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Now Kernow is some way from the city (no, not that one, I mean the city). And every time I get that donkey of a FGW train, it feels ever so slightly further. But for one day a year, on St Piran’s Day fittingly, Cornwall gets its moment of fame in London for the ‘Kernow in the City‘ event, showcasing Cornish artists, music and film.

There are to be real Cornish pasties and ale, live shows from the Crowns and the Loose Salute, Cornish language workshops, visual arts, plus singer-songwriter Ruarri Joseph, who I’ve never seen live, though I am fond of the sweet chorus I have posted above. Touch of the David Gray? That’s alright, that’s alright…

Sat 10 March 7pm, £10 adv / £12 door. Rich Mix. More info on Kernow in the City here.

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Have a crush on this ‘Sicily Top’ from Seasalt’s just-out Artists & Potters collection. No surprise there really – lime green and stripes combined are basically a short cut to my heart.

Seasalt hardly needs an introduction round here. It is one of Cornwall’s great success stories – it was the small, extremely friendly (never a sighing shop assistant in its boutiques) organic clothing company that could. From its beginnings in Penzance, it has just launched its first range in John Lewis on Oxford Street, can you believe?

www.seasaltcornwall.com

More pics from the collection: Read the rest of this entry »

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Here’s a pictorial taster for an article I have out in Coast magazine this month (Feb issue) about the excellent new Newlyn School of Art, the brainchild of local artist Henry Garfit.

I attended the Landscape Painting course with local artist Mark Spray back in September and it was a most eye-opening, exhilarating experience. Beginners, have no fear – Mark’s unorthodox style, which includes the use of earth, paintbrushes strapped on to sticks and speed drawing, had even the experienced painters in my group flummoxed. Having not picked up a paintbrush since GCSE art, at least I was expecting it to be hard.

The school occupies a converted granite school at the top of Paul hill (the Board School) in Newlyn, paces away from the original, famed Forbes-led Newlyn School of painters in the late 19th and early 20th century. Other tempting courses include print-making, stone carving and Cornish gardens.

It is no mean feat to open a not-for-profit arts institution (with some Arts Council funding) in grim times such as these, so congrats. With our local arty institutions looking poorly – Acorn open but website looking unwell, Penzance Arts Club closed, Golowan funding cut – it’s brilliant to find something as fresh and new as this.

More info at www.newlynartschool.co.uk; £175 three-day Landscape Painting course.

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Alert! Alert! I just discovered a perfect little place out on the Lizard, on a wind-beaten cliff above Gunwalloe. For the past year, word has been reaching me of Barefoot Kitchen being ‘right up my street’ and when I finally made it over to this remote area of Cornwall, so indeed it was. Right up my muddy, single-vehicle-access Cornish lane, in any case.

Occupying Helzephron House (previously home to the Helzephron Herb Farm), this cafe/shop has the kind of pared down intuitive design that makes me think a Swede MUST have been involved at some stage. The shop has a small selection of products, some their own, others carefully chosen, for example gorse-scented candles, the Ghillie kettle, retro wooden bodyboards, earring studs made of softened seaglass, seaweed design aprons… I wanted to bring it all home. The coffee was great, the fish soup fragrant.

Whenever my sister comes to stay with her array of sharp camera lenses, I demand immediate possession of the memory stick so I can use the pictures on pasties & cream, hence an artier than usual selection – and several more photography-based posts on their way.

Oh and Barefoot is opening a surf school in coming months AND does pop-up restaurants in conjunction with Lime Tree. AND there are sea views, when the rain’s not slashing against the window.

www.barefootkitchen.com

I nearly died of surprise when I got to the cinema last night to find the Penwith Film Society‘s screening of ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ had sold out, and a cluster of people waiting for some unlikely tickets to become available. It’s not often the Saveloy sells out.

Other than the brilliant Penwith Film Society’s weekly screenings, there’s an awful lot of mainstream fare, so the second cinema-related surprise of the week is that there’s also a one-off screening of a locally shot art-house film taking place on Thursday evening.

Local film director Mark Jenkin’s second feature-length film, Happy Christmas, is the film in question – ‘an interwoven seaside hymn to gift-wrapped promises and unwanted presence’. It is filmed in Penzance and around West Cornwall – I am hoping from the photo stills to see some gritty after-dark shots of the prom. Drinkies & nibbles in the bar upstairs afterwards.

Book in advance. www.merlincinemas.net

www.penwithfilmsociety.co.uk

What with Christmas coming, I thought this would be a good time to share the news that the TeddyPasty has landed online – it has its own spot on Etsy. Handmade in St Ives by Emily Fishpool, he has good crimpage, comes in his own brown paper bag, and looks highly cuddly… for a pasty. Costs £10.

TeddyPasty is online at http://teddypasty.tumblr.com and he even tweets: http://twitter.com/teddypasty

Just wanted to throw a link to casio duo Hedluv + Passman‘s long-awaited video of Cornish anthem, Doin it Dreckly, which is gathering momentum in these parts. Sumptuously filmed on the streets of Redruth. Love them.

Also love their blog: http://hedluvandpassman.wordpress.com. The album, ‘We Came Here Not For Gold’, is available to buy here.

I agree with the majority that Cornwall is a very creative place – partly by nature, also by necessity. But sometimes I find the same old coastally-inspired art and ceramics pop up time and time again in galleries, and I kind of crave something new and different.

Well, check out Falmouth-based Jonathan Fuller’s sea-glass sculpture for something fresh on the eye, as featured in coast magazine this month (he’s married to the head of design at organic Cornish clothing company, seasalt, so they are the perfect Coast couple).

I really love the washed-out pastel colours and the clean lines and shapes of Jonny’s artwork, and I feel quite inspired to start collecting and categorising glass in satisfyingly colour-coded jars. I wonder if, as in my childhood, finding a piece of soft blue glass is still the top trump.

www.jonathanfuller.co.uk; his work is showing at Trelowarren’s Christmas craft fair Shine, 9th-11th Dec, info at www.cornwallcrafts.co.uk. Prices from £250.

There has been no shortage of new Cornish food and drink products appearing in recent years (let’s see, this one, that one, and this one) but there is one product that emerged this year that has a particularly interesting backstory – one that had me clicking through to the press release with unusual speed. I’m talking about the first Cornish whisky, made collaboratively and on a very small scale by Hicks & Healey’s, both leaders in the Cornish drinks industry.

I got busy arranging an interview and most importantly getting my hands on a very, very small wax-sealed sample bottle of this liquid gold (priced at £150 a bottle, with only 319 bottles in circulation), pictured below. It was handed over with all the weight of a historical artefact, which I suppose is what it is – a true limited edition.

I thought p&c readers might like to read more about it, so here is the little feature I wrote about it, first published on the food pages of Cornwall Today.

It was amid a flurry of curiosity and inquisition that leading Cornish drinks producers Hicks of St Austell Brewery and Healey’s jointly launched the first Cornish, indeed also the first English, whiskey – an oak-matured, seven-year single malt made with Cornish ingredients. Barley isn’t traditionally grown in these parts, nor of course is whiskey traditionally distilled in England, let alone the South West. But then improbability isn’t traditionally something to deter the Cornish.

The plan to create the first Cornish whiskey was hatched between two men ten years ago, who realised that Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Falmouth gets all the fun. Literary types, here’s a date for your diaries: 29th November, Rum Bar, Falmouth, 7.30pm.

The Parabola Project – a not for profit creative writing and storytelling project – will be launching its second writing anthology, showcasing the talents of signed and unsigned creative writers from around Cornwall. The book is edited and masterminded by p&c friend and self-confessed ‘alphabet floozy’ Clare Howdle.

On the night, there will be the chance to hear the writers read from the new book – called Quickening – and other spoken word performances; buy a copy of the new book, priced £6; and drink Winter Pimms (and presumably rum).

The book is rather lusciously designed by Venn Creative.

www.parabolaproject.com

The Parabola Project Issue II: Quickening is available online from http://www.parabolaproject.com, in Waterstones Truro and from independent bookshops across Cornwall, it costs £6 – with all profits going back into the production pot for issue III.

a new dawn for pz seafront?

There’s been a bit of an atmosphere of ‘don’t mention the harbour’ ever since the potent and divisive controversy surrounding the proposed Option A development for Penzance Harbour.

The Council’s plan, known as Option A, was to seriously compromise an area of historic beauty and build a coach park in one of the most scenic parts of town – which they tried to push through at all costs without adequately consulting members of the local community. Thanks in part to protest but in reality mainly due to the recession, this pricey project was overturned.

The aim now, though, isn’t to rake up old bitterness (though if you want to read my feelings about it at the time, you can here) but rather to celebrate a promising new forum for development along the seafront, planning close consultation with local people. It goes by the name of the Penzance Seafront Forum, and it is organising its first public meeting for next Thursday, 17th November at 7.30pm in St John’s Hall. Spread the word.

If you can’t attend, but have thoughts to air, you are encouraged to email ideas@pzharbourfutures.org. http://penzanceseafront.com

Sorry for being a slack blogger lately – I’ve been on holiday. As in an actual holiday in a different country. Cornwall really is a comfortable hole isn’t it, and it’s hard to leave – not least because it takes a day just to get to your mode of transport.

In any case, what better tonic for the post-holiday blues than a stay at Salt House last night; at the moment, I’m writing some updates for the Time Out Guide to Devon & Cornwall and this haute-design B&B in Carbis Bay was high up my list of must-check-outs (feel I must add the obligatory travel writer’s aside: ‘hard job but someone’s got…’).

Sink all thoughts of nautical themes or fishermen’s cottage chic. This is real-deal modern luxury – a stunning, wood-clad cube of a building with omg views from each guest room’s private terrace over the full golden sweep of St Ives Bay through the monterey pines. I always try and use my own pictures on pasties & cream but it’s just so horribly dark and cold and grey this week that my iphone couldn’t handle it, hence the sparkly official photos, which do it greater justice.

In the white rooms it’s all about careful editing – an Alessi bottle opener here, an Orla Kiely mug there, glossy flat-screen telly, homemade coconut-flecked cookies. It’s the work of owners Alan and Sharon, both graphic designers.

There are only two rooms, so unsurprisingly they’re a hot booking.

www.salthousestives.co.uk; £170-£190 per night, including (amazing) breakfast, mine pictured below.

These are words that greet you on a sandwich board outside 108 Coffee in Truro. And that is exactly what the owner-barista at 108 Coffee in Truro has done: he moved on from Starbucks to launch his own house of beans a few months ago.

I’m glad he did, because my flat white was perfection yesterday, as you can see – served in a glass, which always makes things feel that bit more continental. I visited on the strength of Dave’s recommendation in the p&c Cornwall coffee shortlist the other day, and assorted word-of-twitter praise, and left rather enamoured with this nine-week-old coffeeshop.

108 Coffee, 108 Kenwyn Street, Truro.

grumpies of cornwall

I’m digging the branding for this new line of Cornish pies from Lanson – it is the brainchild of two self-proclaimed grumpy old men, and it’s pronounced GrumPIES.

Clever jokes and hand-drawn illustrations aside, the product is great. I tried the all-Cornish pork, apple and cider pie for lunch today and it was uncompromisingly meaty and flaky of crust. It’s also really nice to see someone using local, premium ingredients without taking themselves too seriously. I love the food revolution in Cornwall, and writing about it, but sometimes it can all get a bit ‘we hand-knit our own freerange cows’.

Mr Grumpie, who is actually very friendly, tells me Read the rest of this entry »

It is one of the quirks of living in these parts that the most exciting happenings in the arts seem to take place without the fanfare that they are due – never mind the fanfare, actually, with very little information at all!

And so it was that I found out about an amazing-sounding play taking place in St Ives this week thanks to a friend’s facebook status update containing a link to a truly gushing Time Out London review that had awarded it five stars.

The performance in question is Botallack O Clock, a play about the life of pioneering West Cornwall abstract artist Roger Hilton, performed by Third Man Theatre. It is described by Time Out as “the best kind of buried treasure” and describes Dan Frost’s performance as “phenomenal and uncompromising”.

There – a mini West Cornwall fanfare!

13th & 14th September at St Ives Art Club, £10. www.thirdmantheatre.com

Being a bit of a tin geek, I approve of this vintage-chic new tin of Cornish Fairings care of Furniss (official makers of the Cornish Fairing – they nabbed a trademark a few years back), which has been designed to celebrate their 125th anniversary in business.

The requisite embossing and retro styling is in place, as well as a motif of a pan-Cornish lighthouse, all brought up to date with some nice pastel colours and tactile matt gold.

Cornish people don’t tend to eat Fairings in great quantities, other than when they have just gifted someone a tin of them, under which circumstances Read the rest of this entry »

the asylum, cornwall

I finally made it to Kneehigh’s Asylum of awesomeness last night for The Wild Bride. As promised by everyone, it was pure Kneehigh, spell-binding, funny and dark. It probably isn’t very useful posting about this on the last day of its Cornish run but if you can get your hands on a ticket GO! It’s moving on to Hammersmith after tomorrow, where presumably it won’t take place in a field.

All residual objection to the West End prices evaporated (well, nearly all) when the youngest Wild Bride first opened her mouth to sing…

www.kneehigh.co.uk; public wealth warning: tickets £23! Tickets for London shows start at £12.. mm. 

the asylum, cornwallthe asylum, cornwall

venton vean penzance cornwall

It’s always a pleasure when I get an email from a pasties & cream reader, even if it’s just to complain about my lack of captioning (full-time job alert). But it’s particularly nice when I get an email about something as eye-opening as this beautiful new boutique b&b in Penzance – opened this week.

The modern-classic chairs, blue accents, amazing garden, period detailing, rainforest showers… you don’t find all of that for under £100 a room very often. I know this because I drove round the whole of Cornwall a few years ago seeking out special places to stay for the Time Out Guide to Devon & Cornwall – and gems are few in this price bracket.

It is also on one of my favourite streets, leafy Trewithen Road, next to Penlee Park. Best of luck, Venton Vean – if your website is anything to go by, you’re going to storm it. Oh and can you open a little tea shop in your garden too, please? That would be most handy.

www.ventonvean.co.uk

Get an eyeful of this!

venton vean, penzance, cornwallventon vean, penzance, cornwall

Anyone who went to Cornwall Design Fair at Trereife House at the weekend will know what I mean when I say that the wallet-emptying perils of this event are grave. It was my first time at the fair, and the jewellery temptation levels – always my weak spot – were vertiginously high. Short of time this week, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking – but for once I’m going to treat you to captions ;)

PS My only gripe was the £6 per person admission fee (not allowing you to come back the next day without paying more again). This did include entry to the wonderful house but on the whole I’m not so keen on paying to go shopping. Don’t mind me, though, I’m just a grumpy old woman!

georgia stoneman; ever-gorgeous jewellery taking on organic forms (www.georgiastoneman.co.uk); these rings are beautiful stacked together

little fruit earrings by irreverent foundlings jewellery (www.foundlingsjewellery.co.uk), also responsible for surreal baby necklace above, which by rights shouldn't work but does!

the scene at trereife, with outsized pebble seat sculptures by ben barrel (www.benbarrell.co.uk); also pictured above. saving up...

love, love, love this girl's blue and white ceramics and salt servers - bugger, lost her card. she of the blueberry-scented pen, please tell me your name so i can link to you!

satisfying, strokeable felt pebbles

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Today’s post comes from über-coffee-maker Dave Jones, Origin coffee’s head barista trainer, pictured in green above. I attended one of Origin’s coffee courses (newly available to the public) at their geek-chic coffee lab in Helston last week and was bowled over by the complexities of brewing coffee but most of all by Dave’s amazingly detailist approach.

There are all sorts of things to think about like brew ratios, over-extraction, under-extraction, grind size, immersion time, saturation, freshness of beans… Ah, so that’ll be why there is so much poor coffee sloshing about, often even when the cafe has superb coffee beans to start with (talking of which, try smooth-talking Finca Los Altos by Origin, my new fave).

Don’t know about you but I’ve had enough limp lattes to last a lifetime, so without further ado, here’s Dave’s good coffee guide to Cornwall: Read the rest of this entry »

I’m hard to please when it comes to bath and body products – I like an vivid, fresh fragrance, a good consistency and preferably a pretty bottle.

I seem to form my strongest memories by scent – Molton Brown Warming Eucalyptus Shower Gel will forever transport me to my hospital séjour earlier this year (shame, that) and Monoi oil to my French exchange’s house, aged 12.

When I had lunch at the Beach Hut at Watergate Bay the other day (very fine fajitas btw – pic below), a trip to the bathroom was made all the more memorable by the presence of a bottle of a certain Rosemary & Bergamot hand wash with matching lotion.

The adjective I’m looking for is, Read the rest of this entry »

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I’ve had a bath, downloaded my photos, and strewn muddy camping kit all over the lounge. After the non-stop stimulation and good vibes of Port Eliot Festival over the weekend, Monday morning from where I’m sitting is looking a little grey and boring.

But I still have many inspirational words ringing in my ears, so I thought I’d write a blog post before they are drowned out by the pile of admin tasks. As someone tweeted last night: “Back from Port Eliot with serious festival state of mind. Do I go back to work tomorrow, or set up an organic cider press in Cornwall? Sigh”.

The journalistic shorthand for writing about Port Eliot is to say that it is incredibly posh. Well, it turns out Read the rest of this entry »

These pics are my favourites from a v neat exhibition in the Vintage Storeroom in St Ives until tomorrow called Instant Exposure by talented downalong-dweller Emily Fishpool – designer, illustrator and most importantly creator of the super-cute Teddy Pasty, ‘the cuddliest teddy in all Cornwall’!

All the pics are taken on the iPhone. Framed prints are £30. Why don’t mine look like that?

www.emilyfishpool.com/instant-exposure

newlyn art gallery

These are pics of a specially commissioned installation at the Newlyn Gallery at the moment by Phoebe Cummings (recently artist in residence at the V&A) in response to the Cornish landscape.

People (myself included) tend to bang on about the colours of Cornwall, don’t they, so there was something interesting and different in her intricate, clay-grey mini Cornwall.

I attended a workshop on Saturday morning with Phoebe, in which Read the rest of this entry »

Seeing as it’s scorchio outside and I’m feeling more deckchairy than bloggy, I’m going to be brief and post some pictures of sunset from the Porthmeor Beach Cafe at the weekend – all in all, a pretty smug-making Read the rest of this entry »

You know that thing people say about things that seem too good to be true usually not being true? Well, I really hope that isn’t the case… because I just got my first delivery from Cornishfoodmarket.co.uk – the Cornish online groceries store bravely aspiring to be a genuine competitor to the Big 4 – and frankly it bodes well.

But before I get into detail, can I just say OMG THEY DO CORIANDER FOR 99p, an ingredient so exotic in these parts that it is the sole preserve of the supermarkets, or a fixed price of three million pounds a sprig in Read the rest of this entry »

OK, I realise that two consecutive blog posts have contained images of bunting fluttering in the Cornish breeze – you’ll have to forgive me (particularly male readers) but really you’ve got to make hay while the sun shines.

This is a clip of Porthleven Food Festival on Saturday, taken from next to the food marquee, where I sat pint of Betty in hand, enjoying Read the rest of this entry »

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Like any girl, I swoon at the sight of vintage crockery, bunting, wild flowers and cakes (in pretty much any combination), so imagine my excitement at this pop-up tea shop called Tea by the Sea, which pitched up in the old shipping container that is currently on Penzance prom as part of Cornwall Design Season.

Despite being the only seaside prom in Cornwall – with twinkling views – Penzance prom is quite a bare kind of place. Occasionally, and seemingly randomly, a few potted palms appear, but then they disappear as mysteriously as Read the rest of this entry »

porthminster beach cafe, st ives, cornwall

This piece of culinary art, my friends, is a morsel of almond-battered cod cheek with salted grapes, darjeeling tea gel and wild sorrel. I loved it so much that I ended up dreaming about it.

We are in the midst of Cornwall Spring Feast, a county-wide foodie shindig celebrating the joys of the local larder. The main shtuck is the one-price-fits-all special menus (£14 for two courses) in all participating restaurants – even the Outlaw’s Grill. But the county’s headlining chefs are also hosting a few special events – opportunities to perform culinary cartwheels outside the parameters of the daily menu.

When the opportunity arises to see young Australian chef Mick Smith of the Porthminster Beach Cafe perform culinary cartwheels, it’s one you Read the rest of this entry »

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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