Small Xmas 2022…

We all know by now that it’s good to shop small. Buying from small business allows you buy products that meet your ethical standards whilst also supporting your local community. This year more than ever those businesses need your support. Thus, I give you the first instalment of Xmas gift guide.

I came across Graceful Favours via a friend’s post on social media & I’m sold. They make pretty wedding favours and do some special chrismassy treats. The paint your Xmas cookies are just so cute. I know my little ones would enjoy this as a wee festive craft. Truth to be told, I would too.

Festively iced biscuits

Ebony and Black make the most incredible scented candles & melts. The inspiration for their fragrances comes from historical figures, places and moments, which I think is an excellent idea. For instance their Reign range, influenced by Mary Stuart’s return to Scotland has a beautiful fresh scent. I have this one burning as I type; my whole whole house smells like windswept seaside meadow. Everything is vegan and handmade in Scotland. Such care is taken over all the little details, these make a gorgeous gift.

Burning candle and wax melting

If you’re looking for something a little more personal Ruby etc is offfering original pet portraits (hurry spots are selling out fast). Ruby etc creates witty & unique art. I’m a long time fan, their work immediately ups the cool factor of any room.

If you follow me at all you can’t have failed to notice that I adore Pockets and Sedition. Handmade, size inclusive with pockets! They also donate a percentage of profits to very worthy causes. If you’re into all of that I imagine you will share my excitement at the launch of their Xmas range. Pyjamas & clothes in joyous Xmas prints plus some glam dresses for all those nights out. I bloody love some festive jammies for all that Xmas slouching, another must have.

Pyjamas with festive dinosaur print

Last, but not least we have Glad Rags, my favourite thrift shop. If you’re in the Glasgow area I cannot recommend this south side gem highly enough. Their stock is varied & wonderful, profits are redirected into the community and they support many local creators. Glad Rags also run lots of fun workshops & activities. They are not unique, second hand shops exist everywhere and are a vital part in reducing the volume of waste we produce. They are also an excellent alternative/antidote to fast fashion.

The easiest entry in my present list is already taken care of. All Bronan wants are unlimited paper bags and all of my attention.

Black and white cat in a paper bag

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12 Rules of Xmas…

The tree goes up December 1st

I want to hit the sweet spot of having plenty of time to enjoy all the twinkle without it being there so long that I get sick of it. For me that’s Dec 1st.

I go big on the carry on.

Christmas is so much better with little ones. I take full advantage of how much fun they are. I want to take them to see the lights & the funfair. I’m picking up festive editions of sweets, comics, everything. I will kit them out in adorable little Santa outfits. I’m playing with all the new toys. Pulling the crackers & wearing the paper crown. Auntie ly is the tickle monster, the teacher of gross jokes and provider of crazy phone filters. If there’s carry on to be had, I’m in.

Dress up on Xmas Day.

Even if it’s only to go to my own living room. We always had actual Christmas Day at home when I was a kid. I still always dressed up in my new fancy clothes to eat dinner & squabble with my siblings. It’s a habit that has stuck. I always glam up on the 25th no matter where I’m going. It just feels xmassy to sit on the couch drinking bucks fizz in my finery!

I don’t give to receive.

I give presents free from obligation because it gives us joy to make others happy. None of that comparing values nonsense either. It is the thought that counts. If I choose to give you a gift it’s because I want to. I don’t care if or what I receive in return.

Make the presents pretty

If I’m giving a gift I am doing it right. I don’t grab whatever paper is the cheapest. I will not pick up a gift bag on the way over. I take the wrapping seriously. I plan each year’s present look in advance. I purchase all the supplies with plenty of time. My presents are looking fancy & under the tree spit spot.

I send real cards.

I’m not listening to your Xmas card protests. It’s really nice to get season’s greetings through the front door. I will brook no dissent. Choose cards that can be recycled & write something lovely. What’s not to love about that?

The kids shall have magic.

There have to be rules. They can’t have every single toy they see. Sensible bedtime. Manners. Eat their vegetables. I’m down for it all, but it’s Xmas. Plus I’m the Auntie. Therefore the kids will get a bit spoiled. I will go overboard with the pressies. I’ll load them up with chocolate coins & Xmas books. Of course all the magical tales and nonsense that my brain can muster.

Everyone is allowed to open one present on Xmas Eve.

Just one!

Christmas Night is for staying home & watching TV.

There’s always a blockbuster on tv. Whatever is the current big thing has a special. Then there’s just time for a Christmassy classic before bed. I get comfy & stay put.

I go to bed stuffed.

I actually feel cheated if I’m not full to the eyeballs on Xmas day. I want three kinds of potatoes, all the roast veg, pretend turkey and nibbles galore. Chocolate treats, nuts, cold potatoes, second belong of dessert. Munch, munch & wash it all down with some Bucks Fizz.

I always watch Fiddler on the Roof.

I have no idea why, but Fiddler on the Roof is always on tv at Xmas time. I only ever watch at that time of year. I know I could see it anytime, but it just wouldn’t feel right. I look forward it. It’s my own little unxmassy condition.

Make time for grown up pursuits.

Sometimes you want to do a little adult celebrating. I’m always sure to save time for grown up fun. Be it fancy cocktails or naught elf gear I’m ready to let my hair down.

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Have a Holly, Jolly & Safe Xmas…

Christmas is coming at us fast, but I’m still lacking in merriment. Between feeling rotten and almost everything xmassy being cancelled I’m struggling to feel the cheer.

So, I’ve turned the festive up on my lockdown. I’ve trimmed the tree, festooned everything in twinkly lights & all my presents are beautifully wrapped. I’m particularly pleased with my little robins.

Faux green Xmas tree with white lights & gold decorations
Xmas presents wrapped in white & good paper with red ribbons & tiny robin red breast decorations
Gift wrap – Marks & Spencer

I have launched a festive nail frenzy. Every glittery & gilt polish has been pressed into service.

Gold nails with green & red wreath accent nail
Shimmery white nails with blue Xmas trees and sparky snow flake
Red and green candy stripe nails with white snow flake accent

The ultra cosy bedding is on. The Christmas scents are go. I even put some real clothes on & venture out with a cheeky wee elf.

Bell jar lamp, candles &  framed photographs on antique table
Candle – Aphrodite & Ares
Soft grey fleecy bedding on king size bed
Ly wearing polka dot dress, leopard print cardi &  face mask with toddler in elf outfit
Dress – Monki
Cardi – Boohoo
Boots – Dr Marten
Mask – Rosana Exposito

I’ll be seeing more of my little ones over the next week and I’m certain watching them open presents will top up my seasonal joy. It’s been a rough year & will likely be a strange Christmas, but I hope you all find safe ways to have holly, jolly time.

Red text  ‘holly, jolly love from me to you’ on black background with gold stars

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May all your troubles soon be gone…

All the last minute tidying is complete. The presents are wrapped, the festive bedsheets are on & the fridge is stocked. My final festive manicure is complete & my outfit is all picked out. All that remains to be done is put my feet up for the evening before the madness begins.

Xmas tree with presents

I’m getting very excited about the big day. I’ll be at my sister’s & her little man is so into Xmas this year. I can FaceTime my other wee ones to see them open their pressies. Plus I’m a big kid and I love getting gifts too!

Xmas nail art. Candy cane stripe & holly

As happy as I am to have friends & family to share the season with, there’s always a hole in my Xmas. Being reminded of all the family fun I’ll never have with my own children is hard. Lots of people who have experienced loss struggle over Christmas. That’s why organisations like Sands & Miscarriage Association are so crucial. Sands work towards reducing still birth and neonatal death. They also provide support for those have lost babies. The Miscarriage Association aim to support those who have suffered miscarriage. They also strive to end the taboo nature of baby loss. Both do essential work with vulnerable people. If you can spare a little, a donation will allow them to continue their essential mission.

Xmas tree, heart decoration with text no foot is too small to leave van imprint in this world

However you spend Christmas I hope it will be safe, warm & filled with as much joy as you can muster. If you are missing someone this year I send you love.

Tits the season…

It’s not xmas without a bit of velvet. This year I have been eyeing up various wide leg velvety trousers. I love the look, but I rarely wear trousers, so I’ve been wary. Well, I finally settled on an excellent pair & today I wore the hell out of them.

I don’t know what I was so nervous about. They are bloody awesome. The paper bag high waist is very cute. They’re cosy & comfy. Even better they’re versatile. For my first outing I went casual with my amusing Xmas tee.

Plus size woman in black velvet trs, black t shirt & yellow cardi

Trousers – Elvi

T- Shirt – The Paper Press Ireland

Cardigan – Asos

Boots – Gift

All black was a little too calm for me so I flung on the brightest cardi I own & stuck some glittery baseball boots on my feet. I absolutely love these boots. They were a gift from my Mum a couple of years ago. Unfortunately neither of us can remember where she got them.

ly h Kerr Xmas t shirt

Earrings – Accessorize

This year’s take on the Xmas jumper is wee bit cheeky (like me). I got plenty of compliments on my ‘Tits the season’ message. I’ll be donning these velvet beauties again for the big day. Stay tuned for the luxe styling.

Follow that star…

Can you believe Christmas Day is next week? I can’t. It seems to have come round really quickly this year. Luckily I’m all set. Presents are bought & wrapped, cards are sent & fridge is stocked. All that’s left is to show you some more pretty nails!

Kicking off with some divinely glittery baubles. These ones were a nice easy manicure for a busy week.

Xmas nail art. Glitter baubles on green base

Followed by a more complex, but no less festive Xmas light design. Loving my wee snowy tree on the accent nail.

Xmas nail art. String lights on blue & white background

Finally, my current look. Holographic glitter stars. These ones look simple, not they took forever. Those stars are made up of lots of tiny little pieces of glitter. I started with blue & white, but wasn’t happy. So, I striped them off and tried again with the holographic glitter🍗Worth the effort, when they catch the light they look awesome. Xmas nail art. White & blue glitter stars on red base Xmas nail art. Holographic glitter stars on green sparkly base

Now I just need to decide if I’m keeping this for the big day or squeezing in one more design.

My week (ish) in pictures…

It’s been a bit up and down of late. Thankfully the highs are good enough to get me through the dips. Plus Xmas is close & I’m definitely beginning to feel merrier. So, let’s have a we round up of goings on before I get swept up in all the festivities.

Last week I had some Xmassy cocktails with my favourite man. I took a trip to the very rainy seaside to do some giggling with my lovely Lisa & her equally lovely boy. I checked Edinburgh’s pretty lights on the way home. Of course I spread a little #projectpostit wisdom as I went.

I did a whole bunch of rascalling with my middle nephew; including cinema trips & fun in GoMA studio. Hung out with all three boys together & did some excellent FaceTiming with my big muffin. We got started on all things Santa & I even wrapped the first of the presents.

This week involved another Edinburgh visit for an exciting meeting. Followed by a lost bank card, lots of stress & some big glasses of wine with my favourite man to save the day. It was a perfect winter day; freezing cold, but crisp & dry. The light was dreamy.

Back home I lost a battle with some frost & my driveway. Snuggled with my puss cat & put the tree up.

I had a little sister time. Got seasonal with my nail art & snapped all sorts of things that took my fancy.

The year of the cat…

All the Christmas falderal is over. Presents are opened and food is munched. It’s the last week of the year and no one wants to do much of anything.

I get it. I’m spending most of my time in my Jim jams and pretending the real world no longer exists. It’s a massive luxury to be able to do so. Which is why I’m taking a minute to consider the plight of less fortunate creatures. Plus plug a little seasonal giving one last time. My last act of Xmas giving is aimed at puss cats. I know lots of folk object to animal charities and think people should come first, but I see no reason not to help both. I’ve always been an animal lover. Cats have always been my chosen companion. Thus, I’m encouraging you to support the lovely people at Glasgow Cats Protection. They do amazing work of rehoming and caring for thousands of cats. Each unwanted cat brought to them is vet checked, neutered, vaccinated & treated for fleas etc. They provide a safe loving environment for cats who would otherwise be uncared for. The weather is rough at this time year. I hate to think of strays trying to fend for themselves on our cold climate. You can help in a number of ways. I decided to buy some items from their Amazon Wish List. If you can spare a few pounds the felines would be very grateful.

Cats Protection

As Hogmanay approaches this is also the last of my festive nail art. This week a very nose centric Rudolph and some candy canes featured.

ly h Kerr Xmas nail artly h Kerr Xmas nail art

With logs on the fire & gifts by the tree…

We made it. The big day is almost upon us. Take my advice, if you don’t have it by now, forget it. I did the last of my Pre Xmas visiting today, so that I don’t have to run around tomorrow. In my opinion Christmas Eve is for resting up before you get your jolly on.

I dropped presents off at Dad’s today as I will be with the Toyboy’s family for Xmas and it’s too far to go back and forth. I took the opportunity of a festive encounter to get my velvet out. Even a wee bit of velvet really puts a xmassy spin on a outfit.

ly h Kerr ootd

Camisole – Boohoo

Skirt – Lindy Bop

Cardi – Primark

I suspect I’ll be pairing this camisole with any number of items over the holiday period. My face and hair unexpectedly decided to behave today. I’m sure this means they will refuse to play ball for Christmas Day, but oh well.

ly h Kerr

I actually have spectacularly dark circles under my eyes and some impressive spots, but I somehow managed to cover both. If only I could remember which combination of products I used (& in which order I applied them). Never mind, if I look like hell on Tuesday I’ll just slap a filter on; it’s what the baby Jesus would have wanted.

Family pic

The Spoonie Guide to Xmas…

Christmas is joyous and lovely and incredibly hard for the chronically ill. On top of keeping up with every day life there are a million other tasks to contend with. Not only is there shopping, wrapping & cooking, but there are a multitude of festive social events. Oh & the expectation that we’ll all be merry and bright.

When you’re chronically ill you don’t get time off for Christmas. Keeping up with seasonal demands when you’re in pain & exhausted can be impossible. Here’s my spoonie guide to surviving Xmas. Plus a little advice for friends of family of the chronically ill.

Make a list, check it twice.

The only way I can keep track of what needs to be done is making a tonne of lists. Lists help combat so many issues. If you’re dealing with brain fog, anxiety, impaired cognitive function, fatigue and so on, lists are life savers. I usually break things down into categories and try to assign a time scale to each list. The trick is to be realistic about how much you can do each day and not freak out if you don’t complete your list. Simply roll over outstanding items. Accept that some times you will have to make cuts. You can’t do everything. The world will not end if you don’t post the Xmas cards this year.

Start early & manage expectations.

I always start Xmas prep super early. The longer you have to get organised the more you can spread the work load. Getting a jump on the shopping also really helps if you have a tight budget. It is much easier to find smaller amounts of energy & money.

Be honest with yourself and others about what you can manage. If you have to trim the gift list or swap a meet up for a phone, do so. I believe Christmas is about embracing the ones we love. Try to work out in advance which parties/get togethers you comfortably manage and communicate that. Float the idea of secret Santa style gift giving rather than buying everyone in your group an individual present. Expensive presents don’t matter. An enjoyable phone call or grabbing a quick coffee is much nicer than forcing yourself to suffer through social engagements that cause you distress.

If you have to cancel, make your apologies, but be firm. You didn’t choose to be ill. You are not intentionally disappointing. Remind yourself of this and try your hardest not to feel guilty.

The internet is your friend.

I do the majority of my Xmas shopping online. It is much less stressful and physically taxing to order from the sofa. The shops are crazy at this time of year. Not to mention the weather is awful. Stay warm & rested and get your festive haul delivered. This goes for food too. You can order in advance and have the Christmas groceries delivered as and when you need them.

Allow yourself to enjoy what works for you.

Christmas comes with a variety of traditions. Everyone has their own variations and seasonal essentials. It’s lovely to uphold family traditions, but only if they work for you. This is your life and your Christmas, you are entitled to enjoy the festivities. If something will negatively impact your health, don’t do it. There is no joy in activities that hurt you.

Establish your own Christmas customs. Whether that is embracing existing rituals or just making up them up from scratch. Deck the halls, wear an ugly jumper, stick cinnamon on everything or don’t. Suit yourself. Celebrate in style, but make it your style.

Don’t be a dick.

This is for the loved ones. If someone in your life is dealing with chronic illness, be kind. We know we disappoint sometimes. We get that we’re not the easiest to accommodate, but please be patient. Cut us a little slack. As inconvenient as our symptoms can be for others, trust me dealing with them every single minute of our lives is harder.