Friday 31 December 2021

Reasons to be Cheerful - New Years Eve Edition

Hey friends. It's New Year's Eve and about 8.30pm as I start to craft this post, and this will be the extent of my celebration tonight. Watching TV, crafting blog posts and reflecting back on my year whilst enjoying an espresso martini, that I hope will be OK with the ibuprofen I took earlier as I have a poorly knee. 

I really don't mind that I'm not out partying as it has been the strangest of Christmas times. Covid ripped through the community where I live and by Boxing Day we had around 40 people either positive or isolating. Thank goodness we were closed for business and have around 150 bedrooms, so everyone could safely isolate. It did mean that not many of us were left to hold the fort and to ensure that around 60 people were fed and taken care of.  As always, I'm so proud of each member of my family, who stepped up and did what they could to ensure that even one person's day was a bit brighter than it could have been. 

We're now coming out the other side and the General Directors are back on-site to manage the situation and people are reaching the end of their isolation and testing negative so they can come back to regular life. I have been so astounded and grateful that no one in our family has tested positive, neither by regular LFTs nor by PCR test. I think I can safely say God's hand of protection has been upon us. 

We haven't completely escaped ill health though as my hubby has a nasty cold and I've done something to my knee, which means I have pain, tenderness and numbness in my knee and leg. I think God is telling me to rest up, which is a shame as I really fancied heading to Birling Gap tomorrow, just like I did last New Years Day. Oh well, there is always another day!

Before Covid struck it had been a very nice December and I wanted to share a few photos for future memories and give thanks to the Lord for some great times. Despite my parents/ brother not being able to come for Christmas and our Christmas and New Year plans getting cancelled I have had one of the best December ever and that is a testament to the work Christ has been doing in me this last year. 

Sunday 19 December 2021

Christmas at Bedgebury - Lights Trail: Your Questions Answered

Everything you need to know for a successful visit to Christmas at Bedgebury (Kent) to see the lights trail. It's a fabulous!

I am so pleased that we finally got to experience Christmas at Bedgebury this year. We were booked to visit last year but Covid stopped that, but no cancellations this year and despite high infection rates, as it is all outside we felt very comfortable to go along and enjoy the festive feel! First off, I can honestly tell you, it is such a lovely trail to walk with your friends or family and we will definitely be booking again for next year.

There are quite a few places that offer these kinds of Christmas lights trails now and if you book to go along to Bedgebury, you won't be disappointed for sure! There are over 1 million lights at Bedgebury and fifteen distinct areas, each with its own distinct sounds. It really is the most magical woodland walk and Bedgebury is a great setting for this light trail. 

Saturday 18 December 2021

Theatre Tokens, the Perfect Gift this Christmas

Photo by Gwen King on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

I'm all about making memories; I'd much rather experience something and spend time with a friend or loved one than receive a physical gift. I probably won't remember the coat my husband bought me in ten years time but you can bet that I remember the trip to Starlight Express at the Apollo Victoria I took 31 years ago. That was my first taste of going to the theatre in London and I have never looked back; I absolutely adore it and I'd go every week if I could. 

Moving from Hertfordshire to East Sussex nine years ago scuppered my regular theatre trips a little as it takes a lot more planning when you are no longer 25 minutes from central London but my trips to the West End are one thing that has not stopped. Even after the Covid chaos of the last couple of years, I managed to see Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat in August, The Prince of Egypt in September and Cinderella, The Musical in October.

Then Miss M and I are off to London for the weekend in early January and we are planning to see a show and this is why I have asked my family for a Theatre Tokens gift card for Christmas. This way we can go along to the TKTS booth in Leicester Square to secure on-the-day tickets at a cut-price, or if we won't be in London for when the booth opens at 11.30am we can even go online now and book for a show later that day and still secure the discounts available. That is such a great addition for those of us who live further out of London and are trying to use rail discount cards so can't travel too early. 

Out of interest, I just had a look today to see what I could secure if I was booking for a matinee or evening show today and I was thrilled to see there are great discounts available -

  • & Juliet - best stall seats for £47.80 each (40% off)
  • The Woman in Black - best stall seats for £31.55 (47% off)
  • Life of Pi - in the stalls of Dress circle for £30 (66% off)
  • Mary Poppins - in the best stall setas for £49.50 (46% off)
  • Les Miserables - in the best stall seats for £49.50 (48%)

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Bringing Special Moments to Life with Bonusprint Photo Books

{This is a collaborative post}

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I adore printed photos, photo books and photo gifts. Of course, the invention of the digital camera and the camera phone has made life immensely easy but if we're not careful, it can also steal a little of the joy. Photos are made to be printed and to be looked at time and time again. Think of those boxes of photos that can be found in your grandparent's loft, all dog-eared and fading but so important nonetheless. 

You might enjoy scrolling back through Instagram to see what you did a year ago and I think there is a place for that but there is nothing like looking through paper photos with your family or friends. The feel of them, the smell and the excitement of seeing what is in the next album, packet or box; it is so evocative and I can easily find a tear sliding down my cheek or a belly laugh rising up inside me as I relive what was happening when the image was captured.

Advent and the run-up to Christmas is a favourite time of mine and one of the reasons for that is I get to relive my year as I go through my photos looking for what will become a kitchen calendar for my mum, our family Christmas letter and the thank you cards. It's become a tradition that I'll make all these from our photos. I like to share good quality images though, the kind that pop, so I make sure I head to Fotor to use their background remover tool first to edit them to ensure they capture just what I want them to. 

Then you have my dad, who is the kind of man who wants nothing for any occasion, such as Christmas or his birthday. So I tend to either give him a gift that will allow him to make memories, like a voucher for the theatre or afternoon tea, or I'll make something like a photo book or short video reel with themed photos and video clips from a specific time. I suspect there are many people like my dad who you find it difficult to choose a meaningful gift for, so my suggestion to you for this year is to make them a photo book.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

5 Christmas Movies to Watch with Family

Image Source:

{This is a collaborative post}

When it comes to Christmas, there's a lot to be happy about, and one of the highlights for many of us is, of course, watching Christmas films. There's something for everyone, whether you enjoy classics or comedies. Grab a cup of hot chocolate, a huge warm blanket, and your Christmas spirit because these holiday films are about to light up your life like a Christmas tree.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

A Charlie Brown Christmas is a 1965 animated television special that was the first to be based on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts. Produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez, the holiday classic was premiered on CBS. This 25-minute film begins with Charlie Brown finding himself depressed despite the holiday season around the corner, and Lucy, the lovely neighbourhood child psychiatrist, suggests that he put on a neighbourhood Christmas play.

However, his best efforts are rejected when he chooses a small Christmas tree as the centrepiece. Luckily, it has a joyful ending thanks to the unstoppable combination of Linus' heartfelt message about the true meaning of Christmas and the undeniable power of catchy jazz music. If you miss the live broadcast on TV, you can still watch the movie online on Apple TV+. The message at the centre of this never grows old!