Home ~ A Year On

Coming back home the other night, I was met at the front door by the first opening bud on our rambling rose bush, winding upwards and standing tall. It reminded me so much of seeing it emerge this time last year – when we had only been in our new home a few weeks, everything still felt very strange and new, and we were just at the very beginning of settling in. I had been waiting to see what colour the roses would turn out to be when the buds opened, and I remember loving the vibrancy of them when they did.

Seeing them at the same stage again just transported me back and it’s strange to remember how different everything was then. When we moved in I worried I’d never love it like our last little house we’d been in so long – and yet in the one short year we’ve lived here it has been so poured full of memories and family life that it feels like we’ve been here forever.

We’ve had our first summer; watched the rowan berries appear – and the delighted starlings “disappear” them as quickly as they did; the autumn colours creep in, with the busyness of harvesting going on in the fields all around; our first Christmas, lights twinkling in the windows; an extra-long winter with history-making snowdrifts and village efforts to get dug out during the “Beast from the East”; a long-awaited spring, white and yellow daffodils lining the fence… and are now back in the season of days in the garden feeling the warmth of the sun.

Home in all its seasons

I remember the first time I watched the sun rise over the town in the distance – up early for a flight for work and needing to leave for the airport, but not wanting to look away for a moment.

Now, I’m so used to the view, watching the sheep graze outside the window and the windmill up on the hill whir and catch the fading light while we’re settling the little one down every night.

This year has been a whirlwind and there have been lots of changes as we’ve made our house our own. The utility room has become a totally practical space for laundry, storage and most of all our little rat boys – it’s the perfect home for them being so cool and set apart from the rest of the house but still accessed all the time, and they enjoy the coming and going so much. Upstairs, it’s been lovely to transform the spare room (briefly host to an air bed and a grand total of two overnight guests) into a bedroom for our daughter, enjoying decorating and adding new little bits and pieces all the time. There’s been a flurry of activity in the garden too since the weather improved, much-appreciated family team efforts to a build a shed and a fence to make it safest for when the era of toddling begins – and adding brightly coloured flower boxes, which caught Jasper’s attention on an early morning coffee in the garden before the rest of the house woke!

Life moves on at such a pace it’s hard to keep up with the passing of time, and I can’t believe it’s a year – and a good bit more now – since we arrived here. It is so lovely sometimes to pause and look back at the journey and appreciate it all – and catching sight of the bright pink of our roses once again gave me a jolt and a moment to do just that.. ♥️🏡

Have a lovely week all xx

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The Pets of Christmas Past… 🎄

This weekend has been Christmas decorating weekend in our little house; and yesterday we spent a busy but enjoyable day dragging our beloved (if a little lopsided!) potted Christmas tree in from the garden for his annual stint indoors and hanging our lights, stockings and strings of cards and decorations around the rooms – before settling in for a lovely and cosy night around the tree, watching It’s a Wonderful Life (♥️) and enjoying the season really and truly being here.

Earlier in the day, as we began the preparations, I did try to engage the boys in playing their role and even offered them a little festive hat each to get them in the spirit (thank you innocent smoothie caps! 😂😂) but, alas, in true Jasper and Jet style, they were not to be convinced that Christmas dressing-up was the way forward – though, if allowed, they would have spent a happy half hour shredding the pom poms off the top… 🙄

Laughing at the wee ones’ antics got me to reminiscing about all the many Christmasses we’ve shared over the years with the furry members of our family, what characters they’ve been and those who have loved the season most. So, on a very frosty Sunday morning, holed up cosily with a coffee under the twinkling lights, have enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane and recalling some of our favourite Christmas memories with the little ones.

There was never anyone for donning a Santa hat, languishing in front of the fire and lights, tearing into a stocking and most of all revelling in every shred of packing paper like our floppy-eared lionhead rabbit Simba, who made all the Christmasses we were blessed enough to share with him that little bit fuller of chaos and joy.

The first few years my husband and I lived together, in the much-loved little old cottage that was our first home, were years we loved so much – and that we filled with rats, hamsters and Simba as their ring-leader, enjoying them all so very much. I always loved filling stockings for the wee ones and coming up with new ways for them to enjoy the season – but mostly they found those themselves too just in exploring all the new climbing frames and exciting obstacles around the room December brought – most of all the prickly green one!

Some of my much-loved rats of Christmas past – Smokie, Peatie, Sylvie, Lizzie, Chae, Winston and Pipkin – enjoying their Christmas stockings and presents ♥️♥️

… and a few of the most intrepid Christmas-tree climbers and decorating helpers – Smokie, Peatie, Simba, Little Gracie-hamster and Harvey & Ty ♥️♥️ –

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas in Scotland without some wonderful snow memories too – out with the fluffy pony, who is never happier than in the thick of winter stomping around in his bear-like coat, or at my mum and dad’s with their dogs and cats.

Christmases and games in the snow with Charmer, Ginny, Maisie, Phoebe and Jess ♥️♥️

Christmas morning at the farm especially fills me with a cosiness I can’t describe, and I absolutely love a trip along there as the start of our Christmas Day – everything so still and crisp outside, the barn so full of warmth, and my boy ready to share in some merriment.

So grateful for all the wonderful Christmases we’ve had over the years, and all the wonderful characters we’ve shared them with. Enjoying the beginnings of and looking forward to this one more than ever before, and lovely to spend a quiet weekend getting ready for the festivities ahead.

Merry Christmas all.🎄✨♥️ xx

Happy Advent ♥️❄️✨🕯

December has arrived at last, tumbled towards through the beauty and transition of autumn and early winter; and is now fully settled in, bringing with it all its usual cosiness and warmth.

I love the first morning of advent so much, calendars being opened and the countdown to Christmas truly beginning. Jasper and Jet got stuck in to opening their first door this morning, and were delighted with the dandelion treats they found inside!

I look forward every day to my early-morning routine of breakfast treats and a few minutes with them while the kettle boils, getting ready for the day to begin; but it was lovelier than ever today letting them explore the very beginnings of their first Christmas.

At the farm, too, I love to bring a bit of festivity early to Charmer’s stable with the same, and during the breakfast-and-muck-out routine we’ve hit the ground running with this week, the old boy was happy enough to take the first of his extra treats and do his best to help with the opening…

Arrived to the loveliest extra surprise too from our yard owners of an advent calendar for every horse outside our stable doors – we have in the past discovered stockings of treats for them at Christmas, or chocolate eggs and urns of coffee out on a table for us all on Easter morning, and it’s just such a nice reminder of the kindness and camaraderie of the livery yard, and of what a blessing it really is – especially when it can be such a big responsibility and such a challenge to find – to have a place for the pony to live that suits him and me so perfectly.

This has been the first week of my maternity leave, and, with work finished up now for a while, I have had some extra time for organising and pottering inside the house and out, getting the last things ready both for our new arrival and for Christmas time (our two new seasons ahead!) so have started on some gift-wrapping and preparing a little earlier than usual. Still, this morning, with the arrival of Advent itself, I feel the usual excitement I do every year at the idea of the preparations picking up pace, darkness falling earlier and earlier each day while lights begin to twinkle more and more in the homes around us as we head towards Christmas time.

At night, the togetherness and cosiness of this time of year really comes in to its own, and I love to get in to the warmth for the evening and light our advent candle for the first time, starting a month-long tradition that will count us down to Christmas morning and bring a peaceful and lovely hour to our every evening while we wait.

A very happy Advent / winter to all, wishing you all the loveliest December. ❄️✨ x

Weekend fun with the furry babies… ♥️

This weekend has been one gratefully got to after a busy week, and one I’ve enjoyed so much, spending time with family, friends and of course the furry family we’re blessed to have in our lives too.

It’s been cold but sunny, thick frosts lingering til mid-day but the sun as high in the sky as it ever tends to reach at this time of year and the days beautiful – last leaves falling and everything glinting with winter’s arrival.

My very fluffy Charmer was especially enjoying his afternoon in the field yesterday when we arrived to visit, lying curled up (and, later – once he had some treats and got even lazier and more relaxed – completely flat out!) in the sun.

Back at home, the rats are doing great. They have been having more time out in the mornings than evenings just the way our routines are working out at the moment, and I’ve taken to a wee stand on the doorstep with them sniffing at the dawn air while I wait for the kettle to boil and us all to start the day, which they really seem to enjoy for something new and interesting – before the usual scampering on the sofa and cuddling in blankets they love so much.

This morning brought another jaunt to the farm to see the pony, who amused himself rolling his treat ball around and making short work of his favourite Likit while I alternated between coffee-drinking and engaging in the endless winter battle, armed with brushes of all shapes and sizes, to keep him resembling something akin to mud-free.. or at least marginally neater than he’d be left to his own devices!

We’ve also happily welcomed a house guest for the week this afternoon, my mum and dad’s beautiful black cat Phoebe who’s here to stay with us for her holidays – very excited to have a taster of life with a cat in our wee house, something we’d love one day, and have Phoebe’s lovely company for the week.

A very happy Sunday to all, hope you’re all having a really lovely weekend. X

Sunday night peace after a lovely weekend 

Enjoying the peace of a Sunday night at home as the most “hyggeligt” of weekends draws to a close – soup on the hob, candles burning and looking forward to putting feet up after a couple of tiring but lovely days in the outdoors, enjoying the very best of October’s charm. 

We have been away overnight on our annual trip to the beautiful town of Pitlochry in Perthshire, to the Enchanted Forest sound and light show. We first discovered it in 2013, taking our old camper van up to a campsite nearby overnight, and just fell in love with it – so since then have returned every year, the last few with our friends, wrapping up once again to amble the tracks of Faskally wood, toffee apples in hand, twinkling lights overhead, hot chocolates round the fire pit as the night thickens, and everywhere we look something new to take in. 

This year’s show, Oir an Uisge, or Edge of the Water, incorporated so many rainbows which I just loved. On rainier nights the magic of the forest is sometimes brought to life even more – with extra droplets everywhere to reflect the lights in different ways – and last night was certainly no exception; the weather lending itself so much to the theme and everything in the forest winding its way in – most beautifully of all when the supremely unperturbed swans woke to serenely join in the display.

There’s something really lovely about having a traditional break at this time of the year; a watershed moment before winter sets in to slow down for a weekend and take it all in. From the trundle up in the car, walls of trees in every shade of autumn lining the roadside and the Young Farmers’ hay bale displays catching our eyes along the way; the evening walks through the forest; late nights round the fire with our friends, chatting, relaxing and enjoying the warmth; cooked breakfasts the next day and a wander in the beautiful town on a long easy morning – with so many lovely gift shops to browse including a little Christmas shop with carols playing and tiny cups of mulled wine pressed into our hands as we crossed the threshold into its cosy taste of the season to come – it is all just such a lovely experience. 

As ever, though, I enjoy getting home just as much as getting away. Heading back to our little house, the preparations in full swing for our daughter’s arrival – now just seven weeks away; our ever-boisterous boys Jasper and Jet keen to get out to play; and my fluffy-as-a-bear Charmer ambling up the hill at sunset for a dinner in his stable that only weeks ago he was passing up in favour of the summertime grass – it all never fails to make a trip complete. Back at home now with just a quiet evening in ahead of us, I am looking forward so much to the cosier months ahead.

Hope everyone has had a really lovely weekend, and have a good week all. X