Sunday, 20 March 2022

Vernal Equinox: Day 7

The big day is here! It's the Vernal Equinox, and officially the beginning of spring! (And so that means it's the final day of our first proper Ostara celebration.)

Spring Forest Bathing

I went for a Spring Forest Bathing session with Natalie Rossiter Wellbeing this morning. I had some quiet time with the blackthorn blossom, tasted silver birch sap and saw my first bumblebees and bunny rabbits of the year. We ended the session with tea made from foraged nettles, blackberry leaves and silver birch tips.

Ostara Earrings

My final pair of Ostara earrings this year... more funky chickens!

Marzipan Eggs

A special little Ostara treat for me and Rob... Niederegger marzipan eggs! (Ignore that the box says Frohe Ostern, I reckon they're obviously made for the Vernal Equinox.)

Ostara Dinner

To round off our Vernal Equinox celebrations, Rob served the (now) traditional Ostara Dinner of spring vegetable paella.

Ostara Gifts

And finally, we swapped our (now) traditional Ostara gifts tonight, adding to our seasonal whisky tasting sets that we'll be enjoying at Christmas.

And so the wheel of the year turns... We'll be celebrating again at Beltane.

My Year in Books 2022: February

This post is a bit of a tricky one. As you might have noticed, I'm posting it pretty late into March (normally I'd have posted this at the end of February). And you might also notice that there's only one book on my list. I really don't know what happened in February, but I struggled a lot with reading for pleasure this month. I did read a few other books for review and work purposes, but I just couldn't get into anything else. I'll be honest and say that it took me over a month just to finish the one novel here. I've put it on the February list, because even though I finished it in March, I read the first half of it last month, and because I really didn't want one of my monthly blog posts to be empty. I hope I get my mojo back soon.

You can read my January blog post here.

All the White Spaces by Ally Wilkes (2022)

This one was one of the books in my February Abominable Books box. The other book that was included was one I’ve been looking forward to for a while, so more on that anon I expect. I decided to read Wilkes’s book first, as it’s set on an Antarctic expedition. When I first got the book, I made a joke that I was being haunted by Antarctica this year (various things I’ve done have had an unexpected connection to Antarctica). You can imagine how surprised I was that the Endurance was found shortly after I made that joke! Anyway, All the White Spaces is set just after the First World War, when an expedition sets sail for the South Pole. On board – as a stowaway – is Jo Morgan, who becomes Jonathan for the journey (at first as a disguise, but gradually Morgan realizes that Jonathan is who he always, in some way, was). As I said, I got this book in my Abominable Books horror subscription box, so I wasn’t expecting the expedition to go well! But I have somewhat mixed feelings about the book. On the one hand, I was absolutely gripped throughout by Wilkes’s writing. It’s prose that you can really lose yourself in. However, on the other, the storyline didn’t really do much for me. Although this is marketed as ‘there’s something bad out there in the polar winter’, the ‘monster’ of the piece doesn’t really have much impact, and the book is perhaps a little over-long.

Vernal Equinox: Day 6

Another day of celebrating the start of spring. It's the big day tomorrow, but we had a very enjoyable day today continuing my plan to make the week as daffodil-tastic as possible.


And where better to see daffodils (or rather 'Daffodils') than at the Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage! The museum has a special exhibition on to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Dorothy Wordsworth's birth, as well as the opportunity to see 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud' in Wordsworth's own hand, as the manuscript is currently on loan from the British Library. We had a lovely day at the museum and Dove Cottage in Grasmere today. It was perfect weather for a nice stroll around the gardens and woods at Dove Cottage too.


We ended our little trip to the Lakes with a little walk around Thirlmere. We didn't spot any red squirrels, but the scenery was spectacular.

Dorothy Wordsworth Book and Bookmark

A lovely gift from Rob from the Wordsworth Museum... a book about Jane Austen and Dorothy Wordsworth by Marian Veevers, and a woven bookmark covered in daffodils!

Saturday, 19 March 2022

Vernal Equinox: Day 5

Another busy day with work, so another slightly short blog post. There wasn't a lot of time for celebrating today! However, I did do one big thing that was a lot of fun...

Creative Writing Session

I do a weekly volunteering session at Castlerea House care home, where I run creative writing and reading sessions for the residents. This week's writing session celebrated the Vernal Equinox, and it was (of course) daffodil-themed! And somehow, I ended up with daffodils in my hair (which I guess was only a matter of time given how this week's going!)...

Friday, 18 March 2022

Vernal Equinox: Day 4

Busy day at work today for both of us, so we didn't do very much celebrating. We still managed a couple of small nods to the season though.


If we're going to have a truly daffodil-tastic week, I thought we should probably have some in the house. Bought a 'Bumper Daffs' bunch from Tesco and it filled 2 vases!

Ferrero Rocher Mini Eggs

My brother came round after work tonight. We have a little in-joke about Ferrero Rocher, and it's the Vernal Equinox, so that meant only one thing... Ferrero Rocher mini eggs!

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Vernal Equinox: Day 3

It's our third day of celebrating the upcoming Vernal Equinox! And it's continuing to be a daffodil-tastic week, although today had a bit of a bunny theme as well.

More Daffodils!

More daffodil-spotting today... I went to Crumpsall Park with a friend, and we were absolutely spoilt for daffs!

Lunch with a Friend

After all that daffodil-spotting, we felt like we deserved a nice lunch at The Secret Sandwich in Crumpsall. And lots of cups of tea!

Seasonal Chocolate

Couldn't resist this Hot Cross Bun Dairy Milk from Cadbury's... perfect for the season!

Ostara Earrings

Two different pairs of seasonal earrings for me today. For the day, I had some funky chickens. And then I switched them for rabbits in the evening to accessorize with our film night...

Night of the Lepus

Film night with Rob and a friend tonight... I couldn't find any daffodil-themed horror, but this one seemed perfect for the season. We watched the amazing 1972 eco-horror, Night of the Lepus. It's got giant killer rabbits!

Vernal Equinox: Day 2

It was the second day of our Vernal Equinox celebrations today (building up to the big day on Sunday). Today was also our wedding anniversary, so we had a bit of a double celebration this evening.


I went daffodil-spotting again today. This time, I was in Herristone Park on the way home from work.

Ostara Earrings

Today's seasonal earrings were little baby chicks.

Ostara Candle

We lit our Ostara candle (from Chalice Creations) for the first time tonight. Scents of lime, bergamot, coconut and grapefruit to last through the week.


For some seasonal entertainment tonight, we started watching Danish supernatural thriller Equinox. I reckon there's enough episodes to see us through till the actual Vernal Equinox on Sunday!

Anniversary Cocktails

As it was our eighth (salt) wedding anniversary tonight, we had a bit of a salt-themed tonight as well. I made cocktails to celebrate - it was a Gimlet, but made with Mermaid Salt Vodka from the Isle of Wight Distillery.

Monday, 14 March 2022

Vernal Equinox: Day 1

It's time for the second event in our Year of Celebrating the Seasons this week. The Vernal (Spring) Equinox (aka Ostara) is coming up on Sunday, so we're going to be celebrating all week, enjoying the beginnings of spring. We already started some new traditions at Imbolc, but who knows? we might start some more this week as well.

A Walk in the Woods

I started off my Vernal Equinox celebrations with a walk in the woods with my dad. We met in Blackley Forest and spent a nice hour or so just enjoying nature.


It's daffodil season! And that's a sure sign that spring is here. I'm determined to make this week as daffodil-tastic as I can, so I started off by spotting some in the woods.


Daffodils aren't the only spring flowers though. The blackthorn is also in blossom in the woods this month.

Daffodil: Biography of a Flower

Since I'm going for a daffodil-tastic week, my holiday reading is Daffodil: Biography of a Flower by Helen O'Neill.

Ostara Earrings

I've got a good collection of seasonal earrings lined up for this holiday. Today's were daffodils and bunny rabbits.