Monday, 23 January 2017


January for many, can be the most depressing month of the year.  After the excitement of Christmas and New year, January can be a bit of a let down...back to work for most, short daylight hours, usually cold and damp, recovering from the expense of Christmas, along with any new diet  and non drinking resolutions?  
Not great really!


Now I'm no psychologist, and true depression is a different matter which needs to be treated properly and professionally, but if you are just struggling a little with these early weeks of the year, then I do believe a different mindset and a few little tweaks and above all, being kind to oneself, can make all the difference.  

It is our homes, more than ever at this time of year, that are so important.  For me, the organised running of and relaxed and happy atmosphere in our home is of paramount importance to me.  It is something I strive to create for myself and my family and visiting friends every day.  Not just a roof over our heads, our homes should be a complete sanctuary. A place to feel totally safe and relaxed, to switch off from the outside world, as well as an inspiring and happy place to be.  

Why not take advantage of being inside more at this time of year?  I know that once the warmer weather is here, I shall be spending far more time outside and concentrating on our garden, so here are a few simple things that I like to do at home in January, to keep things upbeat:

  Have a good clear out!
Even the most 'neat freakish' amongst us will probably benefit from a bit of a clear out?  We all know our weak points...whether it's wardrobes, kitchen cupboards, or the cupboard under the stairs, we can all benefit from a bit of a clutter clear!

Clothes to begin know the rule, apart from only a few special exceptions, if you haven't worn it for a year then you probably won't again, so either donate, sell or bin it!  As I get older, I am more sure of my own sense of style and am pleased to say, rarely feel that I make a disastrous purchase.  Quality over quantity becomes more important, and I like to wear and enjoy what I have and not just look at it in the wardrobe!  Over time, I am purging far less things on my annual wardrobe sort out, which is a good feeling.  It's amazingly energising to get this done, and to open your wardrobe and know that you love everything in it, and it fits and suits you, and the life you are living.

My second big sort out after the long Christmas/new year break is the fridge and larder. If you are on a bit of a new year health kick this is a must...leftover 'naughties' can go!  Out of date items are binned and stocks replenished.  This helps me think straight and start planning some new fresh recipe inspiration.  

Cook something delicious:

I'm not one for fad diets and strict regimes, believing instead that by just cooking with good healthy, wholesome, organic (wherever possible) ingredients from scratch, (no labels!) combined with plenty of exercise is the answer.  January especially really is not the time for deprivation, so 'moderation'  in my book is a far gentler and kinder option!  There are plenty of delicious, comforting yet healthy things to cook.  An hour or so in the kitchen trying something new can be fun and relaxing, given the time, and I am especially enjoying trying some new recipes this month.  

One particular inspiration is in Mimi Thorisson's beautiful book 'A Kitchen in France'  (click for link) which many of you will know and love.  My youngest son gave me this gorgeous book for Christmas, and being a fan of delicious, simple, french country cooking, I am so enjoying creating some of her mouthwatering recipes.   The whole roast chicken cooked in creme fraîche and herbs will leave you never wanting to roast a chicken again in any other way!

Next on my wishlist is her latest book 'French Country Cooking: Meals and Moments from a village in the Vineyards' (click for link), which like her first book, promises to be just as lovely, with stunning photography too.

Flowers and bulbs:

Fresh flowers in the house has to be one of life's simple pleasures, and one of the most inexpensive and easiest ways to light up a room and give days of enjoyment.   It doesn't have to be elaborate, just a small bunch from the supermarket, costing a couple of pounds can make all the difference.  All my indoor Christmas Hyacinths have finished flowering now, so new ones are called for, along with mini narcissi baskets from our Friday flower market which will have us optimistic and dreaming of Spring, which really is only just around the corner!


Who doesn't love a long, hot soak in the bath?  
Jo Malone's beautiful bath oils are my big indulgence, turning bathtime in to a real treat.  So many gorgeous fragrances, but I'm so loving the Red roses oil, and indulgent body cream at the moment.  

 It certainly makes winter pampering extra special. The scent is heavenly and it leaves the bathroom smelling amazing!  



Year round, candles are essential aren't they?  Don't just save them to the evening.  A beautiful scented candle burning on the kitchen side or on my desk during the day, certainly lifts my spirits. 

My favourite scents at this time of year are fresh, clean zesty fragrances, and the recent 'Lime and Bay' addition from 'The White Company' is so uplifting....

Take up a new hobby:

New interests?  
I decided that I wanted to try my hand at a couple of new skills this new year, and have taken up embroidery and candle making.  Early days with the embroidery, but the candle making so far has been so much fun and could become a little addictive?  I shall report back on both soon!
Have you taken up any new hobbies?  I would love to hear.


Unless any of you have been living in a cave for the last few months, you will not have missed the 'Hygge' trend taking the world by storm? Scandinavians have been naturally practising 'Hygge' (pronounces 'hoo-ga') for ever, and this appreciation of cosiness, kinship and appreciation of the simple pleasures in life, whether in quiet conviviality around the fire indoors, or out enjoying nature, has obviously contributed to the Nordic countries being rated as amongst the happiest nations.  If you need a little inspiration, then I can highly recommend Signe Johansen's lovely recent book 'How to Hygge' (click for link) which includes some delicious recipes too.

So let's try to embrace these darker months before the Spring arrives and turn to our homes to enjoy this precious certainly looks like Kiki my Cockerspaniel has got it all worked out?  


Wishing you all a very happy week...

Sophia xx

1 comment:

  1. Such a poignant post Sophia and I wholeheartedly agree with what you've written. Enjoy the Winter months as much as the Summer ones for very different reasons.