Mad About . . .

Get Cosy for Wintering

5th January 2021
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Well here we are again and I don’t mean that the blog is back. As I write from my Tier 4 category in London, rumours are swirling of a new national lockdown in the UK. And I know that many of you in other countries are facing new restrictions and measures designed to stop the spread of this new variant.

And so I pondered the idea of a post on getting cosy and ready to sit it out for the second time. This is my library at the back end of the sitting room where I plan to spend a large part of January.

As I was planning this post I saw an instagram story by Michelle Ogundehin, whose book Happy Inside we reviewed on the podcast last April (and you can read about it here scroll to the end). In her book she wants you to make a list of everything you own. And yes, she admits that that might well run to 300,000 items and yes, she concedes, you will very likely lose the will to live while doing it but you must. Because you will, during that process, work out what is stuff and what is things. And “things” it turns out are very important to creating a happy home. “Stuff” is the opposite. Make that list, make that distinction and get rid of three of your four pairs of salad servers.

shona accent armchair from perfect for wintering

shona accent armchair from perfect for wintering

And maybe lockdown is the time for that. But if it isn’t then Michelle flagged a book she has just read, which I have also ordered: Wintering by Katherine May, which is described as “a beautiful, gentle exploration of the dark season of life and the light of spring that eventually follows” and feels as if it might be right for now. It is also, Michelle says, particularly pertinent for women, so if you’re facing home schooling and lockdown and dark cold days with dread try that book. I will be.

raipur velvet throw from la redoute

raipur velvet throw from la redoute

And in the meantime I’m also sharing this video with you, which was made by The Mad Husband for Italian flour brand Casillo. It’s a short film about three easy things you can make with one bread dough. He has made the grape focaccia and I can vouch for its simplicity and flavour and a friend of ours says the pizza was delicious, so maybe this year’s wintering will involve curling up in a cosy chair with a good book and a great snack. If you want to follow on instagram to see more recipes including pasta and puddings you can follow them on instagram.

Courage all we have been getting through this and we will continue to do so. We are currently waiting for the


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  • longdenlife 5th January 2021 at 1:57 pm

    I am coveting your library space – my idea of heaven!

  • Carla 5th January 2021 at 1:18 pm

    Hi, you might have been asked this before, but what is the lampshade in your library? I like it very much, is it by Poul Henningsen? Thank you for your always inspiring and informative posts, and in general for your unbeatable, positive attitude towards life. I find reading you is great comfort, fun and inspiration in these difficult times. Ciao from and Italian in UK.

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 5th January 2021 at 3:50 pm

      Ciao Carla e come estai? The lamp is by Tom Raffield and I bought it in a seconds sale as it’s damaged but it hangs high so you can’t tell! Not sure if he still does that one but there are lots of other gorgeous lights.

  • Rach with an E 5th January 2021 at 9:05 am

    Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “magic bread” is super easy and delicious with so many things you can make from one batch of dough..we prove our dough on the heated bathroom floor.
    Maybe I should hold him.personally responsible for my lockdown lard! I’ll look at the Casillo recipes so I can apportion blame!

  • Jayne 5th January 2021 at 8:06 am

    Gosh, how prescient! I started having a review of stuff and things at the end of last year and discovered I own 3 potato ricers. My eldest responded with ‘I have never seen you use a potato ricer’. She is 28. And she is right…
    I downloaded ‘Wintering’ before Christmas having read about it on another blog and haven’t yet had the time to really get into it, but that, some evening walks and some knitting is going to see me through the dark nights.
    Now trying to think how I can create a library in my house 🙂

  • PH 5th January 2021 at 7:31 am

    Hello! What paint color is your library? This lockdown I’d like to get rid of cornforth white for something warmer and this looks lovely… thanks!

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 5th January 2021 at 3:51 pm

      So the walls are wimborne white by Farrow and Ball but in this picture it looks a much stronger colour because of the lampshade which is pale pink and makes a really pretty glow (it’s from John Lewis).

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