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It’s BlogMas Day 2 – You wanna know what’s on my Christmas list?!

When you think of a Christmas list there are only two questions that usually come to mind. Have you been naughty or nice – am I right?! Well, this isn’t the same sort of Christmas list. This particular list of more along the lines of things that I want to do before the actual day and all of the festivities die down. So, let’s get down to business

Make Christmas Cocktails

Every year I say it and never really get round to it due to a significant lack of time. If I disregard the majority of the things that I have learnt this year and hold on to only one it is that you cannot get time back and that piece of it that you have should be used wisely whilst also enjoying it to the max. This year I WILL be making Christmas cocktails and sharing the recipes with you of course!

Tea at Fortnum’s with a friend

When I think of Fortnum’s I think of fine wines, foods and of course tea. Of course there is a lot more to it than that but they are my favourite bits. The only friend that I think of when I think of this beautiful place is of course the beautiful Catherine. We have a little tradition of visiting Cath Kidston and popping to the tea hall at Fortnum’s afterwards. The next visit we make will be to The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon followed by a visit to The Parlour.

Winter Wonderland

Christmas lights, an ice skating rink and churros – what more could you want!

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Christmas Market

There is something about the festive chill of the air, quirkiness of the stalls and the smell – or is that just me? There is a certain smell of Christmas that lingers and wafts in just the right way, whether that is the smell of mulled wine or pine.

Make some Gingerbread men

This is something that if I’m honest I can never be bothered to buy so find it a lot easier to just pick up a packet from good ol’ Sainsbury’s. This year however it would be nice to make my own and see how good they taste when fresh. Not being a fan of soft cookies it will most definitely be an experience – but one that I am willing to partake in.

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There are a couple of other things that I would like to do but I’m not sure that they will get done before Christmas so I’ll keep those to myself for now.

What’s on your Christmas list?!

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It’s DECEMBER!

I don’t know about you but for me this year has really just flown by and some of it seems to have escaped me. With a traumatic start to the year I honestly didn’t know where I would end up, but as we approach the final hurdle I can safely say – I have survived. Just about!

As it is the first day of December I can’t think of a better reason to blast out some of my favourite Christmas songs! (Even though I have been secretly playing them as soon as Halloween was over!). There are many songs out there that tug on the heartstrings but they also bring about an infinite amount of joy so with that in mind . . .

This is one of the prime examples that really does catch you at the back of your throat and tug on those heart strings. However, you cannot deny that you know the words and belt it out over and over before the month is out. This classic has been on my playlist for many years and will continue to be for many more.

Another absolute belter of a tune that I am sure you have all be acquainted with in pubs, clubs and even shops recently. Mariah is one of those that can hit higher notes than even dogs can hear so I though in a bid to clean out those pipes and tune in those ears this was the perfect second song for my list.

There are a million reasons for picking this song but the main one is because it is just so bloody lovely. One of friends (colleagues!) loves this song and if she is getting in the car to keep her quiet I stick this on full blast – it never works because she likes to do her own rendition. Moving on!

Last year my dad sat at his computer and started playing this over and over. Not only was the original one of his favourites but he loved the composition of this cover and just couldn’t stop playing it. This song will be on my list for a very long time if not forever.

What is your favourite Christmas songs?

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A couple of months ago I did it! I joined the National Trust and I honestly cannot express how happy it has made me. At the risk of sounding like a 70 year old in a 30 something’s body I am loving the long walks and time for contemplation whilst getting closer to nature. Not being one that has ever been the type to be ‘at one with nature’ it is definitely an eye opening experience having access to so many naturally beautiful places.

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Do you like saving money?

If like me you tend to go shopping when you are bored then the National Trust is definitely something you need to consider. For a yearly subscription you will pay the following depending on the package you take:

Individual Membership – £64.80

Joint Membership – £108

Family Membership – £114.60

Lifetime Membership – £1605

There is also a discount available for Senior Members (over 60’s) – 25% Discount

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With your membership you have access to over 500 amazingly beautiful places that you can visit over and over without having to shell out for access which can cost you around £10 to get in. I can almost guarantee that you will fall in love with at least one of the National Trust properties as there really is something for everyone. My current favourite is Winkworth Arboretum and despite being a bit of drive away from mine I am more than happy to jump in the car, stick on an audio book and get myself there on a day off.

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Over the next couple of months I am making a bigger effort to save money on my days off. With that in mind I have put together a list of the places that I would like to visit and what are the great things about each one so I know a couple of little things to look out for (overly organised!).

Wakehurst Place

Claremont Landscape Garden

Petworth House & Park

Nymans

Are you a National Trust Member?

If not don’t you think it is time to join?!

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From America with Love, America, USA, United States of American, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Airlines, Virgin, Holiday, Trip, Family, Shopping, Wanderlust, World Map, Sephora, Bath & Body Works, Georgetown Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Blog A Book Etc, Fay

Despite a recent election that I don’t really want to discuss I do really LOVE the US.
So I say from America with love from me to you!

Honestly I do wish that I could get to the US more but with lack of time and funds it is quite impossible to visit as much as I would like. This visit however is one that just had to happen as it is a special occasion for my lovely cousin – she is getting married. With all of that aside this post is certainly not about the wedding (I love you cuz but NO!). This post is one that is going to highlight all of the fabulous things that I miss about the US when I am home in glorious London.

Nowadays unlike the days of my youth (oh wowza!) we do have access to some of the little treats that were not previously available – of course they are at a premium price. But for those that are still not available I have highlighted the ones that I made the most of whilst out there and those that I sadly missed out on.

Bath & Body Works

I’m not sure that this particular place needs any fancy introduction – this is one where I love to grab as many candles as possible and of course being a nurse grabbing hold of as many pocketbac’s as I have justify cramming into my bag (and of course many more for my gorgeous god-daughter! We have a healthy obsession for clean and scrumptious smells!). On this visit I have a few that I have had my eye on, a couple of which will just be replacements for the ones I love and have burnt out knowing that I was coming out again and others that just look truly scrumptious!

Georgetown Cupcakes

This place makes me think of 2 Broke Girls – I know it is no Williamsburg but you know cupcakes, cupcakes and of course more cupcakes. Who doesn’t love a dirty great treat yo’self moment. I went for a Salted Caramel cupcake that comes with salted caramel infused buttercream frosting with a generous caramel drizzle and an iced tea. I mean Georgetown Cupcakes IN FRIGGIN’ GEORGETOWN.

Frozen Yoghurt

For the majority of the trip the weather was absolutely fantastic and my Vit D levels felt like they were at their peak. It was the perfect opportunity to grab some Frozen Yoghurt and Sweetfrog was the place that I wanted to go, sadly I didn’t make it for FroYo but there is always next time. Apparently there is even a Sweetfrog in the UK (Southend-on-sea – I’m not sure I will be getting there anytime soon sadly!) so I will have to make do with heading into Soho and being jostled from left to right.

The Mall

During my last visit to the US my cousin took me to Tyson’s Corner – I have never in my life seen anything like it and was truly astonished to see a shopping centre of such magnitude. Obviously I am used to Westfield but this was something else entirely. Unfortunately Tyson’s was a little on the far side to get to so my aunty took us to a place called Arundel Mills and it was just as amazing. The deals that we got were phenomenal, the size of it was once again astounding and the food was just so friggin’ tasty. I was able to get a lot of shopping for birthdays and Christmas done whilst there which in a way wasn’t great as my case was busting at the seams but what’s done is done.

Sephora

Do I need to say much more?! Well, in keeping with all of the above I will! Those of you that are located conveniently within visiting distance to a Sephora much like Bath & Body Works don’t know how lucky you are! Thankfully however Sephora US now delivers to the UK which I will be taking advantage of from now on of course. On this trip once again this haven provided me with the perfect opportunity to get some birthday and Christmas presents as well as some personal treats. I have put together a little haul that I will be posting soon so keep your eyes peeled.

So with all of the above in mind I really think that I need to get back out to the US more often and see a little more of it with regards to states as well as my family of course!

It is ridiculously picturesque and the shopping really is on another level.

Have you been to the US?
If so what do you like the best about it?

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Why is the question always fit OR fat, can you not be fit and fat?

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Have you gone through life constantly questioning yourself? I have to admit that this has been me for quite some time now. Second guessing myself with regards to personal appearance according to the latest trend, a comment or even what some call ‘advice’. I mean seriously who the fuck are you to be making me feel like shit warmed up – well, let me tell you! No-one!

I refuse to let anyone else make me feel substandard when it comes to my appearance. Now, that is all good and well making such a bold statement but living with it is something completely different. I have never been a skinny minnie, I tend to teeter on the average/voluptuous scale which is fine by me. It would just be a bit nicer if there were more options open to those of us that are in the same category as my ironing board. I have no aspirations of becoming a home appliance – I am a person godammit. No I am not crazy peeps just a bit peeved.
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Luckily we live in the age of social media and body positivity. That was not so much the case when I was growing up. Of course social media can be dangerous at the same time as positive. As much as we cannot control what is posted out into the ether we can make a conscious choice about the material we see and actively make an effort to absorb. With only a small portion of media focused on body positivity it is quite hard at times to weed what is deemed as normal to get to the devils in the detail.
From my mother to one of my closest friends there is a significant age gap, those in between at this current moment in time are just getting on with it. The two polar opposite ends of the age spectrum however seem to be suffering with the constant need to buy into the negativity that they are just not good enough when it comes to weight and loving their bodies.
It would be great if there was a happy medium when it comes to loving yourself but it really does take a lot of work on both a physical and mental level. My personal feelings on this subject may seem a bit obtuse but honestly it would be so much better if you spend time on making a conscious effort to love yourself instead of striving for a life that is not yours. If you feel the need to go to the gym because it makes you feel great then do it, if you want to sit at home and eat a bucket load of cheese in front of the tv then do it. The only one that can judge you is YOU.
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Overall we need to stop chastising ourselves for feeling good about being what the media describes as bad and enjoying life. You only get one life so FUCK the media and their idealistic views on what your waist size should be and how you should live your life – go and LIVE YOUR LIFE FOR YOU.

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