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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Christmas has come to Charlecote

It's a magical time of year they say, maybe it is :) ... I have always thought of Christmas as a family time but as for the 'magical' bit of this saying, I have always thought true for the children who still believe in Father Christmas.When our children were younger I too used to get excited seeing their little faces light up more and more the closer to Christmas we got. It is something very special to see Christmas all over again through your children's eyes, it's like having a second childhood...that or a good excuse for one anyway :) I guess a part of me never really grew up.

Watching children getting excited at what's to come, visits to Father Christmas, decorations going up and the lovely glow in their eyes of pure happiness is something very magical.

I am guessing if anyone could have seen me on Saturday, I would have had that same glow in my eyes as I walked into Charlecote Park's Grand Hall . All I could say was 'WOW' then 'WOW' again! The room looked amazing but as for the tree..well that was something else. It stood so tall and beautifully dressed in the corner of the room, it really is quite a magnificent tree. I just stood there for a while taking the view in. As I moved closer, I noticed all the decorations, pastel coloured paper chains, they made me smile :) I remember making them in lots of bright colours as a child and my Mother hanging them up across the ceiling.

There were also paper cones on the tree, just like I made at school many many years ago, it took me back a few years. There were many other decorations also, sheet music and other hand-made items, not a modern  decoration in sight, it really was beautiful .

I can remember making these in the picture below too but I can't remember their name.

The paper cone, anyone else make them? We used to make them at school for Easter and the teacher would put little eggs inside them with colourful tissue. Great idea putting them on the tree, you could put little gifts or chocolates in them.

 This is part of the display over the big open fore in the Grand Hall.

I was really looking forward to seeing the dining room but left that until last as I knew I would probably be in there for a while. I explored the rest of the rooms in the house and I must say that they were all dressed beautifully with Christmas trees, decorations and little touches here and there that made it all the more special. I couldn't work out if all the plates of biscuits were to dress the scene or left for Father Christmas as there were many trees so I guess many presents to leave?

On the staircase just outside the Grand Hall was this tree, if you look close you will see little knitted Christmas trees hanging from it, what a brilliant idea!

The dining room did not fail to impress, in fact it was the total opposite, it was beautifully dressed again. From the table with it's original Victorian glasses and tableware, turkey and trimmings to the tree in the corner with hanging gingerbread men and chains of popcorn. I loved it all. The popcorn I might do myself, I really liked that idea.

                                           The Victorian Glasses

It's all very old types of rich deep colours in this room.

I noticed dishes to match the glasses too.

See more treats left around the house.

I try to stay with traditional things when I decorate my tree. Over the last few years I have loved making my own decorations and I make them in an old Czech traditional way. They are spiced biscuits with pipped icing on them, then the ribbon of your choice to match your room or the other decorations on the tree. I will add a picture so you can see but first here is the tree from the dining room.

The gingerbread men :)

I went back to Charlecote on the Sunday too as I had not had much time the previous day and wanted to see a little more of the decorations.

Everywhere I looked there was the Christmassy feel. As soon as you walk into the reception you see your first tree and decorations. Following the main path to the house you see the Orangery again all dressed up for Christmas. Something not to miss is a look through the window of the little garden house around the side of the Orangery. I have always loved this little house, the detail is just amazing with it's panelled walls and open fireplace. It amazes me how they did this in such a small building and the work and craftsmanship that has gone into this is really something. If you look through the windows you will see a Christmas tree by the fireplaces in a beautifully decorated room with little tin soldiers, it all looks lovely.

Here is a picture of the little house taken last year in the snow. The snow makes it look even more like Christmas.

I finished the day with a visit to the Victorian kitchen which smelt amazing, As soon as I walked around the corner I could smell Christmas. That probably sounds strange to some people but being a cook myself, Christmas isn't Christmas until I can smell all the fruit and spices you get when cooking the biscuits all the festive goodies. I could smell the oranges and other things as I walked around the corner.It just sort of hit me. A couple of the volunteers were bringing history alive all dressed up in servants clothes cooking over the fire. I am not sure what they were making but it did smell good. I love the smell of my kitchen in the run up to Christmas. Who needs air fresheners smelling of Christmas spices when you have the real thing?

Here are my own edible spiced Christmas tree decorations.

I hang them on a mug tree for safety before the tree goes up.

Christmas means so much to so many people. I can remember I guess as we all do, as children it was treasured family time. Then as you start to grow up it becomes a good excuse to go out with your friends, probably drink a little too much and party. Then as you grow up even more and have your own children, you see Christmas all over again very differently. I guess when my children are older I might end up with grandchildren and see it all  differently again. My children are all teenagers now so Christmas has changed over the years but it is still very much about family time.

A quick coffee before the drive home and I sat outside listening to the brass band, a very pleasant end to the day :)

On the Saturday I had the pleasure of finally meeting a lovely lady who always comments on my blog, we had never met before, only spoken on here. Bobbie, it was lovely to finally meet you, a very pleasant surprise, looking forward to that coffee and a proper chat :) This next photo is for you :) Click on it to enlarge it.

A couple of links you might be interested in..

Thanks all again for reading my blog, hope you enjoyed my writings and my photos. Until next time, here is a picture of the nice warm fire in the kitchen.

Note to myself...I must get some of these on my next visit, they will be great for my chocolate truffles :):):)

                                               Charlecote at Christmas continued...
I popped back to Charlecote the following week and took a few more photos. This time the table in the dining room had the candles lit and it looked so pretty so had to show you.

I also found a new tree on the way into the kitchen. Again the colours were lovely.

More cooking smells coming from the kitchen.

I took many other photos too but they were out in the deer park so I will cover them in a separate blog.


  1. It was lovely to meet you too Jana. Funny how we recognised each other straight away just from the little photos on our Facebook pages!
    I love the photos, as always they are brilliant. I didn't take many inside as I was feeling a bit tired after spending 2 hours in the grounds! (Think I told you before I'd had CFS and still get tired if I do too much.) I will go again, maybe this weekend. I went today with a friend, just for a walk and a coffee, but deliberately didn't take my camera as didn't want to be tempted! I had taken over 200 on Saturday, really must delete some, but which???

  2. hahahahah you are as bad as me! I take far too many photos and do not delete many. I never know which ones to keep and not to keep as they are all slightly different.

    Yes it was funny how we both saw each other and just knew :)

    Yes you have mentioned your CFS , my daughter also has it so I totally understand. I would not wish it on anyone.
    I will be at Charlecote over the weekend so if we see each other again, we can have that coffee :)