Dreamcatchers self catering house St Mawes Cornwall
(The view over St Mawes Harbour and the sea from Dreamcatchers’ terrace back in August.)

We’re back at Dreamcatchers self-catering house in St Mawes for the week over the New Year’s Eve period. (You may remember that Hannah, Mark and I stayed here for a long weekend in back in August). I am so, so very happy to be back here: the house is one of the most relaxing and calm places in which I have stayed over the past couple of years.

Hotels are all very well, but it is nice to be able to kick back in a beautiful home with a kitchen, especially one as well-equipped as this. Stepping into the living room, and seeing the gorgeous view over the sea and St Mawes Harbour is soul-refreshing in the best possible way. So a huge thank you to Amanda and St Mawes Retreats for hosting us again.

Scilly Narcissi
(Isles of Scilly Narcissi)

I was properly sick over Christmas: I came down with the shivers, faintness and a scratchy cough on the Wednesday before the break. I ended up cancelling all my plans for the rest of the week: no Christmas party, no afternoon tea at the InterCon with Lola, over from Brooklyn with her family for Christmas, and spent the time in bed feeling sorry for myself.  I drove up to my mother’s in Northamptonshire on Saturday 22nd, thanking goodness that Christmas Eve fell on a Monday, meaning that a lot of businesses had already shut for Christmas on Friday. I sneezed my way through to the 24th and finally, after six days of bed, was up and perky for Christmas Day. And, for once by Boxing Day, I felt like I’d had a proper break. No blogging, no email, no stress, and no backlog because everyone else was on holiday too. Oh that Christmas Day fell on a Tuesday every year.

So I hoofed it back to London on the 27th, via Hitchen for lunch to finally catch up with Lola, James & the bear, extracted lil’sis from Kentish Town rail station at 0045hrs on her return journey from Gatwick Airport, and then headed to Cornwall first thing yesterday morning in a rented estate car (station wagon).

I picked up Hannah and Mark in West London en route, and we played the packing the car boot jigsaw puzzle game: clearly one of the reasons we are all friends is because we all packed about five times as much food as clothing and other supplies.

The journey to Cornwall is about six hours door to door, mainly on motorways, until you hit Exeter. From then on in it’s dual carriageways and a series of winding country roads across Cornwall to St Mawes. (We broke the journey for lunch in Box, near Bath, where dear friends from school and university live – the parents of goddaughter no 1, Amelia. H&M were dropped off at a great pub restaurant, The Northey, for their lunch.)

I spotted this magazine at Exeter Services. A good omen, I think:

2012-12-28 16.04.48

Rachel, with whom I went to Port Eliot in the summer, has driven over from Devon, and joined us here, so we are five in total for the next week. The house is scented with Scilly Isles narcissi, and I suspect we will be holed up inside for most of the time, reading, cooking and watching the sky change over the sea.

2012-12-28 19.58.09

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Have a great time! Something to think about for 2014. My dad would always say ‘goods friends are better than pocket money’! Happy 2013.

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