Swyncombe to me is the most peaceful place around us. Whenever I want to be somewhere quiet, I take a short drive to Swyncombe. But I also go there every early Spring when the snowdrops appear and cover the churchyard with their tiny white bells. The snowdrops are returning soon so if you’re planning a visit, keep an eye on the church’s website for the best times to go. Here’s what you’ll find ..
I do love the Cotswolds. It’s not too far from us and we’re lucky with the traffic around Oxford, we can get there within almost half an hour. Although I love a walk when we don’t have to use the car, I really fancied a walk somewhere else. So off we went. to the tiny village of Swinbrook in the Cotswolds. We parked at the churchyard and took a walk along the river Windrush. One of the most beautiful part of our walk was the tiny St Oswald’s Church in Widford. In 1904 it was found to have been built on the base of a Roman house or temple. It’s mainly from the 13th century but it has remnants of an 11th century Saxon or Norman building. Wonderful church to visit especially at Christmas time.
And after our champagne breakfast, it was time for a walk. We didn’t go too far, only our neighbouring village. The park, of the big house, has lots of beautiful Lebanon cedars and its lake has swans and if you’re lucky you can see a kingfisher too. And if you’re even luckier, you’ll find snowdrops in the churchyards on Christmas Day. Happy Christmas!
Last year I created a gingerbread recipe book. I updated it with some new images this year.
Click on the image to download your Gingerbread recipe book. Happy baking!
I think this December walk in Pishill might become one of my favourite traditions. We went last year as well, it was much colder then and Christmas was nearer too. This year it was really mild but it was still festive and just the loveliest Birthday gift I could get. So here’s some pictures from our walk today in the most beautiful countryside around Pishill and then tea and cake at the church. Thank you so-so much Justine and Stanley!
One Sunday morning, I met Natasha at her Buckinghamshire studio when we went shooting her for the Autumn issue of the Chilterns Food Magazine. Her Hill View Farm is not only a farm but a place for all creativity. She’s hosting Creative Festivals and they have the best brownie in their café - The Bower - also part of the farm. You don’t need to be an expert knitter to admire anything she does. And the energy she has.
A week ago, in the best company possible for this day out, I went to the Weald and Downland Living Museum in Sussex. I love all open air museums and skansens and this one was no exception. I also loved that we decided to go in Autumn when the fire in most of the houses was already lit giving the places even more atmosphere. Step back hundreds of years and enjoy the beautifully preserved buildings (from Medieval cottages and Tudor houses to a Victorian school, there is so much to see) and the most charming cottage gardens.. (for which I’m already thinking about a Summer visit too)
When thinking of Chatsworth, only such words as magnificent, elegant, grandiose, lavish.. and so on come to my mind. But then please, is there a walled garden? A vegetable garden? A cutting flower garden? Not that these couldn’t be elegant or magnificent but well, I know you know what I mean. And yes, there is, all of the above. And that’s exactly where I spent 95% of my first time ever at Chatsworth.
I almost went to Chatsworth in the Summer when I was in the area but the harsh Summer sunshine and heat just put me off. This time, I got soaked. I was locking my car thinking, shall I take my rain jacket? Hm .. So my photos are quite limited due to the fact that my camera (or my cardigan for that matter) is not waterproof.
At the garden entrance (of course I only bought a ticket to see the gardens, the house will have to wait) a a very friendly member of staff gave me a detailed map of the statues in the garden and I almost said to him, please, please, keep it, just point me to the direction of the kitchen garden. I’ve been following Becky Crowley, the super-talented flower grower of Chatsworth, on Instagram for quite a while now so seeing the gardens almost felt familiar. It’s such a shame she was on holiday as I would have loved to meet her but I’m sure I’ll be back very soon. Until then, here are some of the images I took that day.
By this time the rain was quite heavy. My final rain shelter was the first Duke’s Greenhouse, that was also a very inspirational space, I loved it a lot.