December in the countryside – an update from us both.

December also heralds the season of Christmas preparations, whether in the country or not. Here’s a little update from both Sussex and Somerset in the midst of the festive preparations.

December is a wholesome and busy month whether in the countryside or not, but like many both Emma and myself are grappling to stay ahead with our respective lives and work, all whilst at the same time running Father Christmas’ errands ahead of the big day, tending to our animals all of which require a little extra work at this time of year and writing for Countrywoman’s Guide.

What do you love about December? Me, I love the glimmer of magic in the air, it’s a bizarre and inexplicable feeling really, but it’s there. Whether you’re grown or sharing the festivities with little ones, there is a hint of Christmas everywhere that is hard to ignore and feel engulfed by.

The frost bitten mornings, the deep crimson sunrises as the day begins, glorious golden hours as the night creeps in, and layering! Hail layering! I’m a winter wardrobe gal. Oversized jumpers and scarves are favoured over shorts and vest tops.

Though with that said, let’s keep it real, day in day out recently I’ve dutifully donned the same body warmer and jacket that is now sporting an array of horse feed stains as I head out before the day breaks to feed the horses and turn them out for a day on the grass. It really ought to go in the wash BUT there doesn’t seem enough time between wears for it to dry fully, so I make do and peel it off each day before setting it down on the back of kitchen chair ready for the following morning. The odour of straw and ‘horse’ lingering in the air, wherever I go. I did get some questionable looks from shoppers in Sainsbury’s last night as I nipped in on my way home.

Mud seems to be at bay for now down in West Sussex at Littleheath Stables (my livery yard), and whilst Emma’s idyllic Dimpsey Glamping haven is nestled on some ancient marshland, the biblical quantities of rain over the last few days have seen a veritable stream running down the lane outside! All the more reason to light the log burner and snuggle up with a good book!

Emma recently enjoyed her HiHo Silver Christmas-do at the award-winning (and delicious) Cotley Inn a short drive from their homestead, whilst I am busy planning a yard-do in a couple of weeks time. A little (lot) less glamorous, but perhaps a little more ‘traditional’, we have gone for an empty stable (taking inspiration from Mary and Joseph), where we’ll heat mulled wine on a hot plate, ready to warm cold hands as we natter and nibble on festive favourites like mince pies and sausage rolls as the horses munch on their haynets, wrapped up warm in their stable rugs next door.

Smashing water troughs and buckets is a daily occurrence for us both. Oh the joys of keeping animals in the winter!

Nell and I foraged for our festive feeling over the weekend as I dug out the decorations for the yard with the help of Nellie who found…. *Correction, stole reindeer ears and strands of tinsel at every given opportunity. Though it was a success and the yard has been transformed for my clients (and myself) for the next few weeks.

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