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

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

Posted in Lifestyle

Sister’s 18th Birthday

Rachel, if you are reading this, stop reading now! 

Otherwise you’ll ruin your surprise!

 

 

This September (2016) my younger sister turns 18 and I have never felt so old. Anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while knows of my love-hate relationship with Rachel but they also know I’d do anything for her. And now she’s turning 18, a legal adult. What on earth does that make me?!

 

A person’s 18th birthday is one they will remember for years to come. It’s special and so needs to be celebrated in such a way. My 18th birthday didn’t go the way I expected it to however it was one I will remember for a long long time, even if only for the wonderful cake Rachel baked me!

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Rachel with me on my 18th and the delicious cake she baked!

So, as I will be back in Glasgow for university (hopefully) on the day of her birthday and therefore won’t be baking her a cake, I have decided to go to town on her birthday present this year.

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I wanted to do an ’18 for 18′ themed present, i.e. 18 presents for her 18th; mainly 17 smaller presents and 1 main present. Now, Rachel used to be really easy to buy for. Even as children, I set myself a budget and tried to buy her as many things as possible that I knew she would like. This year, for some reason, it was more difficult. Finally, I settled on her 18 presents:

  1. A scrapbook of pictures and memories, something she can look back on for years to come.
  2. A book – Adulting: How To Become A Grown-up In 168 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown.A lot of people recommended ‘Oh! The Places You’ll Go’ by Dr Seuss but I wasn’t too sure whether or not this would be a good idea.
  3. A C.D. – I’m going to make her a C.D. of 18 songs that mean either something to the 2 of us or to her. This way, she can put it on her phone or something and listen to it. Unfortunately, the car we borrow from our mum is that old there is still a cassette tape slot in place of a C.D. player, otherwise she could’ve put it in the car.
  4. A smuggle your booze umbrella. Pretty self-explainitory, every teenager loves alcohol and so this way she can take some with her pretty much anywhere!
  5. Alcohol – to go with the above. I’m thinking of getting her bacardi as I know she drinks it but should I buy her something different?
  6. Sweets. I saw recently a retro jar of sweets that I can customise the label on and so I’ll get them for her.
  7. Portable charger. Having been stuck walking home alone in the early hours of the morning through Glasgow city centre with no charge on my phone, I know how important these can be. Hopefully she’ll never have to experience a 2 hour walk home at negative 4 degrees Celcius in only a t-shirt!
  8. Soap and Glory Birthday Washes gift set. This holds a travel size shower gel and body lotion – perfect for present number 18! As she likes it and doesn’t use anything else, hopefully she’ll appreciate it.
  9. Pyjamas – a set to again go with present 18. Something cute and comfortable, that she’ll wear frequently.
  10. Earrings. Every 18 year old gets jewellery and, as it’s something I always buy her anyway, I want to get her a nice set of earrings that she’ll always have to remind her of her 18th birthday.
  11. Compulsory ’18th’ wine glass. While she doesn’t really drink wine, this is something I’ve always planned on buying her.
  12. A bikini – again, all will make sense with present 18. Also, everyone likes having a new bikini for the next holiday.
  13. A birthday survival kit in a tin. You can get these online and they look really cool! When it arrives I’ll post a picture of it.
  14. 18 pairs of either pants or socks. Something light and jokey for the lead up to the final presents.
  15. A passport wallet. I always envied anyone who had a passport wallet and so I’m going to buy one for Rachel.
  16. A holiday document wallet. This will have to match the passport wallet as usually the two are given together. It holds your boarding passes, extra money for at the airport, travel insurance etc. I recently got one because as a single traveller it’s always useful to have somewhere safe to keep everything together.
  17. A leather hand luggage bag. Now this is something she actually asked for and believe me it was difficult to trace. Well, not difficult to trace but they’re flipping expensive! So to find one that wasn’t over the top in price but still real leather and looking lovely. I found one on ebay for £35 and it looks great! I’ll post pictures of it with the final collection of presents.

 

My final present to Rachel will be tucked inside her birthday card, which she’ll of course be made to open last (Mum and Dad will be given that instruction). I have booked for the 2 of us to go on holiday to Lanzarote for 3 nights in March when she’s off school for half term. It’s an all inclusive weekend in the sun for the 2 of us to relax and enjoy ourselves. I’ll be flying back here to Northern Ireland for a night before we fly to Lanzarote for 3 nights and then back to school and lectures the next day. Do you think she’ll like it?

 

 

Let me know what you think, would you appreciate this sort of present?

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle

TFI Friday

Hello lovely friends! Another week has come to a close and once again I find myself on WordPress to keep you all informed on the exciting ins and outs of my life.

 

This week I decided to rearrange my bedroom and so I can now actually do more than one thing at a time in my room if I wanted to. We continued to learn new steps to new dances in Irish Dancing and for the first time ever I didn’t have sore legs come Wednesday morning. Wednesday’s presentation went well I feel but we’ll find out about that on Wednesday this week. This was followed by the last practical lab of the semester (thank goodness…) and I feel it wasn’t a complete disaster. However I now need to have a presentation prepared for Wednesday afternoon on some telescope I wrote a paper on months ago. Still don’t actually know anything about it. Afterwards, was a quick dash home to change top and shoes to meet Iona for dinner at the taco place at the bottom of the street before we went to GULGBTQ+’s Women’s Week event. It was a great night and resulted in Jason bringing back his current flame – surprise surprise. Although we like Daniel so this is fine. I’ll tell you about him another time.

Thursday and today have been purely essay writing and getting some work done as we approach the end of the semester – better late than never, right? Except I’ve now been distracted by the thoughts of Rachel’s upcoming 18th birthday. When I say upcoming, it’s not until September bus this is a big year for birthdays and so I want to be ahead of the game. I’ve decided to go for the stereotypical present of 18 gifts but I’m stuck on the last few ideas. At least I’ve a while to think them up, however any suggestions would be appreciated! So fat the ideas are:

  1. scrapbook of pictures and memories – I’ll write messages and add all the pictures I can find since she’s always complained her baby book was never filled in.
  2. Jar of notes for “When you…” – I got this idea from a friend’s valentine’s day present years ago. Rachel did something similar for her boyfriend but it was a Dates Jar with ideas of what to do on dates. So mine will be little notes of encouragement, memories, tips and advice.
  3. A book of some sort. Whether this is an age specific one or what I have no idea but since she’s living at home for yet another year I don’t really want to get her a survival book. Someone somewhere suggested ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go’ so I’m going to look into that!
  4. her favourite chocolates – after eights or creme eggs
  5. hangover kit – she can now legally drink! So of course this means she’ll actually experience a hangover now.
  6. perfume
  7. CD with 18 songs on it – songs either that she loves or have some relevance to the two of us.
  8. some sort of jewellery – my typical present. Not sure what we’re going for this year.
  9. Alcohol. Another stereotypical present for an 18 year old in the UK.
  10. ‘Smuggle your booze’ hairbrush – its a hipflask disguised as a hairbrush! What’s not to love?
  11. Onesie of some sort.
  12. Places I’ve Been map
  13. tickets for either a holiday, a concert, rugby membership for the year or something. This will be the main present and so I don’t want to spend a fortune on the rest of the presents but we’ll see how it goes.

 

This is all I’ve got so far so I’m sure you can tell I need another 5 ideas. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

 

Have a great weekend everyone, whatever you get up to! I’ll be sitting thinking up ideas instead of working and wishing certain people weren’t in Edinburgh.

 

 

 

Speak soon!

Ktkinnes xxx

 

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Posted in Lifestyle

Change of plan – Again!

Well the boyfriend is no longer going to Newcastle for university – he got into Glasgow through clearing! Lucky duck in my mind…. Now if he’d like to pay me the £95 I’ve lost on non refundable flight tickets I would greatly appreciate that.
Now I’ve to think of another birthday present for her. Not exactly an easy thing to do. 
Today’s topic shall be… *drum roll* family! Love them or hate them, you’re stuck with them. And trust me I’m aware of this fact. Granny (who came on holiday) took us shopping today and made me pick my birthday present. Normally I wouldn’t mind but when she insisted it was from the sale it really restricts what you can find. However I’m now home with a lovely outfit I bought myself! So I won’t complain.
For now I shall disappear, maybe give you a film review tonight!

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle

Birthdays

This evening, mum started asking about what Rachel and I would like for our birthdays. They aren’t until September and they’re 9 days apart. With Rachel turning 17 it’s easy to say she’ll get driving lessons and something small to go along side these – she automatically said Soap and Glory and some shampoos etc. I, on the other hand, have no idea.

Well actually that’s a bit of a lie… However what I want I know I’ve no hope of getting if I ask her. I’d love some Carmilla merchandise off a website I found. You know, cushions, posters, maybe even bedding… But I’ve no hope of that once my parents find out what Carmilla actually is. They’re against vampires and definitely against lesbian vampires. And lesbians… And anyone who isn’t straight… So yeah, that’s that option out the window.

Next on the list would be books and DVDs or something along those lines. But “what’s the point in a book if you’ve got a kindle and a library?” is their next question. And why would you want to watch a film more than once? You already know the ending.

And then there’s the ongoing plea for socks and underwear. Every year they appear on the list and every year they’re ignored.
I know I sound selfish or like I’m complaining… And yes I am to an extent. But my point in all this is, why ask someone what they want if you aren’t going to get it for them? Mum laughs when I bring this up but for years every birthday, Christmas and Easter I begged for a kitty kitty kitten. One year I even told Santa he could hide it in my room and mum would never know! How naive I was… But that’s been an ongoing joke for years now.

This year they’ve offered to buy a telescope for me. Now this I certainly would agree with! But finding a decent telescope in their price range is going to be impossible. I could trade in my laptop for a better one… Or ask them for a new TV for my room for when I come back to visit. Except I don’t plan on coming home much after this year… Haven’t broken the news to them yet…
But for now, any suggestions on birthday ideas for my 20th would be greatly appreciated! Or even an idea as to what I should get Rachel?

Thanks!

Ktkinnes xxx