Posted in Blogmas, Book reviews, Christmas, Life

My Reads of 2016

Well, as the year comes to an end (and before I start to consider my New Years Resolutions) I thought I’d share with you the list of books I’ve read this year, all in the one place with their review where appropriate.

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  • The Freedom Writers’ Diary (review found here)
  • Carol by Patricia Highsmith (review found here)
  • Room by Emma Donoghue (review found here)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (review found here)
  • The Housewife Assassin’s Vacation to Die For by Josie Brown
  • The Housewife Assassin’s Recipes for Disaster by Josie Brown
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • The Dog Who Dared To Dream by Sun-Mi Hwang (review coming in the new year)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (Original Screenplay) by J. K. Rowling

Now I’ve to try and plan my books for the new year. Did you read anything you would recommend? Or did you read any of those books above – if so, what did you think of them?
I can’t wait to see what books 2017 will bring into my life!

 
Ktkinnes xx

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Posted in Lifestyle

New Year Plans!

Ah hello! Well I told you I would try and make this a lighter post, and here I am talking about plans for the new year.

 

I’m flying back to Glasgow tomorrow – just for the weekend! Mum and Dad aren’t sure what their plans are, and Rachel is working until 10pm so she isn’t doing much except maybe meeting up with the boyfriend after her shift, so I decided I would head back across the water to give myself a few days to clear my head of them all. Sounds awful, doesn’t it?

 

I think the plan is to go stay with a friend on the east coast for the night, then travel home again on the 2nd. No real plans as such, but it’s always nice to know you’re doing something different!

Have you any plans for New Year’s Eve? Come on, make me jealous!

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle

I’m Rambling Again

Hello again and good morning to you! I never thought it’d be possible but we’re approaching the end of one of the longest, busiest months of the year, and here I am on day 28 of daily blogging!

 

Have you had a good Christmas? Feels like ages since we had a proper chat. Well, I say that, you know I mean it’s been ages since I had a good natter at you all. It’s been a long year, and yet it passed so so quickly. And it’s nice to be sitting down to type up a post knowing there’s no specific theme or idea for this one. We’re all now at the stage when we’re thinking about the year – what we’ve achieved, any regrets, those we’ve said goodbye to, and who we’ve welcomed into our lives.

 

I won’t bore you with that today though! Today I just wanted a little chat with you all. Really, it’s me figuring things out for the upcoming year. But again, I don’t want to bore you with that tonight.

 

We caught up on Coronation Street tonight, followed by the Boxing Day episode of Outnumbered. It seemed so strange looking at the faces of the children when they’re now all grown up. I didn’t exactly grow up alongside them, but I still remember the first time I watched an episode and thought to myself “wow, they remind me of my cousins”. The three children – two boys followed by a girl. The oldest child trying oh so hard to have a ‘normal’ life, the middle child who was a little ‘out there’, and then the young daughter who questioned everything and had a spooky tendency to know exactly what had happened without her being there. Sue and Pete struggling through the trials of parenthood often had me wondering exactly how I would raise my children, if I was ever lucky enough to have any. Even now I’m sitting in bed asking myself these questions! Maybe in a few years I’ll be able to look back at this post and laugh at my naivety.

 

One thing the last few days have reminded me is that it’s important to appreciate the people in your life. Maybe not every minute of every day, but to remember them and remind them that you do care about them and or or are there for them. We all know that 2016 has been a horrible year in many ways. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Terry Wogan… the list continues on and on, even up to Carrie Fisher’s death announced just last night. While the majority of us can’t claim any personal link to these deaths, they affected us in some way or another. While we might not have been blessed knowing them personally, their work touched us and helped form us into who we are today. Not looking at the media, there are personal, family deaths that come to mind. Not directly related to me but still a part of my family, one relative died this year just two months off his 100th birthday. How did I find out? Twitter. My cousin tweeted about his passing and no one had thought to tell me. It’s strange what hurts. But instead of being sad, I’m trying to take the good of each person who died and reflect it in my life. Whether it’s how they treated those around them, or just simply their life motto, I’m adding it to myself in 2017 so I can always carry a part of them with me.

 

I’m currently looking around my room, looking for anything to help me lighten the mood of this post, as it got quite heavy very suddenly! I’ll try and make tomorrow’s slightly less heavy. However, I will leave you now – I can hear Mum and Dad moving around downstairs and no doubt they’ll be wanting to go out soon.

 

I hope you have a lovely day whatever you get up to!

 

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle

Boxing Day Blues

Yup, I’ve got the Boxing Day blues. Christmas is over, I’ve eaten more than enough, I didn’t drink half as much as I planned to, and yet here I am feeling sad that it’s all over for another year.
But yesterday we went to the horse races, just to pass the day. It was brilliant seeing all the fashion – some people all dolled up and others (like us) wearing as many layers as we possibly could.
Race one came and Dad managed to place, while the rest of us tore up our slips in dismay. My horse finally crossed the line 2 minutes after all the other horses, acting as if it was the winner.

I did better with the 2nd race, placing 3rd and winning back all the money I’d spent that far! Bet on the next couple and ended up only down £1.80 by the end of the day!
However it was absolutely freezing – to the point I couldn’t feel my fingers! We came home and just had an afternoon around the house and browsing the sales online. I did decide to treat myself to a few new clothes, but I’ll have to show you them another time.
Family came round to have leftovers for dinner, and it was truly a great day! Hope you all had a lovely day!
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas

My Christmas Day

Hello everyone! How have you been? Hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Was Santa good to you all?
Unfortunately we’ve finished the Christmas Song Countdown! Will you miss them?

Today’s post is going to be just a photo diary of our day so there won’t be much talk from me. But hope you enjoy the view into my family Christmas! 


Prawn and Leek quiche starter!

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

The Big Day

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

The big day is finally here! I have now been up for 2 hours already and am so excited to get through the rest of the day. Anyone who’s been lucky enough to get an advent calendar that gives you a chocolate, or whatever type of advent you’ve been getting, today – I am very jealous. Today is the last in our song countdown and well done to any of you who managed to correctly guess what the UK voted as our favourite Christmas song of all time. In my mind, The Fairytale of New York is the perfect description of life – we slag each other off, complain, and just genuinely have those days when we want to turn into a loner and hide from the world. But then Christmas comes and we accept that we do really love each other anyway!

 

So I’ll go into all about my exciting presents in another post, but for today’s day 25 of Blogmas I thought I would share my tips and tricks for surviving today. This is the day that most students love and hate. We’re warm, well fed, surrounded by family, and there’s no question over who’s in charge of buying the next lot of toilet roll. However, we’re subjected to questions, we have to wake up at a normal time, we’re surrounded by family and still being in pyjamas at 6pm is generally frowned upon. There will be those certain questions we don’t want to be asked, things we don’t want to do, and very few hiding spots. Even worse when you’re expected to help out with the day! So how do I plan on surviving today?

 

For some reason, the older ones in the family often love to ask me when I plan on finding myself a boyfriend. Now, please trust me when I say I would love to tell them the full honest truth, however it would cause a lot of problems and this probably isn’t the right day to start explaining to my 85 year old granny that I am never going to find myself a boyfriend.

Another standard question is “How is university going?” Please be aware, this is more often than not just a casual question. Don’t go into how much you hate your course, are struggling with the workload, hate the flatmates, or any of that. A simple “Yeah, it’s good thanks! Just glad to be home for a change” will suffice. If they continue to question you then go for it and tell them everything!

“Have you put on or lost any weight?” Surely I’m not the only one who gets asked this? It drives me insane. I know they’re often asking because they’re worried, however I quickly learnt that the correct response to this is “Probably as much as you have”… instead, the safest option is “I have no idea, no scales at uni.” Then they can be left to decide for themselves.

 

After a few days in your family’s company, you may find yourself dying to be back in your cold student flat, on your own, listening to depressing music and eating ice cream from the tub. When these moments happen, take yourself to the bathroom for 5 minutes. Read some blog posts or tweets, take a deep breath, splash your wrists with some cool water (proven to help cool your skin and calm you down) and then rejoin the celebrations. Either that, or go wash some of the dishes in the kitchen! Not only do you get some time to yourself, but you also get praised and thanked for helping out.

 

The main thing to remember is that you’re only there for a few days. It can be hard, but remember just how excited your family are to see you again, and try and put on a brave face. Worst case scenario? You’ve ‘accidentally’ booked an earlier flight home than they were expecting!

 

 

Merry Christmas everybody. Have a lovely day, and may your day be filled with peace, joy, harmony, and lots of wine! Oh! And congratulations to 1weekmary who has won my giveaway! 

 

Ktkinnes xxx

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

Last minute shopping

Every year. Every year Dad manages to leave buying something until Christmas Eve and so there’s a mission task sent out to Rachel and me for the day. As if it isn’t hard enough trying to get everything else sorted, staying calm enough to attempt shopping on the one day shops should be empty is not one of my skill sets.

 

Today’s song? All I Want For Christmas Is You! Quite appropriate given the last minute shopping expedition I am already away out on. Yes, as this post goes live at 9am, I will already be in the town centre running around the shops. But before I continue, let’s all admire the penultimate song in our countdown!

 

Dad loves to try the trick of “In two days time, this will be on sale. Why don’t you sell it to me for the sale price now?” It is honestly the cringiest thing ever. So today’s blogmas is all about how to survive the shops today!

  1. Get up and out early. The sooner you get to those shops, the sooner you get to come home again. Plus, the early bird catches the worm. Want to beat the crowds and get the best parking spaces? Be there the minute the shop opens.
  2. Have a list. This is a standard of mine, but it is essential on Christmas Eve. You do not want to be roaming from shop to shop with no idea of what you’re buying. Know what you’re looking for and don’t get distracted.
  3. Set a limit. This applies to both price limit and time limit. You don’t want to overspend, and a few places actually up their prices on Christmas Eve in the hope of catching you out. Similarly, if you get into town for 9am, you don’t want to spend all day browsing. Set a time limit and stick to it.
  4. Be nice to the staff. Trust me, they don’t want to be there any more than you do. Most places no longer give one and a half or double pay to people working Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. It’s not their fault you left shopping until last minute, just like all those people in the queue in front of you.
  5. Have patience. Queues and traffic are going to be a nightmare. What did you expect? Take a deep breath and try not to swear under your breath unless the person really deserved it. Then you have my blessing.

 

I think that’s all I can think of. Do you have any tips? How many of you are heading shopping today?
Before I forget, come join Jordanne, Francesca and me on the GRLPOWR account from 11pm for anyone who’s excited for Christmas!

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas

The Nativity: What The Donkey Saw

Good morning one and all! How are you all today? I actually can’t believe it’s Friday 23rd December! Little did I think when I started planning my Blogmas posts that I would actually manage to get this far! Now I will be honest and say that this post was written last night after several glasses of wine so please be kind to me. My head won’t be kind!

Again, another very traditional song in our house. Although a couple of days ago Rachel thought that Merry Christmas (War Is Over) was Bandaid and so we spent a good few minutes correcting her. And yet she says I’m the thick one??
But anyway. Last night, Mum and Dad took the four of us to the theatre to see a comical take on the nativity story. Set in Belfast (of course) the cast was made up of 6 people and then a seventh on the keyboard in the corner. All I can say is – it was hilarious! 
They changed the words to some well known Christmas songs, and all of them were pretty good singers! They also managed to throw in a few topical references (Honey G was even referred to) and the audience were in stitches. In one particular scene, two actors were putting on American accents of some kind and one of them randomly returned to his Belfast accent which caused the other actors on stage to corpse (come out of character and laugh, thereby killing the atmosphere they had created – GCSE drama for ya!) and ask what accent he would like. They composed themselves and tried to continue the scene, until the same guy suddenly went to an Australian accent, so of course we were in stitches at it all!
The interval came and when we got to our pre-ordered drinks, there was almost triple what we had ordered! And so Mum and I ended up drinking a lovely total of 750ml of red wine each… no wonder my head felt funny getting into bed last night!
Act 2 started up with the great music again, and the three wise men appeared on stage. Just as Balthazar was about to share his divine knowledge with his brethren and the audience, the actor looked straight into the face of a woman in the audience and called her out for being on her mobile by simply saying “Words of wisdom! Turn that phone off, madam!” 
The rest of us in the audience laughed and cheered, but it got me thinking. Why is it considered difficult for us as a society to function without the mini computer in our pockets for the duration of a 2 hour play? 
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas

My Christmas Card Swap

Hello again everyone! With only 3 more sleeps until the big day, I have to ask you – should I continue daily blogging into the new year, or should I stop on Sunday? Let me know!

Today’s song is definitely one of my absolute favourites and I take pride in the fact that I know every word to this! Last Christmas is a true classic, and I couldn’t imagine a Christmas playlist without it.
Now, you may or may not be aware that I tried to organise a Christmas Card Swap between here and Twitter for other bloggers who love Christmas as much as I do! The response was great, especially considering how few followers I had when I started! 
I’ll admit, I got rather stressed when compiling the list of addresses to email to everyone, and there were a few typos I needed to correct. But once the wrinkles were ironed out, everything went very smoothly! I sat down on December 1st to write all of mine, and posted them as soon as I remembered to! So if you haven’t got one from me yet and you were on the list – sorry! It’s on its way! 
I unfortunately was stupid and left my cards in Glasgow, otherwise I would’ve included them here. But I would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved! I’m considering running this again next year with a little bit more organisation, so if you’re interested then please let me know!
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas

Flashback!

Okay okay okay, we are officially nearing the end of blogmas 2016, and yet here I find myself considering continuing through until the end of the month. Am I wise??

 

Today’s countdown song is Santa Clause Is Coming To Town – the perfect song to have on the 21st! Children everywhere are beginning to get so so excited to see what will be left for them this year, and I just loved this video so much I had to share it!

 

 

But thinking of the children who’re currently getting really excited for Christmas Day actually reminded me of one of my proudest achievements to date – and you’ll laugh when I tell you about it!
Back in 2001, I lived in a tiny town on the east coast of Scotland. Every year we got snow at Christmas – it started to fall in November and continued until Easter some years! Now the particular year we’re talking about was brilliant for the snow. It was the perfect consistency, and Dad made us an actual igloo! I remember thinking just how awesome that was.
A few of my friends and I were sitting drinking our hot orange juice inside the igloo, when one of the women from further down the street (there were 20 houses) came up to tell us that she was running a snowman competition and there was a trophy for the winning house! So, of course, all my friends scattered – everyone dashing off to their own gardens to make the perfect Snowman.
Now unfortunately I don’t remember what ours looked like or anything, but Dad and I had great fun building him up! Rachel wanted to join in but she was only 3 years old and seemed to be intent on destroying him.
Judging time came, and I remember standing proudly beside my Snowman, and looking up at him thinking about just how tall he was. And then, to my delight, Dad and I were announced the winners! We even beat the teenagers down the road from us who had stuck googley eyes on their Snowman!
To this day, I still have our trophy in my “special drawer” (along with all my other memorable things).

Do you have any specific memories you’re proud of? Or any pictures of snowmen you’ve built?
Ktkinnes xx