Another trip down the M1, M42, M5 and A30 to Padstow for the Christmas festival with a quick stop at our favourite Gloucester services, where what should we find but a Maileg pixie sat very happily amongst the produce!
This year I had three people I wanted to see/listen to - Clare from Blossom clothing who I met at the WI Centenary Fair in Harrogate, she was doing a fashion show, Teri Walters who was doing a demonstration entitled 'Tart up your table' and finally James Martin.
Clare's fashion show was lovely even though she worked under some very difficult conditions, here are a few pictures of the lovely clothing on her stand
needless to say a little purchase was in order!
I have heard Teri Walters each year we have been down for the festival and she is always very inspiring and you come away with lots of ideas for your Christmas table. This year she focused on crackers, how to recycle cheap bought ones and also how to use them to decorate your table. As James Martin has a thing about butter Teri has a thing about cranberries. So this year I too have copied her idea for cranberries and put them in a vase and added a candle
And so to James Martin, well David and I queued for a 'sit down' ticket but failed, however we were able to stand at the back. The only trouble was I couldn't see him at all - they had screens which showed what he was doing but the camera never switched to his face when all the banter was taking place. The only pictures we have of him are these
not great but hopefully you get the idea of how things were. He was however hilarious and anyone going to see him on his tour will be in for a good night I'm sure.
We love the festival with it's food and alcohol stands,
and that's alongside the lantern parade
Father Christmas on a horse drawn coach and the fireworks
In the memorial hall was Richard Bond ie Bondy from Coastees - you may remember the mug I bought from him last year and Bev from Salty Vault, who also runs one of our favourite eating places in St Merryn - Waves. Needless to say we bought Christmas presents from both Bondy and Bev.
In between our trips into Padstow there was also time for David to do some DIY for Charlotte - some additional kitchen unites, complimented with a selection of wine boxes to use as shelves
and for us to go for a walk on a very windy and wild Harlyn beach
and for me to introduce Nina to Elvis the singing reindeer
and to recycle an old Christmas hat
We decided that we would leave early on the Monday morning so as to take the opportunity to go into Exeter and explore the Christmas market. It was small compared to the one in Bath that we had been to a couple of years before but pleasant.
We were able to continue to indulge in our love of street food by getting Thai for lunch and then bizarrely eating it in the 'Alpine bar'
I had been looking forward to a glass of mulled wine but mulled wine didn't seem to go with Thai food so water became the choice!
I wanted to get this little post in before we go back down to Cornwall for the Christmas festival in Padstow (yes we're back again, our car is now able to drive it's self down there we've been up and down so much!)
I had been drooling over some of the gorgeous looking food that Scott and Babs at Retorrick Mill had been cooking up for Sunday lunches these past few weeks so decided to book for the next time we were down in Cornwall. I know I've mentioned Retorrick Mill before, it's a very rustic, bohemian sort of place, cobbled together in some old farm buildings - well stables and a barn to be exact. Lots of old squashy sofas, mismatched chairs, tables and crockery all giving a lovely relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
This is what they say about themselves which describes them perfectly.
Our wood fired food set up at Retorrick Mill deep in the valley of Laherne in North Cornwall is a very special place to us.
We are situated in a barn on a farm with a beautiful little campsite with some chalets and fixed caravans surrounded by lots of lovely, friendly animals and incredible wildlife just a 15 minute walk through the woods from the beach.
Wilf (Retorrick Mill's owner and farmer) is busy rearing fabulous pigs, sheep, cows, ducks and chickens for us to eventually eat!
We also have a poly tunnel that hopefully, come summer, will be bursting with fresh veggies and salads, A lots of our produce also comes from Gluvian farm, our lovely organic neighbours.
Come and taste our menu cooked mainly using our barrel smokers spit roaster and wood fired clay oven.
This was our menu
Partridge, now I had never had partridge before, Scott was telling us that he had had to cut down a pear tree so decided to use the branches to smoke the partridges - very seasonal!
David was taken round the back to see the smokers (note all the odd windows put together to make the back wall)
But back to the partridge, delicious.
One per person, I managed most of it along with wonderful roast potatoes and vegetables, leaving just enough space for my choice of cheesecake - perfect!!
After all that food David and I went down to a very windy Constantine beach to walk off some of the excess.