Lifestyle: Seaside at Sunset

There’s few things I love more in life than a stroll by the sea. Despite living as far away from the coast as is physically possible in the UK, I love the peacefulness of it, the sound of the waves crashing in.

 photo 2015-10-03 17.57.23_zpsjl4sshyk.jpg photo ba21188c-ec47-4d95-871b-fbc071eec34f_zps71y99oge.jpgLiving in Canterbury has a fair few advantages. First and foremost there’s Pork & Co. Opening towards the end of my second year, I finally managed to introduce Will to one of my favourite places. A bargain compared to London prices, they offer a large pork brioche roll, sauce, topping (black pudding for both of us!) and crackling for £5. Their scotch eggs look pretty awesome too!

 photo 2015-10-03 18.17.15_zpsobapkiq9.jpg photo 2015-10-03 18.12.45_zpsdhnq7lsn.jpg photo 2015-10-03 18.07.37_zpseinqa1if.jpg photo 2015-10-03 17.53.04_zpsvff4bgem.jpgThe second advantage is living so close to the sea. Whitstable is a ten-drive drive from our house, it’s a lovely seaside town during the day. And turns out it’s stunning at night too. My housemates and I decided to head out and blow away the cobwebs for a few hours, managing to catch the sunset whilst we were at it.

We managed to pick such a perfect night to do this. It wasn’t too cold, the sunset was absolutely stunning, and the sea was so still. It was probably one of the last beautiful evenings of the year too, if the last few weeks is anything to go by.

 photo 2015-10-03 17.54.08_zpseynefr7o.jpg photo 2015-10-03 17.53.50_zpsybe56gpz.jpg photo 2015-10-03 18.09.25_zpss6pznu9r.jpg photo 2015-10-03 17.55.29_zpsmgso3hdr.jpg photo 2015-10-03 18.23.23_zpsybr08qwc.jpg photo 2015-10-03 18.15.49_zpsds9kh88q.jpg photo 2015-10-03 17.48.28_zpsr7ganlox.jpgWe wandered, snapped shots, chatted and just generally chilled out. It was the perfect antidote to a long day of studying – turns out I had definitely forgotten a lot of maths over my year out!

Are you a fan of the seaside? What do you do to relax after a hard day?

Lifestyle: A Bank-Holiday Weekend in Devon

Just over 13 months since I last wrote a post titled virtually the same, I’m back from another weekend in Devon. A different area, a very different kind of break, but we still ended up going to our family-favourite chippy!

 photo Devon 2015 26_zps8knklwoj.jpg photo Devon 2015 25_zpsfwoswkii.jpg photo Devon 2015 2_zpsxpqixc7p.jpgMy family have been visiting Devon/Dorset for years. It’s so much quieter than Cornwall, easier to get to, a little cheaper and the roads are much wider. Plus it’s just as beautiful! For as long as I remember we’ve been going down there for the first weekend in March and then again later in the year – though I’ve sneakily escaped from the March visit for a good eight years now. What can I say; it was a little cold for me! This year we stayed in a cottage just outside Sidmouth – one of my favourite seaside towns.

 photo Devon 2015 3_zps7vekha6e.jpg photo Devon 2015 8_zpsnvr89u1p.jpg photo Devon 2015 9_zpszuajafuj.jpgOur first day was earmarked for one thing, and one thing only – a visit to aforementioned chippy. I actually wasn’t as impressed as usual as I found the chips a little pale and soggy, still good though! We wandered along the seafront, getting battered by the strong winds and sprayed by the waves. The sun came out to join us too!

 photo Devon 2015 7_zpsen4yhe02.jpgI found a new life goal – own a beach hut. How lovely would that be?!

 photo Devon 2015 12_zpszfgcpd7c.jpg photo Devon 2015 1_zpsp4iwzonf.jpgSaturday bought a lot of sunshine, a good amount of heat and a lot of wasps buzzing around. There was little chance to enjoy the weather as we’d arranged a family meet-up – it ended up being a great afternoon of seeing cousins I hadn’t seen since I was 14.

 photo Devon 2015 13_zpscc952qum.jpg photo Devon 2015 14_zps8onl79ny.jpg photo Devon 2015 15_zpskey2xrca.jpg photo Devon 2015 16_zpskl5gizda.jpg photo Devon 2015 18_zpstexicpdu.jpg photo Devon 2015 19_zps8l1pdyjd.jpg photo Devon 2015 20_zpsagkvmnrm.jpgThe next day was a bit rainy, a bit grey, a bit soggy. We headed off to Beer, a little fishing village I’d never actually visited before. It’s still a working fishing village, so there’s a bit of a whiff in the air. It is very charming though, I just wouldn’t want to sit for too long on the beach. We had a wander, then retreated to a little hut on the cliffs for shelter, steaming hot drinks and some equally mouth-blistering Devonish pasties. I have clearly got used to London prices as I couldn’t believe I could buy a hot chocolate for £1.50!

 photo Devon 2015 21_zpszlimt6v1.jpg photo Devon 2015 22_zpsidl1skzx.jpgThe next stop was the Donkey Sanctuary. This is a staple whenever we are in the area, it’s free to enter and a great way to spend a few hours. I love donkeys (there’s just something so comical amount them!), and I find the work the charity does is amazing. They all look so well cared for, everything is clean, and not a penny is charged. This time we were lucky enough to finally spy some of the Poitou – giant curly donkeys!

 photo Devon 2015 23_zpsywixjl0x.jpg photo Devon 2015 32_zpsvdhkk5k6.jpgAs the rain stopped we decided to pop into Sidmouth briefly – and ended up being seriously impressed by the dog-friendly beach. We watched the tail-end of the regatta, wandered around the shops (myself being amazed at being able to get on normal width wellies in Joules!), and maybe had a cheeky ice cream…(Maple Pecan Crunch was definitely a good decision…)

 photo Devon 2015 24_zpshrezq6vx.jpg photo Devon 2015 29_zpssqegji4g.jpg photo Devon 2015 31_zps79cwln2j.jpg photo Devon 2015 30_zpsnmuyuq9k.jpgHaving been so impressed with Sidmouth we decided to call in again on our last day (me and W unfortunately could only stretch to a long weekend). The weather was a little kinder to us, the tide not so. We wiled away the morning in the town, lusting over the homewear shops and eating some of the best chips ever (this time the fish suffered – one day I will find the perfect place that does both elements exactly right!). Tide finally out, we hit the beach. The sun made an appearance, the bare legs came out and I braved the sea (knee deep!). We explored some rock pools, got my dog running around and generally relaxed.

A slightly strenuous climb up to the car needed remedying with an ice cream. Salted Caramel was the perfect way to end a perfect weekend!

 photo Devon 2015 11_zps54ydp060.jpgAs this weekend served as a bit of a detox from the internet, from blogging, from life in general, I was a bit unsure about whether to put up a post about it. However I did take some lovely photos (some of these are from my shiny new phone!), and I had such a wonderful time I wanted to share it – as it’s my last holiday in a while I thought I’d make the most of it!

What did you get up to over the Bank Holiday? Where’s your favourite seaside spot?

Lifestyle: Winter Days in Brighton

A few weekends before Christmas I had decidedly itchy feet. I’ve spent since July going between Northamptonshire and Surrey, with two weekends in Canterbury to break it up a little. I was bored, I didn’t want to go into London (it was scarily busy in November, the thought of just travelling through in December was enough to give me palpitations!). But rather luckily I appear to be living on the train line to Brighton. A quick change at Gatwick (just to speed up the journey), less than an hour after heading out we were at the seaside!

 photo 2014-12-13155214_zps0ba9b629.jpg photo 2014-12-13164548_zpsbbe993c9.jpgIn fact, it just about took us longer to get our coffees than it did to get to Brighton. We popped into a little cafe near the station; Milk No Sugar. A gorgeous little cafe, with an amazing menu. Nutella Mocha was our picks, thought the bee-nutterly latte was tempting. The coffees were pretty good, but a 40+ minute wait?! Can’t say I was overly impressed…less fancy patterns in my drink, more speed!

 photo 2014-12-13120932_zps16144c55.jpgA wander round the lanes was just what I needed. Small interior decor shops are just my cup of tea, and I could have spent an absolute fortune. Copper initial ornaments were my favourite; I’m desperately looking forward to adorning a door with WC in the future, confusing people, and amusing me. Small story: our first year together involved myself and Will attempting to make a gingerbread house. It worked, but we iced our initials on it. And yep, gingerbread toilet was the outcome! Oops..

 photo 2014-12-13143956_zps31a92757.jpgI fell in love with so many different shops, but what really stole my heart? This guy!

 photo 2014-12-13165604_zpsc21ac951.jpgExhausted from wandering, and stuffed from one of the best sandwiches we’d eaten (more on that soon!) it was time to exchange £2 for plenty of 2ps and hit the slots. I love these machines, I could have hours of fun!

 photo 2014-12-13165610_zps79133ecc.jpg photo 2014-12-13164534_zps3cddad34.jpg photo 2014-12-13164540_zps944a14c6.jpgFeeling satisfactorily childlike, it was now time to do some adult-like things. Such as cuddle up on the beach and watch the sunset. It’s been a tough couple of years for us two, but times like this prove that its just so worthwhile.

 photo 2014-12-13165551_zpsecb6e00e.jpg photo 2014-12-13164603_zps0cec0100.jpg photo 2014-12-13165816_zps608cf341.jpgWith hands so cold they’d lost their feeling hours ago (it didn’t get above freezing that day!), it was time to wander back on a food hunt; we ended up with the last available table at Cote; pork belly, guinea hen, crepes suzette, tarte aux pomme and plenty of wine rounded off a perfect day.

Brighton is one of my favourite places; the shops are just so perfect, it’s by the sea, and it’s so relaxed even a day feels like a holiday! I’m determined to explore more places this year, so I’d love some recommendations of where to go! Currently looking for a weekend away at the end of the month, where should I think about? Been anywhere nice recently?

Lifestyle: Weekend in Devon

Last weekend I was lucky enough to head off to the seaside with my family for a few days. It’s actually been three years since I’ve been away with them, and almost seven years since I’ve been down in Devon despite virtually twice-annual visits as a child – so it was a lovely chance to see how things have changed and spend some quality time together!

 photo 2014-07-18131043_zps2964ceee.jpg photo 2014-07-18132844_zps4adad749.jpg photo 2014-07-18133705_zpsc3a6abd0.jpg photo 2014-07-18140238_zpscf5a27d7.jpgWe spent the Friday wandering round Babbacombe; a quiet seaside town with a scarily steep incline down to the seafront. We were a little lazy and only walked down; there’d been a huge thunderstorm at home the night before, so a four-hour drive coupled with little sleep left us all a little worse for wear! Being lazy did have its advantages though as both my sister and dad faced their fear of heights and used the Cliff Railway with us…with the bribe of fish and chips at the top! Delicious fish and chips too, from a shop that supposedly came second in the country in some kind of competition.

 photo 2014-07-18212135_zpse2324295.jpg photo DSC_0267_zps6069e774.jpg photo 2014-07-20214752_zpsf7ff75dd.jpg photo 2014-07-20211719_zps87c1db50.jpg photo 2014-07-18205749_zps6ad39741.jpgWe stayed in a chalet on Devon Valley Holiday Park – believe it or not this was actually a Daily Mail holiday, so we paid £15 each for the three nights…and then a £30 supplement to take the dog! Definitely good value, and our accommodation was much better than expected. We’d booked a minimum of a one-bedroom place, but ended up with two good sized bedrooms, a lovely living space, and a clean if bright (lime green!) bathroom. The park itself was quiet, but with just enough to keep any kids busy. Me and my sister made use of the indoor pool a few times, and also visited the two-penny slots every night! The views of the river were also pretty spectacular, as was the surround lanes.

 photo 2014-07-19123420_zps357ccb88.jpg photo 2014-07-19133908_zps9261d4c3.jpg photo 2014-07-19124219_zps70610d2d.jpgOn the Saturday we visited what is perhaps my favourite British beach. Parking in a rather secluded carpark, we proceeded through a damp and dingy tunnel in the cliff face before coming to a lovely cove. Ness Beach allows dogs all year round, but its pretty quiet compared to other beaches. A little pebbly (most Devon beaches are!) with plenty of seaweed for someone to roll in, it was picturesque and just lovely. After getting a little burnt we headed back through the tunnel and towards lunch at The Ness – I have a separate post planned for this!

 photo 2014-07-20123548_zps4cd57972.jpg photo 2014-07-20141931_zpsc4d666dc.jpg photo 2014-07-20145104_zpsbc9c7b4d.jpg photo 2014-07-20143719_zps9bef744e.jpg photo 2014-07-20143824_zps39af775e.jpgSunday was a bit of a mixture. We first headed to the dog-friendly beach in Teignmouth. We didn’t find this particularly dog friendly as it was ram-packed with families; my dog finds children quite stressful so after an unsuccessful swimming lesson (he will not, unbribed, get more than his paws wet!) we headed to Dawlish. Dawlish is a lovely little town; a little like a mini Bournemouth. A lovely lunch consisted of a slice of mustardy Chicken & Ham Pie from Gay’s Creamery, followed by an ice-cream (one scoop peanut butter, one scoop snickers) from Sticky Fingers. Pretty immature of me, but I did giggle at those neighbouring shop names! We wandered around the gardens trying to get a decent picture of the black swans, getting distracted by how photogenic my dog is, and then wandering along the sea front. More sunburn followed Sunday!

 photo 2014-07-20180811_zps6700a982.jpg photo 2014-07-20181329_zps18de20fa.jpgSunday also saw us purchasing a bargain take-away Cream Tea (from Gay’s). Four scones, four portions of jam and a tub of clotted cream for £3.50 was great value, although we did go and buy our own jam (raspberry over strawberry any day!). We found this excellent, with the scones being some of the best I’ve eaten. Yum yum!

 photo 2014-07-21110514_zps4a52e08d.jpg photo 2014-07-21110555_zps1b7abcf2.jpg photo 2014-07-21114049_zps5eca651b.jpgWhilst we had to be out of the accommodation by 10am on Monday, we decided to still make the most of our break! We travelled along the coast to Sidmouth, to pay a visit to the Donkeys. Again, I’ve not been here for many years – it was lovely to see how many donkeys have joined since my last visit, and also the new stables. We then travelled onto Seaton; not a typical tourist town, but one we know well from annual March visits due to the Grizzly! To be honest I actually didn’t recognise the area as so much has changed since I was last there; but the scampi & chips, and lemon meringue ice cream, were all pretty good!

 photo DSC_0282_zpsf5ebc4fd.jpgA chaotic journey home followed, with iced tea split all over the car (oops), driving off motorway services with the boot open, and hanging heads on the car door (double oops). But it was a lovely weekend, wonderful to spend time with my family and I hope its not as long until we head away again!

Have you been away anywhere nice?