When we first got engaged, I have to admit that the bit that I threw myself into most enthusiastically was the whole arranging-a-honeymoon part. I grabbed all the brochures, and read all the blogs, and we eventually narrowed it down to three options. The first was seven days in the Maldives; the classic, romantic, blissful option where doing and wearing nothing are the paramount objectives. The second option was two months of travelling around California followed by a couple of weeks in Hawaii (if you know me at all you can probably guess that this was my preferred option), and the third was a road trip around Cornwall. Hmm.
As well as deciding to become husband and wife, we were also trying to decide where we would spend the next stage of our life together. Although Cali is where I'd ultimately like to land (sun, sea, sand, surf - I'm easy), we decided to look at options within the UK that would suit D's business goals, and perhaps accommodate my lifestyle goals (er, sun, sea sand, surf...). We settled on Bristol, Brighton or Cornwall. So, as we were considering living in Cornwall, we decided to ditch the glam, luxe honeymoon idea and spend a couple of weeks trundling around the place to see if we actually liked it.
In short, yes, we liked it. We saw some stunningly beautiful places, but when it comes to living there, Falmouth is likely the only option. Everywhere else is a little too chilled/slow for me - especially where the wifi is concerned. Over the next couple of months we will make a final decision, but for now, below are just a few of the things I loved about Cornwall.
Staying at the Star & Garter, Falmouth
We booked to stay at the Star & Garter through Airbnb, opting for the Crow's Nest, which is sat right at the top. As such, from time to time the occasional low ceiling was a bit of a challenge for D, but it was worth it for the view (he agrees!). Waking up to the sun rising over the harbour, or, even better, watching the sun go down in the most glorious orange and pink sunsets, was just such an experience; it's one of those places where you just can't wake up, or fall asleep, in a bad mood. The living room was perfect for catching up on reading (or watching Netflix in surround sound), the kitchen was well-equipped for cooking proper meals, and the bedroom had a very cool light show; I couldn't stop playing with the tiny remote which allows you to change the colours and rhythm of the bedroom lighting. Make sure you eat at their restaurant/pub too; Elliot, who co-owns the former 'dodgy pub' with his wife Becca, is an amazing chef.
Porthcurno Beach, Penzance
There are few places that you visit that instantly make an imprint on your mind that you will never forget. For me, Big Sur, in California is one of those places. Its beauty is just unmatched, or at least, I used to think so. When we started walking down to Porthcurno Beach I was truly stunned. I couldn't believe we were still in England. The colours of the flowers, the aqua-blue of the water and the array of candy-coloured teeny tiny tents down below on the beach, all took me back to California. Once we got down to the water, I couldn't get over the sand; it's the most beautiful sand I've ever seen, but, when you look closely at it, it's not really sand; it's like a billion tiny shards of shells, all crushed up. Initially we were annoyed that we'd forgotten to bring our books along, but we soon realised we didn't need them; the view was more than enough (seen in my first shot, above.)
Surfing with Shore Surf, Hayle
If you follow me on Instagram you'll know that I have a real love for the sea, and have always wanted to learn to surf. Being on the not-so-small side, I've never really thought that surfing would be an advisable past-time, but I couldn't let that stop me from ever knowing if I could actually do it. So we booked four days of lessons, two and a half hours per lesson, back to back, with Shore Surf.
Our first day's lesson was with Rich, a very cool guy who also runs a web development company. We opted for a private lesson, so it was just Daniel and I with Rich all to ourselves. Within thirty minutes of getting to know the safety essentials and some basics, we were striding out into the water. It was apparently very tame and a good day to start. The first thing I had to admit was, thank god we had to wear wetsuits!
I've always thought of wetsuits as highly unflattering and ugly, and had always imagined myself just wearing a bikini, like all the cool surf chicks I follow on Insta, but once in the water, I realised that without a wetsuit I would a) only be able to surf for like, ten minutes before quitting and b) the aforementioned bikini would be torn from my body. Not good. The amount of times I had to walk out into the water and get my body back onto that surfboard, over and over again; it's a workout in itself, but what I appreciated even more by the end of the first lesson was a newfound respect for the water, and I loved it even more.
On day two we opted for a group lesson, which was tougher in that we didn't get as much attention, obvs, so the workout factor was even greater - Rich would often pull us out into the surf and push us onto the wave, which obviously made us a little lazy. Also on day two, the weather was so different - and very windy. As such, wading through the waves was completely different; we literally got dragged by the twists and turns of the water.
On the third day we went back to private lessons and I actually stood up on the board, a few times. I even managed to emulate what I thought surfers were meant to do, that kind of sideways squat-type-thing, briefly. Basically, I did better than D, so what more could you ask for?
On day four, my body told me: ENOUGH. Every day, after our lesson, we would be knackered. Plans we'd made to visit various places were dust, and instead we found ourselves chilling in the sun trap at our lovely, quirky Airbnb. But on the morning of day four my wrist was aching from having to climb onto the board repeatedly, and I also felt like I was getting a cold after going for a swim the evening before. In hindsight, we should have taken a day off between each lesson; I think we would have got more from the lessons and our bodies would have been more receptive to a couple of hours in the water. Aside from that, the lessons were amazing and I can't wait to book some more - ideally somewhere a little bit warmer. I would strongly recommend booking with Rich, Lawrence and Pete, even if you've got just the faintest bit of curiosity about learning to surf.
Chilling out at the Scarlet Hotel, Newquay
Okay, I'm just gonna say it; this eco-hotel is the only reason I would ever go back to Newquay.
As soon as you enter, the vibe is definitely about peace and relaxation; nothing, including the decor, is loud. We'd left our booking way too late to actually get a room, so we opted for a couples spa package instead. As well as an outdoor hot tub complete with seaviews and a sleep-inducing rhassoul treatment, the package includes a (very) light lunch, time by the indoor and outdoor pools, sauna and, my favourite bit, a do-nothing room that includes a pit filled with oversized bean bags; lying there reading for two hours was just bliss. Definitely a must-do if you visit Cornwall. Oh, did I mention it's a kid-free zone? #zen
Honestly, Cornwall gave us some of the best meals we've ever tasted; it's as if people there actually care about every single thing they put on the plate. Whether it's a humble chippy, a street vendor or a high end restaurant, there's a real purpose to the food here, and I'm not just talking about Cornish pasties. We had way too many meals to list, but I definitely have to share info on:
The amazing Cornish cream tea that we had at The Waymarker - go for the crab salad and then choose the cream tea with cinnamon and sultana scones, and tip generously; the staff and owner are lovely.
Brekkie at Good Vibes Cafe - chilled atmosphere, nice wait staff and good veggie/vegan options, alongside a really good matcha latte and UH-mazing cakes, including the strawberry and black pepper flapjack.
The scampi and chips at Harbour Lights - there's a reason why these guys won Best Independent Fish and Chip Restaurant this year. Real mushy peas too.
if you want to know more about the food, you can find me and my reviews on TripAdvisor