Hello all and sorry it’s been a while since the last post. Bit of a mixed bag catch up post here as an update to our December antics thus far!
Can you believe we are already close to being half way through December, with only a couple of weeks away from Christmas and waving farewell (rather quickly for me) to 2017?!
As soon as 1st December came around I was extremely eager to pull on my Joules Dalmatian jumper.
How cute and apt is it? I have worn it so much already and simply love it! Joules Christmas jumpers are always a little special but this one is simply perfect!
I don’t know about you but for us we welcomed in the first weekend of December by packing in a crazy busy weekend. Not only the usual walking the Dals and playing with the ponies but also going Christmas tree shopping; attending a wreath making workshop (with my mother and not Chris)! as well as relaxing over afternoon tea before starting to pack for our last minute get away to New York City.
Last year a friend recommended a local Christmas tree grower to Chris and I, Santa Fir just outside the village of Cranleigh. We were so pleased with last year’s tree that we returned again this year and selected an even nicer tree than the year before. I don’t know about you but I like a big bottomed tree! I hunted one out quickly! Now our cottage is not overly large so while we can get a bushy tree it cannot be overly tall so I found one my height (5ft)!
Aside from the lovely trees, Santa Fir also offers a massive selection of Christmas decorations across their two shops.
Outside there are a few stalls with festive food and drink, and this year I also came across Stella Welding who had a stall showing off some of their fantastic items all made out of horse shoes! Some of the items I struggled to make out what they were much to the welders amusement, both Chris and Jill could see that one item was a crab while at I saw a reindeer instead! Just another should have gone to spec savers moments for me.
I have decided to start accumulating Daya’s shoes from now on so that I can have lots of special items made out of them, from wine racks and coat hooks to hanging baskets!
For children there are horse and sleigh rides as well as the resident reindeer to stroke.
Four legged friends welcome here too!
After selecting our tree we kept to our tradition of paying a visit in to 140 in the village of Cranleigh, (the largest village in the U.K), to pick out a new Christmas tree decoration. 140 really do have the most wonderful decorations; we have built up a lovely collection which we always receive many compliments on once they are on our tree.
Following on from tree shopping Saturday, Sunday I had booked (many months ago), for my mother and I to attend a wreath making workshop at Winkworth Arboretum. I love creating new traditions and this will now be continued by my mother and I for many years to come.
It was our first time making a wreath, and it turned out to be a lovely experience following traditional methods and hosted extremely well in the perfect setting. To make it even nicer there were warm drinks provided throughout along with warm mice pies.
All the tables were laid out with the tools needed to make the wreaths and all the materials had been collected from around the arboretum, which made it even more special as this is a place that holds many happy memories for both my mother and I.
On the Monday afternoon my mother and I went for afternoon tea with my Grandfather at South Lodge. We were lucky enough for at least 30 minutes to have the dinning room all to ourselves. I do love my afternoon teas any time of year, but especially in December when the old houses are dressed for Christmas. They somehow feel to me more homely and welcoming, particularly when they have an open fire crackling in the background giving it more of an atmosphere.
Our four legged friends are welcome but you will not be able to sit in the dinning room with them. You will need to request a dog friendly table.
As you can see our tree is now up and decorated in traditional Christmas colours of red and gold.
I like to keep things simple (in every aspect of my life), and therefore I am not one to go overboard with decorations. I think the colours perfectly compliment the cottage and as like last year which was our first Christmas in the cottage, once the house is decorated I feel like I’ve stepped in to my own version of the holiday.
After a very festive weekend, it was time to start packing. Unlike most people who get excited about going away I become subdued and sad at leaving the animals, even though I know they are in the best possible care with my mother. As you are probably becoming aware I am very much a home bird, and as much as I love exploring this wonderful world we live in I am also quite happy in my own little corner of the world. In a way this gives me a sense of comfort and happiness as I know I have created a life whereby I do not need to escape the everyday as I miss it when I am away from it!
On Tuesday still not overly excited as not only was I leaving the animals I also hate flying, we were up at the crack of dawn and on our way to Heathrow to board our flight to NYC.
We managed to ram so much in to the few days we were away and walked at least 10 miles a day, (this made us feel a little better for all the food and drink we were consuming)! As it was Chris’s first visit I wanted him to see as much as possible of the city.
In our jam-packed schedule we managed all of the below.
- Took in the morning views from the Empire State
2. Had a late night kiss at Top of the Rock (considered ice-skating under the Rockefeller tree, I thought better of it, not being an able skater)
3. Walked Brooklyn Bridge while eating a warm pretzel
4. Took a night cruise on the Hudson while drinking cocoa and singing carols
5. Walked Central Park, stopping for a delicious lunch at The boat house
6. Took many a strolls to see all the lights
7. Navigated the Subway (only getting the wrong train once)
8. Had supper with one of my besties in East Village
9. Had another trip on the Hudson to visit Ellis and Liberty Island
10. Paid our respects at the 911 memorial (the first time I visited NYC, the hotel we stayed at was right next to the Twin Towers, this hotel was also taken down that sad day).
11. Drank lots of Starbucks coffee and consumed many pancakes!
After a few busy days in the city that never sleeps, we are happy to be back at the cottage away from the hustle, bustle and all the beeping horns on the streets of NYC. As much as I like the city of NY there is no place quite like home.
Upon returning to the UK, the following evening I was sitting in the minor injuries unit at hospital with suspected DVT. Thankfully it turned out to be a false alarm and although not fully resolved I am on the road to recovery from very very stiff limbs (I am putting this down to the mass amount of walking on pavements which I am not accustomed to as well as being cramped on the long flight). I have told Chris if it’s not at least business class flying from here on I am not going!
With theses cold December days I’m am trying to keep the Dals wrapped up as Dals really do feel the cold.
I am looking to buy them new warmer and more waterproof jackets for Christmas, does anyone have any recommendations?
I hope you are all enjoying the festive period and creating lovely memories and perhaps new traditions of your own. I would love to hear of your festive traditions.
Oh I’ve also begun bottling my sloe gin ready to give as part of my homemade Christmas hampers. I clearly while bottling I had to ensure it was not poisonous….. I am merrily happy to report it’s very nice indeed! So cheers!!
Love for now Emma, the Dals and Chris XXXX
P.S First winter warmer walk on its way…….