Image of 2 red and white candy canes arranged in a love heart shape

Christmas is the time for giving…

Right?! It’s the season for generosity.

The time to show people that we care. This often takes the form of gifts. Material things we give to show we’re thinking about someone. Sometimes it shows how little you were thinking about that person. Sometimes it shows that you did a mad dash round the Boots 3 for 2 gift section!

I know I sound a bit bah humbug, but I’m at a point where I’m done with consumerism of the festive time. We live in a society where we ALL have too much stuff! Mark and I have been trying to clear out for the past year, I don’t need more stuff to clutter up my already cluttered home.

With this in mind I’ve decided to do things a bit differently this year. It was after a conversation with my Dad talking about not doing gifts, not buying people things they don’t want or need. It made me think that maybe I’m not the only person feeling like this. We’ve decided to give each other the gift of time this year. We’ll do something rather than buy each other things.

So I’ve decided to put together an alternative gift list this year. Some ideas of how you can show the people you love that you really are thinking of them.

Movie marathon

Pick a friend (or partner, or sibling), get settled on the sofa, grab a blanket, some snacks and pick a load of films or a box set you both love. Maybe use it as an excuse to have a marathon viewing of your favourite series. Some suggestions: Disney, Star Wars, Harry Potter or Back to the Future.

21st century mixtape

Remember when a mixtape was the ultimate declaration of love?! You would sit and painstakingly record tracks onto a cassette tape to give to your crush. Well, those days are long gone. But the sentiment doesn’t need to be. Make a playlist on Spotify/Amazon Music/Apple Music and send them the link. Include songs you love, songs they love and songs that mean something to both of you. Maybe a selection of songs from bands you’ve both seen live this year. It shows that you’ve taken time to really think about what songs they like. A perfect ‘gift’ for any music lover!

Plan a road trip

There’s something really exciting about jumping in the car and getting away for the day. You can either have the day perfectly planned out, or go on the ultimate adventure with no idea where you’ll end up. If you want to go for the latter, get your passenger involved. They tell you whether to turn right or left and just see where you end up! A road trip is a great way to explore a part of your country you’ve never visited before.

The gift receivers perfect day out

Make a day all about them. Plan a day to their favourite place, take them to their favourite restaurant. Most people shy away from a day all about them unless it’s a birthday.

Fun day out

This can really take many forms. You could visit the zoo, do a day as a tourist in your city. Go on an open-top tourist bus to learn things you never knew. Some suggestions for Central Scotland – Glasgow Mural Trail, Glasgow/Edinburgh city tour bus, Edinburgh Zoo, Glasgow Science Museum, Stirling Castle or Jupiter Artland.

If you can leave your phone untouched for all of these, all the better. Make sure you’re 100% present with the person you’re giving time to. It’s the one thing you can never get back!

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

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Photo of a Christmas tree with multi-coloured lights sitting in a bay window

O’ Christmas tree, o’ Christmas tree…

One of my favourite things about the festive season is putting the Christmas tree up!

This is the first time as an adult that I’ve had a real Christmas tree. We had a really nice artificial one but it was too big to store. So we found it a new home and decided that this year we would have a real tree. I admit I was pretty excited about the prospect of a real tree, one that would smell like Christmas!

As much as I LOVE the holidays, getting our tree the first weekend in December was even a bit early for me. But a busy month ahead of us, and football season still being on for Mark meant that the only day we would have together would be during the first weekend. It was suggested that Mark went himself when I was at work, but I wanted to get the whole experience. Including picking the tree!

Image of Christmas trees lined up on muddy ground

We did a bit of research on where to buy our tree. One place was only open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm though! Not sure how much custom they’ll get as I imagine a lot of people will be working at those times. After looking at a lot of different options we decided to go to a Forestry Commision place to get ours. The trees are sustainably grown and the money made from sales goes back into the Forestry Commision to maintain the forests. Santa has also given their trees his stamp of approval, so they must be good! Although we bought ours from the Forestry Commision in Scotland there are also places in England that you can purchase them.

I didn’t realise there were different options for the kind of tree you can get. The place we went to had three different varieties of tree. Pine, fir and spruce. Spruce trees are the traditional Christmas trees. They’re the ones that have the conical shape you think of when someone says Christmas tree. Traditional they may be, but it wasn’t for me. We ended up going for a Fraser Fir. It’s lovely and thick and at 6ft it met the requirement of being taller than me.

As this is my first year of having a real Christmas tree I was determined to pick the perfect one. Once we’d established that it would be a fir tree and that a 6ft one would fit in the flat, we went in search of the perfect one. It’s really important you can see the tree without any netting on it. This way you know you’re getting one that is even and doesn’t have any big gaps in the branches. We looked through a lot! Tip, even when you think you’ve found THE tree, there is probably an even better one – make sure you get a good look at all of them.

Once we’d selected our tree we took it to be wrapped in the netting and got it in the car. Also, make sure that your car is big enough for the size of tree you want. Even if our flat could’ve taken bigger than 6ft, our car could not. It was already pushed through in between the front seats!

When we got home we (by “we”, I mean Mark) sawed a couple of inches of the bottom of the trunk (this helps it soak up water) and put it in the base. The base we got was really easy to set up and we had the tree standing upright in a matter of minutes. Real Christmas trees take a bit to settle, so we didn’t decorate it right away. This year we treated ourselves to some new multi-coloured lights – 300 is about right for a 6ft. Some Disney decorations and candy canes finished it off nicely!

A real tree takes a bit more maintenance than an artificial one. I can honestly say I was 31 years old before I realised that you need to water a real tree! Apparently, if you don’t they can burst into flames! I saw a video on Facebook that genuinely put the fear in me. Here are some top tips for keeping your tree looking it’s best up to Christmas and into the New Year.

 

Do you go for a real Christmas tree or do you prefer an artificial one?

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photos taken by me.

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Image of a purple sequin jumper

‘Tis (almost) the season to sparkle.

Christmas party season is almost upon us! And that means many nights/days out.

The festive season is the perfect excuse to add a bit of sparkle to your wardrobe. And what better way to do this than by adding some sequins to your outfits!? The shops are full of party wear. When it comes to picking some festive sparkle, there’s always plenty of choice. And Warehouse has a great selection of party dresses, sequins and sparkles to make your Christmas party wear stand out! Perfect for any occasion – from your office Christmas party to Christmas shopping or a visit to a German market.

I’m trying to be a bit more conscious with what I’m buying and I love when you get an item of clothing that can be styled up in different ways. I’ve styled the sequin top above in three different ways, showing that sparkle doesn’t only need to be for your Christmas party!

Christmas Party

Image of purple sequin top, black midi tutu skirt and black patent heeled ankle boots

Although sequins don’t have to be reserved for your Christmas party night, they definitely make your outfit a bit more festive! I’m not really one for flashing a lot of skin on a night out (mostly because I’m always freezing!) so a long sleeve top is perfect for me. This midi tulle skirt goes perfectly – dressy and a bit cute but still grown up due to the length. Add a pair of skin coloured tights or go bare legged if you’re brave enough. You really can’t go wrong with ankle boots, black patent is perfect to pair with a dressy outfit.

Outfit details – Sequin jumper: Warehouse // Skirt: Primark (old, similar here) // Boots: F&F at Tesco

Christmas drinks

Image of purple sequin top, black skinny jeans and black patent heeled ankle boots

You really can’t go wrong with a pair of skinny black jeans, a definite wardrobe staple. Teamed with the sequinned jumper and black heeled boots and you have the perfect smart/casual outfit. Ideal for after work drinks or even for Christmas day. (Although, only maybe if you’re spending Christmas day with your own family and feel able to unbutton your jeans once the food baby gets too big!)

Outfit details – Sequin jumper: Warehouse // Jeans: Next (old, similar here) // Boots – F&F at Tesco

Casual sequins

 

Image of purple sequin top, light blue Levi's jeans and black Dr Martens

Who said sequins had to be saved for fancy occasions?! The best thing about Christmas is you get to sparkle all month long! If you don’t want to wear a Crimbo jumper then sequins are a great alternative. Add a pair of ripped jeans and Dr Martens and you have an outfit suited for a day at the Christmas markets or a cinema date.

Outfit details – Sequin jumper: Warehouse // Jeans: Levi’s // Boot: Dr Martens

How would you style sequins for Christmas?

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

 

*This was a collaborative post but all writing/opinions are my own
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Black shoes with tiny Christmas wreath made out of tinsel, green bells and holly

I love dressing to a theme.

And Christmas is the perfect time for some over the top themed dressing.

When I saw these fabulously tacky earrings in Primark a couple of weeks ago they gave me the perfect idea for some DIY Xmas shoes. These were really easy to make. And even better, they were super cheap, cause let’s be honest who wants to spend a lot on something you’re only going to wear a few times a year.

Photo of black shoes, pliers, a bottle of superglue and Christmas earrings with tinsel, holly and green bells

To make you will need:

  • A pair of shoes (I got these black pumps from Primark)
  • Some kitsch Christmas earrings (these were also from Primark)
  • Pliers
  • Superglue

Method:

  1. Start by removing the earring hooks with the pliers. You’ll still be left with a metal hook on the back of the felt but this doesn’t cause any problems when sticking them onto the shoes.
  2. Once you’ve removed the hooks put some superglue on the back and stick it to the shoe.
  3. Repeat this step for the second one and put in place. Hold down for around 30 seconds to make sure they’re stuck.

Fabric glue would also work for these, but I prefer to use superglue as you get a much better stick.

Photo of Christmas earrings with the hooks removed

Photo of shoes, Christmas earrings and superglue

These earrings also light up! They’re on a timer and you can still turn them on even once they’ve been stuck to the shoes. And there you have it, light up Christmas shoes!

In total, these super tacky Crimbo shoes cost me less than £10 and took around 10 minutes to make. Perfect for adding some festive cheer to an outfit and (probably) guaranteed to make people smile when they see you wearing them.

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photographs taken by me

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Black peg board with copper frame and the words "every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings" with a lit candle and a mug of hot chocolate with a candy cane

Woo hoo! It’s December!!

I’m pretty excited about the start of the festive season!

December is the perfect time to light some candles and get snuggled up on the sofa with a hot chocolate and blanket. I absolutely love a Christmas movie, and like many people I have some that are classics from my childhood. Then there are others that have part of my Xmas tradition as I’ve gotten older (…and some that didn’t come out until I was older). I’m going to share some of my favourites with you.

Home Alone

I don’t think I’m alone in loving Home Alone. For most people my age, this film has great childhood memories. If you don’t know the story (you must have been living under a rock for the last 17 years), after an argument with his family Kevin wishes they would disappear. And of course he gets his wish and gets left home alone while his family go on holiday for Christmas. Much hilarity ensues including a house full of booby traps to catch burglars – The Wet Bandits – in a series of stunts that would surely actually kill a human. The idea of getting left at home alone and having the run of your house with no parents about is most kids dream. Getting to eat whatever you want, watch whatever you want on TV, for as long as you want…!

Love Actually

This film gives me all the festive feels! Bill Nighy playing an aged rocker bringing out a Christmas single with the tune of Wet Wet Wet’s “Love Is All Around”. Everyone loves a feel good romantic film at Christmas right?! The fact that Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are in this movie, totally makes this film for me. I love Hugh Grant’s dancing! I has become a bit of a Christmas thing to watch Love Actually with my wee brother and stepmum, although we do fast forward through a certain part cause it’s a bit awks…

The Holiday

Yup… another romantic Christmas film! Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet’s characters do a house swap in December after both have guy troubles. It’s a typical, “guys are d**ks but then they both meet the loves of their lives” film. This one has Jack Black, my (not so) secret and weird crush. I literally love everything he is in, he is just so funny! Despite not normally being into mushy stuff (I realise my Crimbo film picks disagree) I really love this film. It makes me happy.

Elf

It really wouldn’t be Christmas without this film. Will Ferrel plays Buddy the elf, a human who found himself in the North Pole after crawling into Santa’s sack. After finding out there’s a reason he doesn’t fit in, he heads to New York in search of his real family. Hilariously funny, with an infectious excitement for Christmas, it definitely gets you in the mood for Santa day. And it makes you want to eat candy for breakfast every day in December!

It’s A Wonderful Life

I have saved the best for last. For me it isn’t Christmas until this movie has been watched. It has become a Christmas Eve tradition to watch this with my family since my wee brother and sister got old enough to watch it, and it’s honestly one of my favourite Christmas traditions. I don’t watch this film at all in December and save it for Christmas Eve. This year Mark and I will be going with my family to watch it at the GFT.

Clarence the angel is sent to help George Bailey, a man in need who has reached the lowest point in his life. We see George’s life from when he was a boy, up until the point he is ready to jump off a bridge. If you’ve never seen it, I know this doesn’t really make it sound like a must see film. But it really is. Clarence goes on to show George just what impact him never being born would have on the lives of all his family and friends, and it turns out that everyone’s life has been made better by him. And it also gets us to “remember no man is a failure who has friends”.

 

I really could go on with this list, there are SO many great Christmas films. But I had to stop myself at five or we would have been here all day!

Have any of your favourite Christmas movies made it into my top five? Whats your all time favourite?

 

The name Kayleigh written in pink cursive font.

Photo taken by me

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