Tag: winter

Hello Beast From the East

The first day of March is “officially” the first day of Spring here in the UK, but because of the Beast from the East, instead of warmer weather, it was bitingly cold.

It was also supposed to be World Book Day, T got up excitedly, wanting to get into her Tonks (a minor character from Harry Potter) costume.  But then we received a message from her school saying that school was cancelled.  While it was cold, there wasn’t any sign of snow till around 2pm and then it never stopped.  T wanted to go outside as soon as it started, but I told her that we’d go out once the snow has settled.  But the snow just kept falling, and falling, and falling….

As you can see, it took only about a couple of hours for the snow to look like this.  T was absolutely delighted.  It has never snowed in North Cornwall like this before.  We’ve had a few dusting, but never as thick as this.

And since we didn’t have any sled, we had to quickly improvise and found an old Ikea shelf that was light and yet sturdy enough to slide down the very icy and slippery road in front of our house.

At first, T was hesitant to use it so her dad had to show her how. Soon enough she was going up and down that icy road, laughing and having so much fun.

I’m amazed with how much snow the beast from the East managed to dump on us within a few hours.  It was absolutely beautiful though …

Everywhere you looked, it was covered in a soft blanket of snow…

And of course, you absolutely have to build a snowman when there’s that much snow on the ground.

T named her Billy, an artist visiting from the East.  As I type this, I look out my window and can still see a mound of snow where Billy used to be standing.

And yes, we had snow-fights too.

At the end of the day, we were all wet and cold, but T had the biggest smile on her face and the snow just kept falling as T watched from the window.

We had two lovely, magical days of snow.  At night, it was lovely to look out the window and see the snow glistening, it actually gave it an eerie glow and as much as I enjoyed it too, I was actually glad to see it melting by Saturday afternoon.  If I look out my window now, I will see patches of snow in the ground and in the surrounding fields too.

If you live in the UK, did you enjoy the visitor from the East?

Country Kids
 

Our Christmas Holiday: Holed In

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and also enjoyed your New Year’s celebrations.  As for us, we spent the whole Christmas break hibernating inside our home.  We were supposed to spend the holidays with my in-laws, but just before little T finished school, she was struck with the nastiest cold and cough she’s ever had.  Before long my husband was down with it too.  On the morning of the 23rd, I realised that it would be best for everyone if we just quarantined ourselves inside our home.  My in-laws are old you see, I’d be horrified if they caught it.  It’s taken T and my husband the whole of the holiday to shake it off, can you imagine what it would be like for a couple in their late 80s?

My poor husband had to go out on the 24th and do an emergency shop since we didn’t have any food at home, after all we were all ready to drive-up country.  The shops ran out turkey, so he had to make do with whatever he found that day.  Thankfully, none of us were in the mood for roast, our diet then consisted mostly of home-made soup, the kind one eats when poorly.

This has been us, holed in, watching movie after movie.  Playing games after another.  I’ve just realised that T and I are really crap with playing charades, but she absolutely loves playing it.

We had plans of doing loads of winter walks, but the only time we’ve ever been out was today, to do some food shopping.  That’s about it.  T seems a lot better, she still has a bit of a cough.  The husband’s cough has also improved, so we’re hoping to do our first and only holiday winter-walk tomorrow.  Weather permitting, it happens.

As you can see, we still have Christmas presents under our tree.  Those are for family up-country.  Luckily, my husband has a meeting there over the weekend, so he’ll be able to drop by to give them their belated Christmas presents.  Lucky for us too, we also get to open ours from them.  Christmas has been extended for us this year.

What about you?

What was your Christmas break like?

Is Winter Here?

Has it snuck in without any of us looking?  What a stealthy thief, sneaking in without even a polite knock on the door?  Honestly winter!  Autumn isn’t really done yet showing off her lovely golden colours.  Autumn?  Hello, are you there?  Oh she’s gone.

Admittedly, winter and I don’t get on very well.  Apart from Christmas, there’s really nothing good about the winter.  Its long dark, cold, and dreary days take too much toll in my mind.  And so my mind has to over-work itself up by trying to ignore the bleak darkness outside my window.  I constantly think of small joys, and try to focus on the positives instead of the negatives, like, sure it’s so dreary outside I could cry, but the trees sure do look beautiful.  I love this quote from Cynthia Rylant, author of one of my favourite short stories anthology, A Couple of Kooks.  Let me share it with you:

In November, the trees are standing,

all sticks and bones.

Without their leaves,

how lovely they are,

spreading their arms like dancers.

The know it is time to be still.

Winter trees are indeed beautiful, especially the silhouette it makes against the grey sky.

If you follow me over on Instagram, these photos will look familiar to you.

What about you?

Do you find Winter a bit harsh?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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And then decides to run after her best friend F.

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And then she stops and picks up snow without gloves.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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And here she is aiming one at her dad.

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The snow fight is on!

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

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Everywhere you looked, families were having so much fun.

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Love the picture-perfect-postcard winter scenes.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I love them.  My old pair still fits me!

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

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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

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 Doc Martens.

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

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Camper.

Love the pink sole and pink laces.

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

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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?