The present – it’s a gift.

journey

This is so true, it’s scary. There’s no denying that we’re all guilty of it, so consumed with what’s next, what else is there, what the ‘future’ will hold, always striving for something new, something better, waiting for life to begin, that we tend to forget that this is it, our journey, it’s already happening!

I wonder if there ever comes a time where you just stop and think, ‘yes, this is it, I’m happy now,’ because I’ve never heard anyone speak about that time, but I’d love to think it exists.

I suppose, if we were ever going to just STOP for a minute and appreciate what we’ve got and how far we’ve come, it’s now, at Christmas, surrounded by the people we love, as another year draws to a close and a hopeful new one comes into view.

So if you don’t have another chance through the madness and festivities, just take a moment NOW, while reading this, to think about how far you’ve come this year, all the achievements and the memories you’ve made, the best times, and even the worst times and how you’ve learnt and grown from them.

The best thing is that if there are some things you didn’t quite get round to, a brand new year is just around the corner – your chance to make it the best one yet, full of new things and experiences and people, as well as all the lovely old ones too of course.

Sometimes it seems silly that just another day in the calendar can bring on such a ‘time to change’ attitude, but if nothing else, it just gives us hope that things will get even better. And let’s face it, if none of us had room for improvement, we’d all be perfect, and that would be terribly boring.

I feel like all the new things I did in 2013 were a complete realisation that actually if you do want to change and to open your mind to new experiences, you can. It’s only YOU that can do that, only you that can enrich your own life and mind and mood.

So, I’ve decided that 2014 will be the year I focus on the here and now, by doing something new, every month, and writing about it here. And hopefully, by focusing on that new experience, in that present month, it will lessen my thoughts about next month, my worries about the month after that, concerns about where I’ll be next year, or ten years from now, and all the other crazy little things about the future that unnecessarily fill my crazy little brain.

Because we all know life wasn’t made for worrying, but for living, today.

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With the people we love…

Together

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girlies

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love

money can't buy

The Jolly Season

I’ve been out of action on here for a couple of weeks, my main excuse is that I’ve been throwing myself into Christmas festivities and making winter not so rubbish, like I promised myself I would. And, it’s been pretty stress-free so far, and dare I say, enjoyable!

Shopping

I’ve done nearly all of my Christmas shopping online – with about 3 clicks and a delivery to my door, I can’t really complain. Any ‘real life’ shopping has been done at night when everywhere isn’t so busy and has been made into an occasion with dinners and drinks.

Decorating

When it comes to decorating, tangled lights, arguments and more tangled lights spring to mind. So these days, I’ve taken more to the ‘sit back, drink tea and provide witty conversation’ approach. It seems to have worked out as a great approach so far, and it’s nice to sit back, drink tea and enjoy the pretty lights too.

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Eating

It’s happened…a lot. But in January I’ll start paying my annual membership for the gym that I end up attending for a whole month and all will be well.

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Presents

I’ve only gone and started on a couple of homemade gifts. Every year when December hits, I decide I’m going to get crafty, so with all good intention I buy the product and then find it in a cupboard 6 months’ later ready to be binned while I formulate my next bright idea. But this year, though a small effort, just in time for a Christmas craft fair, I had a reason to get my crafty act together and made some hot chocolate jars.

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Gift Tag

What you need:                               Finishing touches:

1 Kilner Jar                                      1 Mini Chocolate Grater

                            Marshmallows                                1 Mini Wooden Spoon/Metal Whisk

Hot Chocolate Powder                Gift Tag with Instructions

So as you can see, after all my dreading of the cold, dark holiday – I’m getting stuck in and being jolly, and the best bit is that we’re only half way through!

Family

Coping with the last day of summer…

Turning the winter blues into seasonal smiles, one positive thought at a time…

It’s been an unexpected gorgeously warm 20 degrees in my little garden today.

Mum was clattering around upstairs in her wardrobe in a bid to put her (extraordinary amount) of summer shoes in the attic, out of use for another year.

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I sat out on the garden sofa with a cup of tea and did some writing in the sunshine. It was then that It dawned on me that it might just be a long time until I can do this again, as I’m fearful that today is quite possibly the very last day of summer,

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Every year around this time the dread begins to set in. It’s time for driving to and from work in the dark, for dry hair, chapped lips, tight fitting jeans, gearing yourself up to run from your warm bed to a warm shower across the freezing cold landing, tiredness, lots of darkness, feeling as though life is all consumed with work and sleep, pale skin (granted, not too out of the ordinary for me), all topped off with Christmas day, seasoned with a bitter sprinkling of divorce, an ounce of oversized stomach and a dollop of worse than skint.

Wow, did I just say all that out loud?

I suffer with a mild form of SAD and also with a thing called ‘I just love the summertime and everything it brings and please can we cancel winter this year?!’

So I’ve made a decision that I’m going to make sure things are different this year. I’m going to think of the Winter blues and everything that causes them in a different way, to enjoy this soul-destroying jolly season and to embrace it, here are a few of my ‘rethinks’:

Winter Blue: I’m not looking forward to pulling on a pair of tights over my cold, goose pimply legs, in the dark of an early morning.

Seasonal Smile: Winter fashion is very cute and there are lots more clothing options than summertime offers! Chunky knit jumpers, woolly hats, ear muffs, fluffy scarves, patterned mittens, boots, leather jackets & parker coats. Plus, you’ll rarely have to shave your legs for the next 6 months at least!

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Winter Blue: I’ll miss the light, warm, summery Friday evenings with a strawberry cider at the pub and nights out where you don’t need to carry a coat around.

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Seasonal Smile: Remember that time when you were worn out from a busy week at work and all you wanted to do was lie on the sofa for the night but the warm glow of the sun and numerous texts from your friends  wouldn’t allow it? Well you can snuggle up on the sofa all winter and not feel an ounce of guilt, because everyone else will be doing it too! Onesies, cups of tea, duvets and films by the fire and a Bailey’s hot chocolate, I’d say that’s a fair swap if ever I’ve heard one.  And think of all the money you’ll save to spend on ear muffs and chunky knits!

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onesies

Winter Blue: I’ll miss summer BBQ’s, and strawberry cider.

Seasonal smile: The best get togethers happen during the winter months. Think Halloween parties, Bonfire night and a whole diary jam packed with Christmassy events and meals out and nights dedicated to sparkly dresses – the calendar hasn’t been this full all year (and mulled wine is pretty delicious too.) And anyway, remember those BBQ’s when the sun had gone down and it turned bitterly cold yet no-one would admit defeat and go inside despite your nose and toes ready to drop off at any moment. Yeah, me too.

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Winter Blue: The Christmas season is so expensive and I always end up in a depressing amount of debt.

Seasonal smile: Why not start your shopping now? Take a little bit out of your wage from now until December and things won’t be so tight when it gets to the new year. No, you’re right, sorry – that was a moment of madness. But really, when you think about it, the money you spend at Christmas is probably the most well spent money you’ve given away all year. Making people smile by giving them gifts you know they’ll love, buying a present to show someone how much you care for them, paying (through money and hangovers) for a night out with the people you love the most, dancing and laughing and catching up with those you’ve been meaning to see all year. I guess it really is a time of making others feel good, and there can’t be much wrong with that.

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Winter Blue: The winter seems to go on forever.

Seasonal Smile: Well if all else fails, book a holiday! That could be a week abroad or just some time off work. I’ve booked a week in New York City for New Year’s Eve and I’m so incredibly excited!! Whether it’s a holiday for now or for later next year, there’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a well deserved break to get you out of bed on those cold winter mornings.

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Do you have any tips that might help the winter months seem a little less, well, cold?

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