Eager to escape the smog and endlessly increasing temperatures of London I decided to book a mini staycation with my friend to the Cornish coast.
Nestled in the cliffs of Whistsand Bay, ‘Moontide‘, a luxury self-catering cabin with Unique Home Stays offered an escape from the hustle and bustle and grind of daily life; just what the doctor ordered for two busy Thespian women with a never-ending to do list. Phones onto do not disturb, we hop into my car and embark on a 4 hour drive to the coast.
Parking at the top of the cliff we trundle down the hill to our cabin. It’s a steep slope and we were advised not to bring cases but instead to opt for over the shoulder bags with part of the descent down to the property becoming steep and uneven. Note to self, this only applies if one is arriving with one, maybe two bags; not a weekend bag, cool bag, camera bag, tripod, beach bag and handbag. Never one to pack lightly I grin and bear it as we make our descent to the decking.
Arriving just in time for the most spectacular sunset we dump the bags, sit on the decking with panoramic views of the ocean and crack open a bottle. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful scenery on my travels, but it’s jolting me just how beautiful the beaches of our own shoreline are. When it’s this beautiful, why do we scratch the itch to go abroad?
After a blissful nights sleep we tuck into out welcome pack. An optional £20 extra with the Cornish essentials to see you through the morning.
A seeded loaf of locally baked bread, eggs, prosecco, salted butter, clotted cream, homemade strawberry jam and scones as well as all the other essentials; milk, tea and coffee and a full pack of nespresso capsules to gently rock you into the day.
Coffee brewed, scones toasted and sun shining, we sit outside in our grey fluffy robes to admire the view over breakfast … who said scones were only for afternoon tea?
Cat has a little work to do so I decide to retreat into the bedroom and do some light reading on the collection of vintage books the property has to offer. So with a pot of peppermint tea, I take the tray into the bedroom, light a candle and curl up on the bed; Pachelbel on the radio, sun shining through the window, I can feel the weight of city life exhaling my body. It’s wonderful how something so simple; a pot of tea, cosy blanket and an old book can make you feel. I sense I’ve been needing to reset longer than I’ve given time to acknowledge.
In the afternoon we head down to the beach, a short five minute walk down the hill. The tide is out and so we wander the long stretch of Whitsand Bay, climbing the rocks and paddling through rock pools to find mussels and baby crabs lurking beneath the seaweed.
I decide to make us one of my favourite dinners, pici cacio e pepe. We take the dough outside, pop on an acoustic album onto the cabin’s wireless sound system and roll out our pici whilst chat turns to planning our weddings. Cat is my maid of honour and I hers, and with two weddings and hen do’s to plan, we get to work over a glass of wine.
The kitchen has just about everything you need in it. An induction hob with all the suitable pots and pans, quite possibly the most high tech kettle I’ve ever seen and every tool, instrument and condiment you’d ever need. We head onto the decking for an alfresco dinner before turning in for the night and watching a movie on Netflix. C’est La Vie.
The next morning, fulled by scrambled eggs on toast we head up the hill to the car and venture into Polperro, a fishing village about 20 miles away. A quaint village with antique shops, fudge stores and local pubs, it’s easy to see why there’s more than a few people here. Walking through a life-size model village we explore the cobbled streets behind the harbour and pull into the Blue Peter Inn for a cornish club sandwich: fresh crab, prawn and smoked salmon and salad in-between thick wedges of homemade rye bread with homemade coleslaw and vegetable crisps on the side.
Laden with peanut butter and banana fudge and Cat newly dressed in a periwinkle blue cashmere shawl we head back to the car restored and ready to swing by Looe to visit Pengelleys Fish Mongers to pick up some fresh mussels for dinner. A kilo of mussels and a large handful of fresh samphire puts us back just over a fiver, and so thrilled by the absolute steal, we head back to our cabin to relax for the evening.
On the decking there’s three areas to enjoy the view from, a bistro table and chairs, perfect for breakfast, a 4 piece dining table which we moved into the corner to soak up the sunset and a reclining sofa, armchair and coffee table which we know will be perfect next to the fire come the evening.
Table set, it’s time to crack on with dinner. I make a simple dish of mussels and samphire cooked with white wine, garlic and clotted cream. We hack away at the farmhouse loaf to mop up the juices and enjoy our bottle of chilled prosecco from the welcome pack, lapping up the view as the sun comes down over the cliffs.
Battling the giant spider who’s gained residency in the shed we access the kindling for the fire and set to making this corner of the decking our nest for the next couple of hours. Under the stars (a forgotten sight living in London), waves crashing in the background and under cable knit blankets, we finish our wine and tuck into walnut whips before calling it a day and falling into bed.
On our final day we decide to drive locally to Kingsland/ Cawsand, two villages sitting side by side just a few miles away from Moontide. The streets are narrow, my gosh are they narrow but we make it to a carpark and wander through the windy streets to hit the shore.
Children are crab fishing, adults and sitting outside the pub eating mussels and drinking wine and families are scavenging rock pools amidst the 300 million year old ‘pink rock’ volcanic remains.
We head to the Devenport pub and sit outside overlooking the boats bobbing in the water and order a bowl of mussels to share and a local cider.
With an abundance of dogs trotting nearby it dawns on me that Cornwall as a whole seems to be enormously dog friendly. A part of me wished I had brought the little squid with me as the cabin is dog friendly but motherly duties would have to wait, this London gal had some paddling to do and Darcey for one, a product of pavement living, is not a dog for the water.
As the evening draws in we decide to head down to the beach. It’s another spectacular sunset and we feel we’d be cheated for not going down to the water. So, laden with towels and in our dressing gowns we wander down the path to the beach to enjoy magic hour as the sun disappears over the cliffs.
Running around like teenagers, cartwheeling in the sand and kicking the water it’s a breath of fresh air to behave so carefree and frivolously. Both Cat and I have very busy lives back in London, she’s a Director, I’m an Actor and Author and time off is scarce, but these moments we’ll treasure forever. No michelin starred dinners, no fancy cocktail bars to label it a night to remember but simply salt air, wind through our hair and two best friends running around the beach high on life. This is the stuff dream are made of.
Heading back up the path, exhausted, we head back to the cabin to cook one final meal; a warming bowl of thai green curry in front of the outdoor fire. Curled up under blankets, steaming cup of tea in hand and salt water crisping our hair we agree this has been one of the most magical trips away. Spending time with loved ones is like a warm bowl of soup, comforting, no-nonsense and good for the soul.
As we sit in front of the fire, by no means ready to leave but ready to face reality afresh and rejuvenated we sit in silence reminiscing over the last few days and conclude, this was perhaps one of the best staycations ever.