I mentioned in my last blog (blog 14), that I was off to Cornwall for a much needed family holiday. Before talking about Cornwall, I want to say a big thank you again to everyone who has been reading my posts via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (see blog ‘Thank you for…’) . Whilst I had been meaning to post last week, keeping to a weekly Wednesday blog, I realise now that I was being a little overambitious, alongside my other work commitments and straight after a holiday! Just to give you a heads up, I will always aim to post blogs on a Wednesday, but it may not be every week. Anyway, just in case you’re wondering, why is Anni blogging about her holiday, I direct you back to my very first blog: https://anniradhika.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/new-journeys-leap-of-faith/ In blog one, I invited you all to join me on my journey- and that includes the time out of work, as well as in work! In today’s blog, I share with you how connecting with Cornwall helped me to come back feeling rejuvenated, and even more focussed on dadima’s journey and its brand values.
So why was Cornwall so special? The reasons are endless, and I cannot recommend it enough if you haven’t visited (thank you to my beautiful friend, Zoe Swan, for a great itinerary). It was a tranquil space for me to disconnect and detox from busy city life, and to some degree, technology. Upon arrival in the beautiful fishing village of Port Isaac, I recall saying to a bartender at the local pub, that I couldn’t get any signal or Wi-Fi . The response was ‘Welcome to Cornwall my dear!’ Admittedly, I struggled initially- but it was a blessing in disguise, and helped me (and my family) to tune into the present moment. This was all thanks to picturesque coastal walks, time spent by the sea, connecting with the close-knit Cornish community and eating fresh, delicious food every day. I know this sounds cheesy, but the breath-taking coastal walks took me back to my university days, of reading poetic descriptions of nature, which spanned paragraphs in the novels of the Brontë sisters and Jane Austen! (I just love literature and the classics!)
My sister and I are fortunate to have travelled widely with our parents from a very young age. My dad sees travelling as one of the best forms of education, as long as it’s done through lots of cultural sight-seeing, walking and engaging with the locals. Although we’ve stayed in 5-star-hotels, and dined in top restaurants, this holiday was different and special – definitely one of my favourites. We stayed in a self-catered, little fisherman’s cottage, right next to Port Isaac bay. A cosy evening in a cottage has appealed to me since I was a little girl, and since watching the movie ‘The Holiday!’
For me, there is something effortlessly cool and enjoyable about being outdoors, and experiencing the beauty and power of nature. Nature regrounds me, and reminds me about what’s really important in life. I know some of you reading are fellow nature-lovers, so you’ll relate to how I feel. The Eden Project, an amazing educational charity and social enterprise, was testimony to the incredible powers of nature. I learnt so much in one day, and soon entered into full geek mode, reading all about rainforests, sustainability and food provenance. I would definitely recommend it as a day trip with the kids – it’s perfect for all ages. Seeing how certain crops were grown took me back to my days of working for a leading fresh produce company, being out on the fields and seeing where our salads and vegetables actually come from. I was reminded about how important it is to want to learn for pleasure, rather than for passing exams. I left Eden feeling a stronger sense of social and ethical responsibility, and a desire to carry it forward. You can have a little read if you’re interested at http://www.edenproject.com/.
Thinking about how much I enjoyed myself that day, reminds me of something my dadima always says- “You don’t have to travel far or go to expensive places to go on holiday- you can make a holiday anywhere you want to be”. She is so right (as always!). There are so many stunning sights to explore in this country, without always having to jet off abroad, or spend lots of money. I really loved people watching by the harbour, toe dipping in the sea, and feeling the sunshine on my face (we were super lucky with the weather). Seeing grandchildren, parents, children and friends enjoying quality outdoor play, and sharing food and laughter, made me see the harbour as a place which connected generations (dadima’s vision is all about connecting generations). I didn’t see children or teenagers glued to their iPads or mobile phones, but instead, they were enjoying the ‘here and now’- talking and laughing with each other. This sense of community was even more apparent when the Fisherman’s Friends, a fantastic group of shanty singers from Cornwall, performed live by the port one evening. The live music, food and good company, attracted people of all ages – locals and tourists alike. I soon found myself swaying my head and singing along passionately to the sea shanties! It was the perfect start to our family pact of ‘out with workaholic mode, and in with family favourites’ (like playing card games, Charades, Cluedo and cosy foodie evenings of hearty home-cooking).
With the aroma of fresh cooking surrounding us (we had the brilliant Outlaw’s restaurant right next to our cottage, plus a pub, a breakfast cafe and fishmongers!), it was hard not to have food on our mind all the time. Other than sampling some classic favourites from Cornwall, like fresh fish, Cornish pasties, artisan bread, and fudge, we also enjoyed some Deliciously Ella and Hemsley & Hemsley energy snacks, which my sister had batch-baked for our day trips (she’s the family baker!). With food provenance an increasing priority for many of us, I felt fortunate to see and know where my food came from first-hand. I was up early most days (I can thank the seagulls for that!) and felt a real energy to get out and walk the coast. In the morning, I would wander over to the harbour to see the fishermen go out for their morning catch. I bought fresh fish and cooked it in the cottage as it had a great kitchen. The fishmonger was really proud of the quality of his fish, how it’s sustainably sourced, and made no apologies for the premium price which comes with that. Chatting to him, I appreciated why I paid a premium of almost £30 for my two fillets of line-caught sea bass (once I overcame the initial shock!). It was well worth it. I could taste the difference in quality, compared to the fish I normally buy in supermarkets.
This passion, which the friendly fishmonger had for his work, was something that I noticed in more people from Port Isaac as I got chatting away (I get that from my mum). A lot of people seemed to have set up their own creative businesses, with many of them following their dreams along the way. I was inspired by the hard-working, yet laid-back approach of people, ranging from artists, musicians, shop owners, who catered for tourists, and foodies who harnessed the fishing trade of this historic village. They spoke with a clear passion for what they were doing, but also valued a work/life balance. My family all appreciate art and I was so inspired by meeting a talented local artist, Caroline Cleave. Caroline is a doting family woman and an artist pursuing her dream with passion. It was on one of our daily walks, that my sister, mum and I stumbled across Caroline’s stunning valley studio, attracted by the colour of her Cornish blue door and rustic garden setting. I instantly warmed to Caroline’s friendly and familiar nature, as well as her charming art designs of fish, crabs, lobsters and other things Cornish. I loved hearing the story behind her art, and how it was her marriage into a Cornish family, with generations having lived in Port Isaac, that inspired her work around Cornwall. Caroline was a breath of fresh air, and she took time out to talk to me about the passion behind her work and gave me some useful life tips (will share my favorite piece of advice on social media this week).
My fortunate meetings with lovely people did not stop in Port Isaac. During our day trip to the charming town of Padstow, I caught sight of a lovely bookshop as I was leaving Rick Stein’s tempting patisserie (couldn’t resist!) I adore books and love to browse the latest releases as well as old classics. With dadima’s cookery book out in October, I find that popping into bookshops inspires me too. I got more than I bargained for during my visit to The Padstow Bookseller, greeted by the friendly father and son, Ron and Daniel. Ron is a really experienced bookseller and publisher, and I was so touched by his willingness to give me advice and encourage me to join the Padstow Christmas Festival in December 2016.
So what did I learn about ‘connecting generations’ through Cornwall? I realised how important it is to take time out with your loved ones, alongside work. At the end of the day, work will always be there. My family are workaholics to some degree, and we inspire and drive each other to do our best. Whilst this is great, we have to train ourselves to slow down and live in the moment, to appreciate each other and life (something which comes naturally to the dadimas I’ve been learning from). I did, at times, feel guilty for ‘chilling out’ too much because I’m just starting up. But that’s just counter-productive. I really recommend this picturesque little port -home of the Doc Martin series – if you haven’t ever visited. I wish you and your families, happy days in nature until my next blog.