Or, méli-mélo as it is in French. I do try and maintain my French when I’m not there. One way is by watching French television series. This month saw the very last series of ‘Spiral’ or ‘Engrenages’ as it is called in France. It is a gritty police drama set in the Paris suburbs. There have been eight series in total and the focus is on Laure Berthaud and her team of detectives as they deal with the brutal world of organised crime. We see the grimy underbelly of Paris, rather than the romantic city presented to tourists. It is hardhitting and some scenes are difficult to watch but I still loved it and I’m sad it’s over, although I’m glad they didn’t drag the series out for the sake of it. I’m even contemplating rewatching the first seven series which is unheard of, as I don’t, generally, rewatch programmes. If this appeals to you and you haven’t watched it, in my opinion you’re in for a treat!

The second French series I have been watching, in January, is a very different kettle of fish! It is a comedy entitled ‘Call my Agent’ or ‘Dix pour Cent’. This is the fourth series and I have blogged about it previously: Call my agent – French flair! – Fancying France

This final series can be seen on Netflix and, like Spiral, is set in Paris. However, the setting is a glamorous talent agency and each episode features a well known French celebrity. I’m on episode two and trying not to binge watch!

In January, I’ve been reading as much as ever. I received some books that were on my Christmas list and I know there are more to come, from people I was unable to see. I also have several stacked up on my Kindle, so there’s no risk of running out of reading material!

I have just finished the latest Strike novel ‘Troubled Blood’ by Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowing). I have read all the previous books in the series and enjoyed them all. This latest novel was a massive read as I was given the hardback copy and there are almost 1000 pages. It was very heavy! I didn’t solve the mystery and I was kept entertained throughout. I don’t want to give anything anyway but I will say that it, like the previous books, is quite dark in places. Can’t wait for the next one!

The book I’m reading currently is ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ by Richard Osman. It is one that I bought Mr FF for Christmas. It couldn’t be more different to the previous book. It is set in a retirement village and many of the main characters are in their seventies and eighties. It is a crime novel but it is a thriller with a difference, a sense of humour. It’s certainly making me smile – in a good way! It’s a light hearted, easy read which is just what I need at the moment.

I had a lovely surprise this month when a beautiful bouquet of scented narcissi arrived by post, sent by one of my closest friends. It’s always lovely to receive flowers but these weren’t sent for any specific occasion but to bring me a little touch of spring; a thought I really appreciated. The flowers came direct from the Scilly Isles and lasted for more than a week. Their perfume was amazing and the narcissi certainly cheered up a grey time.

This month we actually had some snow which is quite unusual for our little corner of SE England. We woke up last Sunday to falling snowflakes and, of course, it was a first time for Zeph. At first, he was a little perplexed about this white, wet stuff and just wanted to eat it! We went for a walk and everywhere was so peaceful beneath the blanket of snow.

This photo is Zeph with his own interpretation of a snowball!

Mr FF celebrates his birthday in January and as we couldn’t go out for dinner or have family and friends round, I decided to have a very special card made. Through the blogging community, I came across a very talented artist who makes personalised cards for all occasions. Lisa Isaacs is a graphic designer who makes cards – and a lot more besides – primarily working with cut paper. Here’s a link if you’d like to see more examples of her very impressive work: Handmade in Israel (lisa-handmadeinisrael.blogspot.com)

Here is the card Lisa made for me, starring Zeph and featuring Mr FF’s favourite sports; hockey and tennis. This photo doesn’t really do the card justice!

That’s my January in a nutshell. How was yours?