feeling festive… or not?

2019, lifestyle, student

Hello!

December has rolled around! You scroll through Instagram to see trees galore, there’s pretty lights everywhere you look and I bet your feeds are choc-a-block with festivities… but do you actually feel festive?

Do you feel that cosy warmth of the twinkly lights and tinsel and dark evenings with warm drinks? Do you feel the excitement building for the one day of the year where you spend time with loved ones and you get to spoil them with special gifts you’ve chosen and amazing comfort food? Do you feel Christmassy?

However much I want to, I’m not really feeling it yet – it might be something to do with the tooth infection I’ve been diagnosed with and the potential six months on an NHS waiting list to get it removed (fingers crossed for me please!) but Christmas is the last thing on my mind.

I’ve been to my local light switch on, I’ve planned Secret Santa with my favourite gals at uni, I’ve got plans to see my boyfriends family and the tree is up (even if I haven’t bought any decorations for it yet).

The reason I’m not feeling Christmassy is probably more personal than ‘I’m just not feeling it’ – the aforementioned tooth pain, the fact this will be my first ever Christmas without seeing my family and financial worries are probably putting a negative influence on my desire to watch festive movies and wear that one Christmas jumper I have with bells on it.

But here’s how I’m trying to put a bit of festive fairy dust in my step (but not really because getting that out of the carpet would be a nightmare).

ONE – PUT THE DECORATIONS UP!

Like all mums, my mum have a spare six foot Christmas tree under her stairs so having that has really helped make my new house feel a bit more homely. I’m all for fake trees because having the same tree come out every year is so sentimental and lovely. I see the appeal of a real tree, but the upkeep and the hassle of having to go pick one isn’t for me – and I’m saving the environment lads! Hashtag Team Fake Tree over here. Don’t @ me.

Either way, I spent a couple of hours on Sunday trying to make myself feel a bit better after calling in sick again by putting up the tree (with no decorations because I only had enough for the little tree that’s gone in our room) and some tinsel on the bannister.

It’s quite exciting because this is where my boyfriend and I can start to build our little Christmas collection – our own decorations, our own bits and bobs that come out every year and our own traditions. That warms my heart just a little bit.

TWO – MAKE PLANS TO SEE FAMILY!

Not only am I missing seeing my own family this Christmas but our ‘family Christmas’ where we do see each other is on a weekend and I now have a retail job so I can’t go which I’m genuinely gutted about. But I’ve got two mid-week trips planned – one before Christmas and one over New Year where I’m hoping to see my family but I’m just waiting on my work schedule to set it in stone.

My boyfriend’s family are lovely, but I’m a very sentimental person and my family means more to me than I can put into words (I may not be a McPherson by name, but I’m a McPherson by heart) so at 23 having my first Christmas away is definitely going to be emotional.

Having that time booked in where I know that I’ll at least see my immediate family will make this new change a lot easier!

THREE – PRESENT PLANNING

I know I’m very fortunate to be able to live in a nice house and pay rent and pay for my car and go to university in a different city, but finances are something I’m struggling with at the moment. Moving is expensive and stretching my wages to cover everything has all but ruined all the good work I put into my savings this year (but at least I did the saving so I had something to fall back on!).

I’m going to write a whole blog post about doing Christmas on a budget but making a list of everyone you want to buy presents for, setting a budget and getting as creative as possible with home crafting  makes it all feel a little more achievable.

The other thing to bear in mind that all these places posting ‘shop local’ and ‘shop small businesses’ – that’s great if you can afford it, but you’ve got to do with what fits best for your budget. I’d love to do all my shopping from Etsy and Not On The High Street and independent sellers on Instagram, but it’s infinitely more convenient for me to do one big Amazon order. Maybe next year, but for now – I’m doing what works for my bank account!

FOUR – MAKE THE MOST OF TIME WITH YOUR FAVOURITE PEOPLE

Another change I’ve had to get used to that is probably another reason I don’t feel too festive is that I’m still getting used to my boyfriend not being home all that much. He works in live broadcast, mostly at sports matches, so it means he’s away all over the country for three/four nights a week and after spending a whole year living in my mum’s house together and not really being apart overnight much at all.

I think at first we were grateful for the time apart to be ourselves for a bit and now I can feel myself waiting for him to get back. This is definitely something I need to work on 1) because I’m an independent woman who thrives with or without her man and 2) because it’s not going to change for however long he decides to work in this industry.

But making the most of the time that he is home by cooking together, planning activities to do together (like buying decorations for the aforementioned naked tree) and playing video games together makes everything feel a bit more like home.

If you want to see more Christmas content this week, I will be uploading a Christmas themed vlog on my YouTube channel at the weekend, so go over there and subscribe to make sure you don’t miss it!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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a lovely family Christmas 🎄

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

First off, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas day filled with the best people and infinite food!

I just wanted to write a quick little post on a pleasant boxing day (with The Greatest Showman in the background, might I add) just to have a little ramble about what a lovely Christmas I had with my family.

Maybe it sounds vein or spoilt or whatever but as a kid, Christmas was all about the big Mr C and the presents but thinking back at it now? My strongest memories are of the times with family – I don’t remember the presents (other than the year I got my first laptop, that meant a lot) because it was always about having my closest family there and spending time with them.

Ever since my nan passed away last year, my family have been closer than ever – it’s the best thing that came out of 2017 for me and this Christmas was just perfect. There was laughter and chatting and games and a pub quiz and we almost entirely forgot to take pictures but we got some great family photos in between phone calls from Sri Lanka, China and just down the road from my cousin’s family!

When I went to bed last night, I’ve not felt so grateful or content for such a long time – so grateful that I had such a caring family, grateful that they gave such thoughtful gifts when they really didn’t have to and grateful to have that day to celebrate with them.

At the end of the day, my family have been there for me through everything – friends come and go but I will always have my family and valuing people and experiences over belongings and ‘stuff’.

Towards the end of 2018 I decided there was a lot of clutter in my life – mostly in my bedroom and various rooms around the house. So I decided I only wanted to keep the belongings that have a purpose or a use, except the sentimental stuff – my photo albums and scrapbook are such important memories that I want to keep forever and build on for my family, 80 years down the line.

Christmas and New Year are an incredibly sentimental time of year – I get very reflective and think a lot about what’s changed, particularly who I’ve got in my life. I’ve got wonderful friends, a supportive family and an amazing relationship and 2019 is going to be a big year.

I hope you all have wonderful holidays surrounded by people you love, looking forward to the New Year!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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eating ‘healthy’ at Christmas

2018, fitness, goals, lifestyle

Hello!

I think we all know that December and Christmas time is the hardest time of year to have control over your diet and maintain good healthy eating habits! Which is why everyone joins a gym and sets themselves New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight and eat better in January.

But it’s not impossible to keep some sort of control over what you’re eating at Christmas and I’ve made such amazing progress that I’m so proud of in the last couple of months and I don’t want to throw that all away so I’ve made myself a little plan for some ways to try my best to not blow the diet over this holiday.

So I’ve condensed into three tips, if you can call them that – maybe goals is a more suitable word! I’m not an expert in any way, shape or form and I definitely don’t think I’m qualified to give advice. These are my Christmas diet goals!

One – give yourself a break – at the end of the day, it is Christmas! I’ve decided from the 24th-26th I’m not going to worry about what I’m eating, enjoy all the chocolate, cakes, desserts and food that Christmas brings guilt free.

Two – stock up on the healthy stuff – when serving food for Christmas dinner I’m going to try to fill about half my plate with veg and then I physically won’t have room for the less healthy stuff on my plate. Whilst Christmas is filled with lots of unhealthy treats, there’s also lots of veg and cold meats and leftovers that aren’t too bad, so it’s mixing those in with the stuff that’s really tasty and not so good.

Three – everything in moderation – not really specific to Christmas but as relevant at this time of year! As long as you’re not going absolutely mad and completely binging on the things you normally try to stay away from, then it’s not so bad – moderation is key. Last Christmas I got a fair few chocolate Christmas presents and I rationed it all out and it lasted me till Easter because I just didn’t let myself gorge on it all at once. So I still got to enjoy the chocolate, it lasted me so much longer and it saved me money on buying snacks because I already had it! Moderation wins!

But the most important thing at the end of the day is not to beat yourself up about what you eat – it’s more important to eat something that nothing! It’s a time of year for happiness and love and family and in January we can all get back to proper healthy eating and exercise and set New Year’s Resolutions like everyone else.

Lots of love, hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and I’ll be back with a new post on boxing day!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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