Loving February...

February can be a difficult month....after a long, dark January it's tempting to believe that maybe Spring is arriving....then something happens to remind you that, in fact, it's still far away...

It can be a little depressing...so I decided to spend some time looking for the lovely things!

I found these...struggling up through their snowy quilt...nothing will hold them back...

This little chap hangs in the 'bird tree'...which is a feeding station for so many sweethearts each day. This month I've seen nuthatches, goldfinches, long-tailed tits, green finches, blue tits and even a green woodpecker...but the newest addition to the garden bird life is...

This beautiful boy. His name is Niles. He's a Crane. If you love 'Frasier' as much as we do, you'll understand....! In a few months, he'll have day-lilies growing about his feet...
Things are gorgeous inside, too...

I made marmalade...

This is the cranberry orange version...many jars now tucked away for eating & giving away...

The cold weather is a good excuse for eating. Bread & butter pudding...slightly wobbly, filled with eggs, cream, raisins & orange zest...

Brownies...of course...walnut or double chocolate...well, you need plenty of insulation against the cold! I have to admit that I don't actually eat all these delights...they are orders for my bakery customers! But I do indulge sometimes...

My afternoon break means a big valentines cup of Lapsang Souchong tea...often with...

A hot toasted tea cake, spread with butter...which is one of my absolute favourite treats!
Bringing some outside beauty inside is a good way of cheering the last days of winter...

Whether it's sunny daffodils...

Or deliciously scented hyacinths...it's a wonderful perk for a dark corner..

And I have a big stack of new books..

Work projects and lovely things to do...the days are full and happy...and the sun has just come out!

It's Valentine's Day, of course...

And I've been reflecting on what love really means...it's different for everyone, I guess. But for me, real love means being warm-hearted, open-minded, generous, accepting and tolerant...getting through the not so good days together and then basking in the joy of the great ones. I am lucky to have so much love in my life...in all its many forms...romance, family, friends, children and this little girl...

Sleeping quietly as I write...

I share my love with you all today, and every day! Thanks so much for reading and commenting...it means a lot to me, truly.

And in celebration of that, my next post will contain a special giveaway...
See you soon! Xoxo


  1. beautiful, beautiful post! Love it. Made me smile on this cold and drizzly day.

    I laughed out loud (startling Dudley, who's giving himself a wash beside me) at Niles Crane! Inspired! Brilliant!

    I've got my heart EB teacup out today, really is the only cup to use on such a day!

    your marmalade looks so good.

    Happy Valentine's Day! Spring will soon burst into life xxx

  2. So many lovely pictures, what a wonderful post, thank you Rachel. Happy Valentine's Day to you and those you love.
    Ann x

  3. Rachel those brownies look dense, chewy and nutty. That is what I think of when I want a brownie. The only place I can get one I like is in Santa Barbara. Its always our last stop on the way back up to Cambria, then I make some special coffee when we arrive back home and we can finally enjoy it! The wait makes it taste even better I think.
    A bouquet of hyacinths, how perfect!
    Your marmalade is such a pretty color and bet the kitchen smelled like an orange grove when you were making it.
    A wonderful post.

  4. What a beautiful post filled with so much love and inspiration. I am growing tired of winter and cannot wait for the awakening of spring. How lucky you are to have so many birds visiting you! I don't see very many birds at this time of year, even though our feeders are full. Our neighbourhood is quite young, only about 13 years old. I don't think the trees have matured enough for permanent winter birds. Thank you for sharing your love and the things that make you happy. I always look forward to your posts. I love you! xo

  5. Oh I LOVE the crane and I would love to try the cranberry orange marmalade. So many things tastee better with cranberries. Orange juice with cranberry juice, for instance.

    February can be a gloomy and depressive month. On the plus side: it is the shortest month in the year.

  6. BROWNIES!!!!!!! YUMMMM!!!!! I would love double chocolate! Double the pleasure!

  7. What a lovely, happy post. Love Niles...I'm sure he will appreciate the day-lilies. Brownies, daffodils and hyacinths. What could be more cheerful on a winter's day!
    Happy days.

  8. It appears that you have been busy with good things during these winter days.

    I have had major computer issues which resulted in having to purchase a new one, and I'm really having a time learning this one, plus once again finding my way around to everyone I like to visit.

    xo Nellie

  9. Ah Rachel, this post touched my heart in so many ways. My eyes don't allow me to leave comments the way I'd like -- too much time at the computer leaves me with eyestrain for the rest of the day -- but I always love to read your posts and you always have a special place in my heart. xoxo

  10. Oh Rachel what a lovely post! Your marmalade and brownies look so delicious! (Especially those brownies....how I would love to have a cup of tea with one (or more) of them!) Your snowy day does look winters, but those flowers look so springy! You continue to amaze me with your busyness....smile... Oh & Alice is so precious!! I old just give her a big hug!


  11. Happy Valentine's Day Rachel! Your seach for lovely things made me smile. There are many! Your bread and butter pudding looks divine! I hope you stay warm during these dreary days of February. Spring is just around the corner! xo

    Danielle : )

  12. Dear Rachel,
    What a beautiful post! I love all of it, the loving of February even though it is gray, the feeding of your birds, the love for your sweet dog, the daffodils & hyacinths, your fantastic orange marmalade & brownies & bread and butter pudding...all just wonderful!
    And I must tell you, toasted teacakes are just something that I love when I am in England, with that wonderful butter spread all over, so good!
    Sweet things to you always, dear Rachel!

  13. Read your blog & fell in love with your dog, the mouth watering brownies (can we have the recipe) & the general look....uplifting & very British!
    Keep blogging - will be subscribing!
    From all the Countrywives

  14. Pure Valentine Love that you actually show year round! Loved this post Rachel xoxo Love you

  15. Oh Rachel....I was away in California for Valentine's Day---it was wonderful getting away, but we didn't go away for that reason, because if you know me, you know that I do not celebrate Valentine's Day 'on the day.' Our anniversary is on the 19th, so that is OUR day.... we went up the rugged coastline; we had a wonderful dinner with Rod's son in Berkeley, and we stayed a few days with Amanda and her husband near Davis....we took the train into San Francisco, had glorious weather, and counted the many blessings of our lives as we arrived home. My townhouse closing went well in Friday and today (Saturday), middle daughter and I went wedding dress shopping..... It's been a super busy few weeks...I'm delighted with all the wonderful aspects of your post and all the beautiful things you treasure....

    I look forward to your next post, too!


  16. Ahhhhh! You've brought sunshine into the sometimes long dreary days of winter! Thank you for the reminder of love... and the reality of how it helps us to get through the hard times together:) Alice is indeed a treasure. Your picture of her sleeping speaks volumes of love, peace, security and contentment.

    Sending XOXO across the great ocean to you!

  17. oh so many delicious pictures for spring! I so can't wait but am enjoying winter in the meantime :) baby buds!! love seeing them and all your yummies too :)
    Love Niles lol

    a very happy, springy post, Rachel <3

  18. Rachel, your blogs are so pretty in every way! I can almost taste those yummy treats! I am totally in love with Alice, too! Such a little doll!


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