I took down our Christmas decorations today. I don’t think I’m ever ready to do that. But, it was high time to do it! Now, the cottage feels sparse, but not in a bad way. I don’t mind the clean bleakness of it all. There is something refreshing about the inside of the cottage mimicking the winter environment beyond its walls.
A mini “spring cleaning” session took place this afternoon, with every surface being wiped and scrubbed down, dusted and mopped and vacuumed too. The candles are lit, there are still twinkle lights glowing from little spots here and there and dinner is simmering away on the stove. So, life is good!
Out of the one hundred or so houses on our street, there are only seven houses left with Christmas lights still up. Not everyone on our street decorates their house, but enough do, to make our little street feel festive. As I walked to meet Mr. Michie after work last night, the street felt so very dreary. Those seven houses were a welcoming glow in the dark.
Our little house still has twinkle lights up and the decorations are still hanging. They will come down soon, but I’m soaking every last drop out of them that I can. January is such a dark month, it feels that we need all the twinkle and glow that we can get.
Once the decorations do come down and the house is thoroughly cleaned, there will be more candles out and some tiny twinkle lights still tucked here and there. It in this sparseness of winter that I feel the most need to fill our home with light. It is something that I always notice when we are in Denmark. Candles lit in restaurants and coffee shops all day; peering in through windows as we wind our way back to our little nest for the evening and spying rooms a glow with candlelight. Even one little candle shines with a warmth and hue that makes even the darkest spaces feel cozy and inviting.
If my weather checker is correct it appears that snow is on the horizon for us near the end of the month and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for at least one good snow day. A day with no school and the streets are quiet and the sounds of sledding can be heard and inside there is candles, music, laughter, homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and movie watching underneath a pile of blankets.
Reading through various blogs and scrolling through Instagram, oohing and aaahing at people’s photos of snow, which I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for, I’ve seen many people who have discussed their dislike for this time between Christmas and New Year’s. The general feeling is that we are in a holding pattern, just circling, waiting for the next year to begin. That these are the wasted days before the next big hoorah.
I don’t feel that way at all during this “in-between” time. I think this is the chance to truly relax, to enjoy the season. For the world is quieter around you and you can take it all in. There is a natural slowness to our rhythms at this time and I savour that pace.
Unlike others I’ve seen who took down their decorations on the 26th, ours are still going strong and they will continue to do so until Epiphany (January 6th) and to be honest, maybe a little longer than that. Then the twinkle lights shall be replaced by more candles and a handful of spring blooms. But we are still in winter and I don’t wish away these days. I like to revel and appreciate the season that I’m within.
These “in-between” days also hold another kind of magic for us, as today one of the inhabitants of this little cottage celebrates a birthday. So there is a cake cooling on the counter, dough rising on the stove and a birthday meal soon to be prepared as per the birthday boy’s wishes.
But, everything is still being done at a languid pace as we continue to enjoy the last drops that this year has to offer. And I think that is how it should be.
The cookies are baked and stored in tins, a “Pimped out Pumpkin Pie”, recipe courtesy of The American Pie Company is cooling on the counter. The turkey has been picked up from the butcher shop and a loaf of bread is on its second rise before being baked, cooled and cut up for stuffing.
There is a pecan cinnamon-sugar star bread in the freezer, that I made a few weeks ago, that will be pulled out on Christmas Eve to defrost and rise again and then be baked on Christmas morning and smothered in icing for breakfast.
Christmas music is playing, all the lights are twinkling. There is an excitement in the air, but a calmness to our pace. Tomorrow we shall work on final preparations for Christmas day and then Mr. Michie said he had a surprise up his sleeve for me. We’re going to see one of my favourite Christmas movies, “White Christmas” on the big screen. I can’t wait!
It always feels as Christmas will never come and then suddenly it’s here in a rush and a blur of lights and noise and torn Christmas paper and I don’t want to miss a thing! I’m going to savour every moment.
Hello, December! We’re so excited that you’re here. We’re ready for candlelit nights, Christmas music, sugar cookies, gingerbread men, pumpkin pie, chilly evenings and hot chocolate with marshmallows. I hope you bring us lots of snow this year.
There are still pumpkins on the mantel, a candle nestled in a bowl of acorns and conkers that we collected sitting on the kitchen table, an autumnal plaid flannel piece of fabric is covering our coffee table and twinkle lights are glistening on a little tree that stays up all year round is nestled next to the fireplace. Fall is still in the house as we prepare for Thanksgiving next week. Our cherry red tea kettle is boiling away most evenings on the stove, as tea and cookies are keeping us going.
I like to enjoy each season that I’m in, I don’t want to miss anything. That’s not always easy to do, when you’re bursting at the seams for the next season to hurry on it’s way. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been listening to Christmas music non-stop! As the nights draw in closer, it just makes everything feel so cheery. Candlelight and Christmas music, what could be better?
We are still in Autumn though and I’m on countdown for Thanksgiving. The first major bit of grocery shopping has been tackled, so there are just a few things left to tick off the list. I’ve got a checklist for myself, so I don’t forget to do anything in my excitement over Thanksgiving. I’m keeping it simple, but cozy. And I have something fun planned for our Thanksgiving weekend to kick off our Winter celebrations. But, now my kettle is whistling and it’s time to make another cup of tea..
I hope you have a lovely weekend, wherever you may be.
From Friday night until we went to bed late on Sunday, we were pretty much constantly being sprinkled with snow flakes. It would come down heavy for awhile, stick and a few hours later dissipate from the sidewalks and road and then start all over again.
After Saturday night everything had iced over and then it snowed on top of the ice, so it was hard to tell where you could walk and where you would start ice skating, when we headed out for a run on Sunday. After ice skating for a bit down the road, we decided to head to the coffee shop to warm up with hot chocolates. I made fast friends with a little furry girl, whose coat was so tight and curly, it was like running your fingers through an ebony shag rug. Her name was Roxy and I got lots of kisses.
It was 15°F when we got up yesterday morning and the ice was still pretty thick in places, so there was no run for me. I hate not being able to get out there, but it is better to take a day off, then six weeks off, because I’ve ended up in a cast with a broken limb.
I headed out early this morning and the air was so cold and clean. The ice had mainly melted, but you could still see it here and there in places. However, I did skate over the train tracks footbridge, as it had remained a solid sheet of ice. Snow still speckled the earth. Thicker in some places than in others.
I love how the snow changes the landscape. Things become more pronounced or softly hidden under a blanket of white. As I made my way to the woods this morning, I only passed one other person, it was so quiet. The birds were singing and I watched a magpie couple slowly build a nest. He flew back and forth carrying small sticks in his beak while she flittered about and helped.
Now, I’m home, defrosting with a cup of tea. The sky is pearly grey. I’ve got buttermilk rolls rising on the counter for dinner tonight and I had just enough buttermilk left over to make another loaf of my Nana’s Irish Soda Bread. Happiness is…
I’ve tried to come here half a dozen times this week, with no luck. I’m hoping we’ve turned the page on all of our January craziness. It’s rare that I wish away time, but here’s hoping February brings with it a chance to breath.
I know the British don’t celebrate Groundhog Day, but I still like to feel that what Phil has to say, applies to this little island as well. He saw his shadow this morning, so it’s six more weeks of winter. The weather report says that snow is a possibility for us next Friday. So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’re right. I couldn’t think of a better way to go into a weekend than surrounded by a winter wonderland.
Here’s to the beginning of this weekend, long may it last!
The weekend is finally upon us and after this week it is very much deserved. The cottage is clean and tidy for the weekend. We have sunshine today, which like our plants on the windowsill, I’m drinking in as much as possible because the weather forecast says it’s gonna rain for the next five days. It’s cold, but it’s sunny. It was 24°F when I went out for my run this morning. I felt like a popsicle, but the air was so clean and the woods were so quiet.
The twinkle lights are on and a steaming cup of ginger tea is sitting next to me. The house is quiet except for the soulful sounds of Gladys piping across the living room. Amongst other things there’s been a lot of Gladys Knight & The Pips being played around the house lately. Below are two of my favourites.