sEAsons ~ winter is the time for home

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
– Edith Sitwell

Ivy

RaindropsWe have had the icy cold days with a frosting of snow recently and then we had the rain… but it brought slightly milder weather with it, which has been quite welcome…today it is cold once again but very sunny.    Although I like the winter months the cold has got to my bones a bit – I must be getting older. The full force of the winter weather can be seen further afield out on the moors above us where there are wonderful and ever-changing vistas to capture – I love the bleak atmosphere that surrounds this expanse of wilderness  – there are no trees, no buildings and no people.  Even the sky can seem quite dark and foreboding at times.  Only days ago this road was closed to a heavy snowfall and ice and we had to find alternative routes on lower ground – yesterday as you see it is quite passable with only a light dusting over the hills.  The beauty of this untouched landscape is breathtaking no matter when you pass through.

Around the garden there are plenty of delightful things happening at the moment despite the weather.  I haven’t ventured outside very much but I have noticed little pockets of colour and a show of buds here and there.  Sometimes everything looks deceptively still and quiet beneath the carpet of leaves but on closer inspection there are shoots appearing and the bulbs I planted only a couple of months ago and these Snowdrops are beginning to push through the earth – a sign that spring will be here soon. Snowdrops To prevent the local cats doing their business and scratching around in the bare patches of earth where the bulbs lie beneath  I pushed a few twigs, from the hydrangea prunings,  into the ground as a deterent and to protect them and I noticed they are starting to bud and have actually taken root.  Anyone want an hydrangea there will be far to many to keep!Spring bulbsWhilst it is so cold I find the best thing to do is stay warm indoors in the kitchen making those nourishing winter comfort dishes.  Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese bake is always a favourite here and plenty of nut roasts with root vegetables.Cauliflower Cheese bake Mushroom soupMaking plenty of soup is still on the menu too – I have found a pack each of white and chestnut mushrooms mixed together make a very quick soup for lunch – add a  leek and a stick or two of celery and a generous handful of fresh parsley for flavour…

…and use up any leftover large ripe tomatoes to make a very warming Tomato Soup with red pepper and a little carrot and a touch of paprika, run through the blender and sprinkle with a good spoonful of parmesan cheese….Tomato soupOn those days when we only have enough soup left for one we share it and I serve a mini bowl of soup with a ploughman’s lunch to use up the thick crusts of bread.For some reason I always feel January is a good month for home life and a little housekeeping – not a deep spring clean and certainly nothing too strenuous but just enough to freshen the place up once all the Christmas decorations have been taken down and packed away.

I have spent time in each room adding decorative bits and pieces and moving pictures around;  just using what I already have and switching things about.  Remember the dried oranges and limes I made at Christmas;  they have mellowed now but still add a touch of colour to these grey winter days and continue to fragrance the air. dried oranges My daughter bought me this lovely glass showcase perfect to display little bits and bobs.  I chose this lino-cut print with the red fox and the little red bird to go with my hand carved wooden robins – the bold black and white with a splash of colourful red seems quite appropriate for now.In the corner of the dining room the yellow tulips from Aldi for £1.89 are so wonderfully vibrant and cheerful – and very reasonably priced – I will certainly be visiting the store for more flowers in future as they have lasted so well.Tulips TulipsAnother small but new pleasure in my life is this desk calendar on a gold metal stand – Sadie over at Notes from an Ordinary Life introduced me to pink and I must say I am hooked – I saw this in Sainsbury’s and somehow it found its way into my trolley last week – it cost me £7 but it can be used again and again if I make and print my own calendar sheets next year when this one is finished.  I am looking forward to making my own too – I might try out some decorative stamps or lino-cuts.CalendarWe have done very little shopping so far this year as there is not very much that we need other than a new kitchen.   During the sales I got a great deal on the Neal’s Yard items – the face cream and serum I use was being offered at a discount in a gift box so not only did I get it cheaper but there is a free eye cream with it.  I also love their sturdy boxes and reuse these for all kinds of things.Mum must be getting more forgetful as for the first time in years (and I mean years) she didn’t buy me my usual slim handbag diary for Christmas so I looked for a cheap one in Poundland  – I should be able to spot this colourful one easily in my handbag – I carry one about to jot down appointment times, phone numbers or anything I need to make a note of whilst I am out (most people would probably use their phones but I am not a phone user – I still like paper – you don’t have to remember to charge it!).  Whilst out shopping I also took advantage of the reductions on Christmas cards and bought a couple of packs with 50% off to put away for next Christmas.

Staying snug and warm by the fire, watching old movies in the afternoon on the Talking Pictures channel, laughing at ‘For the Love of Ada’ – a comedy from the 70’s ,  a little reorganising and cleaning around the house, a few bright spots of colour placed here and there in each room, writing thank you notes to friends, flicking through my magazines for ideas and lots of planning for the year ahead – a pleasurable way to get through the long grey days of winter.

As Edith Sitwell says – winter is a time for home.

Baby X is now doing well – I think we are on the turn and mum and dad are easing into a routine – one with little sleep – but starting to find their feet now and feel more confident – they dealt with the problems that arose very well and deserved a medal for their perseverance – having a tiny baby relying on you for everything is especially hard when mum herself has post delivery problems that needs attention too.  Thank you for all your good wishes – it is very much appreciated.

I will be putting a tab at the top of my blog just for recipes of anything I mention here – do bear with me this may take a little time to do.

Hope you are enjoying your winter days x

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21 thoughts on “sEAsons ~ winter is the time for home

  1. Good to hear that your grandson and his parents are doing well.
    Maybe you are feeling the cold more at the moment because you are still recovering from the stress of the last week or so.
    The signs of spring and the good news should help but be kind to yourself for a few days and enjoy the fact that you are retired!
    Sue

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  2. Glad to hear the baby is doing well.
    Your food looks very comforting and nourishing indeed. Love the showcase what a great idea. I might buy some daffodils this week, need some cheery colour on these cold days.

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    1. Hi Jill – how is the weather up there – it is really sunny down here today but still very cold – too tired really to enjoy it as the late nights with the baby have taken their toll and I am feeling the affects now! Just slumped on the sofa watching a film!

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  3. I’m relieved to read both baby and mum are doing much better, I hope they continue to go from strength to strength.
    I love that saying, and how true it is. I especially feel that way this year and have focused my energies on our home and providing good food. I must treat myself to some tulips this week. Yours look very bright and cheerful. X

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    1. Such a good buy those tulips and lasted so well. I have had such a lazy start to the year apart from last week with the baby dramas but I felt I needed a rest. Hope all is well with you. We might even get up to Scotland soon when things settle down and weather permitting. x

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  4. What a beautiful piece! I get a real sense of peace from your post.

    I love winter. It can’t come soon enough. I’m over 35+° heat.

    I have no luck with hydrangeas. So jealous that they take so easily for you. It’s too hot here, though there are some large plants in my neighbourhood.

    Wonderful that Baby X is coming along well.

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    1. I have never known hydrangeas do that it seems a shame that they will have to be pulled up so I will probably pot them up – but what to do with them all I have no idea there must be a couple of dozen plants! That temperature would be far too hot for me – I am wilting at the thought even! x

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  5. Those wonderful signs of the season to come – tiny plants braving the icy cold weather! Your food looks scrumptious, perfect for this time of year. Very best wishes to the young family, I well remember those early days with a first baby, it isn’t easy. Thanks for the hydrangea tip, I will give that a try. Stay warm this coming week, it sounds as though it could be interesting.

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    1. I was in hospital for 5 days when I had both my daughters in the 80’s – it was the norm back then but a lot of the early problems you encountered were atttended to before you were discharged. I feel really quite lethargic at the moment with this spell of cold weather.

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  6. Good news about Baby and his mum.

    Love the photos of moors. Not sure why, but I must say I like a bleak landscape–a few of my favorites include: The Twelve Bens in Connemara (IE); the Badlands in South Dakota and any number of vistas in Southern Utah. There many US national parks in this region of Utah such as Bryce Canyon (see Hoodoos), Zion National Park, The Arches, plus lots of other places that you may have seen in old western movies–such as Monument Valley. Gives one thinking space and captures one’s imagination.

    Agree with your assessment of good winter activities around the home. Plenty of soup making going on here, too.

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    1. We think our moors are vast here but i bet some of your landscapes would make ours seem tiny in comparison! One of my friends calls it his thinking place – he went up on the moors the day his wife died he reckons you can get everything into perspective up there.

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  7. I’m loving reading your blog. So many of my favourites no longer write, so glad I have come across yours. Congratulations on your newest grandchild, they are such a joy 😊

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    1. Hi Denise – welcome aboard – as you say many bloggers have stopped writing which is a pity as you always feel you have suddenly lost a friend. It is not always easy to keep on writing – life sometimes just takes over. Thank you for your good wishes.

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  8. Such a cheerful and colourful post – it makes me feel good just reading and looking at it – thank you so much.
    xx

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  9. I love that saying – That winter is a time for home. That is so true. All of your food looks delicious! I’ve been cooking and baking a lot myself. My kitchen is one of my favorite places to be. Your yellow tulips are gorgeous. I’ve kept a vase full on my kitchen table for the past few weeks – purple this week. Also, I’m happy to hear that the new baby and his parents are doing well.

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