Five Favourite Friday | 2016

So we agreed a while back that the last post of the year would be our top 5 things that happened throughout the last 12 months.

For most people, myself included, 2016 has been the worst. The biggest thing being the amount of deaths that seem to have occurred throughout the year - celebs and family are both included in this list. And I genuinely cannot wait for 2016 to be over and to start afresh in 2017.

That being said, there have been a few good things to come of the year...

5. New Job! I got myself a new job! There were a few disagreements between myself and my previous employer regarding the hours I would be working on my return from Maternity leave. As we could not agree on what were reasonable working hours, I felt like I had no choice but to resign. After all, if I had gone back full time, I worked out that literally (and yes I do mean literally) ALL of my wages would have gone on childcare. And not only that, but I wouldn't have got to spend any time with him at all. So I resigned. I didn't have a job lined up and this was terrifying. I started applying for every part time job under the sun. Very quickly I got an email asking me to go for an interview. Within a couple of hours after the interview I was asked to go back and spend a couple of hours shadowing another staff member. And before I left to head home, I was offered the job! And thus began my career as a Playworker!

4. Alex's 1st Birthday! I can't believe he turned 1 this year. it feels like yesterday that we found out we were pregnant let alone celebrating a year of his life! My sister made the most amazing cake (see picture!) and we actually ended up having 3 parties in the end - one with my family, one with the in-laws and one with a couple of friends at Little Rascals (our local playbarn). I felt so lucky over the few days we celebrated and I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you once again to all who came and wished Alex a Happy Birthday - you really are amazing.

3. Alex took his 1st unaided steps! I have been waiting for this day for a long time! In the months leading up to this point he had started getting very frustrated, and that was frustrating for us as parents! So when he took his first steps, it was such a relief because it meant he could get around by himself without needing the help of his mummy or daddy. Oh, and did I mention that he started walking on my Birthday?

2. Harry Potter Studio Tour London! For my birthday my sister got us tickets to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London followed by drinks at the Ice Bar. We had such an amazing day, I loved the studio tour (I'm a massive Harry Potter fan!) and the Ice Bar was amazing - Thank you Chunky for being an amazing sister.

1. Alex saying 'love you' for the first time. There's a recurring theme with my positive parts of the year - they almost all include Alex! He really has been the highlight of my year. And none compares to when he said 'love you' for the first time. He really is something special and continues to amaze me and leave me in awe every single day.

And that's it. I can't think of another good thing to come from 2016 so I'll be happy to leave this one behind.

Don't forget to head on over to Tim's blog (Broken Thoughts) and check out his top 5.

Other than that, I hope you all have a fantastic night seeing in the New Year whatever you're doing.

I wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year

#Blogmas | Christmas Eve!

So today is Christmas Eve, which can only mean one thing! It's Nadine's Birthday!

We all met up at the Bridgewater Arms in Harmer Hill, Shropshire for a celebratory lunch. It was very nice, I had the Chicken Burger off the lunch menu and was not disappointed! It was very tasty and not at all dry (I find it's very rare to get a burger that's not dry). For pudding I had the Apple Pie. It was more like a crumble but there was a caramel sauce drizzled over it and it was lovely!

Afterwards it was back to my parents house for Birthday Cake and celebrations with other family members, Nan & my Uncle's family came to visit for the occasion. We had made some 'melted snowmen' biscuits for the family last night and gave these to people today too.

Now we are having a quiet evening at my parents and staying the night ready for Christmas Morning. We're going to be playing some board games, both me and my sister love playing games. I think it's because we feel like kids again!

I'm very excited about Christmas this year. My little boy is almost 2 and is showing a huge interest in the trees, the lights, Santa and the presents. His face will certainly be a picture when he opens his presents to see what he has got!

In the meantime, I hope Santa visits each and every one of you and you have a very Happy Christmas indeed!

#Blogmas | Five Favourite Friday - Christmas Cracker Jokes

You can probably tell by the title whose turn it was to pick the topic this week (insert appropriate emoji here).

So we are doing cracker jokes? Really? Ok...! Here goes!

5. What do you get if you cross Santa with a duck? - A Christmas Quacker!

4. How does good King Wenceslas like his Pizzas? - One that's deep-pan, crisp and even!

3. What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? - Tinselitis!

2. What do you call a bunch of chess players bragging about their games in a hotel lobby? - Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer!

1. Why is it getting harder to buy Advent Calendars? - Because their days are numbered!

Wow. Those are some terrible (and I mean TERRIBLE) jokes!!

I really hope you enjoy this Christmas Five Favourite Friday! As always head on over to Tim's blog to read his post.

I hope you all have an amazing Christmas!

Fa la la la la, la la la la!

#Blogmas | A Muted Christmas

I love Christmas, always have always will. Although I'm still super excited about Christmas this year (because of a certain little boy) it will be somewhat muted.

Almost 2 weeks ago my partner's Auntie sadly passed away aged 59. Today was her funeral and there was not a single dry eye in the church. She was extremely well loved by all and will be extremely missed.

Rest in Peace, Auntie Rita x

#Blogmas | Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

I've been a good girl this year. I mean, I've put up with a lot to be honest. My year started out pretty great! Although I wasn't able to return to the job I was on Maternity leave from, I did get a new job. I bagged myself a job working with children and I couldn't be happier! But then the world lost a legend - David Bowie. And I genuinely believe it all went downhill from there.

I'm not going to go through it all otherwise we'd be here 'til 2018! Anyway, I'd very much like to make sure that I'm on the Nice list, and there are just a few simple things I would like for Christmas:
  • A happy and healthy little boy (to be fair, I had this last Christmas too)
  • To be rid of my anxiety & depression and to just be happy
  • Some confidence to have a go at making YouTube videos and try my hand at Vlogging
  • A nice new camera (to up my photography game!)
I don't think I'm asking an awful lot.... Am I?

Anyway, there'll be a Mince Pie and some milk for you as always and I'll leave a carrot for your beautiful Reindeer too.

Yours sincerely,

#Blogmas | Five Favourite Friday - Christmas Decorations

It's my turn this week and I've opted for Christmas Decorations. I'm not talking specifics, just decoration type. You'll get what I mean once you've seen my choices! So let's get started!

5. Lights. Even more so this year, my son simply adores them!

4. Bunting. I'm not sure this is a traditional decoration but I really love the idea of Christmassy Bunting!

3. Baubles. What is a tree without baubles?

2. Snowglobes. I love that there are so many different varieties of snowglobe, I even used to have a Nightmare Before Christmas one!

1. Christmas Tree. Of course top of the list had to be the Christmas Tree! Without fail every year, a tree is put up in our home and decorated oh so beautifully and I always feel extremely Christmassy once our tree is up!

And that's it! What wasn't on my list that would have been on yours? Let me know in the comments!

Next week it's Tim's turn to pick a topic. And after that there is only one more Friday before 2017! Time has just flown this year! We have decided between us a topic for the last Friday of the year and then I'll be picking the first topic of 2017.

As always, pop on over and read Tim's post here!

​ #Blogmas | The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

I imagine you all have your own Christmas playlist but I thought I would share mine with you!

Of course I have what most would call the classics - from Mariah Carey to Mud. But I also have some more modern songs and remakes too. There are 29 tracks in all on my playlist so it's perfect for playing during Christmas lunch!
  1. All I Want For Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
  2. Last Christmas - Wham!
  3. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues
  4. I Wish It COuld Be Christmas Everyday - Wizzard & Roy Wood
  5. Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
  6. Mary's Boy Child - Boney M
  7. Step Into Christmas - Elton John
  8. Wonderful Christmastime - Paul McCartney
  9. Stop the Cavalry - Jona Lewie
  10. Lonely This Christmas - Mud
  11. Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin' Stevens
  12. Underneath the Tree - Kelly Clarkson
  13. One More Sleep - Leona Lewis
  14. Do You Wanna Build A Snowman? - Kristen Bell (Frozen Soundtrack)
  15. White Christmas - Bing Crosby
  16. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Dean Martin
  17. Winter Wonderland - Doris Day
  18. It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - Andy Williams
  19. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono
  20. Do They Know It's Christmas? - Band Aid
  21. In Dulci Jubilo - Mike Oldfield
  22. A Spaceman Came Travelling - Chris de Burgh
  23. It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas - Michael Buble 
  24. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - Michael Buble
  25. Wrapped In Red - Kelly Clarkson
  26. Baby, It's Cold Outside - Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews
  27. Sleigh Ride - The Ronettes
  28. Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano
  29. Light The Night - Andy Burrows
And there you have it! This is my playlist every year, although I do add songs if a new one is released that I really like. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments if you think I missed any!

If you do like my playlist, it's on my Spotify. Click here to go straight to the playlist.

​ #Blogmas | It's A Trap!

So I've decided that I'm going to be teaching Alex not to grow up, because it's a trap. Things always looked so easy to the grown ups when I was a kid. They always had it easy, doing what they wanted, when they wanted. Being able to drive themselves places whenever they felt like it. Being able to buy what they wanted.

Now I know that it wasn't like that at all. That underneath it all they were struggling to keep it all together. Being a kid was the easy bit. I wished I'd been able to hold on to that part of my life for just a little while longer. Instead, I've grown up, got a job, got a mortgage, bills and debt. We have to try our hardest to make sure that we have enough money put aside in case anything goes wrong. Take Sunday as an example. We were supposed to have a lovely lazy Sunday, and instead a pipe in our house burst and turned our kitchen into a paddling pool! The water wouldn't stop and we had to call an emergency plumber out. For about 15-20 mins work he took home a tidy sum of £200. Don't get me wrong, I am super grateful he was able to come otherwise I don't know what we would have done. But £200? I know for sure he'll be having a nice Christmas!

#Blogmas | Five Favourite Friday - Family Friendly Festive Films

It's 'F'ing Christmas!

It's Tim's turn this week and he's clearly tried to get as many 'F's into the title of this post as he physically can! That being said, I'm quite looking forward to this topic! I love all things Christmas and Music and Films are the biggest reasons why I love Christmas so much! The only rule for this one is that the films are family friendly (generally U  and PG ratings). So lets get cracking!

5. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Yes it's a Halloween film. Yes I also believe it's a Christmas film. No it's not up for discussion. So yes, it makes my list of favourite family Christmas films.

4. The Snowman & the Snowdog (2012). I love this one so much. I watch it every year (except pre-2012, then it was just The Snowman). The only reason this is so low down on my list is because it's so sad! I like to be happy at Christmas time!

3. Miracle on 34th Street (1994). If you haven't seen this one - where have you been??? Close this window and go and watch it. Come back when you've finished...

2. The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992). Michael Caine & Kermit the Frog. What more could you want?

1. Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). "It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags." The the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas..." He thought, "...means a little bit more." My absolute favourite Christmas film. 

I do have an honorary mention. And that's Home Alone (1990). It's such a well known Christmas film and even though it's not one of my favourites, it definitely does deserve a mention. 

And that's it! I'm sure you're probably wondering why Elf hasn't made the cut. It's simply because I don't like it. I think it's got something to do with the fact I'm not a fan of Will Ferrell. 

Anyway, as always pop on over to Broken Thoughts to read Tim's post. And please let me know in the comments what would be on your list of Festive Favourites! 

#Blogmas | Can I Start Again??

Oh wow! I cannot believe after saying I wasn't going to give in, I almost did! There has been so much going on in my life at the moment, I've been struggling loads to keep on top of stuff.

So this is just a quick post to say I genuinely am going to crack on with Blogmas, starting tonight with this weeks Five Favourite Friday post!

Hope you've all been well!

#Blogmas | Fail!

So I have failed #Blogmas already! Day 4 & 5 I missed posting as time has simply got away from me. I have no excuses. But I am not a quitter! I refuse to give in completely! So I'm re-starting from today with this post, and will definitely post again tomorrow (I have one all ready!).

So come on back over tomorrow for Day 7 of Blogmas!

#Blogmas | Etsy Christmas Gift Guide ~ Gifts for Her

Day 3 of #Blogmas is a gift guide! Now, I've typed out about 5 different gift guides now before finally settling on doing a his and hers guide and then possibly an additional one for kids. I've hunted high and low on the world wide web sites I know and love (*cough cough* Esty *cough cough*) and have come up with a gift guide for those lovely ladies in your life! These are mainly stocking fillers or little gifts, nothing too extravagant!

From left to right: Grape Soda Pin Badge from Up, £5.49. I Like You a Lottle porcelain heart, £5. Obi Wan Mug, £7.50. Monogrammed Book, £28. Engraved Coordinates Necklace, £15.65

From left to right: Hubby & Wifey Keyrings, £3.50. My Side/Your Side Comical pillowcases, £26. Personalised Keyring, £19.99

 From left to right: Mama make-up bag, £10. Mother cushion, £14. Mama Bear top, £21.42

From left to right: World's Okayest Sister jumper, £17. Sister to Auntie mug, £7. Sister rules mug, £7.99

These are simply stocking fillers so there should be something for all budgets here!

#Blogmas | Five Favourite Friday ~ Christmas Songs

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes. Silver white winters that melt into springs, these are a few of my favourite things

Aaand talking of favourite things, it's my turn to pick the topic this week and I'm jumping straight into the Christmas theme with Christmas songs! This has to be my favourite thing about Christmas. I always feel so Christmassy when Christmas songs start playing on the radio so I thought we'd kick off the Christmas Five Favourite Fridays with the music side of things! There are no restrictions, it's just the songs that are a must on your Christmas playlist!

5. In Dulce Jubilo - Mike Oldfield. Ok, so this one doesn't have any lyrics, meaning there's no belting it out in the car or the shower. But, it always makes me feel super festive and I just love it!

4. Step Into Christmas - Elton John. I can't help but sing this one super loud whenever I hear it! And it's always my first song of choice to lisen and sing along to while putting up my decorations!

3. Wrapped In Red / Underneath the Tree - Kelly Clarkson. I couldn't choose between the two!!! I love both of these and although they're not 'classics' they are always in my Christmas playlist and I can't go through Christmas without listening to them!

2. Fairytale of New York - The Pogues. Because is it really even Christmas if you don't listen to this one?

1. Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Jackson 5/Michael Buble. I love both the Jackson 5 and Michael Buble versions but if I had to pick my favourite of the 2 it would be Buble's version.

And that's it! This was super difficult as I really just wanted to put my entire Christmas Playlist up here, but who knows, maybe that'll appear in a later post during #Blogmas....

As always, don't forget to pop on over to Broken Thoughts to read Tim's post and...

Happy Holidays!

#Blogmas | A-Z of Christmas

Happy Blogmas everyone! This will be my second Christmas as a blogger but my first time attempting Blogmas. If you're not sure what Blogmas is, the idea is that you post once a day from December 1st for 25 days until Christmas Day with the topic being, you guessed it, Christmas!! To kick things off on day 1, I'm going to do my A - Z of Christmas. Here goes!

 ~ Advent ~
Because who doesn't love an Advent Calendar?
~ Blitzen ~
Not forgetting Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid & Donner
~ Christmas Day ~
Of course 'C' had to be Christmas Day itself. I love Christmas!
~ Decorations ~
I love decorating my house for Christmas! I'll be getting the decorations out and starting to put them up over the next week!
~ Elves ~
We'll be getting an Elf on the Shelf this year! And we'll more than likely dress up as an Elf on Christmas Day again!
~ Family ~
Christmas time for me is all about spending time with family and loved ones
~ Glitter ~
So. Much. Glitter.
~ Happy ~
I genuinely don't know anyone who isn't happy at Christmas time!
~ Ice ~
I love how the ice and frost glistens in the sun during winter
~ Jingle Bells ~
Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way. Oh what fun it is to ride on a one horse open sleigh!
~ Kris Kringle ~
Although he appears in many Christmas films, if you haven't seen Miracle on 34th Street then do you even like Christmas?
~ Lights ~
I love putting up the lights and going around town and the streets looking at the lights that people have put up on their houses!
~ Mistletoe ~
*Kiss kiss*
~ Nativity ~
Did anyone else take part in their schools nativity before film & TV characters started making appearances?
~ Oranges ~
Oranges seem to be an extremely Christmassy thing don't they? Is it just me? I'm not even sure if there's any history in oranges being associated with Christmas (let me know if there is!)
~ Poinsettia ~
I've never owned one but this year I think I am going to treat myself. I just think they look so pretty.
~ Quality time ~
This is definitely the time of year to spend quality time with your family. On Christmas Day, all the shops are shut so there is no excuse for not spending time with loved ones!
~ Reindeer ~
Because how else is Santa going to get to all those children?
~ Scrooge ~
I'm lucky enough to live where the first Christmas Carol was filmed, and we happen to have Mr Scrooge's grave here in Shrewsbury in St Chad's cemetery!
~ Tinsel ~
Tinsel gets everywhere when I get my hands on it! On the tree, around the windows, in my hair....
~ Unwrap ~
Christmas morning arrives, what's the first thing most of us do? Unwrap our presents!!!
~ Visit ~
Don't forget to visit those friends and family that you haven't seen all year!
~ Wreath ~
I have a somewhat non-traditional Christmas Wreath. Mine is pink, blue, green & gold and made from tinsel and baubles...
~ Xmas ~
I know some people hate Christmas being shortened to 'Xmas' but I did some research and apparently the Church has been using 'X' as an abbreviation for Christ for some time! And the 'mas' is a shorter 'Mass' and therefore we get Xmas! You learn something new every day!
~ Yule log ~
Mmmm, chocolate...
~ Zzzzzz... ~
Exactly what I'll be doing on Christmas Eve ready for Santa to visit!