Christmas is nearly here and I am looking forward to a gentle and peaceful one this year because that’s my kind of Christmas mixed with a few frolics of course.

To get myself in the festive spirit, I am taking up the lovely Christmas tag and thank Claire from The Pramshed blog for thinking of me. My first Christmas was spent in a children’s home of the convent variety so here is my first Christmas picture as far as I know just after my adoptive parents brought me home and when I was not yet officially theirs. Looks wise it could only get better!

My Kind Of Christmas

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

I can never get enough of the Christmas Carol and whatever version will do and I enjoy the book too. However, the one that appeals to all the family is the Muppets’ Christmas Carol. It is possibly the only time that I have enjoyed Michael Caine on screen too.

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

I was extremely lucky that my first son was born in November and we had snow on his first Christmas Day. I remember his half-sister holding him up to the window to show him. It is a precious memory as she left us a few months later.

Where do you usually spend your holiday?

It has varied widely. Until my early teens, it was a traditional family Christmas at home in Yorkshire with my parents, brothers and Uncle Lawrence. At that point, Mum announced she would no longer be doing the full thing and we would eat out on Christmas Day from then on. So I have special memories of Christmas at home and in restaurants including the Three Nuns which my Yorkshire friends will know. I had a couple of Christmases with my brother Michael in London and remember walking in Kensington Gardens through the snow one sunny Christmas morning. Fond memories Michael in our first Christmas without you. I spent my 21st Christmas in Germany with my parents. I spent one Christmas in Carlisle with my landlord Alan’s family. I had a couple of Christmases presumably in Cambridge and Oxfordshire with my first live-in lover type person Dave. When he did the dirty, I had a Christmas alone back in Dewsbury. Christmas with Himself and the children are mainly Yorkshire ones but not any more!

What’s your favourite Christmas song?

Has to be the Pogues – gives every woman an excuse to blast out “You scumbag!” and get away with it. Plus it plays to my Irish heritage and if you have not listened to the rest of the Pogues’ offerings, I highly recommend them.

Carols wise I love “O Come All Ye Faithful” with a good descant and “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”

Must not forget “Last Christmas” either and hope it goes to Number One as a fitting tribute to someone lost too soon.

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

No. It is always Christmas morning for us and I worry that Christmas seems to start in July now which removes a bit of the special flavour of it for me.

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Blitzen, Vixen, Dancer, Prancer, Cupid, Rudolph – erm! Cheating brings Dasher, Comet and Donner and who doesn’t need a kebab after a Christmas night out?

What holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?

Relaxation, family time and laughter.

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

I have not got one yet but hoping to buy a real one tomorrow. I have had both over the years and usually as a long-held family tradition it goes up and is decorated on my birthday.

What’s your favourite holiday food/treat/sweet?

How do you narrow that one down? Chocolate log, Mum’s Christmas cake with cheese. Terry’s Chocolate Orange, sprouts. prawn cocktail, tomato soup. I could go on!

Be honest. Do you prefer giving or receiving gifts?

I have always loved giving and still do. I like really listening all year and then getting something the person will adore. However, over the years, I have started to like to receive and do wish people would listen as well as I do rather than just buying really obvious stuff off the marketed supermarket shelf. Just saying Scumbag!

What’s the best Christmas present you’ve ever received?

My doll’s house made by my Dad’s best friend who was a joiner with doors that you could slide right off and decorated superbly by his two sisters.

What’s your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

Moscow just because I have always wanted to visit. Really it does not matter so long as I am with the right people.

Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?

 

This has changed over the years. It was always my job in my childhood home to wrap all the presents and I loved doing it and was so good at it. I was always very proud of my efforts. Nowadays, I don’t always bother to be honest going down the throw stuff in a big festive sack and keep it simple.

What’s your most memorable Christmas memory?

How on Earth can I choose one? I cherish them all. One I will share is how after Christmas lunch at home I used to join my older brothers and my cousin Sean for card games and they used to con me that I was drinking booze when actually it was just lemonade.

What made you realise the truth about Christmas?

What truth are we talking about? It’s about the birth of Jesus and then a man in a sleigh appearing in the sky.

What makes the holidays special for you?

I love how people start behaving as they should all year round with more time and care for other people. I enjoy that I let myself relax which I don’t do often enough. I enjoy that everything becomes funny for some reason instead of stressful. Memories and talking about Christmas past is very important to me too whilst also knowing and relishing that I am creating memories for my own children now.

Time for a little tagging so tell me about your kind of Christmas …

https://www.thismummysalwayswrite.com/

http://indigowilderness.co.uk/

http://beckywilloughby.blogspot.fr/

http://www.lizziesomerset.com/

https://mrsmummyharris.co.uk/

 

Linking with https://mummyinatutu.co.uk/ablogginggoodtime-week-112/

The menopause is often thought of as ‘the last taboo’, trailing behind many other health and wellbeing issues when it comes to something that is spoken about openly. In fact, the menopause is something that up to 50% of UK women are too embarrassed to talk about at all, even with their GPs.

But it is imperative that we talk, that we open the dialogue surrounding the menopause; it’s something that every woman will experience and we need to create greater visibility surrounding the symptoms and the triggers of the menopause, some of which I want to discuss in this blog post. The menopause can be a distressing time for women who aren’t sure what to expect from their symptoms and aren’t certain which triggers will set them off – women need to be equipped with the knowledge that will help them manage the symptoms and the triggers during this time of life.

For example, we all know that Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year, but did you know that for menopausal women, it is also one of the biggest trigger times for symptoms of the menopause – in particular, the hot flush?

It’s very common for women to experience a higher frequency of hot flushes than normal if they are exposed to increasing levels of stress, as well as other triggers, including drastic changes in temperature or consuming greater amounts of alcohol or coffee – all triggers which are prevalent during the festive season.

The stress of Christmas shopping, meal planning and sticking to a hectic pre-Christmas social calendar – never mind the day itself – these alone can be hugely demanding for women who feel the responsibility is left to them to ensure that everyone else is having the most wonderful time of the year.

Stress is actually one of the major factors in triggering hot flushes; the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream causes your heart to race and blood flow to increase, leading to a subsequent increase in temperature. A hot flush is your body’s response, its attempt to cool the body down. But a hot flush can be overwhelming in its intensity and leave you sweating and even shivery afterwards, as your body attempts to bring your temperature back to a normal level.

Alongside stress, there are other factors that come into play when it comes to bringing on a less-than-festive flush. The extremes of temperature that come with dashing in and out of shops, or in and out of the kitchen on Christmas Day itself, contribute to kickstarting a hot flush. And while we’re all so busy, you might not think that there’s any harm in consuming an extra cup of coffee to give you an energy boost, or indulging in some wine with friends in the run-up to December 25, but caffeine and alcohol are both hot flush triggers too.

But you needn’t think that your entire social schedule, shopping routine and gift list has to go out of the window this Christmas; in fact, I firmly believe that making small lifestyle changes this Christmas may help to reduce stress levels and keep those hot flushes at bay.

Menopause

My five top tips for surviving a menopausal Christmas:

Wear temperature-control undergarments

This is such a simple change to make, yet it can really make a big difference. There are some fantastic menopause-specific undergarment ranges on the market, using temperature-control fabrics to regulate body heat, reduce the awful shivers post-flush, and wick away moisture to avoid embarrassing sweaty situations too. These garments are designed for wearing underneath your clothing during the day, so you can still wear your regular clothes and get all dressed up for the festive season, but be confident that you can remain in control underneath.

Layer up your clothing

Layering is the ideal solution for helping to regulate your temperature when you’re out and about. Layer a temperature-control tank top with a t-shirt and a cardigan, rather than wearing one bulky jumper, to help you better manage your body’s response to changes in temperature. Choose cosy items that are quick and easy to pull on and off, depending on how hot or cold you feel.

Swap your coffee for a matcha tea

The caffeine in your regular teas and coffees stimulates the central nervous system, accelerating the heart rate, the blood pressure and the body temperature – all of which can bring on a hot flush. But just plain hot water can induce an episode, so I recommend trying something cooler to start your day. A bottle of cool iced matcha tea a good choice, as it’s cool and refreshing, with very low levels of slow-release caffeine, and an incredible level of antioxidants that help to keep the body healthy – especially important in winter when germs are rife!

Reduce your alcohol intake

Yes, this can be very tricky around Christmas, but if you find that a glass of wine brings on a sweaty, shivery flush, it’s best to find an alternative. There are plenty of non-alcoholic options in the supermarket if you don’t want to feel like the odd one out without a glass of something with dinner, or you can make delicious mocktails with fresh fruit juices. Pomegranates are credited with high levels of oestrogen and antioxidants that can help ease the symptoms of the menopause, as well as rich levels of vitamins C, A and E, and folic acid. Make yourself a deliciously festive, non-alcoholic cocktail this Christmas, using a plentiful helping of pomegranate juice and seeds, so you can still join in the festivities but soothe your symptoms at the same time.

Limit exposure to extremes in temperature

If you can stay indoors and do your Christmas shopping online, you might find it much easier than dashing from the cold into a store with the heating ramped up, and back out again. Extremes in temperature can bring on hot flushes in a flash, so if you can avoid exposing yourself to them in the lead-up to Christmas, you might find that you have a far more comfortable experience Christmas shopping. If you do find yourself getting hot and flustered whilst out and about, try a cooling face mist with rosewater to soothe and refresh the skin, and help you to cool down.

Kate’s Top Suggestions to Help You Through the Menopause this Festive Season:

  • Become temperature control garments (www.webecome.co.uk)
  • OMGTea Iced Matcha tea (www.omgteas.co.uk)
  • A pomegranate ‘gin’ cocktail, made with Pom Juice and Seedlip non-alcoholic spirits
  • Try doing your Christmas shopping online, with stores such as King & McGaw or Trouva, to help you find gifts without the stress!
  • Spritz your skin with Aster & Bay’s Rosewater Mist to cool down and refresh (https://www.asterandbay.co.uk/products/rosewater-mist)

 

Dr Rosy Fazzi MBChB, MRCGP, is the head of the Women’s Health department at Dr Nestor’s Medical Cosmetic Centre in Edinburgh (www.drnestor.co.uk). Dr Rosy is a specialist in women’s health issues, and is passionate about treatment for management of intimate female problems at various stages of life. Dr Rosy understands the mental and physical impact on women that can result from menopause and childbirth; she is enthusiastic about empowering women, with options to restore their sense of intimate wellbeing and general health. Dr Rosy offers bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, which is an alternative to traditional HRT and can help to ease the symptoms of the menopause.

You can book an appointment with Dr Rosy by visiting www.drnestor.co.uk

Find out more about Become by visiting www.webecome.co.uk

NB: There is a discount code on Become products for readers of this blog. The code is KATEONTHINICE10, this is for 10% off entire order and valid till the 15th of January 2018 at www.webecome.co.uk

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

How to make your Christmas tree last longer is an issue ever festive season.

They’re one of the biggest parts of any Christmas, but is there anything worse than having a wilting tree in your living room after just a couple of weeks?

 

How To Make Your Christmas Tree Last Longer

Did you know that with good care and maintenance, a Christmas tree could last you well over a month? Here are the top tips from gardening experts Greenhouse Sensation for keeping your tree looking perky and fresh long after the presents have been opened.

 

Choosing your tree

 

The very best way to keep your tree looking alive for longer is to pick a good one in the first place. The fresher it looks and feels when you choose it, the longer it will last.

 

Cutting your own tree from a local farm, or having one freshly cut for you is a good way to guarantee high quality. With local tree farms you can also be sure that the process is sustainable, with new trees planted each year.

 

If you are buying a tree that has been pre-cut at a nursery, speak to a member of staff and ask where the tree came from and how recently it was cut. If you’re not satisfied with the answers they give, don’t be afraid to buy elsewhere.

 

Take a closer look at the needles. Avoid trees that have dry and brittle needles; healthy ones should be flexible under your fingers.

 

Before you pay for your tree, don’t forget to take a look at the bottom too. Once a tree has been cut, sap starts to emerge and seals over the bottom which prevents water from getting inside. Ask a member of staff at the farm or nursery to cut an inch to an inch and a half off the bottom.

 

Another thing to wrap

 

We’re not talking about bright paper and ribbons here, but make sure your tree is properly protected for the drive home. Whether it’s sticking out of a half-open boot or riding on top of your car, the speed and low temperature of the wind can cause trees to prematurely dry out. Our second tip for keeping it looking fresh is to properly cover your tree for the drive home to prevent wind damage.

 

Watering

 

Yes, you read that right. It is best to water your Christmas tree if you want it to look great for longer. Remember, it’s essentially a giant flower that’s been cut. Once you’ve cleared the bottom of clogs and sap, fill a stand with water and get your tree into it as soon as possible. The goal is to keep the base moist at all times.

 

Check on the stand twice a day while your tree is still up. Make sure it can be easily accessed and filled in case the water runs low, as trees take up quite a significant amount of water.

 

Location, location, location

 

Many people like to place their beautifully decorated Christmas trees in windows at the front of the house. Of course, you want to show it off! But it may not be the best location for a tree if you want it to last as long as possible.

 

Avoid placing it near heated spots or cold vents. Fluctuating temperatures can increase the rate of dry out, and strong direct sunlight can cause your tree to fade faster.

 

Cleanup

 

Once the festive season is over, it’s time to take the decorations down. But don’t just throw your Christmas tree in landfill or leave it on the curb. Most city councils can collect trees and recycle them for you, but you can even do it yourself. Check out our ideas on how to make the most of your Christmas tree without wasting anything.

 

 

Cuddle Fairy

I have a 2018 diaries giveaway and these are really lovely diaries which are beautiful to look at and inspirational too.

2018 Diaries

2018 diaries

With vibrant, uplifting artwork, thought-provoking monthly themes, and insightful weekly quotes, the Every Day Matters 2018 Diary will help you feel highly organised and deeply

Inspired every day of the year.

For the fourth year in a row, Watkins is publishing the popular Every Day Matters diary, created by positivity blogger Dani DiPirro. Designed as a resource for enriching daily life, this bestselling illustrated holistic planner will guide you on a journey of awareness and fullment as you go about your day. This year’s monthly themes include: Openness, Imagination, Gratitude, Awareness, Passion, Perspective, Friendship, Patience, Connection, Focus, Compassion, and Transformation. In addition to the practical features of a diary, Dani provides inspiring illustrations and armations to encourage daily awareness.

Inspirational diaries

Each week-to-view spread features an insightful quote that encourages reection on the theme, and an exercise to further your overall wellbeing. Focusing on one theme each month, with a unique take on that theme each week, allows awareness and understanding to grow- so positive action can become an integral part of daily life.

Beautiful to look at

The vibrant, contemporary illustrations and encouraging content will draw the attention of both those who already know and love Dani’s work, as well as those who are completely new to her brand. The diaries are ideal sizes for pockets and purses, and have handy elastics to keep them neatly closed.

Staying inspired and organised has never been more convenient. So here’s to a year ahead where we really do make every day matter!

About the author:

Dani DiPirro is the founder of PositivelyPresent.com , an inspiring website created in 2009 to help others create lives  Filled with more positivity, awareness, and self-live. Dani is also author of The Positively Present Guide to Life , and
Gratitude , Living in the Moment , Compassion , and Forgiveness . She has a loyal following and over 120,000 monthly page views on her website. Her work has been featured on sites such as The Happiness Project, Psychology
Today, Glamour , and Forbes , and she has been featured as ELLE magazine’s coach of the month. For more information visit: http://www.danipirro.com

You could win 2 diaries in my giveaway – simply  enter via the Rafflecopter below and have yourself a positive New Year.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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