2016: Reflecting and Resolving

And so another year has ended and a new year has begun.

Those of you who know me, or who have been reading my blog for a while, will know that New Year is one of my least favourite times of year. Of course the turning of the year is meant to be about both reflecting on the past and planning for the future, it is what January is named for – the Roman God Janus, God of endings, beginnings and transitions. My predisposition towards negative interpretations, pessimism and generally feeling inadequate unfortunately mean that, for me, the New Year is associated with a great deal of unhappiness and dwelling on personal deficiencies.

I am trying to do better, but I still ended up in tears on January 1st and feel another bout may be imminent even today.

2015 was a bit of an odd and emotionally turbulent year for me. I struggled to come to terms with turning 30 and the fact that I didn’t even have my boyfriend around to celebrate with me let alone any friends. We also said goodbye to my granddad who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and passed away just three months later. On top of that I’ve had a lot of soul-searching and mixed emotions surrounding my self-image, my personal relationships and the general direction of my life.

2016

As much as I find the actual transition between years emotionally difficult it is still a good opportunity to set out some goals for the future, not resolutions, but ambitions and things to work on or towards.

  1. Buy less, Buy Better
  2. Continue with the weight loss
  3. Continue with the part-time vegetariamism
  4. Read
  5. Decorate at least one room
  6. Take better care of the garden
  7. Improve my Welsh
  8. Increase my savings

I suppose I should have something about trying to be more satisfied with what I have or to have a more optimistic outlook, but I don’t want to set myself up to fail!

I hope you have all had a good Christmas and New Year and that you are feeling more optimistic about it all than I am!

Love

Betty

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Yuletide Greetings

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Indeed, Yuletide greetings to you all.

Today is the day of the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, celebrated as the festival of Yule in ancient and modern Pagan traditions. Yule was the traditional mid-Winter festival of ancient Europe, before being adopted and adapted by The Christian Church into the festival of Christmas. Being the shortest day of the year – that is, the shortest period of daylight between sunrise and sunset, obviously every day is always 24 hours long – the festival of Yule is based around the celebration of the sun returning and bringing life back to the world with the (gradual) move out of Winter towards Spring.

Whatever you want to call it – this time of year always makes me want to bake and feed people! So I do like to mark the Solstice with a bit of baking. Of course, the Chocolate Yule Log derives from the tradition of the Yule Log which was an actual wooden log that was burnt to celebrate the Solstice. I didn’t fancy lining myself up for the stress of trying to roll my own Chocolate Yule Log – instead I decided to go down the route of orange, marzipan and cinnamon as ingredients that make me think of warmth and sunshine.

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I used this recipe from Sweet Paul for Norwegian Skillingsboller, that’s Cinnamon Buns, although this recipe has an awesome twist of added marzipan! It takes a bit of time to make as it is a yeasted dough, so you need to leave it to rise, but other than the waiting the recipe is pretty easy. Note: mixing the butter into the dough is very messy!

Mine turned out a bit, haphazard looking – but this isn’t GBBO and I’m not marking myself on presentation or uniformity, it’s all about taste for me.

The finished buns are delicious, I’m going to struggle to restrain myself from eating them all. I did a taste test when they were warm and they were amazing – I’ve also had one cold and it’s still really good, but it might be worth zapping one in the microwave for a few seconds to warm before eating.

I also made these Tangerine and Marzipan Muffins from Olive Magazine. I haven’t tasted one of these yet, I’ve been too busy focussing on the Cinnamon Buns, but they smell really yummy 🙂

UPDATE: I’ve just tried one of thee and they are lovely! Light and orangey and not too sweet, surprisingly! Recommended 😊

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I have a feeling I may take a few steps backwards on my weight-loss over the next week :/

Hope you are all enjoying the festive season, whatever you celebrate and whatever you eat!

Love

Betty