Down in the heart of Devon

Dortmund  red climbing rose

Back in 1997, when our daughter was five, we rented a holiday cottage in Devon. This week she celebrated her 20th birthday and we returned back there for the 14th time to celebrate her birthday and also our sons' graduation from the University of Plymouth. It was a proud moment to mark his years of hard work.

Once you have found a special place it is difficult not to return, particularly when there are so many wonderful places just waiting to be explored. However our year seems incomplete without a visit to Little Forda.

Although we live on the edge of a town and  fields are only 5 minutes walk away, it is not the same as living in the country. This location on the edge of Dartmoor is so far away from the city noises and the night skies show a mass of stars, so visible away from light pollution.

There is layer upon layer of memories and fun times spent over so many years. The children helping to feed the chickens, leading the donkeys into new pastures, being woken up early in the morning by the sound of the cockerel, planning our next exploration on the moors.

We have visited in all seasons apart from the depths of winter.Our hosts have always been so welcoming and friendly. Is there anywhere you return to again and again like we do?

Today back home again, we awoke to rain and it feels so cold. Autumn has definitely arrived and with our daughter returning back to Uni we need to readjust to a quieter life again. The garden had produced a glut of courgettes in our absence and a bowl of home-made courgette and cheese soup was just the ticket! The first time I saw this recipe I wasn't sure about the addition of the cheese but I highly recommend this simple recipe, especially on a cold autumn day.

Cheese and Courgette soup -Serves 2
150 g courgettes cleaned and sliced
1 onion chopped
1 medium potato peeled and diced
500ml vegetable stock
100g grated cheese
Place vegetables in saucepan with stock bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Blend, put back in pan, reheat stir in cheese and serve,

Looking forward to catching up with everyone through your blogs!
Sarah x


  1. Hello Sarah:
    Many, many congratulations to your son and daughter on his graduation and her birthday. You must rightly be very proud.

    Little Forda looks to be an absolutely idyllic place to stay and we are not in the least surprised that you have returned year after year. For ourselves we very much like the familiarity which comes with getting to know somewhere really well.

    The soup looks delicious, and very easy.

  2. You must feel very proud of your lovely offspring! That rose makes it look as if it's summer still in Devon...I'm always torn between revisiting favourites and exploring somewhere new - I suppose we could alternate, or do both!

  3. Lots to celebrate! Time flies doesn't it? That looks like a lovely place to create memories! Ada :)

  4. I love courgette soup. I learnt how to make it last year, using a recipe from a Dutch friend. I dont add cheese, but next time I will try it. It sounds delicious.
    Little Forda, looks so green and appealing, no wonder that you return.
    Congratulations on your son's graduation. A proud mum , i am sure! And sister's returning to university.
    Sometimes the quiet can be too quiet.! I miss my children being around, alas..that's life.
    nice post Sarah and great photos.
    happy Sunday eve.. val x

    thank you for leaving your comments on my blog.

  5. Many congratulations on your son's graduation. He looks very smart in his board and gown. We have stayed in a few cottages more than once but generally go to different places - I would love to go back to the cottage we rented last year in Kent - right on the beach. The weather here today has been very wet!

  6. Hello - thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your comment. In answer to your question here we used to go often to the same place near Little Torrington where we really made friends with the family and flet not like visitors but friends. Sadly they split up and that's not been an option for many years now. If you find somewhere you like why not return I say!

  7. Hello Sarah,
    and welcome home...
    The biggest congrats to your boy, what a special time for you all!
    We will be saying bye to Olivia next year too, as she sets off on her adventures at university, My times flies too quick.
    We are just going through the procedure of viewing all the uni's at the moment....
    I am going to try your courgette and cheese soup, Sarah, as it sounds delicious.
    Enjoy your quiet time...
    love Maria x

  8. I could never explain how much I enjoy your header photograph. We live in landlocked Kentucky, U.S.A., and I miss the ocean so much. This post was beautiful. I Googled Little Forda and read further. I don't always feel up to commenting, but I enjoy your blog very much.

  9. what a gorgeous place! love your photos. congratulations to your son.
    my kids are about the same age as yours, still studying.

  10. Congrats for your son. Soup time is coming on now with this colder weather approaching! Brrrr! x

  11. Hello Sarah
    Your holiday cottage looks a wonderful place to stay, Yes when the chidren were little we used to regularly stay in a stone cottage in the peak district, for the same reasons, it so comforting knowing what to expect.
    Cogratulations all round to your children (my youngest took his degree at Plymouth, so your photos bring back lovely warm feelings)
    Have a lovely week
    Thea x

  12. Hi, just found your blog via Diane at Heartshaped. Nice to 'meet' you! I am going to try your soup recipe, sounds yum x

  13. Congratulations to you son on his Graduation. I bet you were proud. That cottage sounds lovely. It's such a beautiful part of the country. xx

  14. Hi Sarah,

    Congratulations to your son and Birthday wishes to your daughter. It sounds like you had a great time, it's good to return to a place you really like at different stages of your live and as you say build layers of memories that will be with you forever.

  15. Congratulations to your son and daughter. Yes we like to go to the ame place for holidays. WE have been to Florida more than 10 times always the same hotel and we went camping in Spain on the same camping for more than 10 years. We don't own a caravan any more but rent a mobile home there now every year for some weeks.
    Have a nice week.

  16. Little Forda looks like a beautiful place Sarah. Congratulations to the graduation of your son and your daughters 20th birthday. I realise we have children of the same age :-)

    Your courgette soup sounds good. After years of having courgette's in the garden I did not plant them this year. Funnily enough I miss them!!

    Happy new week!

    Madelief x

  17. Actually, YES! I wish I could visit England again! I used to live in East Yorkshire and I miss the beautiful country.

  18. Oh just my kind of place – I love the garden. Congratulations on your son’s graduation and happy birthday to your daughter. You must have had a very special time together full of happy memories. When our two daughters were very young and we had very little money we went to Scarborough each year for 8 years. Over this time we crammed prams and buggies and folding high chairs into our Citroen 2CV and stayed in a friend’s holiday flat. Our girls grew up to be 'proper' English seaside kids – always on the beach in sun, wind, or rain. Each year we had to repeat the same activities and our photos are of the same places with the girls just a bit taller each time! Once in a while we will get together and go to Scarborough for a day and we still enjoy going on the little train, or the Tree Walk and Cliff Lift, then spending the last hour on the Penny Pusher in the Amusement Arcades before going for a bag of chips. Now both daughters are well travelled and have been all around the world but guess where they like to go most when we can get together!!

    1. I often find the best things in life are free or don't cost much your comments just illustrate this.
      Sarah x

  19. Congratulations to your son on all his hard work, no wonder you're all so proud. Thanks for sharing your favourite place - how beautiful it looks, I'm not surprised you return again and again, it looks like a piece of heaven.

  20. It looks a beautiful place - I love going back to the same holiday place for the exact same reasons as you - all those memories come back and add to the pleasure.

    Pomona x

  21. You must be so proud and what a gorgeous place - a perfect retreat to get together and celebrate.

    Nina x

  22. Hi Sarah,

    Little Forda looks like a beautiful place and can see how you would look forward to going back to visit.
    Congratulations to your son on his Graduation, and happy birthday to your daughter and best wishes for her going back to University. You must be so proud of them.
    Thanks for sharing the courgette soup recipe, it would be tasty with the cheese.

    Happy week

  23. Ah this looks so beautiful! It makes me miss England. I am curious, has the place changed much over the past fourteen years?

    1. No it hasn't changed much in fourteen years although there are less dairy cows in the surrounding fields and the local shop has closed. Changes in the country aren't as rapid as the cities and towns. The owners are always updating things in the cottage.
      Sarah x

  24. hmmm, we are both adjusting...I am in love with Dartmoor, so ravishing bathed in gold as I saw it last week...perhaps we fished together in another life!

    Sarah -x-


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