Musings from Mimi

Hi, I’m Mimi, and I live in a little Victorian cottage with my husband and little girl. I’ve been a full time mum until now, but have just started working for myself for a few hours a week doing admin. I’ll be writing here from time to time about my life as a vintage housekeeper and mum. Do pop  over to my blog to say hello won’t you?

If you should ever find yourself in a roomful of parents with a lull in the conversation or an awkward silence you want to fill, just throw out a few questions about routine for babies and children. In my experience few things garner more passionate opinions than this. Names such as Gina Ford, Tracy Hogg, Jo Frost and Sarah Ocklewell-Smith are either saviours or demons, depending upon which camp you are in: baby led, parent led, 4 hour feeds, Eat-Activity-Sleep-You….and for each you will find people who tell you that they are the best approach, or the worst thing you could do.

And yet, I think for all that, the best routines and rhythms are the ones we adopt and tweak to suit ourselves and our little families, especially as our babbas get older. The one thing that isn’t in question is that rhythm and routine of some sort are the foundation on which everything else is built. In my last post, I talked about each day having its own kind of feel and flavour and how I was going to choose a little ‘me time’ activity or treat for each day.

It is those subtle little variations in our days which colour each day and give it its character, I think. From the hurry-out-of-the-house-early-for-toddler-group days to the swish-swish-swishing-of-the-washing-machine-days to the lovely-smell-of-ironing-days. But how to explain the idea of days to a small toddler? Let alone the idea of different days? I’ve come up with a lovely little morning routine to help, which even if Jessica is too young to fully understand now, she will get more and more out of it as she gets older.

Each morning, when we come downstairs, I turn the blocks of our perpetual calendar to today’s date, and talk about the numbers as I do so, ending with ‘2 and 4, the 24th of November’. I then pick up a little wooden peg doll and sit it on top of the calendar. I have made seven of these little dolls, and each wears a simple hat and cloak in a different colour, to represent each day of the week.

Mondaypurple
Tuesdayred
Wednesdayyellow
Thursdayorange
Fridaygreen
Saturdayblue
Sundaywhite

When I sit the doll on top of the calendar, I say ‘today it is the red man, so it is Tuesday. Tuesday is the day grandma comes to visit‘ so she can start to make the associations. I have borrowed this idea of associating these specific colours with each day of the week from the world of Waldorf education, so if Jessica was to find herself visiting a Waldorf school or playgroup, the colours and days would be the same.

There are lots of ways to expand on this for older toddlers and children. You might let them help choose the right number blocks for the calendar, and the right coloured doll for the day. You could go as far as to dress them in something that matches the day’s colour. Perhaps they could eat their breakfast porridge from a coloured bowl which matches the day, or snuggle them up under a coloured blanket for their nap.

Making Your Dolls

If you want to make your own peg dolls, they are very easy. Look on Pinterest for inspiration, (try waldorf calendar dolls as a search term) use this tutorial and buy your wooden peg dolls from mothergooseonline.co.uk

If you are not confident with your sewing skills, there is no reason why you couldn’t just paint the dolls, although if you can manage blanket stitch (youtube is great if you are feeling rusty or want a reminder how to start it, as I always do!) you should find it straight forward.

If you are wondering where to find the time to make these, I did too! In the end, I made one each evening for a week. Each one takes somewhere between half an hour and an hour depending on whether you are engrossed in a radio play while you sew…

We end our little morning calendar routine with me singing my morning song to the tune (ish!) of The Archers. It goes:

Good morning little Jessica
good morning little J
Good morning little Jessica
And how are you today!

Good morning little Jessica
good morning little J
Good morning little Jessica
Are you ready to play?

Good morning little Jessica
good morning little J
Good morning little Jessica
Welcome to Tuesday! (Or whichever day it actually is!)

I have another idea, for a special kind of calendar which I’ll share in my next post – it is something you can do for your little one, but also for yourself. And if you do make your own calendar dolls, please share some photographs won’t you?

Love
Mimi
Xxx


Musings

Musings

Hi, I’m Mimi, and I live in a little Victorian cottage with my husband and little girl. I’ve been a full time mum until now, but have just started working for myself for a few hours a week doing admin. I’ll be writing here from time to time about my life as a vintage housekeeper and mum…

I know all of us will have different situations – I have one child, you may have two, three or more. Mine is nearly a year and a half, and you may be a mama to a wee baby, or perhaps a nearly-teenager. Nursery, school, nanny or nothing, so many different variations. But we’ll all have this in common – loving our babbas and wanting to give them a Brocante childhood.

Rhythm and Routine    

As vintage housekeepers, rhythm and routine are familiar friends. Wash day, shopping day, puttery evenings, seasonal scrubs. They underpin our lives, don’t they? And we are either on top of them or chasing behind. Whether we do the washing or not, it is still there, either waiting to be pegged on the line, or piling up in the basket.

When you become a mum, suddenly there are a multitude of other rhythms which fill your world. Sleeping, waking, crying babies. Feeding on demand, or feeding on a schedule. Nappies to be changed, tiny bodies to be bathed and snuggled. Life somehow has to fit in around the edges.

Then there are the rhythms of work, either our own jobs, or those of the people who live with us. School days, nursery days, story time at the library days. Dustbin days, family days…days, days, days.

All those rhythms swirling and whirling around us, and us in the middle. Some days I feel like I am at the centre of a whirlwind, other days I feel like a ringmaster in a glorious circus. The latter happens more when I am in control of the different rhythms and routines which run our lives. I love the feeling of having a meal plan, knowing who is where tomorrow and what they need is ready. But it is all too easy to slip into the centre of the whirlwind and want to throw my apron over my head and hide.

Now, do you notice what is missing from all those rhythms and routines and patterns? Me. I’m there making them happen or chasing trying to catch up with them, but what about me for my own sake? It is so easy in trying to get everything done, to make sure everyone is fed and clothed and happy, to forget about yourself. To have put the baby to bed, come downstairs and tidied the toys, washed up the dinner things and realised it is ten to ten, and my evening is just starting now…but I’m so, so sleepy.

So easy for my little one to settle for a nap, and for me to think that I’ll have a few minutes to myself, and get drawn into Facebook or Pinterest, and suddenly the time has gone and the baby is awake and ready to play, and I don’t feel like I had a rest at all.

I’ve been mulling this over for a few weeks. Truth be told, I’ve been writing this in my head for a month or more, in snatches when pushing the pram or doing the dishes. I’m so careful with Jessica’s routines – we have toddler group day, nanny day, grandma day, library day. We have meal times, snack times, rest times, play times, story times. Her life unfolds like a ribbon, her needs are met and she knows what to expect. I think it’s time I took a dose of my own medicine, and start applying this to myself.

Seven Days, Seven Things 

So, seven days, seven things which bring me joy, peace or pleasure. Something just for me. I’m undecided yet as to whether I shall assign one particular thing to each day, or if I will just see what I feel like on the day. I think the first option appeals more to me at the moment though.

Perhaps every Monday I shall make time to sit down with my favourite cup and saucer, make a pot of tea with my Ceylon Orange Pekoe leaves, and drink it while doing nothing else.

Tuesday I will listen to a podcast from radio 4 while laying down.

Wednesday will be my day for painting my nails pillar box red.

Thursday I will crochet a single triangle of granny square bunting, and I will only do this now. A chain of bunting as a physical manifestation of time spent on me.

On Fridays I will read a chapter of a book kept just for Fridays. I’ll enjoy the anticipation of waiting to find out what happens next.

Saturday will be my day for a soak in the bath.

Sundays I’ll leave open, with the idea of being in the kitchen, cooking something unnecessary. Finally getting to grips with meringues perhaps, or perfecting my apple pie recipe.

But wait…all of this is about me, and this is meant to be a column about being a mum. Well, the thing I’ve learnt since becoming a Mum is that while you would give your last breath to your child, you have to take that breath first in order to have it to give. Likewise, half an hour for me makes me much happier, less snappy. When I make a bit of time for me, I get my sparkle back, and it helps me to be a better Mummy.

So, please, join in with me, and spend half an hour today planing your weekly pleasures.

Love Mimi
Xxx

Note from Alison… I’m so thrilled to have Mimi from Little Sips of Tea back writing at BrocanteHome. She was one of my very first readers and as I think you can tell, she has so scrumptiously embraced the spirit of Brocante while creating a truly lovely, life less ordinary for her little family… 


As I continue sorting myself out, Dear Darling Mimi from Little Sips of  Tea has been kind enough to provide us with another of her gorgeous little posts and I am so grateful that in my abscence I am  able to share this with you and remind you all over again that there is scrumptiousness to be found in every day….Enjoy…

Autumn brings falling leaves and falling apples, and happily for us, as well as being completely scrumptious they are also really good for us. As well as being full of fibre, which can help with lowering cholesterol, it also helps sweep through your system, which makes for a glowing complexion. Throw in all that crunching being great for teeth and gums, it really makes sense to fit in your apple a day.
***
If you are lucky enough to have a farm shop near you, or a farmers market, go and choose a different variety of apple for each day of the week. Make a little ceremony out of eating it, perhaps having it for dessert or for your morning snack. Take a quiet moment to sit and slice it with a knife, or try one of those cunning cutters that core and wedge it with one press.
***
Start the day with a glass of freshly pressed juice – try an apple, a carrot, and a stick of celery, or instead an apple, a pear, and a little knob of ginger.
***
For a warming snack after a crisp country walk, core a cooking apple, fill the cavity with some dried fruit and a little brown sugar, dot with a tiny bit of butter, sprinkle with a whisper of cinnamon, then score the ‘equator’ line around the middle with a sharp knife, and microwave for a few minutes until cooked. Instant autumnal bliss!
***
Make a savoury scone dough pizza base, spread with tomato puree, and top with chopped sharp eating apple (perhaps a granny smith or two). Sprinkle over some dried mixed herbs, then top with mature cheddar and bake. So much more delicious than you could imagine!
***
For a tasty breakfast, cut an eating apple into wedges, and tumble with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of brown sugar (you could add a dash of rum if it is the weekend!). Bake until soft, then serve with greek yoghurt that has cinnamon stirred into it, and a sprinkle of the crunchiest granola you can find.

Thank heavens For Mimi! I for one love the idea of shopping for a variety of apples and making a ritual out of trying each one in turn. All that and practising removing the peel in one deliciously curly piece…

Today heralds, I am thrilled to announce, the much anticipated return of Mimi Says, from the librarian bloggess better known as she who writes at Little Sips of Tea. Mimi was my very first guest blogger back in the day and I have always considered her to be a kindred spirit, no more so than when she is writing about the pleasures of Autumn.  Enjoy!

“There is a time of year when even before the first leaf falls, you can feel the seasons click…the air is crisp, summer is gone, and for the first night in a long time you need a blanket for your bed. It brings up other needs as well..”

My thoughts have been turning to autumn lately, and I am starting to get the back-to-school feeling that tugs at my heart every September, so when Carrie said this in an old episode of Sex And The City yesterday, it felt as though she was echoing my thoughts and speaking directly to me.

That wonderful urge for new notebooks and coloured inks; to learn something new; the memory of new school shoes and the anticipation of a new academic year laid ahead, full of possibilities…bliss! The French have a word for it…La Rentree, and I think that no matter how long ago we packed away our school books, we are never too old to stop responding to the siren call of this wonderful time of year.

Now we are grown up ladies thought, it is all the more exciting! We can set our own curriculum, choose our own school rules! Instead of crisp white blouses and ankle socks, our new uniform can be whatever we want it to be. Soft layers for autumn, perhaps a new signature colour in aubergine purple, or pumpkin gold. Nail polish is no longer prohibited; instead nails tipped with the rich glossy brown on hot chocolate are positively encouraged. I am longing for a bottle of the season’s must-have colour by Chanel: Peridot. It is a wonderful muted mossy greeny-gold which reminds me of walks in autumnal woods.

Instead of double maths, we can choose to learn whatever our heart desires. The evening class  brochures abound with opportunities. You can learn a new language, take up bellydancing, start flower arranging, even do a GCSE in maths! You are not confined to the pages of the brochure though, there are so many other ways to learn. Perhaps you will decide to cook your way around India, choosing a different recipe each week from the pages of a cookbook. Or you could take to the kitchen to master the art of choux pastry, turning out chocolate eclairs at the drop of a hat. You could visit the library and read your way through the entire works of a particular author, or perhaps just look around you at the women you admire, wonder ‘how does she do that?’ and then decide to learn!

To me, La Rentree is the birth of a new season, the early whisperings of autumn stirring in your soul. A season of transformation. Look at the trees transform themselves as they shed their flame coloured leaves to the ground, leaving their beautiful bare branches on display. This speaks to me of the stripping away to our truest, essential selves.

This is the time to ask ourselves who we are, and what we need, and to spend the cool crisp months in the school of our own creation, so when spring comes we can burst forth in bud, blossom and leaf, blooming with our new knowledge and skills.

As for me, my uniform will be very Nigella…a long black jersey skirt that is soft against the skin, and pairs beautifully with pretty little jumpers in every shade from mustard to ruby, with perhaps a little duck egg blue in between. Dressy enough to make me feel that I can open the door to any kind of company, but relaxed enough that I feel ‘at home’ in them. I will never abandon my red lipstick, but for now it can take a back seat whilst I paint my nails conker brown and experiment with smokey hazy eyes. I shall be baking my way to the perfect macaroon, and working my way through the works of Dorothy Whipple. I will sign up to a workshop to learn how to put my hair up in vintage victory rolls, and even thinking of taking a weekly burlesque dance class (clothes stay firmly ON, I am happy to say!).

So that is my rentree….what does yours look like?

Mimi_4

Make Like Cleopatra!

February is a month that abounds with
opportunities for lovely, simple pleasures. Oh yes, it is a grey month, it is
still winter when it feels like winter has been forever already and I begin to
think we may be living in Narnia; but February has so many treasures to offer,
they surely outweigh a little bit of winter gloom.

 Even the winter weather itself may be seen as a
treasure if you look carefully. Oh I know it is horrible to have to get up in
the dark, and if you are like me, go home in the dark and it seems like
daylight never really happened. But this is the perfect invitation to create
your own winter light. I like to scatter tea lights about the living room, and
on my windowsill have two large pillar candles, a pot of narcissus that I am
hoping will bloom any day now, and a bunch of daffodils that are full out and
flaunting their glorious sunshine colours. Continue the theme in the kitchen,
and treat yourself to a bag of oranges. How mundane oranges seem, until you see
these lovely orbs of sunlight in your kitchen, or in a bowl in the living room.
So many varieties, either proper big oranges, or the smaller clementines,
mandarins, satsumas and more. My favourite thing at the moment is to peel an
orange, sprinkle the segments with orange flower water, and pop in the fridge
to chill before eating.  I love the
decadence of sitting on my sofa in the glow of candlelight, with a little pink
bowl of these chilled segments, perhaps reading or just day dreaming.

Maybe ten years ago, one February. I found in a
little second hand book shop a book by Vidal Sassoon and his then wife
Beverley, called A Year of Beauty and Health. There was a maintenance plan of
things you did every week or month, and then for each month there were ‘specials’
for your diet, figure, body or hair. And that is were I found this lovely idea,
to make like Cleopatra and take a milk bath! I know, I know it sounds strange
and odd, and to be honest I was convinced I was going to come out sticky the
first time I tried it! But trust in it as I did, and take your turn at playing
Queen of the Nile

For this adventure in the bathtub, you will need a
pint of milk, some almond oil, a bottle of lovely body lotion, a loofah or
similar, and lots of warm fluffy towels. Any little extras such as some pretty
candles to burn, a good book or a magazine to read, or some violet creams will
not go amiss, but are not essential. You also need to close your eyes and get
into the idea of being a modern day Cleopatra! Don’t go as far as the asp, but
certainly decide that for now you are the Queen of February and all its hidden
delights. And now is the time to reveal your own hidden delight- baby soft skin
that has been hiding under winter woollies.

 First, run your bath, make it nice and warm- not too hot that you get bright red legs when you get in, but certainly nice and snugly. I tend to put a saucepan of water on to boil at this point, then call
on my lovely fiancé to top me up when I start to get chilly! As the bath is
pouring, tip in your pint of milk- whole, semi, skimmed, whatever you fancy,
but organic is best. Add a splash of almond oil, and watch your tub fill with a
silky cloud for you to relax in. Make sure the towels are on the radiator, and
it is not too chilly in there- then when you are undressed, do dry brushing all
over your body with the loofah. This is where you do nice long strokes along
your limbs towards your heart and round little circles on your tummy. I can
never reach my back, but oh, how I try! Then, rub generous amounts of body
lotion in, and settle back in your bath. Close your eyes, think how nice it is
to float about in your own warm little cloud, and imagine yourself Cleopatra.
Have a nice soak for fifteen minutes or so, then get to work with the loofah or
flannel again, buffing your elbows and knees especially. I like to shave my
legs while I am about this, as it seems to make legs even more silky smooth.
When you are all clean, hop out, pat yourself dry, but not bone dry, then rub
in a second helping of body lotion.

 The best thing to do now in my opinion is to get
into a bed made up with fresh clean sheets and all smelling sweetly of
lavender. As you lay there, you can feel your skin so soft against the covers,
and you will feel amazing. All light, soft and silky. Now is the time to
recline like the Queen of the Nile, relax, perhaps with some beautiful music, or a spoken word story, or maybe just peel another orange…

Lots of love, from Mimi!

(Go see her at Little sips of Tea…)

Mimicard

Make Just This one New Year’s Resolution This Year…

..And that is, never make another New Years Resolution again. Never. Ever. How many time’s have you declared that you will "lose weight", "get fit", or stop this habit, or do this or that, as the bell strikes midnight? And how many of us, years later, still have that same weight to lose, still have this skill to achieve or that habit to drop? New Years Resolutions don’t work and they just make us feel bad when we fail, so stop the cycle now!

Before I go any further, please don’t think I am some kind of New Years Humbug! I love the start of a crisp New Year. Choosing a new diary, the thought of all the coming seasons, the special days, a blank page on which to start afresh.  I like to think of it as that " New Term" at school feeling. I have often dreamt of glamorous parties and soirees with which to welcome in the New Year, but I must confess that the reality is usually a little less exciting than this- but even when at home (I won’t say "just" at home, because we all know there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort, to quote Jane Austen), I always stay up to hear the chimes, preferably with the teeniest glass of fizz…

So now we have firmly established that while I love New Years, I hate New Years resolutions. I really feel that they set you up for failure, like a horrible tripwire laid down  in advance. While I was having Christmas dinner with a friend the other day, over Brussels sprouts and parsnips, she explained that she has target’s each year, rather than resolutions. I love this idea! Targets seem so much more positive to me. Admittedly this particular person has targets that are too daunting for me (past years included the London Marathon!), but what a lovely idea. And one that I fully intend to magpie for myself, and share with you here. (Doesn’t "magpie" sound so much nicer than "steal", when it comes to the work of others??)

So rather than saying "I resolve to lose weight", I will say it is my target to become slim. And I can’t help but feel that you need some measure of progress and success, so you know when you have reached your target. Obviously this is easier with some targets than others: surely you will know when you have read the complete works of Jane Austen, taken afternoon tea or visited France? But those more personal targets, such as becoming slim, eating in a more healthy way and so on, can be a bit harder. If we have one bad day, does that mean we are no longer eating healthily, and thus have undone the work of the previous three weeks?  Of course not! Why not say instead, that in order to eat more healthily, you will eat an extra piece of fruit a day? Or drink a glass of hot water with lemon on rising, or learn to love herbal tea? The trick here is that if you say you are going to eat healthily, you have to spend all day not having that extra biscuit (or indeed, first biscuit!), or saying no to a chocolate, and really you are never done. But if you have drank your hot water or crunched your way through that apple, then you can declare yourself wonderful and get on with your day. So whatever your target, be it in this area or others, try and make them positive rather than negative, break them down into manageable chunks and make sure you have some way of managing success.

Another idea I came across (while reading the wonderful Sarah Ban Breathnach!), to boost you a bit when your inspiration is flagging, is to buy (or for the green fingered, plant) some bulbs (I like tete a tete best, but you could try paper white’s or hyacinth), and on one of those old fashioned luggage labels, write down one of your targets, tie it loosely around the bulb shoot and watch your dream grow.

Now one last thing, keeping with the idea of being positive, is to try affirmations. There is a lot of science behind it, that is a bit beyond me, but all I can say for sure is that it makes me feel better. The trick is to choose a time when you are relaxed and quiet, perhaps in bed before you sleep, as you awake, or in front of the mirror after a soothing bath, then you make some statements. Then you repeat them. And something strange happens. You start to believe them. With all your heart. And then you go about your day while the magic you have invoked gets to work on your soul. Say them out loud to give them more power, but if that makes you feel silly, whisper them under your breath or say them only in your mind. What you say is of course up to you, but you must make your statement positive, and as if they are already true. So instead of "I wish I wasn’t fat" (Oh, the dreaded "f" word-sorry to have used it, but it illustrates how we talk about ourselves so well!), you say "Today I am going to eat healthy foods that will help me become thinner every day" or " I am a beautiful healthy person" or "I am calm and relaxed" or my all purpose favorite, "All will be well"…

The thing is to choose whatever is personal to you. Reading through this, the illustrative points have been about health and slimness, but that is just my own personal New Years pre-occupation. I will have other targets too: I do think it is a good idea to mix it up a little, to have a bit of variety in there. I want to tackle a piece of knitting that little bit more challenging than what I have been doing, so I have chosen a beautiful hot water bottle pattern for this purpose (Warm and snugly too- a bonus!!), and I want to go the Christmas markets in Bruges and learn a new recipe every month.

Whatever your New Years wishes and aspirations, may they come true and may you have a very happy 2006…

Lot’s of love, Mimi. xxx         

 

Mimicard

Make Just This one New Year’s Resolution This Year…

..And that is, never make another New Years Resolution again. Never. Ever. How many time’s have you declared that you will "lose weight", "get fit", or stop this habit, or do this or that, as the bell strikes midnight? And how many of us, years later, still have that same weight to lose, still have this skill to achieve or that habit to drop? New Years Resolutions don’t work and they just make us feel bad when we fail, so stop the cycle now!

Before I go any further, please don’t think I am some kind of New Years Humbug! I love the start of a crisp New Year. Choosing a new diary, the thought of all the coming seasons, the special days, a blank page on which to start afresh.  I like to think of it as that " New Term" at school feeling. I have often dreamt of glamorous parties and soirees with which to welcome in the New Year, but I must confess that the reality is usually a little less exciting than this- but even when at home (I won’t say "just" at home, because we all know there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort, to quote Jane Austen), I always stay up to hear the chimes, preferably with the teeniest glass of fizz…

So now we have firmly established that while I love New Years, I hate New Years resolutions. I really feel that they set you up for failure, like a horrible tripwire laid down  in advance. While I was having Christmas dinner with a friend the other day, over Brussels sprouts and parsnips, she explained that she has target’s each year, rather than resolutions. I love this idea! Targets seem so much more positive to me. Admittedly this particular person has targets that are too daunting for me (past years included the London Marathon!), but what a lovely idea. And one that I fully intend to magpie for myself, and share with you here. (Doesn’t "magpie" sound so much nicer than "steal", when it comes to the work of others??)

So rather than saying "I resolve to lose weight", I will say it is my target to become slim. And I can’t help but feel that you need some measure of progress and success, so you know when you have reached your target. Obviously this is easier with some targets than others: surely you will know when you have read the complete works of Jane Austen, taken afternoon tea or visited France? But those more personal targets, such as becoming slim, eating in a more healthy way and so on, can be a bit harder. If we have one bad day, does that mean we are no longer eating healthily, and thus have undone the work of the previous three weeks?  Of course not! Why not say instead, that in order to eat more healthily, you will eat an extra piece of fruit a day? Or drink a glass of hot water with lemon on rising, or learn to love herbal tea? The trick here is that if you say you are going to eat healthily, you have to spend all day not having that extra biscuit (or indeed, first biscuit!), or saying no to a chocolate, and really you are never done. But if you have drank your hot water or crunched your way through that apple, then you can declare yourself wonderful and get on with your day. So whatever your target, be it in this area or others, try and make them positive rather than negative, break them down into manageable chunks and make sure you have some way of managing success.

Another idea I came across (while reading the wonderful Sarah Ban Breathnach!), to boost you a bit when your inspiration is flagging, is to buy (or for the green fingered, plant) some bulbs (I like tete a tete best, but you could try paper white’s or hyacinth), and on one of those old fashioned luggage labels, write down one of your targets, tie it loosely around the bulb shoot and watch your dream grow.

Now one last thing, keeping with the idea of being positive, is to try affirmations. There is a lot of science behind it, that is a bit beyond me, but all I can say for sure is that it makes me feel better. The trick is to choose a time when you are relaxed and quiet, perhaps in bed before you sleep, as you awake, or in front of the mirror after a soothing bath, then you make some statements. Then you repeat them. And something strange happens. You start to believe them. With all your heart. And then you go about your day while the magic you have invoked gets to work on your soul. Say them out loud to give them more power, but if that makes you feel silly, whisper them under your breath or say them only in your mind. What you say is of course up to you, but you must make your statement positive, and as if they are already true. So instead of "I wish I wasn’t fat" (Oh, the dreaded "f" word-sorry to have used it, but it illustrates how we talk about ourselves so well!), you say "Today I am going to eat healthy foods that will help me become thinner every day" or " I am a beautiful healthy person" or "I am calm and relaxed" or my all purpose favorite, "All will be well"…

The thing is to choose whatever is personal to you. Reading through this, the illustrative points have been about health and slimness, but that is just my own personal New Years pre-occupation. I will have other targets too: I do think it is a good idea to mix it up a little, to have a bit of variety in there. I want to tackle a piece of knitting that little bit more challenging than what I have been doing, so I have chosen a beautiful hot water bottle pattern for this purpose (Warm and snugly too- a bonus!!), and I want to go the Christmas markets in Bruges and learn a new recipe every month.

Whatever your New Years wishes and aspirations, may they come true and may you have a very happy 2006…

Lot’s of love, Mimi. xxx