I'm not sure there are many things I enjoy more in life that an impromptu week away to the Westcountry. The place I grew up, the place that has my heart and is woven into my bones. The lush greens, the wild coastlines, the abundance of freshly grown produce, the garden birds, the walking and the climbing and the picking and the growing. But best of all, the kettle warming on the wood-burning stove. Gav and I had a week booked off starting September 3rd, thinking we might go to France or somewhere overseas to celebrate my birthday. Our summer was busy with putting our flat up for sale, and expensive with the building work and some legal stuff we had to get sorted before we had any viewings. The time got away from us, as it so often does, and we resigned ourself to a week at home in the city. No bad thing, because secretly we love those kinds of holidays too.
Out of nowhere, a few days before the start of our holiday, we decided to head West and spend the week in a cottage in Cornwall. We both needed some fresh air and sea views, and some time together away from the city. We planned to book-end the trip with a night at my parents either side so they could see Rory, and to cut our journey time down a little as their house is on the way. A few years ago, I stayed in a cottage in Cornwall with some friends while I was pregnant with Rory. It was on the North West coast, just near Pendeen, a little futher West than St Ives. I knew that was the place I wanted to head back to, to show it to Gav and Rory and to explore a bit more than I'd had time to on the last trip. A quick search on Airbnb and we were all booked. I love spur of the moment trips, we don't do those enough.
These photos are a mixture of our time in Cornwall and in North Devon with my parents. I hope you enjoy looking at them, even though they're all smushed together in one post! It was so wonderful to get away from London, as it always is, and spend some quality time with Gav and Rory. If you have small children yourself, you'll know that holidays with them in tow are frequently far from relaxing. You're always on the go, it's a struggle to keep them in any sort of routine and they often don't sleep so well at night in a strange bed. All of these things can mean you have a tired, hungry and cranky toddler (and mama) on your hands. Rory always sleeps so badly when we go away, and this time round she seemed particularly unsettled. It's not easy getting in and out of cars, going into shops, out for lunch or for any decent hikes when you have a toddler either. Sometimes they're a dream, and other times you have to abort mission and just find a place to let them chase the seagulls.
Despite the challenges, I always love travelling with Rory. The good memories you make and the fun times you have are always worth the trickier bits. It's important to me that Rory loves to explore and be outdoors, and that she's not phased by new places or people. She is so happy whenever we're outside, the wilder and windier the better! Oh, and any place they make a good veg pasty is alright with her. We had a lot of fun all being in the cottage together, making homemade pizzas, going out for walks, hunting for antiques in the local town and sitting together in front of the fire in the evenings with a glass of wine. We were exhausted all the time, for sure, but we got exactly what we came for - time together and time outdoors. We can relax in ten years or something, right?
I planned to write a few more blog posts sharing all the places we visited, but as usual I set my expecations way too high for what I could acheive on no sleep while wrangling the Rornado. I didn't take any photos in St Ives or Penzance, and sadly we failed at visiting Barbara Hepworth's house and garden which I so badly wanted to see! Instead, here's a list of some places I reccommend, and a link to our cottage in case you fancy planning a trip of your own.
Places to recommend in St Just, St Ives & Penzance:
Our Airbnb cottage // St Just (right in the centre of town, near shops & pubs etc)
My friend's Airbnb cottage // Pendeen (a drive to the town)
The Common Wanderer // St Ives (ethcial outdoor supplies)
Archie Browns // Penzance (healthfood shop & vegetarian cafe)
Cape Cornwall is a good place to walk, as is Lands End, and if you are into your walking you'll find no shortage of routes in this area. St Ives is full of great pasty shops (we tried a few) and make sure you pick up a few extra to take with you while you're walking by the coast. Penzance had some amazing antiquing opportunities, unfortunately none we could browse with an angry toddler. Next time! I'd certainly recomend a week in Cornwall as a great family holiday, and would love to go back again next year with a few friends so we could all share in the cooking and babysitting. If you have any recommendations for this area yourself, please do leave them in the comments as I'd love to read them and I'm sure others would too. I so wish we'd had more time to explore, there's so much to see and do. The Eden Project is a big one on our list for next time for sure!