Sunday, 17 January 2021


Time feels strange at the moment. So much has happened since I last posted (hello Lockdown 3.0) despite the fact that it was only two weeks ago, but the world within these four walls does not feel wildly different to how it would in any other January. Christmas feels like a very long time ago, and everything is so busy at school; teachers are scrambling around trying to teach both the children of key workers who are attending school and those at home learning remotely at the same time and it's pretty stressful. Bella and Angus are adapting to new ways of learning (again), John is grappling with working from home, I remain swamped with university and school work, and most of our social interaction takes place via a screen.

And yet, it is not all doom and gloom. We have been doing our usual January things, trying to enjoy our precious weekends, trying to enjoy the season and this quiet time of year.

Our cooking has definitely shifted from holiday excess to normal weekly routines - lots of batch cooking and lunchbox fillers.

My weekly sourdough loaf is back, and I have been making soup with things that need eating up from the bottom of the fridge. Leek and potato plus a bunch of kale that was past its best. Broccoli and stilton plus a bit of brie, both of which have been stinking out the fridge for the last three weeks.

Angus and I tried chocolate porridge to liven up our weekday breakfasts. It's your normal porridge recipe (around 40 g oats plus water and milk - I don't know how much because I measure it by eye) with a mashed banana and a teaspoon of cocoa. I really wanted to like it but it was too much - too bitter I think - and I will stick with my usual topping of demerara sugar and dried fruit.

No more gingerbread houses here - it's all breakfast bars and flapjacks, anything filling to keep the cold out and tummies full until the next meal.

Sunday night dinners are our usual winter tray bakes and slow cooker stews again. I have been tentatively dipping my toe into some of the cookery books I got for Christmas and will report back.

I have bought seville oranges, two boxes, and set next weekend aside as Marmalade Time.

I love marmalade, both making and eating it, and always look forward to this day in the middle of winter when the kitchen is full of steam and the smell of oranges.  

It's also a boost to see spring flowers appearing in the supermarket. I haven't bought any fresh flowers for months, probably since last September, so I've been treating myself to tulips for the kitchen table and pots of tete-a-tetes and hyacinths to dot around the house. Fresh flowers are one of those little things that bring so much joy and we need a lot of that at the moment. 

We invested in another warm, brushed cotton duvet cover. I think that brushed cotton is the best winter bedding ever especially when it's very cold, as it has been this month, and you like to sleep with the bedroom window open. 

Sad as I am to take down the Christmas tree, every year I enjoy the January feeling of light and space. Everywhere gets a good clean, furniture and plants get moved around, and this purposeful feeling of renewal helps combat the gloom.

We have not had snow, but we had a bitterly cold week at the start of January, and we've had sun and fog and some spectacular frosts. 

There is also so much mud. Every dog walk at this time of year involves wellies. I am thankful for a dog with short hair and long legs when the weather is like this - we can often get away with not showering him and just rub him down with a towel.

Today the sun shone and we went to the beach for fresh air and vitamin D.

It was glorious 

I haven't been able to settle to a new crochet project for a while, but I've just bought this pattern and am excited to get started on it. I just need to decide what colour yarn to use and order it.

I hope you are all well and staying safe. This is really hard work, isn't it? Try and focus on the things that make you happy and bring you any comfort and joy, however small. I joke that I got through 2020 by watching reruns of Midsomer Murders, the ultimate comfort TV, and it's not a complete lie. Whatever makes you feel relaxed: getting outside, baking, gardening, a jigsaw, crafting....we just need to get through the next few months until spring comes.


  1. Lovely photos. I am trying very hard to pretend that things are normal. It's been difficult at times as our routine is not the same and we miss our people. But we are doing what we have to do and we will get through this. Stay safe and well.

  2. Your photos have such a lovely feeling of calm about them. I have so many projects to get started on or to finish and it is not as if we don't have all the time in the world at the moment in lockdown but we are just enjoying January and the snow here, celebrating one or two birthdays via Zoom and looking after our grandson after not seeing him for weeks on end....and trying not to think of what lies ahead. Working in education must be hard at the moment - I don't envy you having to work and homeschool. Stay safe.

  3. Me encantan tus fotos, cada rincón de tu hogar y la naturaleza. Gracias por compartirlas con nosotros. Es una de las cosas que me ayudan a no pensar en la situación que estamos viviendo y que no sabemos cuándo acabará, porque nadie en el mundo lo sabe.
    Mucho calor por aquí, pleno verano, vacaciones e intentando quedarnos dentro de casa, muy difícil con estas temperaturas altas. Cariños desde Argentina.

  4. I love seeing the photos of your home. I don't know if it's a typical English home or older, but it has a very mid-century vibe to me.
    The photo of the bars (treats) look very like what I make, called Scotcharoos. (Puff rice cereal coated in sugar/corn syrup & peanut butter; topped with chocolate and butterscotch chips, melted.) Dh's favorite bar/cookie.

    I tried to enlarge the photo of your cookbooks. I love "snooping" on other people's bookshelves. I have several of Nigel Slater's Cooking Diary books also. I'd like to find his tv shop on Youtube.
    Stay safe.

  5. You have a beautiful home! So warm and cozy. This post reminds me I need to clean out my fridge too! :) I agree that it hasn't been easy to navigate this past year while also trying to remember to do self-care. But you're right, Spring is right around the corner!

  6. My heart goes out to everyone in the UK as I don't see things getting better anytime soon.Born and raised in Leeds I now live in Tasmania where so far I haven't worn a mask or had to isolate. I wonder if Boris could have done at lot more a lot earlier to keep you all safer.Life as we know it has turned to crap with no end in sight - it's going to take a long time to vaccinate the whole world. Sending hugs - stay safe

  7. Those beach pictures made me long for a brisk walk along the sea, or at least some water - I am 800 km away from the North Sea here, and won't have a chance to travel anywhere for months.
    Yes, putting away the Christmas tree and all the other Christmas things is always a little sad, but at the same time so nice to get the space back. It's been a very snowy weekend here, but not all that cold, and by mid-week we expect temps as high as 10 Celsius!
    My Mum gave me a pot of tête-à-têtes, they are not yet as far advanced as yours, but growing every day - I can't wait for them to open, they will really brighten up the kitchen.

  8. Beautiful photos, and I've just noticed we have the same dog bed AND so many of the same cook books, although I have to have all my Nigel Slaters together and all my Nigella together, just me be pernickety I guess :-)

  9. You live in sea climate, I live in land climate. And what a difference. Snow and freezing cold lately. Like Librarian says, coming week 10 degrees Celsius predicted by the weather forecast! Seeing the sea is a deep wish for me, will take a while though. Oh well, my great grand uncle was inside for 4 years in the war, hidden away from the Nazis. Another story than a virus, is it? You're doing fine there, cocooning. I am afraid my size is affected, not a small anymore, after all that baking. XD

  10. This was such a lovely and peaceful post. Your home is beautiful. I agree with the commenter above, that your home feels a little mid-century, and it is such a nice feeling. I also love the beach photos. We don't live near the sea, but I wish we did. It is my absolute favorite. We try to go once a year to the beach, and I savor every moment there. We aren't on lockdown again here in Texas (yet?) but things are definitely ramping up again so I stay home as much as possible. Thank you for your post. It really brought a bright spot to my morning. :-)

  11. I live in Australia and it is really hot. Our lemon tree went berserk and produced a mega amount of lemons. Most years we would be lucky to get 20. This year we must have got 100 and probably more. Not wanting to waste any of them. I made a batch of lemon marmalade. I was sure it would look pale and unappetising. However, the sugar caramelises and I ended up with jars of sunshine. I have made about 40 jars and I think it’s the best marmalade I have ever made. I have given jars as gifts and recipients have been amazed, they are made f just lemons, sugar and water.
    Good luck with your marmalade efforts

  12. I have a brushed cotton duvet cover with a knit cable pattern on it. I am using it right now, it makes me feel so happy when I am under it. A lovely cosy hug. Chilly round these parts too. Stay Safe. CN x

  13. It's been very mild here with lots of rain. Our Boo is hairy and has short legs, so we try and stay away from muddy places, but it's not easy ( he's had more showers than I have! ) The Lockdown doesn't bother us to much as we live in a quiet place anyway. We shop once a week when it's quiet, watch lots of quiz shows and lots of detective series ( Midsomer, Poirot, Marple, Vera, Montalbano etc ) I crochet and John plays his farming game. Take care, J

  14. What a nice post here filled with so many happy things (food, family, dogs and flowers) my favorites... just to name a few. I've also started treating myself to weekly tulips from the market shop. Such a happy treat! You've inspired me to bake a loaf of sourdough bread. It'll pair perfectly with a lentil soup I have planned for later in the week. Take care, my friend.

  15. I don’t know whether you made the marmalade this past weekend or if it is planned for next weekend but I made mine, using the Waitrose Seville’s last week and it was so lovely, as usual. I do find their recipe calls for too much sugar as we like a bitter, tangy flavour so I always cut the sugar down drastically. Seville’s set so quickly that you don’t need so much sugar anyway. Making marmalade is such a joy in January and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

  16. I used to enjoy your recipe book reviews you did each month as I love cooking and a good cook book. I'm hoping you do them again this year with the new recipe books you got for Christmas!

  17. Happy 2021 ! I think it's your first post with so many picture of your dog and I like that so much. Your house is so beautiful too and "hygge", it mades me dreaming. Have a good day

  18. Seeing that photo of your stairs, reminded me of all of the wonderful projects you and your husband have completed to make your home so perfect! You have a wonderful eye for detail - in your home and in your blog. Thanks for the wonderful photos of your lovely life!

  19. I love how you have your how decorated. And Midsomer Murders...I was saying to my husband that I wish they would rerun the VERY FIRST ones from ages ago. They are a little like Agatha Christie novels, I've often forgotten who did what. (Not to say that I don't like the new Midsomer Murders.)

  20. Hope your new cook book cooking goes well and allows some relaxation and switch off time. Jo x

  21. I love the photo of Ziggy in the armchair! He looks so proud of himself.

    I got a pot of hyacinths from the supermarket the other day for the kitchen windowsill.

  22. Thank you for your pics and post. This brings me joy, especially seeing ziggy running free on the beach. Touches my heart. I also remember when I used to be an avid follower and you bought tulips and lovely little bunches of blooms, I do this too it’s so lovely and comforting. Keep safe and well


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