Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A Feeling For Spring

It's that time of year when I begin to feel heartily fed up of the cold winter weather and start seeking out simple pleasures, little bursts of colour and clues that Spring is on the way.

Finding these glorious pink tulips, and daffodils was one of those signs - getting them home and popping them in an old jar made me almost squeal out loud with delight.  Flowers are such a simple pleasure, and although I don't buy them as often as I used to, I do really like having them in the house. 

Cookies are another pleasure here!! We made some of Nigella's yesterday (from Nigella Express) and boy do they taste good!  It was bitterly cold outside with frost still shimmering on the shed roof in the middle of the afternoon, so it felt very cosy to be busying in the kitchen with the Little One, mixing and stirring chocolate cookies...

Not to mention eating them...

Ahhhh....another pleasure...freshly baked cookies, a nice cuppa and a good mag to browse!

Mind you, we are trying very hard to get that healthy balance in our little home, and cookies and Sweet Things are considered as a bit of a treat, albeit very Necessary.  However, we have recently taken to eating copious amounts of this stuff too:

See that jar there in the middle?  That's our very own blend of Trail Mix.  You can use any kind of natural nuts, seeds and dried fruit that you enjoy, and I always keep a little tub of it in my bag for snacks on the go. 

Ours has 100g each of the following, in case you'd like to make some yourself:

Sunflower Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds
Chopped Brazils
Almonds (the ones with their skins on as they're higher in nutrients)
Dried Cranberries
Dried Sultanas/Raisins

You can also throw cashews, pistachios and apriocots in, grab a handful when you're hungry - I promise it will help to keep your mitts out of the cookie jar (not that there's anything wrong with a bit of indulgence here and there though! :)  It's great at boosting energy levels and is marvellously good for your skin and little internal bits and bobs. 

A very Big Pleasure this week has been finding hooky time with the Sea Pennies Shawl.  It's progressing slowly as I've only had the evenings to work on it, but every time I take it out I can imagine sitting outside first thing in the morning come summer, sipping coffee and eating breakfast under a blue sky, wrapped up warm in it's sea foamy oceany gorgeousness...ahhh, not long til we'll be doing that again methinks!

I also decided (after a practice and a good deal of frogging) that the larger circles weren't really working.  I could then see very clearly in my minds eye what the shawl would look like made with 100's of small Sea Pennies, finished off with that wave edge - I think it's going to be pretty good!

Would anyone be interested in a Sea Penny tutorial?  I just wondered if you would like to learn how to make them, and join them as you go...that way you might be able to begin your own Sea Penny projects too.

Let me know - if you do I will try and do a photo tutorial for you in the next week or so.

At this time of year when days are still inclined to be rather short and often grey and dreary, I think it's nice to have something to look forward to.  Which is why I have exciting dates circled on the calendar that involve the Tent and Camping!!  We are off to Adam Henson's Farm (the nice chappie off Countryfile) for a few days in the countryside come April!  Oh, the very idea of getting the tent out again, my little red whistling kettle, that flowery melamine....

Remember this? (*happy sigh*)

I'd love to hear what cheers you at this time of year - will you share your thoughts with me?
Go on, you know I'd love to hear :)

Sending you warm chocolate cookies, a jug of colourful tulips, and quiet moments to appreciate the Small Stuff.

Love Julia x


  1. What a lovely post Julia. I am really enjoying watching all my garden come to life....I have lots of bulbs shooting to the sky and I'm sure the birds are singing louder :-)
    A x

  2. Oh I love the colours of your sea pennies! Your shawl will be gorgeous. Your pic of tulips, cookies etc is a really cheery one. We have had a day in Newtown today (mid- Wales). The sun shone, the birds were singing and squirrels chased each other up and down the tree outside the Oriel cafe where we had a quick lunch. I could almost beieve Spring is round the corner!!

  3. Well, your pic of tea, mag, flowers and home-made choc cookies, is my idea of a blissful quiet moment, whatever the weather is doing!

    Growing and selling my own cut flowers, it makes my heart sing when I hear people finding joy in bringing fresh flowers into their home. Such a simple joy, but it is so life-enhancing! Yay for Spring approaching!

  4. I am also an avid buyer of flowers especially at this time of the year to take all the grey gloom away. I long for the sunshine on my shoulders and back and we just love our camping trips too, we have booked 2 for his summer. I am also loving that the days are stretching out longer and am trying to take big joy in all the little early signs of spring so far xox

  5. Such a lovely post, with a real feel of lightness and spring. Your flowers and cookies look gorgeous, and as for the sea pennies - well, it really makes me wish I could crochet! Have a lovely week. Helen x

  6. What a heart warming post Julia. Small things make such a difference at this time of year just a ray of sunshine on my face makes my heart sing!
    Jo x

  7. I love your tulips, they are so cheery. Sunny days with clear blue skies always cheer me up, and the little signs of life in the garden that signify all that is to come.

  8. Hi Julia! Tulips are my favorites! They bring the spring!
    Your coocies look really delicious! I'm happy to hear that you continue that good 'diet'!
    I wish you sunny days! Teje

  9. Hi Julia , Lovely post .
    Your shawl is looking so pretty...love those colours :0)

    I would like a tutorial.

    Yay camping ...we invested in a tent last year and the boys had a ball . Bring on spring .
    Jacquie x

  10. I'm with you on the tulips I normally get tempted this time of year. They always look so cheery in their bright colours.

    I'm also very tempted to go and get Nigella Express off the shelf and make some cookies but I'm going to resist as after your success with the GL book I ordered my own copy and so far so good - it's working :-) Thank you for sharing your success.

    Perhaps tomorrow I'll treat myself to the tulips.

  11. Lovely inspirational pictures!

  12. It does seem a long winter doesn't it , how can the nights draw in so quickly yet take so long to draw out again :-( I love your shawl, oh yes please do a tutorial for when I finally learn to crochet - I have only learnt to do a chain so far lol.

    hhmm what cheers me, wine, cakes, flowers on the table, bright blogs and snuggling up watching films with the kiddies.

  13. I love a cuddle up on the sofa with my children and a blanket,pussy willow hanging on the trees and the first snowdrops peeping through the soil. You'd be so proud of me this week Julia,I've reminded my elderly mum how to crochet and got hooky myself making some flowers to use on my cards,have also given a fellow blogger the link to your heart banner. Have a great week,Julie.x

  14. Hi Julia, such pretty tulips, the cookies look delicious and I love your shawl.
    Over in NZ we are opposite in our seasons so I'm busy trying to make the most of the last of summer at the moment. I posted some lovely summer blooms on my blog the other day - http://mummy-adventures.blogspot.com/2011/02/summer-blooms.html Enjoy :-)

  15. Funny how such small things can make us cheerful... our house is in front of a hill with the sun rising behind, so in the winter no sun makes it in because it is just too low in the sky. The last few days a few little rays have made it over the hill into the living room... made me very happy! haha, small things indeed! hope you enjoyed your cookies, they look yummy! jenny xxx

  16. Oh please - a sea pennies tutorial would be a delight!
    For my spring time cheer - snow drops peaking through the leaf litter, tiny tiny green buds appearing on the trees, longer light in the evenings, the feeling of anticipation from the garden and the hens laying more eggs

  17. Hi Julia
    Once again a lovely post - cookies look good. What cheers me up - well bulbs peeping through the soil, marmalade bubbling on the stove, lovely walks by the sea, and most of all the sun shining! have a good rest of the week.

  18. Did someone mention camping? CAN'T WAIT!!!!!

  19. I bought tulips yesterday, or rather half did when he went out. I never used to like them particularly, but just lately, probably due to seeing all these lovely bloggy photos with them on, I have taken rather a fancy to them and plan to plant loads this autumn. My other half reminded me we planted a couple of dozen in one particular spot in the garden last year, so I ook forward to seeing them, especially as I had forgotten all about them!
    Strangely enough, unlike most people it seems, I don't mind the long winter days, the never ending greyness/dampness/cold. I tend to hibernate with lots of knitting projects, or crochet projects, a stack of new books I've saved for during the year, and just relish the different seasons that we are privileged to have. I try not to look forward too much, life whizzes past as it is without wishing it away any quicker. I just enjoy each season as it appears, each day as it dawns. And when it looks a bit grey, well, there is always the blogland SPLASH OF COLOUR for the month to look at. I'm off to add mine now.

  20. We had a glorious day here in my wee bit of Scotland yesterday, very windy mind so got some washing out but at three pm just to remind me it's not spring yet, I had to grab it back in during a huge hailstones shower which turned in to rain and hasn't stopped since. Tis wild today!
    But for a moment there, with the sun out and the windows open letting in some fresh air, I could feel myself daydreaming....camping in April for us too. Yippee! I have aquaintances who start this month, serious sturdy campers they are. Yikes!! Can you imagine?

    Can I have a biscuit?

  21. Beautiful post Julia............The tulips look so bright and cheery, just what the doctor ordered for these dull, depressing days!

    The cookies look scrumptious. I am trying very hard to stay away from temptation so the bears have had to do without for a while also...cooking biscuits and not actually getting to eat them is a definite no no!

    i am loving the sea pennies shawl. I wore my shawl to death last summer. So great for the early mornings and late evenings in the garden. Have even had it wrapped around me under blankets on the sofa on the really cold days when i cannot get warm!

    You know I think you may start a shawl trend in blog world!

    I am longing for the days when the windows and doors can be opened! Ahhhhhhh joy!

    Have a super day!

    Much love Vanessa x

  22. Well, your blog cheers me! Such cheery thoughts. I havent been camping for about 3 years now and really feel the urge to go. Love your sea pennies and YES I would love a tutorial. I have learned how to do your popcorn flower squares and am umming and ahhing over whether to do them as my next blankie... what do you think? xx

  23. A lovely cheerful post to greet our lengthening days. I love flowers too but my favourite is the daffodil.
    Your shawl colours still made me think of the sea...on the beach with toes in the sand..bliss!
    Jane x

  24. Love your Sea Pennies shawl. I would love a tutorial,& thanks so much for a fab blog.
    Love Carole from Rossendale, Lancashire xxx

  25. Hi Julia! I have only recently stumbled across your blog and enjoy popping by now regularly to check in with you! I love tulips but they just never seem to last long enough when cut in a vase. Am loving the idea of a tutorial for the shawl so YES PLEASE do one!

  26. Have only recently stumbled across your blog and am fairly new to crocheting so YES PLEASE to a tutuorial for the shawl-especially liking the idea of joining as you go! Tulips are jolly to behold at this time of year!

  27. Please, please do a tutorial on the Sea Pennies, I am learning how to crochet and knit and they seem to be on the easy side, no? They are lovely in any case.
    This is my first time visiting but will come back often for more eye candy, next week for sure in hope of a tut! :)
    Warm greetings from Mexico ~

  28. I've just stumbled across your blog and it is beautiful! I love that shawl and a tutorial would be great (not that I can crochet, but one day I might figure it!).

  29. Hello Julia, What a lovely, Spring-like post this is. It's cheered my morning. At this time of year my little ones and I like to go bulb spotting in parks and in our garden - looking for the spots of colour from aconites, miniature iris, little cyclamen - all those good things. Hurray for Spring

  30. I love Nigella's minty choc chip cookies - without the minty bit - they are a main feature in our home.

    I love your posting all Springy and wrap around comfort and your crochet colours are absolutely gorgeous.

    take care,

    Nina xxx


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