What to visit in Cornwall? Part 2: Port Issac and St. Ives

In my previous post about Cornwall, which you can find here, I described what to do in Padstow. This post will be devoted to a small fishing village called Port Issac and a beautiful town with turquoise water – St. Ives.

We spent only a couple of hours in Port Issac, so I cannot pretend to be an expert in what to do or visit there. But believe me, just a short period of time in this adorable place was enough to make me fall in love with it. Coastal views, tiny alleys, family-run shops and the omnipresent nautical atmosphere – what’s not to love there? Well, just be careful if you’re planning to drive through the alleyways. They’re so narrow, your car will barely fit!

Low tide in Port Issac's Harbour
Low tide in Port Issac’s harbour.
Port Issac
‘Port Isaac Harbour was a busy coastal port from the Middle Ages to the mid 19th century. Cargoes like stone, coal, timber and pottery were loaded and unloaded there.’ Source here.

One thing I will always clearly remember from Port Issac is the Cream Tea, which I can honestly say was the best one I have ever eaten. The freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, served with tea and milk, tasted just heavenly!

Which should go first on the scones – jam or clotted cream? The Queen puts clotted cream on first, but Cornish people eat it with strawberry jam as the first topping. Rebellious souls!
The Krab Pot is a family run café where we had the delicious scones. Unfortunately, I did not try their crab sandwiches, but I assume they are delicious. It’s got excellent reviews on TripAdvisor and a big yes from me as well!
The names of some of the cottages in Port Issac are very marine. Would you like your house to be called Little Dolphins?

As I said before, we spent only a little time in the peaceful and quiet Port Issac, so I would now like to move on to St. Ives. Its atmosphere is completely different to Port Issac – it’s more lively and touristic, offering a variety of attractions like boat trips to Seal Island (which we sadly did not have time for) and contemporary art galleries like the Tate Modern. St. Ives will enchant you with its turquoise water, lovely harbour and tiny houses with cute nautical names like in Port Issac.

turquoise water in St Ives
Views from the harbour in St. Ives. What a colour!

We had a lovely stroll around St. Ives, had a close encounter with some angry seagulls, ate a big, home made, traditional Cornish Pasty (which was made in front of our eyes!) and I also finally tasted lobster for the first time in my life!

When we bought ice cream, the lady who sold them warned us to be careful of the seagulls, which are known for being little thieves. Looking at this one, one may think it wants to do some harm…
St Ives. A man preparing cornish pasties in front of the customers.
St. Ives. A baker preparing Cornish pasties in front of the customers.
An amazing restaurant with views of the harbour – Porthminster Kitchen. We ordered a full lobster and ate half each. It was the first one I’d ever had, so I was a bit worried about its flavour. You can see my full-of-doubts facial expression below…
To eat or not to eat? I ate it and I liked it. I wanted to try it, but I think it was the last time. Not because I didn’t like the taste, but knowing how long it takes for a lobster to grow to this size (approx. 5 years) and reading about these amazing animals at the Lobster Hatchery in Padstow made me realise we should not destroy their population by eating too many of them. Sustainability and balance is the key.

I could probably upload 100 more photos that I took in Cornwall, but as they say, less is more, and quality is always more valuable than quantity. So I will leave you with only a couple more photos to end this post.

the Harbour in St Ives
The view of the harbour in St. Ives.
St Ives Harbour - fishing boats
St. Ives harbour – fishing boats.
Beautiful beach in St Ives
St. Ives beach.

I hope I have encouraged you to visit Padstow, Port Issac and St. Ives, and I hope you’ll have more time to explore than I did. Unfortunately, one weekend was simply not enough!

Cider tasting event at The Stable

*AD – press event* After their pizza making event, a cosy pub in Bournemouth called The Stable invited the Bournemouth Bloggers again. This time it was for a cider tasting run by the biggest cider expert in the area – Ross Duncan. We had the chance to taste 10 different ciders which are nominated for the Cider of the Year award. The evening was fantastic and I found out a lot of interesting and fun facts about cider.

I have to admit, and please excuse my ignorance, before the event I was convinced that cider was an alcoholic drink made only from apples. While it’s true for the majority of ciders, there are other fruits like apricots, cherries, pears and rhubarb used to make cider and I strongly encourage you to try them as they are truly delicious.

Ross guided us through ten different flavours of cider, asking us about the sensations we could feel in different parts of our mouth. I realised after a while that I had to be careful – some ciders tasted like juice so it was easy to forget I was drinking alcohol! After tasting the third cider, I started to feel a bit tipsy! We were also offered some nibbles like crackers and cheese and had a short break for some mouth-watering pizzas and salads.

A slice anyone?

Some of the the ciders were more traditional-tasting, which I would describe as sharp and bitter, and probably they would appeal more to men than women. One of the ciders actually smelt of a farm…yes, you read correctly, it smelt like the countryside, and that is apparently a sign of a good cider!

My favourite ciders were the fruitier ones, and my ultimate winner was one with rhubarb juice called No.8 from Crafty Nectar (the name sounds like Chanel No. 5…well, almost! 😉 ). I would also recommend a sparkling cider from Kent called Nightingale, which has got a light colour and is similar in taste to prosecco. You can read the description of all 10 ciders nominated for the awards here, but you should obviously go to The Stable and taste them yourself! Other bloggers chose their winning ciders too and it was interesting to see how different our taste buds are!

I really enjoyed the event thanks to the outstanding expertise in ciders of Ross Duncan, a great atmosphere, and delicious food provided by The Stable’s chefs. If you are looking for an original present for someone, or an idea of how to spend an evening with friends in a social, but also educational way, go to the Stable for a cider tasting evening. You can choose different cider experiences which you can check out on their website here. Highly recommended!

Cheers!

What to visit in Cornwall? Part 1 – Padstow.

We only had two days to visit Cornwall which, as you can imagine, is very little time! Having such a limited time, we only focused on two small Cornish towns – Padstow and St. Ives. However, we also managed to take a short visit to a tiny, but picturesque, fishing village called Port Issac. I took so many photos in these three places that I have decided to split this blog post into two parts. Padstow first!

Harbour in Padstow, Cornwall
The Harbour in Padstow, Cornwall

Deliciously fresh fish, lobsters, crabs, Cornish pasties, beautiful sandy beaches and…Rick Stein’s ’empire’ are all things I will remember from our trip to Padstow. And that’s what you’re going to see in this blog post.

If you follow the South West Coast Path from the harbour, you will get to this beautiful spot…

The first thing you should do after arriving in Padstow is go to its tourist information centre. I found it very helpful as I was given a map which was circled with the best places to visit and things to do if you have only a little time. Since Padstow is famous for sandy beaches, the first thing we did was take a walk to the beach by following the South West Coast Path. Of course, I was not surprised to see beautiful scenery, but what shocked me was a graveyard of crabs scattered all over the beach. It was sad, but also quite fascinating as I had never seen crabs in the wild!

Dead crabs on the beach in Padstow

When it started to become cloudy and windy, we decided to go to the Lobster Hatchery, which is a must-visit place in Padstow. It is a charity, but also a research centre which helps to increase the falling number of European lobsters. The entrance fee is £4, but you know your money will go to a good cause. I found out many fascinating facts about these shellfish creatures, and saw the different stages of a lobster’s growth. The youngest were just three months old (the cutest things ever) and there was even one giant lobster which was about 60 years old!

Lobster's Hatchery, Padstow, Cornwall
Lobster Hatchery, Padstow, Cornwall. Captain Barnacles (that’s his name :P) weighs over 5 kg! His claws alone are around 2.5 kg!! He’s estimated to be 60 years old!!!

Another place worth paying a visit to is Padstow Museum, which is opposite the Lobster Hatchery. It’s free, but tiny, and you won’t spend more than 15 minutes there. Nevertheless, having a little read about the importance of the fishing and tourism industries for Padstow’s community was quite interesting.

Padstow Museum, Cornwall

Walking around the harbour area, you’ll definitely notice the omnipresent surname of a popular chef – Rick Stein. Padstow, apart from having plenty of local cafés, is literally dominated by Stein’s businesses. Stein’s fish and chips, Stein’s deli, Stein’s seafood eatery, Stein’s hotel, Stein’s restaurant, Stein’s patisserie, Stein’s shops with nautical souvenirs, Stein’s cookery school…you name it, and Stein will give it to you.

Stein’s home accessories are beautiful.

Rumour has it that the local community does not like Rick Stein. One of the reasons is that he’s bought so many properties in Padstow, making its property market really expensive. Moreover, he does not support the Lobster Hatchery. Other small local businesses do, so why not a rich man like him?! Just saying!

There are lots of stunning beach bays around Padstow which are easily accessible by car. Make sure you visit Booby’s Bay, Constantine’s Bay and my favourite one – spots around Trevose Head. I am sure my pictures will convince you that they are all beautiful.

Bays in Padstow, Cornwall
Bays in Padstow, Cornwall
Trevose Head, Padstow, Cornwall
Trevose Head, Padstow, Cornwall
Trevose Head, Padstow, Cornwall
Among the flowers on the cliffs 😉 Trevose Head, Cornwall – I took one billion pictures in this place
A pretty white lighthouse only adds to the beauty of this place
Mother Ivey's Bay
Mother Ivey’s Bay

Looking for a foodie’s paradise? Padstow is considered to be one! I swear to God, the sea bass I ate there was the most tender I’ve had in my entire life. The mussels in white wine were a real delicacy. If you are a seafood lover, you’ll be the happiest person on Earth in Padstow. Apart from the seafood, make sure you try traditional Cornish pasties as well as a Cornish Breakfast, which is very similar if not identical to English Breakfast.

Cornish Breakfast, Padstow, Cornwall
Cornish Breakfast, Padstow, Cornwall
Whole cooked lobsters in Rick'Stein's seafood eatery

Padstow enchanted me with its nautical atmosphere, delicious seafood, Lobster Hatchery (I didn’t know Lobsters could be such interesting creatures!), beautiful beach bays and the feeling of pride and independence you can see in its local people. The only thing I didn’t manage to visit was its famous Camel Trail, but it’s a good excuse to go back there one day. My next blog about the picturesque Cornish town of St. Ives and the fishing village of Port Issac is coming soon…

Am I flying?

Where to eat in Bournemouth: The Stable

Nowadays, it’s not enough for a restaurant just to offer tasty food. Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of where the food they eat comes from. Is it local? Is it ethically sourced? Is it organic? You can answer yes to all of these questions while eating at The Stable. I had the opportunity to find out more about the Stable’s eco values during a Bournemouth Bloggers’ event during which we learnt how to make a pizza.

Nibbles – a selection of light refreshments to start the evening.

When we arrived, we were welcomed with nibbles such as slices of chorizo, olives, pepper paste, crispy bread and local cheese. Due to the fact that The Stable is known for having a variety of ciders, I decided to spend the evening with an accompaniment of this alcoholic apple drink. The bartender was very helpful and advised which cider would suit my taste buds – I don’t like it when it’s too sweet!

The main attraction of the evening was a presentation on how to make a soft dough and tasty tomato sauce by two charismatic chefs. I hope they don’t mind me sharing this secret with you! The secret of making a fantastic-tasting tomato sauce lies in frying red onions, which are sweeter than white onions, to balance the acidity of canned tomatoes. Do not add garlic to the sauce too quickly because it will burn!

@chefcambell and his assistant

When it comes to the dough, adding the right amount of water and yeast is key. If you add too much water, the dough will be too crispy! The Stable chefs said it was a matter of experimenting to find the recipe for success. It’s also worth mentioning that the flour that is used in The Stable to make pizza is 100% organic!

All of the Bournemouth Bloggers were given the opportunity to create our own pizza. We were given different ingredients and even though I felt like putting all of them on my pizza, I knew that the Italians believe minimalism is the key to success when it comes to pizza! I decided to go for mozzarella, chorizo, red onions and some basil leaves. Well, I still managed to overdo it and included too much cheese, so it came out too cheesy and heavy! But hey, who has ever complained about too much cheese?!

The event organised at The Stable was very informative and fun at the same time. It’s highly important to me to get to know restaurants’ values before I decide to eat there. In the end, we are consumers, and we have the power to create demand. I choose places which not only care about their customers eating good food and having a good time, but are also mindful about the planet. The Stable is a perfect eco-friendly place for a catch up with friends while having simple but tasty food like pizza and pies, plus local cider.

Always a good catch up with Francesca – one of the Bournemouth Bloggers

A walk along the Jurassic Coast. Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.

This is one of my favourite places to go at weekends. It’s simply fantastic. Both Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are part of a long coastline called the Jurassic Coast. The structure of its cliffs, rocks and fossils can tell you the story of Earth across 185 million years! We had a fabulous time there, climbed a couple of cliffs (losing our breath a couple of times in the process), took loads of stunning pics, and rewarded ourselves with some comforting food in one of the restaurants.

Just admiring the beautiful landscapes of the Jurassic Coast is a pleasant and unforgettable experience, but when you realise that you’re standing on cliffs that have taken millions of years to be formed, it simply takes your breath away.

I bet the first association people have with the name Jurassic Coast is Jurassic Park. Yes, dinosaurs! They used to walk on these lands and you can still find plenty of their fossils lying on the beach, and for me, the thought of it makes the walk even more thrilling.

Lulworth Cove

We started our walk from Lulworth Cove, which came into being because of a collision of continents, and continued towards Durdle Door. It is an iconic arch of limestone standing in the sea, making it a perfect spot for photos.

As you can see it can be quite windy out there…

In my opinion, Durdle Door should actually be named Durdle Window since you can see beautiful turquoise water through it. It is like the Azure Window in Malta, which collapsed two years ago and left everyone heartbroken! Durdle Door is for English people what the Azure Window is for the Maltese – simply iconic. Can you imagine if Durdle Door collapsed into the sea? I can’t. The landscape of the Jurassic Coast would not be the same!

It would not be the same photo if Durdle Door was not the backdrop!

The beauty of this place is undeniable, but it can be dangerous if you’re not careful. There are high cliffs, strong winds and the tempting urge to get closer to the the edge to take a perfect selfie. Not advisable unless you want to feel like a god…

Or the statue of Jesus in Rio de Janerio…
It can be melancholic sometimes…
Climbing up and down the Jurassic Coast cliffs is exhausting. Lying on the soft grass can be a remedy…
A dramatic sky and sunshine are what every photographer dreams of. Don’t you think the grass looks like a beautiful green carpet or a football pitch?
We met some dalmatians lying on the grass 😀

I know I have been complaining a lot about the exhausting walk up and down the Jurassic Coast hills, but believe me it’s worth it. Especially when you can reward yourself with some comforting food at one of the restaurants in Lulworth Cove. We chose the Lulworth Cove Inn – a cosy English pub selling fresh, local and sustainably sourced produce.

I truly recommend eating there…
Seafood platter (crab paste, fried whitebait, squid, and prawn cocktail)

But if you decide to eat outside, be careful of voracious vultures….

Visiting the Jurassic Coast is a must if you live in or come to visit Bournemouth. It’s only a 45 minute drive by car and there are some travel agencies like Discover Dorset that can take you there as well. You can do a challenging walk and climb a couple of cliffs, but if you don’t want to get too tired, choose an easy walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door! I hope this blog post and my photos have encouraged you to go there!

Crafts and Giggles

As children, we have many opportunities to do crafts. But our fast-paced adult lives make it almost impossible to find a moment to focus on some more creative activities. I have always liked crafts, so when I got an invitation from Bournemouth Bloggers to attend a flower crown making event by Crafts and Giggles, I immediately said yes.

Crafts and Giggles is an independent company run by the adorable and talented Katie, who offers different kinds of craft workshops – you can see the selection of workshops here. She studied Art at Bournemouth University and is now providing her services at hen parties, birthdays, children’s parties and even corporate events. She mainly works in Dorset, but she also gets invited to other parts of England.

Katie in her workshop in Poole

Katie, who is also a blogger, taught us how to make flower crowns by using silk flowers, metal wires and self adhesive tape. Not only was it a creative activity, but also a mindful session which helped us to concentrate. In the era of the internet and being bombarded by too much information, being able to focus on one thing is priceless and necessary.

I chose white and pink flowers for my crown from tons of other colours provided by Katie. You can see some other colourful crowns created by Bournemouth Bloggers below.
As you can see, we enjoyed crown making a lot. Don’t we all look like mysterious nymphs? 😀 Emma, Maria, Lauren, me, Emma, Alice and Ciara (if you click on their names, you’ll be redirected to their fantastic blogs).
A ray of sunshine passing through a window in Katie’s office in Poole.
With Lauren from
http://www.laurenlovesblog.co.uk/

I would really recommend Crafts and Giggles to everyone who wants to have some fun while doing meaningful and creative activities. Even though we are Bournemouth Bloggers and usually use our phones all the time during events, this time we put down our phones for over one hour and immersed ourselves in the activity of flower crown making. I can only reassure you that your children will love it and so will adults.

A glamorous photo of Bournemouth bloggers in their flower crowns on the stairs.

Romanzo. A family-run Greek restaurant in Bournemouth

‘Kalispera!’ means ‘good evening’ in Greek, and what a great and delicious evening we had with our friends at Romanzo last month. It is a genuine, independent place, awarded with a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor. It’s been run by a very hospitable family from Cyprus since 1986 and, believe me, they will make you feel as if they are welcoming you in their own home. It’s located in Westbourne (address here) and you’d better reserve your table in advance, as they are always packed!

Cosy light and homely decorations are very inviting…

Romanzo is a cosy and fairly small restaurant where the tables are placed very close to each other. While some may think that sitting so close to other people is an attack on privacy, I personally love it, because it feels as if you are part of a big family attending a Greek feast. And don’t worry, other people’s conversations are gently muted by Greek music.

What deserves mentioning is Romanzo’s attention to detail and its decorations. Greek music and tablecloths patterned in white and blue squares will transfer you to a Greek Taverna. The menu’s picture, presenting the elderly man looking down nostalgically alongside two donkeys, is so original and captivating. Once we opened the menu, it was difficult to make a choice as all the descriptions of the dishes looked so appealing and appetizing. Here’s what we eventually decided to order.

Happy people who can’t wait to start eating…
One of the starters, Calamari Fritti (fried Calamari), with some fresh salad and yoghurt. Refreshing and crispy.
We were gifted a big plate of fried potatoes. Who would say no to some extra fried potatoes?
I probably don’t have to introduce this Greek classic, called Moussaka, which consists of layers of potatoes, minced meat and aubergine topped with cheese. My friend ordered Moussaka and I was truly envious, despite my dish being delicious as well.
Souvlaki – which is simply a skewer of meat (pork, chicken or lamb) with rice, salad and tzatziki.
Roast dinner? No, it’s Arni Tava, which is a knuckle of lamb slow cooked in the oven with tomatoes, onions and cumin.
I ordered a seafood platter with grilled sardines, prawns and calamari. It tasted delightful and refreshing, especially with a splash of lemon.
Afelia pork fillet cooked with mushrooms in wine and coriander seeds, served with rice & Greek salad. The price of starters is approximately 5 pounds and main dishes are between 12 and 15 pounds.
A good dinner accompanied by wine must be followed by a decadent dessert, and as you can see on the board there’s plenty to choose from.
Mama’s orange, caramel and banana dessert. Delightful sweetness!
Homemade cheesecake. I know it’s not very Greek, but who doesn’t like cheesecake?

We fell in love with Greek food while travelling in Crete last year. Eating at Romanza reminded us of this fantastic sunny time in Crete and all the culinary pleasures we experienced there. Highly recommended!

A photo of me at Chania’s harbour in Crete. If only the weather in Bournemouth was the same.