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.

 

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Roxy waiting patiently to open the presents
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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!

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?

My Christmas Wish List

This Christmas my list mostly consists of craft things and bits for the house with a couple of clothing and jewellery items thrown in!

I’ve recently gotten into candle making so I have a few things that I would like for that, they include…

For the house

Clothes and Accessories

Jewellery

Tools

What’s on your Wish List?

DIY Gift Ideas

Most people go out and buy their friends and family gifts but there is something nice about making a gift for someone, and something really touching about receiving a hand-made gift from a loved one.  There are lots of different gifts you can make so today’s post is a little bit of inspiration (along with links to instructions and where to buy things that you may need in order to make the gift.)

  • For someone who loves scented candles…
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Why not make your own to give as gifts?  You can get kits that are reasonably priced in most craft shops (such as this kit for £10 from Hobbycraft)  If you have never made candles before then a kit is the perfect way to start, and should you want to then continue making candles you can buy all the items you need individually both on-line and in craft stores.  I really like these tins that you can use as candle holders.

  • For the one with a sweet tooth…
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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

How about having a go at making your own fudge or toffee?  You can then present it in a cute container, tin or jar.  There are lots of recipes online and heaps of handy instruction videos, but I’m a fan of this one for fudge (its super quick to make and tastes amazing!) and this one for toffee (I could eat this all to myself!).  You can get really pretty tins, jars and other containers in most supermarkets now and its worth checking out the cheaper shops to see what they have as well.  I really like the look of Kilner Jars or these clip lid jars from Wilkinson .

  • For the Fashionista
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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Nothing would be more fabulous than a one of a kind t-shirt.  You can buy plain t-shirts fairly cheaply in most clothing outlets and supermarkets so why not buy one and customise it?  You can use fabric paint from any craft shop (I love the Tulip range as they have lots of different finishes).  You could create a t-shirt with the recipient’s initial on it, a tie dye top, or even add in sewn elements like pockets or a collar depending on their fashion tastes.

  • For the Beauty Lover
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Home made bath bombs are a really lovely gift to make and receive.  You can customise the scent to match the recipients favorite scents or add elements such as popping candy or petals, and make them any colour or shape you choose.  There are some fab tutorials available on-line, my favorite one is this one over on youtube .

  • For the Jewellery Magpie
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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

A cool necklace or bracelet to match their style or personality always goes down a treat and doesn’t need anything more than some waxed cord and some pretty beads in the recipients favorite colours.  You can add items like small charms or shells, pretty ribbon or chains.  I really like this store for my jewellery making supplies.  The beauty of making a gift like this is that it can be as simple or intricate as you want it to be and can be created regardless of skill level.

  • For the Blogger
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A notebook is always a welcomed gift (talking from experience) and if you know anyone who blogs then why not gift them a customised note-book?  I really like Kraft books for customisation purposes and they are pretty cheap to pick up too, though you could choose any plain hard backed book.  Once you have chosen the book you can let loose with your design, maybe you could personalise with the recipients blog name or a favorite hashtag?  And if the blog has a theme (like recipes or food for example) you could decorate the front and back to match.  The fab thing about a personalised notebook is that you can decorate with any material you want, whether it be painting something onto it, sticking things like feathers and sequins on to it or decopatching it, the possibilities and customisation possibilities are pretty much endless!

  • For the Student
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Here’s one I made a few years ago!

Fabric can be bought in many different places these days and in tons of different designs so why not try your hand at making a pencil-case or zip close pouch for the student in your life?  I really love fat quarter fabric bundles and experimenting with making my own zipped pouches and they are super useful, not just for pens and pencils, you could make smaller ones to gift as coin purses, larger ones for makeup or even to keep an e-reader in.  I love the fat quarter bundles you can get at Hobbycraft though you can buy these at most fabric or craft shops and you can pick up zips there too.  I found the Wikihow tutorial really easy to follow!

  • For the Photographer

 

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I really love the look of this one, unfortunately, I can not credit the source as I can’t find the original post however, the image has been shared on Craftionary – https://www.craftionary.net/decorating-lights-20-diy-string-light-projects/

As a photographer, there is nothing better than taking photos, printing the best ones and displaying them around the home.  A DIY photo display using an old picture frame, some cheap string lights and some tiny pegs would be a lovely gift to receive, especially if you added prints of your favorite photographs that they had taken too.  You can find old picture frames in charity shops, at boot sales and local selling pages and can customise to suit by spraying with a colour of your choice, after removing the glass and back of the frame before adding a string of fairy lights.  Once the frame has been put together add the chosen photos using tiny pegs like these.  If you wanted to, you could add to the back, a piece of fabric or wallpaper with a cool pattern or design on it or just leave the back open.   The beauty of this gift is that new life has been given to something old, its been re-purposed and upcycled, the pegs mean that the images displayed can be switched around easily and there is the flexibility to display anything you want, from photos to lists.

  • For the Book Lover
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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Instead of gifting another book token, how about crafting a customised tote bag for the book lover in your life to carry around their books in?  If you purchase a plain tote bag (like the one here) you could use some printable fabric transfer paper (which you can find in most good stationery, craft or fabric shops) to print out and iron on to the bag a quote from the recipient’s favorite book.  To make the bag extra special you could use beads, buttons or sequins to enhance the quote.

  • For the Foodie
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Dad loves cooking and I have made him flavoured oils a few years running.  You can make almost any flavour of oil that you want but I have found that things like rosemary and thyme, garlic and chilli seem to give the best flavour pay off, not only that but the oils can be used in cooking, as salad dressing, dips and many other things.  The method I use is …

  1. Cut up whatever ingredient you are using to flavour the oil, and bruise it slightly so that it starts to release the flavours.
  2. Warm up some olive oil, you want it to warm, not bubble or boil.
  3. Add the cut up flavorings and stir gently at intervals over about 10 mins while the oil is still warming.
  4. Remove the oil from the heat and leave to cool.
  5. Strain the cooled oil to remove the bits of flavoring.
  6. Before adding to bottles, I always add fresh flavour ingredients, such as a sprig of rosemary and thyme to the bottle that will have the rosemary and thyme oil added to it (this adds a bit of visual interest and lets you know at a glance which oil is which)
  7. Add the oil to the bottle and seal.
  8. Add a tag or sticker with the oil used, flavoring and when it was bottled.

You could give several different flavoured oils to your recipient along with a little leaflet about what you could use the oils for.

  • For the Eco Friendly
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I found this image here https://diyjoy.com/craft-ideas-diy-soap-dispensers/#

How about creating a unique soap dispenser repurposed from an old bottle?  You could choose an empty bottle of their favorite tipple, sauce or an old glass oil bottle.  Just clean out the bottle and use a pump top (I found this but you can find lots via a google search) just make sure that it will fit the bottle you will be using!  There are other ideas here, which is where I found the above image!  You can give the dispenser empty, or why not fill it with a lovely scented hand wash?

  • For Your Partner
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Image from https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/479774166545105449/?lp=true

For a gift that shows you really care how about a 365 Jar?  Write down memories, songs, reasons why you love them, fold them all up small and put into a jar.  The idea is that they get to pick a new note each day to read right from the 1st Jan to the end of the year.  You can get really pretty jars here though any glass jar will do so long as it has a wide mouth to it.

  • For Your Bestie
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Photo by Chwastek on Pexels.com

What would be nicer than a friendship package?  You could include a small hand-made candle, a bath bomb, a CD of both of your favorite songs, a little book with photos printed out of the pair of you along with little notes about the day that they were taken.  Package it all up in a pretty gift box or wicker basket along with some chocolates or treats that you know they would enjoy.

What sort of gifts will you be making?  And what would you love to receive?

This Month On The Blog!

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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?