Winter wanderings

Winter WanderingsWinter is a strange season as it bridges the gap between the year’s polar opposites. While spring, summer and autumn all have a unique flavour that is usually predictable from beginning to end, winter embraces many emotions and characters. It is the only season where the mood and mindset change dramatically in the middle. At the beginning, the warmth, hope and joy of Christmas are all-consuming and they wrap up the year, offering time to reflect on the highs and lows of the past 12 months. But the season’s end welcomes in a New Year which, although cold and often marked by post-Christmas blues, is also ripe with possibility. For me, January often ends up as a strange month without any discernable purpose, so if you’re like me, here are some ways to stay in the moment through the whole of this coming winter.

  • Food & Drink: Toffee nut latte with chocolate hazelnut loaf
  • Bake: Snickerdoodles & Pflaumenkuchen
  • Places to visit: Germany
  • Play in the snow (if we get any!)
  • Do some Christmas crafts – most of mine involve Cinnamon sticks!
  • Watch lots of movies: The Holiday, Miracle on 34th Street, Muppet’s Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually
  • Experience a Christmas market – Köln Weihnachtsmarkt is just perfect
  • Buy a calendar for the New Year
  • Start on some New Year goals – make plans for the year, book tickets to shows and search out new restaurants
  • Go to a museum – it’s low season in January so much quieter and you can take your time
  • Go to coffee shops and watch the world go by
  • Have a long hot bath with candles and a good book
  • Prepare for spring – get ahead of the game with a pre-spring clearout
  • Make the most of the slower pace of life by sipping wine (or, my preference, G&T) late into the night with friends, dreaming about what the year ahead might bring

Winter may be the odd season out, but it can still bring joy if you live it in the moment!

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Autumn jaunts

IMGP0491bMy favourite season of all is fast approaching. For me, Autumn (September to November) is the perfect temperature, the perfect speed of life and the anniversary of me meeting my hubby. For me, Autumn is synonymous with joy. If you’ve lived life in the moment in spring and summer, here are a few ways to make sure the delight of this new season doesn’t pass you by.

  • Food & Drink: Pumpkin spiced lattes & Butternut squash… everything!
  • Bake: Chocolate torte with autumn leaves
  • Places to visit: New England
  • Walks, walks, walks
  • Splash in puddles (who says this has to be confined to spring?)
  • Wake up early and go for a sunrise walk
  • Drink Baileys hot chocolate while watching November 5th fireworks
  • Make S’mores
  • Gather acorns and pine cones ready for Christmas decorations
  • Take a photo surrounded by Autumn leaves – or throw them in the air!

Probably because a school calendar is hardwired in my brain, Autumn for me is still a time for new beginnings, a hopeful fresh start as the temperature too becomes fresher. We’ll see if any new challenges or opportunities arise for this favoured season.

Soaking up summer

summerThe air is changing again, this time to a hopefully warmer climate with long days of sunshine and seemingly endless hours to relax and soak up some much needed Vitamin D. Just like spring, there are ways to enjoy this season (which I consider as June to August) that are unique to the characteristics it brings on its breeze, so even if you’re not off on a summer holiday, here are some ways you can make the most of this summer.

  • Food & Drink: Pimms, cider, salads and BBQs of course!
  • Bake: Grasshopper pie for Wimbledon or an avocado chocolate cake
  • Places to visit: Colorado
  • Go for a long walk at dusk
  • Make Sprite floats… or Coca-Cola floats if you prefer
  • Go on a road trip in the sunshine
  • Pick fruit! Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries…
  • Find a waterfall and watch the sunlight make a rainbow
  • Watch a movie outdoors (local venues often have a temporary outdoor theatre in the summer – worth watching out for!)
  • Paint in the park
  • Have an evening picnic in the park after dinner, just for drinks and dessert
  • Sat outside at a pub with friends in the evening with a cold drink
  • Make ice cream and smoothies
  • Eat breakfast outside – only in the summer months are those early hours warm enough for this. Make the most of it!
  • Go punting (my favourite is to go from the Cherwell Boathouse in Oxford)
  • Listen to the dawn chorus. It’s light and warm when the birds start their singing and it’s quite something to hear them!

Spring things

I adore the seasons, all of them, even if my favourite is Autumn. I love that just as one season is coming to an end, I’m perfectly ready for the new one to arrive. The change is good for me; I am refreshed by the shift in the air, the temperature, the mood and all that they represent.

I always try to make the most of what makes each season unique, so as spring approaches (and to me, spring is March-May), here are a few ways to make sure spring and all that it brings, is enjoyed in the moment.

springthings

  • Food & Drink: Elderflower cordial on a picnic
  • Bake: Mini-egg cupcakes & creme egg brownies
  • Places to visit: Northern Ireland, New York and Paris
  • Decorate the house with tulips and daffodils
  • Go to see some lambs
  • Visit a garden centre and plant something new in a windowsill box
  • Take a photo under a cherry blossom tree
  • Empty your handbag and restock only with what you need, not what you’ve accumulated!
  • Do a spring clear-out (if not a spring clean!)
  • Put on some wellies and splash in puddles

Calm excitement

When we got married three years ago, a lot of people asked us: “So, how is married life? Is it just wonderful? Are you excited?” To which, more often than not, I responded, “It’s great. It’s… normal.”

I didn’t mean that it wasn’t wonderful and exciting, but that it was something even better than that, it was perfectly natural. We had seamlessly transitioned into our new lives with each other and it felt wonderful to be so completely comfortable and at home with the man I married. Normal was good. It, in itself, was exciting, in a way that was so far beyond the ‘jump up and down’ sort of excitement.

Yesterday another big change came on my horizon and when friends asked how I felt, I responded that I was still processing (I’m an introvert, of course I was processing) but that it was exciting and normal. I wasn’t anxious or nervous about the transition time but I wasn’t jumping up and down either. It’s strange how excitement can look different depending on the situation.

Whilst I’m sure that the more conventional form of excitement will appear at some point and although there are certain to be some nerves, I am thankful that for now, my excitement is calm so that I can figure out and absorb this change.

I am so looking forward to this new chapter and so grateful that this goal has been reached so early on in the year!