Secret Beaches: Ness Cove Beach, Shaldon

Ness Cove, Shaldon

We only have two requirements when it comes to beaches – pooch friendly all day long and decent coffee nearby. Ness Cove wins on both counts. Even better, it has a whopping great car park and the loos are always immaculate (no, YOU’RE middle aged).

Trying to avoid the sun seeking masses, we only discovered Ness Cove this Summer, it has fast become our favourite place for the Sunday morning dog walk/breakfast date. It probably isn’t that much of a secret but it’s beautiful, secluded and dog friendly all year round.

The Ness, Shaldon
The Ness, Shaldon
Ness Cove, Shaldon

You’ll find Ness Cove at the end of Smugglers Tunnel for those who like a bit of spooky adventure to their summer days out. It’s not a legit Poldark tunnel, it was carved by the residents of a nearby country pile to provide access to the beach but the kids (and husbands) don’t need to know that.

The tunnel slopes gently, opening out onto a spectacular view with steps marking the final descent to the beach. The tunnel and steps render Ness Cove a bit inaccessible but if you do follow in the footsteps of the smugglers, it is a beautiful spot to while away a summers’ day.

Ness Cove, Shaldon
Ness Cove, Shaldon

Ness Cove, Shaldon

Tumbled piles of rocks flank each end of the beach (ideal for adventuring little ones or yoga toting big ones) and each time we’ve ventured down here the sea has been crystal clear. Freezing because, Britain, but clear.

The beach is surrounded by those famous towering red Devon cliffs, which makes it super safe and enclosed BUT the sun does dip behind them at about tea time, signalling the moment to haul your butts back up to civilization.

Ness Cove,, Shaldon
Ness Cove,, Shaldon
Ness Cove, Shaldon
Ness Cove: What to Eat and Drink

Cafe Ode, at the top of the car park has served up the top three of my best sausage baps of all time list (toasted brioche, caramelised onions – yes). The coffee is phenomenal and they live and breathe sustainability and local produce.

Just around the corner into Shaldon, The Clipper is another cracking breakfast spot with a completely unrivaled view. Also great coffee.

If you happen to be around at lunchtime, I have it on good authority that The Ness does a decent roast.

All three are dog friendly.Ness Cove, Shaldon

Ness Cove: The Small Print
  • The loos are at the entrance to the tunnel which might be too far a walk for the tiniest of bladders
  • There is nowhere to get a drink on the actual beach, take it with you (and don’t forget to take your rubbish away afterwards)
  • Dogs are allowed on the beach all year round which may be your idea of heaven…or hell. If it’s the latter, walk away and we’ll never speak of this again.

You and beaches? Got a favourite? A fan of The Ness? Let me know.

More of our favourite Devonish secrets here. 


A New Project : Devon Knows

I know, I know, when you’re feeling disillusioned with your existing blog I suspect that the worst possible thing to do is to set up an entirely new one with your best mate. Guilteeeeee.

But we did. We’ve talked for a long time about wanting to do more to tell folks about our most beautiful part of the world and all the goings on around here. I mean, sure you can’t get a latte at 3 in the morning (at least nowhere I’ve been!) but you do get thisDevon KnowsAnd thisDevon KnowsAnd thisDevon KnowsEvery which way you turn and we think everyone deserves to know a little more about that. So, if you’re from round these here parts or know anyone who is or wants to be, send them in the direction of Devon Knows where we’ll be sharing all of our most precious Devonish secrets from beautiful beaches to the dog friendliest spots (obvs!) to the best places to get a cream tea or a pasty. Cliches? Us?

We hope in time that other local bloggers will contribute their own favourite bits of Devon, what better way is there to learn all about a place than from the people who live there?

In the meantime come and find us on the social media and share your own top Devon tips with the #devonknows




What Does That Mean for Life Outside London? 

I realised that I most definitely want to be here, prattling on about anything and everything that takes my fancy. There might be more of a career focus, maybe more opinion bits and absolutely no less pooch and Devon porn.

Peace out.


National Pet Month: All About My Tribe #Ad

National Pet MonthLike the pooch lover who recently made his dog employee of the quarter, I like to think I’m pretty good at letting Pete and Betty know just how much of an integral part of my daily life they are. However, when Tesco Bank asked if we’d like to do something a bit more special to celebrate our friendship in honour of National Pet Month, of course I jumped at the chance.

Starting on 1st April, National Pet Month celebrates awesome pet friendships across the land as well as trying to reduce re-homing levels by encouraging you to do your homework before bringing a new fur baby into the family.

As a self-confessed lifelong dog botherer, I was pretty sure I knew what I was letting myself in for with a spaniel. The husband and I did our research, talked to friends and family and hung out with a lot of spaniels to learn about their particular quirks (high energy, completely barmy and totally loveable FYI). In short, we made sure our lives could cope with a spaniel.

And then we got two.

The day we went to pick Betty up, it turned out that Pete’s furever home had fallen through. Twice.  And I just couldn’t leave him there to take his chances. He is the undisputed king of the puppy dog eyes.

We live a very active life and are lucky enough to be surrounded by plenty of fantastic walks and beaches for Pete and Betty to enjoy so they were a perfect fit for us and slotted right into our little world as if they’d always been there. It really helped that we knew what to expect before we brought them home.

You can figure out the right fit for you by really doing your research, there’s a wealth of information out there. Is the breed you like super energetic or a massive snoozer? Are they going to grow too big to handle? Are they good with children? Hopefully you’ll have your pooch for over a decade so it’s an important consideration. And you need to be really honest with yourself: do you have the time, energy and money to give your dog the best life? If the answer to any one of those is no then perhaps think again.

For me, Pete and Betty were the best choice. They instantly became my tribe, my absolute bffs. They listen when I rant, they lie patiently by my side whilst I’m working or writing things on the internet about them. They are ALWAYS ready to come on an adventure with me in the great outdoors. No one else is ever so excited to see me that they inadvertently bite my bum! In celebration of our most special of friendships, I treated Pete and Betts to their best. Day. Ever.  Which incidentally wasn’t too shabby for me either.

We kicked off with a little garden party with one of our best friends and complete blonde bombshell Molly. I serenely drank tea with Molly’s mum* whilst those three splashed about in the sprinkler, played in the ball pool and got up to all kinds of mischief.

National Pet Month

There’s always that one friend who ruins the photo…

National Pet MonthNational Pet MonthNational Pet MonthNational Pet MonthSpaniels LOVE the water so phase two involved a whole lot of digging, splashing and seagull chasing on the beach.National Pet MonthNational Pet MonthNational Pet MonthOur perfect day ended with some of our favourite snacks and treats, kindly provided by Tesco Bank Pet Insurance and a good snuggle on the sofa.National Pet MonthNational Pet MonthNational Pet MonthTell me all about your fur friends.

*of course I didn’t. this is what I did.National Pet MonthNational Pet Month


Wonderful Wednesday Fifty Seven

Wonderful Wednesday Fifty SevenI’m frantically scribbling this in the 15 minutes downtime between work and the ultra zen making mindfulness course that’s been filling my Wednesday nights for the last six weeks. So, no pre-amble – just the wonderful, which I’m writing whilst multi tasking hard as the filling in a spaniel sandwich.

The Brownies My nana asked me to save my Sainsberg’s Active Kids vouchers FOR HER LOCAL BROWNIE TROOP. How damn sweet is that? So, I’ve been piling them up. If you’re a Sainsbury’s shopper and you’re offered the vouchers, please please take them and give them to a good cause (or send them to me for my super lovely nan!) This is more wonderful than just this one week but it was just the most adorable thing and my cockles were firmly warmed at the thought of the Brownies getting some awesome stuff.

The Bakery The boss and I passed an hour between meetings at an absolute gem of a baked goods store. The Magdalen Road Bakery is all kinds of hipster for Devon with it’s communal benchy seating and letting you actually choose the pastries with your own hands and all. They served me up the swankiest sausage roll I’ve ever had with a side of caramelised onion chutney and some of the best coffee I’ve quaffed in a while. Good work guys, Devon needs more of this kind of awesome.

The Spaniels The lighter evenings mean my post work walk is more than just a quick wazz in the park (sometimes the spaniels tinkle too, boom). We’ve extended it to a much more civilized mooch. I shared a couple of my favourites on the blog earlier today – two for the price of one again this week.

The Small Town Sometimes small town living feels like a special kind of hell but now and again it has its perks. I took my new trainers for a spin on Saturday morning and ended up quite mindlessly at my mums house. She supplied coffee and laughed at my red face before sending me on my way to finish my work out.

The Big Screen Rugby, beer and a massive screen. Nuff said.Wonderful Wednesday Fifty SevenThe Commute After meeting with clients in a nearby town, we took the most scenic of routes home. Taking just two minutes to be present on the ferry and to really breathe and soak up the view reminded me of all the reasons I love living in Devon. It felt like a massive treat to get a bit of daylight river action after a long working day.

The Mindfulness I’m about to leave this post to head on to my course. Mindfulness and I have previous so I wasn’t at all convinced it would be something I could learn but now I’m in week six of an eight week course and I’m starting to really get it I think. And yes, sometimes that does mean a three minute breathing practice in the loo and I’m cool with that. It doesn’t feel like rocket science but more often than not, the simplest things are the most effective.

And that’s that. I’ve now got two days in the office and my first cheeky 10k run in about a decade on Sunday, wish me luck.

How’s your week been? Tell me the things.

SallyKate, Helen, JoCatEmma, Sam, Laura, LynseyKerriPeta Sarah, ElJasmin, Debbie, Katie  and Mimmi are all also full of the cheer. >> If you’re in the gang and I’ve missed you off, please please let me know! There are so many now I lose track! 

Let me know if you decide to join in, there’s a hashtag and everything #wonderfulwednesday 


Walkies! Our Favourite Devon Walks (Ad)

Walkies with Tesco Bank Pete and Betty are Working Cocker Spaniels so they live for the great outdoors

As soon as the ‘w’ word is mentioned, often the second I even think it, I’m underneath a spaniel with her head cocked to one side, eyes boring into mine until I reach for the leads and tug on my wellies.

Living in Devon, there are no shortage of places for us to go full of new sniffs and things to roll in, Tesco Bank asked us to share a couple of our favourites for you and your furry friend.

Gallows Gate to Cockington
Parking the car at Gallows Gate -complete with its grisly history-and ‘pawsing’ to take in the view, we follow the gravelled path through the fields. Uphill, down dale and completely car free, P & B love rampaging through the meadows and orchards on our way down to Cockington Country Park. Cockington is incredibly picturesque with its beautiful thatched cottages and incredibly dog friendly, right down to the local craft studios almost all of which welcome your pooch (you might want to think twice before taking your spaniel into a glass blowing studio though. It’ll take a year or two off your life, trust me). There are also several dog friendly tea rooms and a decent pooch friendly pub to stop off at before heading back up hill; we’ve enjoyed many a cider and bowl of chips by the fire there. Walkies with Tesco Bank Gallows Gate to CockingtonGallows Gate to CockingtonParke – National Trust

Pete and Betty need a lot of stimulation and do get bored of the same walks on repeat so we try to go a bit further afield for our weekend walkies. One of our favourite longer adventures is around the National Trust grounds at Parke. Parke is surrounded by acres of woodland to snuffle our way through and every Saturday morning they host a pooch friendly Park Run. Choosing a different trail each time, we stomp our way through the trees, never failing to stop off for a swim in the river at the end.

When you’re outdoors as much as I am, you learn pretty fast where the good food and drinks are – Parke also boasts the award winning (and dog friendly) Home Park Café which has one of the best pourers I’ve come across anywhere. Bold statement.Walkies with Tesco BankWalkies with Tesco BankWalkies with Tesco BankWalkies with Tesco Bank

Mine are two of the most energetic dogs there are, whenever we leave the house Betty is off her lead like a bullet. Walking with her is a lot like being in an episode of Lost – look for the weirdly rustling long grass and trees and you’re sure to find a spaniel burrowing underneath. It’s incredibly reassuring to know we’re insured up to the eyeballs should she get herself in a spot of bother or pick a fight with a wrong ‘un and we need to call in the Super Vet.Gallows Gate to CockingtonRegular long walks are just a small part of keeping these crazy spaniels entertained; it’s a full-time job (you know, on top of my actual full time job and trying to run a house and a life and keep teenagers alive and all).  If you’re thinking about getting a dog and a spaniel is on your list, it’s important to remember that they need a lot of mental stimulation too. I am constantly inventing new games and trying to teach these dogs new tricks to help them break a mental sweat when we’re not out exploring the undergrowth and wallowing in muddy puddles.

If you want to find out more about the characteristics and care needs for a whole range of dog breeds, Tesco Bank have some super helpful breed profiles. You can find out all kinds about everything from Working Cockers like Pete or Betts to the glorious German Shepherd (Ben, one of the first dogs we ever had, was a German Shepherd and he was SUCH a good boy) to the bonkers Beagle.

Whatever your canine intentions, do your research* before you bring your fur buddy home.  And DO NOT forget the insurance, fingers crossed you’ll never need it but you can’t put a price on that peace of mind.

*Or just while away a few house cooing over all the puppers if you’re a rampant dog botherer like me.

This post was written in collaboration with Tesco Bank. All pooch spam, words and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Walkies with Tesco Bank