LLG Travels: New Year’s Eve in St Mawes, Cornwall

by Sasha Wilkins on January 2, 2013 · 9 comments

NEW YEAR'S EVE DINNER 2012/13

(On the terrace overlooking St Mawes Harbour at midnight this year.)

New Year’s Eve is not my favourite party night. In my twenties we often left London in large groups and rented big old houses for a long weekend, which was always fun. (1998-9 in a chateau in Normandy with twenty university friends was pretty memorable, as was a friend’s isolated stalking cottage in the northernmost Highlands of Scotland for Millenium NYE with five friends.)

But, on the rare occasions that I have stayed in London, I have had a thoroughly miserable time and wished myself anywhere but the place I was. Last week we stopped off to see some friends for lunch en route to Cornwall and there was this fab photo (below) on the wall of a group of us on our way to a 20s party in Islington for New Year’s some eight years or so ago.

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We all looked great and very chirpy, (that’s me in the middle in the front in the flapper dress), but I remember it very, very clearly as a dispiriting, disappointing night of feeling rather sad, comprehensively unattractive and lonely, really, really lonely. (Nothing to do with the party or its hosts: I’m just not good at being single in rooms filled with people I don’t know.)

So after that night I vowed NEVER AGAIN. NO MORE NYE PARTIES pretending to be someone I am not and, since then, hands down the best NYE I have spent was on the sofa with my sister, a big fleecy blanket each, P Bad between us, a large Indian takeaway, 2 bottles of Stella, and The Princess Bride on DVD. And last year we did a version of the same, tucked up in side by side beds in a riad in Marrakech, reading and eating pizza.

But this year’s was actually pretty damn BRILLIANT. Three friends I love, my sister and I planning, cooking and eating a delicious meal in a beautiful house by the sea in Cornwall, drinking lots of Champagne, and dancing on the terrace to Jools Holland’s Hootenany until the early house. It was ACE.

Hannah made her mother’s excellent special cheese souffle, with a recipe garnered over FaceTime that morning.

NEW YEAR'S EVE DINNER 2012/13

NEW YEAR'S EVE DINNER 2012/13

Then I was in charge of the roast boned rib of beef from the properly excellent St Mawes Butcher, making gravy, and the olive oil roasted crunchy potatoes, accompanied by lots of St Mawes horseradish sauce. Hannah oversaw the Vichy carrots, and made a Pavlova. Yes, we had a proper New Zealand Pavlova. Yum.

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And then there was Champagne, paper hats, and dancing to Adam Ant & Dexy’s…

NEW YEAR'S EVE DINNER 2012/13

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Party girl

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Party Headdress

NEW YEAR'S EVE DINNER 2012/13

Party hat.

NEW YEAR'S EVE DINNER 2012/13

Party Beard

And, again, a huge thanks to Amanda and St Mawes Retreats for letting us stay at Dreamcatchers over New Year. Having such a well-equipped kitchen in a self-catering rental property so we could properly cook is just a dream come true.
www.stmawesretreats.co.uk

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Beckie Gregory January 2, 2013 at 18:06

Sounds like a perfect night. I so agree about NYE in London – I spent another disappointing one there this year! Think a big house full of friends is the way to go next year – or a skiing holiday.

Happy New Year :) x

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Emma January 3, 2013 at 01:57

I agree Sasha, NYE parties are usually tedious – that awful feeling you have to force yourself to celebrate. A small gathering with some true friends is a much better way to do it. Your dinner looks delicious too.

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Esther Bielawski January 3, 2013 at 04:28

Happy New Year LLG! Your take on NYE is so refreshing to me, I still recall your great post about last year’s NYE and was so impressed that someone so influential was happy to admit staying in and reading a book! It is brilliant that you don’t feel the need to be seen at the ‘right’ parties doing the usual old NYE thing. And I think this post on this NYE sounds like it was just the loveliest evening too!

Proof indeed that you don’t need to follow the crowd to have a fabulous time.

Personally I have never understood why people think they need to go out on the town or lumber off to parties where they don’t know anyone – just to be seen or to at least be able to ‘prove’ to others what a ‘fabulous’ time they had – just because they were there. I have only gone out once in London in my 12 years in this great city – and I swore NEVER AGAIN. It was the worst NYE of my life.

Personal favourites have been alcohol free with Berbers in the Sahara, cocktails for two at home with a man I truly loved (and still do – he’s now my husband!), an amazing night in New York in a rented apartment with a big group of friends and sitting on a beach alone…

I hope 2013 is a really wonderful year for you, keep raising the flag for everyone who likes to think for themselves because that’s one of the things I enjoy most about your fabulous blog! xx

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Clare (SparklySexyCool.com) January 3, 2013 at 04:30

I couldn’t agree more about big NYE nights out – always an overpriced let down! I think its that un-mentioned pressure you ‘have’ to enjoy yourself! I spent this new years at a lovely pub right on the river hamble in hampshire (the jolly sailor) with a small group of my very best friends (lovely food as well) and it was perfect.

Clare x

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Pru January 3, 2013 at 07:31

Happy New Year Sasha! I loved seeing your photos on Instagram.

We stayed in London but went for a quiet dinner and then walked into RIchmond Park to watch the fireworks over London which yet again was pretty special. Here’s to a great year ahead.

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Wendy January 3, 2013 at 08:10

I thought it was just me who was a NYE party pooper so this is all very reassuring . I finally realised I was happier not partying when we got our old dog who detested fireworks & it forced us to stay home & comfort her . She’s gone now & the new dogs are fine but it seems to suit us . We do prepare a little by saving a good TV series & settling down in front of the fire with some decent wine ( & chocolates )- this year was series 3 of The Killing which we finished off the next day . I can recommend it as a way to spend NYE .

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