Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas 2015

Welcome back, peeps.
I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and managed to eat your own bodyweight (and more) in festive treats; I know I did - if you don't experience feeling like a beached whale at least once then you've not done Christmas right, in my opinion!

Anyway, here are some of the highlights from the festive period (I must admit, I've not taken as many photos as I probably should have; I was focusing on living in the moment instead of capturing it for posterity)...

Christmas Eve
Our Christmas Eve started with a lay in, followed by a cooked brunch.
After watching 'It's A Wonderful Life', I started preparing the veg for Christmas dinner;
we bought the veg from the local farm this year and it was certainly larger and went further :)
Once the turkey was in the oven and the gammon joint in the slow cooker, we set the table ready for Christmas Day,
then settled down with homemade pizzas for some festive telly.

Christmas Day

Friday began with presents, featured lots and lots and lots of food (none of which I photographed), time with loved ones, 
a walk in the drizzle, and good conversation; the day ended collapsed on the sofa...

Boxing Day

After making some curries and casseroles with the turkey leftovers, we headed out for a walk with my parents...
...before ending the day with another gathering of people and tonnes of food at my auntie's house.

I think I'll be taking my decs down tomorrow.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

#SelfieSunday2015

While I'm taking a break for Christmas (I'll be back on Tuesday with a Christmas recap),
I thought 'Selfie Sunday' was a great excuse to share with you a collection of 2015's #selfies...


Thanks to my selfie partner for a great 2015; here's to an even better 2016!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

'Twas the night before Christmas...

It's Christmas Eve,
and I can't think of a better opportunity to wish you all a happy Christmas, a fantastic new year, and a healthy 2016! 

Like many of my fellow bloggers, I'm gonna take a little break from this here space to enjoy the festivities; I have got some stuff scheduled, but I'm taking the next 10 days or so to be present with my loved ones and not worry about blogging; I'm just going to focus on making memories and enjoying my time off.

I hope you do the same!

Monday, 21 December 2015

An Authentic British Christmas

I'm pretty sure Christmas is celebrated somewhat differently in every home in every country across the world (after all, we all have our own traditions), but today I wanted to share with you ten things that every Brit will do/have at Christmas time because, well, it just wouldn't be Christmas without them...

1. Letters to Santa
Every child who embodies the magic of Christmas is encouraged to write a present wish list and send it to Santa. In fact, the Royal Mail even have an address that you can send letters to, and if you write to him in early December, you'll get a response from the big guy himself!

2. Nativity
Telling the story of the birth of Jesus (based on the two accounts in the gospels of Luke and Matthew), the Nativity is a Christmas staple in most schools. Children aged five to ten perform the Nativity for parents, grandparents and anyone else who wants to watch, usually in school halls, for a couple of afternoons or evenings in the final week of school before the winter break.

3. Midnight Mass
OK, so maybe not every Brit attends Midnight Mass but I know for a fact that more people attend church at Christmas and Easter than during the rest of the year. I actually really enjoy chilling at home for an hour or so, with a good book, while Hubby heads to our local church for Midnight Mass.

4. Treats for Santa
How cool is this plate? I'll defo be getting one when I have kids!
A mince pie, a glass of sherry or something else alcoholic and a carrot for Rudolph are left on coffee tables and side tables in homes all across Britain on Christmas Eve to keep Santa going as he makes his way around the world, delivering presents.

5. Christmas Crackers
I can honestly say that I was well and truly shocked when I heard that we Brits are the only people who really have crackers at Christmas time. The Christmas Day table would be bare without them in my opinion. They always contain a paper crown hat, a silly toy and a crappy joke.

6. Turkey
It may be the average American's choice for Thanksgiving and not Christmas, but it's almost unheard of for a British family to tuck into anything other than turkey (be it big bird or crown) on Christmas Day.

7. Christmas Pudding
Made using sugar, egg and suet and containing a ton of dried fruit and alcohol, Christmas pudding is a traditional cake that dates back to Medieval England! Hubby doesn't like it and I can only eat it after a Christmas dinner; for me, it's like the official half way point of the festivities on the day. It's gotta be eaten with brandy sauce though. The awesome photo above can be found here, along with a great recipe so you can have a go at making your own Christmas pud next year :)

8. The Queen's Speech
Good ol' Queenie; every year she takes five minutes out of her Christmas Day (not really, it's filmed in advance) to address the nation and talk us through the last 12 months, as well as wishing us and our kin health, a bit of wealth and happiness for the coming year.

9. Christmas Tea
Despite the fact that the average Brit consumes a whopping 6,000 calories on Christmas Day, we really do eat for England; many of us, only a few hours after a big roast dinner, tuck into a festive tea which often consists of leftover turkey, ham, boiled eggs, salad, cocktail sausages, cheese, crackers, pork pie, sausage rolls, pickled onions, crisps and much, much more. No wonder we all start diets come January 1st!

10. Boxing Day
A public holiday here in Britain, December 26th is more commonly known as Boxing Day; although there is argument about where the name actually came from, we all agree that it's awesome to have another day off work... unless you work in retail, that is. Like Black Friday after Thanksgiving, Boxing Day is a day of sales here in Britain, with many people not content in spending loads on gifts for their family, they hit the shops to buy more crap stuff, this time for themselves!

There you have it; ten very British things for a very British Christmas!

I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas

This post first appeared on my blogging bestie's blog last Christmas Eve.

Friday, 18 December 2015

high five for Friday

Happy Fri-yay, peeps.
It's the Friday before Christmas and I'm officially counting down to the big day; I've got three days left at work but Hubs finishes at 5pm today, so I have a list of jobs for him to do while I'm at work :) I'm a good wife like that!

Anyway, on with today's order of business...

1 | Last Friday's work's Christmas do was all kinds of fun; I only took one photo whilst I was there and it's super dark so here's a selfie of me before I left the house

2 | On Saturday, we got our bedroom carpet fitted :) 
We actually, through a mistake by the company providing said carpet, got the other two bedroom carpets fitted too, so Saturday afternoon was an unexpected nightmare; it felt like we'd moved in all over again because everything was everywhere upstairs. We got sorted and collapsed into bed at 11pm.

3 | On Sunday, after the chaos of Saturday, we had a great day making a roast dinner, spending time with family, and finally putting on our festive bedsheets :)

4 | Oh, I totally forgot; Hubs was stopped by a random lady in Morrisons on Saturday who told him he looked like Danny Dyer! He doesn't, but it was sooo funny!

5 | This weekend, I'm looking forward to finishing my gift wrapping and delivering a few presents; I'm looking forward to starting a furniture makeover project that I'm hoping to share in the new year; and I'm looking forward to getting in the festive spirit, because I'm not actually feeling all that festive yet - I think it's the mild weather!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

nine

With just a week left until I finish work for 2015, and nine sleeps until Santa comes, I thought I'd spend today 
making a list of what I still have left to do to be ready in time for Christmas..

  • Write Christmas cards - DONE
  • Post Christmas cards - Hubs is posting these at lunchtime today :)
  • Buy presents - DONE
  • Wrap presents - I've wrapped the first lot :) but still have another bunch to do tonight

This year, we're having my parents and younger brother over for Christmas lunch and Hub's mum and step-dad over for tea in the evening, so we have slightly more to do than usual. 
  • Buy turkey - DONE
  • Order veg - emailing at lunchtime
  • Plan who is buying what food with my mum - DONE
  • Buy Christmas food - DONE
  • Buy Christmas drinks - DONE
  • Buy Christmas Eve breakfast - I just need to buy some bagels and sausages
  • Book the window cleaner - we're getting the number for a guy from Hub's mum later today
  • Clean the house - Hubs is doing this this time next week as he's off work
I think that's everything; am I forgetting something because that list doesn't seem all that long? #help

I know for many people, Christmas is a time for Jesus, for religion, for God. However, I don't identify with any specific religion, so for me, Christmas is about spending quality time with the people dearest to me: my parents, my brother, my husband, my in-laws, my extended family. Christmas is a time, hopefully, filled with good food, lots of laughs, time spent enjoying one another's company, reflecting on the past year and discussing hopes for the year ahead. 

I love Christmas; it leaves me feeling nostalgic for 'Christmases past', yet at this stage of my life it also leaves me feeling hopeful for 'Christmases future' when I have kids of my own to form traditions with and make memories that'll last a lifetime. 

I've seen this 'Christmas to-do list' floating about on social media and thought it'd be good to share :)

Happy hump day!

Monday, 14 December 2015

focus: month eleven

Happy Monday, bloggers. 
I realised this morning that I never recapped how I got on with my focus goals for November - my last focus goal of 2015. I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with one resolution a month in 2016 or make one or two goals for the year; I've got a couple of weeks to decide :)

Anywho, my focus goal for November was to continue with healthy eating, as well as focusing more on exercise, and while I started the month with good intentions, I soon slipped back into my non-exercising ways. The chaos of Christmas combined with dark evenings and wet and windy weather leave me feeling truly uninspired to exercise!! The healthy eating went a similar way, starting well, but then the Christmas chocolates appeared in the office and well, you know the rest.

I've decided that there's too much going on to make a specific focus goal for December, so I'm just going to focus on having fun and being present during the holidays and enjoy the time I spend with my nearest and dearest!
What I've learnt this year is that having a goal a month is a great way to make changes to your life, but you have to be motivated by each goal initially and you have to hope that nothing happens in the month to derail said goal, such as moving house! I wouldn't say my goals were successful every month, but I think I had more successful months than unsuccessful months, so I'm calling it an overall win :)
 
You can see a recap of all my focus goals for 2015 here.

Friday, 11 December 2015

high five for Friday

Happy Friday, guys!
How's your week been? I've had a really good one this week...

1 | My week started with a three-day weekend, which automatically makes it better in every way to a normal weekend, but this one was truly superior because we got our Christmas tree and decorated the house, inside and out...
My heart is happy :) (you can see more of my #Christmas2015 decorations here)

2 | The weekend also involved lots of quality time with my hubs.
It's not been easy lately, whether it's winter or delayed stress from uprooting our lives and moving house, but I'd say the last month or two has been the hardest our marriage has faced, but with Christmas on the horizon, we're back on track and looking forward to 2016.

3 | Wednesday saw the completion of work we've been waiting weeks for :)
  • the addition of a breakfast bar in the kitchen
  • cupboards in the utility room
  • and what we consider to be a proper double wardrobe (not he poxy thing the developers installed) in the Master bedroom
I'm so happy and the house feels more complete than ever. We've just got a bedroom carpet to be fitted on Saturday and we are fully moved into majority of the house (we've still gotta get carpets fitted in the other two bedrooms, but that'll be done in the first half of 2016).

4 | Supernatural and Arrow aired their mid-season finales on Wednesday night (Thurs am for me) and I can't wait until January for the next episodes - I NEED THEM NOW!!

5 | I'm looking forward to unpacking our bedroom on Saturday, buying a turkey for Christmas Day, and cooking a roast dinner for my parents on Sunday, the last one before we attempt Christmas dinner on the 25th!

Have a great weekend!