Saturday 11 December 2021

Short days and Twinkly Lights

Hello Lovelies, 
I do hope you have had a good week with not too many worries and lots of happy moments. We have started to receive a few Christmas cards. They are all really nice but this one stood out to me as I adore all the detail and humour

It's sold in support of the British Hedgehog preservation society too....perfect.

 We haven't had any more snow or much frost this week. It's been largely grey and often rainy. Nevertheless I've been doing well with my walking and haven't missed a day. This weeks walks range from 1 to 6 miles. Yesterday I did 4 miles on a lovely sunny afternoon.

It's all local paths I'm very familiar with but the light changes with the seasons and when the trees loose their leaves.

The cold weather encourages the birds to come straight down for the food I leave too. This always makes me smile.

As of today I have 46 miles left to reach my 800 outdoor miles goal for 2021. It's not the 1000 miles I easily reached last year but I'm still counting it as a win. 
 Life is much busier this year.

 I'm very happy youngest is now working from home for a while as I'm not that keen on driving after sunset on unlit roads these days. Plus taking him to work and fetching him home every day was costing a small fortune in petrol and eating even more into my outdoor time.
Though I must add I'm super proud of the way he has quickly adapted to the world of work.

Yesterday was Christmas jumper day in the UK, did you join in? These days it's Christmas jumper day for the whole month of December for me. We have 3 jumpers the boys had for wearing at school on Christmas jumper days. They still try and squeeze in them if one is required for work but I wear them daily as they are a nice loose fit on me and so cosy 😊

I think it's fair to say I'm not into fashion and  there's no fast fashion in this house. The boys even buy second hand clothing on occasion, frequenting vintage and retro shops. Something I never did in my late teens, early twenties

By 3pm yesterday the moon was clearly visible, as the sun, which never got very far above the horizon, was rapidly descending.

This was 3.20pm

And as I heard the school bell ring for the end of the day at the boys old school, the sun set at 3.30pm. 

As we are quite close to the school I have our Christmas lights on a timer so they are illuminated for both school runs. Yesterday, as I didn't have to take youngest to work, I was around to hear a little one saying this is his favourite window...Yesss....that made my day 😊

Indoors we have reached maximum Christmasification too. I love walking under this garland.

As always it's full of all my red and white makes. Like these Scotty dogs....Pattern HERE

And Lucy's snowflakes.....Pattern HERE

Today, as usual on a winter's Saturday, I did some baking. Using up some more of my mincemeat.

These days I use THIS recipe for the works well for me. 

I've already eaten two, with some squirty cream, they were yummy! I don't feel too guilty as I tend to only eat homemade ones at home and this year, as I'm not really going visiting friends, or to cafes at the moment, I haven't had any bought ones at all.

Thank goodness I'm happy at home, now more than ever.

Wishing you a happy rest of the weekend lovelies and some quiet moments to notice the sunset and the twinkly lights next week.

Jacquie x

Sunday 5 December 2021

Festive Beginnings

Hello lovelies, 
thank you for all your thoughtful comments on my previous post. It's nice to be able to share concerns as well as joys some times. Thankfully I'm still relaxed about taking local walks by myself..... it's one of the most important things I do for my wellbeing, physical and mental. I don't think that's overstating how much benefit I get from being outside just noticing the seasons and small details.

Obviously sometimes it's more photogenic and inviting than others.

 Oh my, we've  some beautiful weather since we last talked. On Monday morning I couldn't wait to get outside as we had the rare treat of a blanket of snow.

 A frozen wonderland.

I was certainly glad of these mittens I made last winter. Touching the cold metal with bare hands would not be pleasant . 

They have my own phone photography adaptation too. This is rather strange looking but means I can use my phone without removing my mitten. It's easy to draw my hand back inside the mitten too. It looks funny but works great.

The icy sunrise was beautiful.

and the world looked like Narnia.

Of course I had bird seed in my pocket to leave on suitable fence posts. I always put these picnics where there is tree cover so the small birds will hopefully be safe from birds of prey....though I appreciate they have to eat too.

Here I followed the footpath through the remnants of the horse paddocks. They have now moved a bit further on.

This huge field can be a boggy mess in winter but on Monday it was a crunchy glory. A space to breath, feel small, and wonder at the "mother of pearl" sky.

Snow clung to every surface.

and I do love this sort of scene.

Snow in the trees but not on the roads, ideal.

It was just a light dusting and warmer temperatures soon saw it disappear completely. This was Tuesday. The garden is looking more open again as I had to remove all my sad Cosmos which the snow has finished off. 

I've been moving the more tender of my plants to sheltered positions. This cordyline looked pretty sad after spending last winter outside so I had put it in my arbour.

Just look at this amazing firework of a plant. I love it's colour and form.

It's looking really healthy at the moment and I'm not sure the arbour would be enough protection so I moved it into the potting shed on Tuesday. There's a growing collection of things I don't want to succumb to the winter weather in there. It's not heated but I hope they will be happier than outside at least.

Most of my pelargoniums are in the conservatory, which does have some underfloor heating to keep the chill off. 

They flower happily all winter in here and brighten the darkest months. I just love going in here on a mildish afternoon and removing the dead flowers and brown leaves. It smells a little like summer and is the gentlest of winter gardening.

Midweek it was time to turn the calendars over on to the final month of 2021. I love this Robin on my recycled  Carolyn Carter calendar so much.

On Thursday the colour of the berries caught my eye and I picked a few to look at them more closely. Rosehips, hawthorn berries and sloes from the blackthorn.

So much colour compared to Monday.

Indoors the colour is growing too. We have a mix of Christmas and birthday vibe going on at the moment as youngest turned nineteen this week....Nineteen! 

We always used to leave the tree until a week after his birthday but he was keen for it to go up this weekend so it has.

This weekend I've been busy trying to straighten up the house again, as well as  making a start on the Christmas decorating. I have had my first mince pie though. I saw somebody online making little puff pastry mincemeat parcels with ready made pastry and though it looked worth a try.

Super easy and they looked good. Eldest said he likes my mincemeat better than the bought stuff. Bless him. 

I liked it too, which was a relief as you may recall I experimented by omitting the suet this year. I will made some proper shortcrust pastry mince pies next time but these were nice for a change.

And a little treat after my Covid booster vaccination today....for which I am very grateful.

Wishing you a healthy and happy week ahead lovelies, chat soon.

Jacquie x

Saturday 27 November 2021

Keeping Cosy

Hello Lovelies,
I can't quite believe it's Saturday morning again already. The weather has really changed in the past few days and this morning I felt the need to light the fire for the first time this Autumn. We won't put up our Christmas decorations until next weekend  (would be later if it was my choice...I'm trying to hang onto autumn and I don't like to focus on Christmas until mid  December really😊) but I'm happy to have a few fairy lights up already to add to the cosy vibe.

This was the garden at about 9am. We had snow! I say had as it's already melted but wasn't it pretty! 

Ideal weather to get in the in the kitchen and do some baking again. There's currently a gingerbread cake  in the oven. I have some black treacle that needs using up so I've been on the look out for recipes that need some.

Today I decided to look in this book which mum passed on to me. I wonder if any of you remember the TV series this book was produced to accompany? It was a 70's series and I only have the vaguest of recollections.  

Any cake with plenty of ginger is ideal for cold weather I always think.

It certainly has been chillier here but Thursday brought my most favourite walking weather. 
Frost and sunshine.
 I dropped youngest off at work and headed to the start point of a walk not far from there. I parked on the roadside but was soon out in the countryside and the only person around. It was gorgeous.

A bit further along the path I noticed a group of men walking towards me. They seemed friendly enough as we crossed paths but struck me as a bit out of place. It didn't help when they stopped walking when I was still only a bit past them. I hurried on and was happy to spot a lone figure up ahead. He stood still (on his phone) until I passed him. He was at a folk in the path. Oh dear, that stuck me as odd too.

It was all innocent I'm sure, but on Thursday morning I suddenly felt really vulnerable. My imagination told me something horrible was about to happen and it didn't make for a happy walk. This track seemed to go on for a long time and I think I would have jumped in the hedgerow if a van had appeared.

I stuck to my original 4 mile route plan as I didn't know an alternative and I didn't want to double back. It's a long way when you are wondering what's around every corner and looking over your shoulder a lot.

I think the recent horribly sad cases of women loosing their lives while just being outside must be affecting me, but I don't want to live in fear. I will be avoiding this area, unless I have company, for a good while though. 

Sorry if that was a bit heavy, I just felt the need to share. I hope you don't mind. I don't want to add to anybody else's worries but I think being honest is important too. 

My cake is now out of the oven, it smells amazing.

Here is the recipe, in case you fancy making one yourselves lovelies.

As it's better after keeping for a few days I also made some simple shortbread biscuits.

HERE'S a similar recipe . I roll the dough into a sausage and cut into 5cm sections. Once they are on the baking tray I squash them with the back of a folk. It's very easy and I like the biscuit shape it creates 

I think that's a good morning's work...Lets call it that 😉, though it's really a joy to spend time baking. Especially when the temperature is 3 degrees Celsius outside and the wind is howling.

Whishing you a happy weekend lovelies, I hope life is treating you kindly and you can enjoy whatever you are doing.
Jacquie x