Having your birthday fall in January always feels like a slight disadvantage; the rest of the world mourning the end of Christmas, in the full throes of diets or in hibernation with the January blues. But this year my family and I decided to celebrate mine well, heading off for a weekend staycation beside the sea, for birthday celebrations at glorious Gwendolyn.

The sepia-toned thatched cottage was our venue of choice for its prime position overlooking the golden dunes of Perranporth Beach. With the car crammed with games, a week’s worth of food (it seemed) and bottles of wine that chinked as we journeyed down the old Cornish lane, Gwendolyn stood, lit up, like a welcome beacon in the distance against the dark night sky. 

Inside, Gwendolyn’s traditional Cornish farmhouse interiors are warm and welcoming, making us feel right at home the moment we stepped through the door. Friday night was curry night. We all joined in; stirring, tasting and sipping wine as we went. Afterwards, we piled into the snug and played games late into the night, before moving into the lounge for a dance-off before bed. No birthday weekend is complete without one. I slept soundly in the super-king four poster bed, shutters open so we could see the sea come daybreak. 

A january stay at Gwendolyn

Saturday morning went by slowly in a haze of drippy fried egg sarnies and warm mugs of tea, fireside. We then ventured down to Perranporth (flaunting the longest beach in Cornwall) for a brisk walk before the heavens well and truly opened and soaked us through. Salt and vinegar-laced fish'n'chips from the local chippy were the perfect remedy and were devoured right from the paper in our pjs, before scones, jam and cream and a sleepy afternoon of movies beside the log burner. You could while away hours just looking out of the window at Gwendolyn over the glassy pond, home to two, plump, resident ducks, through the gently swaying pampas and out to the crashing waves beyond. 

As the sky turned to pink above the thatch, we put on our swimming cossies while Dad lit the outdoor fire pit and popped open a bottle of Champagne, then we all submerged into the bubbling hot tub. Saturday night was cheese soufflés and Nyetimber, homemade tagliatelle and tomato sauce cooked low and slow in the Rayburn with burrata, and Choux au Craquelin with cream and warm chocolate sauce (for those that could manage!): a birthday banquet fit for a queen. 

Gwendolyn has a kind of magic glow about her, one that you can’t help but carry with you when you leave those pretty, striped walls.

The garden with hot tub at Gwendolyn