and wrists should also not hang straight down. Instead Toby suggests, ‘Arms and wrists crooked at a light angle always look more comfortable, that’s why celebrities on the red carpet often have one hand on a hip. You can use props likes glasses of champagne, but the best thing is if the couple are touching each other, but only lightly. This is a tender and passionate occasion and that’s what should be caught in the photos. No grabbing!’
  7. Remember hands too are a big part of pulling off a natural pose. ‘Hands tell us so much of how someone is feeling and you don’t want you wedding photographs to show you with tightly clenched hands,’ laughs Toby. ‘I also don’t like the holding a football pose. Hands should always look as if they are holding feathers. I also remind grooms that pockets are there for a purpose and they can always stick their thumbs in them. Brides have bouquets to hold onto which makes it easier but the best thing a bride and groom can do is hold hands.’
  8. Forget the big smiles. ‘I don’t know who thought of the instruction ‘Say cheese!’ but they are responsible for more bad photos than anything else,’ groans Toby. ‘Unless you are the type of person who looks in the mirror every day with a big grin, you just look totally unnatural and forced. Hopefully couples are feeling happy on their wedding day and they don’t need to play to the camera, that smile comes from the inside and will show in the photos. People are always saying the Mona Lisa isn’t smiling, but I think she looks perfectly happy.’
  9. A good way of practicing all these poses is having an engagement shoot with the photographer prior to the wedding. Toby says, ‘It gives the photographer a chance to pass on tips in a very unpressurised and unhurried environment when they are not worrying about other things. Hopefully as well, they will love the engagement photos, that will build rapport and also mean they feel more confident about having their photo taken on their wedding day.’
  10. However, do bear in mind an accurate record of your wedding day includes the other people attending. This also goes back to the important point of being honest with your photographer. ‘Families are very complicated,’ sighs Toby ‘but if there are some difficult relationships it’s best for if the photographer knows. I had one wedding where the groom and his father hadn’t spoken for some time, so an intimate man to man shot of them was not appropriate. Particularly in these times of so much divorce, there can be hard feelings and people who don’t want to be forced to stand next to a former partner.’ Ending on a happier note though, Toby recalls, ‘I’m divorced but get on well with my first wife and her new husband, so they came to my wedding to my beautiful wife Sylvia. It was very funny when people asked them how they knew us.’

Visit www.tobylowephotography.co.uk for more information on Toby.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please follow us on Instagram or Facebook to get daily updates on life in Cornwall and notices of when the next blog will appear.

Amandasig

How to make pancakes more interesting

Pancake day, traditionally a day of feasting before the 40 days of Lent, has now also been adopted as a fun event – everyone can remember the childhood thrill of watching pancakes being tossed.

If you are making pancakes for the first time, there is the basic recipe below along with ten top tips from Proper Pancake’s expert Nicky. She has also created a special topping for us, making the most of Cornish apples from Polpier’s orchard.

Easy Pancake recipe


Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil, plus a little extra for frying
  • lemon wedges, to serve (optional)
  • aster sugar, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl or jug. Break the eggs into a small bowl to guarantee no egg shell pieces get into the mix, then add to the flour. Pour in the milk and add a pinch of salt, then whisk to a smooth batter. The batter can be affected by temperature of your kitchen, so if it seems rather thick add a little extra milk.
  2. Leave the batter on a counter top for 30 mins to rest.
  3. Wipe a medium frying pan or crêpe pan with oiled kitchen paper and place over a medium heat. When hot, cook your pancakes for 1 min on each side until golden – have a go at tossing them with a sharp flick of your wrist. If you don’t fancy pancakes on the ceiling, carefully flip over with a spatula.
  4. Keep the pancakes warm in a low oven until you have made the required number.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and sugar, or your favourite filling.
  6. Once cold, you can layer the pancakes between baking parchment, then wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 2 months. When defrosted, gently reheat in a warm oven.


Nicky’s Top tips for making pancakes

  1. Always buy the best quality ingredients – Cornish free range eggs, Cornish milk and organic flour are essential to creating my fluffy pancakes.
  2. Never over stir your batter as this will result in chewy pancakes.
  3. Use a good, flat non-stick pan.
  4. Coconut oil is fantastic for cooking pancakes if you need oil, I always use Lucy Bee.
  5. Alternatively, cook your pancakes with butter to add a richness to their flavour.
  6. Cook the pancakes using a medium heat, never go hotter!
  7. Have fun and experiment with flavours.
  8. If you have guests, always make more than you think you will need to ensure you don’t miss out!
  9. Pancakes don’t always have to be sweet, there are some great savoury recipes out there. A favourite of mine is Otto lenghi’s green pancakes with lime butter, it’s delicious!
  10. Remember, pancakes are not just for pancake day – they’re great all year round and at any time of the day!


Caramelised Apples

This recipe has been tried and tested in the Proper Pancakes kitchen using the best apples in season and delicious Cornish butter.

Ingredients

  • 2 apples
  • 35g golden caster sugar
  • 35g soft brown sugar
  • 75g unsalted butter (I use Trewithen Farm)
  • Coconut oil

Method

  1. Heat a little coconut oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat, then peel, core and chop two apples of your choice. Cut into thin slices, no bigger than half a centimetre thick. Add the apples to the pan and cook for approximately 5-8 minutes until softened and a golden colour has started to develop. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of slices and type of apple you choose.
  2. Add the butter and sugar, reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer gently for a further 3-4 minutes until the sugar and butter have combined, thickened and caramelised a little. Be careful not to overcook as you will end up with a slightly granular, chewy toffee like substance or burnt butter!
  3. Serve with pancakes and top with a good spoonful of Roddas clotted cream – if you’re feeling extra naughty, why not combine a little brandy with the cream?

Remember that you are dealing with a topping that contains hot sugar, so please be very careful when serving and allow to cool a little before eating.

Nicky is happy to bring her Proper Pancakes van to parties and events. Visit www.properpancakes.com for more information.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please follow us on Instagram or Facebook to get daily updates on life in Cornwall and notices of when the next blog will appear.

Amandasig

How To Make A Floral Crown

Floral crowns are always popular at weddings, carnivals and festivals and great fun to make during a hen or children’s party. One of our most popular local florists, Jan Chew, showed us just how easy it is to make your own with lovely flowers from our garden.

  1. Decide on the mood, be it romantic, colourful or zany.
  2. Select the foliage and flowers at least two hours and preferably the day before needed so they can have a good drink in a bucket of cold water. Pick plenty as you don’t want to be hunting around for more when making the floral crown.
  3. Cut the stems on the diagonal to have maximum exposure to the water and woody stems should be smashed with a hammer against a wooden board to make it easier for them to absorb the water.
  4. Before starting make sure you have the correct equipment. You will need:
    • Florists’ wire
    • Florists’ stretchy stem tap
    • Narrow coloured ribbon
    • Scissors
  5. Take two lengths of the florists’ wire to fit a head and bind securely together with the stem tape. Wind the stem tape around all of the wire so it will be comfortable on the head.
  6. Cut the flowers and foliage to length, removing any dead leaves, stray stems and buds and, if using roses, the prickles from the stems.
  7. Lay out the flowers in your chosen design, thinking about colour and size with the larger blooms at the front of the floral crown. We had chosen pale pink and raspberry streaked peonies, pink star flowers, white flox, and lavender stems.
  8. Starting at one end of the wire tightly secure each stem with the ribbon, placing different flowers and foliage in your own preferred design. We placed the gorgeously blowsy peonies at the centre to make a focal point for the crown.
  9. When all the wire has been covered with the flowers, twist the end of the wire together, bind with the ribbon and, if wished, tie a bow.
  10. Enjoy trying on your floral crown and then, if needed for a later occasion, store in a cool dark place.

If you have enjoyed this blog, please follow us on Instagram or Facebook to get daily updates on life in Cornwall and notices of when the next blog will appear.

Amandasig

Cornish stir fried fusion squid on roasted vegetables

Kerra from Kerra’s Catering is sharing one of her own recipes which makes the most of Cornwall’s wonderful produce. As well as being famous for fish, Cornwall has new potatoes that rival the Jersey for sweetness and being early in the season. Kerra says, ‘Here is a recipe for squid I have been playing with as it is soon to be more common in our local waters. It’s a fusion dish of local potatoes, but with a Thai influenced dressing.  It’s influenced by Mosimann, who was a great inspiration to me when I started as a chef 24 years ago.’

Ingredients:

  • 800g -1kg midi set skinned potatoes
  • Good pinch Cornish sea salt
  • 3 de seeded red chilli sliced
  • 1 small courgette – cut into sticks
  • 200g Asparagus
  • 200g Tender Stem Broccoli
  • Half a red pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic – sliced
  • 5 spring onions sliced
  • 20 Raw king prawns
  • 3 Squid tubes -split open, scored and cut into pieces
  • 100ml veg oil
  • 4 Tbs soy sauce
  • 4 dashes of fish sauce
  • 3 Tbs of olive oil
  • Small bunch of coriander chopped
  • 6 Tbs Corn flour – well seasoned with salt and pepper

 

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees (fan) adjust accordingly or use the Aga roasting oven.
  2. Thinly slice the potatoes on the diagonal.
  3. Scatter in a dish with 1tbs of olive oil, season.
  4. Place in the oven for 10 mins
  5. Add the garlic (3 cloves) chilli, broccoli, courgette, asparagus and red pepper to the potatoes. Put back in the oven for 12 minutes
  6. In a jug combine 2tbs olive oil, soy sauce and fish sauce.
  7. Warm the veg oil in a heavy duty frying pan.
  8. Dip the prawns and squid in the seasoned cornflour and fry in batches until cooked through and crispy.
  9. Drain any excess oil out of the frying pan, add the remaining sliced garlic and spring onion, fry for a minute. Return all the prawns and squid to the pan and toss in the coriander.
  10. Pour the soy sauce mix over the vegetables, stir thoroughly.
  11. Serve a good spoonful of potato and veg mix onto a plate and top with the squid and prawns.

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Amandasig

Rosie enjoys dog friendly accommodation in Cornwall

Rosie of Dog Friendly Cornwall adored her time at Polpier

Having planned our extended family pre-Christmas get together at Polpier for some weeks, we were all incredibly excited. The photographs and descriptions had revealed the beautiful house with its manicured lawns, two acres of landscaped gardens overlooking Mevagissey harbour and the sea beyond. We’d seen the beautiful and luxurious bedroom suites, the billiard room, library, hall which doubled as a dance floor. But upon arrival, there was one member of the family who was particularly excited. One member of the family, who is usually excluded from such incredible properties — Rosie, our Newfoundland dog.

Dogs are incredibly welcome at Polpier, and Rosie was as happy as a small puppy when she was able to trot through the hall, explore her very own very large bed and explore the gardens. Despite the luxury and the size, of Polpier it feels very much like a home from home, not least because you are able to enjoy your time there with your canine companion.

The house is of course, immaculate, not a pet hair to be seen, but the fact that Amanda and Richard Hines love dogs is evident in the beautiful paintings, the books (Andy Hughs’ I JackRussell sits in the living room) and a lovely huge dog bed in the kitchen. The gardens were what Rosie loved best. Each morning in the dawn light, we would go out together to explore the pathways around the nursery area, greenhouse and tennis courts. Then we would wend our way back up past the swimming pool and sit and watch the sun come up from the terrace beside the kitchen.

What was also lovely is that Mevagissey itself is very dog friendly. During our stay, we enjoyed a meal in The Sharksfin restaurant, a dog friendly establishment overlooking the harbour. The Ship Inn and Fountain Inn are also good, dog friendly pubs. Many shops had doggy inspired crafts and gifts and some had dog bowls outside. The Lost Gardens of Heligan are five minutes away this is a fascinating and beautiful garden to visit at any time of year. Dogs are welcome on leads and there is also a covered eating area so you can enjoy a dog friendly cream tea.

Watching Rosie playing happily on the lawn, my husband Adam commented that she was as happy and joyful as he had ever seen her.

We all in fact had the time of our lives at Polpier, and it was wonderful that the whole family was very welcome.

Viki, owner of Rosie and editor of DogFriendlyCornwall.net

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Amandasig