Christmas In Oxford: The Independent Oxford Christmas Market

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Having accidentally taken a little break from blogging, I’m back and have so much to share. I’m sure everyone who blogs or writes occasionally gets writers block, but I have had the opposite recently…a huge amount of ideas and loads to say, and no time to bring that here! I’ve been sharing away on Instagram though…do pop over and take a look if you’re not following. My personal life has been a little crazy, with a high-stress house move that all seems to be happening very quickly, and a whole host of other things, plus Christmas…it’s only four days away!

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Back at the end of November I got to spend the day at the Independent Oxford Christmas market with the loveliest bunch of bloggers. We enjoyed a fab workshop with Chloe from The Annie Sloan Shop, learning how to use the paint to make beautifully distressed candlesticks.

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There were so many amazing makers and local indie businesses at the market that it was spread across two city centre venues, the Turl Street Kitchen and the Old Fire Station. The prints above are by Smart Creative and the sweet dress below from DoLittle Dumplings baby and children’s clothing store. I found a cute superhero mask for Joe from the shop which matches his superhero cape perfectly.

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Just my kind of Christmas decorating scheme at the Turl Street Kitchen, lots of natural greenery, eucalyptus bunches and vintage paper decorations.

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Some of my favourite items from Rosie’s shop A Rosie Life how amazing are the sparkly dino necklaces and brooches?! Rosie has a pop-up shop in Oxford’s covered market at the moment, if you are local or visiting before Christmas.

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Festive scents and the most gorgeous packaging from Little Bird Soaps.

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We enjoyed lunch at newly opened Pint Shop on George Street, a restaurant and seriously impressive gin bar inspired by Beer Houses of the 1830s!

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As well as the delicious food at Pint Shop, and an impromptu yet fascinating tour of the kitchens, I loved their secret party room. I’m sure it would be the perfect venue for a big get together (saving this idea for A’s 40th in a couple of years).

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Our day of Indie Oxford fun continued with a modern calligraphy workshop hosted by Merrie of Merrie & Bright Calligraphy. Merrie had prepared beautiful personalised calligraphy work books for each of us, and guided us through the key elements of forming letters using the calligraphy tools.

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Drawn in the amazing scent of the ink and how relaxing the gentle repetition of letters was, I decided I could easily become quite addicted to calligraphy. The perfect slow-living antidote to all of the Christmas rushing around!

It was a lovely way to kick off the festive season, and a day spent with fellow creatives is always a source of so much inspiration (plus lots of chatting and hot chocolates!). Huge thanks for Rosie and Anna of Independent Oxford for hosting the day.

Indie Oxford host events throughout the year, including the very popular Instameets – take a look at their site or Instagram for more details.

I will be popping back here before Christmas to share some of my festive making and decorating ideas!

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10 Reasons To Be Excited About Visiting Cornwall

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It’s only eight days until we pack the suitcases into the car and head off to the wild depths of rural Cornwall! Summer just isn’t summer without a trip to the far west of Cornwall. I feel such strong ties to the place, and have been visiting every year for longer than I can remember; I have such happy childhood memories of holidays with my extended family in Mousehole and the surounding villages.

Travelling there now with my little family follows it’s own pattern; we begin the long drive south from Oxford to Cornwall at the break of dawn, always hoping to reach the coast in time for a late breakfast on the beach. As we get closer to our destination, and the main roads become country lanes, with Cornish stone walls and ferns on each side, everyone in the car is looking out for the first glimpse of the sea. Whatever the weather that first sight of the sea, sparkling in the morning light, is magical. I always feel myself relax slightly, breathing out, and willingly letting go of real life for a little while.

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So, here are the moments I am most excited about during this year’s visit. Some of these places I visit every year without fail, some are more recent discoveries, and others are brand new experiences just waiting to be discovered.

One: Newlyn Fish Festival – by amazingly good luck this annual festival just happens to be taking place during our stay. There are fish auctions, cooking demos, live music and even trawler boat racing!

Two: Visits to our favourite beaches – to name just a few, Porthcurno, Kynance, Church Cove, Poldhu Cove

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Three: Seeing a show at the open air Minack Theatre – I have visited serveral times before, but never seen a show there; we are just trying to decide between a daytime family show, such as Storytelling – Tales from the Trees or an evening show…or maybe both!

Four: A Slice of Cornwall– one of my favourite cafes in the country. Lovely simple local food, amazing cakes and plenty of edible flowers.

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Five: Dinosaur Uprising at the Eden Project – this one is mainly for Joe, who is dino-obsessed, but Eden is great for everyone! Mia was only a toddler last time we visited, so has no memories of it; I’m sure she will be really impressed by the amazing biomes.

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Six: The Newlyn Filmhouse – I had no idea that this tiny little fishing village was home to an independent cinema, but I will definitely be making time to visit one night.

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(how were they ever this small?!)

Seven: The Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives – two years running I have attempted to visit the studio, and due to a combination of missed buses and rebellious toddlers I have missed out…this year I’m not going home until I have!

Eight: Dinner at the Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn – the combination of Michelin starred chef, Ben Tunnicliffe, village pub and an adjacent fish market sounds like a pretty amazing combination to me.

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Nine: No. 56 Penzance– a beautiful homeware/interiors type shop on Chapel Street. Perfect for a little holiday gift shopping, and maybe one or two treats for me too…candles, weck jars and linen tea towels are all household essentials right?!

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Ten: Roskillys Farm and Tearooms – the ice cream at Roskillys is served throughout Cornwall and is delicious; it’s available at the farm in a cone, tub or (huge) ice cream sundae, or to take away in litre containers for home! Roskillys also have a cafe on site with great food, especially the burgers and lovely fresh salads. And there are farm animals too, great for a little wander in the fresh air after too much ice cream…the perfect stop on the journey home.

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And there are so many more not included in this list of ten…second hand bookshops, National Trust gardens, honesty boxes by the side of the road, beach barbeques, late nights playing board games…and of course, more than anything else, just spending time with my family.

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