A Valentine’s trip to the far west: Beautiful Sennen Cove, Cornwall

I love Sennen. Love, love love. My favourite beach in the world? Gwenver, just across the bay from Sennen Cove. Yup.
sunset dog running sennen cornwall
I think I first went to Sennen in 1999 with my oldest friend Caroline. We took our surfboards, hers ‘Big Red’, mine ‘Swirly Purple’ that each matched our little cars. The first time I stood at the top of the path looking down to Gwenver beach I felt like I’d come home. Ever since then we’ve camped at Trevedra Farm, partied at the then Whitesands Lodge youth hostel, and now we’ve graduated to a gorgeous cosy cottage overlooking the sea. Sennen Cove is top of my list of places to ‘go on holiday’ in Cornwall: it’s a long way down (almost at Lands End) so it still has the sleepy, off the grid, “closed up for the winter” surfy vibe of Cornwall of 15 years ago.
Lands End Valentines day sign

So of course, for our first Valentine’s day as a marreeeed pair, I wanted to take my beau there for the weekend.

We drove down on Friday after work, and arrived to a lowering gunmetal sky with the whole bay awash with white water. We stopped in the road to take a picture: we’d seen no cars for a few miles. The feeling of reaching the last outpost of peace and extreme cosiness before falling into the Atlantic was just marvellous.

Where we stayed: Cormorant Cottage

Tents are not an option in February so I found the gorgeous Cormorant Cottage, an old fisherman’s terrace of 6 overlooking the sea. To find it you go beyond the lifeboat station, past the Roundhouse and on to the carpark, where the road ends and the coast path begins. The neat little cottage with its open fire, well planned kitchen and amazing shower (a treat for us, our shower at home is still attached with an elastic band) was just what we wanted. They’d even put fresh flowers out and a pint of milk to welcome us.

 

sennen from hill view cornwall
We’re a bit stupid though, and headed straight for the pub. The Old Success Inn has had a dramatic facelift recently, all painted white and pale blue, with bright lights over the bar for a beach hut feel. Last time it was mostly brown and lovably dingy and we crowded round the window to watch dolphins jumping in the bay outside. There seems to be some controversy over this makeover, but really, there’s not a lot of choice. It’s such a friendly and cosy pub, with little kids and other dogs wandering over to make friends, and everyone nodding and smiling at each other as the pub slowly filled up.

Views from our weekend in Sennen Cove for Valentines weekend 2015

Why romance is better without Rattler

I say we’re stupid because we don’t learn from our mistakes. We’re idiots. Why? Because Rattler. The devil’s juice. So delicious. So crisp, so much better than any other ciders. Not sippable – only gluggable. So evil. After half a pint we started shout-talking, by the end of the first pint I was ravenous for a second. We gleefully swilled down two pints laughing, talking nonsense and rocking about in our chairs before lurching home for our Marks & Spencers feast. So, so drunk. It is not romantic to be drunk, with slightly undercooked fish pie smeared down my top, dancing to Liberty X in front of the fire, while my dear husband passed out on the sofa. Rattler. It’s not the first time. It’s not even the fifth or sixth time things have gone wrong after Rattler.

cliff walk to lands end

The monstrous hangover I faced on Saturday morning threatened to derail the romance weekend further. The Peeb had also got confused about ‘no Valentines presents’ and thought that also meant ‘no cards’. It never means that. Valentine’s cards are the best card of the lot, especially when they include a hand written poem. (His did.) Moving on from that, we got our boots on and set out on the coast path right outside the front door and walked round to Lands End and on to Nanjizal or Mill Bay. Stunning. We saw a big grey seal just hanging out in the surf.lands end coast path view

Monstrous hangover beaten by Bloody Mary

We turned inland, and found our way to The First and Last Inn because they were the only pub around showing the rugby. We arrived at 2:03pm so the “kitchen was closed”. We made lunch out of a Bloody Mary for me, a couple of rank pork pies and Dairylea slices (unexpectedly delicious) from Costcutter. And a bag of salty peanuts… Happy Valentine’s Day. Two good things happened in the pub: the Bloody Mary trounced my hangover and we won the game.

hill run down to sennen cove cornwall

We headed back down to Sennen Cove, along the path opposite Costcutter, and cut across to come down over the huge dunes to the beach. Sprinting down a steep sandy path is the best fun: the fastest, most effort free, crazy-legged run down to the beach.happy beach dog sennen cove sunset

 

After our sunset walk and dog party, we stopped in the pub for a pint of Strongbow, then headed home to the cottage to watch The Bodyguard (my first time. Loved it). Having an open fire is so atmospheric – it crackles and pops and whumfs. And was bloody hot. Fantastic.

lands end sunset cornwall The weekend continued in this way, with the wind dropping and sun shining on us on Sunday. We sat on the beach being gently warmed by the rays in the morning, ate the pretty good carvery at the Old Success Inn, napped blissfully in the cottage, and listened to the sea breathing the Lion’s Breath. It was a beautiful weekend that felt like a proper holiday.
lifeguard hut sunset sennen cove

Thank you for reading. If you have lovely Sennen memories / Rattler confessions / Liberty X dance tips, please drop me “just a little” note in the comments below. x
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Our winter wedding in Cornwall

Our Cliff Top Winter Wedding in Cornwall

Well, well well. It’s been a while… how you doin’? I am just great, and a wife! It’s been a life changing few months and yet it all feels very normal and comforting to call ‘husband!’ and my beloved responds “WHAT????!!!!!  WHAT DO YOU WANT, WIFE?” and then we have a row about nothing and all is well. It’s not really like that I’m making it all up.  I might as well confess I’m reading Gone Girl at the moment and I’m half way through (read til 2am it was annoyingly intriguing) and I think this is affecting my storytelling of the wedding ding ding ding!

Our winter wedding in Cornwall

Why brides don’t cry on their wedding day

Anyway. I’m going to gush now. It was just the most perfect day, a perfect weekend and I was so happy the whole time I beamed and loved everyone and everything so so so much I was bursting. I felt so blissfully happy the whole thing went so smoothly, I didn’t notice anything that went wrong – even when I was informed of some teeny thing to do with the table plan I didn’t even understand the problem until last week. It was so great. I always cry and didn’t for so long that my husband asked me if I was dead inside.

Lacing the dress is a serious business

All the uncontrollable wedding variables went well

The most important things all were amazing: my husband turned up (win!), the weather was fully sunny and no wind = 14 degrees Celsius at the end of November (beers on the terrace in t-shirts weather) my dress felt amazing and my hair didn’t annoy me, the dog didn’t poo during the ceremony and no one died.

Nazan sees me for the first time

Oh my god, the cake, the perfect cake

The hotel staff were awesome, everything ran smoothly.. The cake arrived safely from London  and was a work of art and the most delicious cake ever tasted. It was made by my best girl Nazan who is a genius cake maker of wedding cakes and others too (all amazing) and if you’re well jel of the pictures then go over and talk to her at Daisy Cakes (tell her I said hi). I showed her the venue last April and she came up with the design as a surprise for me… silver leaf was the Cornish sea crashing on the cliffs, and the twining vine of ivy and beautiful anenomes was for me as they are my favourite flowers. She made two types of sponge – a dark chocolate ganache and a lemon one with lemon curd which were so delicious. It was a masterpiece. She is the talk of London town, and has tonnes of awards and so if you want her, don’t dally.

Amazing wedding cake by Daisy Cakes Greenwich

Enough about London – it was a Very Cornish Wedding

Everything else was Cornish. We had Alan Law, who’s so amazing at wedding photography, Al’s now teaching the rest of ’em how it’s done (in a very nice, charming way I’m sure with plenty of giggles). Voted among the top 30 wedding photographers in the world, Alan Law was the perfect choice because we just can’t get enough of the photos – we keep poring over them and they are just the BEST memory of the day I could have asked for. I chose him because I love his style, and when I browsed his gallery of 2013, the emotion he captured moved me to tears. So I also proclaim him a genius, just like Nazan. Are you sensing a theme here?!

Nosy bride spies out the window

I chose my dress well over a year before the wedding, at Amanda K in Truro. It was off the peg – the last one in the shop  (I’m a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to wedding dresses, I got it for a BARGAIN but won’t say anymore or Amanda might tell me off). I went down the route of investigating the eBay made-in-Chinas but got it on good authority that the cheapie ones often don’t photograph well. I thought I’d better give myself every chance of a few nice photos so I shopped around for a long time until I found this dress which truly made me feel amazing. The top was a separate thing and together I think they were perfect for me. I do think my ass looked rather too bootylicious in the pics but I think Alan was using his Nicky Minaj lens at those times maybe..? Yes. *eats 14th gingernut, nodding sagely*.

He puts a ring on it

Wedding dress dilemmas and a skinny-trouser-addict groom

Anyway, the dress was so perfect it didn’t need altering (just shortening at the hem), which was handled expertly by the magical fingers of Maria the Seamstress of Ponsanooth. I took her the Peeb’s suit for altering – the trousers came unlined, tweed! Itchy or what?? So Maria shortened and tightened and lined his slim cut tweed suit trousers slightly skinnier – and then he asked her to go skinnier again – until he was happy. He does love skinny trousers maybe a little too much BUT he was actually right, and Maria and I should say sorry for mocking him – he looked 100% f-ing fantastic on the day in all his finery. Don’t you think?

Tears and love on our wedding day in Cornwall

I should talk about the rings but I did here so only need to add that I found mine online and it was difficult to find something that went with my 100 year old diamond engagement ring, but I totally copied my friend who had an off-centre, channel set sort of eternity ring and they looked amazing together. So that was that.

I realise I have gone on a bit long for one post now.. read the next installment to find out about the venue, the band, and anything else I think of between now and then.. And if you want to ask me anything, please do, I won’t mind, even if you think it’s a bit nosey, just ask me and I may just dish.

Melting Pot of surprising curry and other stuff

OK sorry, sorry, I have been completely caught up in wedding and honeymoon organising, passport photos for visas, hiring amp and speakers, getting a playlist, arguing over the table plan, being surprised by gorgeous, thoughtful presents and a load of other things. So my blog has been neglected but I am spurred to write about several things that are going on. Sorry for the thought-jumble.

Melting Pot cafe curry

Delicious curry at the Melting Pot, on Fridays in Redruth

Redruth’s secret treasure trove of weirdness cafe, the Melting Pot.

Last week was ridiculous at work. So, so hectic, all kinds of different stuff going on and all of it high-stress and long hours etc. My colleague’s birthday whizzed by uncelebrated so on Friday we piled in the car and headed over to the Melting Pot cafe in Redruth for lunch. Wow. What a surprise to find such an endearingly strange and wonderful cafe. Friday is curry day apparently, and for £6.50 we had bowls of delicious lamb mince curry, perfect basmati rice, a little naan, and the amazing dal to rival that of the Peppercorn Kitchen, Perranuthnoe. Totally fit and worth breaking the pre-wedding diet for.Melting Pot cafe interior

Wedding make up: “Sleek” contouring kit: Ordered and waiting for delivery.

I have a wide face. And a “five head”. And no cheekbones or chin to speak of. So I’ve been watching make up tutorials on YouTube and I’m ready to try my Sleek contouring kit, which I ordered for £10 (free delivery) on the weirdly named Beautifeye who I think sell those weird fashion contact lenses..?! Still, it’s in the post and I’m looking forward to trying it out.

Hair on the wedding day – to do it myself or not?

I have really frizzy/curly hair and it’s really fine. It looks nice straight or smooth/bouncy blow dry but invariably goes as flat and limp as a bit of wet coriander a couple of minutes after the blow dry. I was resigned to doing it curly myself (bit of moisturising curl cream with a bit of hold in it, I tried Naz’s Sainsbury’s curly hair stuff on the London hen and my curls stayed as they should all day) but will it look ok in the pics, or will I look a frizzy mess? Rant time: Shame on Sainsbury’s by the way, wtf was that war advert about? Exchanging gifts then going back to slaughtering and gassing each other in the most violent and bloody conflict imaginable, for four years?! Oh but Happy Christmas anyway. No. No. NO. I thought ‘war profiteering’ was illegal? A “dangerous, disrespectful masterpiece” as the Guardian said. Another thing that made me Tweet some passive-aggressive fury this morning, the chef Tom Kerridge being sexist on his cookery program last night, and then going to Wimbledon dog track to cook burgers?! Obviously not a man afraid of ruffling feathers/offending animal welfare supporters or women. I tweeted him this article from the Guardian, suggesting he make a generous donation to the rehabilitation of racing greyhounds as he’s such a fan of this “sport”. Pffffffft. No reply yet!

How to display a table plan

There is a real danger when planning one’s wedding to lose one’s grip on reality (see my ranting above. Literally everything is making me either rant, cry, or write a detailed list). I realised this yesterday when I was about to buy a really naff, nasty picture frame to string the table plan across, for £20 plus delivery… I suddenly realised my Dad is a painter and I have about 40 of his paintings of Falmouth I could use instead!!!! So now I’ve just bought some mini pegs, Mum has some lovely ribbon, and I will use a tiny screw or nail on the back of the picture frame to create a table plan with a colourful, beautiful painting as the background. It will be great.

The rest of the weekend…

This weekend I had the best hair colour of my life at Toni + Guy in Truro. 3 colours, really fine highlights, whole head but not intensively underneath so it actually looks natural. Love it. We also drove up to Padstow for the morning, with my parents in law and my friend who was there to collect her tiny new kitten. She didn’t want to go alone for fear of dangerous Gumtree fraudsters and quite right too. Still,the kitten is a delight and has a wonderful new life ahead of her, the dear little thing. I can’t wait to introduce the Duck to Kitty and see if they can be friends.New kitten snoozing.

Next on my list: Honeymoon packing, order thank you cards, prepare the table plan, print the place names, organise disco dancing playlist, hair rehearsal and cook roast lamb on Sunday.

And finally… a windscreen hitchhiker who slowly revealed herself during our drive home late on Thursday.

Hitchhiking snail on the windscreen

Autumn leaves in Kimberly Park, Falmouth

Autumn reaches Kimberly Park, Falmouth

Very excited!!!

Delicious pizza and medicinal whiskey at The Stable, Falmouth

Taxidermy wall art at The Stable, Falmouth, CornwallLast Sunday I was feeling very sorry for myself, I had a really sore throat, my face was raining snot, and my voice and chest had gone all creaky and weird. So I couldn’t face cooking, and couldn’t really face eating much. At about 3 o’clock I knew I had to have something, so the Peeb kindly steered me into The Stable, the new pizza, pie and cider pub in the old custom house in Falmouth.

Beautiful pizzas at the Stable in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Minced beef, chorizo and ham.

Firstly let me state the Peeb’s two favourite things in the world sustenance-wise are pizza and cider. So he was very happy.

We went up to order, and the Peeb tried the whiskey barrell cider which was just amazing: smoky and strong. The stylish chica behind the bar made me a really lovely hot toddy, with whiskey, loads of lemon, hot water and brown sugar that I could mix myself. It really helped…

Pizza review of The Stable, Falmouth, Cornwall

Lamb roast pizza with sweet potato, and my little friend in the back – a perfect spinach and bacon number with a beautifully cooked egg in the middle.

Dad enjoyed an obligatory glass of vin rouge and we stuffed our faces with some weird / fantastically crisp and thin pizza. Mine was amazing – if anything there was TOO MUCH meat on it which is a better complaint than the god-awful place we went last week where the Peeb paid £1 extra for one micro-thin slice of salami chopped into whiskers on his oily, spongy manky pizza-mess in another Cornish establishment that will remain nameless.

Dad’s meat party was The Red Ruby Rustler £13.50 which he went into raptures over. I had The Pendennis Piggy £10 because I always have the pizza that comes with an egg on. (I love eggs.) The weirdness was the The Lamb Roast £10.50 pizza that the Peeb chose – only because you don’t usually see lamb and sweet potatoes on a pizza but believe me it worked.

Not only was the most important thing (food and drink) really good in this place – the service was ace too. Duckie the dog was so happy snuggled up on the beautiful polished concrete floor, with the log burner blazing and a handsome wild boar looking down at us. They’ve renovated the old building beautifully, and given the fact they also do pies, no doubt we’ll be back down there again before too long.

Sunset on top of Carn Brea

The night I became a medieval princess at Carn Brea Castle.

Carn Brea Castle sunset

One night in August I had a surreal dining experience. When we left,  I said to the Peeb,  ‘did that really just happen?’.  You see,  we’d been up the ‘brea’ to the Carn Brea Castle restaurant.

In case you can’t guess,  the Carn Brea Castle Restaurant is a restaurant in a castle on the top of an enormous granite mountain called Carn Brea.

We’d been walking up there before and it was hard to believe the beautiful ancient Castle growing out of the rock in the middle of nowhere could function as a restaurant..  But with a petrol powered generator and some battery fairylights and candles anything is possible. Clambering up the tiny stairs to the roof in the pitch dark was the first part of the fun. (We were early so waited for our table out on the roof, as you do.) The view from up there is breathtaking, especially when the sun is setting. We were bold on the way back down to our table, where food was the incentive for the climb down.

IMAG3418

We sat by a single candle and a tiny window in the 2ft thick stone wall, overlooking the sea.  We saw the stars come out one by one and the sea fade to nothing in the distance. Over delicious home made hummus and warm bread, smoky baba ganoush and olives so good we shared the last one, we settled into this amazing place.

It was one of those unique and special experiences that don’t seem to be quite real. You know the ones I mean: where strangers smile at each other because it’s so weird and cool and everything is delicious. It’s pretty romantic there too,  and I imagine in the winter with the huge log fires ablaze it would be even more so.

We ate perfect grilled lamb chops, with delicious crispy edges. The salad tasted like Mediterranean salads of childhood holidays (lots of lemon juice), and rice.  I was in heaven. It reminded me a little of Beyti, the Turkish grill restaurant, on Newington Green Road near one of my places in London. I’d spied the other tables getting baklava petit fours so we swerved dessert and had coffee instead.  The Peeb doesn’t like baklava so I had four morsels to myself: coconut, chocolate, and pistachio flavours encased in the finest flaky filo pastry and a not-too-sweet or overly-sticky syrup.

When we left we stood in the darkness for a while, on a boulder on the edge to survey our kingdom and the lights of Redruth. I tried to take a picture of the stars (which didn’t work). On the way back to the car I really felt like I had been to a fairytale feast (albeit Jordanian in flavour) in a hunting lodge from an Arthurian legend.

One thing to think about was the owner’s suggestion that we hire the place at New Year, bring our friends, some sleeping bags,  and have the most atmospheric and unforgettable New Year’s Eve party of all time. I could just imagine settling down to sleep, listening to the wind howl as the candles got low,  and getting The Fear from ghost stories…

Price wise the meal was about £7 a starter, £16 a main, and a 250ml glass of wine was about a fiver. It’s not cheap but it’s totally romantic and unique. I’d love to go back..  But I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be all a dream.

Misty Carn Brea

Dad’s Birthday Dinner at Ben’s Cornish Kitchen

St Michael's Mount, Marazion, near Ben's Cornish KitchenDarling old Pops has just turned 80! Toot toot toot! (blowing a trumpet for him). He says he can’t believe it, and inside feels a mere 53 years old. We got him a really cool record player so he can play all his old 78s (whatever they are) and it has the nifty function to record onto MP3 too. So in theory we can make CDs for him to play in the car. He was really pleased, and being a thoroughly generous and fun-loving kind of person, he also whisked us all out for dinner, to the closest thing we have to a Michelin starred experience, the much loved, much reviewed, and much visited by my family Ben’s Cornish Kitchen.

Ben’s is a smallish family restaurant in the heart of Marazion. It’s relaxed and unfussy, and the flavours on the menu can sound unusual but always work to make a delicious mouthful of wonder. This was my third visit so it’s time to give it my ‘when in Cornwall you must go here if you are a foodie’ stamp of approval.

So how did the evening begin? We took taxis (a special occasion in my family involves compulsory drinking – you can’t get out of it by offering to drive) down to the newly refurbished Godolphin Arms which I’ve written about before. We drank prosecco which was delicious but weird because it’s on draft and came in a carafe… and the teenagers took 400 selfies. We admired the sunset, like last time. Then we swayed over the road to Ben’s.

We sat upstairs – feeling lucky to have got our booking, given that they also had another party of 12 in at the same time. It didn’t show in the service or the length of time for food that they were pretty busy, which is impressive too. The best and most serious reason we go to Ben’s is the fancy food. It’s not expensive for the quality, at £7 or £8 a starter, £16 or £17 a main which is only marginally more expensive than our local pub. But the quality of the local ingredients and the passion and talent of the chef makes eating here a great experience and a total bargain.

I had four perfect, small, sweet scallops sitting on a folded blanket of spiced cauliflower puree, with a couple of flakes of crisp salted caramel and matchsticks of granny smith apple. Sounds weird, right? Absolutely friggin’ delicious. Then came the mains. The softest, unimaginably tender and flavoursome haunch of venison with a little potato cake and kale. The sauce was described as having anais in it, which horrified the fussy teens as they thought it meant it would taste of liquorice (cue gagging mimes and tongues hanging out in disgust. Discreetly thankfully.) Anyway, the sauce was not at all liquoricey, instead it was fragrant and I think it had port in it, so of course it was divine. There was a squash puree lurking underneath the kale which was really rich, velvety and creamy and brought the whole thing together like a bit of delicious flavour-melding goo.

Dad had a lobster ravioli followed by partridge. He was full early (big-ish portions, no haute-cuisine magnifying glass needed here) so I nicked his plate and wolfed down the remaining little perfect partridge breast with the savoy cabbage, bacon crumb (!!) and creamy sauce. It was delicious BUT seeing as I don’t really like venison, and I had ordered it anyway thinking “if it’s going to be good anywhere it’ll be good at Ben’s” – it was so, very, good. The venison won.

Desserts were cancelled because my sister had organised a birthday cake, but down at our end of the table we ordered a protest ‘chocolate brownie’ with raspberry sorbet replacing the listed orange ice cream (younger teen hates all things creamy/buttery). It was no such thing as a ‘chocolate brownie’. Instead of being cakey and slightly boring, it was more like a thin layer of brownie that morphed into the silkiest, darkest chocolate torte type thing, with a gloss on the top like a sweaty racehorse. The tart raspberries with the silky chocolate were made for each other. I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Dad loved it, and we were home in time for Match of the Day so that was good too. Dinner for eight people including six starters and one dessert, four bottles of excellent wine, and a tip, was £300. Which ain’t bad. Now I’m thinking ‘when can we go again?’.

Melanoma Loner.

Sorry to get all serious on you, but I wanted to share a frightening thing that happened on New Year’s Eve 2013. My wonderful, honest friend Em and I were getting ready to party and sharing a smallish mirror. She just happened to be standing behind me as I was fiddling with my unusually straight hair. She looked at the back of my ear and said ‘Ooh. Do you know you have a mole on your ear?’

I didn’t know I had a mole on my ear. And this one was much, much bigger than all my other many freckle-style moles which are mostly medium brown. This one was about 4mm across and really black.

I started panicking there and then, I had a horrible feeling as I looked at it that it was a nasty one. I had heard about melanoma a few times, as a dear friend of my Mum’s had died at 27 of melanoma.

As soon as my doctor’s surgery re-opened, the GP took one look at it, and got me in to the big hospital’s dermatology centre and two days after that it was removed. Total time from discovery to getting the bloody thing off = 5 days. Amazing.

After it was analysed, which only took 10 days, they came back to say it was indeed a melanoma – but a very, very thin one. It’s called a melanoma in-situ, which means it was sitting on the very surface. No penetration of the skin, no spreading to organs/lymph nodes. Phew.

They had me back in to do a wider excision of 5mm all around the site of the first excision. And because it’s on my ear-back, they couldn’t stitch it up, so it had to heal as an open wound from the inside up. Which meant nearly four months of dressing changes, awkward hair washing and no swimming. But what a lucky escape?! What if Em hadn’t said anything? What if none of my other friends or family spotted it before it was too late?

And then I started to worry, to panic, to obsess over sunlight touching me. I remember a very miserable February walk – long sleeves covering my hands, a huge hat, feeling terrified that the faint warmth of the early Cornish spring light would be making my skin change and grow more dangerous and potentially life-threatening moles.

I began to read everything I could about melanoma recurrence, given that Cornwall has such a high rate of skin cancer, higher even than Australia – I questioned my decision to move to this beautiful endless-summer outdoorsy place. How would I cope with work lunches at the sunny table in the pub garden? What about holidays with friends? Will I have to sit on my own in the shade while everyone else basks in the sunshine? A couple of weeks ago my supportive and understanding but sun-basking and piss-taking family nicknamed me ‘melanoma loner’. You have to laugh though right?! (Good job they didn’t say that to me a few months ago.)

The mole discovery and removal was nine months ago now. I’m over the constant worry. I no longer have a sinking feeling when I wake up and look out at blue skies. I’ve got my excitement back about travelling in warm countries.

You see, it’s all about management. I’ve got Factor 50 sunscreen from trustworthy brands coming out of my ears. I’ve even found a fantastic factor 100 which is so light, not pasty white, and comfortable to wear all day. (Which I totally recommend to anyone sensitive to the sun I’ve got the sporty spray and the cream which I use on my face, neck and hands – both by Neutrogena, but I think it comes from America as it takes ages to arrive when I order it). I have invested in some oversized shirts so I can roll down my sleeves and button up the neck when I’m outdoors. I’ve bought a few wide brimmed sun hats, which festoon the parcel shelf of my car so I’m always ready. (The best hats so far are from Peacocks. For real. But I do have a massive head so it’s tricky.)

And I’ve decided that 10-15 mins a day outside of the hours of 11-4pm on my face and arms will give me all the vitamin D I need. And every month when I give the dog her lungworm treatment, that is also Skin Check Day for me.

So here I am, worrying less, panicking not at all. Changing my lifestyle to avoid the sun is easier when you have a plan. And on our honeymoon? Book reading in the shade (first time for everything) and doing lots of interesting activities rather than sitting on the beach all day will be great. I’m looking forward to it…

Do you have a similar story you want to share? Please leave me a comment below if so x

Flat, small pre-melanoma mole

Here it is: the evil one photographed on New Year’s Day.