Puttery Treats For Winter.

Winter

While I adore January, I find February perfectly hideous. It sort of stretches ahead of me: bitterly cold and strangely bereft of any personality- at once the shortest month of the year and chillingly, boringly, greyly, the longest.

I can hardly  bear it, but bear it I must, and so I give into it: I hibernate for four blissful weeks, catch my breath after the trauma of Christmas and the over zealous industry of a New Year, and finally allow myself to enjoy the cosy bliss of the emptiest month of the year...

1. Make the decision to only go where you really must: this is a month for taking stock, for not cluttering our minds with  new projects, unnecessary  consumerism or idle gossip.  So practise saying No. No Thank You, but really you are oh so kind for asking...

2.   Wander around the house and gather up all your half finished crafty bits of this and that. Music you find too difficult to listen to when your mind is busy. Books you've always meant to read.  And each day make a conscious effort  to do them, read them, listen to them. Perhaps there is a reason they are half finished. Maybe you will finally find the space and time to admit you don't enjoy them or maybe, just maybe, the sheer numbness of Fevrier will bring with it a  new, enduring passion.

3. Get up very, very early. Just you. Creep downstairs, light candles and drink coffee in the dark, melancholy silence of  an early Winter morning.

4. Or wait until everybody has left for school or work, then prepare yourself a really lovely breakfast tray. Carry it upstairs, get undressed and get back into bed. No one else but you has to know...

5. Call in the blues. Gather miserable c.d's and heartbreaking films together and spend a couple of hours wallowing in sorrow. Sounds miserable. Makes you feel great.

6. Strip back the bed and lay a huge fleecy blanket between the mattress cover and the sheet. Then if you are truly chilled to the bone, lay another blanket on top of the sheet, so your fragile, gooseflesh never has to endure the bitter chill of cotton or linen...

7. Or do as my lovely Mark does for me  (never say mine is not a pampered existence: I am spoilt rotten!) and give the cold sheets a quick blast with a very hot hairdryer before you slip under the quilt...

8. Choose a pretty tin and make up some Fireside Coffee Mix. Light every candle you own as soon as dusk settles.

9. Wrap up warm and get into the garden to sweep away the debris of Winter on your doorstep, plant pretty Primulas in terracotta pots, inside and out and bring a little colour into what could be the most lifeless of all months.

10.  Buy daffodils every time you buy milk. Really.

11.  Knit socks. Take afternoon naps. And polish your furniture in that strange afternoon Winter light designed to reveal every airbourne speck of dust...

12. Buy really good, organic butter and feast on the piece of heaven that is a buttery crumpet. At least twice a week. Or twice a day if the mood takes you.

13. Handwash your favorite snuggly blanket, rinse it in something scrumptiously fragrant, then dry it in front of the fire as  it's scent fills the air and the windows of your living room steam up deliciously. There is nothing quite so scrumptiously Wintery or homely as steamy windows...

14. Get into your pyjama's every day  at four o'clock and refuse to leave the house thereafter.

15. Create a kindling basket full of pinecones, cinnamon sticks and herb bundles. Or stuff old toilet roll holders full of twigs, herb's, moss and waxed firestarters, then wrap in brown paper and tie with string.

16. Bake a lot of deliciously old fashioned cakes and take afternoon tea in your jim jams. I always think the most welcoming of houses always have home made cake tucked in a flowery tin somewhere.

17. Go on a treasure hunt for a vintage tea cosy. Or some of those fuzzy little boiled egg cosies. Have  steaming tea and a boiled egg with soldiers for breakfast. Or lunch. Or even dinner.

18.  Press your collection of vintage hankies. Then put them in a tin lined with eucalyptus scented paper. Add a little pot of Vicks and some vitamin C drops. Just in case...

19. Feel a bit sorry for yourself.  Then go  put a hyacinth next to your bed so it's deliciously heady fragrance is the the first thing to greet you every morning.

20. Then snuggle up in all the cosy blankets you own, read lots of trashy novels,  drink syrupy, treackly red wine, bake cheese and bacon scones, wear slippers,  take lots of afternoon naps and  wish as hard as you can for the joy that is March...