Saturday, 24 December 2016

All Is Calm

On the build up to Christmas this year we have been mainly focused on creating some precious memories for Lily. She is at that wonderful age when she is beginning to understand what it is all about, so excitement levels have been reaching pretty high.
The last week of Pre-School was such a joy. A Christmas dinner, a party, Carol singing at a nearby care home and even a bus ride into the local town to see the big man himself. It could have been very easy to get carried away in a flurry of tinsel, so all the more reason to take some time out from the festivities to enjoy one of our favourite walks.
The air has been still and damp and the ground so muddy we had to wear our wellingtons instead of our walking boots. Of course, that also meant we were able go splashing in the puddles. 
Today has been a lovely, family day. We treated ourselves to a delicious lunch out beside the fire at one of our favourite 'proper old style' pubs, listened to Christmas music and watched The Snowman all the way through for the first time ever. While this evening, Lily has been excitedly looking out of the window for a glimpse of Santa's sleigh before leaving out mincemeat shortbread, Whiskey and, of course, a carrot for Rudolph.
The next few days we will be spending our time at home, with family and relaxing. Possibly enjoying a glass or two of wine.
However you are spending it, I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.
J. X

Monday, 12 December 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like....

There really is no getting away from it now, Christmas is on its way. Cards are arriving through the letter box, gifts are being hidden in strange places and the bottle of Baileys has been broken into so it is now official.
It is such a magical time of year.
The build up started for us a couple of weeks ago when we wrapped up warm and went to visit the reindeer. We love to do this every year and it's becoming a bit of a family tradition now. They are such gorgeous, friendly creatures and with those huge brown eyes they are impossible to resist.
The advent calendar was hung on the first of the month and is the first port of call every morning for a chocolatey treat for Lily. I really should get one for myself another year.
Last week, after being inspired by Sadie's gingerbread house, I decided to have a go at making a simpler version myself. I found a recipe and  template online and was pleasantly surprised by how it turned out considering it was my first attempt. Of course, I had my very willing assistant to help with the decorating so there were an awful lot of sweets that didn't make it anywhere near the icing, but it was a lot of fun to do and that is the whole point. Fun. We will definitely be doing this again next year.
We have really enjoyed seeing all the Christmas lights and decorations around and about and at the end of the week we took a trip to Liverpool. Thank you Lisa for the info. It was such a treat. The lights, store window displays and festive atmosphere really did all go towards making it very magical, and to top it all off there was a fairground for children and all the sights, sounds and enticing aromas of the Christmas market. We came home with a large bag of gifts and feeling very festive indeed.
Also this week I returned home to a beautiful card on the doorstep. I signed up to Amy's card swap again this year and was partnered with the lovely Cheryl at My Little Piece Of England. A gorgeous hand made card. Isn't it beautiful? Thank you so much, Cheryl.
Yesterday we decorated our tree and, so far, the cat has stayed away. Let's see how long that lasts. I hope it all stays in one piece until after the festivities.
The wreath is now in place on the front door and this week I will be bringing more greenery into the house for some finishing touches, making more lists, wrapping gifts and writing cards.
I think I might just have another glass of Baileys.
J. X

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Keeping Cosy

Brrrr! The weather has turned  very chilly all of a sudden and with the temperatures dropping we have been experiencing some very cold but extremely beautiful frosty days.
The daily morning walk to pre-school soon gets us warmed through, and we arrive with cheeks and noses all aglow.
Outdoors we've been wrapping up in hats and gloves, while indoors we have been cosying under my now (finally) completed sofa throw. I'm really pleased with how it has turned out, and by using just a single colour of yarn the texture of the stitches really stands out which I love.
My hand knitted woolly socks are now my favourite thing to wear. They really make such a difference and never fail to keep my toes toasty warm. Such a comforting feeling.
Hot chocolate and a jar of marshmallows are now a permanent fixture in our kitchen for whenever we need a boost. I'm not entirely sure it's my best idea. A little bit too convenient.  Just how many marshmallows is it acceptable to eat while I'm cooking dinner? 
During the week we took a walk out to see the snow on the surrounding fells. The Wintery light we are having is spectacular and makes the views all the more impressive. Although very beautiful, the late afternoon sun was dropping and it was so cold up there, we couldn't stand still for very long. To return home to a warm house with dinner ready in the slow cooker was very pleasing.
Also this week, I finally gave in to temptation and ate my first mince pie of the season, closely followed by several more!
I'm now really looking forward to the month ahead, to relax and enjoy all the festivities.
I'm really excited now.  25 Sleeps!
J. X


Friday, 18 November 2016

A Quiet Month

November always feels like a quiet month to me. Once the fireworks are over, even though the stores expect us to immediately go crazy for all things festive, I like to take it a bit slower. Don't get me wrong, in the background plans are being made and gifts are being sought out, but I'm not ready to be eating mince pies and roasting chestnuts just yet, or whatever else Instagram may lead me to believe I should be doing.
                           
We've had a gentle couple of weeks. Germs have reared their ugly heads once again, so we've suffered some restless nights. Lily has had a horrible cough which has gone on for several weeks now, that thankfully seems to be easing off at last.
On the fine days we have taken some lovely short walks in the local area and spent a good while watching the Salmon jumping in the river. The leaves, once a carpet of red and orange under foot, are now slowly turning to a sludgy brown mush and the trees at the back of our house are beginning to look quite bare. There's no doubt Winter is approaching!
On the not so fine days I have found myself spending a lot of time in the kitchen once again. At this time of year I find a lot of pleasure in cooking good hearty food for the family. Filling, comforting meals of Homity Pie, Curry, Stew and Dumplings. I take great satisfaction in knowing everyone is well fed. And when it comes to baking I have a little assistant on hand to help out.
                           

I have been working on my crochet when time allows and I am also knitting some socks. I think this is the first time I have ever had two projects on the go at the same time.
I has been a pleasant change not having any plans so far this month, other than our usual day to day routine. Sometimes the mundane is good. No drama, no challenges, no rushing around. Just time to take a step back and appreciate what we have.
J. X

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Embracing Autumn

I am loving Autumn this year!
Words I never expected to hear myself saying, but I did yesterday whilst we were out walking.
My heart has always belonged to the summer. Long, hot days, sunshine, bare feet. But recently something inside me has shifted and I have discovered a new appreciation for this time of year.
I am sure this is partly in thanks to my blog reading. The enthusiasm of others towards this season is infectious and has had a knock-on effect with me. But I think the main reason is that I'm now watching it all unfold through Lily's eyes. Walks in the woods, the changing colour of the trees, kicking through the leaves, collecting conkers and acorns, the scent of bonfires and wood smoke in the air and even the darker evenings - "everybody must be in bed, mummy."


                           
                           


Last week we enjoyed a short break away in Edinburgh. It was our first return to the capital since our wedding there in July and it was simply glorious.


In Princes Street gardens the leaves were falling from the trees, the sky was blue and clear and the views were beautiful. It felt so good to spend some family time it what have now become very familiar surroundings.


Halloween came and went here in a very understated way. We carved a pumpkin, made a rather delicious soup and added a few seasonal touches to the house.
The throw is gradually increasing in size. I keep picking it up whenever I have a spare moment. It's at that wonderful stage where it is keeping me lovely and cosy while I work on it.
I am hoping to keep indulging in my new found appreciation of Autumn  for as long as I can, embrace the seasons and stop wishing time away.
J. X

Thursday, 20 October 2016

October

We are definitely well in to Autumn season here now. It feels much cooler, the days are shorter and the trees are shedding their leaves.
The cutting back in the garden is still a work in progress. Not that there is a lot of it, I just haven't found the time. Although, the table and chairs have been put inside and are awaiting a coat of wood stain in preparation for next year.
As usual, we have been indulging in some of our favourite walks. Comfortable, familiar tracks opening out on to some beautiful views, accompanied by companionable chatter and generous helpings of replenishing the soul. The Conker jar is getting more and more full following each outing, the mantel scattered with dried golden leaves and Acorns.
Last week, a girly day out in Liverpool was very enjoyable and a much appreciated change of scenery. A little sightseeing, a delicious lunch out, then a thorough browse of the John Lewis Christmas section followed by coffee and a cake. A return trip has already been planned to include an overnight stay and a look around the Christmas market, which I'm really looking forward to.

Finally, to ease myself back into a crafting mind set I have, at last, picked up my crochet hook and started a new project - a throw for the sofa.
It's strange to think how I had no desire to do any kind of crafting during the late summer months. My heart just wasn't in it and maybe it was something to do with spending more time outdoors. Now the nights are getting dark earlier it feels time to cosy in and do something productive.
I am using just  grey yarn and am finding there is something pleasantly relaxing about crocheting row upon row with no colour changes to think of. This is not a challenging project by any means but a lovely way to unwind in an evening or any other time I get chance to pick it up as it requires very little by way of concentration. I'm hoping I can get it finished before the weather becomes much cooler.
J. X


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Almost


Although the Autumn equinox was well over a week ago we have been experiencing some unseasonably mild weather for the time of year.
Mornings have been a little on the fresh side at times but by lunchtime jackets have been able to be discarded once again.
The leaves on the trees are just starting to change their colour and even with the shorter days I am not in full on Autumn mode just yet.
Our days are, once again, ticking along quite nicely and the last month seemed to pass us by so quickly. We have made the most of the plentiful fine weather days and enjoyed some fantastic walks together.


It was so lovely and quiet on a recent visit to Grasmere that we even made it into the Gingerbread shop. I think it was the first time I have ever seen it without a queue outside.


Unfortunately, our little household has been struck down with various viruses in the last few days, my cure for which is to get out in the fresh air. This afternoon we will go for a short walk and collect some free cooking apples from a help yourself box in front of a nearby house. I will make a cinnamon apple crumble this evening. After all, it is said you should feed a cold.
J. X

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Snapshots Of Summer

It really has been a rollercoaster of a Summer.
Now that Autumn is steadily approaching I have been looking back over the last couple of months trying hard to maintain my focus on the positive.
It seems like an age (yes, it has been) since I last posted but in all honesty my heart wouldn't have been in it until now. Thankfully life has turned a corner, as it does, and things are finally looking up.


We were fortunate, with many sunny days spent walking or at the beach - Lily's new favourite place to be.

                           

Following our wedding we spent a wonderful week in a cabin on the shores of a loch in Scotland. Such a beautiful area to which we hope to return.


Last month my birthday was celebrated with a picnic lunch on top of Latrigg, a small fell which overlooks the town of Keswick. It couldn't have been more perfect. The views are fantastic up there and the weather was gorgeous. I felt so blessed in that moment as I sat with my family and admired the view.

It's quite hard to believe we are now already halfway through September. As a family we are gently discovering our daily routine as the days become shorter and the nights grow longer. Lily has settled in brilliantly at her Pre-school, work is going well for the both of us and everything seems to be slotting into place.
My walking miles are on track this month and I am tying to focus on maintaining my physical and mental wellbeing.
Unfortunately, my desire to do any crafting seems to have all but disappeared, for now at least. I am hoping to find some inspiration soon. In the meantime I intend to embrace this last week of Summer as it is going to be all cosy sweaters and gingerbread lattes before too long although, for once, I am quite looking forward to it.

J. X