On Sunday we traveled to our regular tree farm to find and chop down our Christmas tree! This is my favourite part of the run-up to Christmas, and I was anxiously anticipating our trip all morning. As ever, we spent a good bit of time wandering through the trees and picking up fallen branches for decoration. This was our quickest year yet, and we managed to find the perfect tree in record time. As ever, it was spotted by my sister, measured against my height and chopped down and carried by my dad. With a new car this year, we had to pick a tree that was a bit smaller than usual, but at least it fit into the house this year…with just enough room to spare for a topper. Perfect.
I know some people don’t agree with the use of real trees, but Christmas just wouldn’t be the same for me without the smell of pine filling our living room. It’s something I look forward to every year and, while I understand why some prefer fake trees, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hands up if you thought I’d never post this…
Liam left me for a while, and I decided to explore Cardiff Castle. It had the perfect location for our short trip, right in the middle of the city and next to the Christmas market. While the weather was grey most of the day, it brightened up for my little adventure, though it was still windy! The keep – in the middle of the castle and raised on a hill – was my favourite part, and I made myself proud by walking up the steep steps to the top to see the view that spread over most of Cardiff, I think. For someone who is terrified of heights and steps and this kind of activity in general, this was kind of a big deal! It was absolutely beautiful, so completely worth it. Inside the castle, I noticed lots of monkey carvings, so I asked a member of staff why they were there. She explained that they were a fashion in the Victorian era, but that the owner of the castle was a devout Catholic, and may have gathered so many monkeys as a tongue-in-cheek mocking of Darwinism. How interesting! As we explored the city, I noticed a few other monkeys knocking around, and they were fun to keep an eye out for during our day. I also got lost in the castle, which is pretty standard behaviour for me, but on this trip meant that I got to visit Santa’s Grotto before it opened! A janitor found me wandering along the walls of the castle and trying any door to try to get back to where I was supposed to be, and offered to show me the Grotto before taking me back to the area open to the public. It was really fun to see it, as I had been a bit disappointed that we had come so early and would be missing out. Fun fact: there are two Santas at Cardiff Castle this year – one fat and one thin. The thinner one has an armchair to sit on, but they had to get a sofa as well to accommodate the fatter Santa! This was a really fun little adventure, and while I wish Liam could have seen it too, I really enjoyed the time to explore at my own pace and get lost around a really beautiful series of buildings. Cardiff Castle – I’d recommend it!
Would you like some proof about Santa’s Grotto? Here you go! I was maybe a little bit too excited…
In the morning of our day in Cardiff, Liam and I got up early for a quick breakfast in our hotel. We sorted out the things we needed for the day. Liam dressed himself in his shirt and tie, while I cut bits of fabric to sew on the drive home.
When it came to being time to check out, we dropped the car near the city centre and went for a walk around Cardiff. We found beautiful old buildings and churches, a garden that I loved a bit too much, and a Christmas market. We spent a bit of time wandering through the market buying gifts for family and for ourselves, and just soaking in the smell of Christmas. We found one stall that sold collections of dried fruit and cinnamon that encapsulated the smell of Christmas, so we stocked up and brought presents home for our mothers and ourselves. Liam has Christmas hanging from his gear stick now, while my little bag of holiday smells hangs from my headboard.
After a few hours of wandering, Liam left me to explore the castle by myself, but that is a story for another day.
Hope you have a wonderful Thursday. I’ll be spending mine finishing off a surprise I have planned for a certain someone and wrapping Christmas presents. I couldn’t ask for a more relaxing way to spend the day.
We had a grey drive into Wales with fog obscuring our vision and rain beating down on the windscreen. I thought it was beautiful, but for Liam it must have been a nuisance. It was a long drive and I spent most of it entertaining myself by watching the world go by, or sewing little Christmas presents, having promised not to sing…The landscape was incredible from the moment we got into Wales, and I enjoyed looking at (and photographing!) trees and hills, as opposed to the vast expanses of concrete and buildings we had seen during earlier parts of the journey.
There was a little town on a hill that was absolutely perfect, but I was so completely mesmerized by the colourful houses that I didn’t manage to take a photo. It’s on my list of places to visit one day. I imagine it has the cutest little cafes and bakeries, and that everyone living there knows one another. It was surrounded by forest and field and completely epitomised the stereotypical British country village, from what I could see.
The next day was a bit brighter, and we left Cardiff as the sun was setting. We changed our route and drove over the Severn Bridge to the backdrop of a pink sky. I slept most of the way home once it got dark.