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

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Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

What’s on my shopping list?

Wow okay time is flying by now and we’re fast approaching the big event, yet my shopping list doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller. Anyone else with the same problem?

It’s for this reason that I start planning extremely early. In fact, the book I now use for jotting down blogging ideas used to be my presents book! During the year, if I thought of anything I could buy for anyone, I would write it down on their page in the book. Anything I had done would get highlighted so I couldn’t accidentally double up on presents.

 

But I’m getting sidetracked… again… Who’s ready for today’s Christmas Countdown song? Today we have Sleigh Ride – the original version without singing! Maybe something to leave on while you continue reading?

 

 

The images are lovely!

So, where was I? Oh yes, presents! I suppose it’s now safe to say I had Nuala for Secret Santa (since we exchanged presents back during our Christmas dinner), and I’ve now got a rough idea of what I’m buying everyone else.

 

Rachel has been asking for a mermaid tail blanket a lot recently, and with no one else in the family having a clue where to buy them or how I decided I would pick one up for her. I bought her this in purple and in the biggest size possible so it came to a total of £15. Now normally I would go all out on Rachel but this year I plan on keeping it simple so have bought her some Tinkerbell pyjamas.

 

Mum is always difficult as her birthday is exactly a week before Christmas. She dropped a few hints that she would appreciate some new pyjamas and so Rachel and I have got her some nice ones from Marks and Spencer. I would show you them, however Rachel is doing the purchasing and I am giving her money when I get home tonight!

 

Dad is another difficult person as he never actually gives you any help with suggestions. This year, we’re getting him hard soled slippers as these are the only type he wears and his current ones are wrecked. Again, we’ll put something with these, but he is banned from getting chocolates or sweets from us since his winter wardrobe seems to have come down from the attic about 3 sizes too small! In fact, maybe we should get him a new shirt that actually fits…

 

Granny H is always at ours or at least with us on Christmas Day and so for years Rachel and I have joined together to buy her a present. Like Mum, Granny’s birthday is in December so we tend to leave her Christmas present until after her birthday but this year we were prepared. Rachel went shopping with her to buy stuff for Mum, and Granny spotted a bag that she really liked so Rachel managed to sneak back and buy it.

 

Granny B is simple and yet difficult. You know those people who are happy with anything to the point that you don’t actually know what to buy them? Well we’re still struggling to think of something so please please please if you have any suggestions for an 85 year old woman then they would be greatly appreciated!

 

Nuala‘s secret santa present was a fruit infusing water bottle and an artist sketching set. Nuala’s brilliant at drawing or sketching or whatever you call it, and I would love to be able to showcase some of her artwork for you all sometime, but that’s why I went for these two.

 

Wow that’s a small present list this year. The past couple of years we’ve have my aunt, uncle and cousins with us so we’ve have another 5 people to buy for so this year looks a little strange. I have bought presents for Jordanne (and Leon) and Cesca but I went a little crazy and have actually forgotten what all I bought!

 

What’s on your present shopping list?

 

Ktkinnes xx

 

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

Dear Santa

Hello my lovelies! Tonight I board the bus to London and I have never  been so excited for a road trip. In fact, the last time I did a road trip this long was back in 2009 when we drove from Belfast to some southern part of England for a family wedding. But we’re getting off topic. It’s yet another day closer to Christmas Day! And to celebrate, today’s song is 2000 Miles. Quite appropriate, is it not?  I mean, yes, the journey from my flat to where we’re staying in London is only 400 odd miles (of course I looked it up, why wouldn’t I?) but it’s still one heck of a long journey! Again, it’s not my favourite song but I am sticking with the list I found on the Independent’s website of the top 50 Christmas Songs as voted by the public – so take it up with those they interviewed if you don’t like it!

 

 

For Blogmas Day 9, I thought I would share my Christmas wishlist with you all today – my letter to Santa if you like. I remember years of getting excited for this part of Christmas. As soon as our birthdays were over, Rachel and I would rush for the Christmas edition of the Argos catalogue to go through it and see what we could ask Santa’s elves to make for us that year.

 

When we lived in Forfar (east coast of Scotland for the many of you who won’t know where that is), every year we went to the lights being turned on. It was a great night, and all the families went. We would have an early dinner, wrap up warm, and meet in the town centre with our Santa hats or reindeer antlers on. There would be lots of Christmas music and a parade, during which Santa would pass through and you could run up and give your letter to him or his elves in exchange for a chocolate bar! After that, Santa would go on stage and turn on all the magical lights, before promising to reply to us as soon as possible and reminding us all to be good girls and boys unless we wanted coal!

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Rachel on Christmas Day 2015

We moved to Lisburn when I was 8, and yes I still believed in Santa at that age. I was heartbroken to discover Santa’s helpers wouldn’t take my Santa Letter! At this stage, Mum and Dad started to ask us to type up our letters to Santa and Dad taught us that when he was little, he had sent his letters up the chimney to Santa! I was apparently quick to point out that Mary Poppins might steal the letters and Mum told me that if the fire was lit when the letters to Santa were put in the fireplace then Mary Poppins would know to leave them for Santa. It all made sense to me! The next obstacle was to make sure my letter didn’t get mixed up with Rachel’s… you can imagine how awful that would be if Santa gave me her Babyborn stuff and she got my Gameboy!

 

As I’m sure you can imagine, we stopped writing our letters quite some time ago, however Mum does still ask for a list of ideas and then she’ll pick and choose from the list. This year, I have no big thing I’m asking for, and so I’ll either get more of my little suggestions or money, depending on how much she spends on Rachel.

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And so, just for old time’s sake, I wanted to write it as a letter to Santa. It’s fun! You should definitely do it too!

 

Dear Santa,

Firstly, how are you? It’s been so so long! In fact, I think the last time I wrote to you, we still had the desktop computer in the little room – boy has a lot changed since then! You see, I had the unfortunate experience of growing up. I know, I know, we all have to at some stage, but one thing no one ever warned me was that you could still be judged and laughed at for being excited for Christmas as an adult! I’ve really missed getting to enjoy and discuss the magic of Christmas with you. Speaking of, do you remember the year it was too snowy for you to land on our roof and so you landed on the driveway and the reindeer left their hoof prints? Rachel and I were so excited! How are Dasher, Dancer, Donner, Vixen, Cupid, Comet, Prancer, Blitzen and Rudolph? I’m still saving up those carrots Mum tries to feed me at dinner so I can give them to the reindeer!

I would like to hope that I have been good this year, I promise I tried my best! If you are in agreement, would it be okay to ask for a few things this year? The main things I would wish for can’t be made by your elves unfortunately, so I won’t bore you with them. If possible, I would like

  • A new electric toothbrush
  • Mark Hill shampoo and conditioner (yes, I still use these after all these years of you giving me them!)
  • Any book – you know me well enough to pick a good story!
  • Pyjamas – a girl can never have enough
  • Sock – same rule as above. These can be fluffy or normal.
  • Calendar
  • iTunes voucher – yes I’m still using these.
  • Bubble bath and bathbombs
  • Contact lenses – those things are expensive if you can only wear them for a few hours before having to bin them!
  • Cosy scarf
  • Outfit for Christmas Day or New Year
  • No7 Translucent Setting Powder

As always, these are just a few suggestions and you are more than welcome to pick and choose from them!

I really have missed our annual chats. The mince pie and coke will be on the coffee table by the door. Dad still suggests giving you a whiskey to keep you warm but you don’t want to be caught driving under the influence of alcohol!

 

I’ll always believe,

 

Katie B.

 

 

What are you asking for this year? Is there something you get every year? Let us know in the comments below!

 

16 more sleeps!!!

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

A Girl Can Dream

So this wasn’t an original Blogmas post, and while writing it I had no clue what day to put it on. But I was listening to Christmas music, and having a moment of pure Christmas spirit, when I found myself daydreaming about my dream house at Christmas. I’m very aware I have never described my dream house to you, but trust me when I say that it would be incredible at Christmas.

As I’m sure you’ve realised now that you’re reading, this post is Day 5 of Blogmas! And in keeping with our Christmas Song Advent Calendar (I should really think of a catchier name for this…) today we have one of my favourite songs of the season. It’s bouncy and sounds so happy, and it distracts you from its anti-war message that actually never is out of touch with modern day life. There’s always some war somewhere with soldiers wishing they were at home for Christmas!

 

But now, onwards with the dream decorating!

To start with, I would love a white pebble-dashed house with a red front door and a stained-glass window above it in the shape of a semi-circle. It would also have a large door size window beside it to allow light into the hallway. So to decorate the outside, I would put up a light up snowman something like the one below (found here) beside the front door. Another simple thing that can’t be ignored at Christmas is the wreath on the door. Now, I am actually very fussy about my wreaths so I’d probably go for one like this.

 

Now, I would love a big hallway that I could put a tree in. I don’t mind whether or not it’s a real tree, but the one in my hallway would be a very traditional one. Think warm-white led lights, gold and red baubles, pine cones, some fake snow, and a fairy sitting on the top of it, and the tree would be on a white, glittery, circular sheet to give a snowy effect.  Under here, I would store presents to give to friends and extended family so that as they left after visiting, I could hand them their presents on the way out. I’d then replace them with any presents I received. The rest of the hall would be decorated with a string of fairy lights around the top of the room that I could hook Christmas cards over! Although, thinking about this, I would probably have to hole-punch the cards and hang them from ribbon (again, gold and red to match the theme) so that they weren’t a fire risk and so they could be read slightly easier. Any pictures in the hallway, and the large mirror I would have up, would have a sprig of mistletoe or holly above them just to add a bit more festivity to the area. The hall table under the large mirror would have a nativity set sitting on it, and there would be tinsel intertwined around the legs of the table.

In the living room, the bigger of the two and therefore the one kept mainly for hosting, would have a tree in the window. This tree would have all the other colours of baubles on it, multicoloured fairy lights, and a star resting on top. Of course, this one would also have the candy canes, chocolates, and crackers on it too. I can’t even begin to list the variety of novelty decorations I would love on it but basically anything that didn’t count as a ‘classic’ or traditional decoration would be on this tree. Here, I would keep some fake presents just for decoration, as well as any presents for unexpected callers. Did someone mention unwanted presents? It’s not regifting, it’s recycling! The fireplace would have a long garland draped over it, and a bowl of my homemade potpourri in the middle. Of course, what fireplace would be complete at Christmas without stockings hanging from it? Little snowglobes and other ornaments would sit on the tables. I’ve included a few links at the bottom to the room decorations shown below.

In the smaller, cosier living room, I would have my Disney tree. Now. My parents, when they first got married, collected a lot of Disney Christmas decorations (look out for some of them in a later post) and I have always looked at them longingly. I am well aware that Rachel and I are going to have to split them when the time comes to divvy up our parents’ things, but in my dream home, and on this tree in particular, I would have every hanging Disney decoration ever invented. Again, this tree would be covered in multicoloured fairy lights, but underneath it would be all sorts of Christmas toys and teddies. In both this room and the previous one, I would have fairy lights strung around the room to hang cards from. This would also be the room where I would proudly display all my advent calendars! A girl can never have too many, can she? And since money is no object, you can bet I would have as many different calendars as I can possibly put up. However, I would have one refillable calendar that I would put an activity or task in so that each day I could aim to do something either for someone else or Christmassy. Again, I would have a garland and stockings on the fireplace in here, and more little ornaments resting on coffee tables, but I would also have mistletoe and holly hanging from the bookcase in the corner.

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My study, well technically it’s just a mini library but shush, would have a small tree sitting on the desk, and just little ornaments dotted around the place. I’d have Christmassy throws on the seats, and Christmas cushions on the window seat that I would of course have. The dining room would have a Christmas tablecloth over the table, and festive cushions on the seats. There would be more fairy lights around the ceiling, and lots of little candles everywhere in both these rooms. I would have a yule log centrepiece with a long advent candle in it. The placemats and coasters would all be Christmas themed, and there would be more little ornaments dotted around the place. In the kitchen, all the crockery would be replaced with Christmas themed crockery. Cutlery would all be either plain silver or have red plastic handles. Again, there would be a festive tablecloth, and Christmas tea-towels around the room. I’d have little baubles dangling from the cupboard handles, festive smelling washing up liquid, and Christmas cookie jars would replace the standard utensil jars on the counter.

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In the bathrooms, I would have Christmas toilet roll, and festive hand towels to match the festive soaps. I would definitely have the Santa toilet sets that you can now find in all the random shops and online, and in any bathroom with a shower curtain, I would replace the curtain with a Christmas one! Is there anything else you can do to decorate a bathroom? Each bedroom would have a mini Christmas tree, either on the windowsill or on the dressing tables. Of course, there would be festive bedding and curtains to match, and fairy lights around the ceiling again. Finally, outside I would have a snow machine, creating my dream of a white Christmas daily.

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How would you decorate your dream house? I feel like I’ve missed so much but I genuinely can’t think of anything else right now!

 

Ktkinnes xx

 

http://www.marksandspencer.com/frosted-christmas-arrangement/p/p60056219?prevPage=plp&pdpredirect – flowers and candle

http://www.marksandspencer.com/noel-letters/p/p22473126?prevPage=plp – noel letters

http://www.marksandspencer.com/santa-snowglobe/p/p22473594?prevPage=plp – snow globe

Posted in Blogmas

Buying presents as a student

 

 

Hello and welcome to Blogmas Day 2! Today’s song on the Christmas countdown is I Believe in Father Christmas – quite an appropriate one given today’s topic! As we now have just over 3 weeks until the big day, and student loans are beginning to look a little low, most of us begin this panic of what to buy everyone. Secret Santa presents need bought, there’s family to think of, and then there are those of you who are lucky enough to have significant others to buy for as well.

 

Do not fear my friends! Below is a list of what you can either buy or make as a present for even the pickiest of people. Of course, there are so many different options that I won’t be able to list them all but hopefully something will come into your head!

 

  1. A photo book. With the app Free Prints, you can order 45 free photos a month, all size 6×4, and only pay postage on them! Then either buy a few cheap frames from your local pound shop, or buy a scrap-book and stick them in with little messages relating to the picture. It’s a really personal present and shows you care. Best part? It can all be done for less than £5! If you give your invite code to family and friends, you gain an extra 5 free prints per month, so if this is something you’re interested in, why not use my code and then share yours? Mine is ‘kburton15’.
  2. Christmas decorations. From snowglobes to Santas, to snowmen and more, you can never have enough Christmas decorations! Again, your local pound shop, or Primark can often have lovely little things you would never have thought of. I personally like scouring the charity shops in my areas as it means I’m donating to a good cause too.

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  3. Homemade potpourri . I actually made this for my aunt and uncle last year and it’s still smelling strong! Just google homemade Christmas potpourri and there are so many to choose from! Pop it inside a sandwich bag and tie with some ribbon, and it becomes the perfect gift. Of course, you can always buy a cheap but nice dish to put it in too. Pictured below is the potpourri I made them this time last year. The picture was taken in August and when I went visiting in November it was still there and smelt incredible!
  4. Gloves. If you’re anything like me, you will constantly be losing at least one of a pair. You can never have enough gloves, and there are often some lovely ones in Primark, Dunnes Stores, and there are even some great bargains in TK Maxx!

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  5. Socks. Again, a bit like gloves, but these are things that no one likes to buy themselves. I don’t know about you but even just one new pair of fluffy socks brighten up my day.
  6. Fudge or shortbread. A quick search online will quickly give you so many recipes for this and you also have the fun of taste testing! Homemade treats always go down well, as it shows you’ve actually spent time on their present rather than just grabbing the first thing you see.

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  7. Personalised calendars. Again, these do cost money but they’re nearly always on sale at this time of year as everyone makes a mad dash to buy them for the start of the new year. Upload pictures for the person, add in any key dates you think they should remember, and Bob’s your uncle!
  8. Hidden compartment book. Okay so if you’re anything like me this idea of this is great but actually creating it may hurt a little. Head to your local charity shop for a hardback book and use this tutorial to make a little hiding spot for anything your recipient may want to hide, whether it be the last chocolate bar, keys or their phone!

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  9. What (Name) Likes canvas. Do you have The Works near you or a similar shop? These places sell canvases that you can paint and decorate. To be honest, I got this idea from a present my amazing flat mates got me for my 21st, although they didn’t make it. Not that that makes it any less great, but this way probably would’ve been a lot cheaper! Pick up a paint sample from your local DIY shop, or you may find you know someone with left over paint in their garage from their recent home decoration. Paint the canvas and allow it to dry before writing in permanent marker ‘What (Name) Likes’ across the middle and then list all the things you know they like in different sizes and directions. They’re sure to love it!
  10. Board Games. Once again, get down to your local charity shops and have a search for their board games. There’s nothing better than sitting down with friends or family to play a board game on either Christmas Day or Boxing Day, and it’s something they can play at any time. A lot of these games probably won’t have even been used!

 

So there you have 10 ideas that you can consider! One thing I would recommend is looking at whatever deals and offers are on. Whether there’s a 3 for 2 offer you can take advantage of, or if something’s half price, any way you can save money is a great idea! Personally, I love looking on Groupon, Living Social, and Wowcher to see what deals there, and one of my friends pointed me in the direction of Wish! Although I would recommend Wish for if you aren’t in a rush for presents as the delivery time can be ages. I placed an order on September 28th and by October 9th still hadn’t had it confirmed!

 

Hopefully I’ve helped even a little bit. If you’ve any suggestions that you think I should’ve included please feel free to mention them in the comments below!

 

Have a great Friday, and try not to murder anyone when doing your Christmas shopping this weekend!

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Christmas, Lifestyle

Christmas Card Swap!

So I know that a lot of you will feel it’s too early for this kind of a post, but I have finally started Christmas present shopping and I’m getting really excited for the festive season!

 

In our flat, because of my ‘obsession’, there’s a rule that Christmas isn’t properly mentioned until at least 1st November. Apparently my excitement for the most wonderful time of the year makes people associate Christmas as a bad thing as they can’t talk about it without worrying they’re going to set me off. However, this year I have you lovely people to talk to about it so I think I’m doing better than last year! Alongside the other GRLPOWR girls, I’ve been getting more and more excited for this festive season, talking what we’ll be doing on our Twitter, blog, instagram and just our own accounts in general. Some of us are going to attempt Blogmas, and just the general mood is Halloween isn’t coming fast enough for us to hit that festive spirit!

 

I would love to share with you all the surprise part of our flat Christmas dinner this year, but as I am aware that Mary and Nuala now read here occassionally, I don’t want to ruin the surprise for them so if you’d like to know, tweet me! I started getting organised for it on Tuesday when I met Jordanne (thelifeofaglasgowgirl) in town for lunch. I had a great time and it was so much fun to be able to meet up with someone that I’ve been talking to for almost 2 months! Wow has it really been that long? It feels like years ago and yet it also feels like only yesterday… Does that make any sense?

 

I had the brainwave for it as I got the subway into town and so I’ve managed to spend at least 10 minutes a day thinking about what I’ve to buy and organise. With last year’s Santa’s Sweet Sleigh being so well received, I’ve really struggled to think of what I can do to make this year’s surprise even better. I’m also trying really hard to watch what I say here because I plan on writing a few blogmas posts on this!

 

As it’s now the 20th of October, and time is marching on, I wanted to bring up the topic of my Christmas Card Swap. By the way, I’m going to suggest we change the spelling of Christmas as every time I type it on a computer I type ‘CHristmas’ – it’s getting annoying! But yes, the Card Swap. Currently, I have 13 names and addresses of people who would like to be involved in this, and there’s still plenty of time for those of you who want to to get involved!

 

My plan to spread some Christmas cheer this year developed into the idea of a Christmas Card Swap. The general idea of it would be for anyone who wants to be involved to send me (either DM me on Twitter or email me at lifewithktkinnes@outlook.com) with an address – this can even be a PO Box address as I know how people feel about sharing their address online – and in 3 weeks (probably the 15th of November) I will DM or email back with a list of the addresses that have been sent to me. This way, it’s up to you how many Christmas cards you send and there’s no pressure to send to everyone if you don’t want to! Of course, if you would prefer me to keep your address off the list then I’m happy to do that too! Cards can be homemade or store bought, and that part is entirely up to you. Just remember to check latest posting times and dates with your local post office as you want it to arrive before the 25th December!

 

So yes, if this is something you’d like to be involved in, I can be contacted on Twitter or through email with the subject line Christmas Card Swap.

 

Hope you’re all getting in the festive spirit and listening to those classic songs that come on every year!

 

 

Ktkinnes xx