Hello again, and thank you all for your kind comments - it's very nice to be back. Now that we have broken up for the holidays a sense of comparative calm has descended, and already we have reached the shortest day. I love the winter solstice, with it's cold, clear skies and promise of longer, warmer days to come. You can read about why I enjoy this time of year so much here and here.
It's all about light and the celebration of its return at this dark time of year, and I do love to light candles, making the house cosy and warm.
Returning home on a dark afternoon, putting the heating on and switching on the Christmas lights is such a pleasure. I love to make things look twinkly and welcoming when the light levels are so low outside.
There's some greenery and foliage too, to brighten our home with growing things. The hyacinth smells wonderful.
This week I've had time to concentrate on home life and have been busy with our Christmas preparations. At the weekend we went shopping in Wells, and I felt the usual sense of peacefulness that this beautiful place induces. It's medieval architecture is just right for me at Christmas time.
I imagine centuries of people sitting on this worn window seat.
Above our heads starlings were chattering and roosting in the trees as light levels fell.
I hosted a little get-together earlier in the week with four of my best friends who I've now known for over two decades; a festive craft session in which we made some table decorations and clove-studded oranges. I gathered lots of greenery from the garden, having already bought some mistletoe and crab apples. Here it all is ready for my guests.
I added heather from the garden this year, as well as purple callicarpa berries, cranberries and some bright red and white candles.
We drank mulled wine and ate mince pies and snacks, and it was all very jolly and convivial.
So jolly and convivial, in fact, that I completely forgot to take any photos of the event itself! Here instead is my finished table centrepiece, with some added feathers brought by one of my lovely guests. We made clove-studded oranges too. Their fragrant, spicy scent is the smell of Christmas for me. And with the left-over foliage I'm going to make a wreath for the front door.
Hope you're finding some time to relax during your festive preparations too x