Showing posts with label beach. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beach. Show all posts

Friday, 1 June 2012

Review: Cambridge Places: Going Local

Last weekend The Boy and I finally found ourselves spending some much-needed time at home. So we took the opportunity to enjoy the best sunny Cambridge had to offer. The ever-beautiful city positively gleams and glistens in the sunshine, buzzing with tourists, shoppers and students; boats bobbing on the river and sunbathers in the parks creating a laid-back holiday atmosphere. I was a little over-excited by the prospect of the first weekend of proper sunshine in Cambridge coinciding with my first visit to the annual Cambridge Beer Festival, the 39th to be held in the city. So much so that The Boy and I were keenly joining the queue on Jesus Green as close to 5pm on Friday evening as the pesky Day Jobs would allow.  

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Foodie Fun on the Suffolk Coast


I enjoyed another fabulous few days at the Suffolk seaside last weekend when The Boy and I took Ma and Pa to visit our Very Special and Exciting Wedding Venue!! We celebrated the paying of the deposit and setting of the wedding date by sampling the incredibly good value three-course lunch menu at Thorpeness Hotel and Golf Club near Aldeburgh.

Friday, 6 April 2012

A weekend of cobbles, cappuccinos and carpaccio

The City of Alghero, Sardinia
This time last Friday The Boy and I were on an early morning flight from Stansted to Alghero for a weekend of sunshine, relaxation and some amazing food and wine. I was feeling very proud of myself, having kept the weekend a secret for weeks and The Boy was relieved that this surprise weekend away for his 30th birthday didn't involve a spa or any kind of manufactured fun!! Having visited Alghero five or six times before, I was excited to revisit some favourite bars and restaurants, as well as the gorgeous sandy beach and city harbour. Quite a stylish destination on the north-west coast of Sardinia, Alghero is an intriguing little city providing the opportunity to explore the quaint, traditional old city hidden beneath huge bastion walls whilst enjoying the buzzing cosmopolitan local areas, modern eateries, exclusive yacht moorings, and beautiful golden beaches and crystal clear waters.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Another trip to the seaside!

The Boy and I jetted off to the coast again last weekend on the hunt for our perfect seaside wedding venue. This time we picked the gorgeous Heritage Coast of our neighbouring county of Suffolk. Even though the weather wasn't as dazzling as it was for our trip to Cornwall, the short two hour journey to the Suffolk coast made a big difference to our moods compared to the seven hour hell we embarked on a few weekends earlier!

Thorpeness Meare - the boating lake

We know the beaches and heaths of Suffolk well. The Boy holidayed there for years with his family and we've had some great times revisiting his childhood holiday spots together and discovering some little gems of our own. The quaint and quirky holiday village Thorpeness was our first stop. Just a couple of miles from the popular town of Aldeburgh, the tiny village retains the 1930s charm of the resort created by the Ogilvie family for English tourists to enjoy traditional pursuits on their summer holidays. Much of the architecture is resonant of small town America, with some quintessential English touches like the boating lake and brightly coloured beach houses. The village looks out to the north sea, over a wide sweeping beach of pebbles, with amazing views along the coast in both directions. When the sun is out, the neat black and white timber buildings of Thorpeness nestle quietly (almost eerily so) in between huge blue skies and glittering turquoise waters.

The House in the Clouds
For such a popular strip of coastline and considering it's proximity to resorts such as Aldeburgh and Southwold, which have become increasingly overrun by upmarket yacht clubs and exclusive holiday homes, Thorpeness has remained a unique and fairly unspoilt haven of good old fashioned fun. Home to a friendly and welcoming hotel, golf club and country club, as well as a good selection of Bed and Breakfast and holiday accommodation, the village also has a cute refreshments kiosk and boat house, a good foodie pub, and a no-frills bar and restaurant serving fish and chips alongside an antiques and bric-a-brac emporium! It's all delightfully intriguing.

The Country Club
We had a fabulous time. We put wellies on and walked along the beach in the wind and rain. We ate burgers and nachos at The Beach House, looking out on the meare and watching the landlady chalk up the specials board and sports TV listings for the day. We drove along deserted heath roads and lanes bordered by the unmistakeable Suffolk gorse bushes with their little specks of gold flowers. We drank refreshing Aspall cider and lazed around in our cosy guest house, which had been completely renovated last year, when the owner salvaged some lovely original Victorian features... to use as planters in the garden!

Best of all, we found the perfect church and reception venue for our special seaside wedding next summer and we're now busy planning all the delightful little details! I'll keep you posted :-)

Enjoy the sunshine! 

Aspall at the Engineers Arms, Leiston
Home from Home, Leiston


Monday, 5 March 2012

A trip to the Cornish coast

The Boy and I took a road trip this weekend to the beautiful south Cornwall coast of the Roseland Peninsula. We booked the weekend just after getting engaged back in December, when we discovered that the enchanting English Heritage St Mawes Castle was holding a Wedding Showcase. Getting married in a castle by the sea?? Yes please! We may, however, have got a little ahead of ourselves with romantic dreams of vows by candlelight, photographs of us by towering turrets, and speeches echoing around medieval stone walls. Here's a peek at how our first "wedding research" trip went...

St Mawes Castle 

After an early Saturday morning start and a very long drive accompanied by classic CDs such as The Best of the Beach Boys, we arrived to dazzling sunshine, sparkling blue ocean views, and a biting wind. We headed straight to the English Heritage castle overlooking the entrance to the Fal estuary in St Mawes, a delightful little fishing village surrounded by fantastic sea views and the lush greenery of the temperate Roseland Peninsula. As a major castle geek, I was super excited to see one of the best-preserved coastal artillery fortresses built during Henry VIII's reign to guard the area against invasions from France and Spain. Fast becoming a wedding planning bridezilla, I was even more excited to see the castle dressed as a unique, seaside wedding venue. The castle was just as enchanting as we had hoped it would be. From the beautifully minimalist ceremony room at the top of the castle, with panoramic views of the sea, to the turreted terrace used for drinks receptions, and the ancient gun room used for dinner (prepared by an adventurous team of caterers in the open-air makeshift kitchen!), the castle certainly provides a special venue for a wedding. Unfortunately we knew immediately that it felt like a great place for a day out but not the right place for our wedding (especially as the narrow stone steps and slatted floors would rule out any elderly guests or high heels!). 

St Mawes Castle, looking out to the lighthouse used in Fraggle Rock!
Childhood Memories 

We spent a whole day exploring the gorgeous villages and coves along the coast between St Mawes and Fowey. The very friendly landlady of our B&B gave us a list of places to visit if we were "brave enough to take a drive around the coastal road" and waved us off, jokingly checking that we knew where the reverse gear of our hire car was. An incredible adventure followed. I took The Boy on a tour of the delightful harbours and unspoilt beaches that I used to visit as a child, which involved some scary near vertical, one-track, winding roads; some near-misses with scathing local drivers; and some absolutely breathtaking views. I loved rediscovering the area. I had forgotten how clear the sea is in Cornwall, and how golden the clean sandy beaches are. Even the huge seagulls are haughtily superior and the salty air smells amazing. Here are a few of my favourite snaps from the weekend... 

The harbour at Mevagissey

View from the Rising Sun Inn, Portmellon

Sheltering from a rain shower at Caerhays beach

Daphne Du Maurier's Menabilly bay

Pretty shop window at Portscatho

Urchin shells for sale on the quay at St Mawes

View of the creek from St Just in Roseland church
Foodie Treats

Now that we're saving for a wedding, The Boy and I have had to reign in our foodie tastes somewhat and eat out a little less. We packed up a picnic for the long journey down to Cornwall, consisting of flasks of coffee, chocolate brioche, kettle chips, sushi and delicious corned beef and mustard rolls. After a quick trip to the castle, The Boy just had to sample the local fish and chips as an afternoon snack. We grabbed a portion of twice-cooked chips from The Watchhouse in St Mawes and were disappointed. They were too crispy and tasted of the oil they were cooked in. The Rising Sun Inn right in the centre of St Mawes more than made up for it with a fantastic dinner menu later on. I had Scallops and Smoked Salmon with lemon mayonnaise, followed by a tasty special of grilled bass fillets and crushed new potatoes with cherry tomatoes and a beurre blanc sauce. The Boy tucked into a wintery dish of roast pheasant breast and bacon on a potato rosti. Delicious!

I was desperate to revisit a pub in the nearby village of Portmellon after enjoying their menu of fresh fish a few years ago. As part of our tour, I took The Boy to the Rising Sun Inn on the harbour at Portmellon for a traditional pub lunch. Luckily the pub remains unspoilt and we sampled a simple and generous roast beef lunch - I especially liked the fresh, flavourful carrots and green beans, and the interesting cheese rosti added to the already heaving plate! The welcoming mother and daughter team also offered us extra gravy and homemade horseradish sauce. It was the perfect lunch spot, and really well-priced too.

Roast Beef at the Rising Sun Inn, Portmellon
So, although the search for our perfect wedding venue continues, I'm looking forward to having as much fun along the way as we did this weekend! I'll keep you posted...

Enjoy! :-)