January has been an odd month. I haven't been sad but I haven't smiled a great deal, either. I feel like I've 'got through' the past few weeks as opposed to enjoying them. Even the simplest of tasks has felt like hard work. I'm not sure whether it's a festive hangover (I miss the relaxed pace of our Christmas break) or if it's because Paul has been working away and the boys and I seem to be lost in a perpetual state of coughs, sneezes and trips to the doctor's for injections. As we flip the calendar to February, I'm hoping that the new month brings with it a little bit of magic, and returns warmth and energy to my bones (instead of me continuing to rely on blankets and coffee).
I have managed to end the month with a little bit of loveliness, though. It's rare that I leave Paul with the boys, but on Saturday, I headed to Chester for two hours of cutting, threading, pinning and sewing at the amazing The Palace Darling in Handbridge, on a beginner's sewing course. It was such a tonic to sit and learn and do something creative without one ear listening for suspicious silences or raised voices. The course was brilliant ... just enough information to make me feel confident about using my machine and tackling new projects but not too much for my weary brain to take onboard. And all in the cutest of surroundings! It's the same shop where I buy Annie Sloan paint from and I didn't realise you can also use chalk paint on fabric (an extra thing I learnt while there ... you seal it with heat, apparently) so I now have a few ideas what I can use the leftovers from my school desk makeover for, too.
Newly-made pin cushion in hand, I headed in to the blue for a slow amble around Chester and to meet my mum at Burger Shed 41 for lunch. Not just because it was amazing to eat and chat without two little people wiping their hands on me or having to wear the sticky moustaches which tend to come with children's menus, but it was the best! A small but perfectly formed restaurant with cool music and friendly staff, and, most importantly, burgers to die for. I don't know what's in their signature 'shed sauce' but it's divine. I'm already planning a return visit. Seriously, if you're around and about Chester and have a thing for burgers, this is the place to go.
Stomachs-full, it was time for a slow walk along the River Dee and back to the car. It was so beautiful but so, so cold.
I'm such a whiner about the weather, at the moment, aren't I? Is anyone else feeling the impact of the grey skies and the constant drizzle? I really think that once those clouds dissipate, so will my mood and the smile will finally return to my face. I hope so, anyway. Actually, I've just had an a terrible thought ... maybe it's not the weather ... maybe it's may age ... maybe it's my impending 40th birthday ... maybe I'm simply turning in to a grumpy, old woman ... maybe I'll never smile again. Oh no!
In all seriousness, January hasn't been the kindest of months to me but it hasn't been all bad, either. One of the joys of writing this blog, and also having an Instagram account, is that I can document the smallest, sweetest moments ... moments which I might dismiss or forget about when other things are getting me down. Without taking the time to write about them or photograph them, I know that I would have written January off as being a terrible month. However, a quick glance reminds me of the special Three Kings brunch, snuggling under new blankets, forest walks, and beautiful, frosty mornings. I may not have smiled as much as normal but I know I will when I look back on them.