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 Lifestyle

What To Take To Uni – Part 3

The Food Edit

So this isn’t really a list of things to take with you, more things you should get when you arrive.

Everyone knows, student loans don’t last long when rent and bills are taken out of them! So it becomes important to have some basics in your cupboard and fridge, just so you can make everything taste a little better when money gets tight. Here’s my list of what you should get at the start of the year and try to keep topped up throughout!

  1. Pasta
  2. Rice
  3. Salt
  4. Pepper
  5. Chilli powder
  6. Cumin
  7. Mixed herbs
  8. Tomato purée
  9. Garlic
  10. Olive oil
  11. Tabasco sauce
  12. Stock cubes – vegetable, chicken and beef!
  13. Butter
  14. Lentils
  15. Teabags
  16. Coffee
  17. A tin of soup
  18. Chopped tomatoes or passatta

There you have it! Have I missed any of your essentials? Let me know below!!
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Sunday's Summary

Already?

Hello again! It really doesn’t seem all that long since I last wrote a weekly wind up. Believe it or not, it actually takes a great deal of thought to go back through the week and remember what happened! But my brain could use the exercise, especially since it’s summer. However, if someone could inform the weather that it’s summer I would be a lot happier!


Sunday was my first ever car boot sale. We’re still overrun with odds and ends from Tom’s house and so over the last year Mum, Dad and Rachel have been doing the odd car boot sale to get rid of some things. To be there early enough for a good spot, we apparently had to leave the house at 6:30am – not my idea of a Sunday morning! However, when we got there, we set up and it was good fun despite the wind and rain. Of course, it would’ve been a heck of a lot better if Dad had actually packed tea bags instead of just flasks of hot water! We made a profit of about £100 and so were happy to call it a day around 2pm, forgetting of course that we still had to pack up. Eventually we got home and unloaded the stuff from the car before collapsing in front of the TV for the rest of the evening.

Monday was slightly less hectic, with Dad and me doing the Tesco shop for Mum, and then really not doing much until taking Baron for a walk on Monday night.

Tuesday saw Rachel taking me into town to try and persuade me to buy new clothes – it certainly was interesting! I’m not really a fan of shopping unless there’s something I’m in the mood for. We then ended up walking home in the rain. I wasn’t impressed. But we made it, and started in to tidying things around the house for Mum.

Again, Wednesday was a quiet enough day. We went into town to do a few things and pick up some stuff for Rachel, had lunch at Granny’s apartment, and then headed home to enjoy the sun. Actually, it started quiet and then developed into a pretty big day! I had been added to a private chat on Twitter and was beginning to really feel comfortable with everyone there to the point we’ve started a little community and on Wednesday night after Great British Bake Off, we planned a meet up in London in December! I’m so excited to finally meet some of my favourite people from online – mainly so my mum stops thinking I make all this up about talking to people from all over the place!

Thursday started hectic with a lot of people on our chat trying to figure out what they’d missed the night before. You can be gone 10 minutes and come back to 200 or more messages if that gives you a clue… Dad and I did some shopping, then mum came home early from work so we sunbathed in the garden before finishing the night with a BBQ. I also got some really exciting news that one of my all time favourite people is coming back from California to visit us in Glasgow early next year!!! I cannot wait to see her again, it’s been far too long!!
Friday arrived and we spent the morning doing housework before meeting Mum for lunch in Marks and Spencer’s. She and I had the chicken and bacon sandwich and it was so filling! Just a shame it was quite dry, so we asked for a little sauce pot of mayonnaise it made all the difference! Afterwards, we went shopping and managed to buy Rachel’s birthday present from Mum and Dad, and I managed to pick up a new outfit for wearing on the day of my birthday! Would you like to see it? We finished the day with a drink in a local pub, and then home to organise more birthday stuff. 
Saturday flew by to be honest. I made a carrot and lentil soup in the morning, then in the afternoon we went for a lovely walk in Holywood, Belfast, as a family with Granny included. We went to the rugby club for a drink afterwards (I swear we don’t spend all our time drinking) where we saw an old family friend who is unlikely to be alive this time next year. I don’t actually know what’s wrong with him but he’s been getting progressively worse over the last 6 months and just looking at him today we knew immediately he probably doesn’t have long left. The worst part is I’ll probably be in Scotland when he passed and won’t be able to come over for the funeral… 

We came home, had dinner, and I curled up to watch X Factor. Did you see it? The girl at the Edinburgh auditions was fantastic!

What did you get up to this week? Will I be seeing you at the @GRLPOWRCHAT on Tuesday at 9pm? Please please please come support us! Lauren is our first host so it would be great if you could come support her!

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Lifestyle, Sunday's Summary

Hello from The Island!

Hello my lovely friends! How are you all? If you haven’t already guessed – I’m in Ibiza!  Well I’m actually not there yet, I’m scheduling this post in case I get too tired and fall asleep without blogging tomorrow… But by the time you’re reading this I’ll be in Ibiza!

Unfortunately, I didn’t win the euromillions on Friday night so after 11 nights I will need to go back to Northern Ireland again. But enough of that, I’ve only just arrived and I plan on making the most of this holiday. So instead of boring you with why I want to stay, shall we have a look back at the last 7 days?

Sunday, Rachel returned from Romania and woke us all up around 4:30am when she arrived in with her McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries which she proceeded to eat in front of us, offering us a bite while we were still waking up. No thanks. To mark her return, and the final of Wimbledon, Granny H came up for dinner and a good night. We were fed and watered before settling down to watch TV – Dad watching the football, Mum and I watching Les Misérables. Could there have been a more perfect way to end the week? Oh! And I almost forgot, I actually managed to take part in the Teacup Club’s Twitter chat on Sunday! 

Monday, I did a bit of revision before going on a shopping spree in Boots for some last minute holiday purchases. Would you like to see a haul post from it? Monday was quite quiet. I can’t really remember it all that well to be honest! Can’t have been anything important.

Tuesday marked the 12th of July, something of a public holiday here in Northern Ireland. To celebrate the Battle of the Boyne, there are parades and marches and the like and so we made our way down to watch them for half an hour or so. We got a good walk though, and it was a lovely warm morning. Considering I have something against loud noises (always have, always will. Couldn’t even have windows open while someone was cutting the grass) half an hour was long enough for me to cope with the Lambeg drums and loud music. Rachel’s boyfriend and his mum came around for an all afternoon barbeque, even though the rain was pouring down, and it was actually a good day. 

On Wednesday we took a road trip up to the north coast, Portrush and Port Ballintrae, for a different afternoon. It turned out to be a glorious day, and we finished it by having dinner in the Ramore Wine Bar. 


Thursday was spent revising, cleaning, and packing. Rachel was at her boyfriend’s, and I ended up having an argument with Mum so sat in my room the majority of the night.

Friday I saw Granny B and said goodbye to her before the holiday. The rest of the day was taken up with making her a list of instructions for while she’s cat-and-dog-sitting, teaching Mum how to download podcasts, painting nails and collecting our travel money. 

Saturday, holiday spirit began to take over. The kitchen was cleaned, Rachel went to her first “day” of work (it was only 3 hours and she complained after that she was exhausted – come back to me when you’ve worked 3:30-11:30pm one night and been back in 6:30am-3:30pm the next morning). The afternoon was spent at Granny H’s house before she took us out for dinner at a little restaurant on the Lisburn Road. It was lovely but boy does she talk… I swear she didn’t shut up for longer than 30 seconds in the 6 and a half hours we were with her. We went home and I curled up in bed to watch The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Love it.
And that brings you up to date! I’ll probably blog about our travels while we’re away so keep an eye out for my posts!
Hope the upcoming week is good to you all!
Ktkinnes xx

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

A busy day!

Good evening fellow bloggers! A warm welcome to darlydarly and Amy Wong, both of whom started to follow me this morning.

Tonight is a little different to this time last year. This time last year I was drinking in the garden with my mum, celebrating the night before the holiday. I then proceeded to watch 3 hours of Orange is the New Black instead of sleeping before the flight. Somehow I have the feeling that’s how I will be spending the next few nights but I shall swap OITNB for 24 as I hope to have finished season 6 before we go. Apparently the family have placed bets on what my first drink will be when we get to the hotel.

Last year, I made it my goal to try every cocktail on the menu however this lasted 3 nights before I discovered the mojito. This was no ordinary mojito, it was a “special mojito” – one of the waiters actually called it that. Turned out the waiter I went out with a few times was the cocktail chef (is that what you call them?) and so my mojitos slowly became more and more alcoholic. This not only made them better and better but I loved the mint and lime mixed together. However I doubt at 10:30am I shall be ordering alcohol. 
Tomorrow marks my granny’s 84th birthday so we are taking her for lunch to a restaurant in Lisburn city centre called Angelo’s, I’ll place a review here tomorrow! 84 is a marvellous age to reach in my opinion, even with the population living longer. My aunt’s father-in-law celebrated his 99th birthday on 30th June, 99 years old!! Not long now until he gets a birthday card from the Queen! I find age such a strange thing to celebrate. Why celebrate the day you were forced out of a warm, safe environment and into the world here? Silly I know but occasionally I think about it like that. 
To round off, I’m going back in a loop to the holiday and all the last minute shopping required for it. I am working every day this week until we fly out so have been panic packing the last few mornings. Driving into the centre, paying the car parking fees and wrestling against the bustling crowd, I have hunted high and low for my remaining shopping items. Okay, let’s be serious, Lisburn isn’t exactly busy and there aren’t that many shops. However, when you’re trying to pack for a holiday and find yourself in Boots for the 5th day in a row, you begin to dislike anyone who happens to be in your way. Today was an example of this. Boots seems to have become my home from home, I’m in every day to get something I forgot the day before. Checking things off my list, I gradually made my way to the counter to find only one till was open and the queue was to the middle of the shop. Now, working in a shop myself, I felt sorry for the poor woman sitting at the till, watching as more and more people get gradually more and more impatient with her. Unfortunately, I found myself getting increasingly impatient as the woman in front of me hmmed and hahed about whether or not she wanted to go back for the 3rd item in her 3 for 2 offer, and I didn’t hide it overly well. Eventually I got out of the shop, swearing I wasn’t going anywhere near it again until after the holidays only to realise I’d forgotten to buy Veet. “Stuff it,” I mumbled to my dad, who had kindly driven me in due to the lack of car. We proceeded to the bank where we then queued for another 20 minutes for me to simply tell them there might be a possibility of me using my card abroad (unlikely due to the lack of funds but ah well) and after was a quick dash to the beauticians for an eyebrow wax. 
So all in all, it was a productive day! What did you get up to? How was the hottest day of the year with you? Speak soon!
Ktkinnes xx