Monday, 4 July 2016


Hello there. E and I have just returned from a post A2 treat in 'sunny' Devon. We were only there for 4 days, and 4 rainy days at that, but we had a brilliant time. I do love spending time alone with E; she is such lovely company and very funny. It was also made extra special by the fact that if she gets her grades (and it's a big if!), she will be off to uni in September and life will never be the same again.
We stayed in Riverside Cottage Guesthouse, just outside Bideford on the North Devon coast and I can't recommend it highly enough. Donna and Simon were fantastic hosts, the place was spotless and the breakfasts amazing. I usually only have a breakfast smoothie at home, so took it easy with cereal, toast and fruit but E went for the full veggie English and can heartily recommend it. The gardens are beautifully kept and the chickens, ducklings, goats and miniature Mediterranean donkey (Toyster) were adorable.
Here are a few photos:
Our room:
 Views from our room:
 The one overlooking the estuary:

The dining room:
 Some of the animals:

The guesthouse was on the Tarka Trail, a series of footpaths and cycle routes in North Devon that follow the route taken by the fictional Tarka the otter in the book of the same name. It was lovely to walk and cycle along - relatively flat and no traffic other than the odd cyclist and dog walker. On our first evening, we used the trail to walk into Bideford for a potter round and supper by the quay.
Wednesday found us in nearby Barnstaple where we sheltered from the rain in the cinema (Independence Day 2!) and had an incredible Caribbean meal: vegetable rundown with rice and peas, callalloo, corn dumplings and Ital carrot juice. It was delicious and incredibly cheap. E and I tried to recreate the rundown for dinner yesterday - it wasn't bad but not up to Monty's standards! Sorry about the photos - we had tucked in before I remembered my camera!

On Thursday, we packed a picnic, hired bikes and cycled along the Tarka Trail from Barnstaple to Crow Point. The weather wasn't brilliant but the rain was quite refreshing and we didn't get too wet. All the bikes had name labels - E's was Cleo and I rode on Margaret!

 E kept stopping to rescue caterpillars from the path:
We picnicked on the beach, which was where I remembered that I had forgotten to buy a parking ticket! Luckily when we got back we didn't have a fine. 
On returning to the guesthouse, we caught our breath in the summer house. The guesthouse also doubles as a vintage tea room and the cakes were yummy. Games were played, E read her book and I cast on my second Owl sock.

In the evening we joined the locals for a pub quiz. We didn't cover ourselves in glory but our team 'Just 2 Tourists' had great fun. The evening ended with me having to give E a piggy back to the car as her legs had stiffened horribly with the unaccustomed exercise - that's what months of A level revision does for you!

Friday saw us donning damp wet suits and spending half a day learning to surf at Westward Ho!
Neither of us had ever tried it before - body boarding yes, but not actual try to stand up surfing. It was windy, cold and rainy and phrases such as  'I'm too old for this' and 'I want to go home' may have been uttered as we staggered over the stony hill to get to the beach, carrying 2 surfboards. After a 20 minute talk we walked bravely into the cold English sea. It was raining but we were wet already, so it didn't matter. The hail was a bit more of a challenge as it bounced off the water and the boards into our faces but, despite all this, we had a brilliant time. E was a complete natural and was standing up in no time, looking as graceful as anything. I managed to stand up once and was so surprised that I forgot what I was supposed to be doing with my limbs and immediately fell off again. It was such fun and we felt amazing as we got changed in the heated changing rooms (ie. shed with closing door!) and headed to the cafe for a hot chocolate.
We treated ourselves to some well earned chips and then went for a walk along the beach.
I do love a nice beach hut and these were 2 of my favourites, although 'Jabba the Hut' won hands down on the name front.
 Finally, we shared a cream tea overlooking the sea before setting off for home.
Note we ate it the local way with cream first!
All in all, 2 had a fine time in beautiful Devon and I shall think of our holiday and that lovely summer house every time I wear my Owl socks!
Well done if you made it to the end of a rather photo heavy post. I'm just off to catch up with what you have all been up to whilst we've been away.

 Toodle Pip for now. x


  1. What a lovely break, and very well deserved I think. I love that part of the world. Looks like you found an excellent place to stay. CJ xx

  2. looks like a truly wonderful trip xxx

  3. What a lovely break, and such precious memories! I loved the donkey, I do wish I had one.....I was laughing at the bikes having names and as for you surfing....what can I say apart from RESPECT!I doubt I'd do it!xxx

  4. Sorry that the weather wasn't great but you didn't let it stop you getting out and about. I admire you for having a go at surfing! Love the beach photo with that dramatic sky and so pleased to hear you fitted in a cream tea! It would have been rude not to! xx

  5. Oh it sounds SO lovely. What gorgeous memories you'll have to treasure. You were very adventurous with the surfing. The one and only time I've ever worn a wetsuit I was so appalled at the photos I swore never again. Talk about boobs down to your ankles! Xx

  6. How wonderful to spend do much time with your daughter. And bravo for standing up on the board, however fleeting!
    Leanne xx

  7. Looks like a wonderful treat indeed - mother-daughter time and great fun.

  8. Sounds like you had a wonderful break despite the weather. North Devon is very special. I used to love going on jaunts with my daughter but we haven't been for a couple of years now so we're making up for the missed years by going to Florence in September. I cannot wait! Oh and great stuff on the surf board too.

  9. It looks like a wonderful time away. I'm so glad you and your daughter are close. I really hope my daughter and I will be that way when she is older. I'm glad you had such a nice time together.

  10. Glad you had a wonderful time away to recover from exam stress - for you both! A lovely part of the world isn't it!

  11. Sounds like such an enjoyable trip, and special mother/daughter time. X

  12. Oh, what a wonderful trip! Quality time with your daughter and some fantastic places to visit too! Love those huts!

  13. What a lovely sounding trip. Two of my favourites, cycling and walking! That guest house also looks stunning. How great to have special time with your daughter. You will always remember it :)

  14. What a lovely thing to go have time together, it will all change but you will both have very happy memories...we bring them up to fly the nest don't we! ;) xxx

  15. What an absolutely lovely thing to do, to go away just the two of you. I hope that I can do the same with Bella when she is that age. I loved all your photos and think you were very brave doing the surfing in that weather! xx