Europe Travel · August 3, 2019

Back to St. Ives

Without a doubt, one of my favourite places to go to is the Cornish seaside. There’s something about the train journey down- riding alongside the coastline, head leaning against the windows, with a steaming cup of tea in hand; that instantly makes my shoulders drop from beside my ears. A sudden wash of relaxation can wash over me- and suddenly the trivial mundanities of the everyday feel so very far away (or five hours away on a train, at least).

A few weeks ago, and about a week from my first draft book deadline- I headed down to St. Ives with Joe to join (or ahem, gatecrash) my family on their summer holiday. Although it wasn’t initially the plan to tag along (although the temptation to drop responsibilities from the get go was more tempting than a Domino’s Two for Tuesday)- after a couple of weeks seriously struggling with motivation and getting over the finish line- I convinced myself that a change of scenery and a long journey down to the sea were just the tonic that I needed to finish the task in hand- and I couldn’t have been more correct. Having been sat at the same dining room table mulling over the same sentences, all it took was some gawking seagulls, a little bit of Vitamin D (c/o mother nature) and some fried cod to help add a little life into yours truly.

With the Air Bnb being a stones throw from the town centre, Joe and I took the loft room- which although would generously collect heat from the day to warm us at night (and offered a chorus of seagulls throughout the day until early into the morning)- had the most beautiful views across St. Ives. Views stretching across endless higgledy-piggledy rooftops, home to seagulls on top and humans inside- and their height only just disguising the lighthouse along the front and slow sea in the distance. Every evening (after Love Island, no less) I’d watch the sun go down and sky turn a deep violet colour, looking out for tiny lights peppering the sea- and that in itself felt like a true oasis of calm- no matter how many seagull run-ins or grammatically incorrect sentences I’d tackled that day.

Although most days we were there were spent writing inside in our little attic hideaway, afternoons would be spent wandering down to the water and paying for deck chairs for the last couple of hours of the day. I’d pick up fresh scones from the little bakery on the corner, taking my carrier bag to the cove and pretty much burying my head inside so that I didn’t end up sharing any with any unwanted guests (that’s not you nan)! We also got to revisit a few of our favourite spots in St. Ives, including Porthmeor Beach Café (which does THE BEST tapas come evening with the best views too), The Seafood Cafe and St. Ives bakery where I also picked up my first ever pasty for the way home (!) (I know, I know).

On our last evening, we also went to The Old Custom House. A restaurant recommended to us by the lovely couple that runs Academy & Co. in the centre, and one we couldn’t wait to try. An intimate spot with only a handful of tables- the restaurant overlooks the front and ocean, and boasts a delicious fresh seasonal menu of sharing plates that are perfect for family eating and the most gorgeous friendly service that makes you feel like you’re in a friends dining room for a laid back dinner. It was by far one of our favourite meals and experiences, and if you happen to be going in a couple I can’t recommend booking ahead enough and asking for a window seat- truly one of the most romantic spots in St. Ives.

Before we left we of course managed to squeeze in a visit to the arcade (anything with 2p machines and a dance mat will always have us running there) and our nightly visit to Moomaid for an ice cream (I’ll have the Shipwreck on a honeycomb cone please)! It was comfortably one of my favourite holidays, and certainly goes to show that a little spontaneity (even from someone impartial to a quick decision) can sometimes reap the loveliest rewards.

P.S On our train ride home I also put together a little seaside playlist, so if you’d like some blue sky listening you can have a nosey here.



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