Hygge Love ❤

Last January I discovered (to my joy!) for the first time that there was a word, hygge, which summed up just perfectly everything I love most about this cosy wrapped-up time of year. A year on, and hygge has continued to sweep across from its native Denmark to take our countries by storm, revolutionising how we approach wintertime – especially the post-Christmas part of winter. It offers a softer and more rounded alternative to the out-running, diet-beginning resolve of the new year; in the form of a more achievable balance between good health – with fresh air and long, rambling walks – and indulgent nights in – with a little bit of chocolate, a mug of something warming and some cosy time devoted to enjoying good company and home comforts.

I have recently been reading the very beautiful Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, given to me by my sister as a lovely present at the beginning of the winter, and it has been such a special book to dip in and out of every day.

“Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, that we are shielded from the world and allow ourselves to let our guard down. You may be having an endless conversation about the small or big things in life – or just be comfortable in each other’s company – or simply just be by yourself enjoying a cup of tea… Hygge may be the closest we come to happiness when we arrive home after a long day’s work on a cold, rainy day in January… this is where most of our lives will play out. Hygge is about making the most of what we have in abundance: the everyday.”

This weekend, with snow lying on the ground and frost glinting from every branch of the trees outside the window, felt more hyggeligt than ever. My husband has been working away this week and as both of us are for a couple of days each next week too, we were all the more grateful for a lull in the busy-ness, some time together and the chance to enjoy winter’s cosiness.

The boys have been happy to have us both home too. It has been lovely to spend time with them, and Ty especially has been enjoying the extra company  around the house all day. His little face is always there, waiting to see what’s happening next, and he’s been our shadow this weekend as we’ve gone about our days and evenings, enjoying the companionship.

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The last couple of days have been very much a blend of wrapping up to wrangle with the biting weather and spending time enjoying the warmth of the indoors. Yesterday I spent the afternoon riding along crisp paths with friends, chatting and patting our fluffy-necked ponies as we did, carefully avoiding still-icy patches on the tracks here and there – the sun setting at 3pm without a true thaw ever quite reaching us. We’ve been for long walks along the bracing but beautiful waterfront, and have been as a matter of routine pulling on hats and gloves before each leaving of the house.

This morning on a venture to my mum and dad’s, spent some easy time chatting and watching the world outside the window with our hands wrapped round coffee mugs, the dogs sleeping peacefully – my old girl Ginny by my feet, the cat stretched along the full length of the settee just under the kitchen heater, making the most of the warmth.

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Back home, we have spent our evenings in, under blankets with our favourite box sets playing and a real warmth filling our little house that can only truly come into its own on these very coldest of days.

I love this January-March season partly for the winds of change in the air – the increasing light in our days with every one that passes, the snowdrops brightly lining verges with flashes of hope, and the buds on the trees ready to bloom again; but in a large part too for its retaining of just enough darkness to mean that we can still burn candles, light the fire, eat warming meals and wrap up with books and TV at night. ❤

Hope you have all had a really lovely and hyggeligt weekend too, and have a wonderful week. X

 

Happy Advent ✨🕯

It has been a lovely first day of December in our little home, starting with opening an advent calendar for the wee ones first thing (Harvey can’t believe his eyes, below!!). Thought I’d be doling out yoghurt drops to the other three at every morning’s door-opening (in a vain attempt to keep everybody happy at once!), but was pleasantly surprised to find the dandelion-treats chocolate replacements are already happily divided into quarters – just perfect for our four!

At the stables, the cosied-up pony was very glad to enjoy an advent treat while his breakfast was made, licking his lips on the meander out to the field.. 

Plenty of time with both the house pets and the horse was a wonderful start to the day, love winter mornings allowing for that. By far my favourite part of a December day though is the evening, without a doubt. Door bolted shut against the wind, candles lit, advent candle taking up centre stage; it’s such a simple and cosy time. My old faithful advent calendar is one with a distinctly pet theme too – a lovely card one my mum brought to me years ago in one of my university flats with a painting of a dog and cat watching and waiting for home-comers in a festive doorway, as was always the way when I was growing up.

Had all four of our boys out this evening for a lovely long play – when they could tear themselves away from their game of the moment, burying themselves in packing paper in a Christmas shopping box, they were happily watching the candles flicker – especially Reuben and Perry, with this being their very first Christmas when it comes. 

Wishing a peaceful Advent/December to all. X

Hello from our Winter Wonderland… ❄️

… Just checking in from our very wintry corner of the world. Mornings at the moment in our house seem to be spent mainly crunching up and down the frosty leaf-covered path to de-ice the cars, warming hands round coffee mugs and adding an extra wee something to the rats’ morning feeds; with evenings having settled into a home-as-quickly-as-possible routine: hat and gloves pulled on at the farm, Charmer walked carefully over the glistening yard and tucked up in a deep-banked straw bed, before heading home to get settled in for the night.


This morning we woke to our thickest frost yet, some new challenges tossed in to the farm routine with frozen pipes and padlock on the gate, Charmer more grateful than ever for a big breakfast to get him warmed up for hitting the icy hill. There’s something I love so much about these really crisp winter days – they are so much brighter than the muddy trudges of a rainy winter, clean and clear, nights under the stars and the moon lingering in the morning.

 

Picked our way step by step out to the field and when finally mastered our way in the fluffy pony stood by patiently while I smashed the ice from the water bucket ready for a new day.

 

At home, all has settled well, and Harvey, Ty, Reuben and Perry are all doing fine. We have put the brakes on the bonding we were doing between the four of them at the moment as, although most of the time things were peaceful, we did have a bit of an issue with Ty being overly aggressive at times and Reuben also being overly nervous, which was proving to be a bit of a stressful mix for all of them. Decided we didn’t want to persist at the moment while Reuben and Perry were so new to us and didn’t have the same sense of security. We will likely try again a bit further down the line, and might consider having Ty neutered if that would help, as generally the older two did seem glad to have new friends and I do think it would be best for them to be in a bigger group as they get older, but the scuffles when they did break out were just a bit too intense at the moment and didn’t want any of them to be hurt.

 

So, for now we’re back to a two-tier system in our pet corner, with Ty and Harvey making themselves at home in the Savic Freddy they started their life in with Chae and Winnie, and Reuben and Perry, since Perry in particular is very active with boundless energy, in the slightly bigger Mamble. Looking forward to furnishing both more coming up to Christmas with more wheels and toys and optimising the height of both cages, but at the moment all are happy and settled in their new homes, and I’m enjoying having two lots of cuddles every night as they all come out to free range in stages!

Hope everyone else is having a lovely wrapped-up week. ❤

 

Happy Halloween from all of us…

A very happy All Hallows Eve from our little corner of the world… The pets have been enjoying it in their favourite ways, with Harvey and Ty having had their own minature equivalent of dooking for apples – fishing for peas and veg! Always a well recieved game, the wee ones had good fun with it this weekend…

With the biggest boy, it was lovely to have a perfect October-into-November hack out with our friends, watching the leaves fall and enjoying the pumpkins and decorations along the way; before back home for apples and dinner in the stable. ❤️

 

 

Looking forward to seeing in November wrapped up and cosy. A happy Halloween to all. X

In Praise of Pets ❤️

Sometimes, no matter how grateful I am for all the blessings I have, life can be challenging. Some nights, I inevitably arrive home floored by the busyness or worries of the day.

I’m not sure I can remember a time, however, that standing here, in the stillness – side by side with my fluffy-necked pony, lights twinkling across the dark water – didn’t help to clear the fog a little; and, even in the worst of times, that his ears flicked towards me, always listening, didn’t provide comfort at least in some small way.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are distant echos of the very same – the hugely significant role pets play in the life of a family etched into them. Often, whenever I feel down or overwhelmed even now, I find myself remembering sitting as an anxious schoolchild, buried deep in an armchair with my arms wrapped tightly around our old springer spaniel – a crazy dog with very little common sense but emotional intelligence and kindness in spades – stroking his silky ears and knowing all would be well.

Now, my days are still gratefully bookended by quiet solace with my family and my pets – give me an evening in with my wee boys tumbling around,  a ramble with my parents’ dogs or an hour in the stable or field with my pony, and time and time again my perspective on life is shifted, all the better for the moments of companionship with my four-legged friends.

Throughout my childhood and adulthood alike, the animals I’ve been blessed with have given me so much to anchor me in the storms of life – offering their trust and loyalty against the odds, providing warm welcomes at the end of every day, and altering my outlook when I’ve needed it most. ❤️

 

Wrapped-up weekend away ❤️✨🔥

This weekend has been a really lovely one, comprised in equal measure of very brisk weather – with a new whip in the wind there hasn’t been this year so far – and of cosy togetherness and wrapped-up fun. 

As Saturday morning dawned, there was a definite chill in the air and the rain was torrential. After gratefully nursing several morning coffees to get the day started, my trip to the farm merited the dusting off of my full waterproofs for the first time since last winter, and also a scout up in the rug loft above the stables for some rain sheets for the boy – to have ready for if and when he ever dried off of course! 

I spent a lovely long morning in the barn – hot chocolate in my flask and hay brimming in Charmer’s stable, both of us enjoying the shelter and warmth. 

Charmer, Harvey and Ty were all having some extra TLC before being left to fend for themselves overnight, as we were heading away this weekend, up north to a wonderful sound and light show in a remote forest we love to go to every year with our friends.

All packed up on Saturday afternoon, Charmer back out and happily full and the boys at home stocked up with fruit sticks and food for the night, we meandered our way up. 


The rain eased off considerably which made driving a little bit nicer, and the roadsides as we passed were nothing short of beautiful, really lovely to see all the myriad of colours in the trees and leaves fluttering around us like confetti as we drew into the little village where we would spend the night. 

We had a really lovely time away, enjoyed the forest walk and the absolutely beautiful show so very much, cosied round a bonfire, had such a wonderful time out with good friends and ended the night in the warmth of the living room, unwinding with nightcaps around the wood burning stove.

One of my favourite things about going away – no matter how wonderful a time we have – is always coming back home again; and today was no exception. Arriving back into the farm yard first to see the fluffy pony picking his way up the field to meet us; and later home to Harvey and Ty – who were especially keen to play tonight and were happily dodging in and out from behind the couch; it was so very nice to be back. 

Around our own fire at home, we were able to look back on it all and enjoy both the break away and our arrival back. It had been a really lovely couple of days, and a great way to spend a weekend.

Hope you have all had a good one. 🍁

October days… 🍁

This month so far has been a really beautiful one, full of sunshine from dawn until dusk – albeit that becoming a shorter and shorter window as the days go by. Night is descending earlier and earlier each evening, the smell of woodsmoke once again filling our little street as I pull up outside home – those who have beaten me to it already cosied inside, and our row of cottages shrouded in wisps from each chimney by night. Other swirls cover them too in the early hours of the morning  as the hanging mist stays a little longer and a little longer each day before it’s dispelled by the rising of a valiant wintery sun.


In between working and the usual dashing around, the last few days have been filled with some of my happiest times – fitting for a season of harvest and thanksgiving. Each evening at the farm has been more beautiful than the one before, and Charmer and I have been on a mission to catch the light while it lasts for games in the sandschool as the sun sets and the last of the post-work rides for 2016.

The last few days have also been filled with time spent with family, something that always fills my heart with joy – hands wrapped round coffee mugs in one or other of our family homes, meals shared to the sound of resounding laughter and long rambles with my parents’ dogs, their young lurcher and especially our old girl, their now 13-year-0ld and fairly arthritic collie who, despite her years and hurdles, has so much enthusiasm for life especially while trying to keep up with her new sister, and loves her walks and life. ❤️

Back in our little home, we’re been slowly creeping into winter mode with the fire lit in the evenings and lots of chillis and pies being cooked. We have been missing little Rosie around the house this week – this is the first time we’ve ever been down to one cage since we moved in six years ago and Pet Corner seems very small – but Harvey and Ty have been lovely and keeping us entertained as always.

This is such a truly beautiful time of the year, and I love it more than I can say.

Hope you are all having a lovely week. 🍁🍂🍃✨ x

Birds and Bees

Over the summer we have really enjoyed watching the winged visitors to our garden, loving the bees gathering in our thoroughly overgrown flower bed (giving us the perfect excuse to bother with no gardening at all!), and especially enjoying the honey bees who moved into our little bee house to recharge at nights. The last few weekends as summer has drawn to a close we have seen less and less of them, and this week I finally put some gardening gloves on and uprooted some of the ragwort, dandelions and wildflowers that they’d spent so long working away on. I do really love bees, who in turn seem to really love ragwort, and it is nice to be able to leave them some in the garden since at the farm I seem to spend much of every summer hauling it from the ground in Charmer’s field – amazing that something so toxic to so many grazing animals forms such an important part of the ecosystem for pollinators. 



As I worked, I had an almost constant companion in the form of a robin who made himself at home in every tree in the garden and on top of each shed by turn to watch me with interest – haven’t had a robin around in a while and was lovely to see him, a new face arriving in our little neck of the woods as the seasons change.

As always, very glad to have been able to take some time to enjoy our corner of the world and all that’s in it.

Have a lovely weekend all. X


Blossom, ducklings and getting back to summer routines – Hello May! 

It’s hard to believe we are already over half-way through May already and hurtling towards half-way through 2016 – but with the weather finally holding, heat in the air from first thing and the skies blue more days than not, summer is pretty much here; and has brought with it all its usual beauty and new life.
Every year I look forward to this time, when the cherry blossoms outside our house come into their own and the street is filled with tumbling pale pink confetti every time the wind rustles by.

Inside, the pets are doing fine – little Rose having been with us two years next week, 26 months old and looking bright and well, and the boys their usual selves, still surprisingly timid souls around new sights and sounds – taking a while to warm up to the idea of the back door slung open once more at weekends and the buzz of the outdoors drifting in – but very settled in their home and enjoying tumbling plays around the living room at nights.


At the farm, the midges are swarming already in a thickening band between the sea and the hill, and as Charmer suffers from sweet itch which makes this all the worse, on my evening visits am always armed with citronella spray, mesh fly rugs and opting for shady hours in the barn when the day is muggiest – although a bit itchy he is undeterred in general and absolutely loving the new grass that has come through and the adventures we’ve had the time and daylight to go on!

I’m very lucky too to work in beauitful surroundings and to have a loch to walk around on lunch breaks – this week has been a wonderful one for that, watching the ducks, coots and swans on the water and the oyster catchers nearby – all are currently on nests with new life just around the corner, except two families of ducks whose new arrivals are with us already and impossibly fluffy and entertaining to watch find their way in life.


Looking forward to watching them grow, seeing the rest of the babies hatch, and to more of these warm temperatures and lots of time to enjoy the outdoors, nature, and our gaggle of animals.
Hope everyone is having a good week. ❤