What I Did – How I Celebrated Christmas

Roxy and I got up super early on Christmas day more because I’d gone to bed at 9:30 the night before rather than down to excitement.  I made a coffee then we started to open the pile of presents that Sam had left for us.

 

img_0997
Roxy waiting patiently to open the presents
img_1031
My gifts from Sam

After we had opened our presents I finished of the gifts for my niece and nephew and packed the gifts to take to Mum and Dads.

At 7:30 I started to get ready to go to Mum and Dads, first I tonged my hair and clipped it up to set then got dressed and did my make up.  While I was finishing my makeup Dad text and said I could come down when I was ready.

I left the house at 10 after packing the car with their presents but had to turn round whan I was half way there as I had forgotten my medication.  I arrived at theirs just before 10:30am.

We had a coffee that Dad had made, and waited for my little brother, Richard, to arrive.  In between him arriving and present opening Mum, Dad and I made crumpets for breakfast and were in the middle of eating them when Richard arrived.

We opened our presents after breakfast, Mum loved the bullet journal I had been working on for her, and Richard loved the candle I had made for him (I will be sharing all the presents I made in a future blog post!)

We sat and chatted and watched Arthur Christmas before we had dinner which was really nice.  we ate around 3:30pm.

Dinner was lush, I don’t eat meat so Mum had bought and cooked a lovely walnut, cranberry, sweet potato and spinach nut roast thing for me, we had roast potatoes, roast parsnips, sprouts (my fav!) and carrots with stuffing and a yorkshire pudding!  It was really lovely and super filling.

Once we had eaten dinner we went and sat down and watched “What We Did on Holiday” which has got Billy Connolly in it.  Sam and I were texting through it as he was in London with his family.

After the film we had pudding  – Sticky toffee pudding and custard – it was amazing!

Not long after, I came home and Roxy and I chilled for a bit, watched tv and then went to bed!  It was such a lovely day!

How I Decorate My Table

Decorating the table for Christmas dinner is one of the last things I do decorating wise and today on the blog I’m going to share with you how I decorate my table for the day.

I took these photos a few days ago, Sam came round for Christmas dinner as he will be spending the day with his family and I will be with mine.  We decided to have our own Christmas dinner celebration before the day itself… our “Merry Not Christmas” celebration.

img_0829

This is the view of my dining table from the living room.

img_0819

As there were only 2 of us eating Christmas dinner I chose to seat us opposite each other, the big space between us would be utilised with dishes of veg and the condiments.

img_0824img_0821img_0827img_0826img_0825

I chose to decorate the table with my glittered deer ornaments, a cute little Christmas tree from Asda, pompom fairy lights, tiny baubles and these lovely vintage glass mushroom and pine cone decorations that were given to me by my Mum.

I used old beer bottles as candle holders either side of the deer and Christmas tree.

img_0818img_0820.jpg

The crockery and cutlery are from Asda and I really love how festive they look together.

For our dinner I cooked roast parsnips, roast potatoes, carrots, peas, mashed potato, sprouts, stuffing and a mediterranean nut roast which I served with gravy and mint sauce.  For dessert we had toffee pecan roulade.

How are you decorating your table for Christmas?

Christmas – The Final Preparation

I like to have a check list of things that I run through around a week before the big day – it gives me time to re-assess what needs doing, what has been done and anything that may have been overlooked.

Here’s how my list normally looks

Presents and Cards

  • All Cards written and sent (the last day for UK mail to be sent in time for Christmas is 18/12/18)
  • Presents bought (list names)
  • Wrapped (cross through names)
  • Presents still to buy (List Names and items next to names)
  • Check if you need more paper, sellotape or tags

House

  • All decorations put up
  • Clean and mop floors
  • Hoover – especially under the tree (live or fake, both shed!)
  • Damp wipe surfaces and dust
  • Tidy all main rooms guests will use
  • Keep sink and kitchen sides clean and clear
  • Make sure there are crackers for the table
  • Check candles and candle holders if you are using candles as part of the table decoration
  • Check that you have a lighter or matches that work!
  • Create a Christmas song playlist – I use Spotify.

Food and Drink

  • Run through menu and write a list of items needed (regardless of whether you think you have them!)
  • Go through list and check items you have got and cross off what you already have
  • Check drink levels –  wines, spirits, beer, pop, juice, non alcoholic drinks (buy more if needed)
  • Check party food (crisps, nuts, nibbles, cheese, crackers, chocolates and buy if needed)
  • Make sure you have basic food (salad, bread, butter, soup, beans etc, again buy if needed)

Other Shopping

  • Check toilet roll supply
  • Foil
  • Cling film
  • Kitchen Roll
  • Washing Up Liquid
  • Antibac spray
  • If you have a pet, make sure you have enough food for them
  • Stock up on batteries

If I think of any more then I will be sure to add them to this list!

What are your final preparation check list items?

The Foolproof Tree Decorating Guide

In all the years I have been putting up my tree and decorations there is always something I have forgotten to do, whether it be to check the lights work or having to take all the decorations off because I havent added them to the tree, so today I’m going to share a guide on how to decorate the tree.  Unfortunately there are no pics as I was having too much fun and totally forgot about taking any…

  1. Choose where your tree will be placed, check that there is a power socket near by for the lights to run off or add an extension cable to the nearest socket and make sure that it reaches where your tree will be placed.
  2. Assemble the Christmas tree if you are using a fake tree or bring in the real one and make sure it is acclimatised to the indoors temperature and watered before starting.
  3. Get out all the decorations, lights, tinsel and bead strings you want to use, sort into piles – big baubles, small baubles, accent decorations, tinsel, bead strings, lights.
  4. Check that the lights work.
  5. Place lights on the tree, I find it easiest to work top down.  Plug lights in and switch on to check placement, it’s easier to move the lights around and spread them out evenly without other decorations getting in the way! Turn lights off before continuing to the next step.
  6. Add any tinsel or bead strings and check placement.
  7. Now to add baubles, start with the bigger, most plain ones and add to the bottom 2/3 of the tree.  Again check placement is fairly even and spread out.
  8. Add the smaller, more plain baubles to the top 2/3 of the tree, checking placement as you go.
  9. Now you can add the accent decorations, make sure these are evenly spread out with smaller ones to the top of the tree and larger ones to the bottom part.
  10. Pour your favorite tipple, gather around friends and family and hold a “Switch on event” then stand back and admire your hard work!

Project Make – Christmas Decorations

Today on the blog I’m going to share with you instructions on how to make some simple Christmas Decorations.  These decorations can be made by adults or children and will add a fun element to your interior decor for the season!

The first decoration I am going to show you how to make is a 3D Snowflake

img_0594.jpg

For this project you will need…

  • 6 sheets of white paper (or any colour of your choice) I used white A4 printer paper
  • Scissors
  • Double sided tape or stapler
  • A hole punch
  • Cotton or string to hang

img_0569img_0691 If you are starting with rectangular paper (like I am) the first step is to cut it into a square.  To do this I folded the paper diagonally then used the straight edge as a guide and trimmed off the excess.  You will need to do this to all 6 sheets of paper.

 

 

img_0692

You can save the cut off piece and use it to make paper chains later!

img_0693

img_0573

 

The next step is to take your square of paper and fold it along the crease you initially made then fold the triangle in half again. Again, this needs to be done to all 6 pieces of paper.

 

Once you have done this you can now begin to make the cuts in the paper.  Using the longest side as a guide, cut straight lines up the paper leaving about 1 cm uncut.  I work from the double edge fold to the single edge fold but it doesn’t matter which way you cut the paper.  Aim to make 5 or 6 cuts of equal width.

img_0577

img_0579

 

 

When all 6 pieces of paper have been cut in the same way you can then open the paper out.

Now we can start to construct the snowflake.

 

 

img_0581img_0583img_0582

Place the paper as in the picture above (with the spine that is uncut running vertical), start in the middle and apply a piece of double-sided tape to one of the points of the triangle, roll it over and attach to the opposite side point so that it forms a tube.

Flip the paper over and then do the same to the next triangle point, then flip and repeat.  Do this for all the triangle points.img_0585

You should end up with something looking like the above picture.  Repeat for the other 5 pieces of paper.

img_0586img_0587img_0589

Once all of the snowflake segments have been made lay them out.  You will notice that one side has a bigger length than the other, make sure they all face the same way.  You then want to attach them together using either double-sided tape or a stapler, big side on one to small side on the other, attach at the crossed part (like in the middle picture above).  Once you have done this and attached all of them together you will then want to secure the centre points, I stapled 3 points together, then the other 3 then stapled the whole lot together (see the last picture above).  Once you have done this you can then attach the last snowflake segment to the first, making the completed snowflake.

img_0591           img_0592

The last thing to do is punch a hole in one of the outer edges of the snowflake and add a piece of cotton or string so that it can be hung.  You can make bigger or smaller versions of this by varying the size of the square of paper that you start with.

Using the same method as above you can create teardrop spinners to hang.  img_0627

Just take one piece of paper, fold as above and trim excess (if starting with a rectangle), then cut the paper as before but aim to make the width between cuts around 0.5cm or narrower, open the paper out and, like before, start in the centre and attach point to point, flip and attach the next one, flip back and attach the next until you have attached all points, hole punch at one end and attach cotton or string and hang.

img_0624                       img_0625

 

The next decoration I’m going to show you how to make is one that you can make with children and is really simple…

Toilet Roll Snowflakes

For this decoration you will need

  • empty toilet toll tubes
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • paint
  • glue (PVA works best)
  • glitter
  • hole punch
  • string or cotton to hang

(hover your mouse over the photos for the instructions!)

 

What decorations do you make for the festive season?

 

My Christmas Decorations

My style can be described as being bright, fun, non-traditionalist, hippy and boho, and my Christmas decorations really embrace my style.  I’m not a huge fan of tinsel or traditional Christmas decorations, though I do add elements of the traditional into my decor.

I have Christmas trees, fairy lights and stags,but not in traditional colourways, I prefer white or black trees, my stag decorations are bright pink and glittery, instead of tinsel I choose bead ropes, marabou feathers and pom-pom trim.  I have really bright baubles on my black tree and have chosen little dinosaurs to hang from my other, scroll down to see the photos that I have taken of my non-traditionalist, seasonal decor!

img_0472

I didn’t want to hang my wreath on the front door because, well, its Wales and it rains!  Not just that but I really didn’t want to get him all dirty either.  I hung  my wreath on the next available door – the door to my downstairs living room.

img_0473

Joy lights which I have placed on the shelving unit opposite the door to my living room.  This is the first thing people see when coming into my home.

img_0460

My small tree that I have decorated with multi-colour fairy lights, pom-pom trim, marabou feather trim and tiny plastic dinosaurs!

img_0458

Here’s a close up of the dinosaurs!

img_0465

My second tree which is decorated with beaded ropes and baubles.

img_0476

A close up of one of the decorations on my black Christmas tree – my initial!

img_0477

Pink stars, green stars and purple stars also adorn the tree.

img_0478

Skull and Crossbone upcycled tree which I’m thinking of having as my table piece for Christmas dinner.

img_0480

My pink glitter stags, my mini Christmas Tree and its pom-pom decorations (which are also lights!) on my back windowsill.

img_0479

Here’s a close up of one of the stags!  I’m really liking the effect the rain on the window has!

img_0474

And lastly, my santa card peg fairy light garland.

How have you decorated your house for christmas?  Do you have a theme or colour palette that you use?

Christmas Decorating Ideas

There are so many different Christmas decorations available now, from cute, retro funky baubles to minimalistic metallic ones.  With the array that is on sale its easy to get overwhelmed so I’m here today to give you some ideas with your Christmas decorations!

I think the easiest thing to do when deciding which decorations to choose is to first come up with a theme and colour palette before actually purchasing any decorations. Here are a few that I really love….

Traditional – Green, red, gold.

most-beautiful-christmas-trees-12
Image source https://christmas.365greetings.com/christmas-decoration/beautiful-christmas-trees.html

Minimalistic – Metallic silver and one colour.

Black-and-white-christmas-tree
Image from https://www.christmastreeworld.co.uk/blog/

Bright – Pink, blue, yellow, orange, lime green.

img_0461
My Bright Themed Christmas Tree

Pastel – Baby pink, baby blue, lemon and soft green.

glamorous-pastel-christmas-decor-ideas-1.
Image from http://godfatherstyle.com/22-pastel-christmas-decor-ideas-to-add-glamour-to-your-home-decorations/

Jewel – Red, gold, green, blue, purple.

img_0465
My Jewel Theme Christmas Tree

Galaxy – Metallic blue, green, purple and pink.

black-xmas-tree-black-tree-with-style-black-xmas-tree-decoration-ideas
Image from https://secretgram.me/black-christmas-decorations-36-super-elegant-black-and-gold-christmas-decor-ideas/38-black-christmas-tree-decorations-ideas-decoration-love-black-christmas-decorations/

Retro – Bronze, gold and metallic brown.

jyu_tree
Image from https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/294634000619291224/

Elegant – Black, white and silver.

black-christmas-tree-decorating-ideas-3
Image from https://www.lushome.com/black-white-christmas-tree-decorating-ideas/128351

Once you have chosen your theme and colour palette you can then choose the colour of your tree, and with so many different colours and styles to choose from sometimes it can be hard to know which colour to go for.  Here are some ideas for you…

Traditional – a green tree like this one from B&Q

Minimalistic – a black tree like this one from Argos

Bright – a white tree like this one from B&M

Pastel – a flocked tree like this one from The Range

Jewel  – a green tree like this one from Studio

Galaxy – a black tree like this one from Christmas Tree World

Retro – a green tree like this one from Homebase

Elegant – a white tree like this one from B&Q

Once you have decided on the best tree for your theme the next thing to decide upon is the lights for your tree.  There are 4 main ones to choose from – coloured, cool white, warm white and bright white.  Coloured are the more traditional sort of fairy lights with bulb colours of red, green, blue and yellow, cool white give off a blue tinged light, warm white lights are yellow toned and bright white lights give off a brilliant white light.

I would choose Coloured lights (like these) for the Bright and Retro Theme

Cool White lights (like theses) work well with the Pastel and Galaxy Theme

Warm White lights (like these) work well with the Traditional Theme

Bright White lights (like these) work well with the Minimalistic, Jewel and Elegant Themes.

Now that you have chosen your theme, tree and lights we can now look at the fun stuff – all the shiny baubles and other decorations to hang on the tree!!!!  First though, you should decide whether you want tinsel on the tree or not?  I personally dislike tinsel, having Aspergers means I can be hyper-sensitive to certain smells and tinsel is one of those things that I don’t do well with smell wise so I choose not to use it at all.  However, there are alternatives to tinsel including beaded ropes (like these) which come in many different colours, marabou feather trim, ribbons and other haberdashery trims works well too and you can buy that in many fabric or craft shops.  Whatever you decide on pick out one colour from your colour palette so as not to overwhelm the other decorations.

Choose big baubles in one colour from your palette and add smaller ones in either the same colour or another from your colour scheme, mix up finishes to add interest (choose shiny ones, matte ones, glitter finish, dimpled etc) and if you want, mix up the shapes of the baubles – tear drop ones work really well for the bottom of the tree where as I find round ones work well for the middle.

Select smaller baubles in differing colours (that match the colour palette of your chosen theme), again you can choose different finishes and textures.  Smaller baubles work well for the middle of the tree and top. Most of the large and small baubles can be bought in multi packs and are fairly cheap to buy so you can add as many or as few as you wish to your tree!

Now for the extra fun bit, choosing the eye-catching elements!  These elements are things like bows, shaped baubles, clear baubles, and baubles with special finishes (like these iridescent ones)  Most of this type of decoration are the ones that are sold as single decorations (and are a bit more expensive than the regular baubles) and are designed so that you only add one or 2 of the same one to the tree, this means that the eye will be drawn to them, add a fun element and are a way to really personalise your theme.  Most places that sell trees will sell this type of decoration, I have found Asda and B&Q to be good places to have a look as they carry a good range!  Whatever you choose, have fun with these decorations and add as many or as few as you wish!

What sort of theme are you choosing for your decorations?

This Month On The Blog!

img_1380

This month I have a bumper lot of Christmas posts to share with you!  I have been busy making things, researching, writing, photographing and compiling ideas, hints and tips on all things Christmas related!

You can expect to see posts about

The Crafternoon event I held in aid of Mind

An Alternative Advent Calendar

Christmas Decoration Ideas – from making your own decorations, how to decorate your table and little touches to add to give an extra special touch.

I will be writing about food ideas to serve on the day, how I decorate my home for the Festive Season, DIY ideas for gifts, my own Christmas Wishlist, preparations for the day itself and ideas on how to relax.

After Christmas Day I will be sharing how I spent the day!

I hope you will enjoy reading the posts as much as I have in researching and writing them!!!

On My To Do List This Month

I know it’s only *just* November but there are so many things I need to start and work on this month for Christmas that I thought I’d share a little to do list with you all, and so I can hold myself accountable for things I need to get done this month so here is the list in no particular order

  • Write a Christmas gifts list and decide what I’m giving people
blur celebration christmas cookies
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am on a tight budget this month and need to really think about how much I can afford to spend and what to give people.  I like to give meaningful gifts that suit the recipient and am choosing to make some gifts instead of buying things that are mass produced.

  • Research and buy items to make gifts
photo of hand holding sea salt breeze scented candle
Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

I’m considering making scented candles and possibly baking some treats to give to people this year as gifts with a posibility of creating small hampers for family to enjoy so really want to research the best recipes and best items to purchase to make gifts along with knowing the steps involved in creating the gifts.

  • Deep clean the house

I really like to dust and clean everywhere before I think about getting the decorations out and putting them up, it gives me a chance to put some things away and make space for the festive bits and bobs to go up too!

  • Decide on Christmas decorations and what I need to make/buy
photo of string lights
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

I don’t have a lot of Christmas decorations, in the places I have lived before the decorations I had access to were not all mine.  This year is a chance for me to really think about the kind of decorations I want and how I want my home to look.  I’m leaning towards a pastel/colourful/kitsch sort of theme with some upcycled elements to fit in with it.

  • Plan for my Crafternoon (I’m holding a fundraiser for Mind on the 1st December) including drinks, activities and food.

I’ve been in my home since the end of June and have yet to have a housewarming or many friends over.  I usually don’t have many friends over due to my stress, anxiety and aspergers, but I’m really looking forward to planning and hosting this event!  My friend Jez will be helping me to sort it all out so that helps a ton!

  • Remember to put the recycling out!!!

I seem to always forget that wednesday is the day they come to empty the bins and collect our recycling until I hear them going down the street or seeing my neighbours empty recycling boxes on the street.  I really must start to write it down on my calendar and put a reminder in my phone!

  • Clean and tidy up for my house inspection (eek!)

I have my first house inspection on the 24th of this month.  The housing association I rent through are coming to give the house a once over.  I have no idea what to expect but want to have the place clean and tidy (not that it isn’t) and super presentable for their visit.

  • Meal Plan

I really need to start planning my meals properly again, when I was in work (before being signed off due to my anxiety and stress) I planned the majority of my meals, especially my breakfasts and lunches and was really good at eating at set times  but since I have been off from work I have not really thought much about what I’m going toeat or when.  It has been really hard as the medication I have been taking has been making me feel sick and put me off food completely.  I have been surviving mostly on junk and toast and that needs to change.  I really need to step away from the snacks and start cooking properly again.

  • Take photos for upcoming blog posts
close up photo of digital camera
Photo by Alex Fu on Pexels.com

I have several posts lined up that I want to get completed and scheduled for publishing so really need to work on tking the photos to accompany the posts.  I am going to try and get most of the photos done at the beginning of this month so all I need to worry about is writing the posts!

  • Continue working on Mums Christmas present (I’ll share it in the New Year after she has recieved it!)

I’d really love to share what I’m creating for Mum at the moment but I really don’t want her to find out what I’m up to and for it to spoil her surprise until the actual day.  All I can say is that I’m nearly half way through at this moment in time and really need to crack on if I’m going to get it completed in time!

  • Make Christmas cards for family

I’m still undecided on wheter to make Christmaas cards or not this year.  I really like making cards and haven’t done so in a long time so it feels like it could be a good idea.  The main thing that is making me unsure is how much time I’ll have between all the other things I want to do for Christmas…only time will tell I suppose!

I have other things on my to do list, the normal mundane things like my cleaning routine, normal shopping, doctors appointments and bills to pay but they happen every week/month/year and are things that most poeple have on their lists too…the items I have shared are much more interesting (well, I think so!)

What is on your to do list this month?