Ho Ho Ho
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Nothing like a pair of antlers to zhush up an outfit.
Usually I’m of the ‘holy-crap-it’s-Christmas-Eve-and-I-haven’t-bought-any-pressies’ school, but I popped up to Stratton Audley Christmas Barn the other day, and managed to snaffle some fab little bits, plus this fancy headgear.
I came to this Christmas Barn last year and you’ll pleased to hear,my shopaholic lovelies, that it’s doubled in size for 2014, and is very impressive, with tonnes of decorations, well-pitched gifts for him, her and them, good quality Christmas trees for sale from the end of this month (I bought mine here last year and it lasted for 3 weeks no probs), and also an elegant little cafe, without a hint of chintz, serving decent barista coffee.
You’re not going to find the ta-da main presents here but I think this place is particularly strong for kids presents and men’s, and it’s also the kind of place I’d definitely bring my children, because firstly there’s loads of room so they’re unlikely to knock over aisles of glass trinkets, but secondly the prices are reasonable so they can easily count their pennies and buy something from their own pocket for the family. I bought my son a little dinosaur diary and my daughter a paper wish set and barely broke a tenner, and I know they’ll both love those gifts.
If you don’t know where Stratton Audley is, it’s near Poundon and Bicester, so an easy detour a couple of miles north of Bicester Village.
It was lovely to take a drive up to the area actually – Stratton Audley is a pretty rural village, all warm stone buildings and pretty vistas. The church looked beautiful too, more impressive from the outside than within, though look at this whopper of a monument to the local Baronet who died in 1688 aged 48. Quite something to find in a rural church and a bit disconcerting as he looks very much like George Osborne in a wig and centurion costume.
You can make a good day of coming up here, because only ten minutes away is The Muddy Duck in Hethe for a superior pub lunch, 20 mins to Michelin starred The Nut Tree in Murcott, and 25 mins to Muddy Stilettos Awards Best Cafe 2014 The Milk Shed in Weston on the Green!
On 14 December at the Barn Rudolph will be making an appearance, the champagne will flow (yup, I heard it from owner Sara and now I’m going to hold her to it!), there are rumours of cupcakes provided by the brilliant Wonder Kitchen (I’ll confirm that asap) and generally it will be good will to all men and delicious commercialism all around. Ho ho ho!
Stratton Audley Christmas Barn, West Farm Barn, Launton Rd, Stratton Audley, Bicester, OX27 9AS. Tel: 01869 278344. www.strattonaudleychristmasbarn.co.uk/