dear diary :: welcome to the new year

A very Happy New Year to everyone.

A new year and a new start for me – I have been away from my little space here for far too long – habits can soon take over, even ones you don’t particularly want, and I found that finding the time to blog became harder and harder. I have tried to keep up with reading my favourite blogs but only as a commentless reader. I hope once I get back into the rhythm that you will be hearing from me a lot more. I have certainly missed you all and hope you are all in good health.

I couldn’t even tell you where all the time has gone since I was last here in July – it has just evaporated; but I can say I have been busier than ever, despite the Covid restrictions.

As I write this now it is the first day that I have nothing, nothing I must attend to and I can truly relax and not feel there is something I have to do or someone I have to call and best of all it is snowing outside and looks absolutely beautiful.

And yes that is my new greenhouse you can see in the garden – the best Christmas present ever.

Just after my last post in July we managed a trip to Scotland to the cottage – the maintenance jobs and problems awaiting us because we had not been allowed to travel was extensive and upsetting and in the end we had to stay on a few extra days to sort out all the problems. What a good job we drained down the caravan when we left as little did we know then it would be our last visit of the year.

Since our return in August we had many trips to see my mum when my sister needed some respite and restrictions allowed and soon mum will be celebrating her 95th birthday though we do not know what we will be able to do and have nothing planned – we know a party will not be possible other than on Zoom.

Most of September and October was taken up with installing the new kitchen….yes the new kitchen….I know I can’t believe it either but it is, as I had hoped, absolutely wonderful even allowing for the fact I am still getting to grips with the new hob and oven and we have not even tried the dishwasher yet. I will no doubt be overloading you with pictures of the transformation soon.

Back in November my daughter helped to decorate the railings outside Little L’s school with these poppies made from plastic bottle bottoms that she and some of the school children collected and painted.

They were so effective and equally as striking as the cute little display in her village.

We also celebrated a very special birthday for two year old Sweetie – no party as such just granny and grandad and a chocolate caterpillar cake.

In the run up to Christmas we managed to do all of the Christmassy things but in a simple and quieter fashion this year. Didn’t it look so wonderfully festive everywhere when the decorations went up? Most villages and towns had an abundance of lights this year – it was such a cheery and welcome sight and it will seem quite drab when they all come down again.

I made and iced the cake and Little L carefully placed all the decorations on it.

Delightful. I love the way she wanted them all lined up like soldiers! We finished it off with an old fashioned paper cake frill that I found to go around the sides. Little L also made the truffles which did not last long and were simply delicious.

I turned old Christmas cards from last year into money and voucher envelopes, they looked quite effective mounted onto some black envelopes I had in my craft cupboard with the messages written in a silver coloured pen.

For my own homemade Christmas cards I decided on a simple wreath design and hand painted each one in watercolour paints and then over stamped with a rubber stamp and copper ink.

I always try and make the gifts I give to my closest friends and this year I made up a mini cheese board for each of them with a selection of cheeses, oat cakes and chutney using a paddle board I bought from Ikea and covering the display with a large cellophane roasting bag.

And for other friends that I don’t exchange gifts with I made little posies of flowers.

After all the restrictions placed on us for weeks on end it was a major treat to be able to go to an outdoor lantern event which was well managed and the weather kindly stayed dry.

We also had great fun at our usual family Secret Santa get together – this year though it was through Zoom – playing Bingo and name that Christmas tune amongst other games – with Sean the Sheep of course.

On New Year’s day we had a walk at a local nature reserve. At barely above freezing the ground was hard and each of the puddles had a skim of ice with some quite superb patterns – it was irresistable to crack like popping bubble wrap.

And now I am thinking of the days and months stretching ahead – I am trying not to think that they will be dark days as this virus twists and turns and continues to be such a nuisance in our lives. I want to use the time wisely and I want to carve out a new normal for us – I have a feeling this is going to go on longer than anyone had first thought.

As with most beginnings I am trying to think of a suitable word that will sum up what I am aiming for this year. Flourish was the word I chose last year and in many ways I did – I learnt a lot about myself during the lockdown and we also learnt to do without very much whilst still living well.

I will need a few more ‘thinking’ days before I settle on something, so watch this space.

So I have little more to say at the moment – I am going to have a visit into blogland to see what everyone is up to and say hi.

44 thoughts on “dear diary :: welcome to the new year

      1. Happy New Year Pat – It has been a long time – I never intended such a long break but life happened and got in the way and blogging would have become an added stress rather than a pleasure. It is lovely to hear from so many friends and also lovely to hear you are all well. I will be popping over later for a good catch up. We continue to come up to North Yorkshire to care for my mum when my sister is on respite- even though we must pass close by to you it is such a shame I can never call in for that coffee we spoke about….ah well one day soon I hope. xx


  1. Great to see that you are back and blogging again; love all the photos. Your blogs are a breath of fresh air in a mad world and I’ve missed reading them. Wishing you a very happy new year even if it is looking like 2021 is going to be another challenging 12 months!


  2. I don’t remember how I found my way here — likely from someone’s sidebar blogroll thingy — but I’m so glad I did. Wishing you all the best for the year to come…:)


  3. It is so so lovely to see a post from you again, Viv. I stopped by just the other day just to check if I’d missed one previously. I’ve loved catching up with your news and I’m happy to read that you and your family are all keeping well.
    Your Christmas makes are so thoughtful and your painted cards are simply beautiful,
    Happy New Year. X


  4. How lovely to see your return with gorgeous photographs. So glad you and your family are safe and well.dlighted you finally have your new kitchen. Happy new year.


  5. Lovely photos, Viv. I was just thinking of you the other day and hoping all was well. So pleased to see you back in blogland!


  6. So lovely to hear from you,you’ve been sorely missed, happy new year to you and your family,hopefully when the vaccine gets round to everyone we will have a better year,looking forward to Easter, take care Margaret


    1. Happy New Year – my mum’s doctors have not even had any vaccine yet at their surgery to administer, but her neighbour with a different GP surgery had hers the other day and my friend who lives local to me is just 80 had his well before Christmas – seems a bit random like the track and trace! x


  7. Welcome back Viv. I have been thinking of you and wondering how the cottage was. Fingers crossed we get to travel more this year than in 2020 – I am missing ‘our’ special, usually empty, part of Scotland very much 🙂


  8. It’s so great to have you back in blogland. We’ve missed you too. I always love to see the gifts you make. They are always so beautiful and thoughtful. I particularly like the cheeseboards and money envelopes. It’s good to hear that you and yours are all well. Look forward to reading more of your blogs in the coming year.


    1. Thank you Ann I am hoping for a slower, less stressful New Year as it has been a hectic few months for us and the virus has not helped. The cheese boards were a big hit with my friends and so easy to assemble – the wooden paddle boards from Ikea were only £2.75 and made a great base. All the best for 2021. x


  9. So very good to see a post from you! Had been v. worried about you and your family. Funny how that happens. Happy to know your absence was due to (not so) simple busyness. Grand to hear you finally have your new kitchen and lovely to see your new greenhouse. Looking forward to seeing and hearing more about these two treasures…not to mention the best treasures of all…your family. Wishing you and yours a safe and sound New Year.


    1. So lovely to hear from you Mary – I had in mind to write a short post to say all was well during my absence but it was just one of those things I didn’t get around to.
      I wish you a very happy New Year and let us all hope we will see the back of this virus and that we will be better off for what we have learnt during this time – I know it as been an education for me. x


  10. Happy New Year! How nice to see a post from you again. You have such a nice, calm, elegant style to your blog, your photos, and your lovely cooking and crafts! Always a pleasure to hear from you. Best wishes for a year filled with all you need to make your life sweet!


  11. Great to hear from you and I’m glad all is well. It is a very strange world we are living in now and, I agree, it is going to be a while yet before it all gets sorted out.
    Take care and a very Happy New Year to you all x


  12. It’s so nice to see you back in this space again. It looks like you had a really nice Christmas. And your grandchildren are just adorable! Isn’t it nice to be able to truly relax with no one to have to call or no one calling your name for something? It’s rare for me as a busy homeschooling mom this year, but so welcome when it does happen. I’m so looking forward and excited to see pictures of your new kitchen!


  13. Lovely to see a post from you. I have been concerned so am delighted that all is well.
    Your long post with beautiful photos was well worth waiting for, thank you.
    My word for this year is positivity.
    I’m very good at the opposite so thought it was retime to reverse the situation.
    It’s a bit difficult to find a balance or one ends up sounding like a Pollyanna!
    Last year my word was gratitude but I failed to adopt that one for a lot of the year.
    Look forward to hearing more about your kitchen and greenhouse.


  14. Great to see you back Vivien! It looks as though your second half of the year was good. Thank you so much for my handmade card. It was very much appreciated. Your gift presentation to your friends looks so professional. I bet they were thrilled with their gifts. Hope that the year ahead is Healthy and Happy for you and your loved ones. x


  15. Lovely to see you blogging again. I’ve missed your posts, and have been hoping that all was well with you and yours. Glad you managed a trip to Scotland, even if you had things to sort out. We worry about our house in Edinburgh, although our next door neighbour heroically and without us asking goes in every night to close the curtains and opens them again next day. We had a huge tangle in the garden to cut back when we managed to visit in July and September. Love your new greenhouse – hope you’ll give us a tour of it. And lucky you with your new kitchen! Ours is still in storage, as our building work hasn’t got to the stage that we can install it. Wooden flooring thankfully made it across the Channel before the ghastly Brexit, but now we’re stuck for getting anyone to install it. Ah well, it will happen one day. And like you I often think of how much worse it must have been during the war.


    1. Hello Linda – lovely to hear from you. As our lives have changed again overnight I am seriously worried now for the cottage and caravan especially with all this frost as there will be no protection on the boiler as the gas bottle will now have run out. If the boiler or pipes burst we will have an internal flood and no-one would know – there are no neighbours near enough to see and the caravan site next door is empty.
      We are now looking after our grandson rather than him go to nursery as a GP we know who is on the primary care board said to us he would not be sending any of his children to school or nursery after seeing the figures for this new virus. We are keeping our grandson with us until we know more as it would be pointless sending him to mix with the other children only to find like the primary children that the school is then closed. I think my gut instinct all along would be that this would be happening so this new lockdown is no surprise. Sorry your building works have been interupted – we were lucky with the kitchen. Happy New Year to you. x


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