In Need of Some Winter Cheer ?

P7340238Before we go any further today, I made you a cup of coffee. I am not sure how you like yours, so I just made two the same. I have to admit, no matter how hard I try and no matter how many years I have lived in France I simply cannot give up my milky  cappuccino style coffee. I don’t usually go the whole way and sprinkle cocoa powder on the top, but I thought as you were joining me we would push the boat out and do it properly!



Winter has us truly in its grip now. The trees stand bare, proud and statuesque. It can be quite difficult to feel motivated about going outside on a cold morning. Sometimes it’s so much easier to hide inside in the warmth. I was chatting to a friend the other day and she told me how much she hated January. “December is full of festivities and February there is always skiing to look forward to” she explained, “but January is a dreary dull month”. She has a point, but somehow for me January is a month filled with renewed optimism and promise for whatever the past held, the present always has hope.




Our friendly pair of robins have returned undeterred by the chill in the air. I am not sure where they go in the summer for they are not migratory birds, but they are nowhere to be seen here in the warmer months. But as soon as the days shorten and the colder weather returns the robins take up residence in the garden once more. They flit around outside the kitchen window, as cheeky as can be, they are a very familiar sight but they still always make me smile, there is something so familiar about their red breasts and their cheerful character.

However, whether or not you like January I do have to admit that our house certainly needs some additional winter cheer now that the Christmas decorations have all been packed away. I love fresh flowers all around the house, but sadly my budget does not run to several trips to the florist each week. In the summer there is never a problem, our garden is bursting with all sorts of colour but winter can be much harder. There are glimpses of new life all around, the first buds are forming on our plum tree and horse chestnut. The daffodils and bluebells are pushing up through the ground, another month and the chicken garden should be a riot of yellow blooms. But for now I have to content myself with the tiny flowers of the winter jasmine, they are having a bountiful year and I have been cutting them regularly for a couple of weeks, they are undoubtedly my go to mid-winter flower and they provide endless choices, sometimes I like to keep it really simple with just a few stems in a narrow necked carafe.


Most of all it is time to be grateful for evergreens and I have come to realise that cut greenery arrangements can be just as stunning as a vase of flowers. It’s really rather like seasonal eating, in the winter we learn to appreciate cabbages and root vegetables and in the summer when we have an abundance of choices we feast on so much more. So it is true with the garden, at this time of year we have to make the best of what we have.



I was amazed to learn that green arrangements are actually catching on at weddings too, more and more people are choosing all green for their centre pieces, who would have thought. I’ve had a lot of fun playing with foliage this week, and I hope that maybe I can convince you that you can have some stunning displays right at your fingertips even in the depths of winter without having to splash out on costly blooms.


Our kitchen table really is the epicentre of our home. It lends itself to so many roles.



I am no florist and fussy arrangements are not my thing but I do like to play around and choose varying vessels.

P7340180  I love nothing better than a causally picked bunch of spring flowers stuffed haphazardly into a vase. But I have learnt that sometimes the best way is to take one’s time.

P7340201For this arrangement I started with a good base of juniper branches, the scent is heavenly and they last a long time. Then I fed cuttings of ivy underneath and just let them hang down naturally and finally I added short evergreen magnolia branches to the top. So long as I keep it topped up with water this should last a couple of weeks at least and still look fresh.


You see there is good in everything. Take for example, Hedera helix, the common European ivy, whether you love it or hate it (and let’s be honest, ivy certainly gets more than its fair share of bad press), it does have its virtues, not least is the fact that it flowers late into the autumn with richly honey scented flowers and attracts the ivy bee. And then there is a second use, in flower arrangements!


Another of the great things about using evergreen branches is their size, you can really think large statement vases, the bigger and bolder the better.


In a couple of months we will be filling vases with blossom but then we’ll also be thinking about the first of the season’s cherries, and then asparagus, and so on and so forth. But for now evergreens must take centre stage. I apologise to those of you enduring the insufferable heat at the moment in Australia and elsewhere in the southern hemisphere, but perhaps you can save this post for colder months ahead. Or perhaps you can substitute palm fronds for magnolia; I always find they make the most fabulous eye catching arrangement – the bigger the better, especially on a hall table or mantlepiece.

111 thoughts on “In Need of Some Winter Cheer ?

  1. What a brilliant idea, keep up he good work! Your arrangements look so much better than a sorry looking bunch of flowers from the supermarket.

    1. Thanks so much Linda, don’t get me wrong, I love flowers and colour but fresh flowers are so expensive from the florist, you are right, supermarket ones are cheaper but they don’t last. The solution for me is evergreens! xx

  2. Sadly no cold winter days for us but we do have plenty of palms. I’ll substitute those for the magnolia (I think they are magnolia) in your last two photos!

  3. Just back from an outing where ivy has pulled down a 100yr old stone wall….. The men dealing with it had so saw through 3in thick branches. Luckily the owner of the parking space nearby was still on holidays. They are beautiful and dangerous for walls.
    I rip them off the walls where I don’t want them when they are still young and fresh but we had electricity work done in the garden last autumn and some cables were so overgrown that they had to be capped on both sides off the ivy…. Not a good look.
    Have some fantastic decos now with those black berries, looks brilliant, plus laurel, and various needly branches. An amaryillis in a (too small) pot is providing red colour and a friend brought a bunch of anemones on Sunday when she came for supper…. Tomorrow is market and new colour will be bought. And of course, I always buy some hellebores which I plant in the garden later on. For now it’s two white ones – they go with everything – but are especially cheerful with the ivy and branches. Aren’t we blessed to have these goodies even in winter?
    Weather feels like November, we even have fog – rare here!
    And pls let me know about our plans. Thanks

    1. Kiki, I LOVE hellebores and one of my favorite flower beds is just full of them. I am looking forward to replanting a different bed with a mix of hellebores and hostas in the spring. I never thought of buying them to enjoy inside before planting them outside. Thanks for the tip!

      1. Anne, you made me smile – I have NO luck at all with hostas. They have a different name in my household: Snale’s laces or Snales’ delight…. 🙂 Says it all!

          1. I DO apologize, this MOnday morning all of a sudden I KNEW why my writing seemed so very bizarre (but I couldn’ put my finger on it) – it is SNAILS of course, excusez-moi chère amie…. Oh those ignorants, thinking they know a language!

      2. Just to barge in here, I love to buy daffodils in pots for the house and then when they are finished I can plant them out in the garden and they will flower again the following spring.

        1. doing the same….. they multiply in the most lovely way. Once I’ll leave here, I will also leave hundreds of ´wild’ daffs EVERYWHERE….. It will be my farewell pressie.

          1. And whoever buys the house will be the very lucky recipient of them. We have had the the most beautiful warm spring like day today with endless sunshine. The gaffs are really looking well on the way to blooming soon. We have a couple in flower, but the rest are growing fast. When we bought the house there were no daffodils at all, and just today I was looking around and remembering the thousands of bulbs I planted, I couldn’t live here without spring bulbs! xx

          2. Alright, you’re a ‘bad bad’ girl…. I stopped checking every hour after 11pm! HH left the house at 6am today, so I might get back to bed for another lie-in….. (although it’s already 7.30am and soon it will be day!

          3. Ahhh but I did email this morning! It was my first job once the children were in school, I didn’t dare do anything else until I had emailed you, my conscience wouldn’t let me!!! xx

    2. I do know how destructive ivy can be. I am always pulling it off stone walls because it really does get hold of the cement in between the stones and do enormous amounts of damage. However, in some places it can be really pretty. I have plenty covering a modern fence in the chicken garden and I am happy to leave it there! Weather felt like spring today, we even had lunch outside, clear blue skies and really warm sunshine. I am so behind on my emails and anything internet related, still catching up from the holidays and a very hectic schedule. Only this week, with the children back at school have I been back at home again. I will get back to you I promise, I just need to continue my catch up!! We received the most fantastic surprise in the mail today and yes everything went everywhere! Thanks so so much xxx

      1. PLEASE tell me that you did NOT receive my pre-xmas card YESTERDAY…. It was sent something like the 13/14 of december. I put enough stamps on it and despair thinking of that a card could take a month to be sent from Paris to the Charente Maritime….. This is insane!

        1. We did! How hard can it have been to send a card from Paris to the Charente Maritime!! Unbelievable, but fabulous all the same and very very much appreciated. It has been a bit of a traumatic weekend, but email to follow tomorrow xx

          1. Very much looking forward to it…. We had ourselves a pretty tough end of week but all is well!!! Hope your drama/trauma is on a good way to get resolved. Thinking of you!

          2. Drama over I hope, fingers crossed. I will explain all via email as soon as my feet touch the ground again. Hope your weekend was the calm you needed after what sounds like the storm. These things are sent to try us aren’t they! Keep smiling xxx

  4. January can certainly be dreary here in the Orkney Islands but today we are having sunshine and no wind. What a delightful break from the wind and rain! I thought at first your yellow flowers were forsythia which we had in our garden in Canada but I have never seen any here. You have (as usual) cheered me up and I am going outside now to get some greenery and try to make an arrangement. I am not very artistic but will give it a try😊. Thank you so much!

    1. I feel for you Margaret, we too have had the wind and the rain, December was truly horrific and I think it rained everyday for the last two weeks. But like you we also have sunshine and blue skies today and also no wind! I hope you made a lovely arrangement, I am not artistic either, I just enjoy doing my best and using what we have available here. Hopefully your weather will stay calm and pleasant this week. Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2018 xx

  5. You’ve just inspired me to go out to my little garden & cut some ivy to put in a vase, & it does look pretty. Even here in Edinburgh, after a mild winter, my bulbs are already pushing up. I do love the onset of spring, a while to go yet, but I was in town yesterday & M&S had bunches of daffodils on sale, so I now have two bunches in a lovely old blue jug of my grandmother’ s. I love the cheerful yellow colour against a normally drab January sky. .
    I’m with you on the coffee too, love my cappuccino!

    1. I always think that once we get to January, then spring really is not too far away, I was just thinking today that we really only have another six weeks or so and we can start to think about warmer weather, hopefully! I saw some daffodils for sale when we were in Bordeaux during the holidays, they were bulbs and just coming into flower. I rather like buying them like this as I can then plant them out in the garden afterwards, however I didn’t buy them as we were in a rush and I didn’t want to carry them thinking I would find some closer to home. Big mistake! I have looked in several shops here and found none! Enjoy your daffodils and enjoy the ivy and the mild winter and soon you will be in Paris! xx

  6. I always find a strange beauty in the bare trees of winter, their finely twisted limbs exposed for all to see. They remind me of ballet dancers, not sure why or where this came from, but they always have for as long as I can remember!

    1. I can rally picture ballet dancers, I think it is the incredible flexibility of limbs and branches. Looking up high into the trees is rather fascinating in winter, one can see so much more, I am in total agreement with you xx

  7. Lovely post as always but I do love cut flowers. However I shall try some evergreen arrangements and see how I get on, it would certainly save a few pennies which is never a bad thing.

    1. Don’t get me wrong I love flowers too, but the florists are so expensive here and the supermarket flowers never last, so I have had to learn to make do with what I have to hand. However, it does mean it will be even more exciting when we can finally cut fresh flowers from the garden again! xx

  8. If I had the money, I’d indulge in fresh flowers all the time. I really like your idea of the green bouquets, but here we have nothing green at this time of year. Our outdoor arrangements about be in browns and sepias. The terrible cold has broken and the several days of unseasonably warm (50’s F) weather have taken away all the snow, leaving rain today and, of course, mud. Sigh. I prefer the snow. Tomorrow it’s back down into the 20’s or below. I’m now dreaming of my upcoming trip to visit my parents in Arizona, where it’s been in the mid-seventies!! Yes, I can get used to that for a bit. Thanks for the cheerful, positive post and a most happy January to all of you.


    1. If I had the money I would too Janet, I do absolutely adore fresh flowers in the house, but three big vases are expensive to fill, plus it does make us look forward to spring all the more! I feel for you and the weather, snow is so lovely until it goes all sludgy and dirty and then as you say you are left with mud, not fun at all, and now it sounds as if you are going to have frozen mud. Arizona sounds very appealing! Have lots of fun, soon it will be spring! xxx

    1. Thanks Penny, I do agree that there is nothing quite like fresh flowers in the house, but for now I have to make do with what we have to hand and I do rather like the fresh crisp look of greenery and I’m loving the cheerful yellow of the jasmine. xx

  9. Thank you for the cup of coffee, Susan. That really made me smile (and sent me to the kitchen to make some for real). Your evergreen arrangements and photos are crisp and stunning.

  10. Thank you so much for the cheering up with your post. I confess it was very much needed. We have had frigid temps for weeks but I got in the garden for a cleanup two days ago and, my, what that does for one’s mental health to tidy things and get dirt under my nails! I had to change my gardening gloves out twice since my hands got so wet and cold from the melting snow and icy ground but all very much worth it. The sun was warm! Your beautiful greenery arrangements did much to inspire me.

    1. How I agree with you Anne, it feels fabulous to get dirty finger nails and to get out and get ones hands in the soil. I have sorely neglected our garden over the holidays, we’ve been so busy and it’s been so wet. But finally we have some sunshine and I am really hoping to spend an afternoon tidying up tomorrow, I am excited already, as you say, it really does feel fabulous to have a big clean up. I hope your weather stays a little milder for you and that you manage to get out some more this weekend. xx

  11. I love your blog! I wish you were my neighbor. We returned to the US last summer after 43 yrs. abroad & OH how I miss Europe—you make me feel back at home there. We will be coming this summer & hopefully also visit again the Provence. I also like greenery—still have my home made Advent Wreath up—maybe one day I will tire of it & give it to a friend who has goats & will enjoy it in another way. I think you express beauty in ways each of us can relate. Thank you for sharing your heart & it’s beauty. “Bis Bald.”

    1. Thanks so much Sandi, I can imagine after 43 years it must have been quite a shock to be permanently back in the US. But at least you have this summer to look forward to. It always makes me so sad when I have to take down our wreath so I really understand you keeping yours in situ, one day as you say, the goats will appreciate it!! xx

      1. Bucket List…Who’s going to throw their name in? I’ll be the first! Trish you in? Kiki? Susan, I will keep you posted on the head count! 😘

  12. Susan thank you for the great cup of coffee.
    Your photo’s are so inviting and brings me into the photo it self, so inviting.
    With all the snow here N.J . USA I am going to search for what ever green foliage available to trim and place in a beautiful crystal flower vase…
    Thank you for your clever idea’s and sharing your beautiful photo’s and stories.

    1. Thanks so much Carolyn, I hope you have managed to find some greenery today, do you still have snow now? It’s been a strange winter that’s for sure. Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  13. Lovely….I think it’s wonderful to be able to have greenery in the house. It’s my go to form of bouquet. The different shades of green are so calming. When you start to notice the choices that are out there, even dead looking branches are beautiful. I sometimes use branches of dry rose hips mixed in…being careful of the thorns. It’s really rewarding to be able to create something beautiful out of supposedly nothing – almost more exciting than plunking flowers in a vase.
    Ali Xxx

    1. Almost! But there is still something so wonderful about fresh flowers, but as I said, it is really just rather like seasonal eating, seasonal flowers instead, by the end of winter we shall be bored of greenery just as we are bored of winter vegetables and so excited to have a huge array of blooms, roses, blossom, iris, the list is endless! Now your snow has gone I hope you are able to get out into the garden a little, it has been so wet here I haven’t been able to do anything at all, but have an afternoon (hopefully in the forecast sunshine) planned tomorrow!! xx

    1. Ahh, I wondered if anyone would pick up on those! I have had a pair of them for years, possibly around 20 years! and then last year for my birthday Roddy gave me another pair. I love them because they are fine bone china, they are my every day coffee mug!! xx

  14. What a beautiful, simple arrangement! I never would have thought. I love the tone of your blog, good cheer, simplicity, celebrate all seasons. Make do with what you have. Thanks for the coffee, we had a lovely chat.

    1. We did have a lovely coffee didn’t we Becky, it was delicious! I actually get quite a bit of pleasure out of making do with what we have, because I often remind myself that what we have is so very much more than so many people. I know it sounds rather a cliché but we really are so lucky and sometimes I have to tell myself this. xx

  15. Bonjour Susan ! Pour moi ce sera un expresso s’ il vous plait Madame… On pourrait aussi , un jour, le boire au café Place Colbert à Rochefort, pourquoi pas ? J’ adore votre style de décoration florale, simple et élégant qui s’ accorde si bien à votre magnifique jardin à l’anglaise. Vraiment une superbe maison qui respire la joie de vivre.// Hello Susan! Please, an espresso for me Madame.. Even we could, one day, drink one in the Bar Place Colbert in Rochefort, why not? I love your style of flower arrangement, simple and elegant, which goes so well with your magnificent English style garden. Really a superb house which inhales the joy of living.. Thanks a lot for your always interesting posts.

    1. I really hope you come over to the west coast at some stage Philippe, would love to share an aperitif or coffee in the Place Colbert or better still a meal here at our home. Anytime, you know you are very very welcome. xxx

    1. We are in the Charente Maritime in Western France, about half an hour south of La Rochelle. We are about twenty minutes from the coast so have a rather lovely maritime climate. x

  16. Many thanks for the super tasty cappuccino, it was delish. January is, in addition to being cold, usually windy. The least snowy month of the year, everything is drab save for a few ornamental grasses I leave uncut just for some texture int he garden. If only our landscape was as interesting as yours is this time of year. For the most part it hasn’t been horribly bitter (some perennials were still blooming until nearly Christmas if you can believe that!), but things are various shades of blah beige.

    1. So happy to have shared it with you! WE have had the strangest of winters, endless high winds, masses of rain in December which is unusual and now it is mild, we ate outside yesterday in some really warm, very welcome sunshine and then today it vanished, replaced by freezing fog! Oh well, spring is not so far away now. We do have some colour, in fact I just saw the first brave daffodil in flower this morning, just one!!! Not so much beige here, more brown and green and lots and lots of puddles! Have a great weekend xx

  17. Black coffee for me please – I’ll be right over. Oh, wait, no, I think I’ll go to the beach instead! 🙂 Lovely post.

      1. It’s been a great summer so far. We had a wee storm a week or so ago, but apart from that I can’t complain!

  18. The jasmine is lovely, and what a great idea to use the greenery that abounds. A way to tame the ivy about to take over a place in my back yard. Your post was just the note of cheer that was needed on a gray day!

    1. I know I cut back the ivy and bring it in and am forever cutting our evergreen hedge at this time of year, it needs a really good trim, but at least I am doing my bit and we get to appreciate it indoors at the same time. Freezing fog here today, so the greenery is most welcome indoors. xx

  19. Here in Queensland Australia you are correct – so hot. In fact I use green foliage all summer. It looks so fresh and cool. Florist flowers hardly last 3 days. We are lucky to have some flowering trees for colour in the garden.
    Love your posts.

    1. I hadn’t thought of that Sandra but it makes perfect sense, it is indeed fresh and cool. In New Zealand I used to love using palm fronds as huge arrangements in the summer. Hope you have a lovely weekend and try and stay cool. Your temperatures are staggering. xx

  20. Know what you mean about the high price of flowers during the winter season. Where we live I have access to high quality silk flowers. Granted the initial price is high but using them year after year makes it feasible. Also, I have used the silk flowers and have added fresh greens. Have a good day. Kathy

    1. That makes great sense Kathleen and especially if you can add some fresh greenery as well, what a great way to combine the two, I would imagine they look fabulous. Hope you have a really lovely weekend xx

  21. Super pretty arrangements Susan. I use Green all winter …. had no idea I was a wedding trend setter! It’s so true that every single month we are looking forward to the next. This year, I have promised, having lost a very dear friend in tragic circumstance, to stop looking ahead and appreciate the here and now. Sometimes we need that reminder, however unpalatable the delivery. Stay stylish and keep the beautiful pictures and ideas coming 😊

    1. Ahaa, so you are the trend setter, I am not surprised! I think these are very wise words, we look forward to spring and in a way we are wishing the time away, and gosh the time flies by fast enough without us wishing it away. Just this evening on the way home from school, we were saying how amazing it is we are already at the end of another week. You are so right, we must appreciate January, February, each day, today’s freezing fog, because no matter what we are so so very lucky. A bit of a crisis today, but I will be emailing you an update at the weekend xx

      1. Crises occur by definition without warning. I hope all is well in world of you (as well as can be). I watched the children tumbling out of the school opposite this afternoon, listened to the chatter of their parents and thought … one more week before the February hols, one more week in life marked off. Take good care…. Go gently xx

        1. They do, but all is in hand and well, just one little chap not so happy but in good hands. Now I have to say you really are wishing the time away, February is still nearly three weeks away, I think you mean one more month before the February hols!!! We are in Zone A and we are first up for the winter holidays this year, I think I preferred being last last year and them extending into March! But still yes one more week ticked off, I wish it would slow down a LOT! xx

          1. My bad. It intended to read one more week BEFORE the Feb hols. We are Zone A too but being here we will be at the effect of every zone as they all descend on the Alps via Grenoble. Parking becomes a blinking nightmare – cars left in the city as family’s take trains and buses out to the resorts even if they are 2 hours away. I’m wise to it this year, last year was bewildering. Hey ho … I’m lucky to be able to just dodge up to the ski station mid-week though I guess, though I only go to Chamrousse – Alpes d’Huez is mega bucks even for the day. I am in breaks on mode. Life is disappearing before my eyes and me no like! Xx

          2. No non non, “it intended to read one more MONTH before the Feb hols!!! I can imagine it is a sheer nightmare, but that’s the price you pay for living in such a fabulous place. Just the same for us in summer when the world and his wife descends on us and the coast!!

          3. OMG I mean one more week DOWN but the bugs in my head seem to rule this year – damn senility! It is a nightmare although I actually love seeing all the people on the tram with skis still in their piste wear … it makes me smile a lot. If you can smile then all is well xx

          4. Yes one more week down!!! Finally, third time lucky! 4 more weeks of school and it will be winter holidays to be precise. I cannot wait to get to the mountains the snow again, you know we all love our annual skiing holiday, I just love the whole atmosphere, so I am quite envious of you being able to experience it all the time. However, today we had what seemed far more like spring than mid-Winter. The morning grey skies cleared to reveal the most perfect day. The sun was actually warm on our backs and oh how we made the most of it. The girls were climbing trees and Roddy and I set to work on the garden, hours and hours of digging, more than a little stiff this evening, but so worth it. The vines are all pruned, much was achieved and most of all just in a lightweight jacket! Days like these are why we live in the Charente Maritime!!! Hope you had a fab Sunday too xxx

  22. Thanks for the cappuccino.We treat ourselves to a cappuccino or a flat white every day in one of the fabulous coffee shops in Melbourne. (they are not that dear when you convert the cost to Euros). You must think of January like i think of July.The weather in Melbourne has not been that hot , you may get a couple of days in the high 30’s and then it changes to the low 20’s, but as they say Melbourne is known for having 4 seasons in one day.
    Thanks for the photos.They are always so stunning.

    1. What a great idea, little treats like this can make all the difference to our days. Ahh yes, Melbourne and its weather! Of course all focus is now on the tennis due to start on Monday, so we will be avidly watching the tv and thinking of you for the next two weeks! Hopefully the weather will be neither too hot nor too cold. Wishing you a fabulous weekend and many lovely cappuccinos! xx

  23. Who doesn’t like Cappuccino?
    When I go for a walk l always bring greenery from the outside to embellish my vases or pots. It’s simple, gratis and often more attractive than a bunch of expensive flowers from the shop. In about 2 weeks we will have forsythias in
    bloom, which are so beautiful in their subtletly as your wonderful arrangement is. Enjoy January

    1. I quite agree, my favourite type of coffee! I really do think there is so much more beauty in lots of fresh greens than expensive flowers. Only this evening I looked at a bunch of vastly overpriced blooms, around 12 euros for about six stems that already looked well past their best! The mimosa will be flowering here soon, we don’t have a mimosa tree in the garden, but usually we can buy great big bundles for just a few euros at stands beside the road and then we shall be onto blossom and spring colour. It’s all good isn’t it. xx

  24. Lovely post. And fun to see magnolia in your arrangements. Southerners tend to feel proprietary about that tree. If anyone is in need of ivy let me know – I can offer several truckbeds full (and that wouldn’t dent our supply). I think it is beautiful – although ours is unruly and likes to run up trees and crawl through the basement windows.

    Happy January!

  25. And greenery doesn’t have to be green! We’ve had a really mild winter here in the Sarthe, so everything has just kept on coming. I pruned the shrubs that the previous owner had planted along the driveway, in early December, and have had armfuls of deep green and red photinia, silver grey eleagnus with its tiny sweetly perfumed flowers, daphne with its own scented flowers and bright yellow choisya ‘sun dance’ with its great bunches of white blooms. Who needs shop bought flowers. 😊

    1. I do agree with you, we had a cold November which is so unusual for us, cold and dry and then such a wet December, not at all typical weather. But we do have our first daffodil in bloom this morning! I totally agree with you, we don’t need shop bought flowers. I just saw a very sorry looking bunch of blooms in Carrefour this evening for 12 euros for six stems that were already way past their best and our local florists which although beautiful are also twice the price. I think I will stick to the greenery in the garden and the varying colours of winter! xx

  26. Happy New Year Susan and family! Sorry to have been absent for a while. This post is close to Amy’s heart – she has done some part-time work before now for a friend who does flowers for weddings, and as you say, Green is the new trend in so many ways and she just wanted to add that anything with white flowers is a typical hit as well. Hope to meet you finally this year! Thank you for all the goodness last year!

    1. Thanks so much Simon, I really hope we get to meet you this year and I can see I shall have to get some floral tips from Amy. I love white flowers and I also love yellows. But then in the summer, I am happy to have anything in a vase that comes from the garden! xx

  27. You know me enough to assume I don’t want to brag here but I have to tell you that – since I neede some flowers for a decoration on Sunday – I bought 30 tulips yesterday for a song, I put them ‘wildly’ in a large round and high vase and enjoy them every minute of my day!!!!!
    In the garden I have at least seven or more daffs open, bunches of Christmas roses (plus the two potted ones in white which show off at the entry door, outside but well in sight!) and that yesterday our dinner guests brought me 19 gorgeous long-stemmed and very sturdy roses. I’m ‘swimming’ in flowers and it’s not even a birthday….. as on Sunday eve our then-guests brought a beautiful bunch of nemonas which still (just) bloom to my heart’s delight…. Sorry to make you jealous. The ivy berries and shiny leaves are from the garden though! 🙂

    1. Ha ha, ok so I am a little jealous! But I can imagine your house looks fabulous with all those flowers. But today we might not have fresh flowers but instead we had incredible spring like weather, clear blue skies and really warm sunshine. We spent the entire afternoon outside in the garden, the children climbed trees and we cut back the vines, worked on the vegetable garden, cut back more things, oh it felt fabulous to be outside in just a lightweight jacket! So I am no longer jealous of your flowers!!! Hope you had a lovely sunday too xx

      1. NOW YOU make me jealous…. 😉
        I did some light cutting of ferns, dead flowers and collected some branches but left everything outside because our green colection is only next Monday….

    1. Hope you found some lovely things, I am sure you have plenty of colour at this time of year still. By contrast we do not, but we did have the most beautiful spring like Sunday with really warm weather and were able to spend an afternoon working on the garden in just lightweight jackets, so very happy today! xx

  28. I actually copied your arrangement and took you advice today and my sitting room coffee table now looks so lovely. You are brilliant as always.

    1. Thanks so much, I am so glad you found plenty of greenery and made a lovely arrangement, I find they are a great lift in the winter and totally free! Hope you had a lovely Sunday xx

  29. I love the contrast of the greenery and the stark trees. Winter has so many good points I think we tend to forget.

  30. Hi Susan
    Firstly thank you for the cuppa and chat, I really appreciated it and I enjoyed your company! In all seriousness I had just made a cuppa for myself before turning on the computer!
    You mentioned the weather here in Australia, we had 41 deg here yesterday in Central Queensland, I thank God for air conditioning!
    I love your blog and how you keep it real, keep up the great work.
    I wish you a wonderful 2018 and look forward to reading more of your posts. xo

    1. Hi Joanna, oh gosh 41C really is so so hot. We have had that temperature here a couple of times but literally only for a day. I do however, remember being in New Delhi, admittedly on holiday which is different I know, but it was 46C and we were melting, heat like that is quite debilitating I do feel for you and hope it cools down soon. Whilst you long for autumn, we long for spring! I wish you a very happy and healthy 2018 also. xx

  31. I’m afraid I agree with your friend. I loathe January, the weather today has been absolutely filthy, so whilst in East Grinstead I bought some daffs for a pop of colour. Your arrangements are lovely, foliage is often overlooked in favour of flowers but it can last weeks and from the hedgerows is gratis. I love to use jugs and I’m kicking myself for not investing 10 euro on a lovely enamel coffee pot spotted at a brocante last year.

    1. Well if it makes you feel any better it was equally abysmal here this afternoon. Not a bad morning but after yesterday’s fabulous spring like day today descended into the depths of horrible. The wind picked up by early afternoon and the rain lashed down! Daffodils and colour seem like aver good idea, we had a couple in flower in the garden although they are probably looking very battered and sorry for themselves now. I haven’t even ventured to look! We have some enamelware perfect for flowers over on the Etsy shop! I love them as flower vases especially with wild hedgerow flowers in the summer, it is such a natural unforced look and the flowers and jugs always seem to compliment one another. Hope the week’s weather improves for you xx

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