The Little Cotswold Cottage

Well Hello!

After an unplanned 5 week break from blogging, I am back and playing catch up. I’d intended to blog all about our Christmas, how I decorate our home, wreath making (which I never even got round to) and just like that it’s January 5th and I did none of the above. Oops!

Anyway, I’d planned on sharing our trips to the Cotswolds with you at some point and this has been for the first chance I’ve had since the madness of everything Christmas. I’m always looking for places to stay with friends and family so perhaps the next couple of blog posts will inspire you whether it be a small or large group of people. 

At the end of November me, my sister and two of our oldest friends stayed at the Little Cotswold Cottage near Chipping Norton for a winter/birthday break. I took so many pictures to share with you all so that you can see just how gorgeous it was. It reminded me a little of the cottage from ‘The Holiday’ particularly inside so of course we cosied up one night and watched the film.

My sister and I took the bedroom on the top floor and it did not disappoint. It was so so cosy with a BATH at the end of the bed. Sadly I didn’t get chance  to use it but I’d imagine it’s pure bliss. 

I mean look at it! I also loved the title/wood combination.

Our first night we indulged in fish and chips accompanied by copious amounts of red wine. 

I fell in love with the interiors. The owner has really put her touch on the cottage which made it feel so homely.

 

Day two we paid Daylesford visit. It’s also a must when I’m in the area but particularly this time with it being showered in Christmas decorations. 

Their range of fresh fruit and veg always looks divine!

I couldn’t resist one of their lavender scented candles for my bedroom.

After a pot of tea and mooch around Daylesford we visited Stow on the Wold for a bite to eat and a mulled wine. 

I follow Meggie’s on Instagram so couldn’t resist a little mooch around her gorgeous shop.

The Gorgeous cottage! 

Our Family Christmas Traditions

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year!

I have such fond memories of our Christmas’ growing up. Mum, like me, was Christmas’ number one fan and as a result made it so magical for Emily and I. Year after year the house gets filled with the scent of  Noel, traditional decorations and Mum implemented such special traditions, all of which I’d love to continue if/when I have a family of my own one day.

There’s no real purpose to sharing these special memories but it reminds me of such happy times, makes me feel all nostalgic and perhaps one of two of these may suit you and your family.

During the lead up to Christmas we’d write our letters to Santa (now the funniest thing to read ever!) and leave them on the hearth of the fire place before going to bed. By morning the letters had disappeared and Father Christmas had left a sprinkle of ‘magic fairy dust’ behind. I believe this was something Mum took from ‘Santa Claus the Movie’ one of my all time favourite Christmas films.

Now roughly 2/3 weekends before Christmas we’d put the trees up (we had a ‘posh’ tree that only Mum was allowed to decorate and a smaller one that me and Emily were let loose on – This will 100% be me if I have children). The wreath would get hung on the front door and the rest of the house was filled with garlands, foliage from the garden and festive tea lights. Mum also had a thing about making a little table decoration (something I now love doing).

Christmas Eve was/is without a doubt the most exciting day of the year. Every year Mum and Dad took Emily and I to Ray’s Farm in Bridgnorth to visit to Father Christmas – a very realistic one at that; something which seemed to be a rarity in the 90’s (see below – I rest my case). His grotto was set in a stable where all the children would sit on hay bales and each say what they wished to get that Christmas. I just remember it to be such cosy little set up right in the thick of the countryside.

After our Christmas Eve supper, whilst Dad was prepping the veg for the following day, Mum took us to the Crib Service at Knightwick Church where we’d meet my best friend and her family. There was always something so exciting about seeing my Bestie so close to Christmas and it became a standard tradition for us all. Once the service was over it was back home to prepare the carrot, sherry and mince pie for Santa and his Reindeer. We left this on the fireplace with with another little letter for the Big Man himself (obsessed weren’t we!). We got snuggly in our Christmas PJ’s and mum would read us ‘The Night Before Christmas’. I loved this tradition so much although it didn’t help excitement levels and going to sleep on Christmas Eve was near impossible as it was. Now, instead of the above the spend the evening at our local pub singing Christmas songs and drinking my bodyweight in mulled wine. May it continue!

Christmas Day finally came! The Grandparents always arrived laden with gifts, an Apple Pie and Grandma’s famous Brandy Butter. Mum was always adamant that we were to spread our present opening throughout the day so in the morning we’d open our stocking presents then after lunch we could open whatever was under the tree. Grandma insists on watching the Queen’s speech so this gets factored into the busy schedule and after the feast we’d play charades (a Burnett classic) or Headbandz. Scrabble is a favourite for our one Grandad because he wins without fail (I hated it ha!).

The fun didn’t end there oh no.. I remember the first year Mum appeared in a full Santa suit with giant black welly boots and a pillow stuck under her big red coat. Needless to say it was HILARIOUS. It was then that she’d distribute an extra little present for everyone. By 8pm Dad was fast asleep in his armchair and the rest of us would watching Eastenders Christmas special (A classic!)

So there’s a little insight into the Burnett family Christmas. I’d love to hear about Christmas at your house. What were your favourite traditions growing up and have you continued to do them ever since?

So anyway, December is here which means it’s okay to say Happy Christmas right?

Thank you for stopping by!

H x

*apologies for the quality of some of the photos. Some are pictures of pictures!

How to Hygge during Summer

I have this thing for Hygge, hence the name of my blog. I think it’s such a cool concept and to describe it in a nutshell it’s about surrounding yourself with the people you love and creating an atmosphere that makes you feel at home, safe and just generally content. When I think of Hygge I tend to associate it with Autumn/Winter when you get the house feeling all cosy and start incorporating winter warmers back into you diet. However, Hygge is not just for Christmas, so i’m here to help you Hygge in summer!

There are five dimensions to Hygge and these are:

  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Sound
  • Feel
  • Seeing

So picture this. The Sun is beaming, you’re lay on your sun lounger with a Pimms in hand, you’ve smothered yourself in suncream (safety first) and the BBQ has just been fired up ready for dinner with the family. The smell of the suncream immediately takes you back to your most recent holiday, the feeling of the sun warming your skin, the fruity/spicy taste of your cold Pimms and the sound of the BBQ coals crackling is Hygge at it’s finest. I’m in heaven just writing this.

Togetherness is another big part of Hygge. For my sisters birthday this year we’ve decided to host a little garden party (weather permitting) inviting some of our closest friends. I intend on making the garden looking really pretty and welcoming for all of our guests. In order to do this I will be doing the following.

  • Filling old jam jars with tea lights/flowers and hanging them in trees round the garden.
  • Surrounding the fire pit with plenty of blankets and cushions for when the sun goes down.
  • Draping festoon lights across the patio
  • Dusting down the garden games. Always fun especially when drunk!
  • Supplying plenty of marshmallows and digestives to roast over the firepit. YUM!
  • Firing up the BBQ (and allowing someone more responsible than myself to take charge ha!)
  • Inevitably providing a shed load of food and drink.

I’ll be sure to share plenty of pictures with you when the time comes. We can’t wait!

Every year since I was little we’ve gone to Pembrokeshire with our lovely family friends. During this time we have made the best memories but my highlight each year is to BBQ on the beach. We pile everything in bags and make the walk down to Caerfai beach. In the last four years the group has started to grow when Gemma (the oldest of the sisters) bought Archie and Theo into the world. It is the best!! Seeing them enjoy what we we grew up doing in the very same cottage is so special.

I hope I’ve inspired you a little to enjoy the simplicity of Hygge in summer. This is the perfect time to make lots of special memories so go and make the most of this glorious weather, fire up the BBQ and grab yourself a chilled (alcoholic) drink.

 

Happy happy Sunday!

H x

Planning a Hen do

In July last year one of my best friends asked me to be her Maid of Honour. Of course I said yes!! She (Jess) is the first of my friends to get married so I am beyond excited and SO honoured to have been asked. This ultimately meant that I was in charge of planning the hen do. I love event planning, I actually wish i’d studied it at college/university. Nevertheless for now I embraced channelling my inner event planner for just a few months and did what I do best, made a thousand lists!!

It was important to me that I included Jess in the majority of the planning as I know that if I were a bride to be I would want a little control. Not for everyone I know but I wanted her to be completely happy with what we had planned (to an extent). Firstly we settled on Bath and I am SO glad we did. It is just gorgeous. Everywhere we went was so picturesque and there is plenty to see and do.

Next was finding accommodation that suited all twelve of us. We were so lucky to find a gorgeous Georgian maisonette (pictured below) that sat above an old jewellers right in the centre of bath. Might I add there was a lovely little pub outside the window too! WINNER! The decor was to die for, it accommodated us all comfortably and if you want hygge then this is your place!! (linked in the picture below) A few of us bought some old photos of Jess that were hung around the lounge and kitchen/diner, and we managed to source the most perfect hen specific decorations from gingeray.co.uk that totally completed the look I wanted to achieve.

For night one we prepped a big Spaghetti Bolognaise in advance. This saved us a lot of time on the night and of course gave us more time to drink our body weight in prosecco. We then waited for the arrival of Del; Our butler in the buff!! It was hilarious and the hen had no idea. Of course she became the prime target for many of the games which were of course incredibly tasteful (sensing my sarcasm?). Okay so this may your worst nightmare but honestly we had such a laugh!

With the hen do very much underway now, we woke up on saturday morning feeling pretty ropey but after a shower, cuppa and cooked breakfast we were ready to face day two. Now originally we’d planned on going to bath thermae spa which looks so bloomin gorgeous but we were told that all 16 of us would have to queue and that we couldn’t book in advance; so to save disappointment we decided to do afternoon tea at the Abbey Hotel which by chance ended up being a two minute walk from the maisonette. Ideal! I’d also looked at The Royal Crescent, Bath Priory Hotel and the Gainsborough which all looked AMAZING so would totally recommend trying them if not the Abbey.

After an afternoon eating, shopping and over indulging in Jo Malone and Bobbi Brown, we made time for a quick spruce, drink and we headed back out. Now I wish I could recommend lots of gorgeous and quirky bars, however we decided to reminisce on our college and uni days so the Slug and Lettuce, and Vodka revs it was! I’m sure they were far more acceptant of a pretty loud group of girls than and a little cocktail bar might be. Anyway its an excuse to go back. We came up with a bunch of HILARIOUS games (one to share another time) that kept us all highly amused, and I would definitely suggest compiling a list of games to play throughout the hen do.

Not long before the event a friend introduced me to a website called www.gohen.co.uk which I would so recommend people utilise when party planning. They offer so many different activities across the country to suit lots of different personalities.

Anyway, enough waffling from me. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little insight into my hen do planning experience. I can so recommend bath and I will without a doubt be returning in the not too distant future. If anyone would like the link to the accommodation let me know.

Happy happy Sunday!

H x

Why Hygge?

Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a relatively modern concept created by the Danes that I feel describes everything I love in a nutshell. That being togetherness, cosy interiors, comfort food and timeless fashion (especially in winter, so much easier right?)

Anyway, I digress… Hygge isn’t limited to Autumn/Winter. Picture this. You’re sat in the garden with your friends and family, drink in hand, the smell of BBQ food lingering in the air, music playing in the background with the sound of the fire pit crackling away. Bliss! Ah roll on the lighter warmer evenings. The other thing I love about nights like this are how it encourages togetherness (another important aspect of Hygge). I LOVE spending time with friends and family as much as possible. It makes me feel so content and making endless memories is just the best! I try to make a conscious effort to leave my phone in another room when at a social gathering (apart from to take pictures of course) but in doing this you can totally relax, switch off from virtual influences and simply take in the moment.

An event that stands out to me is when last year we celebrated an early Christmas with family. We rented out a gorgeous farmhouse locally and spent the entire weekend eating, drinking, chatting, playing games and laughed none stop. I was totally in my element. I arrived there straight from work on a rather gloomy December evening and there was Mulled wine warming on the AGA and fresh mince pies on the side begging me to eat them. DUH! It was heaven.

For a more in depth description of what Hygge is I can strongly recommend ‘The little book of Hygge’ by Miek Wiking. It is a great example of how to live well and is where I came to hear about this amazing approach. But for now here’s a checklist to help you get started.

Hygge checklist:

  • Candles candles candles
  • No stark lighting. Table lamps all the way
  • Build a little collection of the cosiest clothes for the days of doing nothing.
  • Put together a blanket basket to cosy up with
  • Put fresh flowers throughout the house
  • Cook from scratch (because there’s something so satisfying about it when it goes out)
  • Light the log fire/fire pit
  • Bake because ‘you can’t buy happiness but you can buy cake’. I will now live by this.
  • Fill your wardrobe with chunky knits and scarves
  • Drink copious amounts of tea and hot chocolate

 

I hope you enjoyed this little insight into my interpretation of Hygge. So for now, get into your cosiest clothes make and hot drink, stuff your face with Easter eggs surround yourself with candles (safety first)  and whack on a film (I’m sure there will be plenty of bank holiday treats over the next couple of days).

Happy Easter!

H x