10 Top Tips for an Organised Christmas

10 Top Tips for an Organised Christmas

Chris often takes the mickey out of me for having lists coming out my ears – especially around Christmas but it means I can be organised and arrange the presents and make sure they get to the correct recipients – preferably on time! Here are some of my tips for an organised Christmas.

1. Write a list of who you need to shop for.

Not only does this mean that I can cross of people as I get their presents I can also jot down ideas or what to get for them or what to make.

I usually start with our family (Chris, Our Sidekick and Jaxon), then my parents, brother and his wife, then Chris’s parents and sister. Then I head further afield and group them together – first up is other relatives that we need presents for then friends and then anyone else (for example a box of chocolates for next door as a thank you for receiving parcels in our absence throughout the year)

I then add a little code next to them so – are they having a Homemade (HM) present or a store bought (SB) present?

I try and get a spare box of biscuits or chocolates just in case we have a surprise present or get invited somewhere for tea and want to take a present as a guest.

2. Start shopping now.
I don’t understand the mad Christmas Eve shopping trip. You know that Christmas is coming so why act like its a surprise? Once I’ve written my list I try to start in advance (usually around September). I know of a few people who look through the January sales for the next Christmas.

3. Write a food shopping list
Again rather than a crazy dash at the end, is there anything you can stockpile and have ready now?

We tend to have a joint rather than a full Turkey on Christmas Day so this can be bought in September/October and put in the freezer. Vegetables tend to be done last within the week before Christmas but other bits like stuffing, gravy granules etc are either already in the cupboard or can be bought and stored.

It might sound silly but make sure that the best before date is after Christmas so that the food is still edible come Christmas. Some things won’t last that long but so what you can to save the stress and be organised.

4. Decide if you’re sending Christmas cards. If yes, write a list of recipients

We received our first Christmas card this weekend from a friend at church. She said there was no harm in being early.

Similarly to the presents write a list. Mine is usually grouped either by hand delivery or post or family, friends, church etc.

5. Check postage dates
If you are sending Christmas cards or need to send presents in the mail make sure you check the Christmas delivery dates so that the presents or cards get there in time. These are the dates from the Royal Mail website. Also avoid the Post Office on that final posting day – having made that mistake before it can be very busy!

The further away it needs to go the earlier it needs to go. New Zealand and Australia for example are as early as the 3rd and 4th December. If it’s going to a BFPO, check the type of box as the last postage date differs. One type has to go by the 28th November.

6. Once you’ve written that present list try and support local or small businesses whre you can.

Although I try and make some of my presents I try to buy the materials from local places if I can for example wool I try Monster Yarns or Tudor Rose before heading for Hobbycraft.

If you’re sorting a present for a couple or a family, something like homemade cookies or flapjack wrapped up nicely, can be a yummy present but doesn’t break the bank. (Make sure they are gluten or dairy free if needed!)

7. A Pinterest idea is to wrap your presents in fabric or using bright colours or sparkly pens draw over brown parcel/kraft paper and then wrap your present – pretty wrapping without spending more on wrapping paper.

Do you have any specific tips for the holiday season?  

Original image found here. Additions my own.

Currently…27th October

Currently...

Currently… image from rukristin

Watching:
Strictly Come Dancing
Forever
NCIS: Los Angeles
NCIS
Grey’s Anatomy

Reading:
Currently I’m not really reading anything. I finished reading Walking Home on Saturday. It’s an autobiography by Clare Balding and it’s really interesting. I’ve been getting more interested in walking further afield rather than just to and from the supermarket. I want to invest in one of those backpack carriers so that Jaxon and I can go exploring while we have the opportunity. The early evenings are setting in now with the clocks changing this weekend just gone but I’m sure I can still cover some miles (especially with my FitBit strapped to my wrist),

Listening:
Radio mainly when I’m in the car – as I write this I have a TV program from iPlayer playing in the background, also have Jaxon’s burbling to accompany my typing.

Making:
Been working on a present with Our Sidekick – he’s doing the hard work but I am pointing him in the right direction. I am then crocheting a blanket to hopefully have ready for the craft sale that is taking place to raise funds for the Dalit Freedom Network. I’m also being a bit more technical and helping out my Mum’s friend with her website.

Feeling:
I’m feeling okay. With the clocks changing and the evenings drawing in I am struggling a little bit this week because of it getting darker and not having so much time outside but if I’m organised and get out in the morning then I can do stuff in the morning then work in front of the computer and in the house as it gets darker outside – it’s all about planning your day the right way round and not wasting the light.

Planning:
I’m working on getting ideas down on paper ready for NaBloPoMo. Some die hards would say that I’m doing it wrong by planning ideas in advance but I think I need to do it to make sure I’m ticking the boxes as the month goes. Especially if I’m going to be trying to comment on others too as I go.

Loving:
Snuggles with Jaxon – will I ever stop loving them? I’m also loving my fluffy slippers – I need to see if I can send them through the washing machine as I don’t think they’ve been washed recently and I think they are showing it now!

{Gratitude}

Gratitude

Things I'm Grateful For

Joining up with:
Ashley from Hello Nature, Laura from The Laura Way & Nay from Coffee-N-Ink.

Today I am writing about the gratitude I have…

My friend Loz arriving safely from Australia – last time I saw her was when I was about 18 and her, her sister and parents all emigrated there. She’s back for a month, what an early Christmas present! I ended up going for lunch today with her and our friend Cat (and two little boys!) we had a lovely time catching up – it was like the old days (plus the additions)

My friend Becky had her baby this weekend just gone, her little girl arrived safely into the world and is gorgeous! Can’t wait to hopefully meet the little one at some point – for now I’ll look at pictures on FB. Her little girl is over 3lbs lighter than Jaxon was when he was born! He’s a chunk – then again he might take after Chris and once he’s walking he won’t stop!

I am grateful for the nap that Jaxon is having in the middle of the living room floor while I write this post and do various other bits that aren’t so easy when he’s awake. I probably should start dinner but Our Sidekick is out doing his paper round and when he gets in he might still be waiting for his Mum to call so I won’t rush it. It’s either chicken breast or gammon – I’m thinking a gammon sandwich might be quite nice so hopefully Our Sidekick will take the chicken lol.

I am grateful for the time I got to spend with Chris this morning, although he’s had the week off he’s has various adventures so it was important to get some time in for us. We had breakfast today over at O for Coffee as I needed to get some wool and I knew for sure that Tudor Rose had the right shade and the right brand. I had a sausage sandwich and Chris had a gluten free bacon sandwich I think – definitely not on plan but I can work on that for the rest of the week.

I am grateful that the weather was nice today and hoping that the weather tomorrow will be nice too as I’m off to the hairdressers to have my hair cut – it’s quite long now and needs some TLC – I’m thinking of having it cut short to try and keep it a little more cared for while Jaxon is so little. I keep moulting loads or finding my hair round his toes or fingers (reading about hair tourniquets is not so good – they need to warn about that).

Dear Jaxon… – 15 Weeks

Dear Jaxon...

Dear Jaxon,

Hello there. Last week you surprised us. Chris was sat with you in the back of the car on Friday and somehow ended up with his finger in your mouth. He commented how he could feel a little tooth coming through. When we swap seats I had a go, no there wasn’t just one in there but two little teeth coming through. So in theory you will have your two front teeth (albeit it bottom front!) for Christmas.

You’re now 3 and a half months old. With assistance you can sort of sit up. If we don’t hold you, you either fall sideways or you fold forward. I’ve found that if I prop you up against my pillows on the bed you’ll sit there quite happily while I potter around and do chores. On Monday while Daddy was away for the night we put a lot of washing away which had been taking over as I hadn’t got that far! You sat on the bed and gurgling and chatting away to me. It might not make much sense but you were excited and babbled faster and some points and at others you just had little babbles that were shorter or just had one or two sounds instead of the longer babbles that have like five or six sounds. You are starting to have conversations with us which is really fun. On Monday we also went swimming again, it was the first time I’d taken you by myself so we went to the pool with Hazel and Mini Fairy. They were there for moral support and on hand if I did need extra help. It was a challenge to get the bag in and out of the locker while holding you but once I managed that we had a good time in the pool. You were okay on your back but not entirely keen. I held you upright in the water by your arm pits. You kept trying to kick your legs out behind you. This was really good but you haven’t got the hang of holding up your head when we lie you on your tummy so I couldn’t put you in the water on your tummy as the water would have been in your face. I think this frustrated you a little but if you can get the hang of it then we’ll try again another day. You were really calm for the whole time until you’d had enough and then you got a little worked up and we had to go. Hazel was impressed at how well you’d coped with it all. Next time I’m going to take your swimming seat/float and see if you like that. You’ll be able to put your legs in the water and sit up without me having to hold you too much. Hopefully you’ll get a bit stronger and won’t need my help so much to sit up too. We’ll just have to see.

One morning Daddy sneezed right above your Moses basket. It made you jump and it woke you up. You freaked out and started crying. I thought it was just his sneezes that upset you until this week where I sneezed twice in one evening and both times you cried. In the end I tried to clamp my hand over my mouth so that the sound wasn’t so loud. It seemed to work – I just need to remember to sneeze that way instead of how I normally sneeze.

You also started another trick. You were lying across my lap after having a feed and started to kick your legs and managed to roll yourself on to your side. In the end I put you on the floor and you spent a couple of hours just rolling from your back onto your side and back again. You just need to get the hang of rolling on to your front and then linking it altogether and you’ll be able to roll completely. I’m not sure if all this activity is normal for your age or not but you’re getting good at all these skills it’s no surprise that you’re sleeping really well.

You’re in 3-6 months clothes although Daddy thinks your legs are getting too long for some of your outfits, weight wise you only have about 2lbs then might have to move up anyway which I’m sure will be before you’re 6 months old. You’re still in Size 3 nappies but weight wise we might have to move you up to Size 4 soon. I wanted to buy you an outfit for Christmas but I’m reluctant to get it at the moment in case I get the wrong size! Anyway that can go on the to do list for another day.

Love you lots Little One

Mummy

Jaxon in his Jeans

Look mummy I'm learning!

Ella Riley’s Toffee Rolls and Kickstarter

It’s funny how serendipitous Social Networks can be. I’ve been on Twitter for something like five years. Thanks to friendships forged on Twitter I’ve met Becca, Ruby and other people. One of these other people is Freya of Ella Riley’s Sweets. Back in 2011, we got chatting on Twitter and I was sent some sweeties to test and review including a selection of Ella Riley’s Toffee Rolls. Our friendship continued and in the summer of 2012 when we were on holiday in Bristol, on the day we went to Cardiff I managed to convince the boys to visit Freya’s shop in Bridgend.

Welsh Sweetie Dragon

Why am I writing about this now?

Well, Freya and her husband are launching a Kickstarter project to extend their business. Their sweet shop Ella Riley’s is based on Nolton Street in Bridgend. It’s a proper old fashioned sweet shop with jars along the walls and you get them weighed out instead of a pre-sealed packet from the shelf but there’s certainly nothing old fashioned about this shop when it comes to using modern technology.

Sugar Mice and Honeycomb Cheese

Steve and Freya are using the crowd funding website Kickstarter to raise the funds for the expansion of their business. They are looking to purchase a toffee boiler, a toffee table and a hard boiled sweet making machine.

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I love supporting local and small businesses when possible (yes I know Bedford isn’t local to Bridgend!). Ella Riley’s currently stock their sweets in over 160 traditional sweet shops in the UK and export them to France, America and Canada.

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So if you’re like me and have a sweet tooth please back their project, if you’re not able to financially back them please spread the word and help this little business grow into something big.

Riley's Toffee Rolls

You can follow their progress on Facebook or Twitter. You can also visit their website here.

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All images provided by Ella Riley’s Sweets.

Dear Jaxon…- 14 Weeks

Dear Jaxon...

Dear Jaxon,

Today you are 14 weeks old. I still can’t believe will I look at you that 14 weeks ago we were in hospital meeting you.

You’ve well and truly got the hang of smiling. You smile to nearly anyone who talks to you but sometimes you get shy and just want Mum or Dad.

On Sunday at church Emma was looking after you then you decided you needed me so I put you in the wrap and you helped me serve refreshments. Part way through you went asleep against me and stayed like that for a chunk of the church service too. I gave you to daddy and popped to the loo, when I came back Daddy has his hand over your ear because the music was too loud for you. I took you back through to crèche and we spent the rest of the service in there.

On Monday evening you were sat leaning against me after having a feed and when Daddy was talking to you, you’d pull your head up off of me so that you had a better view. When I took you up to get you ready for bed I sat you in the middle of my bed and when I turned round you’d fallen to one side and rolled onto your front. We’re learning all these skills we just need to put them together.

We made it to Playtime for the first time this week. I’m not really sure what you made of it. Most of the toys are for bigger children but we were able to join in with singing grace before the snack and then join in the singing and story time. I guess as you’re able to sit up and move around you’ll be able to do more things there. We sat with one of the ladies from church along with her youngest grandson.

We then spent the afternoon with Grandma which was lovely. In the evening we took Our Sidekick to a new sports club which he really enjoyed and I think he wants to go back next week.

This morning you woke up for a feed and have fallen asleep next to me! Good start to the day I think.

Love you

Mummy

Mummy I'm 14 Weeks Old

Super Busy Mum

Currently…13th October

Currently...

Currently… image from rukristin

Watching:
Who Do You Think You Are?
The Great British Bake Off
Strictly Come Dancing
Doctor Who
Remember Sunday
Le Weekend

Reading:
Lovely blog posts from our Let Your Blog Shine group and another little bloggers group I belong to.

Listening:
Radio mainly. Also listening to Jaxon chatter away – it’s more burbling and cooing at the moment but it’s funny especially as it changes.

Making:
Getting there on one of the Christmas presents, I’m down to one of the last knitted bits and then I’ve got to sew it all together I’ve also started two crochet projects for the charity sale at church on the 1st November. I’m not sure if they will both get finished by then but hopefully they will.

Feeling:
Okay, well sort of today. Today I woke up and felt sort of blue, it could just be the weather because it’s raining really heavily and I wanted to go out for a walk today so I’m not calling the doctor yet but I’ll keep an eye on it in case.

Planning:
I’m planning blog posts for November when it’s NaBloPoMo. I’m avoiding planning any ideas for NaNoWriMo otherwise I’ll want to join in with that although I really don’t have the time to do it this year!

Loving:
Watching Jaxon learn new things. He’s getting used to tummy time now, and he’s getting better at holding his head – not quite up but it’s getting stronger.

{Gratitude}

Gratitude

Things I'm Grateful For

Joining up with:
Ashley from Hello Nature, Laura from The Laura Way & Nay from Coffee-N-Ink.

So, Chris has just taken Jaxon up to bed and I’m pretty sure he might have woken Jaxon up in the process – it is a skill to get him upstairs and into the moses basket without waking him so he’s not in trouble – these things happen. I’m attempting to scribble this down at speed.

Hello there and welcome! Especially new faces – I know there are a few out there.

Things I’m Grateful For…

The weather
It’s October and minus the odd few downpours and the very cold mornings it’s actually still been quite warm – I’ve even been out and had to take my jumper off because it’s been too warm to wear it.

Chris
Being hands on and taking over so I get a little bit of a break. (I think Jaxon has settled again so I might not be needed right now!)

Our Sidekick
In the last couple of days when he’s got in from school he’s looked after Jaxon while I’ve been to the loo or pottered round the house without Jaxon getting upset that he’s been left on his own.

Time with My Dad
My Mum has been away with her bestie/client at The Knitting and Stitching Show. I see my Mum quite regularly during the week as she works at home. My Dad however works in an office so as today was his day off we organised to go out for lunch. We chatted about all sorts including trains, Welsh railways, how long it should take to climb up Snowdon as well as things like the Hazelnuts that we found under a tree on our way home. I love hanging out with my Dad but sometimes it doesn’t happen often enough.