St Ives Day Seven

The final days whizzed by in a flurry of confusing weather and…well, more food. The town started to hum and buzz with talk of the oncoming storm. Hatches were beginning to be battened down, town-dwellers told us how lucky we were to be heading home before it hit.

That said, Friday was one of the most glorious days of the week, and I set out to make the most of it with a walk around the headland, where I always like to pretend I’m a tragic Thomas Hardy heroine roaming the rugged countryside. A Thomas Hardy heroine with a DSLR and sunglasses, that is.

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Not far into my walk, however, I spotted one of the most terrifying scarecrows I’ve ever seen. I thought they were just supposed to scare birds, not people?

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By a stroke of luck, some of my lovely family were also down in the Wall of Corn for the week, and we all united for lunch at Porthminster.

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I wore a dress for the first time this week. It felt really weird.

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I started lunch with a cocktail and found myself dizzying somewhat after a single sip: whisky, cider with ginger, tonka bean and chilli syrup…

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I had the most incredible vegetable curry – savoury but aromatic, full of fresh veg and coconut milk.

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If you go for one thing at Porthminster, make it a dessert. While the language of the menu may put you off (all ‘deconstructions’, ‘foam’ and ‘naked brulee’), the puds are where the chefs display phenomenal skill. I had the aforementioned “naked brulee”, essentially a square of chocolate crème with the finest crispy brulee layer, plus peppermint honeycomb, vanilla milk sorbet and brownie dust.

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My uncle had caramelised bananas with a pistachio aero mousse, whisky cream and salted caramel, and Mummy Simmons had petit fours, displayed a la rock.

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Followed by a short stroll along the beach.

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And finally, I visited the Tate, who do free entry on Friday evenings. I’ve never had much success with the place as I’m not a huge modern art appreciator. The only exhibition I’ve enjoyed in the past was one by Simon Fujiwara. This time, however, the exhibition Aquatopia combines modern pieces with paintings by J.M.W Turner and Stanhope Forbes. It was immersive, atmospheric, and only made me roll my eyes once or twice – quite an achievement for the Tate.

Bye bye St Ives!

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St Ives Days Five and Six

One of the mainstays of any week in St Ives is a huge breakfast at Porthmeor cafe. Breakfast is probably my favourite meal of the day, and the bigger the better as far as I’m concerned.  Porthmeor offer a pick-and-mix fry up, where you can opt to keep it healthy with poached eggs, butternut squash and cherry tomatoes, or go to the dark side with hash browns and bacon.

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I can also heartily recommend the buttermilk pancakes with bananas, raspberries, whipped pecan butter and maple syrup…

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Fuelled for the day by extravagant brekkers, we strolled across town to take the train. Now, spending hours on a train forms a large part of my week, so you’d think I’d run screaming, right? This isn’t your average commute, though. This is one of the most beautiful  train journeys in the country (and I’m pretty sure that’s been verified by…someone, somewhere). Words don’t do it justice, so here are some photos instead.

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The weather was spectacular, turning everything around Porthminster into a potential Metronomy album cover.

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Taking a stroll through the town, I spotted some lovely chaps outside the Allotment Deli, and a rather unusual selling point for an umbrella.

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In the evening, we headed to The Loft to watch the town get dark over cocktails: an absolutely smashing espresso martini and a refreshing mimosa.

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First time up to London since New Year, which is strange, as I’m usually up a few times  a week. We needed a little time apart, London and I, but the separation did us the world of good. There’s something about the city in Winter, walking along Waterloo bridge with collar high and cheeks stinging in the wind, looking across the river at the tangerine lights and the bruised sky. I went up for a few meetings but took the time in between to wander the Southbank – and also to try on the most insane top in Topshop. I mean, what is it?!

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First up, I met the lovely Frankie at Foxcroft & Ginger in Soho for stacked sandwiches, cups of coffee in antique teacups and lashings of ginger beer. Topics of the day were: Adam & Joe (always), Blake Mycoskie’s brilliant book ‘Start Something That Matters‘ (EVERYONE needs to read this), food, Surrey, charitable initiatives, and Frankie’s amazing new project ‘Nice One Frankie‘, where she does something good/nice/generally beneficial to society every day. Oh, and a top notch Liam Neeson impression. We also talked about the fashion industry and a new project I’m working on, more to come on that soon.
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I had a couple more things to sort out, and then I had some blissful free time to mill about taking photos. It’s been ages since I just wandered for an hour with no purpose in mind. Then finally, when I was chilled to the bone and the sun had set, I huddled into Canteen to meet my friend Sophie. We had a lot of fun feeling like we were back at school thanks to the desk-like tables and the fact we were both wearing cable knit jumpers.

I’d heard mixed reviews of Canteen, but I loved it, largely because you can genuinely have breakfast all day. ALL DAY. Not like those places that say ‘all day’ but stop at noon. The novelty of evening porridge is not to be overlooked. Anyway, I settled for two perfectly poached eggs, fresh lemonade, and a big bowl of Christmassy tasting apple and blackberry crumble with vanilla custard. Good prices, fun atmosphere, and proper British grub, just like school.

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And finally home to watch the programme on Richard III, presented by lovely lovely Simon Farnaby. If you didn’t catch it last night, you MUST. The whole thing is bizarre, moving and very compelling.

Until next time x

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