Christmas has happened. We're on the other side.
I've had a break from blogging, from Instagram and have only dabbled occasionally as far as Facebook's concerned. There's been no printmaking, drawing or painting. Just home comforts, good food and friends and family.
But we're starting to venture out again to greet the new year.
Despite still eating leftover turkey we're now back onto the healthy, non-festive fare. I think I overindulged early on and by Boxing Day was feeling pretty sluggish and tired of chocolate, crisps, mince pies, cheese, pate and all the rest of it.
I was ill so often last year, I'm determined to eat well. I truly believe that food plays a huge part in your health and wellbeing. Not just in terms of weight, but in the effect it has on our mood, our ability to resist illness and so many other aspects of our health. I'd much rather eat fresh, nourishing food and supplement it well than take antibiotics and anti-inflammatories (both of which I'm all too familiar with).
So, I'm actually enjoying herbal teas and warming broths.
This bread: well, it's filling if not particularly tasty. I may tweak the recipe and include walnuts and perhaps a few dates or something. Anything.
It's now 7.28pm on the second day of 2017. And the tree's down. So are the decorations.
Much as I love ritual and tradition I'm not going to worry about bad luck. Once Christmas is over, that's it for me. I want a fresh start.
Of course, we haven't even had a real winter yet. The sun's low in the sky. There are hard frosts. But there will be snow and the temperatures will drop much further. So I like to keep the house looking pretty with seasonal things: pinecones and spruce branches are still out. My felt snowflake garlands too. But there are additions, a nod to the fact that the days are (gradually) lengthening. Earthenware pots filled with daffodils. Green vases and glass. White candles.
The glitter and sparkle has been boxed up for another year.
I have plans for 2017. Some are huge (and I'll no doubt be posting about them in due course). All are exciting. Work, home, family.
Speaking of family: Joe had a wonderful Christmas. It does look as though our whole festive season was sponsored by Lego, but he received some really lovely gifts. Books, a baking set, colouring things, a camera, an endless supply of chocolate, clothes, toys... And my favourite (which we bought him): a globe which plugs in. At night it shows the constellations.
He was so excited to find a stocking on Christmas morning, and to see the empty plate and glass by the fireplace.
I've managed to do plenty of reading. Several of the books I received were inspired by Sue's Christmas reading list. I'm currently relishing short stories and 'Little House in the Big Woods'. Looks like I've finally got around to reading Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the rest of the 'Little House' series is now on my wish list.
I haven't actually watched a great deal of TV. But I did like 'Murder on the Home Front'.
On New Year's eve we went to the zoo. It's up in the South Lakes, not too far for us, but it was chilly. Joe loved the giraffe; we stood very close to him whilst he drank water and slobbered it all over the place. Naturally, this appealed to a four-year-old. As did watching the snow leopards eating chicken carcasses nailed to a post.
We've been feeding the birds at home in the garden. They're very punctual: 10.30am every day. Bluetits, goldfinches, sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, a little wren and a robin. Then the thugs arrive in the shape of magpies and jackdaws.
There are shoots appearing too. And buds. But for now I'm perfectly content to stay home and keep warm. I'm liking this gradual re-emergence. Unfortunately, Jay's back in work tomorrow and is dreading the commute.
But one of our Christmas presents was enough money to book ourselves a weekend away, along with a voucher for childcare (courtesy of the grandparents). We're thinking perhaps late February or March, somewhere not too far away. Rural rather than a city break. It's exciting to plan.
Anyway - after that rather lengthy catch-up, I'd like to wish you a happy and healthy New Year. I'll be back in a week or so...