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

 

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Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

Quotes for Christmas!

 

Well that’s been a fun couple of days in London and I’m now curled up in bed getting some more revision done for these exams. Considering I’m the only one in the flat with exams this semester. Well, Jason has tests to do but they don’t count for anything.
London was incredible! And now that we’re on the 12th day of Blogmas, I’ve finished opening my Tanya Burr Beauty Advent Calendar! Would you be interested in a post about what is in it? Let me know below or tweet me! Today’s song on the Christmas Countdown is Driving Home For Christmas. While I’m not heading home for Christmas just yet, this always is on my playlist for travelling home at this time of year.

 

Now for today’s blogmas post (day 12) I wanted to share my favourite Christmas quotes with you! Last year I wrote these down and put them in my refillable advent calendar with a chocolate each day.

 

 

  • “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree” – Roy L. Smith

 

  • “Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling” – Edna Ferber

 

  • “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year” – Charles Dickens

 

  • “Christmas is the day that holds all time together” – Alexander Smith

 

  • “Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” – Dale Evans Rogers

 

  • “Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little more!” – Dr Seuss

 

  • “Christmas is not as much about opening out presents as opening out hearts” – Janice Maeditere

 

  • “Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white'” – Bill Crosby

 

  • “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” – Andy Rooney

 

  • “Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold

 

  • “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale

 

  • “Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don’t quite know how to put our love into words.” – Harlan Miller

 

  • “Christmas – that magic blanket that wraps itself about us, that something so intangible that it is like a fragrance. It may weave a spell of nostalgia. Christmas may be a day of feasting, or of prayer, but always it will be a day of remembrance – a day in which we think of everything we have ever loved.” – Augusta E. Rundel

 

  • “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” – Charles Schulz

 

  • “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” – Bob Hope

 

Hopefully some of these have caused you to smile, laugh or just think about the way we all view Christmas.

 

Hope you all have a lovely day! Do you have any favourites I haven’t included there?

 

Ktkinnes xxx

 

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

Top 10 Christmas Films

Hide-y hi hi! Blogmas day 11 is here, and with it are the 10 films I simply have to watch every Christmas. It just wouldn’t feel right without them if that makes any sense. Today’s song is Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and I can safely say that this is one of my top 10 Christmas songs. You can’t decorate the Christmas tree without this song playing at least once. And if it doesn’t bring about memories of that iconic Christmas film then I don’t know what would.

 

So yes, my favourite Christmas films! These are in absolutely no particular order and I am more than willing to have suggestions listed down below so if I’ve missed any of your favourites please let me know and I’ll watch them before the big day! I’ve included links to where you can watch them online if they aren’t on Netflix when you get round to watching them.

 

Home Alone

Kevin McCallister, who is a 8-year-old boy, is forsaked at home while his family is on holiday in France. When Kevin realizes that he is forgotten, he knows that he must take care of himself. Meanwhile, 2 thieves – Harry and Marv are keeping eyes on Kevin’s house because of knowing this fact. Join Kevin as he approaches Christmas Day on his own, knowing his house is going to be targeted! Found here.

Happy Feet

The movie tells the story of a little penguin named Mumble who has a terrible singing voice and later discovers he has no Heartsong to attract his soul mate. Mumble then has to resort to some fancy footwork by tap dancing his way into the heart of the one he loves. Join him as he makes friends and learns to accept his differences. Found here.

Elf

Buddy is a regular-sized man who was raised as an elf by Santa Claus. When the news is finally broken to Buddy that he’s not a real elf, he decides to head back to his place of birth, New York City, in search of his biological family. Buddy struggles to adjust to life with humans, however he teaches them that the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear! Found here.

The Polar Express

Young hero boy on Christmas Eve embarks on a magical adventure to the North Pole on the Polar Express. During his adventure he learns about friendship, bravery, and the spirit of Christmas. I don’t think we ever learn his name, or if we do I can’t remember it. There are a few odd moments in this one but it is a must see for everyone! Found here

A Christmas Carol (1951)

An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. The perfect film for all the scrooges out there! Found here

It’s A Wonderful Life

A compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman decides to end his life, and an angel who has not earned his wings yet comes to convince that “It’s a Wonderful Life”. This one is best if you can watch it in black and white, in my opinion. There’s something about watching black and white films that just adds to the Christmas feeling. Found here.

Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas

Three short Christmas stories, starring Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Max, Donald, Huey, Dewey and Louie. Found here.

The Santa Clause 

Divorcee Scott Calvin is disgusted to learn that his ex and her husband have tried – and failed – to break it easy to their 6-year-old son Charlie that Santa isn’t real. On Christmas Eve, Scott reads The Night Before Christmas… then receives an unexpected visitor on his roof. When he’s startled by Scott’s calling out and falls, the Santa impersonator disappears, leaving only an 8-reindeer sleigh and a suit with instructions to put it on if he’s involved in an accident. Scott does, and is transported around the town dropping gifts through chimneys until he’s taken to the North Pole and informed by a group who claim they’re elves that he is now Santa. Charlie is proud of his dad’s new job, though Scott’s convinced it’s a dream. Until his hair turns white, his beard refuses to stay shaved, he gains weight inexplicably, even for his sudden love of junk food… Now he’s accepted it, there’s just one problem: how to keep it secret from his disbelieving family? Found here.

Miracle on 34th Street

Six year old Susan has always doubt about the most enduring miracle of Santa Claus. When her mother tells her the “secret” of Santa Claus, she no longer expects special gifts from him. But after visiting a special store, she receives the most valuable present and maintain her faith. Found here.

Love Actually

With a slow rhythm, eight love stories turn intersect without disturbance. Besides, each affair which carries a different color: romantic, humorous and insightful … shows a sweet song about love. Found here

Santa Clause: The Movie

A peasant woodcutter becomes Santa Claus and later foils an evil toy manufacturer’s scheme to take over Christmas. Found here

Jack Frost

A worth watching movie tells a story of Jack Frost, an often-traveling blues musician, who spends too much time on working but his family. Then a car accident suddenly takes his life away, which makes he start to think about the dearest people in his life- his family. Jack comes to life one day under the shape of a snowman to fix his lost time. Found here.

Okay so I lied, there are 12 there. I couldn’t cut it down! Unfortunately there are some must-see Christmas films that I am still to watch, but I hope you enjoy these if you get a chance to watch them! All links were working at the time of writing this post, so hopefully they’ll be working for you to see them!

14 more sleeps…

Ktkinnes

Posted in Blogmas, Christmas, Lifestyle

My Favourite Things

Okay, I won’t pretend this is a post I’ve written today or last night as I am currently in London. Well, I’m actually not, this is scheduled. In fact it was written back in October… But for you reading this, I haven’t written it live due to London. That was more complicated than it needed to be.

 

Today’s Christmas Countdown song is Step Into Christmas, and what better song for the day I go to Winter Wonderland for the first time ever?? You can probably guess just how excited I am for this, I’ve only been planning it since 23rd August! A little bit of Elton John is good for everyone.

 

Today’s Blogmas (Day 10) is all about why I love this time of year. Just in case you missed it, I love Christmas. Absolutely adore it. I think Mary, Nuala and Jason are well aware of this, as are quite a few of you on Twitter… but just in case anyone missed it, I truly do think Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year!

 

The clock strikes midnight on the barrier between 30th November and 1st December and it’s like my body goes into action without me even being awake. The music starts that morning (who am I kidding, the music has been around for ages but now it’s acceptable to play it out for everyone to hear), the decorations come out of hiding, and I can put my Christmas pjs on. All this before I even hit proper Christmas spirit!

Everywhere you go, multicoloured lights line houses, roads, shops and everywhere else you could think of! Whether they’re warm white, bright white, all one colour, or multicoloured, they just add a sense of excitement that isn’t around the rest of the year. Why do we only put these up for Christmas? They’re gorgeous, and make everything so much more pleasant to look at. Stuck in traffic? Enjoy looking at all the lights around you! They’re fun, bright, and are a trademark of Christmas.

As I said yesterday, a lot of children associate the turning on of the Christmas lights in their towns and cities with writing their Santa letters. Watching children get excited for what Santa may possibly bring them, queuing for their local grottos in the hope of seeing the big man and asking him in person for their most desired present. If you have any young children in your family or friend groups, ask them what they’re asking Santa for this year! It’s heartwarming to know that this still continues even though time has progressed and so many more children are getting technology related presents, they still want to ask Santa to get it for them.

Let’s take a minute to just appreciate the music at this time of the year. There are so many different Christmas songs, and so many of them have multiple covers of them! You could never get bored of them! I personally alternate between Christmas Carols or Hymns and the usual pop songs we get at this time of year. Hopefully during my song countdown to Christmas your favourites will appear but please feel free to comment with your favourites and whether or not you agree with a day’s choice! In my mind, there’s something for everyone in a Christmas playlist. Even those of you may not celebrate Christmas can surely appreciate some of the music?

The cooler air brings in yet more jumpers and boots – and it’s finally acceptable to wear my Christmas jumpers around university! New scarves, with matching hats and gloves, become must-have accessories. You can see your breath in the air, and it becomes even more difficult to get out of bed in the mornings. Everywhere sells fluffy pyjamas and socks and thermal clothing becomes a necessity. There’s a chance of snow, even if it is a small chance! I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones we used to know back when I lived in Forfar. Global warming has a lot to answer for!

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Shopping now becomes a case of every man/woman/child for themselves – survival of the fittest if you like. People dash from shop to shop, muttering under their breath when they’ve to wait in yet another easily avoided queue and questioning whether they really need to get their second cousin once removed a present this year before deciding yes and buying yet another pair of Christmas socks.

Christmas markets spring up all over the place, their stalls filled with exciting food, drink, and other such things. The mix of smells, the sound of music mixed with happy conversations, it’s all just brilliant! Plus, they always seem to be in the cute little cabins. To be honest, I’m so excited for today’s trip to Winter Wonderland. Hopefully you’re all following me on snapchat to see what it’s like!

 

Overall though, I would have to say my favourite thing about Christmas is the fact that families make an effort to see each other and spend time together, even if just to watch Home Alone for the umpteenth time as it’s shown on TV. Children everywhere begin to listen out for Santa and have their eyes peeled for any sign of snow. Christmas day arrives and families around the world try to put any arguments on hold until we all celebrate this time of year – some for religious reasons, others just because of the symbolism of peace, love and giving.

What do you love about this time of year?

 

Only 15 more sleeps!

 

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

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