Monday 25 April 2022

April Catch Up

Each year I am exactly the same. Just when I start to really struggle through the damp, grey days and become exhausted from holding my body tense during  the cold winter months, spring arrives and with every moment that passes I begin to feel myself gradually relax. The hours of daylight grow longer and the sun feels just that little bit warmer. I was not designed for cold weather, which may sound extreme, but anyone who has seen me turn blue from a slight chill in the air and a gentle breeze could readily bear witness to this :)

The last few weeks I have been busy,  both at work and home, but I have found brief moments here and there simply to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. And as I have felt my body unwind, I have also noticed my sleeping patterns have improved over time, which is a huge relief. It is not much fun feeling exhausted before my day has even begun. 

I've been I've been out for walks through the fields and in the woods. The bluebells are in flower just now and as usual they look so beautiful under the trees. Last week I felt the need for some sea air so took a walk along the shore instead. Sea air hits different and it felt energising and restorative. It was a beautiful afternoon, with hardly a cloud in the sky and the bright sun shimmering on the water. I even discovered some more pieces of sea glass to add to my collection. 

Following my trip to London, I have spent some time getting on with a few necessary chores around the house. I feel like I'm getting on top of the clutter now, with yet another bag of clothing to take to the charity shop and a few more items sold online. I realise it is an ongoing process but the results are definitely worthwhile. I'm even considering getting rid of a side table which doesn't really serve much purpose other than to gather dust and hide even more clutter in it's drawer. I'll think about it. I'm worried I might regret it if I do, but this is only a small house and it doesn't take much furniture to fill a room and I like to have plenty of space to move around.

I have, finally, got around to sowing the wildflower seeds in the raised bed and I can't wait for the garden to be filled with pollinators again this year. I do miss growing a few vegetables but I think the small space is better utilised this way and it will look beautiful in the summer. The herbs are beginning to grow again, so at least there will be something in the garden I can cook with. Oh, and the strawberry plants and blackcurrant bushes are beginning to flower :) I still need to repot my apple tree, and I will be moving the little lemon trees back outside again this week once the winds have subsided. I'm sure they are ready for some warm sunshine, much like myself.

J. X

Wednesday 13 April 2022


At the end of last week I took Lily on a long train journey to visit big sister. It had been a  good few years since I had been to the city and this was Lily's first ever time in London, so it was very exciting for both of us. Luckily we were being met at the station, so I didn't need to concern myself with navigating the underground, complete with our bags, to where we were staying. 

After a large cup of coffee (to recover from the journey) we enjoyed an afternoon walk on Clapham Common. It was a beautiful day, and although the wind made it feel incredibly chilly, it was good to stretch our legs after being sat down for much of the day.

The following morning, after a delicious breakfast of scrambled egg on toast, we travelled to Charing Cross station, where we would begin our sightseeing for the day, starting with Trafalgar Square. Here, I'm sure Lily would quite likely have paddled in the fountain had it not been forbidden. Instead, we took an obligatory photograph if her sat in front of one of the Lions at the base of Nelson's Column. 

From there, we walked down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, where we could see lots of activity and, as luck would have it, we were just in time to see The Changing of the Guard. I think it takes place only several times a week at the moment, so we had unknowingly timed our visit perfectly. Following the ceremony, we walked through St. James's Park, and on towards Downing Street (disappointingly, we didn't see Larry🐈), The Cenotaph, Big Ben and The London Eye. Then on to the underground, once again, to see The Tower of London and Tower Bridge, stopping to enjoy a picnic lunch at St. Katherine's Dock. Pretty much most of the familiar tourist destinations that Lily would recognise. Then, as a special treat, we visited Hamleys toy store :)

By this time, I was feeling quite tired - climbing Helevllyn a few weeks ago had been a breeze compared to this 🤣 - so a relaxing evening spent back at the flat was very welcome.

The next day we would return home, but before catching our train, I had booked tickets for us all to go on the London Eye. It was ridiculously expensive but definitely worthwhile, especially on such a clear day. We could see right across London. 

J. X

Wednesday 6 April 2022



I've had a lovely start to my spring break, and it's been just what I needed. I have got on top of the housework, had a long overdue tidy up of Lily's bedroom, as well as taking the time to rest up and enjoy some unhurried mornings. And I was kindly given a large quantity of magazines, back copies of a publication I currently subscribe to, so I've spent several hours just browsing through them and bookmarking some recipes to try out. Just the right balance of productivity and relaxation.

At the weekend we joined in a walk with our local wildlife group. We were looking out for signs of spring, and it was a very enjoyable circuit of a nearby fell, where the skylarks were in full song, the hedgerows full of blossom and we even came across a badgers set!

The following day we took a walk out past the pond and down through the woods. The wild garlic was in abundance and, on this occasion, just right for picking, so I was glad I had remembered to take a small container to collect some in. I love to make fresh pesto at this time of year and it is just the most vibrant shade of green. It tastes absolutely delicious as well :)

The last few days have been spent mostly at home, aside from yesterday when we braved a trip into town. I needed to run a few errands and then, of course, there was the dreaded school shoes shopping. During the winter Lily wears Dr. Martens. They never rub and are sturdy enough to keep her feet warm and dry, whatever the weather throws at us (at school they always play outside unless it is really bad). However, at this time of year she needs something a little lighter. Luckily for us the shoe shop was nice and quiet when we arrived and I was pleasantly surprised to find they have gone back to the old way of measuring feet manually, instead of using an iPad. Better still, they checked the fit and had Lily walk around the shop in them just to be sure. How time flies. It feels like only yesterday that she was measured for her first ever pair. Fortunately, they had just the shoes she needed and in the right size. How long they will last for is another matter. :) 

J. X

Friday 1 April 2022

While the Sun Shines

It is gloriously sunny but it's deceiving, as it is bitterly cold just now. Although there isn't any snow on the ground, we're getting occasional wintry showers and it is fairly windy. Quite a change from the last two weekends, when we were lucky enough to experience some wonderfully warm spring weather. My winter clothes were even cast aside for a brief moment and I spent a day in short sleeves! As someone who feels the cold so very easily, this felt like quite an achievement for this time of year ;)

It has felt great to be throwing the windows wide open and letting in some fresh air each morning, so it came as quite a surprise to see a road gritter driving past yesterday, then I needed to break the ice on the bird feeding station and container pond this morning. I am still getting lots of feathered visitors to the garden, so much so that I recently needed to splurge on a huge container of fat balls - they were getting through them so quickly!  Although the nesting box still remains empty, so I will just need to keep my fingers firmly crossed for next year.  

With the overnight frosts we've had, I'm glad I decided to hold off from sowing the wildflower seeds, but I am relieved to have finally got around to cutting back the hedges and the overgrown holly tree. They had begun to get out of hand. I've even treated myself to some new loppers, so I've no excuse not to keep on top of them going forward. As well as the fritillary, there are some hyacinths and muscari in the flower beds now, and it is lovely to finally see some colour beginning to show in the garden. The tulips are biding their time. I had been curious as to why the lobelia had struggled to establish itself last season, until I noticed Mog lying right across it just the other day. Typical!

A while ago now, I made a promise to myself that this would be the year I would get back up Helvellyn, I just never expected it to be quite this early in the season. But the recent mild spring weather meant the conditions would be perfect, and it was too good an opportunity to miss. As you might expect, it was still chilly on the very top but the views were stunning. The pathway up from Thirlmere was fairly quiet, with many, instead, using the more favourable conditions to walk along Striding Edge (perhaps one day, when I'm feeling brave enough). Of course we rounded off the day with a dip in the stream.

Then, as luck would have it, the following weekend we enjoyed another day on the fells. This time we climbed alongside Raise Beck and walked up to Dollywagon Pike, via Grisedale Tarn.

It has been wonderful to take advantage of this lovely sunny weather, especially as it looks set to change again over the coming week. Today is my last day at work before the spring break, and next weekend should see me looking out over some rather different views.

J. X