Christmas Style Favourites

I'm not particularly stylish at any point in the year but I do tend to have more luck in winter where my tendency to wear black and need to cover up any wobbly bits are a little more forgivable. This is pretty good up until Christmas when you're expected to make a bit more of an effort!

So, if I'm not stylish and find clothes shopping so stressful, why I am I writing a post about my Christmas favourites?

Because, if you're anything like me (there must be someone out there), then you'll probably welcome some stylish ideas for festive fashion that's a little more realistic than what you find in most magazines and adverts.

Red Velvet Bardot Top - Evans
Remember all the gorgeous bardot tops available earlier this year? I'm glad they're still hanging around and particularly like this one from Evans.

My kids deserve better

Mum guilt is pretty crap. As someone who always over-thinks things, I often feel like the guilt is there no matter which way I turn and I know I'm not the only one. I never realised before having a baby that you could feel guilty for cuddling your baby too much (WTF?).

And yet, Mum guilt and over-exaggeration aside, I honestly believe that my kids deserve better than having me as their Mummy.

Hear me out. My children, all children, are amazing.

Our Mind Crafternoon

All last week I did my very best to bore you silly with updates about the Mind Crafternoon I was planning and hosting on Saturday.

It was much easier to organise than I thought at the outset. I'd originally thought to host the event at home but early interest from attendees made it clear that it my dining room would just not be big enough so a friend kindly booked a room at The Hub, a church-run community/conference centre in town. It meant that our 'Crafternoon' became more of a 'Crafter-evening' but also meant that we could invite more people to come along.

From that point, it was a matter of advertising the event to friends, researching the craft activities and purchasing supplies and refreshments. I did send a crazy amount of emails to local businesses, large superstores and town centre cafes asking for sponsorship or donations for a raffle and wasn't successful. I think that this might be down to timing as a lot of businesses are already rushed off their feet at this time of year. I prefer to think that than assume they were all just really tight...

Upcycled Bead Ornaments

All this week I have been working towards hosting a Christmas Crafternoon in aid of the charity Mind, I've shared some papercraft ideas for making both baubles and hearts and have been busy picking up final supplies, mince pies, chocolates and mulled wine. It hasn't been a great week, with lots of things going on in the background but planning this event has really given me something to look forward to.

This last craft eluded me at the beginning of the week as I didn't have the right tools - it really does help if you have some pliers when working with the memory wire! However, now I've had time to experiment I've found that I've really enjoyed this one.

PND and Me

Let's be honest, I have postnatal depression.

For me (because everyone's experience is different), postnatal depression:
doesn't mean that I do not love my kids
doesn't mean that I did not bond with them
doesn't mean that I want to harm them

It doesn't usually mean that I want to harm myself.

It doesn't mean that I am a bad mum, no matter how many times I tell myself that I am.

It doesn't mean that I'm not happy sometimes. My kids bring me so much joy I can't explain that love and happiness that washes over me.

For me (because everyone's experience is different), postnatal depression:

More Paper Christmas Decorations!

A tummy bug over the weekend confined me to the house and left me moaning and moping around for most of Saturday and Sunday. It couldn't have had worse timing because it was Matt's birthday on Saturday and we had a lovely day planned which then had to be cancelled.

However, one good thing to come out of the weekend is that it gave me the chance to sit down and work my way through some of the crafty activities I have planned for my Crafternoon fundraiser on Saturday.

First up was the super simple paper baubles that I shared on Sunday and then I tried my hand at these paper hearts, inspired by this post which has great instructions but I had to adjust mine slightly because I was using double sided sticky tape which was actually quite tricky. I'll be using a stapler next weekend!

Handmade Paper Christmas Decorations

By this time next week, the Christmas Crafternoon event that I'm planning to raise money for Mind will be over. Mince pies would have been eaten, mulled wine finished and good friends sent home with little pieces of crafted joy (hopefully).

Planning so far has had the usual ups and downs. The most important bits like venues, timings and invitations were sorted out pretty quickly and I was able to set up my own fundraising page with Virgin Giving which was simple and easy to use. The hardest bit has been finding companies and businesses to support the event - either by donating craft supplies, refreshments or raffle prizes. Realistically, I know that they must get hundreds of requests and can't support them all but I can't help feeling just a tad disappointed that we can't hold a raffle.

Review - Mister Maker Club

Last week I discovered the Mister Maker Club and their personalised boxes of craft activities for little fans of the CBeebies show.

The club is run by Toucan Box who deliver a carefully tailored and themed box of craft through your letterbox with exactly everything you need for some arty activities. The Mister Maker Club boxes are specifically themed to match the TV programme, with Mister Maker himself, Scrappz and the Shapes all making an appearance.

When things go wonky...

Most of the time I feel incredibly blessed to have my children. I love them more than I can ever describe.

And then, things like this happen...

I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner when Lily starts screeching from where she sits at the table colouring. Her go to noise of protest is a wail like an air raid siren...

"It's rubbish!!! RUBBISH!!!"

I sigh and go over,

"Calm down Lily, what's wrong?"

"It's all wrong! It's all wanky!"

"It's what?"

"Wanky! Wanky, wanky, WANKY!"

What on earth?! I know I'm no angel, but we don't *usually* use bad language in our home. We have so far avoided unfortunate toddler mimicry so this is out of the blue completely.

"Lily, take a deep breath and explain what is upsetting you"

"The pencil is out of the lines, it's gone all wobbly, like wanky"

Ah. That's it.

"You mean wonky? Like wobbly, wonky lines?"

"YES!!! That's what I said! Wonky!"

At which point I was overcome by a fit of giggles and she thinks I'm laughing at her, which I kind of am, but not for the reason she thinks...

And then my darling son does this:

And I hit that stage of hysteria where not even I'm sure if I'm laughing or crying but it's all just too much and I need to remind myself to breathe...

Someone bring wine!

Little Hearts, Big Love

Party Planning - Christmas Crafternoon

The charity Mind is a cause close to my heart and I have supported it for many years now for many, many reasons - not least because my Dad succumbed to mental health issues when I was 19 years old. I’ve been thinking for a while of doing some serious fundraising but you’ll probably realise that I’m not usually big on sponsored runs, silences or fasting... then I discovered their Crafternoon campaign!

You don’t have to be an expert crafter to hold or attend a Crafternoon, it’s all about having a go, having fun, and not worrying too much about the mess or finished product. Which is pretty good really because I'm not the best crafter but I have an awful lot of enthusiasm.

Firework Night

An invite from a friend a few years ago to attend their local fireworks display has turned into an annual tradition for us as a family.

As a child I always remember my Mum claiming that setting off fireworks at home was just "burning money" and as such, I've never really thought about hosting my own firework party - odd really, when you consider my love of all things party planning! But I still really enjoy a good display on a cold Autumn evening.

What we read... in October

Last night, Lily and I finished reading our second chapter book - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I've really enjoyed it, perhaps because it signals the end of the day and some adult time but it's nice to snuggle up and read a chapter a night. I'm now a bit stuck about what to read next, do I try another Narnia book or go back to Enid Blyton's Enchanted Wood series? Maybe there is another good chapter book for pre-schoolers out there? If you know of one, please let me know!