Alexandra Holyer photographer and writer based in Cornwall, UK


I support your idea that "Sunday is a day of rest". Could you tell us more about the way you spend your vacations?

Currently both Matt (my husband) and I are self-employed and so we tend to find that actual, real work-free-days-off can be a bit of a rarity. That said we really do try to keep Sundays as restful as possible. Even if we have particular chores or errands that need attending to, we try to go through the day with a particular perspective in mind. An attitude that’s a bit slower and quieter; more reflective and focused on a more deep-seated sense of a well-being.

Still if we do happen upon a completely-free Sunday, we’ll meet with friends at church in the morning and then possibly go for a walk in the woods after lunch. I’ll probably try to sneak off to a quiet corner for a few minutes (or hours) with a good book at some point. If the swell’s good Matt will try to convince me to go for a surf or if people are about we’ll go find a sunny spot in a local café and catch up over coffee and cake. Sunday evenings are often spent with family, either meeting with Matt’s family for a hearty veggie roast, swimming in gravy and followed by apple crumble for pudding. Or I’ll be skyping my own folks and probably watching a bit of Poldark afterwards!

You recently got married. What were your first Sundays as a wife? Are they any different? What's special about them?

My first Sunday as a wife was the first day after our wedding and I just remember waking up and everything feeling so much slower and calmer and more wonderful than it had all week.

We’d gotten married in the orchard at Kestle Barton, in Manaccan and stayed in their Howthere cottage overnight. And so we woke Sunday morning to this beautifully restored barn, streaming with sunlight, that we had all to ourselves! And we just felt this overwhelming sense of (what I can only describe as) blessing. To have a day so sacred, so filled with joy; to have so much goodness and good fortune poured over us again and again; we just woke feeling so ludicrously blissful and blessed.

Also after a very rushed wedding week of late nights and skipped meals, I found my appetite returning to me almost all at once! So that morning I had the biggest slice of 6-layer-spiced-hummingbird-pear-and-carrot-wedding-cake for breakfast. With coffee. Which I then took upstairs, as we had a huge freestanding bath tub in the middle of our bedroom - so of course we put that to good use!

Just after midday we emerged and wandered up to the field where our marquee stood and where our reception had taken place the night before. Friends and family had gathered there to help us pack all the decorations down, but we spent a lot of the time reminiscing about the night before and tucking into leftovers! Finally (after a lot of cheeseboard-sandwiches) we said our goodbyes, headed home and repacked our bags for the honeymoon. Before returning to our tiny cottage at Kestle Barton to open presents, watch Poldark and eat some of the leftover pasties from our wedding buffet.

During these twenty four hours as a wife I think it really dawned on me just what unnecessary nonsense I’d been told whilst wedding-planning. I think it’s reasonably well known that people will give you a lot of unsolicited advice as you plan your wedding and there’s a lot of clichés surrounding the event that come with varying amounts of pressure. And one such saying unavoidably known to all, is that your wedding day will be the very best day of your life. And whilst my wedding day was blessed and sacred and unforgettably stunning to me in so many ways – the day after (and the following days to come) held a depth and beauty and startling preciousness that could not have known in the dazzling sunshine and giddy sweetness of the day before. My wedding was more remarkable than I could have imagined, but my marriage and the life we continue to build together is proving to be something else altogether.

You spend a large part of your time writing. What do you like to read mostly? Which book or magazine would fit best for a Sunday evening?

When it comes to books I’m shamefully fussy. I generally want to read something historical, which contains a good mix of drama, adventure and romance; with unforeseen twists and main character deaths. I like a story to come with a strong political message or deeper critical meaning. And I’m also very fond of female characters, who aren’t vanilla or passive or afraid of being disliked; whose distinguishing quality isn’t beauty and end goal isn’t marriage. And so (based on such criteria) I love the Bronte’s, Louis de Bernières, Victor Hugo, Anais Nin and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

However for a Sunday afternoon (when I’m not normally in the mood for something too gothic or tragic) I’d recommend Shauna Niequist or Elizabeth Gilbert. Their books are witty and earthy; full of reflection and humour and descriptions of food that’ll have you reaching for recipe books – actually another genre pretty well suited to a sleepy Sunday evening. I have a weird love for flicking through anything by Nigella or River Cottage; thumbing over corners and occasionally pretending like I’ll cook this or that recipe for dinner next week. It’s the same with coffee table reads and keep-sake magazines – basically give me any literature containing well-styled photography and I’m happy.

Photography: Alexandra Holyer @serpentineshore