I have made gingerbread houses a handful of times in the past, often with friends as an afternoon activity in the school holidays. I didn’t make one last year as I didn’t get the time to, but thought I’d put in a bit of effort this year to create a modest little home for some gingerbread people.
Dear Alys from 2017,
There are aspects, both big and small, that define our lives during any one moment; years down the line, these characteristics that shaped us can be forgotten even if they had the power to significantly change us in ways that resonate fifty years beyond the initial impact. This open letter is a collection of musings from and about you, at 19 years old, written on a cold winter night a couple of weeks away from tipping into the unknown of 2018.
Baking has always been one of my favourite activities, particularly during the colder months. When I first converted from vegetarian to vegan, the thing I was most concerned about wasn’t cheese, but baking. Can you even make an eggless cake?
A lot of the things I’d learnt about baking over the years, what I’d considered the fundamentals, were suddenly useless in my pursuit to retain my hobby. It was as if the pillars of a building had been taken away and the roof was expected to stay up. Of course, since then, I have learnt a lot about the versatility of plant-based ingredients and that it is very much possible, and not at all difficult, to bake without eggs, or indeed any animal products.
About a week ago, I wrote a Blogmas post on how to make a wreath for the front door, and people seemed to like it, so I thought I’d carry on that theme today and write about how I made garlands for the mantelpiece and staircase. These are both super simple but really help take the festive feeling in your home to another level.
There’s nothing quite like the crisp, brisk smell of the air during the deepest crevice of winter, so tangible it has the weight of liquid mercury. It spikes your nose, slices down your throat like icy water from a mountain stream and pushes against the walls of your reluctant lungs, flooding them with woodland oxygen.
Gratitude: the quality of being grateful; expressing thanks.
I recently read several articles that put forward the idea that paying attention to gratitude can have a positive impact on your wellbeing, specifically your mental health, and this is something I’m interested in looking into further. I think it’s easy to disregard ‘invisible’ practices, such as meditation, gratitude, and positive thinking, as pseudoscience or ineffective. Many people assume that as the impacts of these wellbeing activities cannot be measured quantitatively, or actively seen, such as exercise on someone’s physical health, they leave less of an imprint.
2017 has been quite the tumultuous year, characterised I’d say by shifts: in my daily life, personal life, and ideas about the future. I guess when you take a biopsy of your situation, thoughts and feelings from any one month and compare it to one taken 11 months previous to this, you’ll notice change. Change is how progression takes place; like the leaves alternating green to yellow to orange to brown, it’s necessary for growth to occur.