With the long haul of the gloomiest months behind us, we’ve entered a transitional period; tentative hints of spring apparent in the definite lengthening of the days while the cutting winds and squally sleet shatter any notion that winter is over.
Science suggests that with Blue Monday well under our belts, we have already survived the most depressing time of year. But this year I didn’t punish myself with a January of abstinence and the promise and reenergising properties of the new year left me feeling optimistic for the months ahead. February is the much bigger mood slayer for me.
This year I have resolved to defeat the slog of the tail end of winter by taking positive action. It might not be time yet to stash away the cable knit throws, jewel coloured velvet cushions and heady scented candles, but there are definitely some mood boosters I can introduce in the house to keep me cheery through to Spring.
Update your drinks trolley
What does it say about me that this was the first idea to pop into mind? I might have spurned dry January but most of my friends were admirably on the wagon. While gin and tonic might be an acceptable tipple when the rest of your company is on San Pellegrini, cocktails are strictly for sharing. I’m celebrating the resumption of normal boozing service by updating my drinks trolley with the ingredients for the perfect not-quite-spring cocktail.
The Houses Husband and I had a rare and very welcome night out recently. We tried out Wahaca – relatively new to Edinburgh and completely new to us. We loved it, but the best bit was the Tamarind Margarita. Classic margaritas have a summery vibe that doesn’t fit with dark evenings by the fire. But the sweet-sour spicy tang of the tamarind one is perfect. I don’t know the Wahaca recipe but I made my own version like this:
I encourage you to give this a whirl. My only note of caution is to be light-handed with the tamarind. My first attempt had a hint of curry about it. You don’t have to make it a frozen Margharita, but who can resist a grown-up slushy? And it’s a brilliant opportunity to repurpose your Nutribullet, which let’s face it, might be otherwise redundant until next January’s detox.
A cocktail night is the best excuse for having some friends over, and while it might be a thinly veiled attempt to make a sesh seem more sophisticated, there’s not much that has the spirit-lifting qualities of an evening of boozy bonding with your besties.
Or if you’re cooking a Valentine’s meal for your other half next week, serve one or two of these as an aperitif. It makes it look like you’ve made a big effort, even in you’re going down the M&S dine in for a tenner route.
Restock Your Plants
In the last couple of years, inspired by Urban Jungle Bloggers and the beautiful foliage-rich homes of some of my favourite insta-chums, I resolved to up my botanical credentials and make my home a haven for my leafy new buddies.
I enjoyed some early success and was very proud when my green babies flourished and grew. As things transpired however, pride came before a wilt; the slow and painful demise of almost the entire plant gang. The long dark winter was too much of a challenge for my novice abilities.
I’ve learned that the combination of gloomy Scottish winters and my somewhat slap dash approach to plant care mean that I need to choose my houseplants with care. No fiddle leaf fig would stand a chance round these parts. Hardy and cheap is the way I need to go.
Ikea, B&Q and Morrisons are my go-tos for cheap and cheerful houseplants. A vibrant, healthy, new plant can set you back less than a decent bottle of wine. While the mood boosting effects are similar, the plant will still be all vibrant and healthy the next day.
Clearing out the sadly wilted, shrivelled and dried out plant casualties in my living room and replacing them with healthy new specimens has given the room – and me – a welcome lift.
There’s nothing like a statement bouquet of flowers for brightening up a room, adding life, texture and opulence. But fresh flowers can be so demanding (all that cellophane, arranging, changing water…) and some of the loveliest seem to reward you with a miserly short few days of splendour. That might be part the appeal for some, but I prefer my flowers low maintenance.
I’m not alone. The growing demand for faux flowers has seen practically every homewares brand release its own range. While the availability of quality fauxs has increased in recent years, a bouquet that looks convincingly fresh has remained elusive.
So when Bridgman contacted me to suggest a collaboration to promote their new range of luxury faux flower bouquets, I was keen to see whether their USP of flowers that feel as well as look real would be the game changer.
Bridgman bouquets are a proper luxury offering. Every bouquet is hand-tied by expert floral designers (no arranging!) and limited edition, adding to the exclusive feel. And just as in nature, each flower is unique with every individual petal intricately handpainted.
I was excited to receive my specially-arranged bouquet. It arrived exuding decadence, generously blooming with blousy ruby-red roses, structural and dramatically dark Cala lilies and snow berries for contrast. It was jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
Had my bouquet been sent by a secret admirer, I’d have imagined him sophisticated yet cool, and oh yes, very, very rich. In fact, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, if you are an admirer (secret or otherwise) and would like to impress the object of your admiration with the Valentine’s gift that keeps on giving, this is what you’ve been looking for.
But does my Bridgman bouquet look real? Absolutely. And, if you’re prone to the occasional petal fondle, I’m happy to confirm it doesn’t disappoint there either.
Perhaps I’m easily pleased (or just a bit shallow?), but as I recline here on my sofa to type this post, surveying these simple updates in my living room, I’m feeling more blissed out than if I’d successfully meditated through an entire mindfulness session (rather than just snoozing or wondering what I can cook for tea as normal).
My not-quite-Spring updates might not be a traditionally recommended approach to self care, but if you’ve been suffering the February blues too I can wholeheartedly recommend them.
Post sponsored by Bridgman but opinion all my own.