Winter

Festive Photographs, Peanut Butter with Jam and a Very Cross Lady

It is late Friday afternoon and dusk is falling. I have just got home from the studio and my first job was to set about the business of switching on the lamps, fairy lights and lighting candles. I am about to put a match to the fire too; it has turned really chilly today. Having made myself a coffee I found a couple of stashed (and forgotten) squares of milk chocolate in the fridge. So thatโ€™s a high note for the end of the week!

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I have had the cosiest week. I have been feeling a little under the weather with what feels like the onset of a cold and it has really forced me to slow down. Iโ€™ve worked from home for most of the time, often next to the woodburner in the kitchen. There has been some online training, lots of stitching and lots of planning! I am pleased to have finalised my embroidery workshops for the Stitchery Retreat which is in just three weeks! We have five days in Cornwall; one day at the Cowslip Christmas fair, another out for Sunday lunch and three lovely hyggelig days of embroidery workshops. I have planned three exclusive kits for everyone and I am really looking forward to it.

I have also taken a few festive photographs this week. Loosely translated this means that I have tripped over fairy light wires more times than I care to mention, made countless cups of coffee in Father Christmas mugs and rummaged about in the garden in my nightdress and birkenstocks looking for Rosemary, Ivy and Holly and anything remotely โ€˜Christmassyโ€™. (It did not yield much.)

So I thought I would share my photos with you here on the blog. My Christmas kits are in production and I have an anniversary kit coming out in mid-December to round up a year of The Stitchery Journal. I love the Gift Vouchers that I have produced with Three Six Five Design and Oyster Bridge & Co. So beautiful. You can buy them here.

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In the spirit of a weekly round-up, this week I have also:

  • Started my Christmas shopping. For myself. Haha. So far, Father Christmas will be delivering a beautiful pair of Victoriana lace-up ankle boots, a pale rose cashmere sweater and a festive set of gorgeous fine silk embroidery threads (donโ€™t worry I got some thread for you too).

  • Finished two books; The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes and The Woolly Hat Knitting Club. Both very cosy reads.

  • Eaten three peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwiches. One of which was rustled up at the ungodly hour of 2am when I couldnโ€™t sleep for my rumbling tum.

  • Smothered my face nightly with an eye-wateringly expensive cream (Cult 51) which so far appears to be making no difference whatsoever.

  • Tried to rescue a very cross lady who was knocked off her push bike by a DPD driver right outside the studio. (I think she was cross because she was knocked over. Who wouldnโ€™t be. She was fine but her bike which โ€œcost thousands of pounds and isnโ€™t even my best bikeโ€ had a few scratches. I offered her a cup of tea and the use of my loo (which she crossly declined) and went inside for a cherry bakewell and a cup of tea to get over the shock. It is really scary to hear a van screech to a halt right by your window!

The weekend beckons and I have too many plans and not enough time. Lizzie is skipping about by my feet reminding me that it is her dinner time and Andrew will be home soon for a glass of wine and Killing Eve. What a lush day!

Have a great weekend, thanks for reading.

Love

Nicki xxx







Happiness is.....

spring flowers and jammy dodgers

Fresh, hot, coffee.   Pink roses.  New skeins of embroidery thread.  Old, slubby, linen.  Little bowls of pastel coloured sweets.  Long chats with friends on the telephone.  Giant jammy biscuits.  Taboo on the telly.  Long walks in the winter sunshine.  A niece with glittering eyes and rosy cheeks; happy after her first day at a new school.  Catching up with family over fish, chips and mushy peas.  Thick watercolour paper and little tubes of paint.  Art class.  Bath salts and lavender oil.  Heirloom quilts.  Homemade banana bread, pots of tea and stitching with friends.  Beautiful hand-dyed yarn.  Tiny clay hearts.  Old tins filled with art supplies.  Kindle library books.  Miniature zinc buckets for collecting threads.  

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We are a bit out of sorts here.  Andrew has ruptured his achilles tendon which means he is in plaster and on crutches.  Minimum of 8 weeks to recover and months of physio for him.  I am responding every five minutes to requests of "could I have a glass of apple juice" and "would you mind fetching my book for me".  The poor chap can't do anything; he is thoroughly miserable and I feel so sorry for him.  Hope he heals quickly, for both our sakes! 

Love 

Nicki xOx

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How to love Winter

Have you heard that today is 'Blue Monday'?  I am not sure I believe there is any science behind it and I kind of agree with Innocent Drinks that it was made up by someone in Marketing.  However, it does seem plausible.

As someone who has battled with bouts of anxiety and depression (thankfully less often these days than in previous years), I have to be extra kind to myself at this time of year.  I have found lots of tips and tricks to help support my mental health; principally mindfulness and meditation but also yoga, aromatherapy, journalling, knitting and chocolate.  

I used to hate winter.  September through to 31st December was (and still is) my very favourite time of year but as soon as New Year's Day hit I would feel the familiar dread and despondency of the looming winter months.  

I know that I am not alone and many of us feel like this, to varying degrees.  So far this year, though, I am loving winter.  Loving it!  So, I thought I'd share some of the little things that are giving me joy this January.  

  • I prepared well.  My Christmas list consisted of mainly books, craft kits and art supplies.  I chose a few books with winter themes and they were gifted to me by Andrew as a cheering 'bundle of books' to snuggle up with on the dark evenings.
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  • My new year resolutions are joyful and spoiling.  No strict diets, exercise regimes or money-saving schemes for me just now.  My number one resolution was to buy myself flowers every week.  So far, I've nailed it!  Daffodils were on sale in Aldi for 95p a bunch last week and I bought some hyacinth bulbs in Sainsbury's for the price of a coffee on Saturday.  Although the hyacinths are just shoots at the moment, it is really cheering to have some greenery around the place.
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  • Andrew and I made up a lovely big watch list on Netflix of all the boxsets and films that we have been meaning to watch.  Every single night we light the fire, cuddle up and watch an episode of something together.  We don't watch an awful lot of television; we don't really bother with the soaps or reality shows so it is nice to make an effort to watch something great on the box every day and means we make time for a smooch too.  (We are currently watching the American version of The Killing and really enjoying it; it is just as good as the Danish original.)
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  •  I walk every single day.  Lizzie gets dragged out, rain or shine, and at the very least we do a quick circuit of the village.  The fresh air and even the drizzle make me feel alive after a day working indoors.
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  • Soup!  I am working my way through one of my favourite soup recipe books.  Very little food is more comforting than a hearty bowl of soup and hunk of crusty bread.  Great way to eat more healthily too, as the ones we love most are chock full of veg.
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  • Something to look forward to helps; I am no artist but have signed up for weekly watercolour classes that start in February.  I took my first lesson in mid-December just before the teacher finished for the year and I am champing at the bit to start properly.  
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  • Self-care is always important but feels especially good when we have slipped into a habit of being hard on ourselves.  Gabrielle Treanor launched a free seven-day e-course called The Warm Embrace this year.  I have so enjoyed receiving her gentle emails, reminding me to look after myself and be kind.  The course is based on mindfulness and positive thinking - there is still time to sign up if you are interested and Gabrielle's website is packed with uplifting articles and photography.  
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  • Candlelight... Ah!  We all know how much I love candles and these antique black candlesticks in my shop are my absolute favourite.  I have them dotted around the house and use small pillar candles from Ikea which last ages and melt very prettily.  They make me feel Dickensian and cosy, trick me into thinking I live in simpler times.  They are rustic and old-fashioned and coordinate nicely with our black cast iron woodburners.  Treat yourself here if you fancy; I promise you will love them! 

I hope my approach to winter will help if you struggle at this time of year.  If nothing else, maybe it will be comforting to know that you are not alone.  If you have any other happy little tips it would be great if you could share them here or use my hashtag on instagram and twitter #blues_busting. I also recommend the hashtags #savouringJanuary2017 and #making_winter for some cosy, soul-warming photos. 

With my very best wishes for a joyful and healthy 2017.  Thank you for coming to visit this little webspace of mine, it is so nice to have you here for a virtual cup of tea every now and then.

Love

Nicki 

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