Monday, 27 November 2017

The Oxford Diaries: Exploring Great Milton

I think one of my simplest pleasures in life is finding new places to explore right on our doorstep. I am always on the look out for a great new place to go for a walk, a little local pub to try or a town with cute shops to look in. Moving out of Oxford and more into the countryside has opened up a whole new part of Oxfordshire for us but there are still so many places left to explore especially the little villages that surround us. I'd been wanting to visit the village of Great Milton just to have a nosey at Raymond Blancs Le Manoir (which we definitely did do!) but what I wasn't expecting was to find a beautiful Cotswold village perfect for a Sunday walk.  

The village is full of beautiful little cottages and dreamy houses. If staying in Oxford long term meant we got to live in one of these beauties I could definitely get on board! 

One of the best parts of the village was definitely the beautiful 15th century church. Unfortunately, as is the way with many churches these days, it was locked however, we did enjoy wandering the grounds, enjoying the architecture and finding some stunning trees still clinging onto their autumn leaves. 

I know it might sound strange but I really love church yards. I find them so peaceful and as a writer they are full of inspiration. I love to read the old moss covered grave stones and try to imagine the lives of the people buried beneath. 

Before going home we decided to stop off in the local for a quick drink. As always we sat outside, enjoying the frosty air and warm sun. 

The Bull had such a friendly atmosphere and the food smelt amazing, we will definitely be back in the next few months to try some of it. 

I really enjoyed a little walk around Great Milton and am definitely planning a few more exploratory trips to some of the villages round by us. I can't wait to see what else we can find on our doorstep.....

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Friday, 24 November 2017

The Oxford Diaries: Broad Street Christmas Market

Last weekend I went to my first Christmas market of the year! Yes that means that Christmas has officially started. I wasn't actually planning on going to any until the beginning of December but when I heard that Broad Street in Oxford was being closed off for the weekend of the Oxford Christmas Light Festival I knew I had to visit. 

The market was small but lovely and although it was a pretty wet day we still managed to enjoy wandering the stalls. Of course our main excitement was the food and I couldn't wait to choose what to try for lunch. 

Many of you won't know this about me but I absolutely love German food. I have a friend in Germany who I visit regularly and this has lead to a serious obsession with bratwurst, schnitzel and lebkuchen. So when I saw the giant sign for German sausage I just couldn't resist! 

We decided to share a bratwurst between the two of us leaving lots of room for more treats.....

The food we shared from Meat Street BBQ was definitely one of the best things we ate that day. We couldn't decide what to order from their delicious menu and so of course we went for the box with a bit of everything in it. Delicious! 

We decided to wash it all down with my absolute favourites - Churros! I love these little hot sugary sticks and I was so excited to learn that Los Churros Amigos are now open in the new Westgate. 

It was a lovely Saturday out despite the drizzle and a great start to the festive season. Bring on more Christmas markets! 

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Monday, 20 November 2017

The Oxford Diaries: Blenheim at Sunset

As is often the way once a new term gets going at Uni, Russell and I have found ourselves inside in our PJs quite a lot working side by side on our laptops. We've both had deadlines to adhere to which has meant saying goodbye to our usual carefree weekends spent going for picnics and walks and instead we've been forced to put our nose to the grindstone (or mac book in our case). The other day however, we were lucky enough to both finish our work for that day early and decided to celebrate with an impromptu walk at Blenheim Palace

We got there just as the sun was beginning to set and found ourselves quite alone. Well almost.......


After making friends with Ferguson the pheasant (the friendliest pheasant I ever did meet) we took the short walk around part of the lake. The colours were unbelievably stunning and I was so glad we'd come at such a quiet time when the light was just perfect. All the orange leaves glowed in the golden sunshine as the sky started to turn a beautiful rosy pink. 

Of course it is very important to match you clothes to the trees this time of year! Love my mustard coat from Joules

After a long few days writing up assignments it was so lovely to stretch our legs and get back out into nature where we both belong. 

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Friday, 17 November 2017

New Beginnings

I was going to wait to write this post just before the New Year but as usual my excitement got the better of me. I am just too excited and I can't wait to share this! For a while now I have been feeling God pulling me towards women's ministry in the UK. We don't have a lot in the UK for Christian women aged 20-40 in this country and I found that as I grew in my faith as a young women I was continually using American resources. I love using these apps, bible studies and podcasts but it made me so sad that there was nothing like this in the UK. I know from my American friends that compared to the USA a lot less young women call themselves Christians in the UK especially those in their 20s and 30s, which could perhaps explain the gap in UK resources for this group. But through this search for resources I have found God putting something on my heart, instead of being sad at the lack of stuff available here I feel him telling me to help fill the gap.

You will have to bare with me on this one as it is totally terrifying and unbelievable to me that God would ask me to do this. I keep asking him "Are you sure God? Are you sure you want me to do it?" and every time I feel him answer by giving me a little push in the right direction. And so (deep breath) in the New Year, along with some very talented and wonderful friends who God has given the same ministry to, I will be launching a webzine called Fully Known Magazine. God has given me a fantastic group of women to help with this from writers, to artists, to speakers and I cannot wait to share them with you. I am so excited to get this up and running and although I can't give a lot away at the moment I will be swooping in with updates over on our Instagram. If you would like to know more about what will be happening please follow us over there and if you have any questions or would like to get involved in some way please feel free to email us on:

Now after all that excitement you may be wondering what is happening to this space. This was always my creative outlet, a place for me to share my life adventures and musings. I may post the odd Christian post from time to time but this is really going to revert back to being my personal blog. I really hope you will continue to follow on Life With The Roof Down but also follow us at Fully Known where I will be writing a lot of Christian articles.

I'm so happy I've shared my news with you guys and can't wait to hear your thoughts!  
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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Basildon Adventure

I really cannot get enough of these beautiful autumn leaves, every year I can't wait for the start of autumn and every year my expectations are exceeded as I am surrounded by forests of burnt oranges and warm browns. Although we haven't had a huge amount of spare time recently we have been taking every opportunity to get into the countryside and crunch through the leaves. A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to have a visit from Russell's parents and a very special guest. 

Tilly made the journey all the way down from Scotland just to visit us and so of course the only thing to do was to take her to one of our favourite National Trusts for a good old kick about in the leaves.  

As you can see Tilly felt very at home in the grounds of a large manor house. 

Basildon Park is a great National Trust to take a dog as the only place off limits to four legged friends is the actual house. Our furry friends even have their own section of the cafe and although a little chilly this time of year its fine if you've got a warm coat, a hot chocolate and of course a giant scone to keep you going.  

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