Embracing the art of slow living during the nitty gritty of everyday life is not something I excel at. I’ve never been known to be patient and too often suffer from a bad habit of attempting to cram in three days worth of to do lists into one day – only to be overwhelmed by it all and end up requiring a few days off to catch my breath. But there are exceptions. Every so often I’ll go on a mini break with the Brit like a long weekend trip to Barcelona or to spend a day or two in Cambridge drinking too much tea with the in laws and rewatching old Harry Potter movies. More recently, in January, I went on a mini-slow adventure out west with friends Jess and Jacintha to Cornwall and enjoyed a 2 night stay at the Artist Residence in Penzance.
Artist Residence Penzance, Cornwall
The train sped along and passed by small rivers and a still verdant countryside, despite it being January, while we breezed through five hours worth of conversation supplemented with coffee and sandwiches. A 3PM arrival into Penzance meant that we were just in time for a spot of afternoon tea at the hotel complete with bubbly before settling into our three bedroom cottage.
I was already familiar with the Artist Residence boutique hotel in London with their intimate layout and vintage chic interiors. It is all about the details there, like the little Smeg down to the minimalist curved cast iron bed frame. In Penzance I found similar fun quirks that I adore in their London location particularly in the cottage complete with kitchen.
Never one to resist a good eggs royale and double lattes, I filled up for breakfast at the Artist Residence before venturing for a photowalk around Penzance. Or course we couldn’t help but photograph all the cute corners and at one point it became a little meta as other guests, in good humour, were taking pictures of us taking pictures of each other!
Penzance may be famous for its pirates way back when (there’s even an old comic opera, Pirates of Penzance, dedicated to it) but these days on Chapel Street one is more likely to find antique booksellers and homeware shops than pirates (except for the comical plastic one adorned on the roof of the Admiral Bow pub). I was sorely tempted by the handcrafted aprons, stationery and ceramics at N0 56 but left with a lone hedgehog brush for the Brit which made for a great memento.
Our walk led us through North Parade a street full of picture perfect colourful homes and after weaving down this street and that lane it was like we ended up in the tropics at Morrab Gardens. If it’s this green in January I can’t imagine how vibrant the garden will be in the Spring.
On a clear day one can spot St Michael’s Mount from the seafront. We weren’t so lucky that afternoon with thick cloud coverage but it was still a nice walk down the boardwalk with a touch of people watching. Where in London I would never go for an aimless walk it was all I wanted to do while in Penzance, take in the sea breeze and embrace the time to look for photos.
The Cottage at Artist Residence
What made the cottage we shared extra special – in addition to the fireplace – was the kitchen. That evening we decided to dine in and take advantage of the functioning kitchen. Over a bottle of vinsanto and some Dave Matthews Band tunes blaring out of the Marshall speakers we sauteed peppers and onions for steak tacos. Was it the most gourmet meal ever? Not even close but it’s one I’ll look back on fondly.
The pressure was also off since we were spoilt with dinner at the Cornish Barn the previous evening. They specialise in smoking meats and focus on using local ingredients for an intriguing menu of small plates. The chicken wings with apricot, soy and green chilli were spot on as were the potato rosti, done crispy like the best batch of thin french fries and balanced with soft goat cheese. Jacintha fought off the meat sweats from her platter of ribs that could have easily served a party of four.
Part of the allure to a slow weekend is being able to embrace my surroundings more and to allow the time to appreciate the details. The Artist Residence was the perfect backdrop for me to experiment and create cinemagraphs, moving stills, that have increasingly captured my interest in the last 6 months. I really couldn’t have asked for a more inspiring space and rested weekend to get me back on the creative track.
Note: I was a guest of Artist Residence. All views are my own.