Blogmas – Surprise Saturday


It’s the first Saturday of December which means it is also the first Saturday of Blogmas, otherwise known as Surprise Saturday on my blog!  Surprise Saturday’s are, well, a surprise!  In today’s Surprise Saturday I am sharing a memory that I have of Christmas when I was small.

Back when my brothers and I were small we would wake up on Christmas Eve and play games with the rest of the family, watch films and generally have a nice family time.  There were never decorations put up though, and we would have our bath, Mum would read to us and then we would go to sleep.

On Christmas morning we would wake up, probably far too early in my parents’ eyes, with a sack of presents having been left at the end of our beds.  We would drag our presents into Mum and Dad’s room, wait patiently for Dad to make everyone a cup of tea and return before delving into our gifts.

Once all the gifts had been opened we would make our way downstairs.  The sight that greeted us was one of magic, a Christmas tree standing in the corner with lights all twinkling, paper chains hanging from the ceiling along with foiled 3d snowflakes and balls and tinsel draped over the tv unit and bannister rails.  It was truly a sight to behold.

My brothers and I were always amazed at how different the rooms seemed and I can’t imagine how much work it must have taken to put the decorations up after looking after 3 hyped-up kids on Christmas Eve and I always think back to that time with a smile on my face as it really did make our Christmas seem even more magical.

This simple act of waiting until Christmas Eve to decorate the house contrasts so much with Christmas now where it seems that there is a race on to be the first person to get the decorations up and I know of people putting their decorations up in October and November.  Last year I decorated the house on 1st December as I wanted the house to be festive for my Crafternoon and this year I put the tree up last night but have a few other bits to sort out.  I’d love to be able to put the decorations up on Christmas Eve but have so many festive plans before hand that I want my guests to feel Christmassy when they pop around to mine.

When do you put your decorations up?  Do you have any memories of putting decorations up when you were small?  I’d love to learn about any of your decoration memories so let me know in the comments!

Blogmas – Festive Friday


It’s the first Friday of Blogmas also known, here on the blog, as Festive Friday!  The theme for today’s Festive Friday is food and drink, specifically Snacks, Starters and Drinks that can be served to guests over the festive period.

Snacks are brilliant to place out for guests to help themselves to between meals or after dinner, things like crisps, nuts and chocolates are perfect as are finger foods like vegetable sticks, breadsticks, dips, cheese and crackers.

When it comes to drinks, I like to have a selection of wines (at least one bottle of red, rose and white), fruit juices – normally apple, orange, cranberry and pineapple, posh fizzy pop (I really like the Rose lemonade), a few different spirits (gin and vodka are my usual go-to spirits), and an Irish liquor.  I also like to keep handy a selection of teas and coffee too.

There are so many different starters to choose from in the shops now that it can be hard to make a choice.  My top tips when choosing a starter are to

  • Think about what you are having for the main course and dessert and choose something that will complement the flavours of those dishes
  • Don’t choose something with super-strong flavours or is really spicy as you don’t want the starter flavour to interfere too much with the flavours of what is to come
  • Choose something that is light and not overly filling.
  • Go for something fresh like a salad if in doubt

My favourite starters have been a wild mushroom tartlet made from puff pastry, prawn cocktail and a lovely smoked salmon salad.

What are your favourite drinks, starters and snacks over the festive period?

Blogmas – Top 10 Things I Love About December


Its the 5th day of Blogmas and unfortunately I couldn’t think of a snazzy name for my “Top 10” series so we are stuck with it just being called Top 10.  Today’s Top 10 is a list of all the things I love about December!

  • Frosty mornings
  • Hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream
  • Christmas films
  • Crunchy leaves
  • Twinkling lights
  • Buying and making gifts
  • Fluffy socks
  • Christmas decorations
  • Clear, star scattered night sky
  • The promise of snow

What are some of your favourite things about December?  Let me know in the comments!

Blogmas – Wishing Wednesday


Today is the 4th day of Advent and also the fourth day of Blogmas!  Today is “Wishing Wednesday” where I share some thoughts and ideas about gifts.  Today’s Wishing Wednesday is all about that pesky, awkward gift – The Secret Santa gift.

Secret Santa happens a lot in workplaces across the land and is basically a concept where each person participating buys a gift of a certain value, wraps it and then on “Secret Santa Day” (which should, in my opinion, be an official day!) the presents are all gathered together and then distributed randomly to each participant.  There are other variations of Secret Santa where you can draw a name out of a hat, or all gifts are numbered and a raffle type draw takes place.

Buying a gift for Secret Santa can come with a lot of pressure, for one there is usually a fixed amount (in most places I have worked it is usually between £5 and £10) but other things, such as not knowing who you are buying for, buying a gender-neutral gift, getting something that isn’t offensive or that could upset someone and choosing a gift that is value for money can all make getting the perfect gift a daunting task, especially as your manager might be the recipient!

Here are a few suggestions

  • Stationery is always welcomed, especially a nice pen and diary.
  • Hats and gloves
  • Car accessories – I once got gifted a heated ice scraper which was so useful
  • Giftcards
  • Wine or other drinks
  • Household items such as candles, ornaments or picture frames
  • Desk toys
  • Games
  • Family-friendly DVD
  • Cinema pass
  • Cooking related items (I’ve seen some really nice spices sets, tea and coffee caddies, hot chocolate and mug sets…)

Do you take part in Secret Santa’s?  what sort of things have you given or received?  I’d love to know about your best and worst Secret Santa gifts so let me know in the comments!

Blogmas – Tinsel Tuesday


Another day in my Blogmas series!  Tinsel Tuesday’s are all about decorations and today I want to talk about the Christmas tree.

I am really liking where the whole Christmas tree and decoration thing has been going for the past few years.  Gone are the days when everyone’s Christmas tree was decorated in a very similar way and was fairly traditional in terms of styling.  Now, choosing and decorating your tree is done in a way that fits with your decor or personality and there is no right or wrong way to decorate it, once you have chosen from the plethora of styles, colours and materials the tree can be made from.

I have seen trees made from driftwood that would look perfect in a scandi styled room or if you were a keen beachgoer or surfer.  Some trees have been made from marabou feathers which would look amazing in minimalist, duo-toned rooms, coloured trees that fit in with a more eclectic taste and the more traditional ones that are just lovely anywhere you want to put them!

Personally, I really love a white or black tree with brightly coloured baubles and trinkets festooned all over it.

Baubles are another thing that seems to be changing and becoming less traditional.  There are so many different options to choose from – clear baubles with snow globe effects added into them, doughnut shapes, avocados, cute characters, alongside the more traditional ball or drop-shaped ornaments.  There is pretty much a decoration to suit any taste!

I have tiny dinosaurs that I hang on mine which were made from small children’s toys.

I love how diverse the whole tree choosing and decorating thing is becoming and love to see my friend’s trees when I visit as no two will ever be the same!

Here are some of my top tips for decorating whichever type of tree you choose!

  • Test the lights before adding them to the tree (this saves so much faff if the lights turn out to be defective.)
  • Add the lights to the tree first, turn them on and arrange them so that you have the lights evenly spread across the whole tree.
  • Add any lengths of things next – things such as tinsel or ribbons and arrange them as evenly as possible between the lights.
  • Add bigger baubles and ornaments, keeping the majority to the lower part of the tree.  If using a few different colours I always attempt to not have 2 of the same colour hanging in close proximity to each other.
  • start placing smaller trinkets further toward the top of the tree and bring down to mingle with the bigger baubles.  I try to alternate bigger decorations with smaller ones as I get further down the tree.
  • Have fun with how you decorate and let your personality be seen!  Remember there is no right or wrong way to decorate your tree!

What sort of tree and decorations or colours are you going for this year?  I’d love to hear about what sort of tree or decorations you have chosen and why in the comments!

Saturday Shout Out


Saturday Shout Out gives you all a chance to meet some new bloggers, find new blogs to read or get your blog noticed a bit more. It is my way of thanking the blogging community for being so supportive of me and my little blog and introducing new blogs that you may not have seen or read before.

What this means…

Every Saturday I will choose one blog, share a bit about it along with your blog link. I will also share your blog to my Instagram account and my Twitter account.

If you are interested in taking part then drop me an email to with Saturday Shout Out as the subject line and I will send you a form to fill out!

Blogmas – Merry Monday


This is the first “real” post for my Blogmas series!  Merry Monday posts will be focusing on preparations for the big day itself so expect to see lots of useful lists and hints here each Monday!

Today’s first Merry Monday post kicks off with a list of things to gather before preparations can get underway!

  • Christmas cards
  • Pens
  • Mailing stamps
  • Gift wrap
  • Sellotape
  • Scissors
  • Gifts
  • Any supplies needed if making any gifts or cards
  • Packaging

In this first week of December I tend to sit down and write out lists for the following

  • Friends and family to send cards to along with addresses if needed
  • Present recipients and gifts already bought
  • Meal attendees (if cooking on the day or in the days prior or post Christmas)
  • Decorations needed
  • Other Christmas supplies needed (such as gift wrap)

By the end of the first week I aim to have all my supplies gathered and lists made ready to make a start on things in week 2!

What do you like to try and get done in the first week of December?  I’d love to hear about your preparations in the comments!

Its Beginning to Look a Lot Like Blogmas!


I honestly can not believe it is the 1st of December today and have no idea of where the past few months have gone!  Working in payments means that I am processing work from the previous month (November) for payment in January so I never feel like I live in the current month so I’m sure that has something to do with it!

Blogmas is a tradition undertaken by many bloggers where we challenge ourselves to write a Christmas themed post each day on the run-up to the big day, and even in the days past Christmas, right up until New Year’s Eve, and I am going to attempt to do Blogmas right here on this blog!

I have a few different blog posts ready to share and they fall into different categories, heres the categories for you!

  • Merry Monday
  • Tinsel Tuesday
  • Wishing Wednesday
  • Top 10 Thursday
  • Festive Friday
  • Surprise Saturday
  • Sparkle Sunday

To see what sort of things I will be sharing pop back each day and have a look!

Are you taking part in Blogmas?  If so, leave your link in the comments as I am planning to share a post with all my readers about the Blogmas participants!

Weekly Roundup – 24/11/19 – 30/11/19

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  • Reading

I haven’t done any reading this week aside from catching up on blog posts and reading a few news articles online.  I really wanted to be able to finish the book The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes but I haven’t seemed to be able to make time to sit and read as I have had loads of other things to do (which I’ll tell you about later!).

  • Watching

I have been watching (in the background while I have been doing other things) Unbelievable, a new show on Netflix which is about a girl who has been raped, reports it to the police but then retracts her statement as no one seems to believe her.  Along the way another police department deals with a similar case and it seems like the girl was telling the truth all along.  It is a really interesting show and I can see how so many women, either having been raped or abused, would retract their statements or not go to the police in the first instance because of fears of not being believed.

  • Listening to

I’ve downloaded a new app which is linked to the library, called BorrowBox and have been listening to audiobooks through that.  So far I have listened to Sleeping Arrangements by Sophie Kinsella and have a few other books that I can’t wait to start listening to on Monday!

  • Eating

My local Co-Op shop sells the loveliest cheese topped rolls which I have been able to get for 25p when they knock down the prices in the evening.  I have been enjoying these with fish fingers, spinach and a slice of cheese.  I have also just been putting spread and spinach in them with a tiny bit of balsamic dressing and eating them that way!

  • Drinking

This week I have been drinking a lot of blackcurrant and apple squash, both hot and cold and occasionally with fizzy water.  It has been lovely to snuggle down of an evening and enjoy a hot mug of squash before bed.

  • Doing

On Friday I saw a job that would be perfect for me, working in a communications team, for the same company that I already work for but in a different office.  I spoke to the manager of the communications team and asked about how it would work if I went for the position, would I need to do it as a redeployment, secondment or as a new employee, I had a few concerns about the position as there is funding available until the end of March, depending on funding, which could lead to me being unemployed after that period if funding couldn’t be secured, it was one of my biggest concerns around applying.  After speaking with him about these things he suggested that the best way forward would be to speak with my line manager and see what they suggest.  I spoke with my line manager after lunch and showed her the job I had been looking at, she knows what my interests and qualifications are and agreed that it sounded like the perfect job for me and my skill set and, along with the overall manager, it was decided that I should apply, and should I be successful (via application and interview) that I could be released from my current position and take up the new position as a secondment so that, come March, should there be no further funding, I had a job to return to.  Friday night, after work was spent applying for the position and getting the application submitted!

Much of the rest of the week (Monday – Thursday) had been spent doing housework, tidying and cleaning, for my Mind Crafternoon which I held yesterday!  I had to go out on Saturday in the day to pick up a few bits and pieces for it and totally forgot about the Black Friday sales event.  I managed to park pretty quickly so assumed that town was not overly busy but I was wrong, everywhere was packed and it was a bit stressful but I got everything I needed and got home around 2 hours later.

My Crafternoon event went really well, there were 4 of us in total and we had a fab time!  I will be writing a blog post about it soon, sharing photos and what we made!

I was asked by Mind if I would like to write a blog post for them so spent some time in the week writing that and getting it all signed off for them!  It went live on the Mind website yesterday which I am really proud of!  If you want to read my post for them CLICK HERE!

I am still collecting funds for Mind, and have a JustGiving page set up so if you would like to donate to this brilliant cause and help me to hit my target please head over to JustGiving by clicking here!

  • Feeling

I have had a really brilliant week and have been feeling super excited for the future and for what is to come!  I had a bit of anxiety and stress when out in town yesterday and about how my Crafternoon event would go, and I also got stressed when filling out my application form for the position in work.  I think that I was so stressed and anxious as I really wanted everything to turn out well for my Crafternoon and I really, really want this job that I have applied for!  In the end, the Crafternoon went really well and we all had lots of fun.  On the application front, I am a bit excited and hope that I do get the job but I will have to wait and see!

How has your week been?  What have you been up to?  I’d love to hear in the comments!