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Sunday, January 5, 2014

From my English Country Diary: December around the Cotswolds.

One of the things I was really excited about, this year, was exploring the Cotswolds at Christmastime.

And while I had lots of plans in my head for the Holiday Season, like strolling around extensively, taking massive amounts of pictures of all of the cottages and villages decked for the festive season, breathing all of the beauty of these magical places at Christmastime, visiting several Christmas markets and seeing all of the lights at dusk, savoring hot jacket potatoes along the way with my hubby... that hasn't quite happened.

When I had the time to stroll around, after the first part of my work to present at the Atlanta Gift Show next week was finished, and I could relax a bit, nothing Christmas-sy was up. Then, I had to work hard to meet my deadline, and that wasn't simple with all of the stress of my husband having such a delicate surgery and lots of thoughts also because you may remember that my Kim left this material world last Christmas. Therefore in the end, I could see, live and photograph just a small amount of the things I had planned to see, live and photograph. This means that next year I will have lots of new, interesting discoveries to add to my country diary, so I'm happy anyway! ;)

While strolling around from late November to beginning of December, for the usual errands and for the non- ordinary things (like ordering oil for the first time and driving to the middle of nowhere to reach the supplier's offices, finding and buying a real Christmas tree for our home for the first time, trips to the post office with bags full of happy parcels, collecting greenery for the decorations in the woods), there was no sign of Christmas yet... something I was not prepared to! I thought it started much earlier here in England, and instead, wreaths and trees started popping out just on the second week of December in most places.

At the beginning of December, much to my disappointment, nothing seemed to be different than in November.
The same sheep grazing on a green field...


... the same gorgeous and quaint, stone cottages...

... the same everyday scenes...

... the same colors than the previous month.

Then, it was just when I discovered by chance this tiny village, guided by the sat nav across the countryside without having any idea of where I was (one of the things I love the most here!), that I realized that there was much more red around- that of the winterberries! 

And it was there that I spotted the first signs of Christmas, and I felt sooo excited! My hungry eyes spotted every little decoration inside the old windows...

... and the most hidden wreaths on the doors. I kept screaming of delight while driving (very slowly, no worries!! Also because along these very narrow roads, not that I can rush!), stopping the car every now and then to capture the magic with my camera.

I truly had to practice patience, but I was not disappointed in the end! Here's a celebration in images of the creativity around the Cotswolds at Christmastime! Each and every door was a joy for the eyes, heart and soul to see. Enjoy!

Those cottages are so quaint that just the simplest of decors is enough!

... Like a teeny- tiny bells wreath.

Or a plain, silver wreath with just a tartan ribbon! 

Some of the wreaths I've seen were artificial, yet festive and lovely...

... and most of them were made with natural greenery. Little masterpieces of floristry.

Some were very very simple, yet stunning...

... and others chose to just display a collection of objects at the window, for the passers- by to enjoy.

This was the only "all decked" house I have met along the way...

Had lots and lots of garlands, all made with fresh greenery, and wreaths on the front and back doors.

Many trees had lights on, but unfortunately I wasn't able to see them at dusk.

Found bulbs and little vases for sale via honesty box, too. I just love when I see a display like this, with little things for sale! (I bought a white Hyacinth, by the way).

Little adorned trees.

The doors themselves are simply amazing, and adorned for Christmas, they're breathtaking!

This thatched cottage should be painted!

Not so Christmas-sy, but perfect for Winter! Loved this one!

Always wanted to dry oranges myself, and never tried! I loved this door  and wreath big way!

And I found a very unusual, pink door, too!

Monica x


  1. No wonder you are in 7th heaven Monica..
    Charm abounds everywhere..even in the same:)

    But you are right as you strolled along even more charming..
    I never thought to add a bow around my hyacinth bud vases..Bonne Idée..
    Wishes for your husbands full recovery:)

    1. Isn't that pretty? Thought the same, a ribbon adds such a charm.
      Thanks for the well wishes, hubby is grateful, and I am too! xoxo

  2. Lovely !!!...enjoy the new week darling....love Ria...x !

  3. How is your husband doing ???...x !

    1. So kind of you to ask, Ria! He's better by the day. Voice hasn't completely returned yet, it will require a month or so, and some days are better than others, but the surgery went well and that's the important part! Started eating solid, lukewarm food too!
      Thanks for asking!

  4. Oh, this is so charming! I loved every shot. England is one of my favorite places in the world.

    I also love your new blog dress. I had something similar a few years back with blue polka dots on white and seeing yours makes me miss mine. But mine was not nearly as pretty with your lovely floral wreath with your blog name. Great job!

    Happy New Year, Monica, and all the best always...



    1. So kind of you, Sheila! I designed and painted it myself, polka dotted background included, and the "floral wreath" of forget-me-nots is my logo. Licensing artists are requested to have a logo, and I came up with this one that's so me! :)

  5. Monica...this post was an absolute treat. The cottages are so charming and lovely. I like that some of them have names! I could never choose a favorite wreath, they are all beautiful in their own way. I do love the dried oranges on the one, have to look into how those are made.

    Thank you so much for sharing your delight!


    1. Thanks, dear Jane! Almost all of the period houses here have names, but I purposely leave them out of the photo sometimes :) We also live in a house with its own "name" :)

  6. A favorite of mine is looking at doors. You featured many lovely ones. They make me smile and think of who would greet my knock.

    Good luck with your show. I want to read all about it.

  7. Oh my goodness! What photo opportunities you have!! I love old buildings, doors and gateways! Love the pictures with the red folliage and berries in them! Lucky girl!!

  8. So charming! Thank you for the tour, Monica!

    My daughter and I visited London in late October years ago, and many of the shops, including Harrods, were decked out beautifully. But I think I prefer these decorations. Simple. Beautiful. Welcoming.
    How fun to be able to explore it all at your leisure. I look forward to seeing more of your Country Diary.


  9. Dear Monica,

    What at treat for the soul is your 'normal-every-day scenery'! I can't pick a favorit picture, or cottage, or colors, or even sheep!

    Thanks for sharing,and yes, I do agree with you that the thatched cottage should be painted; specially that cute detail of the stocking for mailbox.


  10. Monica! I am finally catching up with some blogs after a very loooooong absence! As I was making time for life, I didn't realize how much I have missed out on! It looks like you finally moved to England, like you had dreamed of... All your pictures are stunning! And you seem much happier, too. So good to catch up!

  11. Beautiful photos Monica, hope your husband is recuperating with little pain and discomfort.

  12. What beautiful photos, of such a beautiful area of England. Wonderful.

  13. Charming old Post Office ! Wonderful Cotswolds!

  14. Absolutely perfect~ thank you for bringing us along on your beautiful journey! Happy New Year!

  15. A lovely post. We both share our lose of our beloved dogs this year and last. The holidays were very difficult for me. I am now looking forward to 2014 and to start back to painting. Happy New Year Monica.

  16. Hi Monica, wow what amazing pictures, so beautiful. I was thinking of you knowing you would be missing Kim just as I was missing my Kula. hoping all turned well with your husband. Happy New Year. glad you are so happy. hugs.

  17. It's true, the little doors in the Cotswolds are lovely, very photogenic! The little thatch cottage is probably listed and not allowed to be painted. I love the green garland attached to the railings, isn't it lovely. Very clever. And yes the red berries are really shining out at the moment! have a good new year, hope all's well, Heather x

  18. What a beautiful village. Lovely photos too........I would enjoy being there.


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