ROAD TRIP IN DEVON & CORNWALL. PART 2 – the most southerly & westerly points, great coffee and engine houses

Day 2 – Porthleven, Lizard Point, Kynance Cove, The Minack Theatre, The Land’s End & Crowns Engine Houses.

Our first night in Cornwall we spent in St Ives, as usual we stayed in Airbnb. I always find them to be much better value than hotels especially in the UK. Anyway, the first day was pretty long so we had a dinner in a pub on the seafront and had an early night.

On our second day the weather has improved and it was actually sunny. The plan was to drive to Lizard and do a few stops on the way.

Porthleven – Origin Coffee Roasters

First stop was Porthleven which was so charming! Not going to lie, the main reason we stopped there was because of Origin Coffee Roasters – a very hipster cafes that i sometimes visit here in London but this one the very first one…coffee was amazing! So if you like your medium roast (and a good cake) definitely worth a visit, and a girl who worked there was lovely and recommended that we visit Kynance Cove which we did and it was great. After our little coffee break we strolled around for a bit and actually had our very first Cornish pasty from a local bakery – divine. They were roasting hot, just out of the oven. That’s all I’m going to say. Porthleven is actually famous for its restaurants, but me being a vegetarian, fancy fish didn’t really appeal. But we did say, if we come to Cornwall again, this wee harbour town would be a great place to stay.

Cornwall - Porthleven. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - Porthleven. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - Porthleven. Too Many Plants Blog

Lizard Point

After an excellent coffee and pasties, we made it to our main stop for the day – Lizard Point which the most southerly point in Britain. Both actually really enjoyed this stop: it is a lovely walk down to the water and you can visit a cave, really nice gift shop but the highlight was the cafe…We finally had some Cornish tea. A spoiler – we couldn’t finish it. Who knew we would get 4 giant scones between the two of us! Even tried to do ‘the Cornish way’ and put jam on first. Still not sure about it.

Cornwall - Lizard's Point. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - Lizard's Point. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - Lizard's Point. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - Lizard's Point. Too Many Plants Blog

We took a walk around lighthouse, decided against going in and made our way back to the car to go to our next stop – Kynance Cove. Oh and I probably should add that Lizard Point and Kynance Cove are both free but you have to pay for car park as both places are looked after by the National Trust.

Cornwall - Lizard's Point. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - Lizard's Point. Too Many Plants Blog

Kynance Cove

It is a little walk down form the car park and there are few ways to get down to Kynance Cove, and it is pram friendly by the way. As we were there on Friday afternoon it was pretty busy with tourists enjoying the sunny day.  Nevertheless we enjoyed the views and it is a truly remarkable bit of coastline. Anyone else sees a dragon? Have I read too many fantasy books?

Cornwall - Kynance Cove. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - Kynance Cove. Too Many Plants Blog

The Minack Theatre

Another place that I have had starred on my google maps for ages. Located on a steep hill it is a beautiful open-air theatre. I have been to Athens before and it totally gives out the ‘Mediterranean vibe’. Actually hard to believe that this theatre is not even 100 years old and was built by Rowena Cade in 1931-32 just with the help of her gardener. When we were there, there was a practice happening – you can watch bits of it in my video. Originally I wanted to treat Calum to tickets to see a production but timings weren’t great this time. There is a good cafe as well with an excellent view if you get lucky with the weather.

Cornwall - The Minack Theatre. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - The Minack Theatre. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - The Minack Theatre. Too Many Plants Blog

The Land’s End

Now to the biggest disappointment of the day – The Lands End. Basically it is a very mediocre centre of attractions. We did get there after the closing time and I can imagine it is a bit more fun when it is full with people or maybe if you have children. But we took a quick selfie and that was it for the Britain’s most westerly place.

Cornwall - Land's End. Too Many Plants Blog

Crowns Engine Houses

This place was incredible! We were at the sunset and pretty much alone. So romantic and mysterious. Cornwall used to be known for its mining, so there are plenty of abandoned mines dotted on the coast. We haven’t visited many others but this place was incredible. There are lots of old buildings around that you can explore and just genuinely a very picturesque and photogenic coast!

Cornwall - Crowns Engine Houses. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - Crowns Engine Houses. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - Crowns Engine Houses. Too Many Plants Blog

Cornwall - Crowns Engine Houses. Too Many Plants Blog

And this brings me to the end of our second day. We headed back to London on our third day but still made a few great stops, so one more blog post to come!

Road trip in Devon & Cornwall. Part 1 – Exeter, Okehampton Castle & The Lost Gardens of Heligan

If you have seen my previous post, you will know that in April we have finally travelled to Devon and Cornwall. It has been on my bucket list for long now.

We drove to Exeter on Thursday night and stayed in a lovely hotel just on the outskirts of Exeter – The St George and Dragon (I actually work for this company so it was great to get a bit of a discount as well). First morning we decided to quickly pop in to the actual Exeter as neither of us have been there before. Weather was, well, very very wet! You can see the rain the movie that I have made about our trip.

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Exeter)

Exeter

Exeter is lovely, the cathedral looks amazing and we absolutely loved walking around Northernhay Gardens. After taking lots of photos and having very much needed cup of tea in here (which was great by the way), we started our journey to Cornwall.

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Exeter)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Exeter)

Okehampton Castle

On the way we stopped at Okehampton Castle, I know I’ve said this before, but we both do like a ruin. It has been build between 1068 and 1086 following the Norman conquest of England by Baldwin FitzGilbert. William the Conqueror defeated the Anglo-Saxon forces at the battle of Hastings in 1066, but violence continued to flare up periodically for several years after the invasion. This castle was used as a hunting lodge and it has a stunning garden around it. Currently English Heritage looks after it and we ended up signing up for it as well.

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Okehampton Castle))

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Okehampton Castle))

During our visit we were the only people there and a guy who works there said that he wasn’t expecting to see anyone that day…what a dream job for an introvert. Anyway the place is incredibly picturesque and definitely a worthwhile stop if you are in the area.

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Okehampton Castle))

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Okehampton Castle))

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Okehampton Castle))

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

These gardens were an absolute highlight during our trip! The Gardens have a very interesting history, they were established in 18th century and then fully neglected during the World War I and then fully restored only in the 1990s.

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

The gardens include aged and colossal rhododendrons and camellias, a series of lakes fed by a ram pump over 100 years old, highly productive flower and vegetable gardens, an Italian garden, and a wild area filled with subtropical tree ferns called “The Jungle”. The gardens also have Europe’s only remaining pineapple pit, warmed by rotting manure, and two figures made from rocks and plants known as the Mud Maid and the Giant’s Head.

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

We ended up spending a few hours walking around, it was  a very quiet Thursday evening so it was very quiet and serene there. One of these places that i wish was a bit closer to home, they do lots of different activities during the year so check the website if you are planning on visiting.

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon (Gardens of Heligan)

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Too Many Plants Blog - Corwnall & Devon

Beautiful Cornwall in spring – our three day trip

It does feel like a long time ago, almost previous life that we went to Cornwall. But it was in April which is only 4 months ago. We booked the trip to celebrate Calum’s birthday, I think I’ve given him my thing of not being able to celebrate my birthdays at home.

Cornwall - road trip (Too Many Plants Blog)

I never had a proper kids birthday party. Every year, on June 23rd, my family went camping. I was lucky enough to be born on a midsummer’s night in Latvia and people really love to celebrate it by being outside. So every year we went camping with my parents and their friends. Lots of them. My parents were part of soviet young tourist community who spent their 20s exploring USSR. Can’t event explain how jealous that makes me. Oh well. I get to travel Europe now. Anyway long story short, I never got a proper birthday cake and spent my birthday swimming in cold water and running around forest. Which I have finally grown to love and appreciate. And somehow over the years I’ve realised that I cannot spend my birthdays at home now. I have to be away. And it baffles me when people are not bothered about their birthdays.

That’s how we ended up in Cornwall for Calum’s birthday. It was great!

Cornwall - road trip (Too Many Plants Blog)

Cornwall - road trip (Too Many Plants Blog)

We started our journey in Exeter, were we stayed for a night. On the first day the weather was incredibly bad, but we really didn’t care. We wandered around Exeter for an hour and after having some very needed hot tea, we started our Cornish trip.

I will write a more detailed post about our trip but for now here is a little movie I’ve put together. All filmed and edited on my phone, in case you are wondering.

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Cornwall - road trip (Too Many Plants Blog)

Creativity and burnout

I have been thinking a lot lately about how creativity appears, what seems, out of nowhere and you feel so inspired to create. And then, there are other times, when all you want to do is just to watch movies, read books and play games.

Too Many Plants Blog - Creativity and burnout

Too Many Plants Blog - Creativity and burnout

Too Many Plants Blog - Creativity and burnout

I feel creative when I’m rested. And there is no way around it for me. I can’t force it. I am a bit of a rebel naturally so if I try to force myself to do something I don’t want to, I just rebel and shut down, which starts that self-destructing cycle of beating myself up for not doing anything – having no motivation because I feel so bad…and it just goes in circles.

This year I am trying to create healthy routines for myself because that’s what makes a huge difference, that familiarity and comfort of knowing what to do to make things better. So far, I have been working on my bedtime habits and trying to avoid my phone and simply read an hour before going to sleep, which already made a huge difference. Another habit I have adapted – running every Sunday morning, it is crazy what that can do to my mental well being.

Too Many Plants Blog - Creativity and burnout

Too Many Plants Blog - Creativity and burnout

This year I have started a new job, a job that allows for the routine to build, which I have never had before so making a very conscious effort to make the best out of it and not take it for granted. Because most of my energy was spent on finding my feet in the new role, anything creative has taken the back seat. But I finally feel that I have it in me to be creative again. Not just at work, because, actually we forget that problem-solving that we do every day, is a way of being creative too.

Too Many Plants Blog - Creativity and burnout

Too Many Plants Blog - Creativity and burnout

Too Many Plants Blog - Creativity and burnout

Originally this post was meant to be about our travel to Cornwall, but I ended having things to say about creativity instead. So please stay tuned to more travel content in the new few months.

How do you deal with creative burnout? What helps you?

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Too Many Plants Blog - Creativity and burnout

Audley End House and Gardens – English Heritage Site

I remember being a teenager and my dad (whom I get my love for history from) dragging us around all sorts of castles and ruins around Latvia. Pretty sure there are still photos of me looking incredibly grumpy. So it is pretty ironic that in April we have signed up for membership with English Heritage while visiting, you guessed it, a ruined castle in Devon. Is this a sign of finally becoming an adult?

Anyway, we have decided to visit as many English Heritage sites as we can at the weekends, that are a driving distance away from London. So after this very long introduction, that’s how we ended up visiting Audley End House and Gardens.

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog
Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

It was one of April’s Bank Holiday weekends and we got so lucky because the weather was beautiful.  We have arrived pretty early so it wasn’t too crowded to begin with. If you never been to UK and planning on visiting, please come here in spring – it is stunning! Literally everything is blooming and blossoming, and the weather, sometimes, I have to add, is fantastic!

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog
Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

We spent the first hour walking around the gardens as the actual house doesn’t open till later.  There is so much to see – gardens, stables, mansion house, service wing and so much more.

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog
Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

The house has a very long history dating back to the 17th century, it got changed and rebuilt a few times since then but still looks incredibly impressive. Quite a big part of the house is open for visitors and there are very extensive collections of books and relics. Embarrassingly we walked around it in record breaking 20 minutes as it was getting really busy…but it was amazing!

There were tons of activities happening in the gardens that day, theatrical performances, horse racing and little market stalls. Such a brilliant day out for the whole family.

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog
Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

On our way back to London we visited another two English Heritage sites – Duxford Chapel and Prior’s Hall Barn. Both are free to visit and have some historical significance, but probably not wroth a trip on its own, unless you are really into barns and tiny chapels. Still enjoyed seeing them.

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Audley End House and Gardens - A day trip from London, Too Many Plants Blog

 

 

Vegetarian Barcelona – a food guide

I probably should start with saying that I have been a vegetarian for almost 15 years now, so pretty dedicated to the cause. But I am not fussy at all, so when it comes to eating I am happy with whatever veggie option there is, that’s why when I first visited Barcelona 8 years ago I mainly ate bread and cheese and it wasn’t a problem at all. So this time, while doing my research and planning itinerary, I came across a few blog posts and articles about vegetarian places in Barcelona – I diligently saved them all to my google maps with intention to visiting at least a few.

My mum doesn’t eat much meat as well, so to my surprise (not sure why I was surprised to be honest) she was very happy to tag along with me while visiting different vegetarian cafes and restaurants. So I thought it will be useful to put all that info in one post.

Proper food

Veggie Garden, Carrer dels Àngels, 3, 08001 Barcelona

Our absolute favourite! We loved it that much that we visited it twice in 3 days that we were in Barcelona. Very simple in terms of decor, almost studenty feel to it but menu consists of amazing salads, curries and fresh juices. It is also very reasonably priced! Fantastic option for a lunch while strolling around.

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Flax & Kale, Carrer dels Tallers, 74b, 08001 Barcelona

This is a small chain, they have three different spots around Barcelona and we went to the biggest one. This place is not necessary fully vegetarian but has plenty of delicious and, dare I say, cool dishes on the menu. Lots of organic options too. The best way to sum it up – instagrammers dream! Not the cheapest option in Barcelona, but a perfect place for a little treat, you are paying for the atmosphere and to be seen.

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Mercat de la Boqueria, La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona

Can you even visit Barcelona without visiting this place?? Self-proclaimed best market in the world. And it is amazing. And impressive. And colourful. Many say that you have to eat here while sitting on a high stool, people watching and taking in the atmosphere. We just walked around and had some fruit. But the choice here is amazing! Lots of vegetarian food too.

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Restaurante Italiano Rossini, Plaça Reial, 13, 08002 Barcelona

One of the evenings we spent drinking sangria and eating tapas – had to be done! We randomly chose a restaurant in Placa Reial (it was an Italian restaurant but it looked nice and had Spanish dishes on the menu) and truly enjoyed our evening there. Mum kindly agreed to get pretty much all veggie tapas (apart from prawns for herself) – padron peppers, patatas bravas and bruschetta, all washed down with cava sangria. And it was warm enough to sit outside. Not going to claim that this was the best food we ever had, but sitting outside (in January mind you!) surrounded by beautiful buildings and palm trees was pretty magical.

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Store Cafè, Travessera de Dalt, 25, 08024 Barcelona

Another random place that we popped in on our way from visiting Parc Guell. This day it was mum’s birthday so we started celebrating early – lunchtime sangria anyone? We both had salads and they were brilliant, so was sangria, probably the best we had in three days in Barcelona – so much fruit! The restaurant is fine, nothing special but we had brilliant time there so I thought it was worth a mention.

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Treats and snacks

Hofmann Pastisseria, Carrer dels Flassaders, 44, 08003 Barcelona

This place was recommended to us by a tour guide. And…oh my, was it spectacular! These guys are famous for their croissants stuffed with mascarpone. It was that good, that after having one bite my mum instantly ordered another one. It is sweet, rich and so delicious! An absolute must if you have a bit of a sweet tooth (don’t order two croissants though, that was unnecessary). They also have a little cafe a few meters away from bakery, just ask inside and they will point you in the right direction.

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Faborit Casa Amatller, Passeig de Gràcia, 41, 08007 Barcelona

Located right next to one of Gaudi’s masterpieces, this place offers a big selection of healthy foods, but I have to be honest here, we went there for something different. Apparently they do one of the best hot chocolates in Barcelona. Picture does say a million words in this case.

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Bracafe 1929, Carrer de Girona, 105, 08009 Barcelona

Our lovely airbnb actually gave us free breakfast vouchers so every morning we indulged in croissants, small sandwiches and coffees in a local Bracafe. I’ve seen lots of them dotted around Barcelona but we only went to the one next to our apartments. I loved it, it is very simple and always full of locals – a good sign I think! I must admit, Spaniards know a thing or two about pastries.

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Best coffee in Barcelona

Black Remedy, Carrer de la Ciutat, 5, 08002 Barcelona

Anyone who likes a good medium roast will love this place, again recommended by our tour guide. We only had a few americanos there but they were superb! I’m no expert (just a typical millennial living in North London) but would definitely go back. Food looked great too!

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

I think it is fair to say that Barcelona is so much more veggie (and vegan) friendly that it used to be a few years back! I had such a good time there. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog

Have you seen my post with our full itinerary in Barcelona?

Click here to read it

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Vegetarian guide to Barcelona - Too Many Plants Blog