Festive Hibernation

Witchery Lar

Dear Cath

I know you must be feeling nervous for your surgery on Tuesday. It feels unreal to me because I can’t be there with you, and it feels unreal because I was right where you are now just last year. I know the anxiety you must be feeling but also the hope that this will end the endo pain.

I want you to know that you will feel so, so good once this surgery is over and your body has had time to heal. I still can’t believe I’ve been pain free for a year — for the first time in nearly 15 years. And I can’t wait for that to be you too. I feel eternally grateful for Dr. Sinervo and all the endometriosis specialist who dedicate their practices to easing pain for their patients.

In the meantime, skype me and what’s app me whenever you need to. I’ll be back to work on Monday, but I’ll be thinking about you 24/7 — not because I’m worried but because I know this is momentous.

It has been so strange not to be with you on Christmas or New Year’s for the first time in 31 years. It hasn’t really felt like Christmas at all, but you know what Matt and I have learned this past week and a half? Hibernation! We are pros at getting through the darkness (she says cockily because she knows this is the last winter in Scotland!).

So here are the magic ingredients to festive hibernation:

1) Pretend healthy diets exist only in combination with all things not healthy. For instance, green smoothies in the morning will balance out the hot chocolate and truffles later in the evening. The greens aren’t just for easing guilt (guilt doesn’t exist in hibernation mode) but really do make the chocolate taste all that much better because your body hasn’t sugar-crashed earlier in the day. Below is what I ate New Year’s Eve: a chocolate cake with pistachio cream and grillotine cherries yummehhh:

Chocolate gateau

2) Light every room in the house with fairy lights and candles. I’ve just put my Christmas decorations away but I’m keeping the fairy lights up until at least the Equinox.

3) Ensconce yourself in pillows.

4) When you do leave the house, go to places that are overly-sumptuous and have a fire roaring in every room — and pretend it’s your house. Prestonfield House and The Witchery seem to agree with #2 and #3 — oh and #1 — on this list.

Lar candlelight

5) Wear glitter or anything shiny and sparkly. There’s not much light in these northern latitudes but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to reflect every little bit there is at any given moment. Even in a darkened taxi my feetsies are glowing!


6) Drink whisky with abandon — also by candle light (Matt prefers to do this looking dapper in a waist coat — I prefer it while I’m wrapped in a blanket with a bit of soda water, looking less dapper and more disheveled).

Matt whisky

7) Share bottles of bubbly libations with friends.

8) Keep the idea of a summer in Thailand in your mind while the sun sets again at 3pm (that’s what it’s doing right this very moment, so “Thailand, Thailand, Thailand”)

And all of that has seriously gotten us through the darkest shank of the year. The one downside to festive hibernating? All your photos come out grainy because candle light and fairy lights might make you feel cosy and glowy, but your camera doesn’t agree.

Love you more than bubbly whisky imbibed by candle light!


11 thoughts on “Festive Hibernation”

  1. that cake, your shoes, and your curls! love it!

    and cath, lar is totally right. even if it doesn’t 100% get rid of the pain, you WILL feel a good deal better after surgery. i promise!

  2. Hello, lovelies, and Happy New Year! Cath, wishing you well during and after your surgery this week! Lar, great post. So fun! Isaiah and I went out for a walk to get donuts on Sat. I didn’t feel bad about it for 2 reasons: 1. We walked there (a mile there and another back)! 2. I ate lots of green and healthy things for dinner that night. Seriously though, I am trying to find balance with all this diet stuff. I don’t want to feel like I am constantly depriving myself!

    1. Thanks Amanda and Happy New Year!

      I think finding a balance between enjoying things and eating healthy is the right way to do things. I’ve gone to extremes – super strict diets for weeks and also weeks of eating whatever I want. Let me know if you have any pointers on finding balance!

  3. Gorgeous shoes!!! Love them! AND THE HAIR! THE HAIR!! Wow 🙂 How can you girls be so pretty, and there be two of you?!!? Matt and Troy are lucky boys 🙂 Happy happy and keep thinking of Thailand!

  4. Lar, thank you for all of your support and sweet words. Yes, it would be wonderful to have you here with me, but I still feel so lucky having such a wonderful sister.

    I love seeing all of the photos of you being festive. Also, you look drop dead gorgeous! Seriously, I’m still not over your hair. I just spent 25 minutes today blow drying and curling my hair but it looks so flat compared to yours.

    Winters always make me crave candlelight and sparkly things too! I’m keeping up some Christmas lights in our living room just because I can’t bare not to have them when it gets dark so early (so early being relative).

    I can’t wait to be post surgery, feeling better and skyping and blogging some more 🙂
    xoxo, Cath

    1. Hi Cath!!!

      Oh I so wish I could be there (and not just because work is stressful at the moment!). But I know everything will go really, really well! And I can’t wait to hear all about it Tues/Wed.

      Thank you for all the sweet comments about my hairs. I promise most of the time it’s a frizzy mess, but sometimes the curls behave. To get those I just wash my hair (mainly with conditioner) and then put in a bit of leave-in conditioner and gel. Sometimes the magic works.

      I can’t wait to skype you whilst you are recovering surrounded by your fairy lights!


  5. I love these tips for festive hibernation, Lar. There’s a streak of whimsy running through them that Diana Vreeland would approve of.

    All the best with your surgery, Cath! Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery.

  6. Hi Lar, here’s a mind game you can play that requires early dark nights in an ancient city.

    A million years ago, when I spent a year at Oxford, I was stunned by the early darkness. (There was a fuel crises that winter: OPEC being difficult, miners striking. So there were blackouts and alternate voluntary lights-out for the area homes and merchants. It was really, really dark.)

    Sometimes I would pretend that I was an Oxford student in the 19th century, or the 18th, or the 17th. It helped that we were all immersed in old novels and plays.

    Re-reading Dickens and Trollope I’ve noticed how often that image is conjured: leaving a cold, dark street to enter a house or a tavern filled with candlelight, conviviality, and a warm fire. The contrast and the lifting of spirits. It sounds just like what you are doing in point 2, 3 and 4.

    This is sort of a geeky comment in a stylish blog but your post brought that memory back forcefully. Thank you for posting it.

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