2016: the year of spaciousness

Because there's more to life than work



Wow, winter’s really getting into its stride this week. I could feel the temperature difference even before I got out of bed this morning. The frost didn’t melt all day in the shade, which meant I didn’t have to run round in my dressing gown this time to get pics.



IMG_2275Frost is destructive, but its thousands of miniscule crystals make you look at the commonplace as if you’ve never seen it before. I love how the macro setting on the camera can pick up the tiniest of details, like the way the frost has gathered on each of the hairs on this geranium leaf.

Above it all, the bluest of skies – but the sun is so low in the sky now it hardly touches the garden at all.


IMG_2276The green stems and red berries of the climbing rose scrambling through the cherry is the only bit of colour left there now. Almost every leaf is on the ground.



City sunset

IMG_2238I was lucky enough to have a space between meetings a couple of days ago in a city I didn’t know very well. This gave me the chance to:

  • have a wander round a deserted museum and art gallery, and feel free to spend ages gazing at the things I really liked
  • linger over a good strong americano in a cafe with views over a huge Victorian park, and write some notes in my journal (ever since I started my business I’ve wanted to be the sort of hip individual you see working in coffee shops. It’s never happened, but I felt like I came close with doing a bit of writing!)
  • see the most amazing sunset

IMG_2242If I’d had a smartphone I’d have probably spent the whole time working – sometimes it’s nice not to have the latest technology 🙂


First frost

Fabulously frosty this morning first thing, so ended up running round the back garden in my dressing gown trying to capture it before the sun melted it all.



You could actually hear and see the leaves falling – like autumn fast forwarded – on the magnolia. It only started to turn colour a few days ago, but the leaves were just tumbling off it this morning. I love how as the leaves fall you can already see the furry white buds that’ll be bringing the flowers next spring.


And indeed, by ten o’clock, it was all gone. End of November is quite late really for the first frost to hit, but I do love the way it makes you want to get all snuggled up inside and make comforting meals like casseroles. So of course, I went for a run in the freezing air, but that too was quite special: beautiful visibility to the distant hills with mist hanging in the valleys.

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It ain’t over till it’s over…

I might have called it a finale a few days ago, but it’s clear that autumn is hanging on for a few encores. It was absolutely perfect today, although a busy work schedule meant I only had a brief chance to pop into the garden for some photos, as well as shiver at the sudden drop in temperature. Every bit of colour today was pin sharp – even the puddles were reflecting the corals and oranges in the garden:

IMG_2226But the reality was even more dazzling!


IMG_2227Cherries have two glory moments in the year – the week when they flower, and the week when they drop their leaves. The rest of the time, you don’t look twice, but it’s worth the 50 weeks of dullness for the two of such beauty you can’t help but gaze at them. Even those on the ground are glorious.

IMG_2229We’re at the cusp though – in the shadier part of the garden, even thought the sun was brilliant overhead and not a cloud could be seen, winter was pushing at the gate.


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Autumn finale

Managed to squeeze in a day in the Lakes yesterday to catch the last of the autumn colour. It was a bit of a grey day, but the leaves were still amazing and it’s always so relaxing just to get up there and walk around.

IMG_2188The piles of leaves were huge, and lovely and crisp to crunch through.

IMG_2194This view is such a contrast to the last time we were here in June when the slope was full of bluebells

IMG_1404Summer’s lovely, but I’m quite looking forward to the winding down of autumn into winter now and the arrival of frost, snow and icy, starry skies.

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Joys of running

I am loving my running at the moment. I’ve been doing a really slow build programme the last couple of months and am now covering just over 3 miles when I head out. Now I know this is nothing by most runners’ standards, but for someone who couldn’t even get round a 400m track at school, this is an achievement.

One of the things that has made a real difference for me is being able to do it in the middle of the day now that I work for myself (it still feels strange saying that). I find it makes a perfect break after several hours slaving over a hot laptop, and whatever stress has accumulated over the morning has gone by the time I get back.

IMG_2150Of course, it helps no end being able to get out into nature rather than just streets.

IMG_2148The local park is less than 10 minutes away at a slow jog, and most of the way is off-road down a disused railway line, usually deserted apart from the odd dogwalker in the middle of the day and often home to several squirrels.



So many amazing colours as the leaves give it one last, final blast before winter.

IMG_2151I’d have had to do a lot more than 3 miles though to work off tonight’s tea: cheese, apple, onion and thyme pie from BBC Good Food.

IMG_2156Honestly, I don’t know who thinks up these portion sizes. Serves 10??? Not a chance 🙂

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Sunday outing

Finally, a bright and sunny day that meant I could get a few decent photographs. I’m finding it harder to get inspiration for blogging when the light levels are so poor – everything seems permanently in gloom or artificial light. We headed out to the dunes for a walk to see a particularly brilliant patch of reeds that my other half had seen when he was out running earlier in the week.

IMG_2101I really love this part of town – you feel such a long way from everyone and everything, and there are so many paths that you never take the same walk twice. We still keep finding parts we’ve never seen before.


IMG_2117You get a good idea of the terrain in the above photo – loads of little hills, infant woodlands and every now and again fantastic glimpses across the bay as you reach the crest of a dune. Also, in the middle of the picture, you can just see the magnificent sweep of reeds that fills the whole of one hollow with silky, feathery reeds as tall as my head.


I’d never seen reeds en masse like this before and they were just stunning in the bright sun.


IMG_2127I could just imagine the characters from ‘The Wind in the Willows’ exploring the little streams round here.

Tea tonight was appropriately hearty after all the fresh air and exercise: leek, potato and celery soup…


IMG_2134…followed by apple and sultana crumble with custard. Easy prep food for a restful Sunday.