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No credit Christmas

I mentioned in another post that September brings with it thoughts of Christmas for me and this year I’m planning on having a no credit Christmas.
This means I have lots of planning to do to make sure the cost of Christmas is spread over the next 14 weeks.

No Credit Christmas

I usually buy all the gifts from my catalogues and quite apart from the extra cost due to interest charges, it takes me all year to pay it off.
I’m not going to do Christmas like that anymore and if it means only giving token gifts to let family and friends know we’re thinking of them, then so be it.

I’m not prepared to get into more debt to buy stuff that people neither want or need just so they can see I’ve been and spent money.
I need to keep reminding myself that none of our family members would want us to get into debt so they can receive yet another set of smellies!

So, this year, we’re going homemade all the way and I’ve been busy gathering ideas on Pinterest.
Here are a couple of cheap gift-wrap ideas.


homemade gift wrap no credit Christmas
Whole Living
homemade gift wrap no credit Christmas
Creature Comforts Blog

September already :)

I know most people don’t smile when September comes around; the start of a new school year brings with it the changing of the seasons and signals the end of summer (not that we here in the UK get much of a summer anyway!).
I’ve never been a fan of summer anyway so I like September. I much prefer being able to add a layer to get warm than to sit sweating with doors and windows open praying for some kind of breeze to cool me down; thankfully, this summer’s been pretty tame and there have only been a few uncomfortable days.

I have to admit, September’s not all good…..I miss the lazy mornings of the school holidays. I really don’t like having to switch the alarm on again after six blissful weeks of having it turned off but the saving grace in it all is that when September rolls around, I start planning for….wait for it……the word dreaded by many…..CHRISTMAS and yes it’s in capitals and yes I am shouting it out loud!!!
I LOVE the lead up to Christmas. All the planning is what makes me happy and this year I’m especially excited about being able to decorate our new mantel over the fire.
For years I’ve wanted a mantel to decorate and I’ve already started searching for some ideas.
My go to place when I want any kind of inspiration for ways to make our house a home is and I’ve found some wonderful mantel decoration ideas 🙂

Here are a couple of my favourites:


I’m loving searching through Pinterest, BHG and Google. I can’t wait to get a final design in place and start shopping for it 🙂

I apologise now for mentioning the ‘C’ word so early but I’m afraid you’ll be hearing it a lot more from me now September’s here!

64 / 365 – Christmas chocolates

Can you believe it’s nearly Easter and we still have chocolates left over from Christmas! The kids like chocolate every now and again but most of the time when they ask for snacks they ask for fruit.
I’ll be glad to see the back of these chocolates because I’m not like the kids, I pick the chocolate over the fruit every time!

Visiting family on Boxing Day

I love going to my mum’s on Boxing Day and this year was even better because my brother John was able to make it with his family. I only see them a couple of times a year so it was really great seeing them today 🙂
I also loved seeing my dad who I miss loads. My nieces and nephews were pleased to see me and I got cuddles and kisses from them all.

I love them all and can’t wait to see them again in the new year 🙂

My brother Chap aka John!


My little Mason. Love you sweetie xx


Chap’s wife, Gemma 🙂


Oops bit blurry but my sis, Stacy


Grrr blurry again but it’s my boy, Aiden and his cousin, Chloe 🙂


Me and my bestest friend, Jo. Love ya 😀 xx

Sorry Jay, tried to take a pic of you and gorgeous Megan but it’s too blurry. Still love ya though 😉 xx

Christmas Day in pictures

KayCee’s gifts


Aiden’s gifts


Ella’s gifts


Ella, loving her helmet and protective pads!


New friends – Jasmine, belonging to KayCee and Ella’s is called Rosie.


I’ve been totally spoilt rotten today 🙂


Best. Coffee. EVER!!


Cried a bit with excitement and happiness!!  BEST. CHRISTMAS. EVER!


KayCee loves her netbook 🙂


LOVE LOVE LOVE the huge table and serving set….


so much so that I had to show it twice!!


Rosie, loved by Ella


Getting ready to make frozen ring pops


My wonderful boy, helping to clean up after dinner.

Our Christmas Eve

Exhausted but happy. That was me yesterday evening!
The treasure hunt was a huge success and the children were really lovely all day. They all helped get the house ready for the guests who were coming to tea then they spent the afternoon playing outside together.
Granddad took them out for a little while so we could finish getting everything ready for the buffet then our guests started to arrive.

We really enjoyed having our friends and family over for a few drinks and some lovely food, even if I do say so myself!

The kids went next door to help our neighbour decorate her tree when our guests left. This wasn’t planned but worked out great because I was able to take over from Ant who was cleaning the kitchen so he could go and fetch presents from Granddad’s.

When they came home, I gave them the final clue to the treasure hunt and we soon had three excited children who couldn’t believe they were allowed to open four presents instead of the usual one!
The girl’s loved their Hello Kitty pyjamas that Granddad had bought them and they were all very pleased with their fleece blankets, hot water bottle and Santa mug.

After hot chocolate with marshmallows and squirty cream they were all very excited to find out that Santa had sent them a video email from Portable North Pole.
KayCee confessed after watching hers that she’d been a little bit scared in case she got put on the naughty list and you could see the relief on her face when the light turned green!

Aiden made up a bed on the floor of the girl’s room because they all like to sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve and when everyone was settled, I read ‘Twas the night before Christmas’.

It was a lovely end to a lovely day 🙂

Christmas Eve Treasure Hunt

Do you remember our Advent Activity List? Well there’s been a slight adjustment to Christmas Eve’s activity. We’ve added a Christmas Eve treasure hunt 🙂

I left the little scroll in there for the whole of December and there has been much speculation as to what Christmas Eve’s scroll is going to say.
From listening to the children, it was clear that the activity I’d picked for Christmas Eve was going to be a bit of a disappointment to them (the activity on the scroll is to have hot chocolate with marshmallows and squirty cream) as we always have hot chocolate on Christmas Eve.
They’re expecting something different and a little bit special because Christmas Eve is the most special day on the advent calendar.

With this in mind, Ant and I devised our own mini treasure hunt which ends with the children being able to open some presents bought especially for them for Christmas Eve using an idea taken from the very lovely Chris over at Thinly Spread…thanks for sharing Chris, the kids are going to love it!
Chris calls it the snuggle sack but we’ve not really not got a name for it as we’re going to put each child’s gifts in the bags they leave out for Santa and the treasure hunt will eventually lead them to the bags.
It’ll be a surprise to find gifts already in there!

When they go to bed on the 23rd, I’m going to swap the scroll for a Forever Friends tag on which I’ve written the first clue.

Grandad bought them each a new pair of pyjamas and we’ve bought them a red Christmas fleece blanket, a matching hot water bottle with red Christmas cover, a Santa mug for their hot chocolate and a magic key to hang on the door for Santa.

Treasure Hunt

Here are our clues for the first part of the treasure hunt:

Good Morning
Time to stop snoring
It’s Christmas Eve
and if you believe
Santa’s coming tonight
Go look under the lights

Well you did well
and so I’ll tell
the next clue will be
not under the tree
but near the love nest
so go, be my guest!

Clue number three
is not so ea-sy
It’s under a box
in a room with a clock
Near you know who’s
smelly old shoes

Now I’m sorry to say
it’s going to be a long day
Mummy & Daddy are really sorry
we know you did this in rather a hurry
But you’ll have to wait
’til after 8


Christmas tree

Then after 8pm, I’ll give each of them a Christmas card and on one of the envelopes I’m going to attach the last clue:

Now’s the time to grab a mince pie,
we need to feed that special guy.

Pour him a drink; I think Baileys is best!
Once that’s done, it’s time to rest….
Don’t you think bedtime is the best?!

But wait, something’s amiss
is it a goodnight kiss?
No that’s not it,
but let’s not quit…

Let’s think, what can it be?
Something to make you all happy?

You’ve left the snacks
so grab the sacks.
(ok, I know you have bags but that didn’t rhyme!)
You’ll find a surprise
waiting there inside!

I’m so excited, I can’t wait to see their faces 🙂


Christmas Eve treasure hunt

The Andy Williams Christmas Show

Ella and I fell asleep in our chairs last night around 8pm. I didn’t wake until I got Ant’s text around 10pm saying he was finally coming home from work. He had to work late to make sure all the computers and laptops were fixed and ready for collection before the shop shuts for Christmas at lunch today.
Ella was still fast asleep on the chair when he got home so he carried her up to her bed.

I’d had 2 hours of deep sleep so I was wide awake at gone 1am this morning. I decided to put something light on the TV so I didn’t have to concentrate and I picked The Andy Williams Christmas Show from the long list we have on TiVo.
As most of you know, I LOVE Christmas and Andy Williams is totally helping my Christmas spirit soar!
I remember my mum having an Andy Williams Christmas songs LP when I was a child and the combination of the music, the twinkling of the lights and the excitement of Christmas Day being so close sent me right back to those magical days of being a child at Christmas.

Dad, Me & Mum. Makes me smile every time I see this photo 🙂

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year and I hope you all have the best Christmas 🙂

Christmas facepaints

Thanks to Snazeroo, who make the best face paints ever, we had Christmas face painting fun yesterday 🙂
I’m loving trying new designs on the kids and I’m getting a bit faster now so they don’t mind as much being my guinea pigs!

Ella wanted to be a snowflake

and KayCee wanted to be Rudolph

They both want different designs today but I’m not sure if we’re going to get time. We’ve got a full day ahead, starting with the last of the shopping for things needed for the Christmas Eve buffet tea and Christmas lunch; then when we get back, we’ve got to have lunch, clean bedrooms and the bathroom, bake the sugar cookies (we made the dough yesterday and ran out of time before getting to the baking) and play Beat the Parents. I also have to fit in cooking and serving dinner.

I usually do all my shopping online and never have to venture out, (especially at this time of year!) but Tesco don’t do a very good range of housewares on their grocery site. Asda does a better selection but I forgot to get my order placed before all the Christmas dates were gone so now I have to go to the actual shop *shock horror*. We’re going early but bet it’s still going to be a nightmare!

Wish me luck, out there in the throngs of people frantically trying to find the perfect present for their loved ones!

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