Jan 212015


In 2014, I made the decision to document the year with photographs of my kitchen table. Capturing the jumble that accumulates here, at the heart of the kitchen, has become a way to record some of the domestic stories of our family life.

I have decided to continue for a second year the practice of a monthly photograph of my kitchen table. It’s become one of my favourite blog series, I love the way in which it encapsulates each month in the life of our family, and taking the photographs for these posts has led to an ongoing fascination with tabletop photography, as my Instagram feed testifies!

So, here is the January table for 2015. If you’ve been reading the series since the beginning, you may observe a strong similarity to the January table for 2014. January in particular is, for me, a month of recurring rituals. One of these, which I wrote about recently, is Marmalade making. Another constant is knitting, specifically sock knitting. There’s nothing quite like the chill quiet of a grey January day to make me want to pick up my needles, not least because our draughty house is consistently freezing, and the more hand knits that I can stash away for myself, the better! Last year, I was knitting baby socks. Rather more ambitiously, I’m now attempting a pair for myself, using some brilliant self-striping yarn from Stray Cat Socks (which actually appeared on the table in May!) I’m almost one sock down, so I’m hoping that I don’t run out of enthusiasm before the second sock is finished.

Another January constant is a pot of bulbs on the table. These are Muscari, a particular favourite of mine, sitting in an old marmalade container that I picked up for pennies at a car boot sale once. It seemed an appropriate choice, given my fondness for Seville season. I also have hyacinth bulbs in the sitting room, and crocus in the bedroom, I love the cheer that they bring to my day.

I’m drinking Earl Grey, which was kindly sent to me by JING tea. I’m a long-term drinker of Earl Grey – when I was growing up it was the only tea we kept in the house- and JING’s blend is particularly delicious. It’s sprinkled with cornflowers, which I wore in my hair on my wedding day, so it’s pretty much my ideal tea!

Returning to the table for a second consecutive January is my One Line A Day notebook which, miraculously, I managed to complete every day last year (it actually gives you about five lines, enough for jotting the briefest of memories). I’m so enjoying reading back over last year’s posts, noticing the constants, but also the changes (this time last year the baby wasn’t even crawling, now he can run, jump and talk!) One day, I would love to begin a journalling practice but, in the meantime, this is a manageable and satisfying record of our daily life.

Turquoise, purple and brown: the January 2015 table

{You can find last year’s tables here.}

{disclosure: JING sent me some Earl Grey tea and a cup}

 January 21, 2015  gifted post, on the table 9 Responses »
Jan 182015

blue skies-6

blue skies

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The skies on a winter Sunday are rarely of the brightest blue. We awoke today to generous, sparkling sunshine. Bundling the boys in layers of woolies, we headed to the loveliest view we know. Up above, soaring over the countryside, were the rainbow arcs of the paragliders. As we walked, we crossed paths with a pilot, tramping across the common with his glider bunched in a rucksack on his back. Delighted, the boys requested that we follow him to the launch site, and there they stayed, transfixed, watching glider after glider make the leap into the blue.

Jan 122015

In these darkest, wettest months, I retreat to the warmth of my kitchen to make my own sunshine. At this time of year I find cooking to be particularly soothing, preparing soups, dahls, chilli spiced noodles. I return to the ritual of baking bread, and I peruse my cookbooks for wholesome biscuits to dunk in my tea and to fill the after-school hunger gap.

Of all my January kitchen potterings however, nothing brightens my spirits like the making of my annual batch of marmalade. It’s been a ritual for several years now: the moment that I spot Seville oranges in the farm shop or the greengrocer, out comes the preserving pan in readiness for a Saturday afternoon at the kitchen table, up to my elbows in golden peel.

This year, I photographed the process and recorded my recipe as a story over on Steller. You can view by clicking below. I hope that it may bring a little sunshine to a grey day.

 January 12, 2015  preserving, recipes Tagged with: ,  9 Responses »