Reader Jess is becoming quite a regular on these pages. In previous posts she’s talked beauty, interiors, feminism, and most recently she’s chatted about her pledge not to buy anything for a whole year. And today she’s reviewing a recent stay at Bosinver and telling us why we should all go on a winter mini break to Cornwall.
When we decided to have a little mini break this autumn (our first as a family of four) it ended up inadvertently being a winter break. Having previously visited Bosinver in September last year we had initially planned a similarly late sunshine blessed break. It was no shock to find out there was zero availability. There was, however, if we went out of season. Did we really want to go away in the wet, cold winter weather? No. And yet it has turned out to be one of our favourite breaks ever.
As some of you may know, I am a couple of months into a year of no purchasing which is fascinating and actually feels pretty good now I’m into the swing of not shopping. However, I have allowed myself holidays and experiences and with good reason, this is where the money should be spent in my mind: time for wellbeing, for re-awakening a sense of wonder.
This year we stayed in Lowen – Cornish for ‘happy’ with the double meaning of ‘low energy’. Lowen is an eco cottage – it uses energy from the sun and the ground to provide heating, electricity and hot water and is insulated with straw! Lowen is more beautiful than anywhere we have ever stayed and I don’t say that lightly – we’ve stayed in a lot of places. Designed and built by Bosinver owner Nanny Pat’s sons (Mark and Paul), I found myself chatting to Paul and learning all about it during our stay and I could see how much it still lights him up almost a decade after it was built. Aside from the incredible eco credentials, it’s the most amazing open plan space with reclaimed wood beams and a real rustic, romantic feel. Light floods the property, there’s a stylish and super cosy wood burner, an outdoor hot tub and fun, colourful design throughout, it feels spacious yet cosy, no mean feat (makes note to ask Mark and Paul to create a home for us!)
What makes Bosinver really special is just how perfect it is for families. On Monday we attended their Wild Kids Club and found ourselves painting with earth, cooking up a feast in the mud kitchen and toasting marshmallows on an open fire. The incredible camp leader Tatum had us making food for fairies and hiding it in trees (I definitely believed in the magic). Witnessing my eldest scrambling to the top of the hill before turning triumphantly to announce “Mummy, I did it all my byself” will stay with me forever. On Tuesday she enjoyed a pony ride, each day she got to yell “Cockadoodal Doooo” to summon the true showman, the Bosinver cockerel himself, Marvin. The farm would then erupt with happy children feeding the goats, the sheep and chickens, culminating in the collection of a freshly laid egg for breakfast.
In our four nights there we had planned to do so much in the local area but there simply wasn’t enough time to do everything. The highlights of the holiday were running around the play barn, curling up in front of the log burner for a film, bouncing on the trampoline, hunting for The Gruffalo, Mummy braving the zip wire and taking time to kick leaves and just breathe. The essence of Bosinver is about running beautifully unbridled through the countryside, wellies on, without a care in the world. It feels very nostalgic of my own childhood – before smartphones and smart televisions and all of the other smart stuff was invented. It made me realise that sometimes it’s good to strip out the ‘smart’ and reconnect with the heart.
My favourite part of the entire holiday was actually lying on the floor of the cottage, wood burner roaring, wrapped up in a blanket looking up at the sky through the massive glass skylight with my little girl, watching birds and clouds overhead, soaking up every single second of that beautiful wish-you-could-bottle-it youth. “Mummy, why do clouds move?”
For those who do decide to leave the site, on the doorstep you’ll find The Lost Gardens of Heligan and The Eden Project (perfect time of year for ice skating and they have parent and toddler (blade-free!) ice sessions also which is a bonus. Sadly, many of the local attractions close at the end of October but in all honesty, we had everything we needed right where we were. This last minute out of season break turned into a time that I will treasure forever with my family – my youngest daughter enjoyed her first swim in the perfect pool (heated to 30 degrees and we had it all to ourselves!) and my eldest tried her hand at everything. As Tatum said – “it’s important she climbs that hill without help. And… (she held my gaze) it’s important that she falls also.” – sage advice indeed. An active yet relaxing, inspiring and energising break full of moments and memories that I won’t forget in a hurry.
The core message? Family is what matters. The owner Pat is all about family – a devoted Grandmother and inspiring businesswoman, she is continuously improving Bosinver and is now on an incredible crusade to reduce plastic consumption and attack climate change in her spare time! The woman is part machine, part doting mother and it’s her core values that are deeply embedded in Bosinver’s veins.
The lifeblood of Bosinver is love. I feel privileged to have taken away a piece of what makes this place pulse. I so often feel the world is becoming a negative place, devoid of trust or good old fashioned family fun. Bosinver has restored my faith. And when I find myself asking “where is the love?” I will remember that it’s right here. See you again next year Pat and Co!