Sunday, 22 November 2020

Looking for the light

Thank you, thank you for all your comments. We are all good and the anxiety levels have definitely subsided over the last couple of weeks. As so many of you said, it is what it is and we just need to get on with it. I can cope with not going out to cafes, restaurants and the like, it's not being able to see and hug friends and family I find the hardest. I am a hugger. Thank goodness for WhatsApp and Zoom. 

Focusing on the positives always helps, counting my blessings and feeling thankful for what we have. Looking for the light, both literally and metaphorically, is lifting my spirits. 

Last weekend it rained a lot and I switched on all the lights in the kitchen, turned on the radio, and I made my Christmas cake.

I always follow the recipe in Nigella's Christmas book, it works every time. Now the cake is cooked and tucked up in an airtight box in the garage for the next six weeks, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I think this year I am going to ice it. I am going to go all out with royal icing to look like snow, tiny trees and reindeer decorations, edible glitter, the lot. I don't feel like being tasteful or restrained this year. It seems like many people are choosing to decorate for Christmas much earlier than usual, do you think so too? Personally, I will wait till December, but if putting your tree and some fairy lights up now makes you happy, then go for it I say. Especially after the year we've had. I am feeling much more organised about Christmas now actually; I've made a decent start on shopping, bought cards, stamps and a Christmas pudding. I've even remembered to buy chocolate coins for the advent calendar. How about you? Are you welcoming Christmas earlier than usual this year? It's hard to get excited about the day itself when we don't even know if or when we will be able to see family, but I think it's important to have something nice to look forward to.

We went for a walk in the woods last weekend. During two days of stormy weather we managed to be out for the hour when it stopped raining and the sun came out. The leaves were glowing in the sun and it was just gorgeous. We all felt so much better afterwards - never underestimate the power of some gentle exercise, fresh air and vitamin D on your mental health.

Mince pie baking has commenced in this household. Last weekend Angus made these with a roll of ready-made pastry and had a lot of fun in the process.

Yesterday I decided to be brave and have a go at making my own pastry. I prefer sweet shortcrust in mincepies and this recipe worked beautifully. I was a bit nervous about getting them out of the muffin tin but actually they came out really easily - no leaks! Next time I would increase the amount of mincemeat though. 

I get a bit obsessed with lighting at this time of year. It's so important to have pools of warm, twinkly light around the house, especially when it's a gloomy day.

We recently installed some plug-in wall lights in our bedroom. 

When I say we I mean John. The light they give for reading is just perfect, bright but warm.

This one has discovered the Harry Potter books and is gripped. Each weekend we watch one of the films (currently up to the third) in front of the fire and it's very cosy. The rule is he must have read the book first - it's proving very motivating.

We went for a walk this afternoon and, despite the mild temperatures, the light definitely felt different to a couple of weeks ago.

It's starting to take on that blue-ish, wintry quality that I associate with December not November.

It's hard to see, but if you look closely at the horizon line on the photo below, under the band of orange cloud, you can just see the sea.

Excuse the photo (I zoomed in a lot, stretching the camera on my phone to the absolute limit) but you can just see the tankers lining up on the horizon in The Solent, waiting to come in to Portsmouth.

I'd never noticed that you could see the sea from up here. Probably too busy taking photos of sheep.


  1. I agree with the thought of seeking light. My office at work in bathed in natural night, looking west. Yes, it's rather hot in the summer. I could not work in a windowless office.
    Today the sun is shining and my office/relaxing room has west windows as well. Yesterday it was cloudy and gloomy. But we were outside in what light there was, working cattle. When I was in the house, I had the lights on and music going. And the best was a surprise visit of dear friends for a moment, outside, socially distanting. Their smiles and good news of a daughter's engagement, was the Light of my day.

  2. Lovely post Gillian & I realise how hard winter will be for you this year with lockdown in place. It isn't fun as we know from what we've just experienced. Glad you anxiety levels have subsided somewhat & like you it's not socialising as such that we miss, but the family & yes...... the HUGS. I've not got my head around Zoom, but if it all happens again I'm really going to find someone who can help me get me started. It would also be ever so good for our family & friends in UK to stay in touch. Thanks again for the great photos & snippets of your days. Take care, stay safe & huggles.

  3. baby boomers are going to get abused and treated like garbage in the retirement homes. Maybe you boomers shouldn't have been so selfish and arrogant and greedy. Literally everyone hates baby boomers now. Enjoy those retirement homes, and good luck, boomers!

  4. Hope you enjoy your Christmas cake when the time comes. Mine is just been treated to a little alcholic beverage now and again... lovely. Well done Angus with his mincepies and I hope he continues to enjoy Harry Potter. Great idea to get him to read each book first before the film.

  5. My granddaughters loved the Harry Potter books and zoomed through them which amazed me because they do get so long! I treated their parents and them to Universal Studios in Florida one year so they could enjoy Harry Potter World there. Happy memories! I will start decorating for Christmas after we celebrate our Thanksgiving this Thursday. Thanks for the wonderful post!

  6. A lovely post. I have relatively recently discovered your blog and am enjoying it very much.

  7. Lovely photos of the light. Take care, lockdown is tough - but you can do it (just got to COVID normal in Victoria Australia after a 120 day lockdown)

  8. I know exactly what you mean, Gillian - we really need to grab any chance we get to catch some daylight, and even more so if there is an hour of sun on an otherwise grey day.
    Yes, many around here have begun their pre-Christmas activities early this year. I shall wait until the first Advent Sunday (this coming Sunday). But I have already all the cards and stamps, now I "just" need to write and post them. A couple of presents are already waiting to be gift-wrapped, while I have a few ideas for gifts I need to order or buy.

  9. Thank you for such a beautiful post. Time in nature definitely helps, as well as having something positive to look forward to.

  10. I read all the Harry Potter books to my kids, not all were impressed. It's really a mindset, those books. It is December in light intensity, I see a lot of Xmas trees up and lights glittering. Perhaps we long for the warmth of the holidays in our heart, the not hugging is so getting all. Non of my kids like raisins, no mince pies in this house ;>p

  11. Sheep. Yarn on the hoof! I appreciate them so much more since I have started spinning. I appreciate your blog. Thank you for sharing your world.

  12. If you're an expert crocheter looking to test your advanced skills, there's an equally impressive array of free crochet pattern options. You can visit my crochet pattern website to find some cool ideas!

  13. Your bedside lamps are so lovely - I discover so many sources of ideas through your blog and IG! No Christmas decor yet in our house as it's still a building site, but I noticed this evening that the village Christmas lights have been switched on. Racking my brain as to what's significant about 24 November to warrant this. And on my 10 mile drive to do the weekly shop this morning I was behind a large flat bed lorry with a massive Christmas tree on it - wonder which town is getting it? Interesting to see that the Harry Potter mania is still working through the generations. My two were at Harry Potter books age when they were being published originally. I remember seeing a brother and sister in Vancouver airport both reading the one HP book at the same time on the day it came out - the older one was the faster reader and so was a hundred or so pages further on. I thought that was real dedication - two reading one book!

  14. Our mince pies look just like yours! Glad to hear you are feeling more settled. We are waiting to decorate a bit longer otherwise the children get too excited too soon, Jo x

  15. What a beautiful place you live. I've never had mince pies, but they look good. Having lots of lights on certainly helps in these dull and drab days.


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