Chat · Lifestyle

7 things which brighten my February

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The tinsel is back in the loft but we’ve still got six weeks of winter. How does that even work out? Like many bloggers this week I am asking myself what is the point of February? Dark mornings. Dull skies. Rain. Endless rain.

We talk about seasons as if they are places we arrive at, fixed destinations when in fact the world is always turning. February is part of that cycle and it seems a pity that so many people want to put it on fast-forward. When I look past the rain there is really quite a lot to love about February. There lies the trick. The sun may not be shining right now but that doesn’t mean we create our own warmth.

This list is by no means exhaustive but here are some of the little things which brighten my world. What’s making your day brighter?bird

String lights: One reason January and February hit people hard is the post-Christmas blues. As winter rolls in we string up tinsel and fairy lights. Our houses twinkle and glitter throughout December. Why is it tradition to take those lights down in the darkest weeks of the year? 

String lights are cheap and cheerful and they bring back some of that festive glow. Suggestion: add string lights to a glass jar.

img_4807Book Post: Publishing people. I love you regardless of whether you send me post. You turn manuscripts into stories, you turn stories into masterpieces and you create something which genuinely makes the world a better place. You’re fantastic guys. BUT. When book post lands in my letter box it brightens my day. Every. Single. Time.

Migratory Geese: I live near a salt marsh. From October through to Spring we share our local area with migratory geese. Twice a day they fly past my house – on their way to feed and as they come in for the evening roost. Right now the geese are gathering ready for migration. This afternoon the sky filled with geese and it was the most beautiful sight.

img_3882Kitty Snuggles: Maisie comes to me when the house is quiet. She’s a Heffalump of a cat who rolls around when she wants a tickle. Willow is Little Miss Dainty Paws. She is a hunter, a burrower. Her favourite thing is to crawl beneath a blanket or dressing gown and snuggle right up to her chosen human. There is no doubt my girls play a big part in my life.

img_4881Cosy Boots: I don’t care what they look like on my feet. My booties are like a hug for my calves and feet. Cosy anything sounds about right. Onesies, leggings and bobble hats are all welcome here.

Bath stuffs: The Body Shop outlet sold off Christmas bubble bath in bundles. I kid you not. Our bathroom is all about frosted plum and vanilla chai. They smell so nice it is a wonder we ever emerge from our bubbly kingdoms.

 

Monty Don:  As much as I love the Solway it isn’t the sunniest place in the world. No worries – Monty Don is bringing paradise gardens right to my living room. Did you know pavilions came into being because nomadic people based them on tents? Dream fodder. 

 

What is brightening your world? Perhaps you enjoy the long, dark nights? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Chat

10 ways to keep Christmas alive

christmaseverydayWish it could be Christmas every day? While some people are pleased to get back into their daily routine, others would wear a Christmas jumper every day if only it wouldn’t spoil the magic of it. My Mum, sister and I have almost elfish levels of Christmas tolerance. My sister’s room has affectionately been called ‘the grotto’ for the past six weeks, while I wrap every one of my tree decorations in tissue paper and bubble wrap to ensure they are safe. Every single one.

Would it be Christmas if it came every day? The good news is you don’t have to decide. If Christmas is something you enjoy, there are ways to bring festive sparkle to even the dullest January.bird

Christmas tree farm in Iowa.Keep a live Christmas tree – this is a great idea for people with garden or patio space. My neighbours in London had a live tree. It was waist-high that first year, and the cutest thing is the new growth looks different, so you can see how much it has grown. I have a patio cherry tree which I bought eight years ago. I love watering and tending to my little tree. It isn’t high-maintenance, but encourages me to potter in the garden.

 

Keep a decoration out – A Simple one. It wouldn’t be special if we had them all out everyimg_4607 day, but why not keep one decoration out of the box? In my experience one misses the box, and it makes me smile to see them through the year. I have also wondered whether to keep my synthetic flowers out for bookstagram purposes.

 

Craft – start in the next few weeks, and you should have enough handmade cards for Christmas 2018. From cross-stitching to card-making to papercutting, many crafts have a back catalogue of Christmas patterns available.

 

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Gingerbread person DNA.

Enjoy your food – If you enjoyed cooking or baking for Christmas, why go back to ready-meals? A three-course meal isn’t feasible every day, or even on a weekly basis, but whether it is baking on a Saturday, hosting a dinner party or starting a foodstagram account, you can turn food into a fulfilling hobby.

 

Visit a donkey sanctuary – When I lived in London, my favourite place to visit was Redwings Ada Cole in Essex. I sponsored a donkey for years, until he died. I kid you not, the sanctuary host birthday parties for their adoption club residents. You can sing happy birthday to a donkey and watch them eat donkey-friendly cake. I’ll never forget Ada Cole. It is a super-special place.

 

11781267186_ccfca86bbd_bBecome a visual merchandiser – Use your decorating skills to promote brands and make shops beautiful. As well as thinking up decorative schemes throughout the year, you will never have more fun than at Christmas. (Who did you think did the Liberty window? The Christmas Elves?) Check out entry routes and qualifications here.

 

Louise Nettleton

Would you like more Christmas in your year? What do you do throughout the year that keeps Christmas alive? Let me know in the comments below.