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…shop on industrial estates.
I only realised this fact relatively recently and now my theory is gathering momentum. There’s the Frugi warehouse in Helston’s Water-ma-Trout; previously blogged Baker Tom’s cafe in Pool; there’s Ruby Junes newly opened in Hayle; and Shivermetimbers reclamation yard near Crowlas. All heart-sinkingly desolate outside, but harbouring treasure within.
A recent addition to my industrial estate hot list is Celtic Sheepskin, Cornwall’s answer to the Ugg boot, based on Treloggan industrial estate in Newquay. This (mainly online) business specialises in highest-quality sheepskin boots made sustainably with British sheepskin sourced from the last remaining UK footwear tannery.
I’ve been resisting the Ugg boot vibe for some years. God knows we’re all slouchy enough in Cornwall without wearing slouchy boots day and night. Plus, when I’d tried them on I’d found the foot support lacking. But most importantly, I’ve observed that once people own a pair, they DON’T EVER TAKE THEM OFF.
But I couldn’t keep it up, so I’ve capitulated on the grounds that Celtic’s boots have decent heel reinforcement; it’s a great Cornish company; and – frankly – who wouldn’t want their feet to be permanently wrapped in wool and supple suede?
As if to make sure you really never take them off, Celtic has now designed a new boot that is water-resistant, called the Aqualamb, pictured below.
Boots from £120, www.celticandco.co.uk
I love Finisterre cold-weather clothes and lap up discounts on their high-end gear. This promising-looking workshop sale takes place Saturday at Finisterre’s HQ at Wheal Kitty in St Agnes. Test your gear in the (probably) lashing rain at Trevaunance Cove afterwards. Or better still hang it up and go for a Wheal Kitty pizza at the Cornish Pizza Company – I haven’t tried them out yet but it all sounds perfectly tasty and thin-crust.
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?
More pics from the collection: Read the rest of this entry »
The Cornish sardines stacked on counters in Newlyn fish shops at the moment are a spectacular bargain: five for £1. Fresh, meaty, good for you, supplies not about to expire. Pan-fried, slice of lemon, sprig of parsley – delicious.
That is all.
I interviewed Andy Appleton, head chef at Fifteen, some time ago for Food magazine – interesting guy, very keen to place the emphasis on Fifteen’s charitable status, which can often be lost in the Jamie factor and the general desirability of the place.
But one other, smaller thing also stuck in my mind from our chat: he was very excitable about Read the rest of this entry »
Or rather to be born again. Thankfully, I have a gorgeous dusty pink bathroom suite all of my own so I had that particular area covered.
This ceramic installation comes care of Shiver Me Timbers reclamation yard at Long Rock, near Penzance: west Cornwall’s answer to IKEA. Good browsing. More pics.. 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 »
‘I just love cheese,’ said Helen Venning, the owner of a new cheese shop in Newlyn, to the Cornishman last week. I liked the simplicity of that statement. And, seeing as I just love cheese too, I went down for the opening night on Friday to check out their wares.
Newlyn Cheese – a few doors down from Jelberts – is aiming to have the largest selection of British cheeses in Cornwall, including the phenomenal Rachel from Somerset and all the Cornish crew.
Cornwall has some excellent cheeses – Manallack Farmhouse, yarg, Cornish Blue, Cornish Camembert – but when it comes to stinkiness you Read the rest of this entry »
I was horrified to read this week that Penzance came tenth in a survey looking into Britain’s worst clone towns, and charting the devastating rampage of the chains on this country’s high streets.
I have to admit I was also a little surprised. One of the things that draws a lot of us to this *faraway town (*swap in ‘godforsaken’ on a bad day), and Cornwall in general, is its strong sense of identity – a feeling of foreignness, community and all-round arty eccentricity.
While I’m not declaring myself above supermarket shopping, I am rather partial to a trundle around town (yes I have a shopping trolly and no, I don’t care if I look like a granny), buying my meat and sausages at the butchers, fish from Newlyn, eggs and cold meats from the deli, and all manner of goods by the side of the road. [I am yet to succumb to one of those wooden ducks that are always lined up in lay-bys in Cornwall – do people finally give in once they’ve lived here long enough?]
But let’s face up to facts: the chains – and really the most dire of chains – are all here. So, to cheer myself up, I’ve made a list of my top ten independent shops in Penzance (I’ve permitted Cornish mini chains!):
1/ Lavenders: eggs, cold meats & pasties
2/ The Deli: best coffee in town
3/ Lenterns: superb sausages and meat
4/ Stevo’s – fish boutique (Wharfside)
5/ Archie Browns – health shop and community hub
6/ Seasalt – organic Cornish clothing, though you have to go easy or you look like everyone else in Cornwall
7/ Steckfensters – second-hand emporium (I blogged about this the other day)
8/ Weigh Your Own Absolutely Anything on Causewayhead – not sure what it’s really called but they are shit-hot weighers
9/ Super Volt – the sort of passion for cables you want from your local electrics shop
10/ Books Plus – books & stationery, plus Cornwall section
There, I feel better now. It’s going to be OK. I mean I even had to miss lots out! Let me know if you agree with the lineup.
The good news is that Newlyn scored very highly in the same study for identity and diversity.
I can but apologise in advance to male readers for the amount of pink in this post. I discovered Atlantic Blanket‘s Padstow shop recently and must have spent about half an hour in there stroking the cashmere throws and merino hand-knitted hot water bottles. The owners of this newish Cornish company (with an online shop) hand-pick their stock from knitters and weavers far and wide – and collection is clearly amassed with great care.
Having become strangely obsessed with llama wool in Argentina (only to get home and have the whole lot decimated in the washing machine EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ON A COLD WOOL CYCLE), I was a bit disappointed not to see any of it on the wool menu at Atlantic Blanket. But no matter – there is mohair, alpaca, cashmere, lambswool, merino, as well as more practical fleecy throws for picnics. Check this Celtic Fringe blanket from Scotland… £250…sigh.
And here comes the pink…
With the casualties of the recession still very visible in Penzance – every third shopfront seems to be empty at the moment – it was particularly nice to walk down Chapel Street on Friday and spot something new. A rummager’s dream world, Steckfensters has moved from its smaller Bread Street premises into a plum property – in the old Hilton Young gallery.
I had a browse and the stock is pure Penzance: you can expect anything from a handsome ladies’ pale blue Raleigh bike to rails of leather jackets, plants, curios, floral print garden chairs and, most importantly, a pink tutu.
10 Chapel Street, Penzance – open Thur-Sat
When checking out the new café/tapas bar at Scarlet Wines in Lelant at the weekend (of which more to follow), on the Old Forge pottery site, I discovered a neat new branch of St Ives vintage design shop Beaten Green in the hut next door.
There’s all manner of shabby-chic furniture piled up (chests-of-drawers, shelves, armchairs) – some more shabby than chic, some more chic than shabby – but it’s the unconventional pieces that really demonstrate a designer’s eye for potential.
As keen as I am to buy local produce – not just in a novelty, let’s-all-buy-Cornish-Sea-Salt-and-Tregothnan-tea-once-a-year kind of way, but as part of the weekly shop – I haven’t always felt it was especially viable, financially or practically.
Boutique farm shops have sprung up all over Cornwall as part of the foodie revolution sweeping the region, selling premium organic and super-freerange meat and veg, but I always leave them torn over how many 50p tomatoes I can realistically buy in one year.
Which is why I was so excited when I discovered the Higher Trenowin Farm shop the other week – located on the B3311 between Penzance and St Ives. Devoid of cool Cornwall trappings, it is a low-key, friendly farm shop Read the rest of this entry »