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these boots are made for walking

Between Christmas and New Year, we dragged our large full Christmas bellies down to Branscombe to spend time with our best friends.

The weather wasn’t going to give in. The south west has been lashed with the winter weather over the last few weeks resulting in sodden grounds and almost weekly floods. We set off down to the beach armed with an umbrella and good ol’welly boots.

After wading through the flood waters down the rough track to the beach, we reached the storm swept shores to witness the waves at great strength. I haven’t seen the sea so ferocious in all my life.

The great opportunity for a game? Oh yes. We spent almost an hour chasing the waves with Trigger and Dave (the dogs), until one of us became the unlucky sucker that got drenched. Not me, obviously!

Richard was seen flashing his naughty I LOVE BEIJING t-shirt, supposedly, until we realised it was definitely time for a beer and headed back to the house.

After another roast dinner and a few beers, I snuggled up on the sofa with my favourite pooch, Trigger. He is completely deaf and blind in almost both eyes. He’s the 3 year old son of Dave (female Dave, don’t ask) from her first litter. He was born with the recessive gene which means he is pretty much an albino dog with white fur and red eyes. They are the beautiful and intelligent Blue Merle Border Collies and I have hours of fun practising his ever growing understanding of dog sign language!

 

the gift of time, cornwall

There is something about a sporadic decision to jump in the car and drive somewhere on a mini adventure. It’s the same feeling I remember from my childhood, when I’d be waiting for my friends to come over to make a den. I’d have a few hours of “prep” time to gather all the towels, sheets and furniture I possibly could, while be completely overwhelmed with excitement.

Winter adventures, surprisingly, are my favourite kind of adventures. Although the weather is cold, the days are usually calm and settled especially on the south coast. I wanted to share with you an incredible place I visited between Christmas and New Years that I haven’t got around to blogging about (and you know how much a love a good catch up). Do you have loved ones that just have everything? Well, look no further, this is the perfect Christmas gift.

So, last year, just after Christmas we hopped into our car and drove. Destination – Hotel Penzance in Cornwall.

A beautiful Edwardian townhouse awaits. Hotel Penzance is a home from home. The rooms are exquisite, but not overdressed. Perfect little luxuries and the most comfortable beds. The views of the harbour and beaches make this hotel a retreat.

And if all of that doesn’t tempt you enough, a two rosette restaurant serves local and fresh grub for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No need to leave huh?

Well, unfortuntaley for the first few days I was pretty poorly with a sickness bug. But it couldn’t have been any better. Long baths in the day, enjoying complementary wine, tea, coffee and cake in the afternoon in one of the wonderful sitting rooms, long snoozes in the huge bed…I could go on. It was just magical.

I hope the pictures of food have distracted from the words. The pictures really do speak for themselves. Magnificent.

Locally produced where possible, it’s no wonder that the restaurant alone is so popular. A choice of daily made breads too are such a wonderful touch.

Opposite reception you’ll find the reading room. Warm with a log fire, Terry the cat will inevitably be purring for a stroke.

Cornwall is magical. Whether it’s your first time or like me, 1000th time it holds something truly amazing.

A trip to Hotel Penzance would make the most ah-mazing Christmas gift. Time with a loved one is priceless and I can hand on heart guarantee you’ll fall in love with each other again as much as you’ll fall in love with Hotel Penzance. Even better, they have done all of the hard work. You can view all of the gift vouchers they have available here.

 

westbourne, a boutique life

I’ve been hit by “the flu”. After weeks of dodging coughs and sneezes in the office, my body finally gave in.

What better remedy than a manicure, a spot of shopping and great coffee?

Westbourne is a wonderful suberb of Bournemouth, offering the “village” lifestyle to residents and visitors. You wont find popular chain shops here, instead beautiful home and fashion boutiques.

This time of year, crafters and shabby-chic fanatics strive in Westbourne. Each shop offers something different whether it’s one of a kind dresses, restored vintage furniture or handmade gifts and stocking fillers. It’s a dream.

Unfortunately, the bright ill spark that I am, left the memory card for my camera in the Mac. So I apologise again that the quality of pictures are not doing Westbourne justice!

We stopped for a quick coffee in Soho, regrettably with no time for food (which is spectacular) and then set foot to Number 83. Number 83 is a mesmerising display of crafts, quirky nik-naks, handmade cards and local art. A two-storey boutique with something to offer for every occasion.

Obviously I spent too long gawping at each and every intricate handmade christmas decoration.

After selecting a handful of goodies at Number 83, we spent the next hour ohhing and ahhing at the wonderful array of individual gifts found in the arcades delicious selection of boutiques and then I was done, my bed was calling me.

Westbourne is a little Bournemouth gem. If you’re visiting, I highly recommend Soho for coffees and lunch, Number 83 for shopping and Indi’s for an evening curry.