So we are now one month into the New Year, I wonder how it's been for you all? I hope you've all had a bright and happy start to 2012 and that you've managed to keep those sneaky January Blaaaaahs at bay. I've had a pretty fabulous start to the year, lots of creativity here as you know which has been a lovely way to launch into 2012. You can't beat a good dose of happy colour and creativity to keep the spirits up.
I'm going to be continuing my tradition of monthly Calendar Appreciation throughout this year, I can hardly believe this will be my fifth year of doing this funny little thing. Wow, how time flies.
I've got the ever wonderful Ideal Homes calendar on the wall next to my desk here.....
....and a rather scrumptious new Planner type calendar in the hall to keep me on track with family life.
The Ideal Homes calendar does not disappoint, not ever. I love love love it. I stopped buying the magazine a while ago as it no longer appealed (some very iffy interiors with waaaaay too much funky wallpaper and horrendous colour choices for me to stomach). But the free calendar which appears with each December issue remains a true gem. Twelve incredibly beautiful, seasonal photographs which I truly look forward to gazing at every month.
My family planner calendar was a last minute buy when I suddenly realised after Christmas that I needed one and didn't have one. I really love it actually, but it does make me feel peckish for cakes every time I look at it. I could just do with a cupcake or two right now, mmmmmm.
Isn't January always a super-long month? It seems to me that it contains maybe eight weeks instead of four. I can hardly believe that the beginning of January still contained the tail-end of Christmas, it seems soooo far behind us now.
We haven't had many crisp, bright winter mornings here as it's mostly been a very wet, grey sort of a month with low light levels. But there were a few times when we did get some beautiful skies in January. Oh and I did appreciate them!
And throughout the past month I've certainly noticed (with a glad heart-skip) that our days are slowly but steadily lengthening again. We are still eating our breakfast with the curtains closed, but the evening is arriving almost an hour later than it did in December. I live in a very housey neighbourhood with only small glimpses of the sky (excepting the attic view of course) but I do really love to star and moon gaze up through the chimney pots and rooftops.
My usual healthyish diet went completely to pot over the Christmas period and continued to be rich, extravagant and naughty well into January. I kept trying to curb my sweet tooth, but my sugar cravings have been extraordinary. I'm looking now at those two mugs of deliciously topped hot chocolate (a New Years Day treat for Little Lady and myself) and I honestly feel like I want to eat my computer....ahhh fond memories.
I love baking in the winter months, and my January photo folder is full of the evidence. Scrummy pictures of jam laden victoria sponge, all-butter shortbread and moist banana bread have been sending me into a spin of craving. I'm pretty much back on track with myself now though, back to snacking on fresh fruit with just a weeny daily quota of sweet stuff.
That's altogether how January has felt really....an effort to get oneself Back On Track. Back to routine, back to the daily business of ticking over. I found it quite a struggle when the Little People went back to school after Christmas, they are especially excellent at keeping their Little Brother happy and we both felt a bit adrift when it was just down to the two of us again. But it didn't take long and we soon got back into enjoying the gentle rhythm of our days together.
I've been managing to maintain my enthusiasm for Keeping House so far this year, and am still diligently carrying out my daily swishing and swiping, laundry duties and hot-spot control. My weekly Home Blessing hour is still going strong too, and I've come to look forward to my Friday mornings, more than I ever thought possible. I carried out a little bit of extra decluttering and tidying around my desk area too in January (including the windowsill above, which is directly behind my desk), and I felt so great when I'd done it. I really MUST apply myself wholeheartedly to the Shelves of Doom next as they are beginning to cause arguments. Stuff keeps getting eaten by them, which makes J Very Cross Indeed, cos getting the shelves to spit stuff back out again is not easy. Near impossible actually.
Anywaaayyyyyyyyyyy.....lets not get bogged down with Bad Home Vibes. I want to show you some freezing cold January pictures now. Icy cold, brrrrrrrrrrrr. We've had low, low temperatures here of late. No snow yet this year, but quite a bit of frost and ice.
These pictures were taken a couple weeks ago in mid January, and it's the same scene at the moment too. The canal is frozen over and the poor ducks and swans are slip sliding across the ice.
There are still a fair few canal boats coming and going when the ice thaws and they can travel the waterways. It always looks so cozy when you see a boat with a steady plume of wood smoke rising from the chimney. That smell of icy air and woodsmoke will forever remind me of this town in wintertime, I've come to love it very much. It smells like Home.
And the Attic view in January? Some incredible golden-pink morning light.....
.....and some welcome low afternoon sunshine.
Oh, and lots of white frosty stuff too. Mind you, for many days in January there has been no view to speak of as the hill has been completely obscured. It really has mostly been a month of damp, wet and grey.
My January mosaic isn't damp and grey though, it seems I've been subconsciously combatting the weather with lots of colour, warmth and coziness inside.
Fresh flowers, green shoots, colourful yarn, delicious baking, snuggly socks, roaring flames, cozy blankets, sweet creativity. January goodness.