Back over the May bank holiday (which seems like absolutely ages ago now), we packed up the car and headed off to Oxfordshire to housesit for one of my lovely blogger friends, Charley, while the family went to London for the weekend. I met Charley way back when I first started blogging; she used to write the lovely Flora and Purl blog (which I keep badgering her to bring back, because it was one of my absolute faaaavourites), and we started chatting quite a lot about all things rural, second-hand and vintage. A while back, Charley and her family moved into the most amaaaaazing National Trust cottage in Oxfordshire, and she offered it to us for free while they were away - after almost dropping the laptop in excitement, I said yes. And then yes again, just to be sure.
The cottage itself is incredible; I'm not sure when it dates from, but it's like one of those beautiful places in Country Living or a Sunday newspaper supplement that you sigh over, while staring out of the window at bricks and concrete. There's absolutely no mobile signal, and you have to drive down this little flower-filled, cottage-lined hill to get to the front gate; it's seriously like a small piece of rural heaven. I'm not going to bother writing much, because the gazillion photographs will do a better job of describing it than I ever could; the inside was just as beautiful though, Charley has amazing style and I found myself running from room to room squealing, "oh, look at THIS AMAZING *insert object here*" and stroking things excitedly. The brightly coloured dining chairs! The mid-century furniture! The fireplaces, and log burners and cottage-style windows! The greenhouse! I don't often use the word epic, but Charley's place absolutely deserves it.
We arrived late on Sunday afternoon, and spent the entire time in the huge garden, racing around, swinging and sliding and peering at the chickens (more so the kiddos, but you get the gist...). Once the sun started to go down, we had some food and settled on the sofa to watch a film - this is a BIG deal for us, as Daisy in particular rarely sits still long enough to watch anything, so to be cosying up all together felt pretty good. (It hasn't happened since, either, so I reckon it was the charm of the huge, massively comfortable sofa!)
Waking up on Monday to the sounds of the birds singing and several cockerels crowing was brilliant; I'm sure the novelty would wear off pretty quickly, but at the time I loved it. I was the first one awake, and just lay in bed, watching the room turn slowly golden with the morning sun - unfortunately, it didn't last, and we spent most of the day either dodging the rain or embracing the feeling of soggy spring feet. Never ones to let a bit of water dampen our spirits (guffaw), we explored the nearby town of Lechlade, where I found some vintage Secret Seven books in an antique shop, and spent way too long pondering over more crockery. We wandered round by the Thames and watched the canal boats gliding up and down, and then headed back for lunch. We also managed to fit in some time walking through nearby fields and meadows; there are so many footpaths dotted between the houses and cottages, that it's easy to suddenly find yourself surrounded by long grass and wildflowers. Heaven!
It was our first time away as a family (yes really!), and I can't imagine anywhere that I'd have rather spent my time. Huge thanks to Charley and her family for having us - you can see more of her beautiful home and the local countryside by following her on Instagram, she's @mother0fpurl.