Over these last few weeks I've noticed that, in magazines, blogs, on Instagram, and in conversations I've had with friends, as soon as Christmas and New Year are over, everyone is desperate for Spring to arrive. I include myself here. The short days, candles and fairy lights are festive and sparkling throughout December, but come January the winter blues do rather set in and it's easy to feel glum and lethargic. We need light and colour and warmth. The days lengthen and the extra daylight is welcome of course, but as we saw last Spring, there might still be snow on the ground at Easter and it could be May before we're really able to enjoy warm weather outside. I've been giving this a lot of thought lately and find that I'm learning to love winter. I'm determined, in fact. Winter will be winter for the next three months, no matter how many bunches of daffodils and tulips I buy, no matter how often I declare that a mild January day "feels like Spring out there!" to John. Like the natural world, we really need this time of year to rest, to hibernate. We need to feel cosy. I need to hunker down inside with whatever makes me happy (family, cooking, sewing, yarn, Hama beads, jigsaws) and to just give in to it. I don't mean lie on the sofa all day long - I know it's vital for my happiness to get outside for some fresh air and exercise whenever the opportunity presents itself, perhaps for a long walk in the woods at the weekend, or a gentle run with my friends - but to enjoy and relish this time of calm and quiet. It gives us time to be creative indoors, to make plans, to prepare for Spring and all the outdoors fun and longer days that season will bring.
So in the spirit of embracing winter and all that is comforting, homely and snug, here are some wintry pleasures, some things for the home that I think are truly lovely and make this time of year more enticing.
1. A Willow and Hall sofa. Willow and Hall are a small, independent company who hand make sofas, armchairs, and sofa beds among over things in the West Country. I think they have a particular skill for making furniture which is simple and practical as well as very pleasing to look at and sit on. I like the way you could put whatever cushions and throws you wanted on their sofas and make it absolutely your own, and it wouldn't look ridiculously unfashionable in five years' time either. Their styles and colours are soft, cosy and elegant, easy to live with and easy on the eye. I wish I'd known about them when we ordered our sofa bed some years ago...
2. I love this rural print. It's on my birthday list.
3. There is always room for another Emma Bridgewater mug in my cupboard, and my heart is set in this snowdrop design, it's so perfectly seasonal.
5. Look, you all know I have an enduring love affair with wood burning stoves and wholeheartedly wish we had one in our home. I tend to prefer the more traditional looking ones, like these. One day, one day...
So, I think I've got all bases covered there: a comfy sofa, art on the walls, a mug of tea, a roaring fire and warm hands. How do you chase away the winter blues?