I’m never short of things to keep me busy but this November has felt particularly full. We arranged a little getaway before we realised what a crazy month it would be so it started to feel like a badly timed prospect the closer it got, especially with moving flat on the agenda a week later. But as with so many things in life the timing actually worked out perfectly. I was so ready for a break straight after all the carnage of Renegade Craft Fair and it kept me going after so that I wasn’t running on empty. Escaping to the country was exactly what was needed to relax and reboot before buckling up for the rest of the month.
We left the hubbub of London behind and headed miles and miles away to peaceful Wales, where the most prominent sounds were the cows mooing. We’d booked a four night stay in The Welsh House, Bryncyn, a beautiful cottage tucked away in the rolling hills near Newcastle Emlyn. This quaint, old building has been cleverly restored and given a new lease of life by owner Dorian. The eclectic mix of old meets new works perfectly to create beautiful minimalism with a healthy dose of cosy. Who knew the two were compatible?
Unsurprisingly Wales was freezing cold, a bit of a shock to the system for this London girl. It took me back to my years at Leeds at uni…that biting wind you so rarely feel in London. All that to say it was the perfect excuse to wrap up warm and cosy up by the wood burner. I’m not generally one for feeling festive in November but this charming living space did succeed in doing so.
The whole trip was deliberately a very low key affair with mammoth lie ins (unheard of for me), copious amounts of tea, dips in the hot tub and meals by the fire and whilst we did get out of the cottage each day it was very relaxed and mainly to get some fresh air. The location of the cottage forces you to switch off as shock, horror, there is no WIFI and barely any phone signal at that. Although totally not used to this and realising how much I use the internet even just to grab my favourite recipe, it was actually very liberating to cut out the constant noise of emails and social media. I’m not always great at disciplining myself otherwise.
On the Wednesday we headed to Habournaster, having been told by Dorian it was essentially the Notting Hill of West Wales. Not down to a bustling market or lively annual carnival but all because of the large array of candy coloured buildings. In fact I’d say Harbournaster beats even Notting Hill on that one! On arrival we grabbed sheltered from the bracing wind along with lunch and a huge pot of tea at Aberaeron Dorian had recommended this place to us and I was very glad we went. Whilst Nick made the most of being by the ocean with a seafood risotto, I opted for a hearty serving of duck confit with parsnip mash and caramelised red cabbage. Oh how delicious it was and perfectly cooked at that. Not my usual Wednesday lunch, that’s for sure. Once warmed up and with the sun breaking through the clouds we took a walk round this little fishing town, popping into old fashioned shops as we went. Having said that the main activity was taking numerous photos of coloured houses. Wouldn’t you, fellow instagrammers?
With the sun glowing even as it set, it was definitely the night to try out the hot tub. Thankfully we had a few dry days for dips throughout the rest of the week too. Cold blooded creature that I am, I was sceptic that a tub water in the open air could keep me sufficiently warm in these uber chilly conditions. Well, I was pleasantly surprised and was fully toasty and able to relax and read my book as the sun went down. My very first hot tub experience was a hit! The only thing I needed to unwillingly embrace was the freezing cold run from tub to cottage afterwards, but it does help when you know there’s a wood burner and blankets waiting for you on the other side.
The surrounding area was so beautiful particularly in the sunnier second half of our week. You don’t need to go far to have a little adventure. We took a five minute drive up the road and passed the most stunning tall pine forest and had to hop out to explore. It seemed endless and looked like something out of a movie. We headed in to the forest and it all felt a bit like a fairytale with light shafts breaking through, a path with no end in sight and actual red an white toadstools! At points we were a little worried that we’d never find our way back, destined to be stranded out there all night with no phone signal to call for help (or more likely just use Google maps). I love the city but it’s so rare these days for us to be so far away from other people, totally immersed in nature.
The rest of our time was spent mainly by the fire, reading, drinking tea, playing Monopoly Deal and foods fit for hibernation. I also had a chance to paint a little scene from Harbournaster I often miss painting for no reason other than just to enjoy it. Life gets busy and takes over. I end up feeling like everything needs a specific work related purpose. It took me back to being a kid again when I would literally spend every spare moment I had drawing and painting on endless forest’s worth of paper. It was always my favourite pass time.
What a restful trip this was! I think I would have had a meltdown come the end of November if we hadn’t had this little break to escape and catch up on some zzzzs. We at least felt refreshed to come home and launch back into work as well as moving our whole life into a new flat. If you fancy a proper break, away from the constant noise of life then I would whole heartedly recommend The Welsh House, Bryncyn. This sweet cottage is loaded with charm and hidden in the perfect setting to reboot your system. There’s also room for a whole family too.
I’ve never had a holiday in November and whilst seeming like a crazy idea before, I think it’s something I may have to adopt in future years, to prevent the burnt out mess I usually am come Christmas. Go check it out and if you have any questions the owner, Dorian is very happy to help.
Thank you to Dorian for gifting my stay at The Welsh House, Bryncyn