This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

It’s been a while since we had a little catch up, hasn’t it?

So in the past few weeks we’ve had Christmas and New Year! I hope your’s was good.

Mine was low-key and I didn’t do a huge amount, but it was just what I wanted.

I’m lucky enough to get the time between Christmas and New Year off from work, so if Gary’s off work we’ll take little day trips and such. But this year, he was very busy with work, so nothing was really planned.

Christmas Day was lovely and I got to see both sides of the family. From that point on my mind went into a little relapse and I didn’t want to do anything but curl into a ball and not see anyone. So that’s pretty much what I did. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I got up to because it’s all of a blur. That was until my bff (sister from another mister) got me over to see her lovely newly renovated house, and with her and another of my best friends we had a lovely normal morning chatting. It was lovely to get out of the house and be in a safe space with people I trust and can talk about these things with. And they don’t make a big deal over how I’m feeling – they just let me feel that way, make sure I’m okay and if I want to talk about it I can. And they know me well enough to be able to suss out whether I want to talk or not.

On New Year’s Eve Eve I attended a singing workshop with my Mum, where we learned two songs as a choir and then in the evening had a party and Bandaoke. My Mum and I had both signed up to sing with the band (scary) so we were both fairly nervous, but when each of our turns came up we were fine. I sang Young Hearts Run Free and people said I did well after I came off stage, which was a relief!

Smiling mother and daughter

New Year’s Eve was a quiet one spent at home with Gary. I normally spend my New Year this way, and it’s the way I prefer it! I can be in bed by half past midnight!

On New Year’s Day I began working on the first of my 2018 challenges – learning calligraphy. After seeing a friend taking part in this course throughout 2017, and seeing the progress she’s made, I decided I would give it a try myself. I’m already finding I’m learning things about myself as a person as well as my penmanship during this challenge – who knew?!

pens with notepad

Then it was back to work, and by the time we returned to the office I was very much looking forward to it and wanted to get back into a routine!

I didn’t find it hard to get back into the swing of things, and it was nice to see my colleagues again  – it’s great when you enjoy being around the people you work with!

During the first week of January I also had to kick off my second 2018 challenge – a new recipe every week for the entire year! I’ve already posted about my first recipe here, so take a look. I’m enjoying looking at recipes in a new way, this year. I’ll happily trawl through tons of books and Pinterest recipes, marking the ones I like the look of to make one day, but this time around I need something I’m ACTUALLY going to make! So I’m thinking more practically about them!

onion, dill and new potatoes on a chopping board

I’ve also been reading a lot of blogs related to New Year and resolutions (well, more those that gear towards self-improvement, since that’s what I relate too) and I’ve been very inspired by the positivity and how practical people are being. There’s less fad and more mind involved in what people are aiming for this year. It’s fantastic.

I’ve made a pledge to myself to be more active on social media – and by that I don’t mean posting more (although I feel like I will be posting more blogs this year just by default!) – I mean commenting on other people’s posts, sharing their stuff etc. Not just scrolling through instagram and double tapping then moving on – I’d like to comment on all of the photos that have meant something to me. Because it’s what we’d want for our own feeds, right?

I’m enjoying feeling the fresh positivity that’s come along with this year. In a time of uncertainty and bafflement, coming from a couple of years that were very trying for many people, we appear to be collectively coming together and finding our feet again. The ground seems a little more solid, and I’m personally enjoying how it feels.

 

Merry Christmas from Musings!

I just wanted to drop in quickly, and say Merry Christmas to you from me and Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug!

By this time in the day you should be as stuffed as the turkey and a little half-cut, if you’re so inclined.

You might have just watched The Queen, or if your family is anything like mine, you might be trying to hear the TV over the sound of the man of the house snoring loudly in his chair!

Whatever your Christmas scenario, I hope it’s full of family and love.

I’ll see you on the other side!

DBE008FF-6446-469D-A460-1800CF8793B1

My Kind of Christmas – A Look Back

I’ve been writing this blog for 8.5 years and so as you can imagine, I’ve covered Christmas quite a lot, and a fair few times. Back in 2013 (and before I knew that Blogmas existed) I wrote a Christmas related post for every day of advent.

It was fairly hard to do since I had to think of 24 different subjects to write on, all on the theme of Christmas. And this was before I was interested in beauty, before gift guides were commonplace on a blog, and long before advent calendars offered anything more than a chocolate behind the door.

I called it Shutterbug’s Advent Calendar – my friend even made a pretty graphic for me!

Shutterbug

Isn’t it lovely?

Instead of re-hashing what I’ve already written, I thought I might share some of my older posts with you, interspersed with some of the photographs I’ve taken over the years, celebrating the festive season!

So, here we go!:

What’s A Traditional Christmas? (click to read)

In this post from 2012 I talk about what Christmas entailed traditionally for me growing up.

baubles on christmas tree

The Christmas Queen’s Guide To Gift Buying (click to read)

In this post from 2010, I offer my hints and tips for finding the perfect Christmas gift – and 7 years on it’s still relevant! If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift, then head over for some festive inspiration.

gift wrap and snowball cocktail

Christmas In A Day (click to read)

As part of my 2013 advent calendar posts, I discussed that year’s Sainsburys advert, which pulled clips from a short film called Christmas In A Day. I say short, it’s just under 50 minutes long, but it’s worth every single minute. The video is still up on YouTube so I’d urge you to click on the video link in the post, grab a cup of something warm and settle in for a film that will give you all the feels. I’ll be honest, I totally forgot about this film, so I’m really pleased I unearthed it in this post. I’ll be giving it another watch this year, for sure.

tiny gift bow held by finger

Favourite Christmas Movies (click to read)

It wouldn’t be a Shutterbug Christmas without me sharing my all time favourite Christmas movies. You’ll find them in this 2013 post, and they’re still the ones I’d pick!

close up gold gift bows

Christmas Eve Eve (click to read)

Here’s a post about what could possibly be my favourite day of the Christmas run-up, Christmas Eve Eve!

4211071417_732d2f306f_z

Fun Times at Winter Wonderland (click to read)

Last year we made our annual trip to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, and I blogged about it (in fact I also vlogged it, and that video is at the end of the post!) So if you’re interested to see what I got up to, then take a look at this post.

ww2

 

Looking Back, Looking Ahead (click to read)

This post was actually published at the very end of last year, but it mentions Christmas and New Year traditions we have in our home, and was highly requested by followers on twitter. Each year we write a letter to ourselves and look back and forward on the year past and year ahead. If you’d like to read about this new tradition, then click the link above!

ny2

I hope you enjoy a little look back on my thoughts on Christmas from over the last 8 years. Christmas really is my favourite time of year.

I’m lucky to have a medium to enable me to look back and see what was happening in Christmases past. I hope you’ve enjoyed it too!

putting the star on a felt advent calendar

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Last week feslt well and truly Autumnal, but at the same time Christmas is forcing its way into my environment.

We’ve been waking up to frosty cars, and experiencing beautiful sunsets, but at work we’ve been listening to Christmas music, and this weekend we watched the first Christmas film of the season (Krampus!).

frosty grass with sunrise behind a hedge

Early this week we had some beautiful frosts which were highlighted by clear skies and golden sunrises. I’m lucky to work in a barn conversion surrounded by fields, so we get some epic views of the seasons changing.

The same day’s sunset was something else:

sunset reflecting through clouds

At home things are moving along. We’ve finally taken delivery of our dining table, which means meals are mostly eaten there, whilst we admire the rest of the gorgeous kitchen! It also means I can now host my Share A Meal, which I’ll be talking about again in a blog post soon (but hit the link if you haven’t read the first one yet!).

wooden dining table with 3 wick candle on top

I’ve finally got a place to put this gorgeous candle I was given last Christmas, and it fits there perfectly!

I’ve also been working on my dressing room/ office space, and pictures are finally going up on the walls.

chest of drawers with photos on the wall

I don’t know what’s going to go on the other walls yet, but I want to find things organically – things I know will be perfect – so who knows when it’ll be finished. But for now I’m really pleased with this little section of the room.

So, coming into the Christmas season, I’ve already picked up some presents. I’m also looking forward to my office Christmas party, which is right at the start of the month, and then later on in December I’m attending the Blogosphere Christmas Festival, which I’m really excited about.

I’m really eager to decorate our house for its first Christmas, and to see it all lit up AND I’m hoping to meet up with friends and catch up, because it’s been too long! I’m also attending a New Year party (the day before new year’s eve!) which is a party with a difference!

Aside from all of this, I have filmed a new YouTube video (which might be up by the time you read this, so head on over to my channel!) My last video has had over 1.6k views and is going up, so that’s rather nice 🙂

What have you been up to lately – are your decorations up already? How long does it take to get you feeling festive at this time of year? I’d love to know, in the comments!

 

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

I’m back! And this week I have been mostly recovering from much delayed jet lag!

We had an AMAZING time in Florida, so good that we’re already trying to work out how we can go back next year. (I accidentally wrote ‘next week’… wouldn’t that be grand?!)

I was back to work last week, and it’s Christmas in full swing for my job-role, so it was nice to get stuck back into it.

As you know, I don’t go for full blow-by-blow posts when I return from a trip, but I will be posting some Florida related posts in the coming weeks. A few hints and tips for things to do when you’re not visiting the parks every day, and also a post on some of the beauty products I picked up whilst I was away.

If you want to catch up on photos from the trip, head over to my instagram. I also did quite a bit of insta-live whilst I was away. If you missed those, make sure you’re following me, because I enjoyed it so much I might just do it again.

I’ve gotta say I didn’t do any filming for YouTube whilst I was away, because I’d much rather enjoy my holiday than feel like I’m ‘working’ it. In fact I didn’t touch my camera the whole trip – my iPhone was my camera and did the trick 100% of the time.

So, a little bit about the trip. We stayed with some friends whilst we were there, and had a list of things we wanted to do – and we did EVERYTHING on the list.

IMG_2752

I was very pleased that we managed to do everything we wanted to do, and still felt like we had down-time during the trip.

We ate some amazing food

IMG_2598

We got to go to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Snow White Disneybound at Magic Kingdom

We went SHOPPING!

IMG_2626

Florida is a wonderful state, and I really do feel like Orlando is like a second home. It’s got a little bit of everything you’d want.

Anyhow, now I’m back, and Halloween is over. It’s Guy Fawkes night tonight, and that means tomorrow begins full-blown Christmas. It’s one of my favourite times of year, so bring on the glitter, lights, food and music. Bring on the festive films and festivities!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

You guys, we did it! We survived the first week back after the Christmas holidays.

Christmas seems like so long ago now. The trees and decorations are down. There are tell-tale fir-needle patches outside driveways up and down my street where the bin men have taken away old trees. Lights are being removed from houses this weekend, and all of a sudden there seems to be a lot more space in my living room.

I always miss the tree and lights in my sitting room, and as such we have two sets of fairy lights which stay up all year around. One on my mantle and one around a mirror in our hall. It’s lovely to light these on a long summer evening and it looks like fire-flies in the balmy warmth (I wish things were a little warmer right now). That being said, I usually make myself feel bad by flicking to the weather forecast in Orlando, however this weekend the weather has gotten down to 3 centigrade there so maybe I don’t feel so bad right now.

This week we’ve had -4 degree weather at points. In fact the day it got to -4 it was -2 when I woke up, -3 when I left the house and had reached -4 by the time I’d arrived at work.

Even though it was a 4 day week it managed to feel 7 days long, and my sleeping pattern has suffered due to the 10 day break. I’ve been tired all day, and felt that for sure I’d be dribbling on the sofa and ready for bed by 9:30pm – but alas I was feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as soon as I got into bed. I have also been waking up around 5am and needing to pee desperately and so getting back to sleep has been a massive pain in the bum. I usually fall into a gorgeously deep sleep about 10 minutes before my alarm and then feel rotten when I need to get up – thereby starting the cycle again. Awesome!

Anyhow, despite this, work was good and I even managed to get some more blog posts written. I’ve really enjoyed blogging this past year. I’ve written a separate blog all about my past year in blogging, which you should keep an eye out for if you’re interested.

I also decided I didn’t spoil myself enough in the sales and so spent an obscene amount of money on makeup this week. More on that when it all arrives….. I also treated myself to some hair products from Grow Gorgeous and a new blog planner, which I’ve already started using and can see it being really useful. But again, more on that in that blogging post coming in the next few days!

The last couple of things I picked up were books, which had been priced crazy low on amazon. I bought a cook book for £4 which I’m glad I only spent £4 on because on getting it home and flicking through it I don’t see anything I’d like to make, so far. Poopies. I also bought the Adnan Syed book ‘Adnan’s Story’ which was on my Christmas list but no one bought for me. It was only £5 and I didn’t want the price to go up so I hit ‘add to basket’!

This weekend, other than shopping irresponsibly, I have watched another couple of Netflix documentaries. Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer is about Aileen Wuornos the female serial killer who murdered 7 men in the late 80’s and was given multiple life sentences. I’d seen the film Monster about her year’s back and it was very interesting so thought I’d give the documentary a try.

We also watched Audrie and Daisy about young girls in America who had been sexually assaulted by their peers and the aftermath. This was an incredibly powerful and also frustrating watch. I highly recommend it. I actually found myself crying at the end over both the strength of the girls and also out of frustration of the world and the people in it. Please watch it if you get the chance.

Something I’ve been promising for a while is my Walt Disney World video – I’ve been putting it off for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it’s a massive job – I’ve got quite a lot of footage, not a lot of face to camera stuff so I need to work out how I’m going to link it all. But probably the most important reason I’ve been putting it off is that once it’s done, it kind of puts a close to our Florida holiday. And I’m not ready for that yet. So it will happen, and hopefully soon, but it’ll happen when I’m ready. I really can’t wait to watch the footage again if I’m honest, but it’ll be bittersweet!

So that was my week. I’ve been fighting off the urge to hibernate and come out for Spring, but as it happens I’ve been managing to peel myself from my cosy bed and go out into the freezing cold world. Speaking of freezing cold – I’ve been really enjoying watching the Instagram stories of the people I follow. So many people have had snow all over the world and watching their videos of snow falling, wintry walks and calm white vistas has been magical. It’s for that reason I’m so pleased that social media outlets exist like that.

What have you been up to this week?

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

December, you have been good to me. I have had a wonderfully festive month and even though it’s not been as packed as my festive season usually is, it’s meant that I’ve been able to relax and spend time on things I wouldn’t usually.

I had a fantastic Christmas week, starting with work’s Christmas party which was at a lovely pub. The week leading to Christmas wound down enough to allow me to get stuff prepared for the January return to my desk.

Christmas Eve Eve was lovely too. Despite Gary having to work in London we were able to spend a fabulous late afternoon and evening together. Then on Christmas Eve we had the whole day together which we can only remember having had once before in the whole 14 years we’ve been together.

We were able to take the day at a snail’s pace, have a lovely dinner which we decided would be a warm salad (it was so good) and then watch our traditional Christmas films until pretty much midnight

Christmas Day was spent with our families, but Gary did spend the later afternoon with my family at my Mum’s. We ate, drank and felt very merry. On Boxing Day we decided to head to the shops to see what the sales had to offer, and it wasn’t that busy in the morning. Gary surprised me by taking me into the Apple shop and telling me he had decided to get me a new phone handset but he didn’t know which colour I wanted so I had to choose. After the initial bamboozled shock had started to pass, I chose a black iPhone 7 Plus. And I’m in love!

I also picked up some bargains from The Body Shop and Boots and then we headed home, because Boxing Day is for being lazy too 😀

We’ve watched a couple of new films this week, an old one called Eye for an Eye and a new one called Lights Out. Both were very enjoyable!

For the rest of the holidays, it’s all about getting things done. Today I’m spending the majority of the day prepping and writing the content you’re going to read over the next week or so. I also have to plan in some time to begin editing my Disney World video, but I’ve been kind of putting it off because I know how big a job it is! But since I have the time whilst I’m off I really should start!

Gary and I have planned a date night for this evening, which I’m really looking forward to, and I get to see the Book Club girls a couple of times over the next few days. It’s been too long!

I’m feeling really positive for the coming year. I always love the start of a New Year because, and I know it sounds corny, things actually *feel* different. It’s a new page and there’s so much possibility.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

We have now reached that awkward stage in the year where Christmas is over, the new year hasn’t arrived yet and we’re all sort of in limbo.

I like to use this part of the year to reflect on the last 12 months, as many do. I also like to take down the Christmas tree as soon as I can and start tidying and cleaning. No doubt some kind of diet or detox will be on my plan due to all the rich food and drinks I’ve consumed over Christmas. I also tend to try a new skincare routine, which I love for the whole week and then have to go back to work, lose the will to spend the time on my face and go back to soap and water….. (shock horror!)

Anyway, one thing I have done for the past 2 or 3 years is look back and look forward in a more tangible way. Each year, on Christmas Eve, Gary and I read a letter we have written the previous Christmas Eve. It’s a letter we’ve written to ourselves asking about things for the future year. Things we want to achieve, things we wonder and things we’d like to change. We read our own letters and then read out anything we want to each other. I honestly had no idea what I’d written in this year’s before I read it.

ny1

I really enjoy this new tradition we started 3 years ago, because it really puts a timestamp on the mentality I was in when I wrote the letter a year previously, and it sets the tone for the next letter. A year goes so fast but it’s easy to forget how much we do, see and how much we change in that 12 months. Reading my letter year on year really reminds me of this. We keep each year’s letters and at some point in the future I’m sure we’ll re-read them. Or maybe we won’t. It’s just nice knowing they’re there!

ny2

Another tradition we started last year and brought through to this year is a Happy Things jar. I cut strips of coloured paper, and whenever we feel grateful or particularly happy or excited about something we write it onto a strip of paper. Then we roll up the strip and pop it into the jar. On New Year’s Eve we open the jar and take it in turns to read out what’s written. I really enjoyed doing this last year so I’m excited to do it again this year.ny4

 

These are only new traditions, but they make me feel really happy. I love the idea of continuing this for many years to come. Counting my blessings is so important to me. It helps to keep me grounded and grateful for the things I have and what I have achieved. It calms my brain and makes me a better person.

ny3

If you like the idea of these simple traditions, why not start one (or both!) yourself? It’s so easy to write a letter to yourself, and as long as you don’t forget where you put it you’ll have something to look forward to in a year.

I’d love to hear if you do anything similar in your family. Share your traditions with me!

Fun Times at Winter Wonderland!

Last weekend we headed to Hyde Park in London for the annual Christmas fair, Winter Wonderland.

ww2

The intention had been to go the previous day but despite it being mild weather it rained hard all day. I’m so glad we waited because the weather was lovely the following day and even though it was colder, the sun shone brightly!

When we arrived at Hyde Park the line to get into Winter Wonderland was huge, but we walked a little further down the path to a different gate, and walked right in (pro tip!)

We headed to the Bavarian Village section first, because that’s where the best food is, and I was hungry! Every year I get the same thing. German sausage, potato dumpling with gravy and hot spiced red cabbage. It took a little while to find it this time around as they’d extended the Bavarian Village section massively, but I followed my nose and found the correct stall.

ww1

The food was yummy as always, and after eating we had a little further look around the area. I was pleased to see the inside tent still there, with live singers on stage performing Christmas hits.

I got some mulled wine too 🙂

ww3

The village wasn’t too busy at this point but it was getting more and more packed by the minute! For some reason they felt it important to correctly sign post EVERYTHING!

ww5

The fairground rides this year were awesome. There was a fantastic looking rollercoaster, big wheel and haunted house.

Gary grabbed some sweetcorn to munch on which looked amazing.

ww4

We had a little look around some of the craft stalls and then headed out of Hyde Park.

We wanted to see the Christmas lights on Oxford Street and I had to nip into some of the shops. If I hadn’t already been in London I wouldn’t have dreamt of going to Oxford Street at Christmas time. It was PACKED. But I’m really glad we did. We headed to Liberty and just as we walked in a choir started singing ‘Carol of the Bells’ which is one of my favourite carols. I’m so pleased we went in when we did!

ww6

Heading home, shattered, but happy, the sunset was awesome and it was a lovely end to a perfectly festive day!

I also vlogged this trip so make sure you check out the video, even if it’s just to see the sunset at the end!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

 

this week i have been mostly

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s finally here!

Over the years I’ve written loads of posts about Christmas. In 2013  I even wrote a blog a day for 24 days and called Shutterbug’s Advent Calendar. This was way before Blogmas was a thing… I’m such a trend-setter!

So I’m not going to bore you all with the same old stuff. But I have been feeling extra specially Christmassy this year. It might be because last year I spent Christmas Day travelling to New York. And yes, it was the most amazing holiday and such a special way to celebrate Christmas Day. But it did leave me feeling like I’d missed my usual traditional Christmas Day – the Christmas Day I’d been used to.

This year Christmas Day falls on a Sunday which means Christmas Eve is also a weekend day. So no work for us! And it means we get an extra day before Christmas Day to prepare and wrap and shop and eat!

This year I start my celebrations on Christmas Eve Eve with a trip to London to see Chic after work, and it means I can let down my hair and have a good old boogie knowing that I don’t have to work the next day!

So far, we’ve put up the tree, bought all the presents and started eating lots of gingerbread!

We also went to Winter Wonderland last weekend, and I vlogged so keep an eye out for the video which should be going up on my channel this coming weekend.

And now I can finally say that Christmas is next week. I still have to wrap the presents, but I’m just waiting for the last one to arrive. We’ve watched most of our Christmas films but there’s still Muppets Christmas Carol to go, and then The Holiday and Polar Express on Christmas Eve.

I can’t wait for a traditional family Christmas this year and it’s coming around so quickly!

If you haven’t seen it already, I posted a new video onto my channel in my Things I Like series. This time around it’s all about Christmas so take a look!

 

This is likely to be my last proper post before Christmas, so I hope you have an awesome day and wonderful break from work and school. Stay safe, eat drink and be merry! Merry Christmas!!

4211071417_732d2f306f_z