Friday, 13 December 2013

Birthday Celebrations

Last month I celebrated my birthday - hoooooray, I do love me a good old birthday celebration. Or two. Or three. In fact, this year I decided I was pretty much having a birthday fortnight.

Things started exceptionally well when my dear friend Rachel (she of Lazyhill Gallery fame) took me for afternoon tea at the very lovely Coombe House Hotel  just outside Honiton.

On my actual birthday I decided a trip to my second home was in order: the mall at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol and, most importantly, John Lewis. They'd even decorated in my honour...

I may have done a *little* shopping.
When I got home, darling hubby presented me with a homemade Red Velvet birthday cake. As luck would have it, no one else seems to like Red Velvet, so I've had the entire beast of a cake to myself. Ho hum, what's a girl to do?

In the evening, hubby surprised me with a visit to a very lovely pub (The Tytherleigh Arms, near Axminster) for dinner.
My starter of Lyme Bay scallops was devoured before I even thought to take a photo.
This is my main course: pheasant and trimmings.
And it was sticky toffee pudding for dessert. DE.LI.CIOUS.
I was also lucky enough to receive some lovely gifts including a White Company diffuser (in the sumblime Winter scent), a flying duck to add to my collection, some edible goodies, some money to put towards having my eyeballs lasered into submission, tickets to see Billy Bragg in concert, and tickets for another special treat which you can read more about later on down the page...
And my dear Mum also supplied me with lots of smellies and chocolate.
The following week hubby and I made our way to Frome to see Billy Bragg in concert at the Cheese and Grain. At how many other concert venues can you buy a cake
and a hot chocolate (with cream and marshmallows)?! Perfect.
And, yes, that's Billy Bragg. 
I'm quite the accomplished photographer, wouldn't you agree?
The following morning, with 'Sexuality' and 'New England' still ringing in our ears, we were up and out and on the road by 8am in order to reach our destination by 9.30am.
Can you guess where it is yet?
Ta daaaaah.
Downton Abbey.
Or, to give it it's official name - Highclere Castle.
Dearest hubby had secured us tickets to visit a Christmas Fair there.

Unfortunately, no photos were allowed inside. But, suffice to say, it's every bit as lovely as it appears on screen. We walked through the main hallway and several of the downstairs rooms that are featured on the TV show, including the dining room and library. We even had the opportunity to walk down the beautiful main staircase, as well as peering into Lady Grantham and Lady Sybil's bedrooms.
And we took a selfie. Natch.

After the delights of Downton/Highclere, we found ourselves back in the real world with a couple of hours of our day out to spare. Where better to head than lovely Frome.
The shops and cafes looked (and indeed were) very inviting, all bright and cosy against the cold, wintery day.

Just a couple of photos. And then it was time to head home.
And there endeth my birthday fortnight! Thank you to everyone who made it so enjoyable.


  1. A belated happy birthday, it sounds like you had a wonderful time! The plates of cakes look divine. Sigh. And I'm glad to see it's not just me that takes photos of the decorations in John Lewis. I do it every year! So nice to see photos of Frome, I haven't been there for ages - last January in fact, when we were on a mission to buy a hamster so we didn't stop for long. Hope you have a good weekend.

    1. Thank you. I do love John Lewis, and Frome. Now, imagine if a John Lewis opened in Frome. I would be in absolute heaven!

  2. A belated Happy Birthday indeed. Oh, I do love a meal out. Not to mention a spot of retail therapy. So glad you had a good time.

    1. Thank you. Eating and shopping (and drinking coffee) = my all-time favourite things to do.

  3. Belated happy birthday from me too! What wonderful treats, almost all would be on my wish list. Afternoon tea is my favourite meal out, I love a good craft/Christmas fair and I've been a Billy Bragg fan since my teens, I'm very envious!! ;-)

    1. Yes, me and Billy go back to my teenage years too. Sounds awful, but I was stupidly surprised to see he was that much older than he was when I first started listening to his music 20+ years ago!

  4. A belated happy birthday, I think a 2 week celebration is about right. Downton, oh my, what a treat!

    1. Thank you! And, yes, Downton was a real treat!

  5. Happy Belated Birthday Justine!! Wow you had lots of lovely treats. I especially like the look of that cake and your trip to Highclere - I hope you wafted down that staircase. x

  6. What a fab birthday! I am really enjoying have a read through your blog and we are die-hard Downton Abbey fans. One day, I will get to Highclere!


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