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This misty morning, quite early, I put on my puffy jacket and went to the Arboretum for a wintry walk with some friends. It wasn’t quite as wintry as the scene in the tile above, but the fog was a real pea souper (as my mum would say) and for a lot of the time we didn’t really know where we were going because we couldn’t see any landmarks. It was the first outing of the puffy jacket this winter. I do love winter, despite complaining about it sometimes, and I especially love my puffy jacket. It’s like walking around in a super-insulated yet stylish sleeping bag that repels all cold and damp. We all had the wrong shoes on, so our feet were soon soaked and freezing, but our puffy jackets kept our hearts warm.

These friends did me an enormous favour recently. They helped me make a very hard decision that improved my situation and theirs but was at the same time heartbreaking. Despite the help they’d already given me, today they gave me presents as well. I was really overwhelmed by their kindness. When I got home, the fog was starting to lift. I decided to change my plans for the day and get rid of all the “shoulds”. There was freelance work that should have been started. There was an assignment that should have been finished. There was a garden that should have been weeded. There were cupboards that should have been sorted out. There was ironing that should have been done. And on it went.

I chucked all the shoulds out of the window and opened my presents instead.

Are these not the nicest presents to receive on a foggy public holiday when you’ve got a bit too much on your plate and you decide not to tackle any of it?! The HoneyBee Wrap smells amazing and I’m very excited about using it. I was thinking only last night how good it would be to get rid of as much plastic as possible in my life. I keep hearing about how much plastic is in the oceans and the soil, and how much is ingested by animals and us. So how good it is to make a start on a plastic-reduced life by using beeswax wrapping.

The cookbook is full of really interesting and slightly challenging recipes. There’s a lot of fermenting, which I know is good for us, but I find it a scary concept. No doubt there’ll be a few failures before I get that right. For tonight’s dinner I’m going to make the rather less scary and extremely delicious sounding sweet potato latke with goats cheese cream, sautéed spinach and poached egg. And next on the list is vanilla, date and tahini salted caramels. Drool!

But before that there’s proper relaxing to do. Inside, the boots are drying by the fire. The pretzels (gluten free!) are in the bowl. The coffee’s made. There’s a book to be read. Outside, the rosellas are chiming like bells in the silver birches and the white-winged choughs are kicking up the fallen leaves and foraging for insects. I hope you’re having a good, slow day too. The shoulds can wait.

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