Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Getting into the Festive Spirit

Slowly but surely I think the season is starting to creep up on me.

This month week has been a busy one.

The world as I know it normally stopped for the non-stop action that Christmas double editions. Festive films, spiced orange mocha breaks and thank yous that taste like chocolate, I find those are the best ones!

One thing about driving home when it's late you get to see all the Christmas lights in all their glory.

This year the husband is chief decorator, and I can almost say the festive season is feeling a bit ill and has been sick all over our tree!

I'm putting my few minutes of down time to good use and planning next month's posts. I am determined to get organised. Yes I know I say this every year.

All the presents have been bought, they still need wrapping - and in some cases delivering. The cards still need to be written... I'm so bad at doing cards. Sorry family who live away, I haven't the foggiest clue where I wrote your addresses down. But be safe in the knowledge that I'm thinking of you!

One more week of this manic production in the office and I will again be able to breathe a breath of TV Lisitings relief, that is until Easter!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

January: I Want List

I've put a self-imposed spending ban on unnecessary items for the next few months. Could you almost call it a spending diet. 

This doesn't take away the urge to window shop. 

So far Winter hasn't really hit here in the East Riding, and it is still positively mild. I was still walking to work without a coat right up until Christmas it has been that unseasonal. With this in mind my eye is looking to Spring-like items. 

From Yours Clothing

How gorgeous is this Navy and White Block Stripe Skater Dress from Yours Clothing? It is coming soon, and at £35 I wouldn't want to miss it. There is a keyhole neckline to break the eye up, but without showing too much cleavage. I'd even be tempted to give this a go in the office, or for an event, Christening or Wedding perhaps. Add a pair of red heels and a clutch. Jobs a good un. 

from Office
From Dorothy Perkins

Then I'm also thinking of some casual wear. I'm drawn to vest tops and indigo jeans with a plethora of scarfs. 

Lately there have been some fabulous options on Keep an eye out as their stock sells out fast, but equally quickly new items also arrive. 

I already have this number. 

I just need to find a non-greying white vest to wear it with!

This Gothic Skull Scarf is also rather eye-catching at £13

Now all I have to do is avoid the shops... and unlink my cards from paypal. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Free For All Friday: How to talk to new people

In the spirit of my Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calender I thought I would compile a list of ways to start a conversation with a stranger.

Obviously, you don't want to go around grinning and looking like the crazy person off the bus just walking up to random folk on the street. But sometimes a few words to someone in the shop, or queue at the bank is enough to brighten their day.

You will never truly know what is happening in someone else's life and just a few kind words could be enough to turn their day around. Sometimes even just a smile will do.

1. In a queue?: I love your scarf/hat/bag, where did you get it? a great one for starters.

2. In a book shop: Have you read this? Is it any good?

3. A bright and breezy 'hello' with a smile does wonders.

4. Don't worry about what the outcome may be. It really doesn't matter, but reaching out to new people is never a bad experience.

5. Try and make a person laugh. I'm not talking about a full on comedy routine with added slapstick. But if something goes horribly wrong

6. Find out if you have anything in common. So many people have similar hobbies that you would never normally place together but that one thing is what binds them.

7. Swallow your pride and just go for it. If you don't try you don't know.

8. Don't forget to make eye contact. You will be able to tell how receptive a person may be to your 'advances'.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Bobble Hat Day

Next Wednesday (10th December 2014) is NSPCC's Bobble Hat Day. 

An event to raise money for the NSPCC and their Childline service over Christmas. 

So the NSPCC, obviously must have had a hands in the weather turning so cold so fast!, have come up with the idea of grabbing a wooly hat and meeting up with pals for a festive fundraiser. 

If sponsorship isn't your 'thing' you can buy hats that give a donation to the charity from Tesco stores. 

So in the spirit of bobble hats, I thought I'd show you my new favourite winter hat from Cherry Diva and the best of the rest. Sadly the double pom pom hat is now Sold out.

Christmas Pudding Hat - Tesco £4


Santa Pom Pom Beanie - Tesco £5 and a percentage goes to FareShare Food Bank. 

Neon Beanie Hat - Asda £5

Striped Pom Pom Beanie Hat - Matalan £6

Snowman Hat - Matalan £5

Stars and Stripes Bobble Hat - Cherry Diva £9.50

Keep your ears nice and snuggly warm this winter, and drop £2 into the NSPCC pot by texting BOBBLE to 70744 and posting a bobble hat photo on Twitter using the hashtag #BOBBLEHATDAY

Monday, 1 December 2014

I Hate Christmas

It's true, I do. 

I hate Christmas. 

Yes, I am aware that this makes me sound very Bah! Humbugish, and puts me on a list with Scrooge McDuck. However, let me elaborate. 

I hate what Christmas has become. 

I hate that there is so much commercially created bits and pieces. I hate that it has become about the gifts and not about the message. 

I hate that we, as a generation, have become obsessed by the frivolities and the expense. That people feel pressured to spend, spend, spend to make their Christmas complete. 

I was brought up in a Christian home, by a single mum with very little spare cash. She worked hard to get me what I wanted. The year I got a pair of roller boots is still my favourite Christmas. 

That was it. My biggest Christmas present... and I was beyond happy. 

She worked right up until mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve. I would be at my Grandparent's house putting up and decorating their tree. Sticking the cardboard angel with tinselly bits to the mirror and cutting a switch of holly from the bush in the garden to put over the fireplace. 

Presents were wrapped all together. With a hot drink and a festive film. 

As I got older I started to go to Midnight Mass. It is still one of the most magical services in the church calendar for me. As the soprano leads the procession in singing Once in Royal David's City. 

Then Mum got a new job as a prison officer, and started to work on Christmas Day. So those other officers who had small families could be at home with their children. I did the same in my jobs too. I worked the nasty shifts. They were busy and grimy - particularly the Eves when I was partaking in bar and restaurant work.

Many things have happened over the years that have shook my faith. I'm not agnostic or an atheist. I do believe that there is something. I also believe that this is part of the human condition. We look and search for something bigger than ourselves. I don't think we want to know that this is it. We are alone. 

Since I've been a parent, I find the day itself is really stressful. Juggling the excitement of the boys, with everything else. Trying to make everything perfect. It is a thankless task. I married an atheist, and the boys are starting to lose their believe in the magic of Christmas. 

I don't hate everything about Christmas. I fully embrace festive mugs and decorations. I adore Christmas songs and films. I'm even onboard for seasonal foods. There is something about them that makes winter magical. 

It's the magic of Christmas I think is now missing. The I want for Christmas is so strong. I remember in my Religious Studies exam there was a cartoon about Christmas that we had to discuss. The banner across a bustling town centre read 'Hosannah Christmas in the High st'. A sad reflection even 20 years ago on how commercial the season had become. 

So this year I have 2 advent calendars on the go. One is candles, the other I shared on here last week. My Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar. I'm hoping that this year by making a concerted effort to embrace what I believe to be the true meaning of Christmas that I can hold on to the magic a bit longer and show my boys that it is a magical time for families and thinking of other people.