Sunday, 26 October 2014

52 Lists / Forty Three

Hello again, it's been a while. I've just been caught up in the usual craziness of a first half term: home visits, getting to know children and trying to settle them, copying with new discoveries about their behaviour, needs and interests and carrying out baseline assessments for all 78 of them. Nevermind, we have now reached half term break (having survived the longest teaching half term of the year) and it is a chance to pause, rest and prepare for the next half term's adventures - as well as having lots of me-time fun!

I do hope that whatever you've been doing these past few weeks, you've been keeping well and enjoying the glories of autumn. In England the beautiful, mild weather has been delightful; it's made it a stunning autumn thus far.

You may have noticed that there has been no 52 Lists for a good few weeks. This has not been due to  my own tardiness but because since the middle of September I've sadly not received any further emails from Emma at Made In Hunters and despite having emailed her to see if she is ok, I've not heard a thing.

Whilst I was busy with school work this was no bad thing but I do miss the routine of thinking about and putting a list together each week. I've decided to make up my own things to list about until the end of the year (not long now really!) and as 2015 I've decided to start a new list project which I'm very excited about.

For the new year, I plan to write a post each week about my favourite pieces of music. Music is such a big part of my life and I enjoyed writing a couple of posts about secret songs in the summer. As my musical tastes are ecclectic I think it will be a real mish mash of classical and more modern styles. I'm very excited about doing it as I think it will reflect not only who I am but how what I listen to adapts to weather, seasons and celebrations throughout the year.

But that's enough of plans for 2015 - back to 2014!

This week: List what you plan to do to make this Christmas a good one!

Back in January I wrote a gloomy post about how disappointed I was with Christmas that had just gone. It was a bit of a tail-between-my-legs episode about how it was nice but how I didn't feel it was filled with as much delight and magic as other years. Boo hoo!

Now with the clocks going back (I'm using the 'extra' hour to write this post) and Christmas themed  catalogues arriving on my doorstep on a daily basis, my thoughts really do have a festive focus once more.

I'm trying to 'keep calm and get things done' this year, trying to find a good pace to achieve things I must do and enjoy the things I want to, finding a festive balance and not feeling guilty about the things that don't happen.

Here's the start of my Enjoy Christmas Action Plan!

Getting things done on my weekly to-do list
This week: Buy Christmas Cards, check address book, print labels, plan wrapping, bake cakes.
(I have already bought my cards - Andy and I made our annual visit to St Paul's Church in Covent Garden and bought some Cards For Good Causes AND my Dad kindly picked up all the cake and pudding ingredients when he was out shopping on Friday so I'm all prepared to make my cakes this week)

Don't hold onto all the random Christmas catalogues
In previous years I have hoarded all the Christmas catalogues that I've received through the post, picked up whilst shopping or found stuffed into magazines. This year I'm looking at them as they arrive, keeping what I want and recycling the rest. There's no point holding onto paper that I'm never going to look at again and then chuck it out the week before Christmas when I'm tidying the house. Hotel Chocolat and NOTHS have already been dispatched to be repurposed into loo rolls. 

Make time for me in the holidays
I finish school on Friday 19th December this which gives me a nice few days before Christmas to enjoy the build-up festivities, something which I struggled to last year. I will definitely be spending a half day in the West End doing my last bits of special shopping, enjoying all the beautiful seasonal sights and listening to festive musics on my iPod. There will be a Starbucks red-cup thrown in and hopefully some peace found at Evensong at St Paul's Cathedral for good measure!

Go home for Christmas
We have already discussed where we will be for Christmas Day this year and I've asked to go home to Mum and Dad's this year. It's not really a big deal as it involves no travelling or overnight stays (they live 2 streets away) and we would all be together at our house or theirs anyway but this year I wanted to be back 'at home' for the big day. To be honest they have more space in their living room to sit and enjoy the evening and the past two years it has been a bit of a squeeze in ours. It will also be the first Christmas with Milly who will no doubt provide lots of feline entertainment!

Buy the tree a week earlier
Last year I waited until school had broken up for the holidays before going to buy our tree because I wanted it to feel like the holidays but actually it just felt a bit late and in the last week of term as things were winding down, I wanted nothing more than to come home and sit under some fairy lights. This year, we'll buy the tree and get it up in the middle of December and be able to properly enjoy coming home to it for a good few weeks. I don't think we gained anything from buying it later anyway - I've never known a tree drop so many pine needles anyway!

Don't buy too many festive magazines (and be swept away in how perfect it should be)
So I've already bought my Ideal Home Christmas special and the Country Living December issue has arrived but this year I plan to buy no more. I've decided to save my money and just browse on Pinterest and magpie ideas from blogs and Instagram (and sneak a look at Mum's Good Housekeeping), rather than buy magazines which I struggle to find the time to read, have a huff about how articles are recycled year-on-year and feel disillusioned that my house doesn't look like as perfect as the photographs of Jemima and Rupert's Cotswold farmhouse that were probably taken during a heatwave in July. It is just not worth it!

Don't get swept away with buying (or wishing for) to many presents for Mr P
I'm known for starting off sensibly with my present purchasing and in the fortnight before the big day getting swept away with buying every novelty item on offer. There is no way that Andy's life will ever be enhanced by a Roman Legionnaire Rubber Duck and I don't want to spend a week at the start of January once again trying to find homes for all these frivolities, our home is just not big enough. I, in turn, have said the one thing that what I wish for this Christmas and I'm just hoping it will come true. (Might have to drop heavy hints for a few more weeks though!)

Well, that's made a start on being pragmatic about Christmas 2014. Just writing things down and putting it out there helps to make my thoughts and doings clearer. 

Have you got a strategy for 'doing Christmas' or do you just take it in your stride?


  1. It's too, not to. Tut tut!

  2. I hope that your careful planning creates more time for you to do the things that you love, and a more peaceful season. I am a bit off this year; usually I am already tucking away gifts and reading magazines. Bronte and David will be with his family this year - which is only fair, but it will be our first Christmas without her. I find myself not wanting to think about it. But I am looking forward to red cups! I will try to get your package off earlier this year so that you have more time to enjoy it.

  3. Bin the festive mags entirely!! Go on!! They are full of nothing!!
    I have been feeling a tad humbug about Christmas. That is until this weekend, when I realised that it will be just us, no other family, and therefore no need to work myself up into a frenzy in the kitchen. I am now looking forward to the day with just Marc and the boys. And most likely a lot of lego building.
    Have a relaxing half term.
    Leanne xx