We are lucky enough to only live an hours drive from St Ives and love to pop over for a day trip – although we 100% don’t visit enough. So we thought with the Summer holiday’s looming (St Ives gets so busy over the Summer) we’d go for a whilst it was still quite quiet. We picked a glorious day, although I do still enjoy St Ives when it’s overcast it feels super romantic on days like those and it gives you an excuse to hide from the rain and explore all the galleries and coffee shops.
We park at the top of the hill opposite the St Ives Brewery, it isn’t the cheapest parking but it is easy to find and the view across the bay is stunning. The walk down is quite steep but easier on the way down and it brings you right into the centre. If you have trouble with inclines you can get on the car park bus for a small fee.
I have shared photos of my previous visits on my blog and I never grow tired of taking photos and wandering through all the beautiful back streets that are lined with tiny whitewashed cottages. I also really like how people decorate their fronts with pretty flowers & plants, it reminds me of Amsterdam.
Fore Street, which is the main shopping street is always busy but I do like having a peek into all the shops and the smell of the bakeries (Cornish pasty) always tempts me in. This time we arrived at lunchtime and couldn’t resist a Wholemeal Vegan Pasty from The St Ives Bakery – which was just heaven, you need to try it if you visit St Ives.
Then we just enjoyed the sunshine and explored all the little side streets snapping photos along the way. There are so many cafes and places to grab Ice Cream so if you need to take a break you can. We always stop at The Pier Coffee Bar for a cuppa, it is right by the harbour but tucked away enough that you can always get a seat.
Now our main reason for visiting St Ives this time was so we could eat at Blas Burgerworks which is located in the Warren. I have walked past it so many times but we tend to be in St Ives too early as it only opens at 5 pm. On this occasion, we were there later & ready for burgers. They have so many Vegan options available which made me so excited so I opted for the Blackbean Burger & my husband picked the Sunflower Burger.
The decor is very basic and you mostly have to share a table as it is small and gets very busy. Even at 5.30, we were lucky to get a seat. Now on to the burgers, well let me just say that I was so disappointed. I wanted to love it but both of us elt our burgers just were not up to scratch. They came beautifully presented and the chips, OMG the ships were so yummy but the actual burgers turned into a soft paste, they lost all structure and you had to admit defeat and eat them with a knife and fork and I don’t know if you feel the same but I think burgers are meant to be eaten with your hands!
The burger was unrecognisable as a burger and was so soft that I felt I’d been robbed of my burger experience. I have had Vegan Burgers that didn’t have great structure but these took it to a new level. I am sad to say we won’t be going back. Let me know if you have been & tried the Vegan Burgers and if you had the same experience. I told our server that they were a little too moist but she just said Thank You like I’d given her a compliment?!
If you have any recommendations of things to see or do in St Ives leave me a comment & I am always looking for suggestions of places to eat!
I put together something similar on my blog about 4 years ago but since then so many more amazing Free Valentine’s Printables have become available. These are such a cute way of marking Valentine’s Day without having to spend a penny. I love free printables and use them for so many things, they’re such a fab resource to have.
I have put together a selection of my favourite Free Valentine’s Printables which includes cards, printables for kids to take for their classmates, fun prints, cards to attach to sweet treats (these are my particular faves) and a couple of Galentine’s Day offerings too. So if you want to celebrate your friends you can! All the printables I am sharing are for personal use only so please respect that.
These Star Wars-themed Valentines cards are from Skip To My Lou. They will be so popular with movie lovers, the Yoda Best one is my favourite. These would be sweet to give out to your kids class at school if that is a thing in the UK – I know it’s popular in America to send in sweets and cards on Valentine’s Day.
These are my absolute favourite. I love the colours and the doughnut graphics on these, being a complete donut addict It’s no surprise that these are my top pick. You don’t just have to save these for Valentine’s Day, you can use them anytime you feel like sharing a little love (and doughnuts). I have already printed a set and they print very well. These are from eighteen25.
These printable cards from Very Jane give you so many options, there are 12 cards to pick from and they have more modern phrases. Being a tea addict I like the You’re My Sweet Tea one and the Netflix one is quite appropriate in my house!
The lovely people at The Dating Divas have compiled a fab selection of movie-themed Valentine’s Cards and some of them are amazing. Like the Harry Potter Golden Snitch and I know someone that will really appreciate the Batman one too. They have a lot of designs to pick from so if you will be spoilt for choice.
These Awesome Valentines Cards from That’s Pretty Ace are very chic and simple. They have lovely typography and I like their minimal feel. You get four cards to pick from and again, they don’t just have to be used for Valentine’s Day they’d also make really nice note cards too.
This whole Galentine’s Day was totally new to me, but I really like the concept. So it is a day where women appreciate their female friends & I am totally down with this! These two pink themed Galentine’s Day offerings are from Pizzazzerie and super cute to send to all your lady friends!
For me, books make the perfect gifts. I love buying my favourite books for people & the thought that someone else might get as much joy as I did from reading a certain book is such a nice feeling. I also really like discussing my favourite books with people and listening to their take on it. Receiving books is so nice too, adding a book to your collection that you may never have picked yourself but it ends up becoming a favourite read is exciting to me. It is safe to say the book fairies were very kind to me this Christmas and I received quite a few new books to kick off my reading list for 2018.
I have always been fascinated with in Russia because I feel like it’s quite a dark, unknown place with a very interesting, rich history. It’s so different from anything I have ever known and I love learning all about its past. This book spans three centuries from Peter The Great right up to Putin. It is a hefty book but I started it on Christmas Day and I’m flying through it at some speed. I’ve read about 150 pages and so far it’s very interesting and quite shocking in parts. It’s described as ‘An epic tale of murder, massacre and madness played out against squalor and splendour. It is a remarkable portrait of a city and it’s people.’ What country sparks your interests?
I’ve read the first book in this Scandi series, Little Book of Hygge & I have to tell you I’m 100% onboard with the whole lighting candles, drinking hot drinks and snuggling under a warm blanket (even when it’s not Winter). I also read The Year of Living Danishly which is a similar book but it takes a more in-depth look at the reasons people in Denmark are inherently happy. It was fantastic, a real eye-opener to learn what almost simple pleasures and small changes in your life can bring you that sense of happiness. This Lykke book seems to be in a similar vein so I’m excited to read it to learn just what happiness means to the people of Denmark and see if I can adopt some new behaviours to increase my own happiness.
This is another Scandi inspired book and although written by a different author to the Lykke and Hygge books is it similar in that is discusses the art of balanced living and just how important that is to our relationships and happiness. It is not about the Danes this time but focuses on the Swedes, who also rank very highly on the happiness scale. It looks like a refreshing take on how to find a healthy balance in life to ensure you have time to relax, be sociable and not let work become your entire life. It sounds very interesting and something I think we all strive to achieve a healthy work-life balance is the dream and Sweden appears to have it all worked out. I really like the simple illustrations in these books, they make so nice to flick through even after you’ve read them.
I adore Berlin and have visited 5 times over a 30 year period and it is safe to say I have seen Berlin go through some major changes and some more subtle changes. It is a mysterious City and one that nurtures creativity. At face value, it feels very quiet, stark and utterly freezing in the Winter but if you get to know it and take time to seek out its beauty it is a city that welcomes you in and gives your soul doses of creativity and inspiration. I love exploring its city streets and each district is very different. This Berlin Style Guide takes you through 8 of Berlins suburbs and in each you get so many recommendations of delicious places to eat, stylish, quirky places to shop, beautiful places to get coffee and many hidden gems that will get your creative juices flowing. It has been so well curated so that you feel like you’re an honorary Berliner (for a few days at least). I love flicking through this guide and bookmarking places I have to visit on my next trip.
I don’t know much about this book, it was a gift from my friend Hayley (who has excellent taste in books). What I do know is it written by the same author that gave us A Handmade Tale so I am expecting great things.
This was bought for my husband but I will be reading it after he has finished. ‘This selection of George Orwell’s writing, from both his novels and non-fiction, gathers together his thoughts on the subject of truth. It ranges from the discussion of personal honesty and morality to freedom of speech and political propaganda. Orwell’s unique clarity of thought and illuminating scepticism provide the perfect defence against our post-truth world of fake news and confusion.’
If you haven’t seen my last book post of the books I read during the first half of 2017 then make sure you check that out. I’ve been trying so hard to step away from the computer more, especially in the evenings and weekends. I have found reading helps relax my mind and stops me clicking on the internet and filling my time reading endless social media posts. I read not shy of 20 books during 2017 and I thought I would share the latest 8 with you.
I don’t know why but I love reading books that are set in Russia and The Amber Keeper is partly set in early 19th century revolutionary Russia. It is also set in another of my favourite locations, the English Lake District.
The Amber Keeper is a sweeping tale of jealousy and revenge, reconciliation and forgiveness. Determined to uncover her mother’s past, Abbie approaches her beloved grandmother, Millie, in search of answers. As the old woman recounts her own past, Abbie is transported back to the grandeur of the Russian Empire in 1911 with tales of her grandmother’s life as a governess and the revolution that exploded around her.
At times I found this book a little slow, I loved the parts that were set in Russia, I found them exciting and very descriptive but when it came to the more recent parts set in rural England they were quite dull and not as engaging.
This is such a heartbreaking, eye-opening memoir written very candidly about a family living with the crippling effects of mental illness. It is so deeply sad at times but it is also moving and ultimately a love story. Mental illness is not such a taboo subject anymore and the way Mark & his wife let us into the very harrowing and fragile parts of their experience with living with mental illness makes this a very powerful book.
‘A story of the fragility of the mind, and the tenacity of the human spirit, My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward is, above all, a love story that raises profound questions: How do we care for the people we love? What and who do we live for? Breathtaking in its candor, radiant with compassion, and written with dazzling lyricism, Lukach’s is an intensely personal odyssey through the harrowing years of his wife’s mental illness, anchored by an abiding devotion to family that will affirm readers’ faith in the power of love.’
I loved, loved, loved this book. It is a peek inside Scotlands second largest secondhand bookshop. You’re a fly on the wall to all the goings on and the people that come and go (often empty-handed) Shaun is so dry humoured and has the best (often unexpected) responses to his customers and their outlandish requests and observations. We get to see just how hard it is selling secondhand books in the days of eBay and Amazon. You get to know the bookshop staff and I loved seeing what books people bought and also going along with Shaun on his buying trips to old estates and auction houses. This is such a lovely read & I highly recommend adding it to your reading list.
This wasn’t a page turner for me, even though there were quite a few plot twists, in fact, I found it disjointed and I just wanted to get it finished so I could move on to something else. It is somewhat of a detective story in the midst of a crime that brings up a lot of buried family drama which comes full circle. Cat is quite annoying and I found myself not believing in her character.
‘Cat Kinsella was always a daddy’s girl. Until the summer of 1998 when she sees her father flirting with seventeen-year-old Maryanne Doyle.When Maryanne later disappears and Cat’s father denies ever knowing her, Cat’s relationship with him is changed forever.
Eighteen years later, Cat is now a Detective Constable with the Met. Called to the scene of a murder in Islington, she discovers a woman’s body: Alice Lapaine has been found strangled, not far from the pub that Cat’s father runs.’
I adored this book. It is based on the life story of Pino Lella who is a teenager in Italy during the Second World War. This story really brings to life the Nazi Occupation of Italy and just how awful this War was. Pino Lella’s story is captivating and his courage is humbling. I finished this book in a couple of days and even though in parts it is utterly heartbreaking, ultimately it is a story of bravery and love. If you want a quick, engaging read about WWII from a slightly different perspective I highly recommend adding this to your reading list for 2018
Another book which is set in WWII Europe but told from a Jewish woman’s perspective. This book follows Rita as she struggles to survive in Nazi-occupied Poland and then in Germany, under a false identity. I read this within a week and was gripped from beginning to end.
In an epic saga that spans from Paris in the ’30s and Spain’s Civil War to Moscow, Warsaw, and the heart of Nazi Germany, The Girl from Krakow follows one woman’s battle for survival as entire nations are torn apart, never to be the same.
Who doesn’t dream of packing it all in & running off to Europe to live the ‘Good Life’?! I picked this book because the Mum of one of my very good friends has done exactly that, she has moved to France to live the rural dream and I thought this book might be an insight into what that entails. It is a true story following Janine’s unexpected journey from London to beautiful (at times) idyllic, rural France.
It’s a funny, light-hearted read and Janine opens up her life to us, the reader and you get find yourself completely absorbed with her highs and lows. It is a lovely calming read and another book I’d urge you to add to your reading list.
I’d heard mixed things about this book & I have to say I found it underwhelming. I just couldn’t seem to get into it. There were parts that were utterly heartbreaking and brutal but on the whole, it wasn’t as well written as I’d hoped.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
Not my favourite read of 2017 but I do know a lot of people that thoroughly enjoyed it.
I read a real mixed bag of books during the second half of 2017, books set in Russia, Italy and Poland. I reached mainly for fiction but a couple were non-fiction with one being a memoir that was a real eye-opener into a family dealing with the realities of mental health. I seem to be drawn to books set in Europe and that is very much reflected in the books I have already lined up to read in 2018, I just love books that are set with a European backdrop & I find them so interesting. I was disappointed with a few books, namely The Underground Railroad but The Diary of a Bookseller and Beneath a Scarlet Sky more than made up for it.
I was lucky enough to receive so many lovely books as gifts this Christmas and I am looking forward to getting stuck into those in 2018. I have set myself a goal of reading at least 2 books a month, which I think is achievable. If you want to follow me over on Goodreads – it is a great way to see keep up to date with what I’m reading.