HELLO 2018 (belatedly)

This is terribly late, I know, but I went away for NY and am only just back to my desk kitchen table, where I now spend most of my day, eating toast.

Anyway HELLO and hope you all had terrifically jolly holidays. I spent Christmas at my mum’s in West Sussex, sleeping in a makeshift dormitory with my grown-up brother and sister, which meant we instantly all became eight-year-olds again and went to sleep each night complaining that someone had farted.

Then I came back to London for a bit to do FINAL VERY FINAL BOOK EDITS. Then my boyfriend and I went up north for NYE. Which is the point of this post (HERE is my Sun Tel column from last weekend by the by). Because if you ever need a place to go for a few days, I literally cannot recommend a posh B&B called The Malabar any higher. We stumbled upon it quite by accident but I want everyone to know about the place because it was so idyllic.

It’s just outside a small town in the Yorkshire Dales called Sedbergh and owned by a wonderful couple called Fiona and Graham. Graham’s father and grandfather were tea planters in Kerala, so he grew up there (thus ‘The Malabar’, a coastline in south-west India) before becoming a banker and working in Hong Kong and Mumbai. In 2015, however, Graham and Fiona decided that was enough expat life so they moved back to the UK and did up this old cattle farm.

There are six sensationally comfortable and pretty double rooms – proper cotton bedding and magnificently big beds, Indian quilts, roll-top baths, lovely Eastern pieces of furniture collected from Graham and Fiona’s travels and so on. PLUS THE BREAKFASTS. Cumbrian sausages, venison bacon, local eggs and loose leaf Indian tea. Or porridge topped with jaggery (a sort of cane sugar used a lot in Asia) if you like. Although obvs I had eggs, bacon and toast slick with melted butter every morning.

There is stacks of walking on their doorstep (we managed one up a very steep hill beside a waterfall), the Lakes are a short motor away, and there is a good local pub and an excellent restaurant in Sedbergh called the Three Hares which is largely about locally-sourced meat and game. We also played 482 games of Scrabble and caught a car ferry across Windermere one afternoon. Basically, staying up here makes an ideal long weekend and you should all go immediately.

LOOK, here are some of my holiday snaps/photos nicked from The Malabar’s website.