Tuesday, 20 January 2015


OK so where did the last two weeks go? One minute I was in the middle of making resolutions and enjoying the newness of the year and then the next we are two thirds of the way through January. I will try to catch up over the next week or so...

Last week I was listening to 'Woman's Hour' and they were discussing how great Denmark is. Well we all know that don't we? I went there a long time ago and I am hoping to go back really soon. Part of the discussion was about how the Danes survive their long, dark winters and the Danish concept of Hyggligt. It is a word that doesn't have a direct translation. It's often compared with "cosy," but this, it seems, doesn't really cover the full meaning. Too simple. It's a feeling of contentment, of feeling warm both literally and metaphorically. It's about companionship and candlelight and of gathering together. Hyggligt. It perfectly embodies all that I feel winter should be.

I have been collecting lots of pictures on my 'Winter' Pinterest board. The pictures are of beautiful winter scenes outside and the internal ones speak to my desire to be cosy and warm. Go take a look - some of them are absolutely beautiful.

Friday, 2 January 2015

A New Year. A New Word

Happy New year everyone - hoping that 2015 is going to be a really good one. Already it feels good.

As always the low between Christmas and new year allows time for reflection - the fact that I had a cold that sent me to my bed made this even more possible for me this year. I love this time for thinking and planning; for preparing for the year ahead.

Last year my word was balance and it was a concept I struggled with, especially after April when I started a new job as head of a large and very busy English department. It has been a challenge to find a good balance  between work and family, especially since work has stolen my sleep and haunted my dreams. It is getting better as my learning curve becomes less steep but I have spent too much of this year feeling like my life is out of kilter. There have also been moments of great reward and it has been a challenge that I relish; it is however still a battle to find that ever illusive balance.

It has occurred to me that perhaps I have focused on what I can't fix - but the little stuff, those small home stress piles, can be altered, and quite quickly.

I have long been interested in the idea of having less. In the first years of our marriage Mark and I moved a lot and as a result we were constantly editing our stuff. when we went to New Zealand we took seven boxes with us. Our baby years were characterised by what was the least we could get away with and we loved it. We moved into our current house in Feb 2000 - nearly 15years ago and despite constant throwing out we are overwhelmed by stuff.  This is the change I want to make. I am reading 'Stuffocation' by James Wallman and have 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying' by Marie Kondo lined up to inspire me.

These books and my heart have made my choice for this year's word; it was an easy one: simplify. 

I want to achieve this in several ways... 

*Each month I intend to tackle a room and ruthlessly edit it. Some rooms just need a good clean and a bit of a sort. There are others that need more than that - the ones that we decorated when we moved in and now look tired or just plain battered.
* Weekends are for family.
* Create a system for paperwork and recycle, recycle, recycle
* Remember that creative time is important; I need to listen to my heart.
* Put aside time for me. This blog was called 'A Quiet Corner' because I wanted a space that was mine, a space to think in. Here is where I want to celebrate  the simple, quiet pleasures in my life. I looked up the word domestic recently - it means 'relating to the running of a home or to family relations.'. Mine is a domestic blog.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014




Spring looks all about flowers and fruit. These photos seem to burst with colour - so different to the ones I have been taking recently. One of the things I love about going through the photos of the year is the fact that you get such a sense of the seasons changing...


Ahh summer - remember the warmth and those days that seemed to stay light forever? Ours was a wonderful summer with such big celebrations. Firstly our gorgeous girl graduated - what an amazing day. I will treasure it forever. Then on to Ireland and my lovely boy turned 50. It was perfect, we picnicked on an island, explored, ate, drank and laughed with dear friends. It was exactly what he had hoped for and Ireland wore her best blue sky for us. It was the kind of day you never want to end and store away to think about when it is dark and cold.


If you pushed me I would say that autumn is my favourite time of the year. There is something about adding a blanket to a chair and a jumper to an outfit that just fills me with the utmost joy. September means back to school and this year, what with my new job and all the extra responsibility that brings, it was a stormy time. I felt battered and off kilter. Slowly, slowly it is getting better and life is taking on an even keel again but it has been a wild ride! I kept my sanity with pumpkins, walking in the woods and spending a glorious few days in Florence with my own renaissance man. That was heaven.


The year has ended with a peace and gentleness that was much needed. We made a shopping trip to Bristol and then up to the German market in Birmingham. Candles have glowed throughout the house and we have settled down to fires, blankets and films. Hot chocolate is made and mince pies have made a welcome return.

I have skewed the seasons slightly - there is more of winter to come, but it is a different winter - the days are beginning to lengthen and there is the hope of the arrival of spring. I have loved putting this together - it is a reminder that the days do sometimes seem long but those years fly by.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

December Mantel

December's mantel has evolved over the past few weeks. You can see that in some of these pictures - little changes as I had more time to spend making. As always Pinterest had been a great source of inspiration. I wanted to create a winter scene that brought in natural elements and a hint of a Christmas woodland.
I have been posting about my mantel for a year now - I have loved how the changes have reflected the seasons and told a little story of my year. It is a little thing but it allows me a creative outlet and I love thinking about how this corner of my home will look month on month.
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014

Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Very Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas - these are some of my favourite moments...
* Choosing the tree - that delicious smell of pine!
* Having all my children around, their chatter filling the house.
* Gathering our neighbours together for mulled wine - the lovely smell of spice and the sound of laughter filling the house.
* Secret whisperings and shut doors as presents are bought and wrapped.
* Some time (at last!) for Christmas crafting.
* The house all a twinkle with lights and candles.
* Christmas lunch. We ate simply but well and without excess. Quality not quantity is what we enjoy...
* Log fires, cosy days, walks on the hill and being together. Surely what Christmas is all about.