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Film, food, festivals and fun – every reason under the sun to visit South Devon

From cliff top views and country lanes to rolling fields, moors and wild adventures on land and sea, South Devon is an incredible area to visit, packed with activities, personality and amazing places to explore. With over 120 miles of coastline, no less than three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, a national park, the South West Coast Path and a host of nature reserves, this wonderful part of the world is just aching to be explored.   

If you’ve never been to South Devon, or maybe you haven’t been there for a while, think stunning coastline, rolling hills, beautiful period towns and fishing villages, lovely cottages and holiday homes set in amazing locations. If that doesn’t cast an image for you then you won’t have to wait long before Hollywood does it for you, and it’s all down to one man; Donald Crowhurst.   

Never heard of him? Well you soon will when his story appears in cinemas across the globe later this year. Starring Colin Firth as Crowhurst and Rachel Weisz as his wife, The Mercy charts the ill-fated voyage of local businessman Donald Crowhurst and the Teignmouth Electron in the 1968 Golden Globe Race.  

Filmed largely in Teignmouth against the beguiling beautiful backdrop of the Teign Estuary, the film is set to make this stunning part of South Devon a must visit location in 2017. 

The film tells how Crowhurst duped his family, race organisers and the public into believing he had spent 240 days circumnavigating the globe in a single-handed, non-stop odyssey. 

In fact, Crowhurst was so far behind the others he set in motion a plan to deceive the world by falsifying his locations, cutting out a big chunk of dangerous sailing on the Southern Ocean. 

His fake reports led those following the race to think he was winning, and locals prepared to give him a hero’s welcome home — however in the end his boat was discovered unmanned and drifting, with Crowhurst assumed to have drowned himself. 

Later, it was discovered that he’d faked his logs and never left the Atlantic. It is these logs and the mystery that surrounded his disappearance that sparked James Marsh, director of the Oscar Winning Theory of Everything, to create The Mercy filmed extensively in and around Teignmouth and the South Devon coastline. 

So, if the film inspires you to visit South Devon and the Teign Estuary this year, where should you go and what should you see?

1. Food Trail

If you visit Teignmouth do try out the Taste of the Teign Trail food and drink trail. This brand new self-guided trail takes visitors on a journey of culinary discovery around the beautiful Teign Estuary. The trail takes in: Old Walls, the steepest vineyard in England; Red Rock Brewery, renowned for its craft beers and real ales; Shute Fruit and produce, where you can pick your own fruit and even learn how to make preserves; Milltop Orchards, where you can enjoy seasonal fruit, apple juice and cider; and Luscombe Farm Shop, where you can buy seasonal vegetables picked from the fields above the estuary.  

On the tour you’ll discover the location of the Teign Estuary’s world renowned mussel and oyster beds, and you’ll be taken to a host of local cafes, restaurants and pubs surrounding the estuary where produce from its fields and waters, alongside fresh fish and crustacean landed at Teignmouth Harbour, can all be enjoyed.  

Created for foodies hungry for a new destination to discover, the trail has emerged from the Taste of the Teign food and drink festival, which is devoted to celebrating produce caught, raised or harvested in and around the Teign Estuary, thought to be one of the most bounteous estuaries in the country. The 2017 festival starts on 25th September and lasts through to 01 October.

2. Wood-fired food – yum!

If that’s tickled your taste buds you’ll be glad to know that award-winning South Devon restaurant and cafe business Ode ‘true food’ has opened a new concept in pizza restaurants; Ode&Co ‘true pizza’ in Shaldon.

An Ode to pizza

The new Ode ‘true pizza’ restaurant is a 100-seat venue with views across Lyme Bay serving artisan sour dough pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven, fresh pasta and grills from an open kitchen. 

The pizza chef is Mario from Naples, who has spent the last three years in London at one of the capital’s top pizzeria, so he knows a thing or two about fine fresh food as does owner Tim Bouget, whose Café Ode and ODE Dining restaurant are also well worth a visit. 

3. Activities and experiences in and around Teignmouth 

If you love crab you’ve certainly come to the right part of the world as Teignmouth is home to the fantastic Crab Shack deli and seafood restaurant. While in town you can discover the town’s Grand Pier and don’t forget the visit the River Beach, which overlooks the enchanting village of Shaldon.  

Here you can take a trip on board the oldest footpassenger ferry in England, crossing the Teign Estuary to Shaldon where you’ll find lovely pubs, the highly regarded Clipper Café, and the award-winning ODE-dining and café-ODE. Don’t forget to take the opportunity to descend through the smugglers’ tunnel, which is carved through the red rock of The Ness, to a hidden beach on the other side. The fact that this was ever created is quite simply mind-boggling. You’ll also find Shaldon Zoo – the smallest in England – right next to the entrance to the smugglers’ tunnel, so you can manage both in one hit, if you like.

Sunset at Teignmouth Back Beach

On your return trip over the tidal waters of the Teign, you’ll see gigs laid out on the sand and pretty beach huts that make their way on to the spit every summer, before retreating to safety over the wilder winter months. You’ll also see the location for dozens of scenes shot in The Mercy and you’ll stumble across not only a host of great local pubs, but also SeaSports Southwest who offer Kayaking, Stand up Paddle Boarding, Sea Kayaking, Sailing, Windsurfing, Jet Skiing and Powerboating. For this and more information on things to do and see, visit

Where to stay?

Well, there are plenty of cottages, guests houses and B&Bs to try in the local area with Shaldon, Teignmouth and Bishopsteignton all close by, but one location that comes highly recommended, partly because you can camp, caravan, book a cottage, apartment or holiday home there, is Cofton Country Holidays. A little further round the coast, it’s close to Powderham Castle and is set in 80 acres of parkland.  

Just 20 minutes from the M5 and the charming cathedral city of Exeter, it’s easy to get to and when you arrive you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice. The impressive all-year round heated indoor pool is much loved by children for its splash pad area and 30° waters, and by parents for its in-pool hydrotherapy loungers. But that’s not all; there’s a steam room, sauna, gym, restaurant, pub, fitness studio, soft play area, playground, sports wall, woodland adventure area and a great outdoor pool too.

Cofton Country Park outdoor pool

There are even five well-stocked coarse fishing lakes if that takes your fancy, and over the main holiday periods you can look forward to everything from falconry displays and family entertainment to Zorbing and even Segwaying. I’m certainly looking forward to visiting there at Easter, so I’ll be able to update you on a host of other places to visit and things to do on my return.

Have you visited South Devon? I would love to hear your recommendations of places to visit and things to do in the comments.

Finding the Right White Goods to Suit Your Family 

The world of white goods can be a minefield and, with an overwhelming range of products available, how can you confidently choose the right one for your family? 

Last year, we needed to replace our washing machine and, having had very little luck with them in the past, it was especially important to me that we choose the best possible machine we could. After weeks of research and umming and ahhing, we went for a Hotpoint model.

To help make the decision, I spoke to family and friends, scoured online electrical shops and made use of the excellent and comprehensive reviews at

Did I make the right decision? Absolutely! Ten months later and I have a machine with a large drum that runs several times a day with no problems, has never broken down, removes stains at low temperatures and has a very convenient 30 minute cycle, perfect for quickly washing school uniform of an evening.

I can thoroughly recommend both the Hotpoint and the site I used to help me decide that it was the best machine to buy!

What are your top tips for choosing the right white goods for your family? I’d love to hear them in the comments. 


Science Museum – Robots and Wonderlab

We were so fortunate that our recent February half term took place a week after seemingly most of the country’s. This meant that our trip to the Science Museum was not the crushing melee I had feared it might be; I don’t deal well with crowds. I was also concerned that the children would not actually be able to get stuck in with the myriad hands-on experiments if Wonderlab were full to bursting. Thankfully, my fears remained unrealised; we didn’t even have to queue to enter the building!

We began our science adventure with a scoot round the Robots exhibit. Open until 3rd September 2017, Robots is an interesting collection depicting the rise of the machine and its increasingly human traits. From the website:

“From the dawn of mechanised human forms to cutting-edge technology fresh from the lab, Robots reveals the astonishing 500-year quest to make machines human.

Focusing on why they exist rather than on how they work, our blockbuster exhibition explores the ways robots mirror humanity and the insights they offer into our ambitions, desires and position in a rapidly changing world.”

Whilst undeniably fascinating, Robots is distinctly lacking in interactivity, which made it a fairly dull experience for the children. They were briefly enchanted by some of the more human-like machines, stopping to watch them in action. However, once they realised that their repertoire was limited, the children’s excitement proved short-lived.

For us older visitors, the appeal was greater, though it still would have been nice to have a chance to interact with the exhibits. Tickets to Robots are available from the website at £15 for adults and £13 for concessions. Each booking is assigned to an entry time so you can guarantee that it won’t be too busy.

Following Robots, we headed up to the wondrous Wonderlab. Tickets for this are available on the website with prices starting at £6 for a child, while a family of four can return as many times as they like within 12 months for just £39, which I think is great value, especially if you live within easy reach of London.

There is just so much to do in the Wonderlab gallery, all of it interactive and informative. From the basics of colour mixing through the physical thrill of friction slides to the more advanced science of electronics, there is something for all ages and abilities.

The children had a brilliant time and we all enjoyed the demonstration where an Explainer showed us how to blow things up – great stuff.

I’ll be honest – it was my first visit to the Science Museum and my expectations were pretty high; while Robots didn’t quite meet them, Wonderlab totally blew them out of the water.  I would love to return to see what else the museum has to offer.

We received tickets for Robots and Wonderlab free of charge; all views are our own.

Valentine’s Celebrations the Hollywood Way

How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Many lovers went on a date while singles either date themselves or their friends. But we can’t deny that there are also some who completely don’t care about Valentine’s Day!

How did Olivia Wilde make this day special? One of the things she did was post three photos dedicated to her three sweethearts on Valentine’s Day. The 32-year-old actress took to Instagram and dedicated a post to each member of her family.

On her first post, of course, is a photo of her and fiancé Jason Sudeikis looking dearly at each other. On her two other posts, Wilde shows photos of her and her 2-year-old son, Otis, and their 3-month-old daughter, Daisy Josephine. On her post with Otis, she captioned with “#chancethelover” and “#giantbabyhand” on her post of Daisy, because why not? At first glance of that photo, it looks like Daisy has a giant hand which looks completely awkward, but it was just an illusion as it was Wilde’s hand on there.

Just recently, Sudeikis issued a sentiment about Olivia being a great role model for their daughter. He said, “My joke, when we had Otis was, at least, having a boy, I have a better understanding of how I’m going to screw him up,” to PEOPLE at the CTAM TCA Press Tour in Pasadena, California.

No matter how you spent Valentine’s Day, it’s important to remember that presents don’t matter. Most important is you’re with the people you love.

Make Your Kitchen Work For You

The kitchen is the beating heart of most homes. Most of us spend a fair amount of time eating and socializing in the kitchen, which is why it is so very important that we are able to make our kitchens work for us just like the rest of our homes should work well for us, no matter how we use them. Here are some amazing tips for doing just that:

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

If you don’t want to spend half your time in the kitchen tracking down your can opener, veggie peeler or that one pan that lets you make really good sticky rice, you need to get organized and choose a home for each and every appliance, pan, and piece of crockery in your kitchen. Assign all of your items a place, storing like with like and ensuring you always return them to their storage space when you are done with them., This one tip alone will make life in the kitchen so much simpler.


If you have about 500 forks, at least three dozen straws, now’s the time to declutter. By getting rid of the stuff you have too many of or those kitchen gadgets you thought would revolutionize your life, but now never use, you can make it easier to find the things you actually need and, perhaps more importantly, you can make more space in your kitchen for cooking and entertaining.

Upgrade Your Kitchen Taps

Your kitchen sink taps might sound like an innocuous part of your kitchen, but switching them out for a better model can make a surprising difference. For instance, if you drink a lot of tea and coffee, or you always have something on the boil, switching your normal taps for one that dispenses instant hot water would make your life that much better. Similarly, installing a pull-out tap will make it easier for you to rinse and wash the dishes in less time than usual. Taps matter!

 Add a Touch of Comfort

If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it makes sense to transform it into the most comfortable space possible. Don’t be afraid to bring in cushions, comfy chairs, TV’s and anything else that will help you to enjoy your time in the kitchen more.

Make the Layout More Convenient
Do you have to walk halfway across the kitchen to get to the fridge from your chopping board? Are your coffee cups stored well away from the coffee machine? You could save a huge amount of time and effort by looking at the layout of your kitchen and moving appliances like fridges, kettles and washing machines so that they can be used more effectively and intuitively than previously.
The Entertainer
If you do a lot of entertaining in your kitchen, you should think about installing a wireless sound system, mood lighting and a foldout table, which will enable you to instantly transform the space from family dinner mode to crazy party space!

What tips and tricks do you have for making your kitchen space work better for you?