Slowing Down, Winter Paintings & Cosy Cafes

I feel like the theme of this year might be slowing down. It definitely feels like we have so far this month. It’s been a very grey January and I feel like hibernating with my books and tea and venturing out as little as possible. We haven’t been going as far as we usually do at weekends and I”ve been enjoying the things we have around us more.

A new cosy cafe opened near our house and I love the feel of it. It has some laid back opening hours, but it has become a little stop-off point on the way to picking the girls up from school. Everything inside it is made of wood and there are plenty of plants and good music. I would happily move in if I could; it’s my new favourite reading spot. There are only two tables in it, but so far, I’ve been lucky to get a seat when I have called in. It has a very calming atmosphere and it would make a good new writing spot for blog posts too 🙂

I’ve been cooking a lot recently and experimenting with some new recipes. I’ve had a huge craving for Chinese food. I made honey chilli chicken for the first time at home. Sadly the girls weren’t as much in love with it as I was; I’m guessing because I marinaded the chicken before adding batter and deep frying it. (They don’t often like things with a lot of flavour – I don’t know how we are related.) As always, I forgot to take a proper photo of it on the plate before it was devoured. I also baked some lemon drizzle cake and some cinnamon raisin bread, which has become my favourite breakfast food. (I love it toasted with lots of melted butter – it’s the best kind of comfort food.)

I have been reading a lot of books, which has been helped by the fact my laptop broke and I ordered a faulty replacement! Sometimes it’s good to have rest forced on you – it refocuses you and gives you a chance to remember something different you love doing. I have been racing through books and I’m trying to make a conscious effort to leave detailed reviews for them when I’m finished, as I know how important these are to authors.

On Saturday, I took the girls to a cafe for brunch. They have a play area with toys in it and I just love the fact the atmosphere is so relaxed and kid-friendly. The girls ordered some mini wraps and popcorn and I got some French toast with maple syrup. I even brought my book with me and got to read snippets of it while the girls played and coloured in. I had a cup of coconut milk hot chocolate – it tastes like a Bounty 🙂

Afterwards, we went to the local cinema to watch “Angry Birds.” I had never seen it before and it was surprisingly funny. The cinema was packed, so it must be a popular movie. The girls and I attended the workshop afterwards where they drew characters from the film using 2D shapes. They seemed to enjoy it – although my younger daughter did her usual thing and started to draw her own creations instead. The lady that was hosting the workshop didn’t seem to mind though!

When we got home, the girls did some resist paintings. They drew on paper with some white oil pastels and then they painted over them using the Earth paints that came with their art box. (You just mix the powder with water to make the paint and you can make it whatever shade you like by adding more or less water.) They drew some snowflake pictures and created Wintery scenes in blue and white. They painted some extra pages for the next project we are going to do, which I will share soon. We still haven’t hung their ice decorations outside yet because it keeps raining and I don’t want them to immediately melt (even though it’s inevitable they will.) I love seeing them involved in art and turning their backs on the TV to create something.

We had a fruit party too. I have discovered that if I take the girls to a local fruit shop and involve them in picking out their fruit of choice, they are much more likely to eat it. They had some strawberries and melon without any need for any coercion 🙂

On Sunday, we just had a quiet day in the house. My parents came to us for dinner. I made some leek and potato soup and we had a late Christmas dinner together too. (We had so much sickness over Christmas time.) I’ve become much more interested in being at home recently. I think decluttering has helped with this because I don’t feel overwhelmed every time I look around me 🙂

My new book “Don’t be afraid to create” is available on Amazon. It is a guide to getting creatively unblocked and valuing your ideas. I have a YouTube channel called “The Funky Thrifter” too if anyone wants to watch it or subscribe 🙂

My book – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B0BSDDJGSV/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1674571559&sr=8-1

My YouTube – https://youtu.be/pDZ4mip1Rm4

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