Christmas comes to the Hobbit Hole

Those of you who have been to our house will know how compact it is. Those of you who haven’t I can tell you now – it’s pretty small. When we were looking to move in together I was just excited to have some space to ourselves, and quickly came to the realisation that our budget wasn’t going to get us very much. After a few viewings of stinky cat poo flats and being turned down for a house because ‘two people cause more wear and tear on a property than one’, I received a notification for a lovely little 2 bed cottage in Nailsworth and immediately called the estate agent.

Just over 2 years later and we are still here, in our cosy little Hobbit Hole. I have had a few battles with myself over needing certain pieces of furniture, or an extra set of plates, or multiple sale buy rugs at work and the boring and sensible side seems to have taken over. We absolutely do not have the space. Of course there was the Ercol rocking chair that was a steal at £20 and is now residing in my parents garage, and the set of vintage dining chairs that are holed up in the shed. Until we have the space to use them!

So yes, I have managed to control my love for buying ‘ornaments’ (the general word Dan has given to any little trinket, cushion, or piece of wall art I purchase) until we can afford a slightly bigger house. Unfortunately even Christmas can’t be an exception as I have filled almost every nook and cranny. But my job has taught me that it’s easy to bring festivities into any space no matter the size, so I thought I would share a few photos with you of how easy it can be to add a splash of Christmas into your small home.

First step was of course the Christmas tree. In previous years we have been mocked for our small bushy trees (which I will admit I use to take offence to) so this year decided we would buy one a little bigger than usual, settling on a Nordman Fir from Jolly Nice, mostly down to the whole experience being quite magical – with the rows and rows of festoon lights and the warming glow of the yurt, fire smoke spiralling from it’s chimney. If you’ve not been here yet I HIGHLY recommend it any time of the year – not just Christmas! They serve the BEST burgers we have ever had, and the scotch eggs and sausage rolls are pretty magical too!

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The first year we were in the house I went pretty crazy with buying decorations. I’ve tried to resist buying more but the odd one or two has made it’s way into the collection! I’ve also decided to do a bit of a decoration cull this year and get rid of some of the ones I don’t particularly like anymore. I can’t quite believe my taste has changed so drastically in 3 years…or perhaps I was literally panic buying the first year!

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I found some beautiful metal hoops in Domestic Science and couldn’t think of a reason (I would be allowed!!) to buy them! Luckily with a bit of Pinterest intervention I decided I’d use them to make some miniature wreaths. After foraging for ivy, holly and ewe I whipped up some miniature wreaths to hang around the living room.

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I’ve had this vase of pussy willow for about 18 months and I have absolutely no idea how it hasn’t shrivelled up and died. I found some absolute bargain onion shape baubles in Wilkos and thought they would be perfect to jazz up the pussy willow! I’ve also been looking for some teeny tiny fairy lights to add a bit of sparkle but am yet to find any delicate enough….The Christmas tree and reindeer were gifts from a lovely lady I work with.

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Finally, my Mum has a really eclectic selection of Christmas deccies she’s collected over the years; old cake toppers, homemade decorations, vintage pieces and such….I absolutely love it when she digs them out f the cupboards, and this year I found the start of my very own collection. These guys were in the cook shop in Cirencester and immediately reminded me of Mum’s funny little decorations. Dan obviously asked ‘what on earth are you going to do with those?’. Well, put them with a sparkly star by the Hendricks candle holder, of course!

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So that’s pretty much the extent of my Hobbit Christmas…so far at least!!

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That time we went to Brighton

If Bristol was to have a lovechild with a Cornish coastal town, I’m pretty sure Brighton would be the result. I’d heard Brighton was a hub for culture of all forms, but wasn’t expecting it to be quite so visually exciting. Every street and corner seemed to house a gallery, cafe, bar, wall of graffiti or row of colourful houses. The girls from Uni were the perfect companions to explore a city so rich with art and design. We don’t see each other often, and this was actually only the second time we’ve managed to coordinate our lives since finishing Uni a couple of years ago, but I always look forward to my time with these wonderful ladies!

I took charge of booking accommodation – our budget provided a limited selection which resulted in a rather average ‘hotel’. That’s all I’ll say about it for now, but it did the job! One of the girls came armed with a list of places to visit – mostly food orientated! It guided us to ‘Food for Friends’ on Friday evening – the most incredible (and actually possibly only!!!) vegetarian restaurant I’ve ever been to. Considering we arrived after 9.30 without a reservation, the staff gave us a warm welcome and guided us to a table. The menu selection was difficult – everything looked and smelt so delicious! I opted for a strawberry lager to drink, then shared a haloumi and mushroom burger, and ravioli sent from heaven. It was open ravioli with a Brighton blue cheese sauce, roasted butternut squash, baby spinach, courgette and walnuts. It was one of those meals you never want to end! I didn’t even get a photo of it! Dessert was a molten chocolate pudding with strawberries, ice cream and crushed pistachios. Also delicious but I began to regret it on the walk back to the ‘hotel’!!!

We woke up to a rather miserable Saturday morning – not quite the crisp Autumn day we’d hoped to be spending on the beach! Nevertheless we wrapped up and headed out into the wet,misty air (after a brief disagreement with the ‘hotel’ manager about requesting a discount to make up for the dirty room we had slept in – the answer was no!). The Breakfast Club was our chosen destination for breakfast – I would quite happily have spent all day in the 80s world of flamingoes, clashing tiles and disco music. The girls opted for pancakes and I immediately regretted my decision of Eggs Royale – but I wasn’t disappointed!

Leaving the warmth and dryness of the 80s behind us, we spent a couple of hours meandering around The Lanes. Going from the old to new part was like stepping from Diagon Alley straight into Camden. Brighton really is such a beautifully diverse place! I couldn’t believe the amount of graffiti we saw – and not the hastily scrawled ‘Fuck the World’ or the ‘S’ shapes we used to draw everywhere at school – but carefully considered works of art. Most pieces were tucked away down side streets, or tastefully positioned in a more open area but it all just worked. None of it looked tacky or like it has ruined the rural landscape – it had become part of it. I’ve always been fascinated by graffiti artists and their ability to create amazing pieces from just a few cans of coloured aerosol!

After exhausting the masses of galleries and shops selling absolutely everything you could possibly want, we hit the pub for a pint before making our way to Patterns via the pier. Some quick obligatory pier photographs followed some overpriced and bizarre tasting crepes later we entered the wintery Narnia world created at Patterns for the festive period. I believe on a regular day it triples up as a bar/restaurant/club, but on this day it was hosting a lino printing session. Unfortunately we were too late to buy tickets, but were able to enjoy a few cocktails in the wintery world of Narnia before battling through the rows of fur coats and back out into the wet and cold.

Dinner was a mildly bizarre experience. We did in fact have dinner in da club. After discovering The Tempest as one of the places to visit in Brighton, we decided upon dining at The Crab Claw at the Tempest. It was an unusual experience. The building was pretty cool and was along the beach front, built under the roads that run above the beach. It reminded me a little of the clubs in Bath most of which are underground. The food was good but it was weird eating whilst the bar was full of Jaeger bombing hipsters!

Having originally wanted to stay at The Artists Residence (unfortunately bank balances didn’t agree!) we at least wanted to sample their renowned cocktail menu. I have never spent so long deciding on a drink – the menu was incredible and full of deliciously enticing ingredients! Two ‘Lucy in the Sky’s’ arrived with fluffy clouds of candy floss and I had a ‘Green Tea Phone Home’. Perhaps the most delicious cocktail I’ve ever had – a dusky pink glass full of joy! One day when I’m earning a little more money I would love to head back here to stay for a couple of nights – you almost wanted a day just to explore the building!

Sunday was typically beautiful. Due to trains leaving at around 1 we only had the morning to explore – but we absolutely made the most of it! Breakfast again was yummy, and fuelled us ready for a morning of beach walking and pier fun! After not winning millions on the 2p machines, the rides were calling. I was more than happy with a few rounds on the merry go round but instead we opted for the not so Haunted House. It was fun though. Not content with the thrills of our trip through the house, the Rollercoaster was calling us. I was not anticipating the fear I felt whilst on the smallest roller coaster I’ve ever seen. Being sat on the outer side, it felt like we were going to fly off the rails and straight into the sea at every corner! I hadn’t laughed so hard in a long time – not since we bounced our way around the Bumper Car track in our first year of Uni!

The giggles and happy tears inducing roller coaster ride was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend away with some of the loveliest girls I know. Please let’s not leave it so long next time ladies, what a hoot!

PS…I took far too many photos so here’s a few more to share with you all…