In which there is a cosy hotel, great views and pigs in a hot tub birthday cake

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After a somewhat stressful January, we said goodbye to it in fine style, by celebrating S’ birthday at the gorgeous Bath Arms in Horningsham. I’ve been saying we really ought to go back ever since visiting on a work trip five years ago, so this year I put my money where my mouth is and booked us a room for Friday night.

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Each of the bedrooms is decorated individually and exquisitely, and ours was no exception – we stayed in the Geisha room, which had lovely yellow wallpaper, a fluffy feather bed and a gorgeous tile-topped table in the bathroom that I was seriously tempted to steal.

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Dinner was ace; bucket-sized glasses of wine, venison with dauphinoise potatoes and teeny tiny honey thyme carrots, followed by cheesecake with a lush blackberry sorbet. We then decamped to the room and swiftly downed a bottle of fizz, the last of our booty from our trip to France last year. In the morning we enjoyed a delicious full English breakfast – well, it was a birthday after all – and then enjoyed the unexpectedly sunny weather with a walk through the village and up to Heaven’s Gate, a hill that has views across the Longleat estate. Sadly we didn’t see any lions, but the landscape made up for their lack.

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We then stopped off in Frome for a mooch, a coffee and a brownie.

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S’ actual birthday was on the Sunday, so to complete the weekend of gluttony I made him this chocolate cake (verdict: delicious) and then used my long-dormant cake decorating skills to turn it into this.

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The still-cold and gloomy days are easier to face when you know there’s a slice of this waiting for you at home!

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