Sunday, 7 March 2021

Sunny but Cold


It's been a busy couple of weeks. The end of half term, a birthday in the house, spring came - briefly - for one weekend, then the frosts came back reminding me not to get too excited yet, and now Bella and Angus are getting ready for going back into school tomorrow.

I celebrated turning another year older. As lockdown birthdays go it was actually quite nice and not wildly dissimilar to my usual celebrations. Bella made me a cake. Family and friends dropped round presents and lots of things came through the post. We went for a walk and got takeaway tea and cake, then had a takeaway Indian that evening.  I opened a bottle of fizz. All in all, it was really nice. Being able to invite people inside and hug them would have been preferable, obviously, but still nice.

My present, from John and family, was an Ooni wood fired pizza oven. I am very excited about this and am planning lots of scenarios involving friends and family coming round for pizza. Or any food for that matter - it will just be lovely to have guests in the house or garden, or dream about a time in the future when that might be possible.

Last weekend the weather was beautiful, sunny and warm enough to not need a coat. I took a lot of pleasure in doing simple things like hanging washing on the line, tidying up the front garden, planting flowers and enjoying the smell of cut grass. 

Bulbs are coming up here and there: daffodils and hyacinths for now, with tulips on the way.

Around this time of year I always get a new energy for doing jobs in the house and garden and start making plans. This includes:
  • change some light fittings, install a light in our hall coat cupboard, an outside plug socket and light
  • get the chimney swept
  • tile behind the wood burner
  • built-in bookshelves in the living room
  • paint the garden fence
  • sort the leak in the garage roof
  • replace the shed
It's a varied list. Some things we can do ourselves, others we need to get a professional for, like electrics. Some are necessary (leaky garage roof) while other jobs, such as bookshelves in the living room, remain under debate as John cannot see how this is essential. 

This year, we are finally replacing our old, dilapidated and too small garden shed. It was second hand to us, so I feel that it's had good use, but is quite literally falling to pieces.

We plan to move the shed to a different corner of the garden, below, where the children's trampoline used to live. After many years of use it was time for it to go, and now we have a ten foot space which needs to be leveled in preparation for installing a new, larger shed. I am quite excited by all this, and also wondering what to do with the spot where the old shed currently resides. I am undecided. 

Something about the extra light and longer days always makes me want to refresh rooms and give things a bit of a change around. We recently moved the multicoloured rug that was in the living room upstairs to go on the painted floorboards in our bedroom, and have replaced it with this neutral IKEA rug. I love it. It feels both lighter and calmer.

I find that, working full time during the week, I really lose track of what food we have in the house, what needs eating up first, that sort of thing. I  hate having to throw food away (I will eat pretty much anything reheated for lunch the following day) and so I spent a happy couple of hours in the kitchen yesterday, going through the fridge and batch cooking for the week.

I used a very tired cauliflower and broccoli in soup with some sprouting potatoes, adding thyme and mustard before blending at the end. I found half a butternut squash and a punnet of tasteless cherry tomatoes. I roasted both with za'tar and then added quinoa and feta cheese. The cherry tomatoes no longer taste bland but are transformed by the roasting and seasoning, and I have four more lunches for this week.

Angus baked blondies last weekend and white chocolate and cranberries cookies yesterday. Bella has started doing all our ironing (she gets paid £1) and yesterday she cooked dinner too: creamy pasta with peas and pancetta, her favourite. I have found that so long as the children are cooking food that they are really invested in eating, they are much more keen to get involved.

I am slowly working on this crochet jumper. It is slow progress because I only have the energy for a couple of rows a night, but I have now completed the body and have nearly finished the first arm. 

The bobbles absolutely eat the yarn but they are fun and they feel amazing. I am excited to wear this when it's finished.

I completed February's stitches on my Stitch A Day sampler. It was an easy month to do, with pancake day, my birthday, Valentine's Day etc. It is hard to think of things to sew some days, so I have to get quite creative.

In February's section, we have: welly boots, ox (Chinese/Lunar New Year), gyoza dumpling, prosecco, daffodil, takeaway coffee, laptop, a gift, birthday cake, pancake, bobble hat, heart shaped biscuit, fossil, notepad, heart, WiFi, rhubarb, the number 43, primulas, a rain cloud, crocuses, a running shoe, catkins, a meal worm, sprig of fir tree, slice of pizza, divide symbol and bird footprints. 

March and April will be in shades of blue, then May and June green. I am enjoying the meditative process of a little sewing each day (or a couple of hours at the weekend) especially as the days are getting longer. 


  1. That's a lovely birthday cake Bella made you. I was like you last weekend - out brushing the patio, hanging washing on the line - it was glorious. Your sampler is looking really good too.

  2. Well Happy Birthday. Your jumper is looking splendid, I actually really like it as a tank - it would look great with a white shirt underneath or a navy striped T. we are gardening here but with an old farm yard to kick into some kind of shape on clay soil, it is hard going.

  3. Snow is still melting - no gardening yet!

  4. Belated Happy Birthday wishes from me, too! Mine is coming up in two weeks, and as we are not allowed gatherings of more than 5 people, a proper party is of course out of the question. But I am taking the day and the next (Monday and Tuesday) off, so my birthday gift to myself is TIME - something that seems to be getting rarer every month!
    Your sampler is lovely, and so are (as usual) the pictures of your house and garden. I am looking forward to you showing us what the garden looks like once the shed is replaced, and what will happen to the empty space where the old shed is now.

  5. Happy birthday and good luck as es kids return to school! And you have blossom 💕. I have yet to see any up here in Yorkshire!

  6. The Stitch a Day Sampler is looking brilliant. Do you start in the middle and work out or the outer edge and work inwards?

  7. Birthday cake looks delicious. Enjoyed reading your post.It's a nice feeling to have something that our kids make.

  8. All four seasons in one month, eh, goodness. Warm socks and tee's. But... snowdrops and daffodills makes spring to me. Is the shed in a good place for a little terras for the pizza oven? And happy belated birthday wish from me, may this year be a good one. All the pics are lovely. You creative girl.

  9. Wishing you a belated Happy Birthday! It sounds like you had a very nice day. We still have lots of snow so I am enjoying reading about other people's springs! I love your embroidery project. Hope you have a great week!

  10. Happy Birthday - great cake Bella made. We had a new shed a couple of years ago now, we had it made and had an extra foot on the back so it is 4'x 7' instead of the usual 4' x 6' and that extra foot has made all the difference, surprisingly we can get so much more in there.
    Your craft projects are coming on well, love the colours.

  11. Love the sampler, what a great idea

  12. Happy birthday. I enjoy reading your blog. My life is not so different and yours help me see the bright side of things. Thank you for sharing

  13. There really is something so gratifying about batch cooking and finding uses for all the odds and ends in the refrigerator!

  14. Isn't it lovely to be able to get washing out on the line again. Simple pleasures but they do make us happy don't they.
    Crochet jumper and sampler are looking great too.

  15. I love your blog!And your house,yours recipes(I already tried a couple) and all of it. Sorry for my english, I live in Canada, Quebec, french :)
    So happy that I found you!

  16. Just reading your blog makes me feel so happy. Absolutely love your jumper and your beautiful daily stitching piece.


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