Saturday, 23 February 2019

Going Slowly

I like February, always have done. It's a short month, there's the half term holiday, it contains my birthday and it always feels like beginning of the end of winter. Not quite spring, but you feel the odd day or moment when there's a little more warmth in the sun, when bulbs start to appear, when you spot early blossom on trees, and suddenly spring doesn't seem an impossibility. I love winter, but I am bored now of my daily rotation of jeans, jumper, boots and ready for a wardrobe refresh. 

I think the February half term is my favourite. It always feels like we go at a slower pace than during the other school breaks; maybe it's because I'm not as exhausted as I usually am during the busy autumn term, maybe the weather keeps us indoors more than the during the May holiday, but I like it. It's mostly been the three of us, four including the dog, and we've had such a nice time just pottering around, enjoying each other's company. With Bella especially, I feel like we get a bit of the old Bella back during the school holidays - anyone else know what I mean? We've set new, much stricter limits on screen time, something I've always been quite relaxed about and, after the initial sulks, it's made a massive difference to their attitude, behaviour and creativity, all positive as you would imagine. 

We walked around one of our favourite places, fed the ducks, said hello to the horses. It made me a bit nostalgic for those days when they were both really small.

We have cooked, a lot. I let them choose what they wanted to make and gave them (almost) free reign.

I'm not ready to start proper gardening just yet but I've been popping out there more and more, wandering about, seeing what's growing, poking at this and that, excited for the gardening days that are to come. Excited for this wooden planter full of tulips when they finally open. 

The children and I have emptied out boxes of toys and made piles to donate or pack away, and  I've tackled the office and play room, sorting, filing, cleaning, but there's also been time this week to crochet and sew. I am really enjoying making this chunky throw and am whizzing through those rows, loving the texture that is emerging. 

I've had the nicest time this week making some tiny clothes for this rabbit.  

"Rabbie", as he's known, belongs to my niece Eleanor and is, as you can see, much loved. I have been given the huge privilege of being allowed to look after Rabbie for a week (he has been kept on a high shelf far away from the jaws of a curious whippet) so that I could make him some clothes for Eleanor's birthday present.

I started with blue trousers and a cosy, woollen jumper....

 ...then added a smart scarf and little satchel with teeny tiny buttons.

He also has a white t-shirt and a rather fetching jacket, should he get chilly. 

I had so much fun rummaging through my yarn and felt scraps to make these things, and have bought a little brown cardboard suitcase so that Rabbie has somewhere to keep his new clothes.

I celebrated my birthday this week, and it was extra lovely as John was able to take a couple of days off work. My birthday treat was breakfast out and a wander around Chichester, and a visit to the fabulous Winter's Moon, the shop and studio belonging to my friend Julia.

My phone photos do not do the place justice, but it's full of the most beautifully chosen mid-century home wares, some vintage, some new. John bought me this lamp as my birthday present and I could not love it more. It's an investment, handmade in the UK by a small company, and I will love it forever. I am thinking much more carefully about what I buy and where I buy it from now, trying to buy less but buy better, choosing small, independent businesses if I can. This is not always achievable, of course, and I have to be realistic, but I am trying.

John made me a carrot birthday cake with cream cheese frosting, my favourite, and it was a rush to finish it before my family came round to say hello. It was still warm when we cut into it, and absolutely delicious. 

I was spoiled with some really lovely, thoughtfully chosen gifts which made me smile. I had been thinking about choosing a pair of Lucy & Yak dungarees for some time, and when I saw they had introduced a Tall range (I'm 5'11") I was over the moon. They are so soft and comfortable, and so versatile - I could wear them with a roll neck jumper or shirt underneath, or one of my many striped tops. 

So, all in all a really nice week. I even managed to get my hair cut and coloured, long overdue and such a treat. Yesterday I cleaned the house and did the food shopping, trying to keep this weekend as free and relaxed as possible. I am not sure what to do today but the sun is shining and I think I will just have a coffee while I decide. 


  1. I just love visiting your blog. Your photos always cheer me. Your new throw really does look like the colour of Liquorice Allsorts! Enjoy the rest of your half term. Best, Jane :)

  2. Happy birthday and your presents were so beautiful. Hope the cake was delicious and evryone enjoyed it. Weekend weather seems good so far so enjoy it before you are back to work on Monday.

  3. Happy Birthday, the cake looks delicious and your lamp is gorgeous. Love the dungarees. I had some once and I adored them till they fell to bits. What I really really like is the rabbit and the wonderful wardrobe you made him. The little satchel is so cute.

  4. Happy birthday week! Mine is this coming week. I love the lamp so much. It's beautiful. And Rabbie's clothes are adorable. We have snow and no flowers, though we usually have crocuses by now. Congrats on getting Bella back, and have a wonderful week!

  5. Happy Birthday Gillian! I rather enjoy February, too. I love the a whiff of Spring in the air but not letting go of winter just yet.... Glad you found the old Bella, at least for a bit. It is just wonderful to see glimpses of the little people our teens used to be, isn't it? I really struggle with my 15 year old daughter just now, so much tension and so much overt hostility. Then again, my sweet Annie shows through. I am full of hope. Rabbie is surely the best dressed rabbit in your parts of the world! Enjoy the weekend xx

    P.S. So lovely to see you over on my blog today :-)

  6. It sounds like a perfect half term week. Happy Birthday to you.

  7. Happy Birthday...I found your blog a few months ago and it's so inspiring...thank you for sharing your craft and home projects. Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  8. Happy belated birthday! You pack so much into your posts. Absolutely love the shape and color of the lamp. It is stunning. Love the whippet eyes and sweet black nose - hard to resist! I'll bet your kids are at the age where they will always remember you letting them cook and taking walks to their favorite places. You've made some sweet memories this week.

  9. I love reading your blog Gillian and stop what I'm doing when it appears in Bloglovin'.
    My query is about the houseplant with the 3 magenta/purple leaves in your first image. what's it called? I love it!

  10. Happy Birthday. I find February a bit slow going but I know that once the Spring arrives we will be forced outside so I am trying to enjoy being in sewing, crocheting and sorting as you are. A day at the farm was good today if only I could have been outside instead of painting a hallway but the kids got out on their bikes and the dog had a good run. Jo xxx

  11. Happy birthday Gillian. I love your ethos of trying to buy more conscientiously. And I'm a big believer in very limited screen time, it's a good thing I think. My middle boy has his birthday in February and it always seems like spring is pretty much here afterwards. Glad you had a good day out and a very good cake. CJ xx

  12. A very belated Happy Birthday from me, too!
    Your pictures call out "early spring" in every corner. And how I'd love to browse that shop! I am sure I would not leave it empty-handed.
    The little clothes you made for Rabbie are so cute; I am sure they will be well loved and worn often!

  13. Happy Birthday and thank you for your nice pictures as always. I like also to see plants of the first pictures , that I can’t find here: oxalys and pilea, aren’t them? I have learned their names here on your blog.
    Miriam from Italy

  14. It sounds like you had a lovely week and a lovely birthday! Your cake looks delicious! I’m thinking about making a carrot cake this week. Your new lamp is so pretty and I love that vase full of spring tulips and daffodils!

  15. Belated Happy Birthday as well! Love the dungarees - they look so comfy yet totally stylish.
    My two really missed half term when they went to university - didn't seem to matter that they had a whopping long summer vacation, a month at Christmas and 3 weeks at Easter. But then they did work all summer vacation. I still miss it myself!


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