Thursday 20 December 2018

Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide!

Can you believe Christmas is just next week! If you're like me and haven't done all of your Christmas shopping yet then do not fret! There is still time to purchase all of your Christmas presents. And if you don't have time to shop in stores simply get shopping online. Here are the brands I recommend, which offer something for everyone!

Wednesday 19 December 2018

5 ways to save money over Christmas

According to the Bank of England, each household spends £500 extra in December! This extra money is spent on going out, eating food, drinking alcohol and buying Christmas presents. The biggest increases in spending are on music & DVDs (116%), Books (85%), Computers (68%), Toiletries (56%), Clothing (43%), Alcohol (39%) and Food (16%). With rising utility costs and an uncertain economy, there are simple tips to help tackle rising living costs. Although we all get into the spending mood at this time of year, there are certain ways to limit your spending and save on money that you would usually spend.

5 ways to save money over Christmas

Make your own decorations

Buying new Christmas decorations can cost a small fortune and if you have the time, why not make your own! If you have kids this can be a fun session of crafting. I recently wrote a post on easy Christmas crafts to make with kids with inspiration from other crafty bloggers. There are several fun ideas for Christmas decorations to make with or without kids and most of the materials you’ll probably already have at home.

Shop for presents wisely
Christmas has become so commercial in the UK. When visiting other European countries I’ve been surprised at how Christmas is celebrated traditionally without the need of buying and exchanging big expensive gifts at Christmas. Save money by looking out for 3 for 2 offers and discounts but make sure it’s a good deal. You could also be creative and put together your own set of presents. For example, Poundland has so many great offers and deals that you can easily buy several small things, put them in a little ‘hamper’ or basket, decorate with straw and ribbon and you have a little hamper full of gifts at a fraction of the pice that you’d pay elsewhere. Instead of buying CDs why not make your own compilations and give them to friends and family? Be creative and imaginative with gift ideas.

Host social events at home rather than going out
Going out for dinner can cost a lot especially when there are a lot of you and kids with big appetites are involved! Although it can be fun to go out it can also make a big dent in your bank balance! Hosting a dinner, party or social gathering at your own house can be a much better option. If you don’t want to cook for a large amount of people you could have ‘bring a dish’ themed evening or a drinks party instead. If you do go out look at deals from discount/coupons websites such as Groupon or Klook and find some bargains.

Pick ‘cheap’ days out over the Christmas holidays
Spending the day out with children doesn’t have to have to be expensive. Take a packed lunch, snacks and drinks to save on food and pick free or cheap attractions. In London, for example, all of the big museums including the Science Museum. National History Museum and British Museum are free to visit! These make great days out for kids and Visit London lists over 101 free activity ideas to do in London . Likewise, look at train deals over the weekends. Many offer huge discounts on adult and family train fares compared to visiting in the week.

Only buy what you need
This is a big one and I know it’s so easy to be tempted by Christmas offers. Write a list of food items you really need for Christmas and stick to the list when you go shopping. Or stick to a certain budget. I’d also recommend buying food on Christmas Eve. To anyone who has done this will know that there is a surplus of food at supermarkets on Christmas Eve and everything is reduced. I hate to think about how much food is actually thrown away at the day of the day! Although you might want to buy essentials beforehand in case they are sold out, there are some real bargains at supermarkets on Christmas eve and if you don’t use these on Christmas day itself you can always save for after Christmas or into the new year.

This is a collaborative post. All words and opinions are my own.

I hope I’ve given you some money saving ideas. Do you have any more tips I could add?


Wednesday 12 December 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Giant Christmas Bauble


Monday 10 December 2018

How to afford a family holiday

Family holidays are indeed fun and exciting! After all, this is the time when you not only explore new destinations but also get to spend quality time with family. Every family would like to enjoy a great holiday every year. However, with the escalating costs of travel and other expenses, it is a lot easier said than done. Moreover, with the important things in life like the living costs, school costs, and mortgage to pay, there is very little money left to holiday on.

Sunday 9 December 2018

A Morning Coffee #MySundayPhoto

Linking up with #MySundayPhoto

Saturday 8 December 2018

The Christmas Tag

This year I've decided to take part in the Christmas Tag as part of Blogmas where I'm posting everyday thorough December.

Friday 7 December 2018

What Christmas is really like in Bethlehem

*This post was originally published in December 2016. I am republishing as part of #Blogmas 2018 and because it's been ten years since I was working/living in Palestine

Have you ever wondered what the little town of Bethlehem looks like today? Have you ever thought about celebrating Christmas in the Holy Land? In 2008 I did exactly that and spent my Christmas in Bethlehem. It sounds almost mythical when I retell the story and certainly was a wonderfully unique experience. In a society where the 25th December has turned into our most commercialised holiday and everything is geared towards decorating the tree, buying presents and eating a lot of food, it was rather nice to be where it all began and celebrate Christmas in a purely traditional setting. I'm not really religious but even so, being in a town with an abundance of history and biblical significance was surreal. It will be a day I remember forever. I was also lucky enough to be at the Midnight Mass celebration at the Church of the Nativity, near to the exact spot where Jesus is believed to have been born. I stood there with hundreds of other visitors listening to the speech of Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine, in a church so beautiful and atmospheric it makes me smile just thinking about it. As the clocks struck at midnight it all felt like a dream.

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Wordless Wednesday - Brighton Pier


Tuesday 4 December 2018

My Funniest Spam Comments

As part of Blogmas this year I thought I'd write something a bit different. When I started blogging back in 2014 I didn't receive many spam comments. However, a couple of years ago I started to get several each day and most were written on my blog post: A Day Out in Lewes. That post is also my highest viewing post ever with over 28,000 views! I have no idea where people are directed from but it's funny that so many people comment. I guess a few could actually be genuine but it's difficult to know sometimes! I've received about 3000 spam comments in total and some are so funny I had to share them. Here are 40 of my funniest spam comments and my individual response to each of them!

Monday 3 December 2018

Five things I want to do in December

I've read a couple of blog posts recently including Autumn by Captured by Jade and A relaxed December Bucket List from Northumberland Mam and they got me thinking about what I'd like to do this month. Here are five things I want to do in December.

Sunday 2 December 2018

A Brighton Sunset #MySundayPhoto

Yesterday, I wrote about taking part in Blogmas this month and I will be posting every day in December. One of my reasons for taking part is being more creative and joining in with linkies I used to regularly. So here is #MySundayPhoto. I do love this time of year for watching some stunning sunsets out to sea, as opposed to summer when the sun sets inland. Plus, one consolation of our early sunset times at 4pm is that Pip can come and watch them too. He was with me when I took the photo above.

Linking up with #MySundayPhoto. Have you seen any beautiful sunsets recently?

Saturday 1 December 2018

Blogmas Day One: Why I'm blogging every day this month

Disclaimer: I will try to blog every day this month. If for any reason I lose inspiration or the thought of writing another blog post kills me I will stop ☺ Disclaimer 2: Most of my posts will probably not be related to Christmas! With these things in mind, I'm still excited about joining in with Blogmas! I saw a few tweets about it some days ago and suddenly thought about joining in. I posted a Twitter poll and asked fellow bloggers what they thought:

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