It's been a funny old week. I've found the return to normal routines and the post-holiday feeling quite hard, as I stare down washing and ironing piles and try to get my brain back into gear. After time away from our house, I find that I look at it anew in an incredibly critical light. Flaws which I hadn't noticed for months become glaringly obvious as soon as I step into the house with our bags, moving the pile of post away from the front door mat. It always takes me a few days for home to feel like my home again. Oddly, one of the most satisfying moments in my week - not the happiest, but definitely the most rewarding - was on Tuesday night when the kids were in bed and John was working a late shift. Alone with my thoughts for the first time in what seemed like ages, I dusted, vacuumed, swept and mopped. I tidied piles away, watered plants and tackled the ironing. Three hours later I was exhausted but hugely pleased with the feeling of having conquered the disorder. Tidy house, tidy mind. There is something in that.
And so, as I sit here now reflecting on my week, I see that it's nesting that has brought me most pleasure since we returned home.
1. I made a garland while we were away. This week I blocked it and crocheted the tops into one long string of chain stitch, then hung in on the mantel. Our fireplace, always a little stark, benefits from being softened with some colour. I added starfish and a card, brought back from St Ives, to remind me of our week away.
2. I unpacked and admired souvenirs. I love buying souvenirs, no matter how big or small. I love seeing things around the house and remembering where I was when I bought it, what I was doing. We spent the last of our holiday pennies on this print by Carol Lander. It reminds me of the best of the wild landscape we enjoyed so much; the cliffs, the coves, the local plants and the lighthouses that are dotted around the coastline. It will stay propped up there for a while until we get it framed and decide where to hang it.
I also bought a straw bag (because I really needed another straw bag...)
...and some edibles which were blatantly bought for the packaging alone, although I'm sure the contents will be very tasty.
3. I finished my holiday embroidery, which is now at the framers. Once it's back, and the last of the fading purple pen (which seems to take ages to fade) has gone, I'll take some close-ups and tell you lots more about it. I honestly can't think when I last enjoyed stitching something so much. I think it's because it was so spontaneous. I decided to do it about two days before we left, and didn't know what I was going to sew until the particular day had passed. That was all very liberating and exciting for me!
4. My lovely sister, Anna, and her two girls are staying with us at the moment. It is always wonderful to see her, as we live so far away from each other, and equally wonderful to watch the cousins play together. Her girls are 4 and 6, and so very close in age to my two who are 5 and 7.
Yesterday we spent a really nice day at Bolton Abbey, taking a picnic and making a day of it. The weather was kind, and the kids had fun running, climbing, throwing stones and generally enjoying the outdoors. My two have been hard work this week, restless and bored, unable to settle to any particular activity, and they enjoyed the freedom to run. Sometimes I think children are like dogs and just need a really good, long run around, then they are fine.
Anna took the photo above and below, and I especially like this one she snapped of the four of us holding hands. I wish I'd worn stripes too.