Despite often living in legging and baggy tops, I have always made an effort to dress nicely at Christmas.

I am sharing my wish list this year using Long Tall Sally products as part of their #dearsally initiative.

1. Christmas shopping
This can be done online or on the High Street. I tend to do it offline as I like being around excited people and listening to Christmas music in the shops.

I think jeans work best when you are dashing about and I selected these colourful ones.

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I don’t like a jumper when out shopping as I inevitably end up hot and bothered. I liked this top particularly with the sheer panel to make it that little bit different.

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Again thinking about the fact that I am likely to get warmer as the day goes on, I loved this 3 in 1 coat. You can judge the weather and decide whether to wear the inner jacket alone or the full coat. I always like a colourful lining so with this choice I would be in the pink.

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Finally, I do love a good pair of boots in the Winter (or at anytime of year for that matter). I selected this pair to complete my Christmas shopping outfit.

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2. Christmas Party
I am actually going to a Christmas party this year. This is a good reason to get the legs out and to wear a dress.

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This jacket is right up my street and provides that essential arm coverage until I have had a rum and coke and stop caring.

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There has got to be something glittery at Christmas so I how about these shoes?

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3. Christmas Day

There were so many choices for Christmas Day. Perhaps a purple maxi dress or a red lace number. In the end I chose this tunic as it put me in mind of Christmas trees and I always seem to look good in this particular shade of green.

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I would team this either with thick tights or leggings.

Christmas might also include a bracing walk in the countryside or a trip to church and this coat would be great for both.

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Now to fulfil a fantasy, I would love to wear tall boots and am delighted to see these are offered with a wider calf fitting.

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4. Gift Ideas
When it comes to gifting, I tend to think what I might like and then get that for a female friend. I have a thing about nightwear and the prettier the better.

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Check out Long Tall Sally for some other gorgeous options and for price and size details. Yes they do bigger sizes so they get a thumb’s up from me.

So which of my outfit choices did you like best?

Long Tall Sally have offered to provide me with an outfit as an acknowledgement for writing this post

I am feeling a bit rejected on various fronts. Rather than let myself slide into a decline, I am going to focus on the good stuff.

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1. I feel so much more relaxed about our home education journey since seeing a very supportive Education Consultant last week. A More relaxed Mum makes for more relaxed children so we are all winners. This week we have made Picasso pictures and Christmas decorations. We have learned some Spanish words, listened to the Spanish national anthem, compared the Spanish flag with other ones, done Spanish cookery and watched flamenco. We have also done geometry and continued our work on Greek myths.

2. I celebrated a great weight loss this week. I have had a rocky 24 hours on the healthy eating front but am now firmly back on track. I have learned from that 24 hours to always have healthy food options in the house and to eat before going out for an evening.

3. We went to see the exquisite performance of The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre. This was so very magical and got us in the festive mood. I want to write a full review later. For now, let’s just say you are missing out if you don’t see it.

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4. My teenager son won a prize at school and seemed to give me all the credit for stuff I have told him previously.

5. At the moment, I am feeling fairly chilled about the whole Christmas thing. It will happen. It is just a day and we can make it a happy one. The good thing about not having a huge extended family is that we can just look at the needs of our little unit of five.

6. I got 2 bargain sets of drawers off Ebay. I am looking forward to carrying them upstairs tomorrow and finally having some proper storage in the new house for my clothes.

We started home educating in September.

I have always fancied the idea of home education but Him Indoors was never convinced so our children went to school.

My daughter’ mental health was affected by her negative experiences at her new school and we could not let that continue. She did not return after the Summer break and my younger son joined in our home education adventure a few days later.

How did we begin>

On the first day we had a picnic to celebrate our new freedom. I asked my daughter to write a story. She did some mathematics with ease. The next day she did nothing obviously educational and I felt guilty, I thought Him Indoors would tell me off but he was OK about it.

What was difficult at the start?

Him Indoors wanted us to focus on the National Curriculum whereas I wanted to experiment more. It was a bit tense for a while. Weirdly, I started wanting some more structure and Him Indoors started to like my creative ideas. We have somehow ended up feeling the same – we want the school topic covered well and we enjoy the freedom of playing with new ideas.

What was great right from the start?

I have never liked being chained to school run time and not having to remember to fill in school forms, pack games kit and so on. Staring the day in a leisurely fashion is fabulous. I feel as if I am getting to know my children far better. Little discoveries are made such as finding out that my son loves classical music. It is a wonderful feeling to learn whilst snuggled up with my children. I am learning all the time too and not just about home education. This feels good and my daughter says she prefers things when we are both learning something new.

What remains challenging?

We live in a small house and I do wonder if having a dedicated space for learning might help.

I struggle to feel confident that I am doing the “right” thing. There are a confusing array of home education philosophies. Which is right for our family or should we just feel our way on this new journey.

As someone who has always loved to write, I struggle with two reluctant writers. They have keyboard skills and perhaps these are more relevant in the modern world but I still fret.

My children are individual so whilst my daughter is always keen to learn, my son would happily play on computer games all day long. Most of what I suggest he finds “boring” although he does enjoy mathematics and Greek myths currently.

Him Indoors works outside the home and is tired when he gets in. We all want him to have input too.

Received wisdom says you can do just a couple of hours a day of education if at home I constantly worry that won’t be enough.

I wonder whether we should do what we feel like doing or go down a timetable route.

I need to work out how to get to a group where we can meet other home education families.

What helps?

I already knew of some home education bloggers and they helped me find home education groups online.

The local education authority accepted our decision easily. They offered a meeting with an Education Consultant. She was great saying we have made a great start and that I should relax.

There are lots of useful websites to help with learning.

Home educating is a 7 days a week deal so we get out more at weekends combining fun with learning.

Am I relaxing?

I think I am but it will take some time before I am totally at ease. This week we are having a Spanish Week as I have worked out that focusing on a different country each week, we can cover literacy, languages, history, art, geography, music and cookery. Yesterday we did some Spanish week work followed by some geometry and a Greek myth. Then when my daughter started making pom-poms I woke up to the fact that was fine and it does not have to be bookish type stuff all the time

I intend to blog once a week about home education. As regular readers know, blogging help me make sense of things.

Here’ to home education and let’s see where it takes us!

I started a healthy eating programme one week ago.

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This time it has to be different as my health is suffering through carrying far too many stones.

I stepped on the scales today and noted my weight loss – 5 and three quarter pounds in just one week.

I am eating a lot of fish and vegetables. I have cut out meat and sweet treats. I am not drinking alcohol.

I managed an exercise routine this week and although I doubt I did it perfectly, I did get through it. It was the Josie Gibson one at Beginners Level.

My proudest moments this week eating wise were turning down a takeaway pizza and sitting with a black coffee whilst my family tucked into McDonalds.

What is helping me?

Knowing I have real health issues to contend with

My husband bringing me healthy treats like smoked salmon and avocados.

The wonderful support of online friends – every message makes a big difference so do keep them coming.

I can do this. I have to. Weight loss here I come and lots of it too.

Are you looking for a great bean bag?

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I have always liked bean bags. I used to have three huge ones as a child in silver, gold and red.

However, the ones I have bought my children have often proved disappointing particularly when it comes to them splitting and the fillings spilling out and creating a mess.

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Finally, thanks to the Bazaar Bag, my tweens and teenager have a funky purple bag that is big enough for them all to chill on. They have used it for imaginative play and used it as a base for a den. It is great when they are chilling playing video games or watching television. It is fun to bounce on! I have even found m daughter snuggled up sleeping on it.

I can already see how useful it would be as extra seating when you have guests over Christmas.

What I love about the bean bag is that it is sizeable and strong. It has an inner lining to keep the stuffing in place. Best of all, they are water resistant and easily wipe down if the little ones spill a drink on them.

Your children can choose from 12 vibrant colour options perhaps to match the colour scheme in their room. There is a choice of sizes too.

They are available to buy at www.BeanBagBazaar.co.uk with FREE UK mainland delivery.

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