Good Things That Happened In 2017

I know it’s a cliche but honestly, 2017 has absolutely flown by. I can’t believe it’s New Years Eve already. This year has been absolutely amazing and I wanted to write some of the highlights down so I could look back on them. They may seem like little things, but to me they mean a lot and it makes me feel so incredibly grateful.

Good Things That Happened In 2017

1. Adrian and I celebrated 10 years of marriage, it only seems like yesterday since we had our special day together

2. Visited Brighton and met lovely Holly from Golly Miss Holly. We both had an amazing day hanging out together and the most delicious ice cream on Brighton Pier.

3. In the Spring I met my half sister for the very first time. She was brought up in Canada and I grew up in the UK.

4. Given the opportunity to feature some amazing brands on my blog such as GOSH and Timeless Beauty by Joan Collins

5. Being invited to the GOSH Autumn/Winter Launch event and a lunch with Pixie Lott and Kiss Cosmetics in London.

6. Was nominated for Most Addictive Blog in the We Are 30 Plus Awards. I was over the moon and still can’t believe it. Thank you to everyone who voted for me, you literally made me so happy.

7. Reached 5k on Twitter and 800 on Instagram, which for me is absolutely incredible

Southwold Beach Huts

8. Adrian and I spent a few days in Southwold. If you haven’t been then it’s a beautiful. quaint English seaside town with rows of pastle coloured beach huts. We had so much fun, even after getting caught in a rain storm.

9. Went to my first Halloween Party in fancy dress as Wednesday Adams. This was a major achievement for me as for years I’d had a fear of masks, I’m still not totally comfortable with seeing them but I’m getting there.

10. Had a major declutter in just about every room of the house, it’s amazing what things I’d forgotten I’d got plus I donated quite a few bags of things I no longer use to charity.

11. Enjoyed getting outdoors more. We have some beautiful parks and woodland areas practically on our doorstep, it did me the world of good to get away away from the PC for a while and escape into my own little world.

12. Remembered I love reading. Taking full advantage of living just around the corner from a library meant I could read as many as I wanted without the cost or taking up space on my newly cleared shelves.

13. Joined a Women’s Health and Support Group. We enjoy a range of activities including exercise, craft, baking and alternative therapies. Plus I met a lot of new friends which also helped with my confidence.

14. Stepping out of my comfort zone. Trying something as simple as a bolder lipstick or experimenting with fashion, I’ve loved every minute.

15. My First Christmas with my Sister. We both had such an amazing few weeks together, spending time with other family members. It was also extremely emotional looking through photos of our Dad, who is sadly no longer with us.

I’m hoping 2018 is going to be just as wonderful and that I’ll be sharing every moment with my friends and family.

What has been your most memorable highlight from 2017?

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Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This MonthI love writing down what I’ve been up to during the month, usually I keep a note in my diary and photos in a scrapbook but every so often I’ll type a blog post to let you see a few snippets of my life. So grab a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy today’s Christmas chat.

Christmas hasn’t always been the most wonderful time of the year for me. As a very young child I would be alone in my bedroom, scared and sobbing my heart out. I thank my lucky stars for the kind, caring people who took me out of that awful situation and gave me a better life. I grew up and everything looked great, only to end up being shit on by an ex who left me for another woman and cleared out everything in my flat just before Christmas day. Other years in the months leading up to Christmas I’ve had a miscarriage and lost close members of my family. In 2005 I spent two weeks of the Christmas holidays on the neurology ward of The Royal Free Hospital, not knowing how bad my illness was going to get.

Why am I telling you all this? Because even though it didn’t seem like it then, I got through those dark times. I met and married Adrian, I appreciate every single moment with him and feel so happy with even the simplest of things over the festive season.

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

Onto the good stuff. We kicked things off by celebrating Adrian’s birthday on the 24th November. Usually we go out for a meal but this year he didn’t want a big fuss. Instead we spent a cosy evening in ordering a takeaway, enjoying a few drinks and watching a film of his choice.

Christmas Chat

Christmas Chats

Adrian and I went into town to watch the Christmas light switch on. It was freezing cold so I wrapped up in my thick Parka jacket and a woolly bobble hat, I wanted to have fun, not be shivering all night, It was already packed with people by the time we arrived but there were plenty of stalls and entertainers to keep us all amused.  First, I went into Costa and treated myself to a festive hot chocolate, I wanted to feel all cosy. The count down began and everyone was in good spirits. A local band played Christmas songs and everyone was having a little dance and sing along, even if they were slightly merry and out of tune. While everyone was admiring the pretty lights, I was getting over excited about Unicorns balloons.

Christmas Chats

Every Christmas we choose a new bauble for the tree in our living room. This year’s addition was to celebrate 10 years of mariage, so we chose one that represented us and I think this bauble is perfect. Adrian spent a number of years as a postman and we both love taking photos out in the snow, especially the robins that come down to our garden waiting for food every year.

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

Who’d have thought I could have so much fun at a garden centre? Any other time of the year you’d have heard me moaning, but there’s something magical about going to a garden centre at Christmas. It’s almost like stepping into a mini enchanted forest. The displays were so beautiful, trust me to want to shake hands with the most expensive decoration in there! We did pick up a new holly wreath to go on our front door. Also I couldn’t come home without going into the cafe and having a huge slice of carrot cake with a large cappuccino.

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

While we were in the garden centre I headed over to their gift section and was quite surprised to find some amazing little stocking fillers. I’d actually started my Christmas shopping back in September, nothing like planning ahead. I still had a few little gifts to buy and couldn’t resist this adorable trinket dish, soap in a tin and unicorn hand warmer. I’m sure the people who they’re for will absolutely love them. On  our way out I came across another beautiful bauble which will be perfect for my pink and white themed tree in the bedroom. Honestly, I don’t need any more decorations.

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

For weeks I was going on about beauty advent calendars and not being able to find one that I really loved and thought was worth the money. Adrian quite possible needed ear plugs by that point because he decided to put together one for me. He found these mini stockings on Etsy from All Sewn Up By Sophia and filled them with mini gifts from the Boots 3 for 2 section. I absolutely love my  Homemade Beauty Advent Calendar, Adrian’s definitely scored some extra brownie points.

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

Most of our friends spend the Christmas period with their families, so we usually have a little party at our house and this year was no exception. I wore a knee length black velvet dress and a diamante necklace, along with some of my favourite party makeup. Adrian made a couple of batches of mince pies homemade (fruit) mince pies, they were honestly so delicious that I’m not even bothered that I haven’t presented them perfectly just for a photo. We had an amazing evening with our friends, exchanging gifts, eating and drinking too much and catching up on each other’s news.

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

One certain lady was beyond excited when she woke up the following morning to find it had snowed. I can’t believe I got ready in record time, not even bothering to put on any makeup. Adrian pushed me to the end of the road where there is a small park, the wheelchair kept getting stuck and he was sliding about on the ice. He was determined to get me there, just so I could take some photos and put my feet down in the snow. It was great fun and we had a good laugh.

Christmas Chat and Fun Things From This Month

Finally I’ve been wearing my Christmas jumper and Santa hat as much as I can. Choosing pink and white made a nice change to the traditional red and green I’d normally buy. Sadly the print doesn’t show up very well in this rubbish phone selfie (sorry, the photographer was busy baking….again!) It says “I’m on Santa’s Naughty list” and was bought from Amazon.

Let me know something that’s made you happy this month, even if it’s not Christmas related.

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The Christmas TagIt definitely feels like Christmas now I have satsumas and a TV magazine, I just have to buy those two things every year before I can truly feel all festive. I can’t believe it’s only a week away and I’ll have ripped the paper off my presents in record time and be settling down to enjoy the day with Adrian and my family. What happened to 2017? Did I fall asleep and miss it? Just for a bit of fun, I thought it’d be quite nice to do “The Christmas Tag” for a quick post today.

What would be your dream place to visit over the holidays?

New York, it looks an amazing place to visit

Which Home Alone Film is the best?

The first one, but that’s probably because I’ve seen it the most out of all them!

Do you like mince pies?

Yes, they are deliciously sweet and full of fruit

Do you like Christmas pudding?

Absolutely! Especially covered in custard, but I’m not a fan of Christmas puddings that are soaked in alcohol.

What is your all time favourite Christmas food?

Brussel spouts, preferably all mashed up with gravy and potatoes

Favourite Christmas song?

Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin Stevens, it just makes me want to dance to sing along every time.

What were you in the Nativity play at school?

I always got picked to play an angel, it must have been the blonde hair and blue eyes, not because I acted like an angel!

Best present you’ve received?

The first year Adrian and I were together he bought me a charm bracelet and he’s bought me a charm to go on it for every birthday, Christmas or anniversary ever since, it’s very sentimental.

Best present you’ve given?

Oh that’s so difficult to answer, I’d like to think that anyone I’ve bought a present for has been genuinely pleased with it.

One big present, or lots of little ones?

I’m grateful for any of the presents I’m given, it really doesn’t matter but I do like the excitement of unwrapping a few smaller ones.

Do you make New Years Resolutions?

No, I never stick to them, I used to make resolutions every January, now I just write a list of more realistic goals each month.

Favourite Festive Chocolates?

I love all chocolate, well except anything with an orange flavoured centre!

Christmas twice a year, or every 2 years?

I’d quite happily do Christmas twice a year, not for the presents but for all the fun and sparkle. I’d love to spend more time with friends and family who I don’t normally get to see other times during the year.

Favourite tradition?

we have quite a few family traditions but my favourite has to be buying a new bauble for the tree every year, each one comes with it’s own set of special memories.

Do you stay comfy in your PJs, or get glammed up for Christmas Day?

Both, I spend most of the morning in my PJs, I want to be comfortable while opening my presents, then I’ve usually get glammed up for when family arrive later for Christmas dinner

 

Leave me your answer to one of these questions in the comments section below, I’d love to read your replies.

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what's on my christmas playlistWhether it’s for a full blown house party, a small get together or you just fancy playing a few festive songs while you get ready to go out in the morning, there are some tunes that make it back onto everyone’s Christmas playlist year after year. Even the adverts on the TV include some of our best loved Christmas songs.

Some are upbeat and you can have a dance to, some are catchy little numbers that make you want to sing along to, and then there are those that make you either reflect on what you’ve done during the past year or what’s happened in the world around you.

But one things for sure, you can’t beat a good old Christmas playlist, so in no particular order, here’s what made it on to mine for Christmas 2017!

  1. Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin Stevens
  2. Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade
  3. I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day – Wizard
  4. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  5. Last Christmas – Wham
  6. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Micheal Buble
  7. Stay Another Day – East 17
  8. Santa Baby – Kylie Minogue
  9. Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid
  10. White Christmas – Bing Crosby
  11. Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
  12. Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
  13. Holly Jolly Christmas – Micheal Buble
  14. It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas – Micheal Buble
  15. Mary’s Boy Child – Boney M
  16. Fairy Tale Of New York – The Pogues
  17. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Frank Sinatra
  18. Step Into Christmas – Elton John
  19. 8 Days of Christmas – Destiny’s Child
  20. I Believe In Father Christmas – Gregg Lake
  21. Winter Wonderland – Tony Bennett
  22. Rockin Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
  23. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Sam Smith
  24. Stop The Cavalry – Jona Lewis
  25. Rudolf The Red-Nose Reindeer – The Crystals
  26. Little Saint Nick – The Beach Boys
  27. Walking In The Air – Aled Jones
  28. One More Sleep – Leona lewis
  29. Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms
  30. Frosty The Snowman  – Jackson 5

You can safely say that these songs will be blasted out some where in my house for the whole of December and most probably on my mobile through earphones if I’m travelling.

So what are you waiting for? Press play, turn the volume up and have a dance like it’s the best party you’ve ever been to!

What’s on your Christmas playlist this year?

 

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Christmas Traditions

I absolutely love Christmas but this year it’s going to be extra special, my half sister is flying all the way from Canada and staying with us for the holidays. It will be our first time celebrating Christmas together as we only met each other for the first time earlier this year. Everyone’s Christmas will be slightly different, even now I’m with Adrian things have changed compared to when I grew up. We’ve made new Christmas traditions together and carried on with some from our childhoods, which we still find every bit as magical and exciting today.

A New Christmas Bauble

My Nan started collecting baubles when I was very young and she would always let me hang a brand new one on the tree every year. Adrian and I have carried on with the same tradition every Christmas since we’ve been together. I still have some of those sentimental decorations I chose with my Nan hanging next to our new ones on the tree now.

Advent Calendar

I love the count down to Christmas As a child my Nan or Aunt would buy me the traditional Cadburys or Dairy Milk chocolate Advent calendar. This year Adrian put together my very own version of a beauty advent calendar using 24 material stockings he found on Etsy and filled them with gifts he knew I’d love from the Boots 3 for 2 offer.

Christmas Pyjamas and Bedding

Christmas Baking

My Nan and my Aunt were both amazing cooks and the house always smelt gorgeous for weeks before Christmas Day. My Nan would start by baking a huge Christmas pudding for the adults complete with a generous drop of Brandy and my Aunt would make the Christmas cake filled with fruit and nuts which tasted divine. The only bit I’ve never liked is the icing. Now Adrian and I invite friends round for a small party in the lead up to Christmas. We’ll make our own mince pies, cakes and biscuits in the morning and the house still smells amazing when our guests arrive!

Every year our family take it in turns as to who will host Christmas Day Dinner. When I was a child I used to love it when everyone piled into my Nan’s house as it was great to see my aunts, uncles and cousins all together. My cousins and I would go off to my room and play with any gifts we’d been given, my Uncle would desperately be trying to watch something on the TV while the rest of the adults were opening the next bottle of drink and having a good giggle and singing Christmas songs in the kitchen. During the evening my Aunt would prepare a huge “buffet” style tea and it was spread across the dinning room table. No one was hungry after eating such a huge feast at lunch time but we still piled our plates high with everything that was on offer.

Guess who’s having a house full this year? I’m sure Adrian and I will try to be the perfect hosts.

Surprise Box

As a child I didn’t have a stocking at Christmas, instead my Nan would put together a Surprise Box and I was allowed to open it on Christmas Eve. It was basically a cardboard box wrapped in Christmas paper filled with mini toys and games, I’d also find an orange at the bottom which is a tradition my Great Grandmother started for my Nan when she was a child. By the time I was a teenager my Aunt took over the task of putting together a Surprise box for me and the mini gifts included makeup or CDs. Now Adrian and I put together a small surprise box for each other and we still open them on Christmas Eve, just as I did with my Nan all those years ago.

Christmas Mugs

Every year while I was growing up I’d always find a novelty shaped mug filled with mini chocolates or sweets inside my Surprise box, then for weeks afterwards I would insist on only using that mug.

Adrian and I have bought a new Christmas mug each year and I use them for my  hot chocolates or morning cup of tea in the lead up to Christmas. I have a nice little collection now and I think it’s a great fun way to get in the Christmas spirit, who cares if I’m an adult.

Fun Christmas Clothing

My Nan always bought me a pair of Christmas pyjamas every year, I remember getting so excited when I opened the parcel and used to insist on wearing the pjs right that minute. As an adult I do exactly the same thing, along with a festive themed throw or duvet set, only Adrian and I pick ours up before November is even over.

In more recent years Adrian and I also buy a new brightly coloured Christmas jumper every year, along with a fun Santa hat or reindeer antlers. I usually pick mine up from New Look or ASOS so I’m not spending a fortune on something I’ll only be wearing for a few weeks. I’ve mainly gone for a green or red jumper but this year I’ve chosen pink and white. You can guarantee  I’ll be wearing it along with  my snowflake pjs on Christmas Day.

Christmas Lights

I remember the first time my Nan took me on the train to see the Christmas lights in London, I was so excited by the whole journey and it became a regular thing. We’d go up earlier in the day to do some Christmas shopping, then have something to eat before it got dark and this beautiful display of lights came on. If I was lucky she would also take me to see Santa in whichever department store we were in at the time. When my Nan became too poorly to make the trip, my Aunt started taking me instead, yet the whole experience was every bit as exciting. I’ll always miss my Nan and will be reminded of her every time I see those bright twinkling lights against the night sky.

More recently it’s been Adrian and I who have taken the train into London to see the lights each year, making our own Christmas memories. We still haven’t been this year as we’ve both been extremely busy, although we did go into town to watch the Christmas lights switch on and enjoy the evenings entertainment. The large glass of mulled wine and mince pie  may have helped keep us merry and bright on that cold winter’s night.

Do you have any favourite traditions that you’ve carried on doing from when you were a child or have you made new ones in more recent years.

 

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