Friday, 25 December 2015

Seasons Greetings


Seasons Greetings to all of my readers out there in Blog Land and thank you so much for following my little ramblings this year.  May you find happiness this festive season and wishing you all good things for the New Year.

I'm taking a little blogging break until January - see you in 2016!



Monday, 21 December 2015

My Cosy Hygge Christmas



It seems to me that Christmas is not what it used to be - and in the UK, the festive season seems to be so much about consumerism these days - the pressure to eat, drink and be merry seems to be constant for most of December.  Perhaps its not really that bad, its just the way the marketing people make us feel. But you can't seem to venture out of your own home without the constant sound of the same old Christmas songs being played out loud wherever you go and it's difficult to travel anywhere at this time of year without getting caught up in traffic jams, while everyone seems to be getting stressed and grumpy about things that they shouldn't really be stressing about.  OK, whinge over, but sometimes I feel that I really would like to wind the clock back to simpler times.




I've always loved the "feel" of the winter season, when you can cosy up indoors, sit by an open fire, light candles, eat hearty home cooked stews and soups, drink hot chocolate and mulled wine, catch up with friends and family and reminisce about the past and plan for the future, and find some quiet time to curl up under a fleecy blanket and read a good book.  I also like pulling on warm outdoor clothes, and walking in the winter landscape and, with rosy cheeks, stopping off for a drink or a bite to eat in a cosy pub before venturing out for the walk back home again.




I've recently discovered the Danish have a word for this - hygge (pronounced - hoo - ga).  Roughly translated as "cosiness", but its that and more.  Even though the Danes have very long, cold winters (and in the middle of winter, it gets light late and goes dark early), the Danes are said to be the world's happiest people, and its down to attitude and embracing the things that make you feel happy and comforted by, rather than focusing on the negatives.  






Candles and mood lighting are always very hygge

as are embracing the weather and the things you find comforting















Its about being kind to yourself and to others.  Isn't this what Christmas, and life in general, should all be about?

cats are experts when it comes to hygge



Friday, 18 December 2015

Catching Up For Christmas



Things have been a little busy since returning from our travels so blog posts have suffered a little, but fear not, I am getting back into the swing of things again.

Last Saturday I took a walk into our local town to visit the charity shops to buy some Christmas cards and whilst there, couldn't resist a couple of purchases.


I found this Nuno Felted scarf for £4.  I bought it partly for inspiration for more textile projects next year, but it's a useful scarf to have anyway for brightening up my dark winter coat.

We've been in need of some cheap, every day type wine glasses (not that we drink wine everyday!) that are more robust than our elegant, tall stemmed glasses, which are so easily broken.  I came across these - £1 for all 4 of them.


I was drawn to the dragon picture on them but it wasn't until I got them home and looked up Green Dragon that I discovered its a drink based on cannabis and high alcohol spirits - at least we have a talking point when using the glasses now, but rest assured we'll only be using them for wine!


Because I've not been posting, it means I've not been mentioning my Slow Cooker Challenge, but it doesn't mean that I haven't been using it, so will post some recipes soon.  But another use for the slow cooker, which I'd forgotten about and which would be very handy for the festive season, is to use it as a means of keeping food or mulled drinks warm when serving buffet food to guests.

Finally, in my constant need to re-purpose things that may be of use to someone else, I've been thinking about giving used stamps to charity.  I'm saving up as many stamps as I can to send to Bobtails Rabbit and Guinea Pig Rescue as its nice to think they may be put to some use.  





Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A Traveller Returns




If you thought I'd gone a bit quiet, I've just returned from a 2 week trip to Florida.  I had planned to blog whilst away but it wasn't possible in the end although I did manage to pre-schedule one post for whilst I was away!

Yes, we did experience roller coasters, but we hired a car so that we could travel around and see a whole lot more.  We enjoyed our first ever Thanksgiving experience with family and managed to see the quieter and more natural side of the Sunshine State, away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando. 

Apart from spending precious times with family, other highlights of the trip included an airboat ride in the swamps, a prairie walk in close (maybe too close) proximity of alligators, eating pumkin muffins, waking up on the family farm to find a new baby calf (a big surprise as we didn't even know its mother was pregnant), paddling in canoes down the Silver River and observing the many turtles sunning themselves on logs and rocks, swimming in the hotel pool at night to the sounds of old style Christmas music (such as Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como and Nat King Cole), a trip to the space coast to the surfers' paradise of Cocoa Beach and a visit to the Kennedy Space Centre.

Not quite so enjoyable was coming to terms with driving in a different country, seeing snakes and leaning on a wooden fence to find it was covered in an outbreak of spiky caterpillars.

But my highlights list is way bigger than my not so enjoyable list - because we had such a fantastic time.

This was a big trip for us and we tried to do lots of different things.  Loads of photos were taken but here are a few snaps which hopefully mostly speak for themselves ...



Art

Surf Philosophy is Life Philosophy

Dunes

Cocoa Beach

Antique Shop at Micanopy


The Alligator and the Lizard

Big Boy Alligator

A Rocket and the Moon

Burt's Bees Natural Candles - when are you coming to the UK?

More Surf Phllosophy - an Attitude for Life

Mum Marley with her New Born Calf

Sleeping Flamingoes

The World of Harry Potter


About to board the Hogwart's Express

Migraine-Inducing but Funky Hotel Decor

Mix your own Frozen Yogurt at Mochi

Cheeky Squirrel

Evening swims in an empty hotel pool surrounded by Christmas lights and Ella Fitzgerald singing Winter Wonderland - surreal but bliss!

Fantastic Sunsets