Those in between days

Happy new year! I hope you had a good Christmas and feel rested and restored, ready to face the new year? Or perhaps you're just glad if you avoided covid and got to spend a little time with family or friends. It's hard to feel too optimistic about 2022. It's not that I feel pessimistic, more uncertain. I still feel that the next couple of months are precarious, and I'm nervous about booking any kind of holiday, even if we hope that things are more back to normal by the summer.

Anyway, Christmas. Ours was lovely. The days leading up to it were really busy, with booster side effects and colds thrown in for good measure, but we were able to spend time with family which, after last year, was so precious. 

The elves brought new pyjamas on Christmas Eve, as they do.

On Christmas day we ventured out for a walk in the woods with my parents - a bit of fresh air is the key to staying sane on Christmas day I think.

On Boxing Day my sister hosted a wonderfully relaxed late lunch. She made salmon en croute for the pescatarians, my mum brought a turkey and leek pie, and my contribution was tiramisu. We drank fizz from a local vineyard and played games, it was so nice. 

John went back to work on the 28th and then the children and I slipped into the best bit of Christmas in my opinion, the in-between days between Christmas and new year. The tree stays up until New Year's Day (at the earliest!) and those days are just as festive as the week leading up to Christmas for me, just a whole lot more relaxed. It's all jigsaw puzzles and leftovers to eat up and new books to read, heaven. 

The Christmas cake never gets eaten until well after Christmas, and usually lasts well into January as they children aren't that keen on it. Just before Christmas, I iced our cake with some ready made fondant and added these Snowman and Snowdog cake toppers I found in Lakeland. Angus had the lovely idea to make footprints behind the figures, as through they'd walked through the snow. 

There hasn't been too much cooking going on here as we had so much to eat up, but I have been using up leftover mincemeat in bowls of porridge, adding a little orange zest and some cranberries. 

We've been out for a walk most days, some longer than others. The weather all Christmas down here has been horribly wet, windy and mild. The photo below was taken on the only truly cold, wintry day we had over the holiday, when the sky was all pinks and blues in the late afternoon. 

All other walks have been to the beach, to escape the mud. 

My parents gave me a beautiful new thermos flask for Christmas, as my old one leaks, and we christened it with mulled wine drunk on the beach, and mince pies too of course. 

We spent New Years Eve with dear friends, eating curry and drinking margaritas to toast in the new year. We were a little bleary eyed Saturday but a walk and a pub lunch sorted everyone out.

We took down the Christmas tree today. I removed the decorations and fairy lights (most tedious job ever), then John put the boxes in the loft. He took down the outside lights and chopped up the tree for kindling, while I dusted and vacuumed and mopped inside. We both cleaned the windows. If felt like a fair division of labour all in all.  I miss the tree, miss its twinkling light in the evening, but like the extra space and daylight in the living room. This afternoon we went for a walk but it was so muddy we spent more time trying not to slip over than actually walking, and poor Ziggy had to have a shower when we got home, so he is sulking with us now. 

Tomorrow I go back to work, but I don't mind too much. The thought of going back is always worse than the reality, and luckily I like where I work and will be really happy to see some of my friends and colleagues after the break. January is a dark month, so there will be no crash diets, detoxes, resets or Dry January here, but hopefully a month of early nights, long walks at the weekend and gently doing the things we enjoy as we get into the rhythm of the new year.