A Christmas Eve Message to You All…

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It’s been a lovely few days. The train journey was uneventful and quick, my mum met me at the station and we have spent most of yesterday and today talking nonsense, sleeping, eating snacky food and competing in a battle of wills over control of the television. Inevitably, Mum is in the lead and as I couldn’t face any more soap opera nonsense (really – the most depressing, soul destroying things ever) I went and had a long bath.

I’ve said it many times before, but I’m incredibly lucky… So many can’t say the same. Continue reading

The Obligatory Christmas Train Journey Post…

It’s 7.30am and I’m on a train up north to spend Christmas with my family. I feel like I’ve written that sentence so many times…

I discovered that tickets to Manchester – my usual destination – were really expensive and there were no connecting trains to Bolton, so I managed to bag one to Wigan instead for £8.50. The only trouble is, it was at 6.15am. It’s worked out well so far – there’s a storm set to hit the north later on this morning, by which time I should be happily relaxing in my jammies at my Mum’s house. The carriage is pretty much empty, so I’ve taken advantage of that and sat at a table with a power socket to charge my phone. There’s the usual whinging toddler (“But whyyyyy? Nooooooo, I don’t want that! Muuuuuum I waaaaant thaaaaat”) so I’ve put my headphones in and am listening to The Backstreet Boys. They’re not normally my travel music of choice, preferring 80’s rock anthems usually, but it feels like a Backstreet Boy kind of day. Continue reading

Christmas Preparations

Liberty display

Liberty display

I’m still on a buzz from the weekend…

We got back on Saturday evening with a sense of ‘did that all really just happen?’ and decided to continue the fun by going to watch the new Star Wars film on Sunday morning, which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately (as is the usual case with the cinema we go to) I had to put my teacher voice on and ask the teenagers to take their feet off the back of The Bloke’s seat and stop kicking him, despite the fact that their parents were sitting right next to them. Thankfully, they did, and we watched the rest of the film without further interruption. I always feel like a whingy toe rag when I say something, but it always gets on my nerves when I have to get into teacher mode. Continue reading

A Cat in a Hat and a Drunken Tree

imageAfter enviously seeing some of my neighbours Christmas decorations over the last few days, I took the opportunity this morning to finally decorate the tree and front room.

We’ve had the same tree for years – a cheap and artificial Argos purchase – and it’s been with us through three house moves. The decorations initially started off as one silver bauble set, lights and some tinsel that we bought with the tree, but every year we have added to it with things we have purchased on our travels, resulting in a mishmash of glass stars, little pottery santas, Beatrix potter characters, wooden snowflakes and gingerbread figures. People with design ideals and OCD would have a minor panic attack. Continue reading

Christmas Shenanigans and the Return of Ian, the Scary Gnome

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It’s been a busy few weeks. With Christmas prep and the end of term, several nights out, an early Christmas with The Bloke, a bloggy event that I organised at Organique – my favourite beauty store – Christmas with the family, a 200 mile round-trip and, of course, the new Star Wars film (which was awesome, by the way), I now find myself sitting in my front room surrounded by stuff. The house is an utter mess, I can’t button my jeans up, there’s a random assortment of leftovers in the fridge and freezer, and I have no idea where I’m going to put everything. Continue reading

Christmas Eve Traditions

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It’s funny how little traditions unintentionally build up over the years. I’m sitting in my jammies, waiting for mum to get back with the Chinese take-away. We’ve got a selection of cheeses ready for later, accompanying the extremely cheesy film ‘Babycakes’ starring Ricki Lake – a film that we watch every year. The presents are wrapped and placed on the sideboard (due to the dogs always taking an interest in them). It’s just me and mum – my sisters haven’t spent Christmas Eve with us in a long time, and it’s quiet. I realised that this is the same routine we’ve re-enacted every single year, and I wouldn’t have it any other way (although I wouldn’t say no to a lottery win…) Continue reading

How to Save Money on Christmas Presents

How to save money on Christmas presentsThe new John Lewis #ManOnTheMoon advert has been released today, and the Christmas countdown has started…

I love Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but unfortunately it is also usually the most expensive.

Last year, I left my shopping to the last minute, and consequently found myself rushing around in the middle of enormous crowds a few days before Christmas Eve in an effort to get everything done as quickly as possible. When I returned home, I realised that I had spent an enormous amount of money, with seemingly very little to show for it.

This year, I decided to do things differently, and at the beginning of November I realised that I had nearly completed my shopping for a fraction of what I spent previously. This is what I did:

1. I decided to go for quality rather than quantity. I’ve made the mistake in the past of frittering lots of money away on small novelty items (which I refer to as ‘padding’) just for the sake of buying them. Inevitably, I’ve found that these have been left in drawers, on shelves collecting dust for the next twelve months or re-gifted and were a total waste of money. This time, I decided that I would buy one or two things for each person that would be of use and/or have some sort of meaning. Continue reading

Warp Drive On the M6

For the last few years The Bloke and I have established a Christmas routine – we have our own little Christmas celebration a few days early, I get the train up to my Mum’s house on the 23rd, he drives to his Mum’s house (which is about 50 miles away from my Mum’s) early on the 24th, and then he drives across to pick me up on Boxing Day and we drive back down to Birmingham together. It’s a tiring day for him, but it’s quicker, cheaper and easier than battling with the trains and he always insists on doing it to ensure that I get home safe. It normally takes him about an hour to get to me and then a further two hours to drive home, but time always seems to pass really quickly as we spend the majority of the journey blathering at each other about the events of Christmas.

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Yesterday, however, turned out to be a little more of an adventure than usual. The Bloke is an experienced and excellent driver and I always feel safe with him when I’m a passenger in his car, but despite his driving prowess he also possesses no sense of navigation or direction whatsoever. What should have taken him about an hour to meet me turned into a three-hour epic that involved a number of phone calls and texts after he missed the one crucial junction he needed. I felt really sorry for him during his regular updates, but although I felt mean in doing so I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself – it isn’t the first time he’s phoned me from the middle of nowhere after becoming totally lost. I eventually jumped in a taxi and met him in the nearest town to me, where I found him in a rather stressed-out state and sporting a chest infection. After he had calmed down we made onto the M6, where the sky quickly went dark and we were met with a blizzard – the first snow of Christmas. I always feel a bit strange when travelling in snow storms, the oncoming snow often makes me think I’m going into warp drive aboard the Starship Enterprise.

Thankfully, we made it back safely, there was a parking space right outside our house, the heating was on and the cats were pleased to see us. I had been spoiled yet again with gifts from his family and we snuggled up on the couch and watched some TV. Unfortunately his chest infection has got worse so I’ve ordered him to stay in bed and let me look after him today – he’s one of those really annoying patients who wants to get up and carry on as normal. He needs the rest, bless him, and it will give him a chance to wind down from the last few weeks…

What about you guys? Are you beginning to wind down or are you gearing up for New Year?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

Selfie Sticks, Chocolate Cake and Ian, the Scary Gnome

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I made a promise to myself last year that Christmas 2014 would be one to remember, and it certainly was. After resolving a few issues over the last few months I was genuinely looking forward to the prospect of celebrating the festive season with my family. Continue reading

A Lovely Christmas Eve

It’s been a lazy Christmas Eve so far at the Suzie household. Mum and I woke and had a nice breakfast, followed by half a box of chocolates, I’ve had plenty of doggy snuggles and I’ve watched lots of pointless television whilst relaxing in my jammies and under a duvet on the couch.

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During a moment of boredom I remembered that I had brought up a sequin covered Santa hat, and have been torturing the dog with it ever since. After initial indignation, Max eventually gave up and went to sleep. The resulting pictures were hilarious (for me, at least).

I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to visit the blog over the next few days, but I hope that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you’re happy and peaceful. May you have a lovely holiday season, filled with joy, laughter and cheer.