Tag Archives: Christmas

So, who got the watch and who got the ring this Christmas?

Photo by Tiffany Bailey

Photo by Tiffany Bailey

It seems like there’s been a clear divide this Christmas between those who have been waiting eagerly for their other half to wrap up their sparkling Michael Kors watch, or those who have had the surprise of finding an engagement ring under the tree. My Facebook and Twitter feeds have been packed with people who were showing off their rings with excitement, or those who just had to tell the world that “the boy done good” in getting them the watch with the most bling on the market.

It’s not that I’m jealous in any way, it’s just that I am amazed by the sheer numbers of people who have been overwhelmed by these rather underwhelming gifts. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but for the girls who have requested a Michael Kors watch, it is time to get some taste and to stop following the crowd. But that is not what is bothering me, I’m more concerned about the countless girls who have become engaged this Christmas when they are only in their early twenties!

Society seems to have gone full circle, from years ago when girls were married off when they were teenagers and thought to be on the shelf beyond their 30’s, to the era of independent women putting their careers ahead of their love lives, back to young marriage – but this time through choice. So, what has caused this? What is pushing these young women to get engaged at 23 before they have had a chance to see the world, before they have really established their careers or even discovered who they really are?

Of course, there is always the chance that these young women really are “the marrying kind” and have just always dreamt of marrying the man of their dreams, settling down and having a family – but there are several of these girls, who I have known for years, who once dreamt of a career and moving away or travelling the world. It leaves me wondering if in fact they have just taken a look at the world around them and taken the easy route by settling. It’s a sad thought, that these girls might be sacrificing their own hopes and dreams for the easy route simply because they have taken a good look at the world around them and have seen the bad. They’ve spotted the recession, the lack of jobs, the redundancies, the terrorism and the horrifying things happening around them instead of seeing the beauty and excitement of exploring the world, finding yourself and having adventures.

I just don’t understand the rush to settle down and have children when you are still just a child yourself – I have my life pretty together with a career plan, a long-term boyfriend and plans for the future – yet none of them include engagement rings, children or mortgages. I see the world as an open book with opportunities to travel, work abroad and develop my career before I think about settling down. In a world where those with children and mortgages are struggling to make ends meet, where people are losing their jobs or failing to even find work and support their families, why would you want to thrust yourself into adulthood prematurely?

What is the rush? If you really love someone and genuinely believe you will be together forever, why hurtle into marriage when you can enjoy living life and having amazing experiences together rather than  having a wedding that you could be paying off for a long time? There are just so many amazing things you could be doing with your twenties and I firmly believe that marriage is for your thirties.

You could head off to Thailand or Australia at a moment’s notice, do work experience or placements, up sticks and move across the country to start a new life, retrain in something new, have a one-night stand, share a house with five other people, live on your own, quit your job and go on a massive party holiday with your mates, tour the US with no money, work abroad, buy a car, go off and find yourself or whatever you want! I’m happy for my friends who have married young or recently become engaged, because for some it has been vital to their circumstances and they really have been in love and ready to settle down. But for others, I can’t help but wonder is it just the ‘safe’ option? And will these people spend their lives wondering, what if?

Hanging with the Royals on Christmas Day

Kate and Wills at Sandringham, minus baby George who apparently was busy playing with wrapping paper at home..

A Christmas tradition for many of the people of Norfolk, and especially King’s Lynn, has now broadened to people from all over the world – watching the Royal family head in and out of the church at Sandringham, Norfolk, is now the choice of activity for people who has traveled from all over America and even Asia.

This can be annoying for those who live in the immediate area and struggle to get a place in the crowd of waiting Yanks who had set up camp hours beforehand, but I love it. It just adds to the festive atmosphere! My family and I have been going to this event not every, but most Christmases since I was a little girl and I always love it. I love listening to the service through the speakers, I love seeing the Queen clamber gracefully out of her car, watching the Duke of Edinburgh stroll up the drive and of course, dribbling over Harry as he saunters past looking hungover. It is something that just signifies Christmas for me and I love how everyone in the grounds is bustling with excitement and Christmas spirit. A pilot had even chosen to fly over the grounds leaving vapour trails in the form of a smiley face! It was great!

Last year we managed to get to see both the Hunstanton charity swimmers and the Royals, but this year we only attempted one with my Grandad in tow. We were glad we only tried for one because record crowds had gathered at the church gates on the Royal Estate at Sandringham by the time we arrived at just after 10am and found cars parked the length of the road. We managed to find a spot and strolled up to the grounds, we entered the gates and managed to find a spot in the crowd where we could wait for the Royals to appear. Normally each year the family go into church at 10am and emerge from it around 11am, but shortly after we arrived they went into the church so perhaps they were running late. This gave us a good view of the Queen emerging from her car and the others strolling up the path. (The Queen was wearing a glamorous terracotta number with a fur hat – looking amazing as ever!)

It also meant that those around us who had been waiting longer were more inclined to stroll about as they tried to keep warm so it meant we managed to get right to the front of the crowd and gave us a perfect view! We couldn’t believe how close we were, and that we actually had the best view of the family to date, considering the crowds. It was fantastic, as they were in the service, my mum and I sang along to the carols and the crowd chatted among themselves. Then, they finally started to exit the building where two huge queues, with the most children I have ever seen brandishing bouquets of flowers to give to the Queen and to the family.

The size of the queues meant the children were lined up in front of us with the Royals moving along the lines which brought them right in front of us! We couldn’t believe how close the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to us as they collected flowers and chatted to the children. Kate Middleton looked fantastic as ever in her gorgeous tartan coat and black boots – I particularly loved her choice of black hat) Countess Sophie joined them with her daughter.

And of course… My favourite member of the Royal Family, Prince Harry strolled along the path helping with bouquets and looking rather bashful and scruffy. His cheeky smile, beard and general hungover appearance only made me love him more. I actually couldn’t believe quite how close he was to me, even talking to the people around us – it was amazing to see all of them in the flesh and so close, it really made you feel patriotic, especially surrounded by all the Yanks who had traveled so far just to witness this fantastic part of British culture and tradition.

I particularly love this last picture, which looks like a type of Christmas card and really shows off Kate’s fantastic outfit. She just looks so elegant and graceful – everything that a princess should be.

I am so very lucky to live where I do and to have this amazing opportunity to take part in this tradition each Christmas, my family love the visit and so many others do as well. It is something I would really recommend to anyone who lives in the area, or further afield, who hasn’t been before.


A perfect Christmas with the Ruthnums

Merry Christmas to all of my readers, I hope you had a wonderful day and spent it getting very merry with all your lovely families. I had the most wonderful Christmas to date thanks to my fantastic family and friends, I must apologize for the lack of posts on here this week, but I have just been so busy that it was impossible to find the time to sit and put any together!

I spent Christmas Eve rushing around like crazy trying to get all of my wrapping done and picking people up, dropping them off, helping with baking mince pies and trying to catch up with friends. Amazingly, I managed to get everything done and even found time to have dinner out with friends before joining them later at the pub for some festive drinks. It was lovely to get the whole group together because throughout the year we are often separated with some scattered around the country through work. It was a fantastic chance to get together and catch up, to see how everyone would be spending Christmas and to listen to some fab festive music.

After an evening with the boys, and joined later by the girls, including one of my best friends who had rushed back from Reading/Oxford way to spend Christmas Eve with us – it was amazing to see her after a few months apart. We headed home at a responsible hour – none of us wanting to be hungover the next day!

On Christmas Day, I awoke bright and early and after a big family breakfast, including my Grandad who normally goes to my uncle’s for Christmas to see my young cousins, we headed over to Sandringham, the Royal Estate, to see the Royal family attend the Christmas Day service. This is something we are very lucky to be able to visit each year and we have been going, not every year but most, since I was very young. My family always have the tradition of going out for a walk and some fresh air Christmas morning, usually to watch charity swimmers jump into the freezing sea at Hunstanton or to see the Royals at Sandringham – last year we actually made it to both! This year we decided to go for the Royals, even though we weren’t hopeful of seeing much with record crowds there. I’ll be writing a separate blog post all about this with lots of lovely pictures so keep posted for that!

Rocking my Christmas jumper at Sandringham!

Later, we headed home for a glass of Prosecco and a mince pie while we opened presents in front of the fire to warm our frozen toes. It was a lovely cosy afternoon and I’ll be posting separately about our lovely presents and all the treats I received.

Now, on to the important part – the food! We had an incredible roast – the best yet! Made up of turkey and beef, which had been cooked the day before and then heated up in gravy to make it extra juicy. We had gorgeous crispy, but fluffy, roasties and Yorkshire Puds. Parsnips that although not as crispy as we like, were delicious, pigs in blankets, plenty of leek sauce and gravy and of course, some roasted vegetables – a slight tweak on the usual boiled veg. This was all washed down with more wine, Prosecco, crackers and some cute table chocolates.

I was proud to say I actually won a cracker on my first attempt! Normally I am terrible at crackers but this year I won a whisk and some standard rubbish joke – I’ve actually heard all the jokes now and know most of the answers I’ve heard them so much. After dinner, we all relaxed in the living room, had more presents and watched all the usual stuff on TV, The Snowman, the alternative Christmas message, Strictly Christmas special, Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey. A perfect Christmas, rounded off with some homemade Christmas cake that was more brandy than anything, and some cheese, smoked salmon and crackers.

And here is our Christmas cake – the finished, decorated masterpiece! Delicious but damn it is strong! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas as well – what did everyone get up to?

Get the men in your life all wrapped up this Christmas

It seems from all the Twitter chat between the FBL bloggers that some of us are very disorganised this year with several presents still left to buy, but the people we seem to be struggling with the most are the blokes! Whether it is dad, uncle, Grandad or the boyfriend, we are all looking for that perfect gift to no avail. Luckily, I seem to be on top of things, despite feeling completely disorganised, and have actually found the men in my life easier to shop for, possibly for the first time ever! So, I thought, so help out my fellow bloggers, I would create a post with all of my festive gift ideas for the men in my life in the hope it will inspire you to treat the men in yours. Hope it helps!


Let’s start with the oldest and work our way down. I never really seem to struggle to find anything for my Grandad, in his 70’s, he makes it clear to us from the start – he wants stuff that he can eat, drink, listen to or read. Simple as. I see my Grandad every Sunday and we always have a chat about Strictly, music, what’s on TV – he loves An Idiot Abroad – or we just set the world to rights. He always wants to know about what book I am reading and although we don’t have the same tastes – I like political and dystopian fiction while he likes something a bit more feel-good – it’s always interesting to compare. One thing we have bought him for several years now, each time there is a new one out, is the Dreamboats and Petticoats CDs of all the old tunes that he loved when he was my age – he loves all this nostalgic stuff and how could he not? The music was fabulous then and I have to say I also enjoy it. So when I spotted that the musical show of Dreamboats and Petticoats was coming to King’s Lynn Corn Exchange in March, I jumped at the opportunity to get him tickets for Christmas. I know he’ll love it and he’ll be totally surprised. It is a shame it is not for a couple of months, but I’ll get him something tasty to enjoy on Christmas Day.


Next in line is my Dad, who is always a nightmare to buy for. I’ve ended up getting so fed up with him in the past for not even giving us any ideas that I’ve just ended up having to buy him anything so he just had a gift. I’ve since had words with him and told him he has to come up with ideas each year because I like to get people things they really want and will use, even if it means it may take some of the surprise out of what you are getting. This year, I have bought him a lovely, big, snuggly jumper with a fairisle print from Marks and Spencers which will keep him nice and warm when we go out for the traditional Christmas Day walk to go and see the Royals at Sandringham, or the swimmers at Hunstanton. I’ve also got him a rucksack to take on holiday, my mum and him like to go on exploring holidays, whether discovering hidden beaches or walking around a city looking at the sights, but my dad was looking for a bag he could carry around all day without it hurting his back to carry things like sun cream and water bottles, maps and books as they explore. He really wanted one in green but couldn’t find it where we live, but I managed to find one online so I think he’ll be happy.


Finally, Mark, my boyfriend of nearly seven years, is always very easy to buy for. He always gets such amazing presents for me, and I try to do the same because it’s worth every penny and bit of effort to see the smile on his face when he opens it. Luckily, he has similar tastes and interests to me, so for both of us, it simplifies buying things if you know the other person will love it. For example, he has bought me festival/gig tickets in the past and I have bought him an iPod, clothes and kitchen gadgets because he loves to cook. This year, we have placed a limit on our spending at £100 because we both know we can go over the top for each other and neither of us have much money. So far, I have spent just under half that amount on buying him a brand new ‘Lone Wolf’ jumper from an amazing, edgy brand. I may have to explain this – my boyfriend’s last name is Wolverson and to his friends, and everyone really, he is known as Wolfie, so it has become a running thing for us to try to find him cool wolf t-shirts and jumpers. He hasn’t had one for a while and he never really treats himself to new clothes, so I thought this would be a lovely present for him. I have yet to buy them, but I am also planning to buy him some Converse, but will probably wait until we go to Norwich to see his dad’s side of the family the weekend after Christmas so he can try them on and choose the colour. Finally, I am going to treat him to a really nice granite chopping board for the kitchen of his new house. He has just moved in and has yet to furnish the house as he would like it.

And that’s everyone! I really hope my ideas help you to score any last-minute presents and that none of these guys look on my blog in the next week or they will read what they have in their stocking! And if any of our friends happen to look at this and tells him what he’s getting for Christmas – you feel extreme pain on Christmas Day!!! Now I better dash off and stock up on wrapping paper.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas hangover cures – for the morning after the night before

We all know that overindulgence is the motto for the festive period and with it being all too difficult to turn down meals out, parties and of course, those Christmas drinks with everyone you have ever met – it is inevitable that you will be battling some mega hangovers over the next couple of weeks. And with New Year’s Eve right around the corner, I know I’m already anticipating the monster hangover for New Year’s Day! But with so much else to enjoy this Christmas, from unwrapping presents, to rustling up Christmas dinner, you don’t want your stomach in knots as you regret every last cocktail from the night before. So what are the best hangover cures?

Now, everyone has their own way of dealing with hangovers, from Samuel Benedict inventing Eggs Benedict as the ultimate hangover cure, to boiled tripe in greasy, salty soup with garlic and cream, as recommended by the Romanians, Mexicans and Turks. Don’t forget the cowboys from the old west, who countered the effects of too much whiskey with rabbit-dropping tea, or Sicilians, who go for a dried bull’s penis. Yuck. Well I asked some of my friends and this was the list that they came up with of the best ways of dealing with a hangover:

  • The first, slightly unrealistic one, was don’t drink. Prevention is better than the cure. But let’s be honest, it’s just not  that easy! So make sure you eat plenty as well – it helps soak up the booze, especially if you eat proper meals rather than a greasy kebab on the way home, plus you won’t feel half as rubbish without that gunk in you.
  • Drink a glass of milk before you head out on the lash – apparently the milk coats your stomach and slows down the effects of the alcohol and the rate it is absorbed into your stomach – hopefully making you feel less sick the next day.
  • Avoid the dark coloured drinks, red wine, port and brandy get you drunker and last for longer – don’t ask me the science behind it but they have something in them that is lacking in white wine, vodka and rum, although if you are walloping the shots down, don’t be surprised if it hits you just the same.
  • Wonder why you have a splitting headache the day after a night on the town? You’re seriously dehydrated! Alcohol dries you out, so try drinking lots of squash and water, have a pint before you go to bed and it really does make all the difference. Always drink a pint of water before hitting the headache tablets because you might find it completely pointless to take any.
  • Actually, if you can’t make yourself neck a water before bed, try some orange juice – apparently it speeds up the liver in getting rid of the booze from your body. If that fails, try a bit of toast to help soak some of it up.
  • Some people do the old raw egg before bed trick – I’m not sure what th heck it does but the very thought makes me want to be sick so I think I’ll leave that one well alone…
  • The next morning, I’d say avoid the fry-up you’re craving, or that greasy McDonald’s breakfast and go for poached eggs on toast – it’s a hell of a lot better for you, you still get that protein and fat hit, but it won’t leave you slumped around feeling bloated and gross all the next day.
  • Sex – it’s a great hangover cure – it makes you feel instantly better AND helps sweat out some of the alcohol, plus you build up an appetite for breakfast.
  • My favourite one – fresh air! My response to a hangover is to head to the gym or out in the cold for a long walk. It’s always the last thing I fancy, but it really does help blow the cobwebs away and to take your mind off how you’re feeling. Plus by the time you get home dinner will be on the table and you’ll be about ready for it!


10 foods it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without

I absolutely love my food. Ask anyone and they’ll be horrified by the amount I can put away, but I just can’t get enough. There are so many tastes out there in the world, and just not enough time to try them all. I pride myself on having a sensitive palate and loving fine foods, but also being able to appreciate greasy takeaways every now and again. Christmas is one of those times when my tongue goes into overdrive and I am already fizzing with excitement over all the gorgeous meats, cheeses, desserts, puddings and wines that are awaiting me. Here are just some of the foods I can’t live without this festive period:

  1. Turkey/Beef/Lamb – my top Christmas meats always have to be on the table, whether just the one or a couple together, it is important that we have the rich tastes of these gorgeous meats as opposed to a simple chicken roast. This is a time for indulgence.
  2. Mince Pies – so important that these are home made and of puff pastry so they melt in your mouth. Making them yourself adds to the Christmas spirit and is so simple and fun, check my earlier posts for a great recipe!
  3. Christmas Cake – for the first year we are having a home made cake by my mum’s fair hand and I am so excited to try it – I will be decorating it myself next weekend.
  4. Christmas Pudding – also very necessary and this year I am looking forward to a gourmet one made by chefs going through formal training with aspirations of Michelin Stars, so it better be good! Always with cream or brandy butter, never custard.
  5. Cheese and Biscuits – always love a fabulous selection of rich and tasty cheeses to nibble on in the evenings with a glass of wine – I particularly love brie, roule and Wensleydale with cranberries.
  6. Biriyani – although not really seen at a British Christmas, it is a huge part of our celebrations – normalcy eaten on Boxing Day with perhaps a Calier on New Years Day. It reminds us of all our family stretched across the globe and is a delicious break from the roast!
  7. Mulled Wine – it isn’t Christmas until I’ve had a cheeky mulled wine. It really gets me in the festive mood and is a great way to drink your wine while keeping toasty on chilly winter nights. Hot mulled cider also does the trick!
  8. Satsumas – not quite as filling as all the rest, but when you’ve been stuffing your face with treats, it’s nice to eat something refreshing, and with all those winter bugs around it can only help keep the germs at bay.
  9. Smoked Salmon – a rare treat, I love it on Ritz crackers with cream cheese. Such a simple, small but highly addictive treat and its often not long until it is all gone!
  10. Chocolate! Of course, it’s never long until the advent calendar chocolates are gone, the tubs of Quality Street and Celebrations are empty and that chocolate reindeer is missing his head – it wouldn’t be Christmas without ridiculous amounts of chocolate. Just don’t forget the chocolates hanging on the tree!

Well, my mouth is officially watering. I hope yours is too! Enjoy all the lovely foods this Christmas and New Year.

Navigate the Christmas work do and escape the New Year’s shame

It’s that time of year again, when the invites to the Christmas party whiz round the office and instantly your stomach either leaps at the excitement of a night-out with your workmates, or your heart sinks at the thought of yet another opportunity to shame yourself in front of your colleagues. Which will it be? Well, take a look at these top tips and hopefully you will survive the Christmas party this year, avoiding the embarrassment of going back to work in the New Year.

  1. If you want to get out of drinking altogether, why not just say that you are driving? Offer to give people a lift to the do and that way they’ll be so grateful not to have to pay for expensive taxis that you might get away with it with minimal peer pressure. Or, if you don’t have a car, try the ‘I’m on antibiotics’ one – it works every time, just tell them you have an ear infection.
  2. Learn to say no. It’s hard to refuse a drink here, or a snack there at Christmastime, but they soon add up and you’ve eaten 1,000 calories worth of junk before dinner, or you’ve drunk the whole bottle and have a stinking hangover. If your workmates are the type to keep offering drinks and pushing more wine on you, just say no thanks then move the conversation on – after a while they’ll stop offering if you keep distracting them.
  3. If you do drink, try lying. Fair enough, telling lies is not nice, but Santa will forgive some little white lies if they will preserve your head on Christmas Day and you’ll thank yourself when you have some extra cash in the New Year. Just try telling people you’re drinking doubles and actually order a single. Or, say you are drinking vodka and a mixer, then just have the mixer! So simple, just don’t let anyone else accidentally have your drink! Avoid cocktails at all costs.
  4. Say you are really skint and can’t afford rounds, this gives you more control over how much you drink, rather than ending up with a new drink in your hand every five minutes… it might save you some cash as well!
  5. If you are drinking but don’t want to get smashed in front of your work pals, try having one glass of water to each glass of wine, it will keep you hydrated and stop you getting as drunk as quick. It will also make you drink more slowly. If at a meal, ask for water for the table.
  6. Not drinking? Or sticking to just a couple? Give yourself a curfew and avoid any chance of getting smashed later on and making a fool of yourself. If you set yourself a home time, you are a lot less likely to be sucked into a round of shots right before you leave which means you are less likely to stay and drink until you pass out. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with leaving before the end of a party – after a certain point, things just get messy and people get very silly.
  7. EAT! Food is your best friend when it comes to a party with drinks. Line your stomach with a big breakfast and make sure you have a carb-heavy dinner or lunch to help soak up the booze. If you go for a meal at the party, be sure you eat something sensible and don’t get too distracted by the wine. Keep an eye on how much you drink with your meal – this is where the water might be handy.
  8. Dress appropriately.  The Christmas party is not a time to wear a skirt that is the size of a belt, boob tube, new sexy sequinned nightclub number or to push the boundaries on how many buttons you leave undone.
  9. Free bar? I know it’s tempting, but hold yourself back. It’s not worth the humiliation that will follow for as long as you work there.
  10. Chat to your boss and your seniors early on in the evening when you’re at your best. A heavy discussion about increasing your salary and their nose hairs is not a good idea at 1am after four bottles of wine.
  11. NO SNOGGING and NO AGGRO! Take the time to chat to people you wouldn’t normally at the do, but don’t use it as an opportunity to ‘get to know’ Tony from accounting or to finally sort out Bekki and her attitude problem. And don’t get emotional – you and your boyfriend may have just broken up and you and your mum may have had a huge fight, but drunk at the work do is not  the time to sob on your boss’ shoulder about it all!
  12. Avoid anyone who is taking pictures after 10.30pm – this is the cut off point for when you will probably start to be a bit tiddly, the photos are never flattering and you can’t trust anyone not to post them everywhere.

Good luck!



Bad Santa’s and parental cover-ups

So I happened to come across this hilarious ‘drunk Santa’ video on YouTube and just had to share it with you guys. Seriously laughing out loud, especially the bit when the police discover Rudolph and the bit where Santa is body-popping – reminiscent of Will Ferrell.

On another note, I’m firmly thinking of all things festive after putting up my Christmas tree, starting my advent calendar, visiting the Winter Wonderland and starting my Christmas shopping this week. All of this, and the video, made me start thinking about Christmas as a child and trying to remember how it was spent. One memory that always sticks in my mind, despite happening when I was very young, is when I spotted Santa walking down the road late at night. I was so excited and have proceeded to tell people about it each year to keep the story alive.

But let’s be honest, Santa would not have been walking down my street at that particular time (he would have waited until we all went to bed!), so it was probably just a drunk random person dressed as Santa making his way home from the pub. What I love about this story is the fact that my parents kept the mystery alive for me, instead of telling me it was a drunk making his way home, they made sure that I firmly believed it was Santa and that he would shortly be followed by his reindeer. My parents, especially my mum, have always been the type to put their all into the festive period – keeping secret presents, hand-making advent calendars, leaving straw and bits of chewed up carrot by the tree of Christmas Day and all the rest. I am so grateful for the way they raised my sister and I to really enjoy the magic and the tradition of Christmas even more than all the presents.

I can genuinely say that although it is nice to get presents, my favourite parts of Christmas are things like the festive morning walk around Hunstanton to watch the charity swimmers plunge into the sea, or heading to Sandringham to watch the Royals leave church. I love watching people’s faces light up when they open the gifts that I spent so long choosing, and I love to lay the table with all the Christmassy bits. I have my parents to thank for making me love all the different parts of Christmas by keeping the magic alive and making me believe for as long as they did. Make sure to do the same for your children, as I will with mine, and you will raise youngsters with real values instead of the ones that ask for iPads, iPods, iPhones and all the rest.

It’ll be lonely this Christmas, without you to hold..

It’s that time of year again when everyone is planning what they’ll be doing Christmas Day – what time is the roast, when are you opening presents and whether you’ll be heading out to see the Royals, if, like me, you are lucky enough to live near Sandringham.

The age-old argument over whether it is better to be single or in a couple at Christmastime will surface again as singles prepare themselves for what might be their first solo Christmas after a break-up, they prepare to sit around with the family watching their siblings fawn over their other halves. And what about those work Christmas parties or those annoying uncles? Having to answer the same old questions about when you’re going to find a nice boyfriend and settle down… Bleurgh.

It can be depressing to be single at Christmas if you think about matching Christmas jumpers, finding the perfect present for the one you love and snuggling up in front of the fire. But what about the flip side – you also end up spending a fortune on Christmas presents and face that huge battle of where to spend Christmas!

As someone who has been in a relationship for nearly seven years, but who doesn’t yet live with said boyfriend – this time of year can be just plain annoying. Much as I love my boyfriend, we haven’t moved in together yet – a combination of reasons – mainly money. But the fact that we don’t means that we don’t have any real choice in how we spend Christmas. We are still stuck in that in-between phase where I have to spend much of it at home with my parents, sister and grandfather, which I love, but it is a struggle to even go out with friend to the pub on these days because they have so much planned! I hate to hurt their feelings, and I love every one of our Christmas traditions, from the party on Christmas Eve through to the Christmas Day walk and visit to the seaside and watching the Royals.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend, who now lives with a friend, has spent his last few Christmases visiting his mum’s house for dinner and presents, spending most of the day there, trying to fit a visit to his father’s house, an hour away, to see his grandparents and  spending the rest of the time tucking into cheese boards and getting drunk at his new house. We both love Christmas and spending it at our different homes, but I can’t help but long for just one Christmas where we could spend it just by ourselves. We could eat ridiculous amounts, stay in our pants all day and although I would force him to watch the EastEnders Christmas Special, we could watch whatever we liked after!

It is difficult when you are in an adult relationship, but are unable to live together because there are so many demands put on you by other people and it is so hard to refuse because you don’t want anyone to feel left out. Also, you yourself do not want to miss out on doing anything or seeing anyone. But it is so hard when everyone wants a piece of you – it is just impossible to fit in Christmas dinner with every branch of your own family, and everyone in your boyfriend’s family as well! I don’t think there is really any remedy for the situation other than to run away, shut up and get on with it, or complain and hurt people’s feelings. Not my style, so I’ll pipe down and get on with it! At least I can escape to his house when things get a bit much with all of my family packed into my house!

How are you spending Christmas this year? Do you face the same couple/family struggles each Christmas? How do you cope?


Looking forward to getting back on Boxercise again tonight!

I’ve never been able to stand girls who just want to be skinny, I’m all about the toned look and strength building. My proudest moment in my gym was being the first female to stack the leg press and although others can just barely do it now, I have status at the gym because I am known for this. I am that girl that the blokes refer to as a ‘chick with a dick’ because they are jealous that they can’t keep up. I storm every bloke in the gym when it comes to ab work and I love every second.

Workouts are a huge part of my life and I’m always looking for new inspiration and new exercises to try. Unfortunately, I am always struggling to find someone who will go to classes with me! I work out at my gym at least three times a week, a mixture of cardio, swimming and weights with plenty of ab work. I have previously joined pilates, bokwa, powerhooping and pole dancing classes – all of which I enjoyed but had to leave for various reasons, the main ones being the classes became too easy and I didn’t feel like I was getting the workout I needed, and my friends just didn’t want to continue.

I dragged two friends along to boxercise with me once before but the combination of a creepy male tutor and high level of activity put them both off, even though it was the best full body workout I had taken part in for a while. I really enjoyed it and my whole body was in agony the next day. I really wanted to go back, but part of my love of exercise classes is the social side which lacks slightly if my mates don’t want to come along.

But I’ve given up waiting around for people to commit to classes, I just want to try something new, so I’m going along to test out a new ladies boxercise class tonight to see if I want to join the next round of classes in the new year. I’m really excited and can’t wait to really push myself. I’m just hoping that it does what I’m hoping and that I like the class so I can continue next year and do something all by myself. I’m planning on hitting the cheese boards and Christmas cake hard this festive period so it will be good to hit it hard in the new year, shed the excess pounds and build up some muscle ready for another summer on the beach!

What other exercise classes would people recommend? I would love to try some crazy ones such as the bikram yoga and others that are offered in the cities but unfortunately don’t make it to my small town..