Exploring East & South Devon

A few weeks ago we made it our mission to get to know East and South Devon. Although we have been to Devon lots of times before, most of it has been spent in the North. So this time we based ourselves in Sidmouth and set out to explore...

Day one

saw a visit to Dawlish and Dawlish Warren (photos above and below). It was a glorious sunny Sunday, so the beach was pretty packed. We headed inland a little to explore the nature reserve and found lots of peace and quiet and so many beautiful things to feast our eyes upon, including a heron and lots of Evening Primroses and other pretty flowers and sea grasses - I just love the sand dunes. There were some very colourful beach huts too :)

We also wandered along the coast for a while, following the rail track, which runs right next to the sea. It was washed away in the storms earlier this year and only reopened in April. Quite an extraordinary sight!

Day two

saw us heading South, to the beautiful Slapton, where the lush green countryside literally meets the sea. We had a very interesting journey - a "sat nav special" which took us down the narrowest, windiest lanes you can imagine! There was lots of holding of breath - but we did get to see some absolutely beautiful countryside :) The shingle beach is pretty special and the waves were crystal clear - a perfect spot for our picnic. We saw quite a few people fishing from the beach too, and met some friendly dogs - always a bonus :)

From Slapton we drove a very scenic (and less hairy!) route through pretty Kingsbridge, passing so many beautiful thatched cottages, on to Hope Cove and then Bigbury. Thoroughly lovely! And helped by the fact it was a beautiful summer's day :)

Day three was spent in the most delectable Beer and Lyme Regis - and has a blog post of its very own, as I took so many pictures :)

Day four (are you exhausted yet? I told you we packed it in!!) saw us exploring Totnes and then on to the beautiful space and greenery of Dartmoor. We spent some time in the fabulous sauna that is the Buckfastleigh butterfly and otter centre. Quite magical to experience the most beautiful and iridescent butterflies flitting around you (it's a walk-through greenhouse type affair), but my goodness it's hot! I think a bikini would have been more appropriate :) Hard work too to capture those butterflies - they don't sit still for long!

Afterwards we drove a long rambling route through Dartmoor, stopping whenever we felt like it. I've never seen so much diversity or space. I definitely got my green fix that day!

Day five

saw us exploring Budleigh Salterton, Exmouth and Honiton. The glorious weather had finally broken, so we experienced Budleigh Salterton under grey stormy skies. It was soooo beautiful nonetheless! I fell in love with the pebbles :) It felt a bit wild (maybe that was the weather) and I just loved the weathered beach huts and flowers growing on the beach. There were some very interesting antique/vintage shops in the little town too, but sadly no time to explore them - I'll just have to go back! We just made it to our car before the heavens opened, so I only have piccies of Budleigh Salterton I'm afraid.

Day six, our last day, was spent in Exeter. It's a fantastic city, very green and clean - but no pictures as I didn't take my camera (thank god I hear you cry!). Apologies for this very picture-heavy post - it was all so very photogenic, I wanted to share :) If you haven't seen enough photos (!) you can see the complete set on Flickr :)

Beer & Lyme: the perfect summer combo

No, not Mexico, but our very own Devon and Dorset. And yes, there really is a place called Beer!

A couple of weeks ago, I fell head over heels in love with a beautiful little place called Beer in East Devon. I hadn't seen many photos beforehand, or heard much about it, so I came with no expectations. I just wanted to enjoy the sea and sunshine on a beautiful summer's day.

Oh my goodness, this place really couldn't be any more perfect for me! Beautiful smooth pebbles? Check! Clear sparkling sea and blue skies? Check! Pretty wooden beach huts? Check! Stripey deckchairs? Check! Stunning white cliffs? Check! Flowers on the beach? Check! Pretty thatched cottages? Check! An absolute photographer's paradise :)

It was just magical, sitting on the pebbles listening to the waves lapping, with the sun on my face and an ice cream in hand. What summers are made for! I would have loved to have spent the day in a deck chair with my kindle....but we had another place to visit, so I'll look forward to that another time!

A short trip in the car and we arrived at the very beautiful Lyme Regis. My last visit had been in the pouring rain, so a very grumpy Zoë hadn't thought very much of it - I didn't even get to see the seafront! I'm pleased to report this visit was entirely different, helped, I\m sure, by the glorious sunshine.

Lyme is another absolutely stunning place and is also part of the Jurassic Coast. The beach and cliffs are rather spectacular and the town is just so well cared for - we saw beautiful flowers everywhere.

I loved the ammonite shaped lamp posts. And the pretty pastel beach huts - every beach should have them! I even managed to get a sneaky peek inside one :)

There are some lovely shops to potter around too. I enjoyed a good rummage around an antiques store on the seafront and am delighted I finally got to visit the lovely Ruby Rockcake's shop. I will definitely be back!

More of our Devon adventures coming soon.....

Watergate Bay: tonic for the soul

I had a lovely week in Cornwall in late March. We were lucky enough to stay in a lovely apartment right next to the beach at Watergate Bay. I adore the sea and miss it terribly - we get away as often as we can. I find it so restorative - the waves crashing and rolling in an endless loop and the sheer enormity of it all helps puts things in perspective. Troubles seem so small against a backdrop of such beauty and strength and timelessness. I find I sort so much out in my head in a week away!

We had typical British weather - i.e. lots of cold, grey days - but we still got out for a brisk walk on the beach every day. We were lucky enough to have two fabulous weather days while we were there - our first and last days - and the pics below are from those. I thought you'd prefer full bright uplifting technicolour to dull grey :)

Blue and yellow - some colour at last!
Tonic for the soul
A whole beach to themselves

The pictures above are taken from the cliff path looking down on Watergate Bay. There are two lovely walks you can do from Watergate Bay: one to Mawgan Porth and the Bedruthan Steps and the other to Newquay - the coastline is just stunning.

Dog walking (and surfing) is a common activity on Watergate Bay - I love the sheer joy of dogs running helter skelter across the beach to retrieve a ball - I defy anyone not to smile!

This beach is all mine!
Lovely day for a walk

The first day we visited the surf was really high and the waves were so beautiful and energising. It was snowing back in Oxford - so happy we escaped just in time for some much needed sea and sunshine :)

Peace is now restored to the Power house - after a few weeks of the nasty Norovirus and an upside down house due to renovations, everything is back to normal and I hope to have some time to be creative. Hurrah!

I wish you all a wonderful week ahead.

The white horses ride in
Look at those waves!
Waves, wonderful waves

A lovely long October weekend mooching around Christchurch and Hampshire

It's becoming something of a family tradition to head down to Christchurch in early October for my sister's birthday. Once again we were blessed with gorgeous sunshine and warmth - nothing quite like strolling along the beach listening to the waves crash in October sunshine....and then eating lunch outside surrounded by pretty pastel beach huts :)

The full set of photos can be found on Flickr, as always.

Last beach hut (for today) I promise!
Baby blues
Lovely day for a walk on the beach....
Sea Chest

Yes, the sunshine and stunning greenery and dappled light really was tonic for the soul, and wonderfully refreshing. I have just bought a second-hand Fuji X100 and this was it's first outing - loving the simplicity of a fixed lens and just having a small light camera around my neck :) We very much enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the beautiful grounds of Mottisfont - a very grand National Trust property in Hampshire. The river walk is just divine at this time of year.

Cascade of leaves at Mottisfont
Riverside reflections at Mottisfont

We then topped off a wonderful day by heading home via the New Forest and pottering around Blackwater Arboretum in the golden hour. It took us a while to find it (it's not sign-posted at all!) but it was well worth it. Will have to go back for more another time!

Blackwater Arboretum, New Forest
Blackwater Arboretum, New Forest
Blackwater Arboretum, New Forest
Blackwater Arboretum, New Forest

And last, but by no means least, my sister and I spent a good bit of the weekend talking Blythe. My sister has recently rediscovered her love and talent for knitting and sewing and has recently set-up an Etsy shop selling Blythe clothing. We had so much fun trying things on and styling some photo shoots :)

Strawberry Shortcake :) #blythe #punkaholicpeople #onblythestreet
Flower girl #blythe #snowflakesonata #onblythestreet #poppytreelane
Walking the dog #blythe #onblythestreet #poppytreelane #factoryblythe
Love this mohair knitted coat my sister made - will be added to her shop soon  #blythe #phoebemaybe #onblythestreet

A week in Jersey ~ through square eyes

I can't imagine life now without my iPhone - or Instagram. I love the simple joy of snapping away, as the creative urge takes me. There's something so wonderful about simply focussing on the composition and the light....Don't get me wrong, I still love my *proper* camera, and the beautiful high quality images it produces, but I have rekindled a love of point and shoot. This post is all about my happy Instagram squared memories of a wonderful week in Jersey.

*Proper* photos to follow later, when I've processed them!

So, Al and I flew over to the beautiful, tiny island of Jersey in early September to catch-up with my family and get our sea-fix. The weather gods smiled on us this time (reckon we were owed a good week!) and everything looked so pretty in the sunshine. The week started with a tippity top breakfast at Jamie's Italian at Gatwick, which was right next door to a super pretty cafe:

Cafe at Gatwick
Wall tiles at Gatwick

Day one and we headed straight to Beauport beach - pebble heaven for me - and spent a lovely day exploring Ouaisne and Portlet.

Beauport - pebble heaven!
The perfect pebble
Beautiful horse near Portlet

Another lovely day was spent with my family pottering around Rozel harbour, Archirondel and Gorey. We had a delicious lunch at the fabulous Feast restaurant (pictured) - highly recommend it!

Feast at Gorey - delicious food!
The ladies!
Feast at Gorey - delicious food!
The finest Swedish cider :)
Blue rabbit at Rozel
Beautiful house at Gorey
Window box at Gorey

One of my favourite things in life is getting away from it all and ambling along cliff paths taking in the view. We spent a lovely day doing exactly that, walking from Plemont to Greve de Lecq and splashing in the sea. I also got to visit my Mum's grave and take some fresh flowers - she's resting in a beautiful, peaceful cemetry in the middle of the countryside. She would have loved our potter through the leafy green lanes in dappled light.

Nothing quite like a paddle in the sea
Summer feet!
Pretty Hydrangeas are everywhere!
Beautiful Jersey granite property
Mum's grave
Duncan and Al enjoying the dappled  light of Jersey's green lanes - so pretty!
Look up, look up - it's so beautiful!

And almost last, but by no means least - the fantabulous St. Ouen's Bay - my favourite beach in the island, and quite possibly, ever! We really did see it in the best light - the sea was aqua and sparkling, the sky was deep blue, and the waves were gently lapping, glimmering in the sunshine, making such pretty patterns. I love St. Ouen's - pure tonic!

Our very fine view for the day at St. Ouen's
Gorgeous aqua at St. Ouen's
La Rocco Tower
Duncan and Dad showing us the Jersey way of life :)
Footprints in the sand
Sparkly sea - the ripples are so pretty!
La Rocco Tower
Sunset at St. Ouen's

Finally, a glimpse of our home for the week - a self-catering lodge at Les Ormes. It was well located and very comfortable - we even had a hot tub which we made good use of! It made a great viewing platform for one of the most epic sunsets I have ever seen - although of course I wish I had been at the beach with my *proper* camera and tripod! But nevertheless it was a spectacular sight :)

Les Ormes Lodges - our home for a week
Epic sunset at Les Ormes

A rather soggy but very lovely July week in Cornwall and Devon

It rained and it rained! But the sun did come out a *little* bit and then we rushed out with our cameras! We stayed in a super lovely holiday cottage near Marhamchurch, Bude. We were out in the countryside surrounded by sheep! But only a few minutes drive from the coast - perfect location! It was so peaceful and relaxing. And we had the most amazing huge copper bath in our bedroom, which we made good use of!

iPhone montage of our Cornwall holiday

We had some lovely beaches nearby, including Summerleaze and Crooklets. Summerleaze had lots of really pretty pastel beach huts and an outdoor pool, filled by the tide. Widemouth was really close too, and a great spot for surfing.

Beach huts
Beach hut blues
No. 45
Beach huts
Summer breeze

I think my favourite day was a trip down a very scary, narrow, windy lane/dirt track to get to an amazing rocky beach to play with my Lee Big Stopper. For once we got the timing just right and arrived as the tide was coming in. These shots were all taken on a tripod with a Lee 0.6 ND grad filter, plus the Lee Big Stopper, which allowed me to slow the exposure down to 30 seconds to get that lovely misty, ethereal effect as the tide washed in. It was my first time playing with the Big Stopper, so I was pretty happy with the results!

Sea whispers

Another lovely highlight of our trip was a visit to Clovelly in Devon - it is privately owned and no cars are allowed, so you have to park outside the village and pay a fee to enter. It was worth it, though, as it is so very pretty - lots of houses have decorations on their colourful doors and there are flowers everywhere. The steep cobbled windy road leads down to a pretty harbour....

More pretty geraniums
Shabby chic
Summer in a pot

More photos can be found on Flickr, as always.

Seascapes galore in Cornwall

Al and I were lucky enough to escape to the Cornish coast for a week in early April. We stayed in a fabulous apartment, right on Watergate Bay - can highly recommend it! Makes it so much easier to get out for those sunrise and sunset photoshoots - especially for those moments when the rain stops suddenly and the sky is full of amazing clouds and light. Plus there are some very lovely cafes/restaurants right on your doorstop (I can especially recommend the Beach Hut right on the beach, underneath Jamie's fifteen).

We spent the first two days blissfully car free. On day 1 we walked the coast path round to Mawgan Porth, with its glorious golden sand, and then on to the Bedruthan Steps and back again. Day 2 took us on the coast path in the opposite direction, to Newquay - a really beautiful stretch of coastline. And we were so lucky that the sun shone brightly for those first wonderful days.

We did lots of other lovely things and took far too many photos! One of the non-coastal highlights for me was the beautiful Japanese Gardenin St. Mawgan - so serene - I could have spent hours there... We also made a quick trip to Redruth and I managed to find some beautiful vintage china that I had seen last September and was still there, waiting for me :) All in all, the most loveliest of holidays.

It's very hard to pick out the photo highlights - there were so many - but I've tried below. The full set are on Flickr, as always (although not quite full yet - still got lots of editing to do!). And this time there's quite a strong contingent of Instagram iPhone pics - so much fun to take, edit and upload straight away :)

Pastel sunset *3*
Dwarfed by the sunset spectacular
Menacing clouds
There's a storm brewing….
Sand, sea, surf and sky
Sea grasses
Blossom bokeh - I just LOVE the 50mm f1.4 :)
Pink path
Blue sky and blossom
Blossom Charlie
Charlie girl in the pink
Gorgeous Tulip display at the Eden Project
Softly, softly
Our home for a week in Watergate Bay, Cornwall
Vintage china haul from Redruth
Dunes at Mawgan Porth - is it summer?!
Sunshine and blue skies - bliss!
More Watergate Bay loveliness
Nice day for a surf lesson! Watergate Bay at its best :)
Al enjoying some rays at Newquay
First paddle of the year - just love the swirly sparkly water!
Newquay harbour
Newquay harbour