Blogmas 2020 - Festive AF

Blogmas 2020 – Festive AF

It’s here, we’ve made it to the last month of 2020! Thank GOODNESS! And I’ve decided to try and be festive af this year, because why wouldn’t you after everything. I’ve been listening to Christmas music, wearing Christmas jumpers and grabbing festive drinks since November.

In my family, Christmas is a big thing anyway and while the majority of things that I usually do in the run up to the big day have been cancelled or changed I still want to get in the Christmas mood!

So, what kinds of things are you going to see on my blog? At least 24 days of blogs talking about some small businesses you should know about, my Christmas faves, what I’m hoping for under the tree this year, how to save spoons for my fellow spoonies and, of course, talking about books.

Because I obviously don’t know how to take a break, while I’m taking part in Blogmas I’ll also be in the process of moving house, getting back to the gym and everything else that December comes with.

Are you taking part in Blogmas this year? Drop your link below – I’d love to follow and support other bloggers!

Blogmas 2019 Merry Christmas

Blogmas 2019: Merry Christmas

I have no idea if anyone will be reading blogs on Christmas day. For some of my regular readers the day will be super busy with family and friends. I also know people who won’t be celebrating for a variety of reasons.

For those who are I wish you a very Merry Christmas. For those who don’t I’ll be back with another blog tomorrow!

Lots of love,

Chloe

My A-Z of Christmas

Blogmas 2019: My A-Z Of Christmas!

We’re only a few days away from Christmas so I did a quickfire A-Z of Christmas. Warning there’s a fair bit of food on here…I was pretty hungry.

A – Advent Calendars

A little bit of chocolate every day, yes, yes, yes!

B – Bacon Sandwiches

A Christmas morning tradition in my family.

C – Christmas Tree

We got a new tree in our new flat and I am in loooooove.

D – Decorations

See above, we have Harry Potter, Star Wars, Colour and Woodland Creature. It’s wonderful.

E – Early start!

My sister will not let me sleep in…even though I now live across town.

F – Family

Whether it’s the ones you’re related to by blood or the families you create yourself it’s time to spend with those you love!

G – Gifts!

If you say that you’re not interested in the gifts at all you’re a bare-faced liar! Who doesn’t like opening a present!

H – Hot Chocolate

Regular, flavoured whatever it is, it has to have cream on the top.

I – Ice, lots of ice

So we don’t really get snow here on Christmas day but the ice can look really pretty early on Christmas morning. Apart from when you have to walk on it.

J – Jumpers of the Christmas variety

I currently have 4 or 5, I’m not sure but either way I’m a fan.

K – Kris Kringle

Had to have him in here somewhere, right?

L – Late Night Shopping

Also known as hell on earth.

M – Merry Christmas!

Pretty obvious.

N – Nuts

I don’t even eat them but I did say it was the first thing I thought of…

O – Oranges

Wether real or Chocolate, it’s all good.

P – Pigs In Blankets

As a meat eater these are top tier of food. Yum.

Q – Quality Street

Two words. Green. Triangle.

For my readers outside the UK they are big tin of sweets that come out around Christmas time.

R – Robins

I love seeing these little guys in the winter, particularly the one that will fly down and chill out with my Gramps in his garden waiting to be fed.

S – Secret Santa

Mine smashed it this year with a Victoria Schwab book and chocolate. Can it get any better? No, no it can’t.

T – TV

All the Christmas specials! Personally, I can’t wait for Gavin and Stacey and Big Fat Quiz of the Year.

U – Underwear

Is it even Christmas if you don’t receive at least one pair of knickers/pants?

V – Vienetta

I don’t care what anyone says it is a Christmas dessert. For my non-UK readers, it’s a block of ice cream and chocolate and is divine.

W – Wrapping paper…everywhere

So much wrapping I’m just pleased my presents all match this year. I’m a sucker for an aesthetic BUT next year I’ll be wrapping in brown paper to be more eco-friendly!

X – xxx kisses, anyone?

I’ll take any excuse to kiss my finacé!

Y – Yule Ball!

Is it even Christmas if you don’t end up watching at least 1 Harry Potter film over Christmas? Bonus points for the Christmas scenes in Goblet of Fire for the Yule Ball…obviously.

Z – Zzzz

I’m looking forward to taking a good amount of naps after I’m finished in retail this Christmas.

Feel free to do this yourself and make sure to tag me so I can have a read.

Blogmas 2019: My Christmas Playlist

We are SO CLOSE to Christmas now so I’m hoping you’re all ready to get super Christmassy with a playlist! These are some of my favourite tunes to get me in the mood. Here we go! 🎵

Fairytale of New York – The Pogues

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard

Santa Baby – Kylie Minogue

Last Christmas – Wham!

Merry Christmas Everyone – Slade

Step into Christmas – Elton John

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! – Dean Martin

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Frank Sinatra

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Tom Jones

Frosty the Snowman – Jackson 5

Happy Xmas (War is Over) – John Lennon & Yoko Ono

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town – Jackson 5

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – The Ronettes

The Christmas Song – Nat ‘King’ Cole

Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End) – The Darkness

Christmas Wrapping – The Spice Girls

All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey

Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee

What Christmas Means to Me – Stevie Wonder

Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea

Jingle Bell Rock  – Bobby Helms

Underneath the Tree – Kelly Clarkson (new entry to my faves this year!)

Have I missed any off the list? Let me know below!

Blogmas 2019 - Managing families at Christmas

Blogmas 2019: My Tips For Managing Families At Christmas

Christmas is a time to spend with family – right? Whether that fills you with joy or dread is completely down to your situation and no, I’m not going to put my feelings on the internet for all family members to see. 😉

If, like me and Ali, you have a lot of people you need to squeeze into a short amount of time then I have some tips for you – every year it feels like we need to manage ourselves even more. I’m not even thinking about what will happen when there are kids involved. So here are my top 5 tips for getting through Christmas when it comes to families.

1. Try and plan ahead with others where you can

Trying to juggle 2 sides of family and in-laws can be a little tricky, especially if there are divorced parents involved. Forward planning is key for me. I am already sorting out with my Mum and Ali’s Mum the plans for the day so we can sort things. You don’t need last minute stress.

2. Don’t forget to make time for yourself too!

It’s really easy when you’re trying to keep everyone happy to forget about yourself and your significant other. I’m definitely planning to carve out some time for myself over the holidays – it will probably be spent reading and sleeping but I’m absolutely fine with that.

3. Avoid topics that you know people don‘t agree on *cough* Brexit *cough*

This one. Oh, this one. I find it incredibly hard to do this so I know it’s easier said than done but the less arguments the better. Sometimes it’s better to mentally switch off when these kinds of topics come up…

4. Spread out your visits if you can

Seeing every member of your family on Christmas day isn’t always feasible so if you can why not spread it out? Growing up I would sometimes see one side of my family on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas Day. When I met Ali I’d add his family to that too.

5. Remember it’s only 1 day…hopefully!

And breathe! It’s going to be ok!

What are your tips?

Blogmas 2019: Bookish Christmas Stocking Tag

Blogmas 2019: A Bookish Christmas Stocking Tag

It’s time for a book taaaaaaaag! I found this over on HollieBlog, make sure you check out her blog.

You get up on Christmas morning and your stocking is full! You take it down and start to unwrap the treats inside. The first thing you see is…

An orange! Which book is refreshing and vibrant, both inside and out?

Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett was really refreshing read. I’m going to be mentioning it a lot in the coming months because I’ve never read anything like it before. The novel tackles being HIV positive, teenage sex, friendships and more without being a depressing book. More like this please!

The next thing you see is a bag of chocolate coins. Which book have you recently bought that was expensive, but totally worth the high price?

Hmmm this is a tough one because I’m not sure I have bought an expensive book in a while. Everything has been pretty standard but I have asked for the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for Christmas!

You also pull out a bath bomb. Tell us about a book that had explosive action scenes.

I don’t actually read many books that have action scenes in them…the first one that comes to mind is A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas and I can’t even talk too much about it because it’s the 3rd in a series and gaaaah.

A Court of Wings and Ruin

Next is a pack of playing cards. Which series won you over?

This is a tough one because I don’t read that many books that are part of a huge series and if I don’t like the first then I probably won’t carry on.

You also get a candle. Which character is a symbol of hope in their story?

Hazel from the Saga series, we see the story unfold through her eyes and she really is the light within a backdrop of war. I can’t wait for it to come back because the ending to number 9 absolutely killed me.

There are socks inside too. Is there a book that you think really encompasses all the distinctive tropes of its genre?

Red, White and Royal Blue is the PERFECT, new adult romcom, it’s adorable, it gets a bit steamy and it’s also believable. I loved it, I’m just going to keep recommending it to everyone. So, so cute.

There’s also a notebook. Which author’s writing process do you find most interesting/inspiring?

From a world building aspect it’s J.K Rowling – say what you want about more recent times but the Potter universe is magical and wonderful and she has a true talent for creating worlds we can imagine.

To go with the notebook, there’s a fancy pen. Is there a book or a series that you’d change if you’d written it yourself?

Tough question because I don’t know if I would do that even if I could. Oh, maybe I would just rewrite The Cursed Child because everything was wrong and weird. Yes I go on about it, no I’m not going to stop.

There’s also a small bedside clock. Which book took you a long time to pick up but was worth it in the end?

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid for SURE. It turned out to be one of my favourite books and it was so well written – also I’d highly recommend the audio book. I still need to get through more of TJR’s books – maybe that will be a 2020 goal.

Your pile is getting really big. You reach in to pull out the last gift and it’s… a lump of coal? You’re a little disappointed. But you look closer and realise there’s a seam running through the coal. You crack it open and sitting inside is a tiny golden snitch. Tell us about a book that surprised you in some way.

I absolutely adored Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness – I haven’t watched a tonne of Queer Eye but when I saw Jonathan giving interviews about his book I knew I needed to read it. I was impressed and surprised at his level of honesty in this book and would definitely recommend the audiobook because, honey, it’s Jonathan Van Ness – he was born to entertain.

I’m tagging anyone else taking on Blogmas who needs a little bit of inspo!

Looking After Your Mental Health Over The Holidays

Blogmas 2019: Looking After Your Mental Health Over The Holidays

Ah Christmas, jolliness, lights, and joy – right? But what if you’re not feeling like that during the holidays? It’s worth remembering that for a load of reasons this time of year can be tough for people. They may be living with depression, dealing with grief, not be able to celebrate or could be dealing with a mental health condition.

So here’s a few things to remember to look after your own mental health.

You’re allowed to take a break when you need one

The world might seem like it’s go, go, go over the break but that doesn’t mean you have to. Even if it’s a bath at night or having a cup of tea and 5 minutes to yourself – having a little me time is ok and should be encouraged!

Remember that your social media feeds aren’t always real life

Last New Years Eve I was really ill with a chest infection and while everyone else way partying I was in my PJs and asleep while Ali worked. Christmas is full of decorations, parties and Best 9’s most people aren’t sharing their hardest parts, the days where they cried, their break outs and break ups!

If you have toxic family members in your life you don’t have to spend it with them

I know a lot of people who have tense and sometimes unhealthy relationships with their family but still drag themselves to spend time with them because ‘Christmas is for family’. If it’s detrimental for your physical or mental health then you don’t need to go. If you can’t get out of it try to limit your time where possible – also bathrooms are great places to take a minute to yourself!

Know it’s ok to be sad or tired

This Christmas is going to be a tough one for me and I know there will be times when I’ll be sad. It’s my first Christmas in 12 years without my dog. I will have also worked 7 days straight before so I might not be as festive as I normally am but I’m working on not feeling guilty about it.

Only drink alcohol if you want to!

There’s a lot of pressure to drink around this time, you don’t want to? Then don’t! Also remember no one turns down a designated driver!

Know it’s okay if you need to just get through it

Take it one day at a time.

If anyone comments on your weight eat them

Yep, I know it’s an old joke but I hope it gave you a laugh.

Do you have anything you would add? Let me know below.

Blogmas 2019: Unpopular Opinions – Christmas Edition 🎄

So, as you all know I LOVE Christmas but there might be some opinions I have that aren’t popular. Seeing as you guys love my unpopular opinions posts I thought I might crack one out for Christmas.

As of November 1st, it is time for Christmas

Halloween is done and it’s time for Christmas – someone defrost Michael Buble and Mariah Carey!

Christmas shopping throughout the year is ok!

Most of my Christmas shopping was done by the 1st December and I’m not kidding. So many people thought I was a giant weirdo which, ok maybe I also am, but I LOVED it.

You don’t need alcohol to have a good Christmas

Personally, I don’t really drink over Christmas. I think I get it from my Mum because she was almost always the designated driver while I was growing up so I’ve happily taken that role on now.

Children singing in public places is not needed

Nope, nope, nope. I WAS one of those kids but bloody hell the last thing you need in a packed shopping center is a load of children singing, 20 odd parents standing still with phones

You can keep your Mince Pies and Christmas Puddings

Gross, gross, GROSS.

Vienetta is a perfect Christmas dessert

The best, much beautiful, many yums.

Eating out on Christmas Day is shitty

Here’s the thing people who can’t be bothered to book pay a lot of money for someone else to cook for them BUT what about everyone working? Most service industries do not let their staff have any time off over Christmas.

It sucks but I get it with hotels but Christmas Dinner? No one needs to go for an overpriced meal when they can cook at home most of those people want to be at home with their families not serving your parsnips.

Are there any you don’t agree with or would add?

Blogmas 2019 My Christmas Shopping Tips!

Blogmas 2019: My Christmas Shopping Tips!

Christmas shopping – you either love it or loathe it. Personally, I am incredibly extra when it comes to Christmas and I get SO excited about getting gifts for the people I love. Sometimes I buy them, sometimes I make them but I just like it being something personal.

Anyway, seeing as we don’t have long to go until the big day here are my top tips to get your Christmas shopping done.

Get it done as soon as you can

The longer you leave it the more stressed you’re going to get. I lost a pretty important contact 6 weeks before Christmas, thankfully I’d already started shopping so most of the important people were bought for.

Know your budget and stick to it

Just putting it out there some of the gifts most precious to me didn’t cost that much, it was the fact someone thought of me and got something I adored that mattered most.

Don’t be afraid of buying something useful

Last year we got my fiancé’s Dad a multi-tool for his bike for when he goes out. It sounds simple and maybe a bit boring but he loved it and was chuffed we’d got him something he can use rather than a smellies set.

But, also you’re allowed to have fun with your gifts!

I have a friend who I’ve bought Lego for or a silly game regularly over the years, yes he’s a man in his 20s. I’ve also got joke presents for people. Christmas is about fun people! It’s all about the fun times!

Remember you don’t have to be perfect

I LOVE Christmas so I want my gifts to be perfect and nicely wrapped and on time. Things don’t always go perfectly! Gifts arrive late, you might be terrible at wrapping (totally me) or not have the funds to get the gifts you want to. It’s the thought that counts, remember that.

Do what you need to do, seriously

Want to buy premade pigs in blankets? Go for it. Is there a local wrapping station where all proceeds go to charity? Drop off your presents and grab yourself a coffee. A friend has offered to have your kids or dog so you can go and get stuff done? Take them up on it!

What are your Christmas shopping tips? Let me know below!

5 ways to pace yourself over Christmas

5 Ways To Pace Yourself Over Christmas

CHRISTMAS IS COMING!

I absolutely love Christmas, it’s one of my favourite times of the year BUT it’s also incredibly busy. Because of that, I need to pace myself and I know that’s the case for a lot of other Spoonies too! So here are 5 ways I plan to pace myself.

If you can get things done in advance, go for it! 

I started Christmas shopping as early as I possibly could. Not for the bragging rights (although yes it is a nice feeling) because it took a lot of pressure and stress out of the run-up to Christmas.

It also meant I could spread the cost out which was another thing off of my mind. For me, long periods of intense stress can cause a flare so I’ll try and help myself as much as possible.

Plan in rest time. 

I know that I need to get a good sleep and not be on the go every minute of every day. I need to plan in rest breaks to make sure that I’m healthy and can get the best out of the day.

To do this, I try and have at least one day of the weekend to myself or make it more chilled. I try and make sure that I get to bed at a reasonable time too! Health is important and being sick over Christmas completely sucks.

Know that it’s ok to say no! 

Everyone wants to meet up, go to this, go to that. As much as I’d love to go and do everything the simple fact is that I can’t. Over Christmas, I miss out on pay because I’m Freelance! I need to not only look after my health but also my bank balance!

Let people help you.  

I’m not great at this. I fight to be as independent as possible but with such a busy time of year taking help when possible can really help. Someone else wants to drive? Let them! Someone else wants to do the cooking. Go ahead! If people want to help you they’re doing it out of kindness and, usually, love.

Try and stay in some kind of routine where you can! 

Christmas day is obviously exempt from this if you are like me and wake up stupidly early because you are so excited. I get a week and a bit where I’m not working. As much as I want to nap as much as possible every single afternoon I know it’s going to impact me later so I try and stick to some kind of routine.

I might get up a little later, stay up more or go out with friends – but I still have some idea of getting a good 8-9 hours every night then get dressed and get on with what I want or need to do.

 

Is there anything you’d add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!