Tuesday 19 December 2017

Christmas at Goddards House - York

Hi there everyone

Back in November we had a cosy week away for my birthday, staying at Moat Hall Cottage in Little Ouseburn, just outside of York. It was our second booking through Gorgeous Cottages and, once again, we were not disappointed.
The cottage was exactly as described on the website, a warm and cosy bolt hole in the Yorkshire countryside, overlooking the village church.

Yet again, we were really lucky with the weather, with plenty of crisp Winter sunshine and plenty of nice dry days for getting out and about.

One of our first forays was to Goddards House, which the National Trust describe as being ...
"An intimate Arts and Crafts style family home and complementary gardens"

Goddards House was the family home of the famous York Terry family ... Yes, the Terry family of the All Gold and Chocolate Orange fame. It is situated within walking distance of the old chocolate works, which opened in 1926 and closed in 2005 and is currently being redeveloped as a mixed use residential/commercial real estate site, which you can find out more about in one of the exhibitions in the house.

The house itself is situated just outside of the city centre and there isn't any real parking, though we did manage to sneak in on the roadside by The Holiday Inn, about 5 minutes up the road.

We walked along the main road towards the property and we were just beginning to wonder where it was, and if we might have missed it, when it appeared with no warning whatsoever. It would be very easy to drive straight past if you didn't know it was here.
The first glimpse of the property, through the narrow arch in the gatehouses, looked very intriguing and we couldn't wait to explore on, what was a lovely bright and sunny, but chilly, Autumn day.
We were really lucky to have timed our visit with their Christmas event. At this time of year the house is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and the rooms are decked out as they would have been on Christmas Eves across the years.
We entered, just as the Terry family would have done, back in the day. Via the heavy wooden front door, to be greeted by friendly National Trust staff, who were very welcoming and more than happy to tell us about the history of the house and its famous local family.

When having Goddards House built, Noel Terry wanted to create a comfortable family home close to the chocolate works for Kathleen, his wife and his four children: Peter, Kenneth, Betty and Richard. I would say he certainly achieved his ambition. This gorgeous hand crafted house was finished in 1927. There are plenty of quotes and memories from the family threaded throughout the house to be discovered on your visit.

We started our visit in The Study...
... where we could see some of the letters that Noel had written to his family whilst away at war in 1916 ...
From the study we moved on to The Drawing Room, which was a real delight. It was just beautiful and very easy to imagine curling up in front of the fire with a Christmas sherry, enjoying the views over the garden. It is also possible to enjoy refreshments from the tea room in here too, which would be just lovely.
The Christmas decorations, as throughout the rest of the house, were very simple and tasteful, with real trees and presents wrapped in plain brown paper ...
The third room that is set out as it would have been back in the day is the children's games room, come music room ...

Beating Martin on the bagatelle was a bonus, as this left him paying for the tea and cake ...
Upstairs there were a good number of rooms to looks at, some decked out as bedrooms and some devoted to sharing the history or the factory, with pictures of how it looks now, as a pretty amazing care home.
It was then time to avail ourselves of the dining room where we felt it only right that we should check out the Terry's chocolate orange cake, which was a real treat. The dining room was just lovely, bright and warm with the Autumn sunshine streaming through the windows.

It was then time to explore outside, which gave the best views of the house, looking back across the terrace ... 

We did have a wander round the gardens, which are fairly small, but would probably be of more interest at a different time of year.

In National Trust terms, this is a fairly small property, but we loved it. You can really get the feel of how the house would have worked as a family home in the time that the Terry family lived there, it has been laid out really well and seeing it set up for Christmas was a real treat.

All in all, including our pit stop in the tea room, I would say our visit took us a couple of hours, which gave us plenty of time to head in to York for a look at Treasurer's House, another National Trust property right in the centre of the the City ๐Ÿ˜€

Monday 11 December 2017

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

Hi there everyone

Well, what a weekend we have had here, we've had some real snow ⛄ and lots of it.

It had been forecast to snow on Thursday night and I must confess to being a little disappointed on Friday morning to wake up and find that it had not been forthcoming.

The same can not be said for Sunday morning when we woke up to this ...
Proper snow, crisp and deep and even ... and still coming down.

So, after a bit of baking and soup making, getting ready for next week, we knew exactly how we would be spending the afternoon and it wouldn't involve getting wet or cold.

Yes, it was time to put up the tree and make the place look just a little festive ...
Of course, I am kidding, this is not our tree!! This was at Castle Howard when we visited their Angels on High Christmas event earlier in the month. I promise to tell you more about that soon.

Sadly, we no longer have room for a nice big real tree so it's this tiny specimen for us this year, which Martin bought last year from Aldi, and it's been in the garden all year, so it's probably full of critters, but I do quite like it ...
One bonus is that it takes about 10 minutes to put up and there are no all year storage issues, which is definitely a good thing for us.

We also made a bit of a feature of the fireplace and decked it with a few bits and pieces which look really pretty. The snowman was bought on a trip years ago to Amsterdam and the gold stars we bought on a trip to Salzburg. The white tea light holder in the middle is our treat for this year and we bought this from a little shop in Ripon, whilst we were up in Yorkshire ...
The angel tea light holders came from Salzburg too and are a lovely reminder of a very lovely city, so lovely we've visited in twice and would love to go back again ...
The fake ivy was found in a box of bits and pieces dedicated to potential Geocache makes that we have in the shed.

It looks really pretty with the little lights on and the candles all lit ...
... which is exactly how we had it whilst we curled up under snuggly blankets for a cosy afternoon of catching up with TV.

So we had a really lazy Sunday afternoon, which was just lovely ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’œ

What did you get up to?

Monday 4 December 2017

Just Loving Autumn #5 - A Time to Reflect

Hi there everyone

As we are now, most definitely, into ⛄Winter⛄, this will be the last of my 'Just Loving ๐ŸAutumn๐Ÿ' posts for this year.

For us, ๐ŸAutumn๐Ÿ is always a bit of a time for reflection. It's the time when we always look back at the year to see what we've achieved, compared to what we were hoping to do.

For us, it's not really a time for making plans, it's more of a time for finishing off and clearing the decks getting ready to batten down the hatches, hunker down and curl up inside, making the most of our warm and cosy nest through the dark and cold ⛄Winter⛄ evenings. tucked up on a Saturday night with Strictly and X Factor as we start to move towards the Christmas season.

There's no doubt about it, this year we have spent a lot of time and effort doing stuff around the house, or, it may probably be more honest to say, that we've had a lot of people in to do stuff.

Routine repairs and maintenance, big garden renovations and lots of decorating. We are now on the last leg and are looking forward to a workman free period over the ⛄Winter⛄.

Whilst I know we are fortunate enough to be able to do it, getting people in to do stuff doesn't come without it's own efforts. There are lots of decisions to be made, lots of preparation and groundwork to be done and then living in a general state of chaos as it all goes on around you.

Once the job is done, then there is still plenty left to occupy, the clearing up, the finishing off and the final touches. All of this seems to have taken up a lot of our time this year, but we are richer for it, with a home that should now be waterproof and looks and feels like it's loved again, both inside and out, a garden that is going to work really well for us and that general feeling of loving where we are.

When it comes to finishing off ... projects that have been hanging around all year, and maybe longer, suddenly become a priority.

The basket for Captain, the random cat that seems to have made our arbour his home ...
... a potting bench that there is now space for ...
... and a crocheted blanket that has been lingering for a good while (not sure that will be finished by the end of the year) ...
It's not been all hard work though, we've had plenty of down time too, with time away in Anglesey, Scotland, the Isle of Wight and a recent Autumn break in Yorkshire.

There have also been plenty of days out and we've certainly made the most of our National Trust membership this year.
As well as being a time for reflection, ๐ŸAutumn๐Ÿ also heralds the last mad dash to make sure all of our usual preparations are ready for ⛄Winter⛄.

There's the ๐ŸAutumn๐Ÿ clear of the garden, as we put it to bed for the ⛄Winter⛄, something we are always glad we made time for when it comes round to ๐ŸŒผSpring๐ŸŒผ.

There's also the sifting and sorting through the photographs we have taken over the course of the year as we put together the kitchen calendar for next year ...

So, that was us for ๐ŸAutumn๐Ÿ.

Now it's time to start getting ready for Christmas and that will mean lots of Christmas shopping, crafting like crazy to make sure all those Christmas orders are completed in plenty of time and getting in our last holiday of the year.

There's still plenty more to come on Life of Pottering though. I've got a good few more Isle of Wight posts to share, so there will be some nice sunny posts to see us through the short and dark ⛄Winter⛄ days, and I've also got plenty to share from our late ๐ŸAutumn๐Ÿ break in Yorkshire. There will also be a few of the regular annual updates, so watch this space ๐Ÿ˜€