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 Β£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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Matcha, dumplings,walks and dislocations

I’ve really been trying to gather my life into some sort of routine – getting up at the same time daily etc to try and maximise productivity and make the most of every day! So far I am not doing too well at organising everything, but this is a new week so I’m going to REALLY try now! One thing I do need to work on is this blog. Before I started blogging I would read others and wonder why they only post once or twice a week, if that. Now I totally understand. I now retract my ‘I’m going to blog everyday’ statements. Fully. And I apologise for being to naive! So this is a little late, but here goes…

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Last weekend was full of promises of wonderful treats. I set of to Bath early Saturday morning to drop Dan at jiujitsu (I’m not entirely sure that’s how it’s spelt!?!) and made my way into town to visit some of my favourite shops. I went to Uni in Bath and lived there for a year so it’s a town full of nostalgia. I’ve said before I think it’s one ofΒ the only cities in the UK I would happily live in. I managed to mooch around Anthropologie and Hay before receiving a phone call from Dan to inform me he was in A&E with a dislocated shoulder. For a split second I was angry he had ruined my shopping trip (selfish cow I know!!) then I quickly felt guilty rushed to the car park to head to the hospital.

We had planned to visit Comins Tea Shop and after a couple of hours in A&E decided it would be a great way to chill and for Dan to relax a little after his morning’s antics! We met the owner at Abergavenny Food Festival and he introduced us to Matcha Green Tea – my new fave! Comins is all about the whole experience of tea drinking, and is not your typical tea and bun cafe. Each tea is served in its traditional teapot and receptacle, and comes with a timer and a flask of hot water (the temperature of water is again different depending on the tea). I first went for the Matcha – a fine powder which is sifted before being whisked into hot water in a small bowl. I won’t lie it looks a little bit like frothy pond water, but it’s such a deliciously fresh tea – and bang on trend! Dan had a Green Sencha which was served in a Japanese Kyusu teapot. We ordered some Japanese dumplings to go with our tea – the perfect accompaniment! I would recommend Comins to any tea lover – and in fact to anyone who is open to trying something different!

Our Sunday morning plans weren’t affected by Dan’s accident and we headed to Westonbirt Arboretum. The colours haven’t quite turned yet so we will be visiting again in the next couple of weeks for the gorgeous orange and red glows! One thing we weren’t expecting was the new treetop bridge. I’d read about it but because we haven’t visited for so long we hadn’t yet seen it. The bridge is pretty amazing and far longer than we anticipated. It was absolutelyΒ full of people though so it will be nice to go back at a quieter time. Westonbirt is such a beautifully maintained arboretum and I can’t wait for the Autumn and Winter events there!

Some friends of ours – Will and Kat – recently took over the Royal Oak in Leighterton. They’ve spent the summer stripping the pub back, redecorating, sanding, varnishing, building and accessorising, and Sunday afternoon was the first time we got to fully experience their hard work. They have done such a beautiful job to create a warm and welcoming feel – a traditional yet contemporary country pub. The selection of ales and cider has been as carefully considered as the decor, with a range of local Uley ales and Black Rat cider and perry among them. The Sunday menu was impressive and I opted for the tomato and mozzarella arancini, roast beef and bake well tart. The food was absolutely incredible, and the beef quite possibly the BEST I’ve ever had! I urge you all to pay the pub a visit – you will not be disappointed!!

I find the best way to help a big meal settle is an afternoon stroll. After gaining directions from a local farmer, we set off across the fields of Leighterton for a brisk walk to try and burn off some of the thousands of calories we had consumed!! I’ve never really explored the area before but in the early evening light it was absolutely stunning! Even more of a reason for you to go and visit the Royal Oak!