Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Embracing Winter




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. 

4. And for when I leave my sofa and go into the great outdoors, I will need these warm, felted gloves by Katie Mawson to keep my hands toasty but fingers free to take photographs.

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? 


57 comments:

  1. What I would do for a little touch of your Winter and a chance to wear felted gloves like that!! x

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  2. Winter is fine for snuggling and getting on with crochet. As long as its not raining!!!!!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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  3. This winter I've been grateful for my ever-growing collection of crocheted blankets. Nothing like curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea, a good book, and a lovely colourful blanket. Last summer my boyfriend asked me if I had too many, this season he is grateful for their vast quantity, and the fact that there is a blanket on pretty much every chair!

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  4. Lovely post Gillian. Yes I think all to often we wish the season away, in summer people yearn for autumn and so on. I am loving winter, I love being indoors and just enjoying the cosiness that comes with it all. It is lovely to see longer days and a little more light and some life creeping from under the soil whilst we admire it from our warm rooms. Love all your selections especially the log fire and that comfy sofa. xoxo

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  5. Thank you Gillian for chasing those winter blues way, today the sun is shinning in London and things don't feel to bad! x

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  6. I like this time of year. I like the fact that the beaches are more or less deserted, even on a sunny day. Olly and I had Carbis Bay beach to ourselves this morning. We ventured down after the school run dog walkers had departed, and it was glorious. Overcast maybe, but the colours were breathtaking. We had a lovely time, and are now hunkered down in front of our mock electric wood burner (I echo your one day..). Olly is happily playing and I am writing to you!

    Lovely pictures, Gillian. Have you heard of 'Project Wild Thing'? It's all about connecting the outside in a more meaningful and sustained way as an individual, family or group.

    Leanne xx

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  7. Hi Gillian
    I totally agree that we should embrace it - loving your 'all things winter' pictures.
    Kate x

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  8. Nice post, were you above Otley on your walk ? Love the Rabbit.

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  9. I love your images, particularly the leaf one and your little boy poking at the ice :)
    I adore winter, although I agree - sometimes all that grey can be a bit depressing. My daily rituals: cups of tea, candles, fairy lights, woolly socks. Other pleasures include watching comfort TV - recorded stuff like Poirot or Marple, reading, hot baths and Baileys coffee. The latter's far too good to abandon once Christmas is over...
    Sarah x

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  10. Much better to embrace it than to wish it gone - as much as I long for warm sunshine, frosty leaves, clear cold skies and cosy evenings are pretty lovely too. Love the frosty leave photo you snapped. Candles are a favourite for dinner tables and mantels, and I seem to be a bit obsessed with making soup at the moment (which has the added benefit of warming our freezing kitchen too!)
    Love the look of all your wintry things - we too have our heart set on a wood burner. There's just a few more important house jobs that trump it at the moment unfortunately! x

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  11. I wouldn't say that I adore winter but I do like it, it certainly has it's cosy perks, I am learning to enjoy it much more these days. I love Miss Rabbits new outfit ..... so cute!
    Stay cosy!
    love Jooles x x x

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  12. Dear Gillian
    As a gardener, I do appreciate winter beauty too, not just for the beautiful frosty patterns but for the killing off bugs and nasties so that the plants will benefit. We have a stove like that and we love it - it has done sterling work over the years and I wouldn't want to be without one now. Being cosy, reading, crafting, eating or drinking chocolate - perfect winter activities!
    Best wishes and enjoy your cosiness
    Ellie

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  13. I complain plenty about winter, but I actually really like it. Maybe I secretly like it? I think it's nice to have a break from the yard work, the heat, the constant slathering of sunscreen on tiny, wiggly bodies when I'm in a hurry to get on with the day...I digress. :) I love having a fireplace and we try to have fires as often as possible in the winter. There's nothing better than a fire, something excellent to read or a great crafty project, and a cup of tea.

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  14. Yes! I totally agree with you! We should find ways of enjoying it because it is going to be here for its allotted time! Just this morning my four year old and I played a game on listing all the things we are enjoying about winter! It was so much fun! Happy winter snuggles!

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  15. I agree too, we should cherish winter. In a strange way it does make you sit and relax, curtains are drawn and you feel cosy inside. We enjoy warming comfort food and we have the urge to catch up with things that need doing indoors.
    I think all seasons are for a reason and each hold a special place in our year.

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  16. I already really enjoy winter, especially crisp cold days when you can get out for a lovely walk then gone home and snuggle up. A comfy sofa, tea, cake, a good book and my knitting suit me!

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  17. I think being in the blog world has taught me to appreciate each season as it comes along and just make the most of what we have.
    Bundling up in warm clothing for a winter walk can sometimes be more fun than going out in the hot weather as everyone doesn't get so uncomfortable and need frequent drinks and stops!
    Love the snowdrop mug.
    Lisa x

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  18. When we lived in the UK I also found January a bleak month, and I must say that it's easier to deal with the post-Christmas blues when it's sunny and hot outside (but still pretty horrible getting back to reality after Christmas despite the sunshine!) x

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  19. I think for the first time ever I am really enjoying January this year, and winter... as long as we don't get a lot snow! I was excited for January to arrive! I really do welcome the quiet and calmness after the busyness of the holidays. The holidays were wonderful this past December, but for some reason really exhausting. I am enjoying the slow days. And it's nice to have a break from out hot, and very humid summers.

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  20. eating, Im not going to lie. Chocolate and sage and onion stuffing. not at the same time obviously, that would be weird

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  21. Winter, not so much for me, but, I do like snuggling and hunkering down, so perhaps more than I think! xx

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  22. I have been guilty of moaning recently more about the wet and grey than anything else. I love winter as I love any other season but I do get frustrated when it becomes a real effort to go outside as that is where I love to be. I too love a wood burning stove, lighting it in the early evening at dusk is a real pleasure. We have a Woodwarm one which is wide with a big glass to show the flames in all their glory, fantastic!

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  23. I usually do love winter - all the cosiness amongst the chilly days - but I'm finding it hard to get through this January. I've had a bunged up nose for 3 weeks and have no energy at all. Boo hoo! I'm planning a very quiet, restful weekend - just what the JoJo ordered! I'm looking at your photos and getting lots of ideas for what to do to cheer myself up. x

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  24. Love those "cool" photos as we are sweltering here in Oz. I'd much rather winter than summer any day, but will admit to being in love with both spring and autumn best. Take care and enjoy whatever the weather.

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  25. I agree wholeheartedly with your winter wish list - and very luckily when I was pregnant with my youngest we installed a wood burner. It is worth every penny and my favourite thing in the house! Your photos of the winter outdoors are beautiful, they really capture the crisp beauty of the season - we all need to embrace it sometimes rather than continually wishing winter away! A lovely post! Chrissie x

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  26. Beautiful photographs, Gillian. What's your camera? :)
    Regards, Kasia from Poland

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    1. Hi Kasia, Thank you. I use a Canon DSLR EOS 1000D. It's over three years old now though, so there is probably a newer model.

      Gillian x

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  27. I think we have to appreciate the moment or season we are in. Thank you for the lovely reminder.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  28. Fab post made me smile, I have to confess I'm a waiting on Spring, but if it were to snow I'd been skippy happy it's all this wind and rain and grey that getting me down, snow frost ice and blue skies would make me happily hunker down and enjoy the season.
    Clare x

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  29. I like the fact that you can see both sunrise and sunset in Winter. I love cold, crisp days - a brisk walk is so invigorating. And hunkering down, without feeling guilty I should be doing something else, are all great Winter pleasures. But I absolutely HATE endless grey days!
    Oh - and I would love a wood burner in my dining room - it would be perfect. Everyone agrees - but it's a bit out of our price range at the moment. x

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  30. I find winter very hard but it's lovely when the skies are clear and there's frost on the ground-we've had far too much rain of late and it's been messing up my rhythms!
    There's nothing quite like snuggling up with a crocheted blanket and a mug of tea for whiling away my wintry blues :-)

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  31. Yes we need to embrace these things when we can't change them. It's going to be almost 110 F here today and like you, a bit extreme to go outside!

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  32. A lovely reflective post about embracing the seasons rather than using them to wish for the next one. Winter can be a hard one to love. I'm struggling particularly right now as I'm still very limited to home but I am trying hard to find the value in this time and space to do what I cant do at other times so this post really 'chimes' with where I am too.

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  33. I bought one of the fireplace heaters. We love it. I thought my husband wouldn't but he turns it on every night. Everyone that comes in to our home walks straight to it and wants one. I paid only $81 inc. shipping from Nomorerack. Mine is made by Duraflame. It was delivered in about 3 days.

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  34. I love to embrace each season too. They all have their own beauty. Jacqui x

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  35. You are absolutely right, but it's the rain that gets me down and all the ensuing mud! Xxx

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  36. I grew up in a tropical country so I find winters quite hard although I don't mind the cold too much as long as it's sunny with blue skies. I also find the cold a good excuse to have warming treats like hot chocolate so winter's not too bad and as your beautiful post has shown, there's a lot about it that we can enjoy.
    Have a lovely week!
    Marion x

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  37. An SAD light has helped enormously this year, I haven't once commented on the weather!

    I am joining in the hibernate2014 community over at beauty that moves blog, we have a dunsley wood burner and it is fab! I knit like crazy most days but I have promised myself me time in my sewing room in the loft, the light up there is great. Other mood enhancers are camera walks, drinking plenty of water and regular exercise time. I think this is the first year I am enjoying the winter season!

    San

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  38. Time to embrace winter a bit more I think! Thank you for giving me such good reasons to :) gorgeous crochet squares x

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  39. Hola acabo de conocer tu blog y me encanta.
    Te escribo desde Madrid (España).
    Me quedo por aquí porque voy a seguirte habitualmente.
    Un saludo
    Mª Paz

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  40. I just love visiting your blog Gillian. I've been catching up on your posts, everything is just so warm and inviting. The winter photos are wonderful, it makes me look forward to the colder months when fires are lit and everything feels cosy instead of sweatie! Happy New Year lovely. Elaina xo

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  41. Sweetie, I'm going to take a leaf, albeit a frozen one, out of your book! We've 2/3 months before Spring arrives....far too much time to waste! Beautiful crochet there my dear :) x

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  42. Gillian , what a lovely post, I love all the things you have mentioned, that perfect setting for me would involve a huge basket filled with all my special balls of yarn. I suffer with very cold hands and feet and I received a pair of microwaveable slippers. I pop on a pair of my cashmere handmade socks and my slippers and oh my goodness I love the wintery evenings.Bliss

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  43. Just a little glimmer of sunshine instead of these grey damp days would bring a little bit of cheer :-) xxx

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  44. Winter, I think of snowshoeing, brisk walks, exploring with a camera, snowmen, jumping on iced puddles. Winters here it's more like summer, and in summer i just want to hide inside in aircon.

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  45. Lovely post Gillian ~ super picture of your little boy cracking the ice with his stick. I don't mind the winter myself, I quite like wrapping up warmly and going for walks and then snuggling down on the sofa with a latte! Gorgeous Emma Bridgewater mug!!
    Caroline xx

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  46. I love Winter! The perfect time to hunker down, savour hot drinks and meals, enjoy lots of stitching, watching rain and hail outside whilst snuggling inside under a quilt (perhaps quilting it!), wearing lots of clothes to keep warm.......just love it! Today it's 44C (about 110F) and it's so hard to stay cool - give me Winter any day!!

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  47. I don't have a Winter blues as Winter is my absolute preferred season. Oh yes, I love Spring and Summer, when I am able to enjoy being outside (not too often is our very wet climate) and when I am able to start planting and taking care of my "garden"... But not as much as I do love Winter. And I am always sad to see the dark (cosy for me) mornings... I love leaving home and driving to work in the dark... It give me a wonderful feeling that I can't really explain... And I love everything that revolve around winter, the food, the fabrics, the events... Yes I do love Winter.

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  48. Oooh some more beautiful makes here. That little dress is gorgeous and I love your jam jar candle holders.
    I feel I can't really complain about winter as it's been so mild so far!! I don't feel like we've had a proper winter. I'd like a little bit of snow and then I'll start looking forward to the spring ;)

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  49. We have just had a shortt stay in the Lake District and we had a lovely wood burner...I'm missing it so much now!! One day I WILL have my own! :0(

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  50. I love the colours of winter, wrapping up warm and going out for family walks. Your photo's as always have captured all of that!! Your candle jar covers look lovely! Sarah xo

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  51. Gosh I've missed a few Posts here with the laptop away while the relos have been staying with us the last month.......we are in the midst of a heatwave here and I would very much welcome some wintery weather about now! I'm loving all your photos in this Post, just breathtaking! x

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  52. laughing at the grip on the arm, 'you will not go in that water!' I like the poster shop, book marked! Heather x

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  53. My mother-in-law always has what she calls her "January Project" to get her through this indoor month. It's something she sets aside for January every year. Usually a new craft. One year she was doing caning (chair seat cane). One year she knitted a fisherman's sweater. I didn't understand what she was doing when I first heard her refer to it, but I have learned that it is something she looks forward to that takes the blues out of the post holiday season.--Love your happy daffodils!

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