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.