7 Ingenious Ways To Avoid Christmas Stress

avoid christmas stress It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Except, well, it’s not really. It can be the absolute worse if Christmas stress bogs you down. Not sure what presents to get your loved ones? Got so much on at work that you are worried you won’t get everything done before the New Year? I feel ya.

As much as Christmas is all about spending time with your loved ones, eating more cheese and chocolate than your body can really tolerate and just generally relaxing…it isn’t always a barrel of fun. Sometimes you just can’t wait for it to be over.

Don’t worry, you’re not a Scrooge…you’re totally normal and everyone else is just pretending tbh.

So here’s a sneaky listicle of sorts with ways to avoid Christmas stress altogether. Oh, and full disclaimer – some, if not all of this advice may be terrible.

don’t buy anyone anything. I’m kidding of course. Or am I? No, I am kidding. Let’s not deprive our friends and family of gifts. Then you really would be Scrooge. Instead, get organised with a spreadsheet.

Yes, you read that correctly. A spreadsheet. Every year I create a spreadsheet and have columns for each person I am buying for where I chuck in ideas for presents – usually Amazon links tbh, and then once that present in bought, I highlight the cell green.

drink all of the mulled wine. Or mulled cider, or prosecco or y’know just straight up vodka. Whatever floats your boat. It’s Christmas so it’s totally OK I swear. If you don’t fancy the hangover, just chillax when and how you can. Take a long bath, watch a festive film in the evening after work.

Wrap up in a fancy tartan blanket and embrace comfort. Don’t feel the pressure to always be out in the evening just because the Finance department keep inviting you to the pub after work. Saying ‘no’ is allowed.

avoid the shops at all costs. Except the small independent ones, because they do the best gifts and you’re helping the local economy. But otherwise, buy everything else on Amazon and make a nativity scene out of all the unnecessary additional packaging.

save all of your boots advantage card points throughout the year. Then splash out on all of the gift offers they have before Christmas. Perfect for Secret Santa and family members who you may as well have never met given how little you know about them.

get your christmas cards in early at work. Everybody knows it’s all about getting the best Christmas cards for your colleagues to one up them. Avoid that pressure by getting in there first because you’ll get bonus points for being festively keen anyway.

wrap your presents as soon as you buy them. then forget what you’ve wrapped and who it’s for. Or, create labels from those annoying random scraps of wrapping paper you get from awkwardly shaped gifts.

speaking of wrapping, save your wrapping paper. Does anyone else buy new wrapping paper every year and then find the collection you’ve been harbouring for years just casually chilling at the back of the cupboard like “Oh hey we thought you’d forgotten us, shame you wasted your money buying paper in almost exactly the same print”.

There we go – Christmas stress well and truly relieved. You’re welcome!

What I’ve Been Watching #1

cineworld unlimited cardEver since getting a Cineworld Unlimited card for my birthday, I’ve been on a few cinema trips (including exclusive screenings for Unlimited card holders), so I thought it would be good to start sharing my thoughts on the films I’ve seen in one handy succinct post.

I’m going to turn this into a bit of a series for you guys to read and find out what I think is worth seeing, and what I think isn’t… oh and also what I’m looking forward to seeing next. Anyone who has an Unlimited card (or whatever the equivalent is at other cinemas), will probably also go and see films they may not necessarily be that bothered about – and sometimes those can be a pleasant surprise, so I’ll be documenting my expectations vs reality ratings as well.

All reviews will be spoiler-free…because I’m not a dick.

I hope you enjoy it!

Moana

This trip was my first Unlimited advance screening, held exclusively for members – this meant we saw the film about a week before general release. Other than feeling very important and smug for seeing it before the general public, we also wanted to go to an advance screening as it would avoid there being too many kids in the cinema making noise.

Moana, for me, was one of the pleasant surprise movies. I went in not really knowing what to expect as I haven’t seen any of the other more recent Disney movies (Frozen, Tangled etc). Me and Liam both love Dwayne Johnson (“Can you smelllll what The Rock is cooking?”) so we figured we might as well give it a go. I’m really glad we did.

This movie is so sweet, and the music is amazing. I’ve been listening to the soundtrack every day since. No lie. Once you’ve seen Moana you will not be able to get “You’re Welcome” out of your head!

Even if like me you aren’t usually that big on kids animated films, I think you’ll enjoy it. The music is created by Lin-Manuel Miranda who is the guy behind Hamilton – which I am dying to see – and he does such an awesome job of adapting what makes Disney songs great whilst also making them unique.

Expection: 3/5
Reality: 4/5

Bleed For This

When Liam recommended we went to see Bleed For This, I was slightly apprehensive given it’s a biopic about a boxer (a subject that didn’t really interest me) – but Miles Teller plays the lead so I was still onboard and willing to give it a go. I love him in Whiplash which you should definitely see if you haven’t already.

I went in with little expectations – I knew Miles Teller would be good but I wasn’t going to get that excited about the story. To be honest, this was pretty much the reality too. The story was kind of interesting and well told, but ultimately I thought the film was pretty average overall. Some of the boxing scenes were good and well shot, and Aaron Eckhart was also a highlight.

I’d still say to give this a go if you’re a Miles Teller fan, but if not I wouldn’t really bother.

Expectation: 3/5
Reality: 3/5

Edge of Seventeen

I hadn’t even heard of this film when we booked tickets for it. I was told it was a coming of age film so I knew to expect a high school setting, perhaps a few laughs and a standard story of a teenager coming to terms with growing up. Y’know, the usual.

That’s exactly what you get here, with no deviation from that structure. The best part of the film was probably Woody Harrelson who plays a seemingly embittered teacher, however the dynamic between him and the lead character (played by Hayley Steinfeld) wasn’t particularly realistic.

I wonder whether I didn’t enjoy the movie more because it was quite difficult to relate to the lead. She’s not very likeable as a character which makes it a bit of a struggle to feel a lot of sympathy or empathy for her. Or maybe I’m heartless, idk.

Expectation: 3/5
Reality: 3/5

What’s up next?

So those are the movies I’ve seen lately, but here’s what I’m looking forward to seeing soon and reviewing next time!

Office Christmas Party

Ever since first seeing the trailer to this, I’ve been looking forward to it. I know it’s going to likely be a typical ensemble comedy but I’ll watch anything starring Jason Bateman. Plus, Kate McKinnon is in it and since seeing her play Hilary Clinton on SNL, I’m all about her. I think she’s great.

We’re actually going to see this tonight, so not long to find out whether it’ll deliver!

Expectation: 4/5 (possibly ambitious!)

Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them

You may be wondering what has taken me so damn long to watch this film, but Liam insisted we rewatch all of the Potter films first before we go and see it – not that I’m complaining. We just have Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2 to watch now so I expect we’ll be catching FB&WTFT next weekend.

I’ve heard mixed things about it, and I expect it’s going to mostly be set up for the wider story but I shall reserve judgement for now!

Expectation: 3/5 (hopefully beatable!)

When You Know It’s Just The PMS Talking…

PMS symptoms

I never usually talk about periods and stuff on the blog. There’s not really any reason why. Whilst I’m not all “yassss menstruation is art let’s paint pictures with it”, I’m not exactly prudish. I just don’t generally find it at the top of the list of topics to talk about because I’d rather have a chat about my confusing feelings for Negan from The Walking Dead. I know I’m supposed to find him terrifying, but I just find him terrifyingly attractive.

But anyway, I thought I would talk about periods – about PMS in particular because for as long as I can remember I have turned into a demon from hell for a few days around every cycle. It usually starts a couple of days before, and might even last a couple of days into it as well. Everyone around me (particularly Liam) is so lucky to have me in their lives.

So I thought I’d share a reminder for all my fellow females of how to tell when it’s just the PMS talking and you’re not actually mad/sad/demonic.

you want to flip a table at least twice a day. but about five minutes after that rage builds you can’t even really pin down a legit/valid reason why you felt it in the first place.

tea tree oil becomes your best friend. so I don’t know if I can fully blame my hormones for the latest dot to dot happening around my chin, because my other best friend is chocolate. either way, that tea tree oil stick from the body shop is earning its keep.

happy things make you cry. I’m fairly certain I was experiencing a bit of PMS when I saw Cursed Child and that is my final answer to the question “was it really necessary to cry twice because of how much you were enjoying it?”.

mildly sad things make you cry, too. basically everything makes you cry.

you can only manage minimal effort with your fashion choices. ok so maybe this is me all of the time, but especially when the PMS train pulls into the station. Jeans, baggy top and boots will do just fine Monday – Saturday. Sunday is about the trackie bottoms and dressing gown look.

junk food is the only food worth eating. even though you just know it’s going to make the bloat (and the skin) even worse. mac n cheese or pizza (or preferably a mac n cheese topped pizza) are the one.

doing anything that requires effort is too much. am I the only one that becomes extra slob-like when PMSing? I’m pretty lazy in the evenings after work anyway but it’s a whole other level when my period is due.

you might as well have not washed your hair. maybe this is just me but my hair always gets crazy greasy and flat around lady times and it’s annoying af because you also don’t have the energy to wash and blow dry it everyday because of all the junk food and being lazy and bloat and exhaustion from being mad, sad or demonic.

oh… and everyone and everything bothers you. ’nuff said.

Monthly Favourites: November 2016

monthly favourites november 2016 lifestyle blog

November has been a bit of a rollercoaster, tbh. The month started amazingly with birthday celebrations, and after that somewhat dwindled out into the stress of moving house. But regular readers will know that this post is all about the good stuff, so let’s get to it shall we?

seeing: the cursed child! At the beginning of the month, me and Liam went to see The Cursed Child up in that ol’ London. Tickets were a gift for my birthday last year, and oh my god guys it was incredible. I laughed, I cried (twice), and it reignited my love for theatre again to the point where I’m trying to find a drama class for adults to go along to! Read my spoiler-free review of The Cursed Child.

going to: the harry potter studio tour! Yes. more HP birthday week goodness! The day after we saw both parts of the play, we went to the WB Studio Tour. This was also a gift from my birthday last year and it really was wonderful. So, so much to take in but so , so interesting. I also got to live out my childhood dream by riding a broomstick, drinking Butterbeer and having an Azkaban mugshot taken. If you haven’t been already, you must try and go if you can. Oh, and did I mention between the play and the tour we stayed in a Harry Potter themed hotel room?

making: my first video at work. I’ve been working on a Christmas themed campaign at work and put together a little trailer for it to help raise awareness. It’s far from completely professional (I am yet to truly master the avoidance of jump cuts), but I got some nice feedback from it and hopefully it’ll help us raise some money!

wearing: some new jammies! For my birthday, I got the most amazing pyjamas from my Mum. They have dogs on them and they are super cosy now the weather is officially bitter. Check ’em out over on my IG.

also wearing: rollnecks. Liam thinks they make me look like a villain from a 90’s movie, but idc because SO COSY. I definitely recommend a trip to your local New Look if you love a gentle hug in the form of a jumper.

drinking: costa christmas drinks. It’s a bit dangerous that there’s a Costa so close to work. I’m all about the toasted marshmallow hot chocolate this year though.

watching: 60 days in jail. Have you seen this yet? It’s a US documentary where volunteers are put in a county jail to observe and report back on any corruption etc taking place. It’s fascinating but I also think the people who volunteered must be crazy. It’s on Channel 4 and worth playing catchup.

going to see: my first Cineworld Unlimited screening. One of my birthday gifts from Liam was a Cineworld Unlimited card and my first advanced screening as a member was Moana and it was really good. Fantastic music and amazing animation! It’s out on Dec 2 so go see it! I also saw my second Unlimited screening yesterday, of Bleed For This which I also recommend (albeit that it’s very different to Moana!)

buying: a new coat, boots and courts from TU. I have always liked the clothes at Sainsbury’s, but recently they have upped their game even more and I found the exact sort of coat I wanted for only £35 (although annoyingly it hit the sale about a week later and is now only about £23!). I also got some nice black boots with a higher heel than I usually wear and they are super comfy. Then, on a separate trip I managed to get a pair of black court shoes for £9 in the sale which are going to be ideal for the work Christmas do.

What made your November neat?

Three Difficult Lessons For Bloggers To Learn

difficult lessons for bloggers

As I type up this post, I am dosed up on cold and flu meds, wrapped in a blanket cardigan and there are loud fireworks outside. The shockingly bad photo above was quickly put together with the shreds of energy I have so…my bad.

I’ve been meaning to put this post together for a long time now, and it sat in my drafts as a blank post for at least a month – maybe even two. So what took me so long? Well I’ll have to share lesson one with you to answer that…

Lesson #1: Blogging won’t always come naturally to you

Perhaps one of the hardest lessons for bloggers is dealing with blogger’s block. It’s a real bitch. A lot of us will try and force it so that we have content going up on our blogs regularly. I know I have before. It doesn’t feel good to post something you’re not 100% happy with, but it does relieve some of the pressure that we put on ourselves to upload.

Sometimes the ideas just don’t come to you. You try desperately to find some inspiration from other blogs, but it just feels like copying. As much as we hate to admit it, we don’t want to wait until inspiration strikes again, because we’re afraid we might have a drop in readership, as people will stop coming back to a blog that isn’t consistent.

But y’know what? They will. I’ve found the key is to promote older content whilst you’re taking breaks. Share posts on your social media that people may not have read before. I still get comments on posts from month’s ago, even if I haven’t posted any new content for a few weeks.

Lesson #2: We’ll always compare

Comparison is the thief of joy, as they say. But to not compare your blog to other blogs is not an easy feat. In fact, I think it’s near enough impossible. Even if we are not in competition, of course we are going to look up to other bloggers and their content – and sometimes that sucks because we feel we can’t live up to it.

<Insert cheesy phrase about being a unique snowflake>. Whilst yes, our blog’s are unique to us, there is probably a recipe for success that makes bigger bloggers more successful. You just have to make that decision yourself as to whether you want to try and work that recipe out, or crack on as you are.

Instead of comparing ourselves negatively, we should be trying to find the similarities and to learn lessons from other bloggers. If we want our blogs to grow, then looking at bigger bloggers and how they do it is pretty much required reading.

Lesson #3: It isn’t always as it seems

You know when you see stunning blog photos and Instagram posts and you’re just full of envy? Sucks, right? But a lot of those well stylised photos are very meticulously put together in very strategic positions. Believe it or not, very few people’s homes look like a Pinterest wet dream. I know, right? Shocker!

Plus, what we sometimes forget is that some people have more time than others to make their pictures perfect and pristine. Not all bloggers are juggling a full time job with a hefty commute. Some are, and still manage and that’s great. But you are you, and I am me and we can’t force ourselves to try and find more time and energy for that perfect IG snap. We’ll burn out and no longer enjoy blogging as a hobby.

So you see – of course there are difficult lessons for bloggers to learn, but it shouldn’t put us off doing something we love.

We should just adapt to the inevitable feelings and frustrations that come with blogging in order to overcome them.