It is official, the mince pies are out, the Christmas tree is up and I even treated myself to a festive mug to keep me in the Christmas spirit at work. I have succumbed to the festivities and let them take over me like scrouge waking up after his haunting. I don’t know why I am surprised, this happens to me every year. I go from Christmas hate to all in Christmas obsessive. This week has been a lovely balance of festive occasions, seeing friends, sorting the house out and relaxing. This is my weekly round up.
I want to give a little mention to my Mum who after telling her I didn’t need an advent calendar because of waste she went out and bought us all even bigger calenders! Despite the additional Christmas waste, I am unbelievably grateful for how much she thinks of us. She bought us all the most beautiful Yvonne Ellen advent calendars. Each day behind the little doors is a new scented candle. I have been burning one each day, its the perfect little R&R touch I need.
I am really trying to eat healthier and a little more cost-effective before Christmas. I managed only three meals out this week, a PB of mine for this time of year. I did, however, whip up my favourite, easy butternut squash and sage risotto for the third time and perfected it. It goes such a long way, I managed a good few meals from it and I also shared it with my Dad and sister. It is so simple for anyone who doesn’t like to cook but wants delicious, wholesome winter food. It is as follows, 300g of risotto rice, 2 vegetable stock pots, vegan butter, half a butternut squash roasted with sage then mashed up and mixed into the risotto, a glass of white wine, a whole lot of garlic, pepper, salt and cheese at the end if you wish. It is so basic but tastes absolutely incredible and it is healthy too.
Tonight I am heading over to my Grandma’s (It’s our Sunday night thing) to watch the BBC adaption of Elizabeth is Missing. Elizabeth is Missing is a debut novel written by Emma Healey which I read a few years ago and absolutely loved. It is based on the story of Maud, an elderly lady struggling with dementia. When Elizabeth Maud’s friend does show up one day Maud assumes she has gone missing and is convinced something terrible has happened but with the confusion of memories and the impact of her illness her stories begin to cross, this story is basked in mystery without losing the importance of what dementia can do. I am excited to watch this tonight and hope the BBC have done it justice.
This week my clothing update is a donation to others and not myself. This week I purchased clothes for refugees via the Choose Love website. For less than you would spend on a takeaway, you can buy coats and warm clothing for refugee children, food, warm blankets etc. It takes a few clicks and they are on their way. They also have ChooseLove stores in London (Neal street) New York and LA where you can make purchases which are sent directly to refugee camps. The other cause I love is Beauty Bank set up by beauty blogger Salli Hughes. Beautybank allows you to donate unused cosmetics and sanitary products you have to women who need them. Alongside this, you can also purchase products for homeless women or women living in shelters. There is a website called Easho where you can purchase in bulk the products homeless shelters are in desperate need of. Both are incredible causes you can make a big difference with for just a few extra pounds.
This week’s beauty edit is none other than the new Zara and Jo Malone perfume collaboration. I nipped into Zara on Friday to have a smell of these, to decide which worked best for me and hands down Ebony Wood was the winner. I shared this on Instagram and it seems it was a firm favourite amongst others. So if you are in the market for a new perfume or need to buy a present for a friend or family member and are not sure what to get them this range is incredible and only £25 too. I cannot get over the price. I sprayed the tester on me and I smelt amazing all evening.
This week I read Men without Women a collection of short stories by Haruki Murakami. I bought myself this book last Christmas, I don’t know why it has sat on my shelf ever since but I finally remembered it this week and whizzed through it. I read Norweigan Wood, one of Murakami’s first novels on a friend’s recommendation, I was instantly hooked by his style of writing but despite him publishing several books in the near 40 years since Norweigan Wood I haven’t been able to get stuck into any of them. I tried the wind-up bird chronicle and became lost and bored with all the different stories going on within it. Men without Women, however, was a complete surprise, one which I regret leaving a year to read. Maybe his short stories work better for me. I have really enjoyed reading this.
I have tried to avoid as many new purchases as I possibly can, mainly because I need the money to buy others presents but the one thing I do make sure I treat myself to every year is the perfect planner for the year ahead. For the past three years, I have always bought my diary from Kikki K. They create the perfect combination of cute, professional and practical. I always buy the same diary, I am a creature of habit, what can I say. This year they have however changed the colour. What I love most about these diaries is the helpful layout and how they maximise the use of what a planner can do. They all have a week to view so the planner isn’t massive. On each week plan, you get a section each for goals, To-do lists, gratitude lists and meal prep. Everything I need. There is also quarterly goal reminders and monthly reflections. Honestly, the diary encompasses everything I need in a planner and notebook, with lots of opportunity for notes at the back and month to view pages. I managed to get this year in the sale from £21 to £14. So this is definitely my buy of the week.
I know I need no excuse to mention The High Low, they are a weekly edit and sometimes I feel daft mentioning them because so many of my friends and followers already listen to this weekly pop culture podcast but this week’s episode featured none other than my favourite mental health ambassador and all-round girl crush, Bella Mackie. Dolly, Pandora and Bella together were an absolute power trio. I could listen to this episode 100 times over so might sure you give it a listen.