around here //January edition

I started writing this post at the end of January, then somehow, I find that it's already the 8th February, and I still haven't finished writing it! I thought I'd go ahead and publish it anyway, as I would like to remember some of the highlights from a rather dreary month. While I don't want the weather to entirely influence my feelings about the month of January, it's a well known fact that lack of sunshine and a lot of rain are not particularly conducive to feeling on top of the world. Here's to celebrating the little things in life that brighten up rainy, grey days.

Favourite Book: Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian.
The break over Christmas kick-started me into reading again - a habit I tend to neglect for long periods of time. I read Michael McIntyre's autobiography, and Do No Harm by Henry Marsh. In the new year, I started reading Goodnight Mister Tom, which has been sat on our bookshelves for a long time now. I loved it. There were a couple of parts which had me sobbing, but I don't mind reading books that make me cry. It's quite cathartic, really. It's one of those books where I couldn't wait to get back to reading it, and thought about the characters a lot, even when I wasn't engrossed in turning the pages. That's a sign of a good book for me. I have also read The Rosie Effect and am just starting on The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. 

Favourite Cake:
This was a cake order I made for a 4th birthday party - a 10" chocolate cake covered in chocolate fingers and smarties. I loved the process of arranging all 280 smarties on top.

Favourite Photo:
I have no idea what this plant is, but my eye was drawn to the way that it was mirrored by the adjacent plant, both with two seed heads (is that what they are?! I am no botanist!) on a single stem. The dull hues also sum up how the weather has been for most of January - lots of very overcast, grey, wet days.

Favourite Meal: Pie Minister / Chicken pie that we cooked.
Sadly there's no photo to accompany this one - the pies were devoured too quickly. Pies have been the flavour of the month for me. We've actually only eaten pies twice in January, but I have thought about them a lot. I think it's just the way they feel like a hearty Winter meal, and I have been craving that kind of meal during the long January days. I baked this chicken pie recipe and it was delicious. I left out the mushrooms and lima beans - I think I might have added peas instead but can't quite remember. One Friday in January, Ruby and I caught the bus to meet John for lunch at Pie Minister. They make incredible pies. You know when you eat a meal that you have been thinking about for a long time, and it is even better than you were hoping for? That was my experience at Pie Minister. It was the perfect lunch for a wet, cold January afternoon.

Favourite form of documenting life:

Right at the start of January, I saw this idea on Instagram of a diary where you can write one sentence a day. The diary spans five years, so by the end of that time, you can glance at any date and see what you were doing on that particular day over five consecutive years. I loved the idea so immediately ordered three, figuring they would make great presents. I am thoroughly enjoying taking a few minutes at the end of each day to write a sentence about what has happened - I so easily forget from day to day what we have done and who we have seen, and this is such a lovely, simple way of helping me to remember!

Favourite Place: Snuff Mills

I wrote about Snuff Mills here, and it has featured in a number of the portraits I have taken of Ruby in January. This is because we would often get to Sunday afternoon, feel in need of fresh air and due to the lack of beautiful light, I didn't take many photos throughout the weeks of January, meaning I would get to Sunday and still need a portrait of Ruby for that week. So, off to Snuff Mills we would go. Ruby has become enamoured with the water wheel that's right by the entrance, and it is a frequent topic of conversation as to whether the wheel will be turning or not each time we go for another walk there.

Favourite Coffee: Square Mile Red Brick Seasonal Espresso

John and I both love coffee, and this blend has been hitting the spot during January. So much so, that we are both changing the way we drink coffee to have much less milk (I have always been a lover of latte's) so that we can enjoy more of the coffee flavour.

So there we have it. A little list of a few things that have brightened up the month of January for me.