We have had some moments of sunshine in amongst the dreary rain showers over the last few days, now that term has started and I'm back at work. I've noticed them as I flit around school, and just for a couple of minutes it's felt wonderful. The sky has been bright and clear, and my reactive glasses have turned into sunglasses by the time I got indoors again. It has felt like a foretaste of spring, even though there's a good while to go before it arrives. In the garden bulbs are coming up and a single pale yellow daffodil is blooming, certainly the earliest one I can remember for a very long time, a result of the incredibly mild temperatures we've had so far this winter. The weather forecast is predicting more wintry weather next week with snow falling in some places, and dropping temperatures. I'm ready, but I hope that nature can cope with this, now that it thinks spring is here.
Indoors I've followed my yearly tradition of having bulbs on the kitchen windowsill as soon as Christmas is over. The hyacinth bulbs which I potted up back in October have come up a lovely shade of soft pink with the most delicious fragrance. They really are such a treat, and not very expensive at all if you buy the bulbs in the autumn and put them in a pot full of compost yourself. From mid-spring onwards when they have finished blooming I always plant them outside in the garden and enjoy them growing there in following years.
This one is changing colour from green to the palest blue.
I've squeezed in a bit of creativity this weekend with some jewellery-making. It only took me 20 minutes to make a pair of cranberry-coloured earrings and a ceramic button necklace. You may notice that it's got a small crack across it. After I bought the button in Cornwall last summer I managed to drop it onto our newly-tiled kitchen floor. You can imagine how cross I was! However it was a clean break and I repaired it with some superglue, and I think it's not too noticeable, as it's far too nice a button to throw away.
After the excess of Christmas I'm enjoying a simpler diet again and am drinking herb teas. We have quite a collection of them in our kitchen cupboard as D is very keen on them, but this Rose Lemonade tea is one of mine. As you know, I love roses to smell, admire and to cook with. This tea really captures the essence of a scented garden and makes me dream of summer.
In recent years I've enjoy dispelling the January gloom with some sparkly light in the form of fairy lights festooned around the dining room, and this year is no exception.
And on the kitchen shelves too. You can't have enough of them in my opinion. They brighten the house and are often half price or less in the sales after Christmas.
On the subject of light, I thought I'd show you the scented candles which I made last month. I couldn't reveal them before as they were Christmas presents for my friends. I made three batches of soy wax candles in different colours and added essential oils to them. There were sweet orange, geranium and lavender and lavender and lemon ones. I had such fun making them and packaging them up in pretty cellophane and ribbons.
I bought these vintage teacups last summer at a garden which we visited, and filled them with lemon and lavender-scented wax in a pale yellow colour. They do smell good.
I love lighting candles at this dark time of year, and am calmed and cheered by their flickering flames.
It's even better if they're in a twinkly glass holder.
Three years ago when it last snowed properly here I took a couple of candles outside in the snow for a mini photo-shoot. I love the wintry combination of fire and ice, and enjoyed watching the flames reflecting off the white fluffy crystals around them.
Who knows? Perhaps we'll have some of the white stuff here this week. It's certainly turned a lot colder. Wherever you are I hope you stay cosy and enjoy a bit of sparkle too.
See you soon x