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The Alternative Advent Calendar

  • Posted on December 18, 2018 at 7:21 am

Alternative Advent Calendar 18Merry Midwinter’s countdown to Christmas with a difference!


Share a living gift.

Decide who you might like to give a living plant to this Christmas and make time to visit your local open air market or garden centre to choose one. Or perhaps you have an abundance of plants already potted up in your own garden? I particularly like to give pots of my scented geraniums as gifts, especially at this, the darkest, dreariest time of year. Fresh green growth and sweetly scented foliage brings a vibrant message of springtime, warmth, optimism and hope.

If you have a garden – or even a small back yard – you might like to plan growing some plants to give as gifts for Christmas 2019. This is really a project for the new year, but you may like to give it a thought now as an antidote to all the other Midwinter thoughts whirling around in your head right now.

Growing something from seed and watching it develop and flourish can be amazingly satisfying and bring much joy with it too. You needn’t tackle anything difficult or complicated. Culinary herbs are a perennial favourite and you can group three or four together in a broad-topped pot to make a really attractive and useful display – sage, thyme, oregano and chives are all very easy to grow (but there are lots of others too) and will happily co-exist together. When the time comes to distribute your gifts, clean the outside of the pot by scrubbing it with water and a stiff brush, allow to dry and then tie some brown (compostable) paper around the pot with a broad silk ribbon and there you have the perfect gift, all natural, useful, recyclable.

Whether you grow your own pot plants or buy them, giving the gift of a growing plant is a wonderful thing to do because it changes the whole ambience of any room or area it stands in, just as cut flowers improve and lift the mood and feeling of wherever they stand. A growing plant changes the energies around it and helps to bring us into right relation with our natural environment. They can help to balance and heal us, which is why we take flowers to a sick person.

So I will repeat, take a few moments today to think who you would like to give the gift of living growth to this week, and then have a bit of fun choosing the plant and ‘dressing’ it ready to present to it’s new owner. Remember to take some pleasure and fresh living energies from the task yourself. Who said that giving to others couldn’t bring its own rewards to the giver too?


N.B. If you are tempted to re-pot any plants at this time of year, think twice about it… they can catch cold… and certainly never pot anything up (or plant it out, for that matter) if the weather is very cold or frosty.

The Home of My Heart

  • Posted on November 14, 2018 at 3:03 pm
Shadowy living room at Christmas

Our living room a bit later in the year – hence the emergence of some Advent decorations – but you get the idea!

Ah, one of my most favourite kinds of days… almost dark at 2 o’clock in the afternoon with thick cloud obscuring most of the mountains and valley, heavy rain lashing staccato-fashion against the window and the roaring wind tossing and whipping the trees outside in a frenzied and grotesque dance. Brown leaves are blowing in sodden drifts… pools and puddles forming everywhere and the river in the bottom is already in wild and boisterous spate. This is a day not to be outside!

But within the walls of my home all is still. The living room is softly shadowed, the blue and white crockery on the dresser and the gleaming brass and copper ware cheerily reflecting the little coloured fairy lights which run along the mantleshelf above my AGA. All is warm, peaceful and cosy after the wind and rain outside. Two of our cats are fast asleep, curled in tight balls on the backs of the squashy old chairs. Both of the dogs are stretched out before the stove. The tick of the clock suddenly sounds overly loud within this tranquil oasis.

This is not only the heart of my home, it is the home of my heart. Continue reading The Home of My Heart…


  • Posted on November 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

No disrespect to the colour black, but if I refer to a day as ‘black’ then it usually signifies that something upsetting, traumatic or very challenging has taken place. Perhaps my interpretation still holds true in reference to ‘Black Friday’, the United States’ shopping bonanza which threatens to become a global event?

Surely anything that prompts people to spend their hard earned cash on items they possibly couldn’t or otherwise wouldn’t have purchased – and running the risk of incurring debt which they might find difficult to later pay off – cannot be seen as a good thing, despite the fact that their doing so might bring retailers takings back into the ‘black’ profit margin?  Continue reading BLACK FRIDAY HERE WE COME!…