New Year on the Isle of Bute

I am very lucky to have a friend who has a cottage on the Isle of Bute. In fact, it’s the highest cottage on the island which means that when it’s clear you can see some fabulous views. My friends had been encouraging James and I to visit for a while and at New Year we decided it was the perfect time. The island that had cast my friends under its spell did the same to us, and I definitely think we’ll be back again some day.

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Christmas at Stourhead

Christmas illuminations seem to have been particularly popular this year. Just in the area around Bristol I’ve seen adverts for illuminations at Westonbirt Arboretum, Longleat and Stourhead. I think I first received an email about the Christmas at Stourhead illuminations back in June – long before I’d begun to even start thinking about Christmas. However, it was instantly something I was interested in. I’d never been to a light installation before and it sounded like it would be a fun thing to do so we found a free weekend and booked our tickets.

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A festive day out at Bath Christmas Market

The best part of the festive season, for me, is Christmas Markets. With the smell of mulled spices and caramelised nuts in the air, and stalls adorned with unique Christmas decorations, there’s nothing that captures the spirit of Christmas better for me. My first experience of a ‘proper’ European Christmas market was when I was 12, and I can still remember the feeling of enchantment on my first evening. I get a similar feeling when I go to markets now, although I usually have a better idea of what to expect. Although I have a list of European markets a mile long that I’d like to visit, this year we stuck closer to home and decided to check out what festive delights Bath has to offer.

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An Autumn trip to Westonbirt Arboretum

Autumn is my least favourite season of the year. The days get shorter and darker, it gets colder (and quite often wetter) and people start talking about Christmas far too soon. It doesn’t really live up to the idyllic images of pumpkin patches, hot chocolates and trendy ankle boots which seem to be all over the internet. However, although I’ve never been autumn’s biggest fan, I do enjoy a sunny day when the leaves are on the turn – and Westonbirt Arboretum is the perfect place to go! I’d intended to go last year and ran out of time, so was determined we would make the time this year.

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My Hot Air Balloon Experience with Bristol Balloons

Surprisingly for someone who is scared of heights, hot air balloons have always fascinated me. There’s something just a little bit magical about them, and the fact that they are only spotted on calm, sunny days or in exotic locations only adds to their allure. Going up in a hot air balloon has always been a bucket list experience that someday I wanted to do, but I had always assumed it was something I would do much later in life. I was incredibly lucky when last year I was given a hot air balloon experience for Christmas.

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