You may remember that when I turned 60 earlier this year, my birthday celebrations were dampened somewhat by the fact that Boris Johnson announced the national lockdown on the very same day!
We were in Cornwall at the time, one of my favourite places, and last week Olley and I returned to enjoy a few more days there before moving on to somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit – the Scilly Isles. Olley had booked six nights on the largest island, St Mary’s, and we planned to take day trips to some of the other islands using the water taxis.
We had mixed weather, not always that warm but plenty of sunshine and only one day of rain so we were lucky. One of our highlights in Cornwall was a visit to the outdoor Minack theatre in Porthcurno. It is a magnificent setting carved into the rock of the cliff face with the sea as a backdrop.
When we booked initially, the show was to be Shakespeare’s The Tempest – surely the most apt setting for a play set on a ship at sea in a violent storm and then on a remote island. Covid-19 meant that it couldn’t go ahead but it was replaced with a two-person cast in Educating Rita – one of the actors being Stephen Tompkinson.
He and his co-star Jessica Johnson were both fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed the classy performance, but I think I’d have loved it regardless. It’s such a fabulous place and we were even treated to a warm up act of about six dolphins showing off in front of us, followed by a pod of pilot whales swimming past. A magical evening.
I had a swim myself, although I was surprised how cold the water was. I’d joined up with Sea Swim Cornwall, a group that I’ve swum with before as there’s safety in numbers when you don’t know the local conditions.
It was a stunning early morning when we arrived at Kynance Cove – my first time at this breathtakingly beautiful place. We swam from a beach hidden behind the cliff on the right in my photo, around the two ‘islands’ on the left to the double-sided beach with the rock stack, and then back again. I was cold and tired at the end but exhilarated – to swim in such amazingly clear blue waters in the British Isles made me feel very lucky. And a hot coffee and Cornish pasty soon sorted me out!
Then it was on the ferry heading west to the Scillies. What a wonderful birthday present it turned out to be. Had Olley chosen to give me a weekend in Paris or some other European city, we may have been outsmarted by the coronavirus, but this was the perfect choice. Britain has so much to offer.
Each island has its own personality. We were able to get to all five of the inhabited ones and to also enjoy a boat trip to spot seals and sea birds. We walked the coastlines to see rugged granite rocks being battered by Atlantic waves, sheltered coves with water reflecting like a mirror and long, sandy bays with Caribbean-like clear waters.
I loved exploring the lush, tropical gardens on Tresco and we hired bikes to go further on St Mary’s. In the photo, the green leaves sprouting from my rucksack are some agapanthus plants that thrive in the warm sunny climate there (hope I don’t kill them at home!).
Everyone was so friendly, and we had such a fabulous time. I certainly hope to go again sometime. I enjoy travelling – the pleasure of discovering new cultures, cuisine and people – with a passion, but I’m also fortunate that I love returning home. I hope I never lose the urge to explore new places, but there really is nowhere like home.
At QVC this Tuesday (22nd September) we’re celebrating that with our Love Your Home event. The Today’s Special Value will be a sumptuous Faux Fur Throw from K by Kelly Hoppen (809868) but I have my eye on some of her bedding.
There’s a new duvet set that I’d like, as I really do notice the difference in quality when I have Kelly Hoppen linen on the bed. Even my 25-year-old son Billy commented when I treated him to some on his bed last time he stayed with us. It’s funny, because he was a particularly tactile child who was fussy about fabrics and he’s the one of my three children now who notices the luxury when I give it to him!
In order to hold on to summer for as long as possible, I might go for a new Peony arrangement, such as the Poppies with Seeded Grass. The faux flowers are created with such accuracy that they have been recognised by the Royal Horticultural Society for their botanical excellence. The main differences are that they last forever, the petals never drop and you don’t have to water them!
For more decoration, or as an unusual and sparkling gift, you could consider a pair of swans Julien Macdonald-style. Or perhaps a top-rated Lotus Flower candle holder. The candle holder has an incredible amount of five-star reviews and has been reduced in price from £47 to just under £35 for the event. Plus, we have a new colour – gold – alongside the other three options of clear, silver and smoked. The weighty, faceted crystal swans are elegantly delightful, and come in a gift box to make them extra special.
Finally, two things that are a bit more down to earth. Despite lockdown, I still have lots of sorting and de-cluttering to do at home. The weather was so good that I spent most of my extra time in our garden, so autumn and winter will see me organising my cupboards… cue Organised Options and their Waterfall Hanging Organiser. It will help me find a home for all my bits and pieces.
On top of that, wherever I am – at home or on holiday – I always carry a Kochblume microfibre cloth with me. As one of the five-star reviews state: ‘Who thought I would ever get excited about microfibre cloths!!! But yes, these are simply the most efficient, effective and versatile ones I’ve ever used. Just bought a second set.’
I totally agree, they’re the best for so many jobs around the home, but I always have one in my handbag too, as they are the absolute best for keeping my glasses smear-free so that I can see clearly.
So, do join us on Tuesday for all things home related with lots of feature prices to take advantage of. Who knows, we may well still be spending much more time than usual in our home these coming months, so let’s make it a welcoming place we love to be in.
See you soon on air, I hope. Do take care and stay well…
Love, Kathy x