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Thursday 30 May 2013

Seaside Girly Getaway : Lyme Regis

Everyone needs a home away from home and for a weekend in chilly December this charming little cottage in Lyme Regis offered us girls just the ticket...

Treating myself to a half day Friday, I caught a train to the sleepy costal town with my gorgeous school girlies - G&T's and M&S prawn dippers in hand to keep us going! We arrived early afternoon and let ourselves into our home for the next three days. We had organised the weekend in celebration of our good friend Kim's birthday so we had lots of secret squirrel decorating, cooking and baking to get on with. Kim was travelling up separately so we had a few hours to get the house into ship shape bday condition! That was made easy by the house offering everything we could possibly want and need - a spacious kitchen with a dining room table, a cosy lounge complete with a fire, two bedrooms and a sofa bed meaning everyone could sleep in comfort. 

The plan for the first night was to cook up a birthday storm to wow Kim on her arrival and that we did. To start we whipped up scallops with chorizo and pea puree. For main course we went for our failsafe favourite - Jamie Oliver meatballs with mozzarella and scummy homemade tomato sauce. To finish we made Nigella's larger than life chocolate Guinness cake. We had also snapped up a magnum of Moet champagne to toast the birthday girl and her 28th year!

Happily stuffed and champagne fuzzy, we settled in for a night of booze fuelled games and girly chit chat - the perfect Friday evening to start our lovely seaside weekend!

Saturday morning arrived all too quickly after stealing a few hours sleep. Up we jumped (or rolled, head in hands) and pulled on our outfits ready for the next chapter of our Lyme Regis adventure...

To clear our heads we opted for a brisk walk along the seafront, hand in hand we happily moseyed on down to where crowds were forming and some action was quite clearly happening ... it was only the annual Christmas pudding race! We were met with locals dressed in Christmas fancy dress racing each other egg and spoon style with the egg replaced with a Christmas pud - genius! 

After our festive seaside fun and frolics, we were all left with rumbling tummies and a urge for some afternoon booze so off we trotted to Hix Oyster & Fish House. I had been super excited to check out this much-hyped seaside delight for a while - any restaurant of Mark Hix's is guaranteed to be an experience if Tramshed is anything to go by. 
First thing to note is Hix is perched in prime position high up looking back at the picturesque coast. The restaurant sits loud and proud in the form of a wood and glass shack-like greenhouse - seaside chic through and through! Up we trekked following a winding pathway looking back at the stunning view below as we went...
Upon entering the space, I was struck by the plain and simple intertior. Not flashy in the least but light and airy with a few standout touches like the floor to ceiling windows wrapped around the front of the restaurant offering stunning panoramic views and the oak ceiling beams dressed with a seagull and neon art installation. Nothing groundbreaking but it didn't need to be - the views and food are the main selling points of this restaurant as far as i'm concerned so why meddle with the other details and detract from that?

Next up - the food! I had read reviews and heard grumblings from locals that the restaurant was overpriced for what it was. In reality, yes, if you were a local the prices would shock you in comparison to what you'll pay elsewhere but for an out of towner who knows the Hix empire well I didn't find this at all. We started off by ordering a round of Brownsea Island rock oysters with a side of Champagne! The oyster shells came loaded with shallots and vinegar and were quite simply delish...

The scrummy food didn't stop there - we stocked up on starters and mains and had a taster of each dish! My favourites had to be the Lyme Bay fish soup and the fish house pie - no fuss comfort food but oh so tasty!

I also learnt that the late celebrity TV chef, Keith Floyd, had his last meal at this very restaurant. The below handwritten note from the chef graced one of the wooden pillars within the restaurant - sad but a lasting reminder of Keith's last super...

We rounded off our girly afternoon with a trip out to the restaurant's outside decking area where we captured shots of a beautiful double rainbow stretched out before our eyes - the perfect backdrop to end our perfect day! 

Hix Oyster & Fish House
Cobb Road
Lyme Regis 
01297 446910
Suitably full AGAIN we walked home to our sweet little cottage and settled in for a cosy night by the fire with red wine, cheese and our film of choice, 'Magic Mike' - utter perfection! 
Before we knew it, Sunday had rolled on in bringing us to our final day together in this charming seaside town - sad faces all round. We decided to push that thought to the back of our minds, and make the most of the last few hours we had left. Before we could think straight we needed to fill our hungry tummies again so off we headed to The Town Mill Bakery. Pure organic gorgeousness in every sense, it's slogan sets the tone perfectly ... 'a place to gather' - my most perfect home away from home that's for sure!  

Full to the brim of feel good unfussy charm, this bakery knows what is it and isn't afraid to say NO which sets it apart from others in the area. A few examples include ... they ONLY make bread the old fashioned way, they don't serve Coca Cola but instead fresh apple juice because there is an apple orchard closeby, they don't sell marmalade only local jams and will continue to do so until oranges are grown in this country. Fierce in its conviction yet sweet in its reasoning.  

The space is open plan, decked out with long wooden benches lined up inviting everyone to sit down and enjoy fresh food together family-style. It's very much about helping yourself ... grab a soup bowl and ladle out pipping hot homemade soup, load your wooden board up with fresh bread, butter and jam galore or indulge in a giant slice of buttery apple pie! Whatever floats your hungry hippo boat. 

The place is oozing with character - Shipton Mill flour sacks grace the kitchen floors and origami bird decorations strung from the ceiling... 

While away the time by chatting to friends, staff and other customers or flick through the weekend supplements and sit back and watch the bakers hard at work in the kitchen lovingly preparing your grub! 
Within the bakery they have a little shop too which sells only what they have made as a business, usually left overs from what they've made too much of that day. They're no sell-outs either - they don't supply their produce to any other retailer or business as feel that would be a move over to the dark side. Another aspect I love about this little set-up.  

The Town Mill Bakery
Coombe Street
Lyme Regis
01297 444035

Next on the agenda - a spot of shopping at Ginger Beer. This little gem brings together a mish mash of eclectic vintage and modern contemporary items offering something for everyone. The majority of the items stocked are made from natural materials and the vintage goods are sourced from all over Britain and Europe. I had my eye on a gorgeous croquet set which was from the Edwardian era but reasoned with myself upon reflection that the rainy British weather doesn't often lend itself to a spot croquet...! 

Ginger Beer
12 Broad Street
Lyme Regis
01297 444443
Last but not least we rounded off our Sunday morning with another stroll along the seafront breathing in as much seaside air as our lungs could take! A super weekend with super friends, worlds away from the hustle and bustle of grimy London. Go! Now! Everyone needs Lyme in their life!

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