Tag: winter

A Country Kid’s Post: Winter on The Beach

This is actually a late-post.  Like most people who live by the coast on Boxing day, we found ourselves blowing cobwebs at our go-to-beach, Widemouth Bay which is a mere ten-minute drive from where we live.

And of course, it being a holiday, there were a lot of people on the beach although they aren’t shown in the photos.  T also took her Baby Alive doll on the beach with her, a present she asked from Father Christmas.

Are you familiar with Baby Alive dolls?  They are a bit freaky.  I ought to write about them on a different post and you’ll know why.

T gives Holly, her doll, a piggyback ride all the way back to the car.

Yes, it was time to go home.

Have you visited the beach lately?

Hello January, Hello 2017

Lots of people go mad in January.  Not as many as in May, of course. Nor June. But January is your third most common month of madness.

Karen Joy Fowler, Sarah Kanary

And so Christmas and the New Year has come and gone.  I don’t know about you, but it always feels like it happens in a bit of a blur, like a photograph taken in motion, a fusion of colours and memories, over and done with, until the next Christmas.  Hope everyone has had a lovely time, albeit the madness.

Ah January, hello you, broody-grey-skies and cold, you.  It’s the time of the year where everything seems to happen in slow-motion, especially the days and all the noises, the ticking of the clock, a phone ringing in an empty house is amplified, as if the sound is in your head.  No, I haven’t gone bonkers, at least, I don’t think so.  But that’s how I feel at the moment.  The Historian has gone off and dropped my cousin at the University of Reading.  He also has a meeting tomorrow, so it’s just me, Doc and Boots bumbling along together in this cold-bleak January day.  T comes home later, only then will the house awaken.

Back to Basics

I’ve also decided to go back to basics with this whole blogging business.  Last year, I thought I’d give it a go and try to make it more “commercial”, whatever that means.  I fell in a rabbit hole of blogging groups and learning about DAs, and pumping up your stats and all that and the more I did it, the more I felt that every fibre in me was protesting, so I’m done with that now.  Don’t get me wrong though, while I loved the community and the bloggers behind them, in the end, it just became too much for me.

I guess it also comes down to personality.  I’ve always been a solo person.  I like doing my own thing and I’ve also been blogging on and off for more than a decade now.  Does anyone remember blogspot?  I guess that also shows my age…

I’m going back to writing the way I want, because I have this need to write.

I’m not going to be a hypocrite though and say that I’m going to stop accepting sponsored and collaborative posts.  If they come and it’s a good fit with Little Steps, I will say yes.  I’ve learned though to be choosy on what projects and fees to accept.  At the moment, admittedly most of the time, I decline the offers especially when it is too low.

Dear PRs, I do value my time and what I do and write in this little blog of mine.  No, I won’t just accept your offer, even though you all act as if I should be thrilled with the fact that you’ve gotten in touch.  Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way and no, I don’t accept follow-links.  Thank you for getting in touch with Little Steps.

I’m still going to join a few linkies like #countrykids, mostly because I’m friends with the blogger who runs it.  I have a couple of other favourites too like #animaltales and #wotw.  Linkies I’ve been joining in the past couple of years, I do enjoy linking-up with these lovely bloggers.

That’s what 2017 holds for me – going back to the basics, finding my voice again, being authentic.  I wish I could declare that I have big dreams or plans for 2017.  But I don’t.  Like most frustrated writers, I still have that unwritten novel in my head, countless short-stories to edit and write, poems screaming to be written.  I’m afraid I have forsaken my muse.  I’m ready to go down on my knees and plead with her/him – so mote it be.

Any big plans for 2017?

Seasonally Lonely

Before moving to England, I’ve never heard of S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) before.  When I did, I laughed. Yes, I actually laughed and couldn’t believe that there was such a term.  But having lived here for almost a decade, I understand now.

I know now how the short days and seemingly endless not to mention cold nights can do to ones emotional being and mental health.  How even the days can be so dreary, just looking out the window will want to make you want to weep.

How little things that can happen, or careless words said in the summer when they days are longer, carefree and bright, and therefore can be brushed aside and deemed not important.  When the days are short and the nights are long, those words can sting you, and wound you so deep, if left untended, can and will fester all through out the winter.

In past posts, I wrote about what I arm myself with to ward off the gloom.  I turn to comedy and humour.   I try to focus on the smallest joys like wooly socks that keeps your feet nice and toasty.  In the month of November, we have the promise of Christmas, even though it can be madness too, up till the 25th, at least our minds are preoccupied about lists to tick off and presents to buy.  January though can be a bit tricky, especially once the decors have been taken down and the house suddenly looks bare.  Thirty-one bloody days of bleakness.  Luckily February is a short one and down here in Cornwall, Spring comes early.  If we’re lucky again this year, the daffodils will come springing up even in mid-December like last year.

Knowing how much I missed the music of my past, my husband bought me a collection of Rickie Lee Jones CDs.  And as much as I love her, she can be bloody depressing (see previous post).  I’m sorry Rickie.  You will have to collect dust for now.  I’ll take you out in the summer.  For now, I’m only going to listen to Highlife.  Ghanaian music always makes me think of good friendships, the sun, festivals, and dancing, even if it’s looking desolate outside.  Enough of my ramblings and navel gazing.

What about you?

What helps you get rid of the blues?

Postscript:  I drafted this post last night.  My husband woke me up about the latest news that’s happening across the globe.  I’m afraid not even Highlife can cheer me up now.  Whoopie-bloody-doo-dah.  We live in such strange times.

A Little Bit of Rambling

I think Winter is slowly inching its way in, nudging Autumn on the side.  The air is chiller now and our windows are always framed in frost.  It does paint a pretty picture though, especially when you have a lovely view of the country outside.

frost

And since it’s the first week of November, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about Christmas already.  I must confess, I do love Christmas and everything that goes with it.  At the moment though, I’m thinking, this is happening way too soon as if someone has pressed the fast-forward button.  I need it to slow down just a little bit.  While I love decorating the house up in lovely Christmas lights and all that, I shudder at the thought of the madness that happens up till the 25th of December.

***

I’ve also been busy raking leaves in our garden.  I go out bundled up in my thick coat and wellies, complete with wooly hat, gloves and a scarf.  After raking for some time, I find myself peeling off the layers.  Raking makes good exercise.  I’m glad I talked my husband out of buying good rakes instead of a leaf-vac, so far, the novelty hasn’t worn off yet.

***

In other news, we’ve finally managed to book tickets to see Matilda in London this December.  This was actually included in my summer bucket list but we didn’t get around to going.  I’m glad we’re finally going to see the show since I’ve only heard great reviews about it.  Also, we’ve never used AirBnb before, but decided to give it a try for our night’s stay in the capital.  Hopefully it will be a good experience for us.  Now all we have to do is book Doc into a kennel and we’re all good.

***

I’ve been listening a lot to Rickie Lee Jones again, and I can’t seem to get the song “Autumn Leaves” off my head.  I love, love, love the bass in the this song.  I know, not exactly cheerful is it?  I need one that will make me think of sunshine and warmth.

 What about you?

Are you ready for winter/Christmas?

A Dog Story: White Stuff

It was white and cold.

I wasn’t sure of it.

I didn’t know what it was.

I’ve never seen it before.

I smelled it.

I’ve never smelled anything like it before.

It wasn’t like water.

But it felt wet and cold against my nose.

IMG_0301

I tasted it.

I’ve never tasted anything like it before.

I’m not sure I’d want to eat it.

Odd,

I eat anything.

IMG_0303

My little human and her friend seemed to love it though.

They gathered the white stuff in their hands and threw it at each other.

If they liked it, why did they throw it?

They laughed so I knew they were having fun.

As for me,I still wasn’t sure about it.

My human’s dad, didn’t let me off the leash.

I’m guessing, it’s because there were sheep nearby.

I like sheep.

I like to come up to them and say “Hi”

I don’t think they like me though.

They never say “Hi” back.

Come to think of it, the thing on the ground is white like sheep.

 IMG_0311

What is this white stuff?

Snow…

That’s what they called it.

Where did it come from?

ANIMALTALES

Road Trip: A Snowy Surprise

Who was it that said “It’s all about the journey, not the destination?”

T’s best friend F had a sleep-over last Friday.  The next day we decided to pack the kids, Doc, a little picnic and head over Widecombe-in-the-Moor, a village on Dartmoor National Park in Devon.   It was a weekend after all, we just wanted to be outdoors.

As we headed towards Dartmoor, we could see the snowy-capped hills and pointed this out to T who has never really played in snow.  It doesn’t snow in our little village, you see.  We’re not that lucky.  The last time it did, I was pregnant with T, and that was just a dusting, by midday, the sun had melted it.  Seeing it spread over the hilltop from afar made little T excited.  Not wanting her to get disappointed, her Dad told her not to expect any.

But we were all in for a big surprise.

As soon as we were in the National Park, we could see the much-awaited snow covering the ground and there were also lots of cars parked on the roadside with kids happily playing around.  The kids squealed in delight and were demanding to be put down right there and then.  But of course, we had to find a safe place to park first.

IMG_0256

The snow in this part, wasn’t much.  It was more like a thick dusting.  But enough to make the kids happy.

IMG_0261

T checking the “white stuff” around her, as if she couldn’t believe that there was actually snow on the ground.

IMG_0267

And then decides to run after her best friend F.

IMG_0271

And then she stops and picks up snow without gloves.

IMG_0272

I thought she was going to throw it at her best friend, but instead she decided that a snowy shower on her would be way better than aiming it at her friend.

At this point, my husband was beckoning to us, promising thicker snow somewhere else, but he said we had to drive further up in Dartmoor.  We had to drag little T away who refused to move, F wasn’t as fazed as she was, having just returned from visiting family in Sweden where snow is more or less a given when it’s Christmas there.

IMG_0274

And the husband was right.  There was more snow on the second stop.

IMG_0278

And T was a happy bunny again, running around like a loony.

IMG_0279

Surprisingly, it wasn’t that cold, which was good, because we weren’t dressed for snow.  Had I known, I would’ve dressed the kids in thicker coats and gloves.  I guess it was also because the kids were moving around so much, after a while they even wanted to take of their body warmers.

IMG_0283

IMG_0288

IMG_0293

T and F attempts to make their own snowman, but never managed to finish it, because someone decided that a snow fight was more fun.

IMG_0298

And here she is aiming one at her dad.

IMG_0302

The snow fight is on!

IMG_0307

And of course, playing on the snow wouldn’t be complete without making snow angels.

IMG_0321

IMG_0320

Everywhere you looked, families were having so much fun.

IMG_0329

Love the picture-perfect-postcard winter scenes.

IMG_1256

IMG_0343

Before heading back home, the two kids decided to make a Mr. and Mrs. Snow man, using twigs as arms and little flowers for their eyes.  A perfect snowy couple.

IMG_0352

Then we drove back down.

Why do good things never last?

Temperature is rising up again.

I guess there won’t be snow on Dartmoor over the weekend.

Has there been snow on your part of the UK/the world?

In the news last night, some parts of America were warned of a blizzard coming.

To friends and family in the States – stay safe!

A Little Girl's Love Affair with Boots: Top 3 Boots for Winter

My daughter loves shoes, boots, ballet flats, trainers, you name it, she’ll probably love it, especially boots.

One reason why I love autumn is because you have every reason to wear all kinds of boots, from ankle ones to knee-high boots.  And I’m afraid, little T will agree with me on this one.  Then again, if she had her way, she’ll wear boots all through out the year, regardless of the weather or seasons.  Here’s a brief history of how little T’s affair with boots began.

Her first ever boots were original cowboy boots sent to T by a cousin who lives in Texas.  So yes, I blame that cousin of mine for little T’s obsession with boots now.  You know who yo are 😉  cowboyboots_littlesteps

Here she is, wearing her heehaw boots on her second-birthday.

She absolutely loved them and would wear them everywhere.  To play-group, play-dates, even in the playground.  Of course everyone commented about them.  After all, you don’t see a little girl here in the UK wear original cowboy boots everyday 😉

After awhile, little T sadly outgrew her cowboy boots and reluctantly allowed us to keep it in a box up in the attic, we got her instead boots from Clarks.  Yes, I know a bit boring after her cowboy ones.

clarks_littlesteps

Boots from Clarks, that’s such a British thing isn’t it?

Why do kids’ feet grow so fast?  I’m not sure where these very used boots went, probably in the bin since they were too over-used to donate (that’s where most of little T’s stuff go to).  Then I thought it was time for my own daughter to have her 1st ever pair of Doc Martens.  A favourite brand of mind, well not just mine, but my family back home.  Her first pair was the same colour of my last pair of DMs:  cherry red.

docmartens1_littlesteps

I love them.  My old pair still fits me!

And then before we knew it, even this was too small for her.

docmartens2_littlesteps

So we got her a second pair and now that second pair will soon need a replacement.  And she’s been nagging us for some new boots soon.  And if you live in the country like we do, we always start by looking on-line.  And here are her choices:

Little T’s Top 3 Picks:  Boots for Winter

15382201

 Doc Martens.

This is actually from their boys section, since we didn’t see anything we wanted on the girls section.

90085-056_L

Camper.

Love the pink sole and pink laces.

However, in spite the pink, this appears to be little T’s fave:

26112622_A_p

Clarks Girls Knee-high boots.

Sometimes I wonder whether instead of having a five-year-old, I have a thirteen-year-old in the house.  If I had my way, I’d go for the DMs again or even the Camper ones, since they are so cute.    But we always leave the decisions with T, as long as they are appropriate of course.

What do you think of little T’s choices?

Which should she choose?

A Blustery Week

Just when we thought that perhaps, spring is ready to come out, especially since we’ve seen some signs of it like daffodils on the side of the road and they are also being sold at shops too (bought a bunch actually yesterday) and over at Instagram, I’ve seen people post photos of snowdrops too.

We’ve also noticed that there’s still a bit light in the afternoon, when its supposed to be dark.  For awhile, we had our hopes up.  But then of course, winter made it’s presence felt this week.  We may not have snow that’s been falling in other parts of the UK, what we have instead is a cold, and blustery wind.  When Doc and I walk over the headland, I actually have to hold on to my wooly hat, lest it gets blown away.  And at night, I listen to it howling, as if it’s angry about something and is on a maddening rage, perhaps winter is fuming because we all want it to go and it just wants to stay?

IMG_8032

And so it is cold again.  Thick socks are a must, gloves, hat, scarves, you’d be mad to go out without them, especially for our walks by the coast.  Honestly winter, there’s no need to throw a fit, you still have at least another month, so just calm down and chill 😉

***

In other news, I received a lovely surprise in the mail today from Britain’s Next Bestseller – Ericka Waller’s new book Confessions of a Mother Inferior, so please watch out for the review here.

20150130_094634

It looks like the cold snap is here to stay for another week, which won’t be so bad, because I have what looks like to be a funny book to keep me company.  Bring it on winter!  You can throw all the tantrums you want and I will just ignore you – I’ll have my head happily buried under this book.  Will also pretend that my pile of books-to-read doesn’t exist (as mentioned on my previous post).

What about you?

Has it been cold on your side of the world?

If you live in a warm country like where I’m from, please be kind and don’t mention the weather 😉

The Reading Residence

An Easy Sunday

I had a grand plan yesterday (sunday).  The plan was to get up, eat breakfast with the family and then drive all the way down to Falmouth to visit Pendennis Castle.  We haven’t had the chance to use our English Heritage membership for ages now, nor have we used our National Trust one, part of my genius plan was to make the most of everything.

But then, as always, I had another bad night and when you have terrible nights, plans do tend to fly out the window.  Luckily though, all wasn’t lost.  You’ve probably heard me say this a dozen times, especially if you’ve been following my blog, the good thing about where we live is that you don’t really need to go far to go to somewhere nice.  So instead, of going to a castle built during the reign of Henry VIII, we ended up in Widemouth bay, a lovely beach not far from our little village.

IMG_8107

It was a cold and blustery day, but of course, the little one hardly noticed it.  No matter the weather, the beach is always a fun place to be when you’re a child or a dog.

IMG_8117

I love this photo of the three of them.  I remember taking a photo similar to this one, but only it was of my husband and Mutt (our dog who died of bone cancer, before little T was born).  If you’re curious too see it, click here.

IMG_8112

Poor sun.  It was trying its best to peer among the clouds, but sadly, the grey was just too strong and stubborn to allow it to take more than just a peek.

And when it got too cold, we decided to take shelter in the nearby beach cafe for a little snack.

cafe

of yummy delicious hot-chocolate complete with whipped cream and choco flake…

hotcoco

Little T settled for ice-cream on top of waffle swathed in maple syrup.

20150125_151916

As you can see, she quickly demolished the ice-cream.  And when it was done and dusted, she wanted to head back to the beach for more fun and play.

IMG_8118

Apart from the beach and the rock-pools, the nearby cliff also offers a few small caves where one can go exploring.

IMG_8119

And it wasn’t just people and dogs who were out enjoying the dry weather yesterday …

horses

so were the horses.

I love sundays like this one.  There’s really no pressure to do anything or to stick to any plan.  I’m actually learning now that the best memories made are actually the ones that were un-planned, that were spontaneous, and done in the last-minute… do you agree?

Sleepless in Bos

I’ve been having trouble sleeping for the past month or so.  It’s awful.  I go through the days with a heavy head, grumpy and feeling really lethargic.  Yes, I still blame the weather, although to be fair, the sun has been out for a few days now and yesterday, it almost felt like spring has sprung!

I try not to nap during the day, but sometimes after doing chores, I lay down to relax or read, and before you know it, I’m dozing off and then wake up with a heavy-head and heart.

sleep

Went out with a friend a few days ago for some coffee, a mooch and we did some impromptu shopping which was kinda nice.  Dropped by Boots and saw Herbal Nytol on the counter and decided to try that one out.  I’ve only tried it once, don’t really want to depend on it though, but it’s nice to know I have something around, just in case it gets really bad.

I’ve tried chamomile tea before bed, which I’ve always loved anyway, but I’m afraid it doesn’t work on me.  I’ve also tried seeking advice when Naptimethoughts opened up an advice column on her blog, you can read all about it here. So if you need advice on something, do drop her a note and I’m sure she’ll whip up a good one for you.  You must understand though, that it’s all done for the laughs, if you need serious help, I’m sure you’ll know where to get that 😉

Perhaps, I can also blame winter or the weather for these sleepless nights? Would that mean then that I won’t get any decent sleep till spring has sprung?  Eeeh Gad!

Do you suffer from sleepless nights too?

What helps you sleep?
Lastly, have you tried Herbal Nytol?

Any bad side-effects?

The Reading Residence