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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Highlights: 2014 Edition

"Over and over I marvel at the blessings of my life: Each year has grown better than the last."
Lawrence Welk

It's the 30th of December and that means we have one full day and a bit left of 2014. I know I've been saying it a lot lately, but I can't quite believe it. It seems like just yesterday we were on the cusp of 2014 and everyone was saying how terrible 2013 was and that they hoped 2014 would be better. For those people, I hope it was everything you wanted and more.

For me this year had many ups and downs, but all in all I feel like I've grown and improved a lot. I thought for my last post of the year I would reflect highlights and things I'm most grateful for this year.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Pets 'n' Stuff | Puppy's First Christmas

This is my final Christmas 2014 post. I know you've probably had enough, but I wanted to tell you about what I got my pets and I'd rabbited on in my last post and didn't fit it in. If you missed my last post about A Merry Tipping Christmas, please check it out here. Anyway! On with this post.

It was Edwin's first Christmas, and we don't usually get the pets Christmas presents. That sounds so Grinchy, but in the past getting in on the grub has been their present. I remember the year before last when my rats were healthy (RIP my little ladies), I made them up their own little bowl of Christmas dinner. They LOVED it. However, this year we decided to do it a little different and they all got presents. I guess maybe because I'm getting older and a little broody (despite not wanting actual kids), Christmas shopping for them was a way to play house. We wrapped the presents and set them out late on Christmas Eve before we went to bed, much like my parents do for us.

Edwin wasn't exactly full of the Christmas spirit at first. He just wanted to go to bed and sleep like any other night. We had to carry him to open our presents at 4am. Baby and Berty were more awake, and I don't know where the cats were. Eventually the flurry of Christmas paper and excitement helped Edwin wake up. Baby didn't want to open her presents herself, but we gave Berty and Edwin one each. Although they were great at tearing the paper off, they started fighting over each other's. So much for festive cheer! We ended up putting off opening their presents.

It wasn't until Boxing Day I actually opened their presents. We were all too shattered on Christmas Day. I wish I had got photos of Edwin tearing off the wrapping, but he kept lifting every present I gave him and running out of the room to go hide and do it. I guess he's not used to being allowed to rip stuff up. Here's a little video though!

So here is all their presents together. The cats both got a packet of Dreamies each. You can see Effy sitting waiting for hers thinking 'Can you hurry this up please...?' and the rest of the treats are for Baby and Edwin to share, over an extended period of time because they're both actually on diets right now. The monkey teddy is Edwin's new girlfriend because he's too big to hump his old sheep girlfriend. The turkey is also Edwin's and the ball and robin are Baby's. However, she wasn't interested in the robin so Edwin claimed it too. She played with the Santa ball a bit though. All presents were bought from Pets At Home.

They also got two other chews, but I gave Baby and Edwin them before I took the photo above. I thought this little bag of coal chew was perfect for Edwin. He's been pretty bad lately. Baby's was a little Christmas star lolly chew. I tried to take a photo, but she wouldn't stay still long enough.

So yeah, all and all I think they enjoyed their Christmas and Edwin definitely enjoyed the presents. I definitely think we'll do something similar next year too. I love a new tradition!

I can't believe this is my last Christmas post. I've had a wonderful Christmas this year, and it's been an awesome first blogging Christmas too.

I hope you and your pets had a wonderful time too.
Did you do anything special for your fur babies?
If so, tell me what! 

Friday, 26 December 2014

A Merry Tipping Christmas

It's Boxing Day, the day after Christmas Day and I can't quite believe it. There's always such a build up and then Christmas Eve and Christmas Day just fly by. Usually on Boxing Day or even the evening of Christmas Day, I have a little bit of PCB. Post Christmas Blues. However, this year I've been able to avoid that as I've still got plenty to look forward to with my older sister coming home for a few days, amongst other things. So I can write this post and reflect on the last couple of days without the slight sadness that it's all over for another year.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve started like any weekend day, with my dad making us a breakfast Ulster fry. We didn't really do anything too special during the day time. We'd planned to go to the cinema, but opted to stay in instead.

Eva and I baked some buns, while watching the movie Big Miracle. Not a Christmas movie, but it was awesome. Eva went for a nap and I wasted time. I tried giving myself festive nails as I watched the Switched At Birth Christmas Special, but it turned into a disaster. I guess I'll practice for next year. At around 7pm our Christmas Eve traditions finally got under way. Eva and I opened our Christmas Eve present, which were lovely matching penguin pyjamas and red slipper boots. We then had our showers and got changed into them.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

My Christmas Week Eve Week

"Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store."
Dr. Seuss

My weekly round up for last week is a little late again this week. Part of my new years resolution is definitely to get on top of my scheduling and over all organisation of my blog a little better. However, I do feel like I have a little bit of a good excuse this time. Though, I tend to always tell myself that anyway. Apart from the usual Christmas stuff keeping me busy, my anxiety got a little worse last week and then to top it all off over the weekend I got the cold again. My head was (and still is, so don't hold it against me if this post is more nonsense than usual!) a little fuzzy, so I put off writing this post. But tomorrow is Christmas Eve! 

So I figured it was now or never where this post is concerned, because the next one will be all about how Christmas Eve and Christmas Day went etc! I fully cannot believe it's here already. I feel incredibly old saying it, but it seems to come round faster and faster every year. But I digress, on with what I got up to last week! 

Friday, 19 December 2014

I Dropped My Bundle

"Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination."
Christian Nestell Bovee

If you don't recognise the quote from the title, it's a reference from this season's The Apprentice. Mark Wright was making a pitch and totally fluffed it and told Lord Sugar when called on it that he 'dropped his bundle'. Anyway, I dropped my bundle in class last night. 

I can't remember if I mentioned, but I had a presentation to do last night in class. I had decided to do it about the documentary Blackfish and my stance on keeping Orcas in captivity. It's a topic I feel strongly about and I had prepared, and felt confident it was something I could talk about in detail, in a persuasive and passionate way. Also it was something I had wrote about a number of times. You can see my review of the documentary here

I got to class and the teacher asked who wanted to go first. Our tables are kind of in a row, and the guy on the other end said he'd go first. Which meant I was going last. I didn't want to go first, so I didn't think much of it at first. But suddenly my anxiety started to rise as the presentations started. I felt shaky and warm, and then nauseas. I could tell a panic attack was starting, but I've gotten pretty good at talking myself down from them so I started taking breaths and such. It did help, and I guess because so many were going before me I kind of found sort of an eye in the storm type thing. I thought I was going to be okay. However it came to the person before the person before me, and it all hit me again. Full panic mode, and I felt like if it got to me and I got up in front of everyone I was going to choke. Even worse, I felt like I was going to throw up in front of everyone. I don't usually eat before class, but sometimes I feel sick if I don't. So I ate before class this time so I wouldn't feel sick, but I felt sick anyway and because I'd ate all I could think about was the fact I actually had stuff in my stomach to throw up. My mind was just racing.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Bloo's Reviews | Hate: A Love Story

“No bottle is big enough for human emotion. Love, hate, anger, happiness, and deep melancholy. Each one exists for a reason. Emotion is real. It’s meant to be released. It’s meant to be lived.”
Hate: A Love Story

Title: Hate: A Love Story
Author: Laurel Ulen Curtis
Rated: 18+ (adult content)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Not Another Christmas Tag!

"Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling."
Edna Ferber

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was nominated by Eva to do the Christmas Tag. I'm not going to lie, I was hoping someone would tag me. So yeah, here I am. I'm not going to tag anyone specifically because well, I'm not sure who's already done it etc. What I am going to say is, if like me you were hoping someone would tag you then... I tag you! Those of you that have done the tag, please link yours below. I'd love to have a look-see. Now on with the questions.

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie?  

Well, it's funny you should ask. Aha. I actually just blogged about this very thing a few posts ago! I don't actually have one overall favourite. There are too many awesome ones to choose from, and it depends what mood I'm in. So I'll show you one of my favourites instead! You can see some of my other favourites here.

Okay, so I'm a sucker for cheesy movies. And you don't get much better than some of the movies Channel 5 plays on the run up to Christmas. One year I was lucky enough to catch a Hallmark original Christmas movie called The Christmas Card, and it's been one of my favourite Christmas movies since. It's about a soldier in Afghanistan who is touched by a Christmas card he receives from a woman as part of a Christmas goodwill effort. During leave he decides to visit the small picturesque town the card was sent from and you can imagine how things unfold. This is just a simple old feel good Christmas movie. I can't wait to watch it this year!

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

Very early Christmas morning. We've had the same tradition since we were little and still do it now. I always find it weird when people sleep in late on Christmas morning because they can't be bothered to get up. I remember my younger friends having to wait because their older brothers and sisters didn't want to get up. I'm lucky that my sisters and I are sticklers for tradition and equally big kids. We hang our Christmas stockings on the bedroom door and from about 1am check every now and then to see if Santa's been. Usually between 2 and 3am they're full and we go get our parents up and open our stockings then go check the living room. After we open our presents my parents go back to bed and sometimes we do too. I don't know why, but there's just something so much more exciting getting up in the middle of the night.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory? 

It's really hard to choose one. The one that sticks out most, I'm saving for the favourite present question. Something I love to remember from my childhood is my Santa sightings. Every Christmas Eve we go present delivering. The last place we go to is my grandparents' house. I remember my dad would say we had to get home because Santa would be coming soon. He'd carry me out to the car and some years I'd look up and there'd be something flashing in the sky, which non-believers would probably think was nothing more than a plane. I'd say 'there's Santa!' and my dad would tell me we'd have to be super quick! I remember feeling so excited and a little worried we wouldn't make it home on time. I feel really lucky that even at 24 I still capture most of that excitement. 

4. Favourite festive food?

To be honest, my whole Christmas dinner is my favourite festive food. I always tell the story of how Christmas dinner saved my life. After my back surgery when I was ten I was really unwell and basically wasn't eating, which only made me more unwell. My parents decided if I didn't pick up after boxing day they'd have to take my to hospital. I LOVE Christmas dinner and since you only get it once a year, I didn't want to waste my chance. I even ate the bits I didn't usually eat, the ham, the carrot and parsnip and even the brussels sprouts! And the rest is history. The more I ate, the better I got and the better I got, the more I could eat. BUT, if I had to choose one thing it would be my dad's stuffing. It's like a meal in itself. After we open all our presents, my dad see's if the turkey is done and usually at least the stuffing is, so he makes stuffing sandwiches and we have some before we head back to bed for a nap. Another of my favourite traditions!

5. Favourite Christmas gift?

Sixteen years ago my parents went to pick up a little ball of fluff without any of us knowing. On Christmas morning after we'd opened all our presents they said there was one more. They told us all to hold hands and they left the room. A few minutes later they came in with Gracie, an eight week old Shih Tzu puppy. No present could ever top the year we gained her as a family member. For almost sixteen years she was my constant. Always there for me. Even when she lost her marbles, she was right by my side. This is the first year she won't be with us and as much as it breaks my heart, I feel incredibly lucky we had her as long as we did have. She was a special little lady and she'll forever be my favourite Christmas memory and gift.

 6. Favourite Christmas scent?

Does the smell of the Christmas turkey cooking count? I love waking up on Christmas morning to the smell of turkey and stuffing filling the house. Gosh, even thinking about it is making me hungry! Other than that, the usual cinnamon type smells always get me in the festive mood. This year I have some lovely candles from Yankee like Christmas Cookie and Merry Marshmallow. I can't wait to get them burning. 

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Yep! Most of the day we just lounge around and relax while my parents nip out and do some last minute bits and pieces. Some years we've gone to see a Christmas movie in the cinema with our aunt or watched one at home. In the evening my sister's and I open a present each from our parents which are always pyjamas and something for our feet like slippers or fluffy socks. We then shower and change into our new pjs. Sometimes we have some party food then, before we go deliver presents. Yes, we deliver presents in our pjs! The last stop is our grandparents' house, where we have another bite to eat with my grandparents and my aunt Karen and swap presents. After that we go home and put out food for Santa and his reindeer. Last year was the first year I forgot to do that, and I was so annoyed with myself! After we put that out Eva and I head to bed to watch a movie and try and get a little sleep, waiting for Santa to come. I love the routine and how it hasn't changed since we were little.

8. What tops your tree?

This is the star that tops my tree. I got it in Paperchase a couple of years ago. I noticed this year that some of the little stars had fallen off. I was a little bummed, but I don't have the heart to get a new one because this is my first. I might try and see if I can find some little stars to replace the ones that fell off. If you'd like to see what else is on my tree, check out my What's On My Tree post.

9. As a kid what was the one crazy, wild or extravagant gift you asked for but never received?

I actually can't think of anything crazy or extravagant that I asked for that I didn't get. That sounds so spoiled, I know. Santa was always really good to us, and I never really asked for anything like ponies etc. I remember talking to my best friend as a kid about Santa and discussing how he HAD to be real because there was no way my parents could afford to get me a Game Boy and an Adidas jumper, trainers, bottoms and whatever else I got that year. My parents are so good to us, I never thought to dwell or remember the things I didn't get.

10. What’s the best part about Christmas for you? 

Oh gosh, just everything. I LOVE everything. I love that it's okay to be a big kid. I love that it's so family orientated and brings people together. I love all the memories, the traditions and the food. I love the decorations and seeing everybody's little personal stamp on the holiday and how they celebrate and decorate. I love the wrapping paper and wrapping presents. I stress about buying gifts, but I do love giving them. I love everything, and I hope it always stays that way.

Friday, 12 December 2014

DIY | Paper Craft Christmas Trees

"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them."
Ray Bradbury

Up until I started blogging I would have listed arts and crafts as my biggest hobby. Art and crafts was always my thing. Whilst I still love drawing and trying my hand at different crafts, it has admittedly fallen to the wayside as I've spent more time writing. That being said, I still love arts and crafts and I would love to incorporate that more into my blog. It feels like it's a big part of me that I've never really talked about here. So yeah, I've decided I'm going to change that! And what better time to do that than Christmas?

So I figured my first arts and crafts post would be a DIY Christmas decoration! My mum's been getting really into paper crafts and found a tutorial online for awesome Christmas trees made out of old books or magazines. I thought they looked fun and decided to have a go, too.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Last Week In Words

"We do not remember days, we remember moments."
Cesare Pavese

My last couple of posts have been about Christmas, so I didn't tell you the couple of things I got up to last week. So I figured I'd do my weekly round up now, even if it is a little late. It'll also include a bit of this week too.

Lets go back to last Sunday the 30th of November! Eva and I were going to yet another Belfast Giants game. It'd been two weeks since the last game, so to say I was itching for my ice hockey fix is an understatement. It was the first home game against the Sheffield Steelers this season. It was also the first chance Eva got to wear the jersey she got during our stay in Belfast! (link 1, link 2). It was a very exciting and stressful game. One of my favourite players Jeff Mason took a puck to the face and had to be taken off and play was stopped so the zamboni could come out and remove his blood from the ice! The Steelers scored twice not long after and we also lost another player to a facial injury, David Phillips. By the end they were up my one and it seemed like it might be all over until another of my favourite players Mike Kompon scored with only 30.3 seconds left! I almost missed it because by that point I could only watch from behind my hands. Neither scored in overtime, so we had to go to a shoot out. I both love and hate shoot outs. They're exciting, but highly stressful. I needn't have worried though, as we won! It was probably the most nail biting game I've been to all season.

Monday, 8 December 2014

What's On My Tree

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."
Roy L. Smith

My dad finally got our Christmas decorations down yesterday. My mum was visiting my granny and sister in England last week and as she's in charge of the main decorations, my dad didn't want to get anything down from the lost until she got back. I felt left out seeing everyone else's decorations up, so I was glad to get mine up last night! While I've called this post What's On My Tree, it will include all the decorations in my bedroom. We've only had our own trees for our bedrooms for the last three or so years. So while it's a new tradition, it's definitely one become a favourite.

Our main tree and decorations in general have always been a very traditional and old fashioned, red and gold theme. While I love that for our main tree, when I got my own I wanted to do the complete opposite. I wanted it to be as colourful as possible. It might look a little tacky, but I love it. So on with the decorating fun! Before I started, I decided to put Edwin's Christmas jumper on him to get him into the festive mood too. It was pretty cold last night, so I think he appreciated it. He kept it on all night until we went to bed, and Rudolf's nose even remained intact!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Festive Film Favourites

We are five days into December and I am yet to post this month. Any other month I wouldn't care so much, but it just feels wrong to have posted so little about my favourite time of year! I don't know why, but it really feels like Christmas snuck up on me this year. It feels like Halloween was just yesterday. Anyway! I decided to start of my December posts with the obligatory favourite Christmas movies post. So here are some of my favourite Christmas movies to watch over the festive period, in no particular order. 

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