Monthly Archives: October 2017

Golden Hour

‘How did you enjoy your extra hour in bed mum?’
Well pretty good thank you. Wrapped up like a sausage roll, nice and warm and the luxury of knowing there’s no pressure to get out. A whole hour! All those times I’ve prayed and begged for more time and what do I do? That’s right ‘wasting it’ by spending it in bed (My 14 year old self can hear my mum’s words echoing in my ears).
‘What about you Ezra?’ She agreed that the sleep was awesome. However, what I didn’t explain to Little E was the prelude to my waking. A dream which panicked and upset me in equal measure – the late for work and nothing goes right dream.

Probably inspired by another long daunting term. One which, however prepared I am, feels like a mountain of planning, marking, meetings and (worst of all) long dark winter days punctuated by s few hours of daylight only to be seen from my classroom window. This nightmare meant I was wearing a ripped silk nightdress, back to front, which, couldn’t be removed as I was too fat to get it off. Stuck in this, what I can only describe as greying parachute silk (think silly knickers gone in the wrong wash) I began to have a panic attack. The clock was ticking and Hjm ripped it over my head. Only to realise both my knickers – red, lacy, fluffy and full of holes, weren’t suitable either (I do not actually possess any of these items). Not only I was having a pants problem but also a tights one too. It seemed that every time put my leg in it came out of a hole! Clock still ticking my hair was wet, my skin was breaking out and I felt sick…scene change (that happens doesn’t it?) and I am at work, dressed and doing fine.

So what was the message? I’d like to think it was a reminder that it’ll all be alright, rather than an ominous tale of things to come…

I’ve spent the last 20 years trying to make time work for me. And, although I’d like to think that I’m in control of running our lives (on a military mother type way) I can’t help feeling that one day I’ll slip back into old ways, you know, in a John Cleese ‘Clockwise’ type scenario. (Who, ironically, is also a teacher.). When I think back over the last 30something (I can hear the coughs from here thank you) I am faced with a lifetime of lost time and opportunities; most of which were spent doing nothing. Now as relaxing as doing nothing is, it’s neither exciting nor productive. It leaves you with no sense of satisfaction or happiness. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not putting sunbathing, spa days or resting into this category. All of which would be accompanied by something interesting to read or good company to spend it with. I’m talking about my wasted youth – in my bed. The unproductiveness of my time, where I couldn’t be even bothered to do the pots, tidy up or get up more than 20 minutes before I was due at work. I think that I was possibly ‘lazy’ (I’m cringing saying this). Everything beyond work and play (I was very good at both, so much so my mother would often use a phrase incorporating ‘candle’ and ‘both ends’) was (in my older childrens’ words) ‘effort’. Latterly, o feel I’ve wasted opportunities. Times I’ve procrastinated rather than actually doing. My most niggling example is the book which I began writing eight years ago. Pure laziness has stopped me pushing forward with it. It’s as simple as this: I’ve not been disciplined enough.

But, in true Swan style ‘I’m on it!’ Once a problem is recognised I’m all about the solution.

NB. There’s many things on my mind which I cannot solve but where’s there’s a will, there’s a way. If it’s in my control I can overcome.

The solution is very simple as I woke up yesterday morning and realised that I finally had more time on my hands. For nearly a year we’ve lived through the stress of moving, renovating a house and living like paupers to achieve big goals. At times I’ve wondered if we’d survive. I’ve had sleepless nights counting the jobs and cost of it all. We’ve all made sacrifices; austerity hit quite hard at times, but we seem to finished all of phase one!! Apart from a couple of things which can wait, our home is now a home! Also, in all this time I’ve managed to maintain my work, reading books and articles of interest and this blog! Which, the catharsis of writing has helped me through some very trying times. Now, 2018 is almost certainly ‘the year of the saving’ with phases two and three to be started (this I can deal with, due to the fact we now have our own spaces). What comes with austerity (you learn a lot about waste when you are saving) you find comes a time to embrace the abstract. That means thinking smart and focussing on what we really want and ‘need’. With this in mind I’m intending to take my literary creativity by the horns and steer it into those wide open plains of story telling. The eight year book has been shelved (along with two others) for a time which I want those stories to be told. Instead I have had a narrative weaving its way around my head since April. It’s a story I want to tell and for you to enjoy…you see the time is now.

Whether I make it or not, I’m not going to know if I don’t try. I want my regrets to be few and far between when I reach my life’s winter days. But I’d be lying if I told you it wasn’t something I’d like to be successful at. When, in a year or twos time, you will find me on a Sri Lankan beach. Floating like driftwood on the shoreline, with only the sounds of the waves and my family’s laughter and bickering (nothing’s perfect) to listen to, Etta James will be my inner soundtrack ‘At Last’

There’s a reason I’ve wasted time, procrastinated and done things in the order I have. If I hadn’t have lived my life the way I have I wouldn’t be who I am today. If I hadn’t have made mistakes and missed opportunities, I wouldn’t value and cherish what I have. If I’d have finished any of the books I’ve started writing, I’d have been laughed out of the doors of Penguin House. With time comes confidence and also knowledge. Every new day brings new revelations and experiences. I thought I knew it all at 16, 17, 18…turns out I still only know half of it now. After all, it’s taken me this long to embrace time and use it kindly and carefully.

Careless Chinese Whispers

I love a good tune. In fact my desert island essentials would have to include a solar powered radio. I can practically listen to anything (I believe this is a result of my dancing/piano playing formative years). If (when) I reach into the higher echelons of society (just remember I have my eye on a Dame hood) and am invited onto Desert Island Discs, my dithering will derail any potential list and I will be the first person to ever be ‘kicked off’ the Radio Four evergreen, for my indecision. Therefore, I believe a radio is Simply the Best piece of kit any of us could possibly posses. It has music for the eclectic music lover and chat for someone who likes to hide (less ‘like’ more ‘hastily retreat’) from the outside world, it provides interest and hilarity in equal measure. It’s a win/win and it’s all down to the Marconi, who, by my standards, is the greatest inventor ever to grace this earth. Forget Baird (in my opinion the transmitted waves wipe all intelligence from the brain) and Bell (hate the phone as it means people can find you) and all hail the man who succeeded in bringing entertainment and companionship to the masses.

So where am I going with this? I have often pondered the question ‘What is the soundtrack of my life?’ If (when) my life becomes monumentous enough for someone to biography, and subsequently to be turned into a film, it is not the leading lady I am bothered about but the music accompanying my mad story. Music sets the tone, creates a mood and puts a spring into the mundane step. So it needs to be right.  And so for that matter does the life.

Now don’t get me wrong, so far I’ve not really had a life to rival a Hollywood starlet, or compared to a survivor from World War II. However, I have (as I’m sure you all have) seen unbelievable things; overcome extreme hurdles; met some interesting people, and experienced the unforgettable. Just like me, I bet we all try to, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous words: ‘to live a life you’re proud of’ (it’s true as this is documented by 80% of Facebook users for everyone to see). So with this in mind it begs the question what would you believe appropriate for my life?

And this is where it becomes interesting… The haters (examples to follow) might choose ‘Love Yourself’ or ‘You Know I’m No Good’. The lovelier of you might say ‘Paoerback Writer’ (wishes one day…) or ‘Say a Little Prayer’.
And the ask yourself why you’ve made your choices? What information have you actually used? it comes down to the question ‘What do we really know about each other?’ We take people on face value, most of the time. However, many make their own inferences from more subtle behaviours and hearsay. People like to take more stock from gossip than from actual truth.
Did you hear about…?
(chances are I haven’t (maybe it’s my can’t he arsed face) Maybe you haven’t either. Maybe you have and don’t believe it. Or maybe you know all about it (rightly or wrongly). However, the gossip train appears to rock on by me with only a cursory nod and sly wink in my direction.

Now, I need to clarify that, as far as I’m aware, there are no rumours circulating about me ATM. What has piqued this particular rambling are recent events in both the media and personally. The former that I inadvertently began a rumour, albeit in Chinese whisper style, where I read a headline where ‘Daisy made me feel sexy’ by Louise Rednapp. This I translated at 6.30am, through bleary eyes and via text to my friend, as meaning that Lowe and Napp had begun a wonderful love affair. Appears not! (Disappointing as I love s happy love story) The latter is a result of my mother’s anxiety at being approached by some woman who claimed to be able to help dad ‘if he needs chemo. It it’s leukaemia’ All sparked by him having a couple of days in hospital through an infection…she was trying to help but…

All in all a juicy rumour would certainly spice up my Hollywood script. IF (I am saying if) the following HAD actually ever happened, I’d be very screen worthy and the album would require a disc two (in not even sure if this is a thing any longer). This is where the haters come in: Although I don’t like paying lip service to scurrilous lies and loathe, I say loathe, the idiom ‘there’s no smoke without fire’. I shall tell you my most horrendous ever are (these really show the depths of how low people can stoop): ‘That baby she’s carrying can’t be her husband’s as they’ve been told they can’t have children’ (yes one person told me everyone was saying it, unbeknown to me as my friends were very excited and saw it as a sign Him wouldn’t get ill again). The time I was informed ‘he’ll be dead by Christmas’. This was the announcement, by one low life, who told everyone (after spreading lies that there was nothing wrong with Him and that he was wagging it on the sick) who would listen that Him was a gonner. Now that was 15 years ago this week and his bravery and strength has meant He is here. I’ve no idea where She is.

So, sacking off the haters, what’s my point? It’s back to the soundtrack. When real life happens like the aforementioned challenging and emotional episode, negativity and vitriol was snuffed and instead comfort and strength was aided and abetted by a good solid soundtrack. Think telly ad for ‘Life Story’ soundtrack...Every time I walked to the chemo ward the song ‘Wires’ played out in my head. The falling snow to ‘Driving Home Gor Christmas’ gave me hope. And ‘Silent Night’ sang on Christmas Eve, with my newborn in my arms, in the sanitary of the church by the light of a single candle, promised a better future.
As months turned into years we carefully chose our wedding song ‘Lets Stay Together’, drank in the gondolier ‘O Sole Mio’ on our honeymoon and all learnt the ‘American Boy’ rap as little E was born. You see, the soundtrack to my life is my life (feel good moment).

I, who have already chosen my funeral songs (you’ll all be there a while) always holds a song in my head to accompany every occasion. If you see me sitting quietly it’s because there’s a something strumming away in my head. My favourite time is when I leave work accompanied by an uplifting movie soundtrack playing brilliantly and silently, to boost my jaded mood. You see, it’s like there’s a constant radio show playing in my head. I listen, comment and play the tunes whilst people fill in the segways with chatter and items of interest. ‘All the world’s a stage and the men and women are merely players’. For a bloke who wrote those words over 500 years ago, Shakespeare was certainly very perceptive.

Careless Chinese whispers are what’s coined as human nature. People only hear what they want to hear. My advice is that you’ve bold and shape your own life story by doing what makes YOU happy and don’t just life a life you’re proud of but set it to a soundtrack that moves and shakes you. Makes you laugh, cry and love. Let it wrap around you and keep you warm. You’re the presenter. DJ and producer. Grab hold and make it a BAFTA worthy tale.

…And Balance.

High lunge, low lunge (slight wobble). High lunge, rear leg lift, pump it, control. Tone those quads. Don’t wobble. Core strength…and into attitude. Don’t move. Hold it, breathe (Woooh…argh…keep breathing). That’s it, keep holding, we’re building the core muscles and down. Front balance plie…’

And here we go again, back to balancing whilst trying to do a million other things. Balance and control – a bit like life really. You see as soothing as the Piyo is, it’s a total balancing act. If you fail to cut it on the yoga mat, you can become frustrated and unfulfilled. Get it right – juggling all the moves, stretching completely and topping it off with a perfect balance – all after a ridiculous day at work, you feel like you’re actually winning at life!

And it’s that work/life balance, which for me (and I suspect most of you) is so difficult to get right. Friends, family, chores, work, relax lalalaing…it’s just so full on and crammed chock full of agendas to wade through and weekly mountains to climb. Sometimes it feels like I’m trekking the Sahara in flip flops with a camel on my back (I’d prefer that but on the back of the camel and dressed like an extra in Arabian Nights). Oh, we start every week with the best intentions: a cooked dinner, a run, children organised – all after a jam packed day at work. Then ‘bam’ mid week hits and the best you can do is freezer surprise, a quick dog walk to the shop and back, bedtime cuddle with the children and sleep. It’s relentless being a mum and having a career and sometimes I wonder what I’m doing?

NB this is not a moan. Read on and it all shall become clear.

You’d think such busy days would help me sleep? No, my insomnia reigns at the minute. This makes my brain hurt and my eyes sore. Woe me (I’m not looking for sympathy). However, I, in true modern independent Beyoncé woman fashion, have begun to turn that terse and tense energy into something more positive. I’m using it to fight back!

So how to balance, enjoy, attain work targets, all on little sleep? It’s a tricky one but something, like the Piyo, I’m persevering with. Firstly, it’s the lists I write. I like to write War and Peace lengthy lists. Unruly tomes which cover all aspects of daily life. Too aspirational? No, they aspire for success! Now don’t get me wrong, an empty list can mean a lighter load on the subsequent day but I don’t sweat if not all daily goals are set, I just shift them over. No problem; no one died and my family and I are all safe and warm. There’s no drama and guess what? The world still turns.

Also, when the 5 am dawn awakens me what do I do? My tired mind in jumbles about all the stacks of stuff to do; I slap on my cooling eye mask (this is a recent revelation and one I am singing and dancing about – check out your Christmas stockings this year!). One hour laid listening to happy and relaxing music, accompanied by a cool eye mask and I’m fighting to meet the world!! Eyes are less sore, mind feels brighter and the haggard look I seem to be endlessly wearing, seems to be somewhat diminished.

But what about the big stuff? Quick daily fixes help but life gets too much and we just want to sack it off don’t we? Well, I’ve started pursuing other avenues. Searching out stuff which can distract me – selfishly or not (I’m not so bothered, as, for one, I’m preserving my mental health). The thought process goes: My children need to healthy mother. Therefore, current life goals are to free up space (yes I said free up space, of which I have none) and insert new, exciting and adventurous activities into said slots. This is easier said than done but sacking off boring shite and cutting the odd corner here and there seems to be working.

Exhibit A:
This last month has been utterly horrendous – workload wise. A hardcore job plus a lack of cleaner (There is currently a position vacant), and add on my constant cold (I intend to go to the doctors this week I promise) children and a needy dog with separation anxiety and it’s been a perilous journey. However, instead of focussing on these silly details I’ve powered on through. I’ve been out for dinner, had daily runs/classes, read some lovely books, spent time with some of my favourite people, cooked and eaten some fabulous food and this weekend I went to a spa! Yes, that’s right, I fitted in a trip to the spa (now the latter was no mean feat and involved an early rise, cramming in a quick run and some early morning lesson planning). All normal things yes? You’d think so but for me it’s been a miraculous victory. Like mastering a perfect warrior into a half moon balance, I’m managing – on a good day.

This kind of plate spinning is no doubt unsustainable. This I know can’t continue. So what do I do? With the next few months set to become busier and no sign of that lotto win, I think it might be time to reevaluate. But whilst doing so I’ve found, and this is the revelation, I don’t hate it! My life (although highly exhausting and sleep deprived) is exciting (with or without that much desired sabbatical to South America), vibrant, interesting and fulfilling – in short, there’s never a dull moment. There’s not an ounce of ennui permeating the air. There’s also not a hint of misery. I feel lucky and although I don’t always think it, wouldn’t have it any other way. Although, there’s only one thing I’d change; to make this balancing act less stressful and to give us all a fighting chance I’d introduce a four day week. With that extra day imagine what we’d achieve! Yes, that’s right, we’d fill our extra day off with more stuff to exhaust us…

And breathe. Child’s pose and when ready come up to seated position for your final stretch…
You see, like my Piyo class, life can be hard work, challenging and frustrating when you try to get the tricky bits right. It is also rewarding, energising and full of mini victories that make you feel good inside (you’ve got to for a healthy mind). It’s full on but you have moments to breathe and relax, luxuriating in knowing you have done your best and for that you get a rewarding stretch and moment of quiet.

So next time you feel like it’s getting too much, full on, unmanageable…throw off the guilty shackles (no one actually cares) and find some inspiration and time to recover some inner peace. After all, we all deserve some peace.


Now You’re Talking

Communication is the name of the game. It’s good to talk, they say. However, with life’s fast pace and technology overload, it’s sometimes difficult to do the one thing we are inherently programmed to do. Although I have always prided myself on daily conversations with my loved ones, just lately, well…

I say pride as all too often, in my job, I see and hear about children and adults failing to talk. Young adults (and older ones) who spend more time on a screen than in the real world. Kids who seem to know more about the life and times of Youtubers such as Jake Paul, than their parent/siblings day.

So I say pride…Unfortunately, just recently, I’m as bad as the YouTube generation. Just lately I’ve begun to lose, not only touch with friends, but my really best ones. Life has taken a hold and it’s crushing every bit of time from me. So, I made a decision – I pulling it back! But it’s bloody tiring…

Starting with the best place: The Family Table.
This week was bookended with family meals. Opportunities to enjoy good food and conversation with the ones I love. An assortment of available members meeting, eating and conversing around one table. However, in deepest darkest mid week trench warfare of life it was grab what you can, meet who you can and on Thursday and Friday I was brought to you by the power of maomn (not my finest moment). Last night I cooked an Indian feast and right now the meat is marinating for the Sunday roast. At some point I will drag the children into it. I shall get them making yorkie puds and dessert. I’ll text any missing members to tell them the nights menu. And it’s exhausting and it takes it all my free time. But, this is the crafty bit: not only do I distract them from antisocial behaviour, I too get to spend quality time with them. Whether it’s the process of creating a tasty meal or enticing them to the main event with the promise of sumptuous flavoursome food, it doesn’t matter, the ritual of preparing, cooking and consuming brings people together and with it brings talk.

Our family table has and will always be the heart of our home. Even as a child we’d sit, chat, eat and enjoy the camaraderie around the table. Whether at home or at Nana’s we’d just embrace the gathering. Sometimes, especially a Sunday, it would be the only time we would actually sit and eat together. This is something I’ve tried to embed into our home life over the years. It’s an unwritten rule that phones, tablets and even the television aren’t to be consumed at the dinner table (pet hate and adults are as bad as kids). The food is to be enjoyed and (mostly) it has been cooked with love and happiness.

The only thing we do allow is music. This is one of the other aspects of igniting discussion. It can trigger memories, create debate on culture and diversity (if I ever mentioned this they’d say ‘god mum stop trying to educate us and roll their eyes – crafty you see). It’s about teaching them to converse, socialise in a healthy manner, being able to hold an interesting conversation (this is something I struggle with in a social situation as a) I get embarrassed, and b) I think people wouldn’t want to listen to me as I’m boring, and c) just think I’m disliked in general so don’t go anywhere ‘The Fear’). To feel confident in discussing their theories and ideas in a safe environment. And you know what? I’ve some very intelligent and clever girls (not that they’d allow this to be actually seen by their friends as that’s not cool). The musicality is also good for a sing or rap (the girls are very good in a rap battle). All this enriches their knowledge banks and (hopefully) gives them aspirations for the future. A future they have to navigate in a difficult, technological and complex world.

Now, as antisocial phones at a table are, it does allow us to communicate in other ways. I text people messages of love, support and although I know I’m a shit friend, I try to let people know I do think about them. I send people articles I think they might like, tag them in stuff they might find cute and interesting. That’s the beauty of the technology we are now able to share something with our best friends immediately – instant reaffirmation how special they are to us. My current personal target is to make sure I communicate more this way. Although I hide my phone (this is so I can connect with the real world as much as possible) when at home, I have begun to allow myself some time to message and talk to my friends online. Therefore, when I’ve finished this, and whilst the children are quiet, I’m going to catch up with some correspondence. This whole thought makes me feel both nostalgic and slightly sad for times past. At one time I’d I have sat down with my writing set , a la Elizabeth Bennet, and started penning letters (my favourite pastime) to all sorts of interesting people I’ve met over the years. I had friends I wrote to in Iceland. Italy, France and Malta. Now? Just a message on Facebook. Oh how I wish I could reconnect with those I lost touch with.

Speaking of which, Rosie Dog is also suffering from my recent shoddiness regarding time and communication. For a rather large white and black liver faced dog, she certainly is very needy. GSPs suffer from separation anxiety and need constant love and attention. Her sad little face by Wednesday says it all ‘have you forgotten about me and the promises you made?’ It asks. But, and this is another sneaky secret, what none of them realise is, that needy doggy enables us quality time together on a daily basis. Whether it’s shared cuddles or walks, she gives us time to chat and think – keeping those lines open.

On that note, I’ve quite a bit to do…happy Sunday xx


It was the first of October and I awoke to the sound,
Of rain hitting the windows and pattering softly on the ground.
Upon opening the windows and surveying the bleak morning view,
I was met by a spectrum of russet tones, lifting my mood.
Golds, browns and oranges scattered; creating an artists palette of hues.
A kaleidoscopic carpet shimmered in the rain soaked dew.

Yes, it’s autumn. Mixed emotions about this one. Many of you will hate the end of the summer. Many of you will embrace the cosy nights. It’s a time where we dig out our fluffy bed socks and feel the need to wrap ourselves in a warm blanket. We all start to shut down and go into hibernation mode. I for one have never had a pantry and freezer so full (squirrel nutkins has nothing on me!), all I’m missing are some nuts and pickles in my well stocked winter larder.

I used to hate autumn. I have memories of coming home from school: a nip in the air, empty fields, farmers burning their waste and the dark nights drawing in like a blanket putting out the roaring summer fire. It was so depressing. There was never anything to do. With four channels on the telly and no one playing out, as it was ‘too cold and dark’ (we were wusses) the only thing to look forward to was the church harvest festival; bidding for a jar of homemade jam and guessing the weight of an oversized pumpkin was as exciting as it got.

Also, darker days meant cold nights. Growing up in an old and draughty 18th century farmhouse could be very challenging at times; especially as we had no central heating. Blustery October (remember the hurricane on 87?) nearly killed me with nightmares of our roof being ripped off, or worse, one of the horse chestnuts crashing down into the house (yes, dramatic as a child too). But autumn days also brought with them the fear of the frost. October was the prelude to the main event. It seemed to me that as soon as the high winds had stopped stripping the trees, the pumpkins had become surplus to requirements, and sunlight barely made an appearance, that Jack Frost starting haunting my childhood dreams. Deicing my bedroom windows from the inside was never pleasant on a school morning (I had a Dickensian childhood) The only thing that got me out of bed from October until March was to put on the calor gas fire in my room. Problem was if I fell asleep with it on, or left it too long, I’d develop a headache and a very sore throat…I’m sure they’d be a health warning now!

So west changed? Why now do I embrace autumn? It might have something to do with (what the 16th century Danes coined) getting on my ‘Hygge’. Or, what I term ‘getting cosy’

Rule one is ‘Mood Lighting’. You have to have lots of lights and candles lit, at all times, all over the house – inside and out. Lighting up is one of the most comforting and mood boosting things you can do. Not though putting the Big light on – it’s traumatising, as by doing this you can reverse all the calm, cosy and happy feeling generated by: lamps, coloured bulbs (not red ones as people will gossip – not that I care) fairy lights, light boxes and candles. My current aim in to put more lighting on my decking area and also at the front of the house. This will certainly involve seasonal inspiration: pumpkins followed by some Christmas extravaganza (not tacky as that’s not hygge). Additionally, lights stop SAD. Note that I have discovered two ways to treat this: one is buy a really expensive light box. Two is set a timer on your bedside lamp (cheaper alternative). There is a third option, to stay in bed until it gets light. But unless you are retired, have no children at home, unemployed or have a seasonal job, this isn’t an option.

Next thing I’ve done is wash all our blankets. We have (at last stock take) 6 fluffy throws. This means even Rosie Dog has one (if she starts to develop SAD). It’s imperative these are a) fluffy, and b) well maintained, as a scratchy smelly blanket is neither comforting nor cosy. This mindset also needs to be applied when dressing. Soft knitwear (no rash inducing wool allowed), fur lined boots, capes and scarves all the way! If you don’t (or your nearest and dearest) feel or look like you’ve stepped out of the Next autumn book then you turn back round and root through your wardrobe until you do (excuse to shop). No one wants to cuddle a cold and scaly fish (on that note – make sure you moisturise as the following will cause scaling issues)

Keep warm, keep dry. Now then, the males in my family being Yorkshiremen, all sing from the same hymn sheet ‘thou shall wear coat indoors if cold’. This is interesting logic when you look at the rise in energy costing. However, as Him and I work more hours a week than is allowed by laws of humanity, I simply refuse to live in a cold house. Moreover, when it is super cold, I have fragrant (essential mood lifting oils) hot baths, cover myself in warm fuzzy felt pyjamas and roll myself up like a sausage roll in one of previously mentioned blankets. This is usually avec child or dog or both. The only time a coat is worn indoors is when sitting at the back door working and Rosie Dog is doing circuits. Therefore, hang the expense: washing, heating, nice smelling products and bathing are all on the ‘hygge’
NB as mentioned a good moisturiser is key and if you can get a massage. This boosts the circulation and lymphatic drainage making you feel more alive and relaxed than ever.

Now the good bit for all you food fans (I love talking about and eating food). As I previously mentioned food needs to be in ready supply. You need extra fat on your bones to keep out the cold. That means you are allowed to eat that pie and mash. You are allowed that calorific curry and you can have large plate at the Sunday carvery. It’s all acceptable as you need to keep warm and well. And, if you want a tot of brandy in your nighttime cuppa, tell anyone who challenges you that I said it’s Swan’s law. Food and drink are essential to fuel the body’s winter fire. If not you will shut down like a tortoise and you’ll never last the winter.

Talking of hibernation. I particularly like the autumn as it gives me an excuse to hide. As someone who suffers from ‘The Fear’ it means I can stay in and not have to worry about feeling stupid in social situations. It means I can curl up in the knowledge I shouldn’t be doing something sociable as ‘it’s too dark and cold’. I’m allowed to hibernate. I’m allowed to light my burner, carve my pumpkins, cook Greek lamb stew for my beautiful ones and wrap fairy lights around my whole house. I’m allowed to do all these things cos’ it’s ‘hygge’

Happy October. Get your hygge on! I’m going to light my candles.