January Colouring in: Take II

And another mandala coloured in…

I find it so calming to colour in these circular designs, just beginning in the centre and slowly working outwards, deciding one colour at a time and only seeing at the end exactly what my colour choices have created. It’s not difficult to do, only time consuming, and time is something I certainly have an abundance of right now during our second national Covid lockdown. So I think colouring in as an enjoyable and engrossing creative pastime is my Weekly Smile this week…

How do other people choose to spend their leisure time while staying indoors during a winter lockdown? 🙂

Escapist Colouring Club

Winter Walk

While the world is still mired deep in the pandemic, while so may of us remain socially shut in and economically shut down, the familiar seasonal colours of nature continue to inspire, to bring a little normality to such an oddly altered reality. Life goes on, albeit differently, firmly grounded in the continuity of the lovely landscape and all the joy it brings… My first Weekly Smile of the New Year, and here’s to many more… 🙂

Traditions that Bind us Together

I’m not usually the most Christmassy of people, and although current Covid Christmas restrictions could potentially have given me the perfect excuse for simply not bothering much with any of it this year, I nevertheless found myself taking the box of decorations down from the loft earlier than usual and not only have I put up the Christmas tree but have also added a few festive ornaments and a string of sparkly lights to the mantelpiece.

With all of us here in the UK necessarily having an extremely pared-down minimally-numbered Christmas this year I felt a surprising longing, a need to create some kind of fun festive feeling around our home, as if we were still expecting a flurry of visitors at any time. We may all be physically apart this year, but we can all still share the emotion and experience of the same old family traditions that recognisably bind us together, but simply enjoy them separately, each in our own home.

We can still put up our usual decorations, over-indulge in the same kind of food we always eat, enjoy the myriad repeat TV programmes we usually watch every festive season, and remind ourselves that if nothing else Christmas 2020 has truly taught us to appreciate the value of presence over presents at this time of year. Being able to choose to be with those we love at Christmas is the best gift we could have, whether family, friends, fur-babies, or any other favourite loves.

To have that choice taken away from so many of us this year hurts, but hopefully it is a wound that for most of us will heal in time. We need to remind ourselves that losing someone to Covid lasts forever and so is a risk too far for many of us to take, especially with the promise of vaccines becoming available to all in the months to come. We are where we are in this current coronavirus crisis, but this too shall pass.

So for this week’s Weekly Smile here is a gallery of some of my favourite tree decorations bringing some much-needed Christmas cheer to my home and to my blog – hopefully the idea if not the actual baubles and trinkets themselves help bring a smile to your faces too. For me the ritual of trimming the tree feels wonderfully familiar, becomes a heart-warming task brimming with mementos and memories and magic, helping me feel close to those I hold most dear, however near or far, in this time of national sacrifice.

So here I am wishing a very Happy Christmas 2020 to all my blog friends, from my home to yours, and hoping for a better year for all of us in 2021 ❤

Birds Eating Breakfast

This morning saw a really busy breakfast shift at our bird feeder – sadly by the time I thought to fetch my camera the main rush hour had passed, but I still caught a few stragglers.

Today we saw sparrows, blue tits, coal tits, a robin and even a goldfinch at the feeder, not to mention the blackbirds and pigeons hanging about for overspill leftovers.

It definitely brought a big smile to our faces over breakfast to watch the to-ing and fro-ing and tag-team shenanigans of the small bird world, courtesy of our kitchen window 🙂

Weekly Smile

Sunday Stroll: Along the Canal

It’s been a while since I’ve been for a Sunday stroll along the Caledonian canal from Muirtown Locks to Clachnaharry Sea Lock, and although the rain threatened a few times I had no more than a few spots here and there to contend with. But oh, it was bitterly cold today, especially with the bracing sea breeze that’s never far away.

Whenever the sun came out (decidedly intermittently) I snapped whatever I could landscape-wise, and whenever the dark rain clouds dampened the light I concentrated on close-ups of whatever I could find around me. I was out for an hour or so and came home with frozen fingers, pink cheeks, windswept hair, and a big happy smile 🙂

Weekly Smile

Autumn Leaves

We’ve had such a lot of miserable grey clouds and heavy rain this wet and windy autumn, but recently I caught this tree all golden against a blue sky in a rare moment of sunshine walking home from the supermarket – camera phones are just great for capturing impromptu moments like this 🙂

Weekly Smile

Ripening Plums

My Weekly Smile this week just has to be the sheer delight on my husband’s face to actually be picking fat juicy plums daily from his own plum tree! I grew up with a plum tree growing in my mum and dad’s garden so I guess I just don’t share the same novelty factor of having an over-abundance of fresh plums available on the doorstep. We’ve already had a yummy plum crumble made with the first batch, as well as just eating the plums au naturel of course! Plenty more where they came from… I’m sure we’ll both be sick of the sight of them before long, but luckily we have plenty of family who have offerred to help eat as many as we can spare 🙂

Tea and Cake

What better way to cheer myself up on a restful, rainy summer afternoon off than enjoying a refreshing cup of tea and a freshly baked fairy cake, light and fluffy and only an hour out the oven… And the icing on the cake is that the kitchen still smells of warm, sweet vanilla – Yum! 🙂

Weekly Smile

Sunflower Smile

When our five year old grandson was given some giant sunflower seeds earlier in the year to plant in little pots on the kitchen windowsill no-one expected any miracles to occur but to his delight three grew into little plants.

He gave one to us, a gangly foot-high skinny stalk, carrying it himself so carefully to deliver it safely, so I duly planted it in a sheltered spot in the garden by the back fence and promised him I’d look after it.

We live in the chilly North of Scotland, and so I had no idea if a giant sunflower plant would even survive up here, never mind flower. I’ve watered it and watched it, fingers crossed it didn’t die, and here it is now with a proper yellow head.

It’s not fully opened as yet, and at 2.5m the plant has over-shot the fence and has grown way too tall for me to capture face to face without the aid of a ladder, but look, we actually have a real giant sunflower growing in our garden!

Big smiles all round for our beautiful Scottish sunflower 🙂

Weekly Smile

Flower of the Day