My English Country Cottage at Christmas

Well it’s mainly about the magazine shoot but lots of Christmas photos – ok?

Welcome to a rather muddy English Country Cottage at Christmas (don’t forget that it has “rustic charm”!)

I wrote this blog last year when the glamorous magazine people came to shoot my house for a Christmas magazine feature. The English Home magazine Christmas edition FINALLY came out this week (I had to wait an ENTIRE year!!) so I thought I would add the professional photos from the shoot that the genius who is Rob Sanderson took at the end of this article. Merry Christmas! It’s not too early! No way!

Naturally I was over the moon when Interiors writer and Stylist Naomi Jones contacted me to ask if I was interested in a Christmas magazine shoot, I immediately had images of me reclining in red velvet, sipping probably a whisky to look cool – even though I don’t actually like whisky (unless it’s Baileys). Then reality set in: it’s not me! It’s the house! Brilliantly this only occurred to me just two weeks before the shoot which meant that I spent a fortnight cleaning, scrubbing, wailing, bemoaning and throwing most of the garden in the house in an effort to make it more Christmas Charismatic.

I borrowed these two glorious rugs from to cover the cracked and cheerio mulched carpet.

Ordinarily this happens later in the month when we host our Christmas Carols party. I invite all and sundry and their children and then begin to fret about decorating and food and mulled wine and song sheets approximately 3 days before the party. This time the pressure was greater: how to cover the indelibly cheerioed and tree rooted carpet (the roots had spread under the house and cracked the floor and walls in the sitting room), how to cover the walls and how to bring magazine worthy cheer to our rather rundown elderly cottage?

Thank goodness for wonderful creative people that I have met over the past few years. I stood on the doorstep of the Rug and Carpet Studio in Long Melford and wept tears of cracked carpets until the unbelievably generous and very sympathetic Sara took pity on my plight and lent me two stunning rugs. I spoke to the gorgeous Karen (@flowersandlifestylebymargot) who not only writes all the brilliant garden blogs on here but also sweetly made wreaths, garlands, sprays and the most exquisite floral display for the table. Then I harangued the beautiful and ridiculously talented Emma Perry and forced her to lend me lots of her paintings..

Next on my Party list would be food – ok ..”Lucy!!!!!! Help!!!!” . The fabulous Lucy Hoyle Cooks whipped up a myriad of mouth watering canapes and treats for la Bouche (French must be fancy) and created an air of inviting deliciousness and warming, mouth drooling aromas. I am a little furious that Dame La Aga behaved impeccably – why did she not burn the pastry? Why was the beef cooked but juicy? How were the sticky toffee squares moist and oozy and not chargrilled???

Necessities ticked, I began to fret about the actual house, I terrified my friends at Original Homewares into lend me some of their amazing vintage stock and grabbed the Asprey Jewellery cabinet that I have been salivating over ever since they put it up for sale on their website. I also begged for the cutest naieve vintage child’s chair and some fabulous galvanised planters.

I filled the cabinet with jewel like baubles (also borrowed from a variety of friends!!!) and copper lights which beautifully lit the original silk lining and fringing. Perfectly Christmassy!

Just the sweetest little fireside chair from Original Homewares

I then quashed my beg borrow and steal rampage (most have yet to be returned – mwoah ha ha ha) and after a massive ‘oh throw it under the stairs in another bag, what do you mean it’s full, well put it in the loft’ clear out and I was able to begin the wonderful task of decorating. Garlands were created with the kindly help of my trees and berries, lights were strung, trees were chosen and decked and candles were placed everywhere to lure the fancy magazine types into thinking that this was a house of elegance and sophistication.

Beautiful tablecloth from Tori Murphy Ltd | Woven & Made in England and floral displays by the gorgeous helping to make the kitchen table a little more glam and sophisticated.

Naomi Jones and photographer Robert Sanderson arrived and immediately fell in with the gang, they made us feel totally at ease and were utterly delicious (I considered not giving them back either). They created an atmosphere of calm and control (not something this house is used to witnessing).

Naomi would breathe in deeply, I would immediately freeze, Rob would carry on setting up the shot (he knows all the different breath meanings now as they have worked together for such a long time). Suddenly Naomi would carefully change just a few items and then you could see the shot. It was fascinating to watch a professional stylist at work, she knew exactly which object would complete the picture and you could see her brain whirring away, running through everything in my house that she might be able to use.

The simple addition of our peace lily to a side table next to the chair lifts the photo and draws the eye to the garden. The use of my christmas tablecloth on the hamper balances my beautiful wool cushions from and adds a colourful warming feel to the scene.

Whilst Naomi and Rob were creating magical scenes in the sitting room, my dream ninja team were cooking and flower arranging up a storm in the kitchen.

Moving upstairs Naomi and Rob laid siege to the main bedroom and created a magically festive room – I would never have thought to put a real wreath in our bedroom but by gum it looks magnificent – poor Karen, I will be forcing her to make one for me every year now!!!

These gorgeous people created something quite extraordinary with our home, gone were the cracks and everyday mess, replaced by serenity and calm but punctuated with a lot of laughter. Naomi and Rob are a brilliant team, immediately putting me at ease whilst creating something very beautiful with glorious styling and extraordinary photography. They were funny, patient and unbelievably kind – I had the most almighty panic when the year long wait for our tree roots to be removed coincided with this shoot as the garden looked like a tree crematorium – not a great christmas look – I threw myself on the mercy of the utterly delightful Cambridge Home and Garden company and they ridiculously gifted me the most amazing firepit so that we could have some outdoor shots.

I was conscious that we needed to include this firepit of mercy and warmth and even though it was dark and the end of the day, Rob and Naomi stayed to take the shots to show off this beautiful Kadai bowl. This is what my children call going “above and beyond”, I will be posting their certificates in the new year!

Thank you to two stupendously talented people and to everyone else who helped to transform this tired old girl into something of a glamourpuss for Christmas (now where is my hair and make up team???).

Stunning Kadai firebowl unbelievably gorgeously mercifully gifted by

Now for the photos from the real life actual magazine of hopes and dreams come true!!! x

These are the rest of the actual extraordinary photos that Rob took – it’s like he adds sparkle to each room. I need Christmas to look like this again please Rob, Naomi, Lucy, Karen and Emma!

Next week I will be writing a “how to” blog referencing how I styled each room and Naomi’s brilliant restyling along with links and handy Christmas tips (get a magazine team in). Thank you so much for reading. Happy Christma…happy first Sunday in November which is absolutely definitely almost Christmas….


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

December 20, 2020 at 10:39 am

Wasn’t it just so fabulous and your cottage looked perfect. Just to confirm I shall be moving in, early in the New Year xx

Rebecca Lovattreply
December 20, 2020 at 10:52 am
– In reply to: Karen

As long as you bring your gardening gear!!!!! Thank you so much lovely and thank you for all your hard work helping to make it all Christmas ready!!! xxxx

Margaret Powlingreply
December 20, 2020 at 3:15 pm

Your home is beautiful anyway, but the Christmas photoshoot has transformed it for the festive season. It is stunning. I presume this is for a winter 2021 magazine? I know magazines can often work a year ahead for the Christmas issue.

Rebecca Lovattreply
December 20, 2020 at 4:06 pm
– In reply to: Margaret Powling

Oh thank you so very much! Yes, exactly right, I now have to wait an entire year to see it in print! Never mind, it was just the most wonderful experience. Thank you so, so much. Happy Christmas. Rebeccax

Emma Perringreply
November 7, 2021 at 1:55 pm

How gorgeous!! What a feast for the eyes.. makes me feel very Christmasy and excited to see this years Christmas efforts.

Rebecca Lovattreply
November 7, 2021 at 3:26 pm
– In reply to: Emma Perring

Awww thank you so much lovely!!! I can’t wait for you to paint more Christmas scenes please!!! Thank you so much for all your help in decorating our cottage for the shoot xxxxxx

Jennifer Waddellreply
November 7, 2021 at 2:47 pm

Ohhhh Rebecca, it is so beautiful!! They really did such a wonderful job but I love your contributions as much! That jewelry cabinet with the lights and baubles is amazing! (Even if it had to be “extendedly” borrowed, 😉😉) xx

Rebecca Lovattreply
November 7, 2021 at 3:27 pm
– In reply to: Jennifer Waddell

🤣🤣🤣Ohhh thank you so much Jennifer!!! I can’t believe that I eventually gave it back!! Drat!!!! Thank you so much for reading the blog and for taking the time comment! Have a wonderful rest of Sunday lovely lady 😘😘😘

Linda Barbasreply
November 24, 2021 at 6:19 pm

You have such s cozy home. These photos are so different from the usual home “tours” I ve seen where the homes don’t look like anyone lives there because they are so perfect. The fact that you stressed over certain things and borrowed items makes you more relatable and the sort of down to earth person that I admire. You’ ve done a beautiful job!!

Rebecca Lovattreply
November 25, 2021 at 1:25 pm
– In reply to: Linda Barbas

Oh my goodness Linda! Thank you so very much, what a truly lovely comment!! I have only ever tried to make a cosy home for my family so this comment absolutely means the world to me. Thank you so much, Rebecca xxxx

December 10, 2021 at 5:45 pm

I loved this post. You made me laugh so and the photos are glorious. Your home looked so beautiful in the magazine so it was worth the effort.

Rebecca Lovattreply
December 13, 2021 at 6:58 am
– In reply to: Kyla

Oh goodness, that is so kind! Thank you so very much. I still can’t quite believe that it was featured in the magazine! Aw thank you so much 🤗🤗

Mary Storeyreply
August 11, 2022 at 8:54 pm

I am beyone words to describe how gorgeous your home is!!!

Rebecca Lovattreply
August 15, 2022 at 8:38 am
– In reply to: Mary Storey

Oh my goodness! That’s so lovely of you ! Thank you so very much!!! Rebecca xxxx

Annette Niessreply
October 29, 2022 at 3:26 pm

This was soo great to read, thank you. If my english was good enough for it, I would Write a looong comment ! It was just funny, brilliant and the photos wonderful!

Rebecca Lovattreply
December 8, 2022 at 9:30 am
– In reply to: Annette Niess

Oh wow! What a gorgeous comment, your English seems perfect to me!! Thank you so incredibly much. Rxxxx

December 5, 2022 at 9:52 am

Hello, love the photos. I have a cottage quite similar but mot quite as beautifully decorated – yet! Where are your floral curtains from? I’ve been looking for something similar, light but not white.

Rebecca Lovattreply
December 8, 2022 at 9:29 am
– In reply to: Samantha

Oh thank you so much! The fabric is Kate Formad design Roses with a Titley and Marr ticking stripe lining. Rxxxx

January 2, 2023 at 1:45 pm

What a lovely shoot. Your home is sooo warm and comfortable. I love English home magazine. It is the only magazine I read cover to cover.
Where did you get the tablecloth on the wicker hamper in the snug picture. I just love that fabric. It is also across the bottom of your bed and I think there is a biscuit tin with the same pattern. Where can I find it. I live in Canada but maybe could order it and have it sent.
Thank you .

Rebecca Lovattreply
February 3, 2023 at 2:05 pm
– In reply to: Linda

What a lovely comment! Thank you so very much! I also read this magazine from cover to cover- it is always so beautiful! Sadly the tablecloth/ bed cover (excellent spot!) was bought years ago from a local supermarket!!!! I have so many people ask me about it – I wonder if I should copy it and design my own?!!! Thank you so much for your lovely message. Kind regards, Rebecca xxx

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