31 December 2016

Book of the month - 'Station Eleven'

Book of the month - Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Book of the month - Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
2017 is going to see some changes on my blog, and one of them will be an increase in bookish posts. If you're not into that then soz, but it'll be happening regardless. Books make up such a massive part of my life that it just makes no sense to confine them to my secondary blog anymore. I'll not be posting the same content on both blogs of course - that's going to stay firmly review filled, whilst I'll be making posts like this one, book hauls and other quirky book-related posts here on Nourish ME. 

Winter always sees an increase in how much I read. It's a great way to slow down time as time seems to be ever quickening in the lead up to Christmas. Despite reading a few great books this month, Station Eleven really shone out for me. I was totally hooked. And by that I mean reading until I fall asleep with the book in my hand, reading snippets on my bus journey to work, and curling up with the book during every spare moment I had. 

In a world that seems so fucked up right now (sorry 2016 but you did shit on us all a bit) it was both comforting and terrifying to read this dystopian novel from Emily St John Mandel. Comforting in that the end of the world as we know it didn't involve a dictatorial American president, but concerning in that the world was stripped of everything we hold dear.

Now, I'm not going to lie, I may have picked this up because the blurb reminded me of 'The Walking Dead'. But that's totally acceptable. The main premise of Station Eleven is that the world has been hit by a flu pandemic, killing 99% of the population. As the flu rapidly spreads across North America, amenities such as groceries and electricity are wiped out. People are forced to endure horrific tragedies as they watch their family members die, only to be left in a world that forces them to go back to the root of their ancestors. 

Mandel switches between the present - 20 years after the pandemic hits - and the past to show the difference between the two worlds. A twenty year gap means there are a whole host of people that never experienced planes, cars, telephones, the internet: everything we use on a daily basis. And it raises the question of whether they're better off not knowing the world as it was before

With a sudden loss of family and friends, people either band together or become lonesome nomads. We read of the group of people living in an airport, joined together as if family because they were in the same place when the flu struck. The main text however centres around a travelling symphony, who bear the motto 'survival is insufficient'; a motto they, oddly enough, gained from Star Trek. 

One of the most interesting things about Station Eleven is possibly that it contains no true central protagonist. We could say it's Arthur Leander, an actor whose life is featured in much of the book. Or it could be several of his ex-wives. Or Kirsten Raymonde, a lead actor in the travelling symphony. Or even Clarke Thompson, Arthur's best friend. 

I love books that come with a character's back story. By interweaving the lives and plot projection of so many of the main characters, Mandel gradually reveals to us the driving forces of a diverse group of people struck by a world disaster. It raises the question: what would it do to you? Is survival insufficient? 

Indeed, when the travelling symphony reach a town that a couple of their band decided to live in, they realise that not everyone has coped with the tragedy as well as they may have done. The town has fallen victim to a mysterious prophet, who believes that him and his people have been saved from the plight of others' because of an innate goodness or, in his case, an innate divinity. When the symphony can get no answers from any of the townsfolk regarding the whereabouts of their settled members, they start to wonder whether the prophet is more dangerous than he originally seemed.

I basically need a sequel to this to come out asap! Have you read it? What is your book of the month?

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30 December 2016

2017 goals and a year in review

My goals for 2017 and a roundup of the high- and low-lights of 2016. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

My goals for 2017 and a roundup of the high- and low-lights of 2016. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

My goals for 2017 and a roundup of the high- and low-lights of 2016. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

My goals for 2017 and a roundup of the high- and low-lights of 2016. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

My goals for 2017 and a roundup of the high- and low-lights of 2016. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

My goals for 2017 and a roundup of the high- and low-lights of 2016. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

My goals for 2017 and a roundup of the high- and low-lights of 2016. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
2016 was a pretty ... strange year. It was the first year that I've really got into politics, and I got up early to watch the final (heart wrenching) results of both Brexit and the US election. I still feel like I'm recoiling from these. My personal life was a bit hectic too. I moved house twice, with all three pets in tow, left the town I called home for the past few years and tried my hand at going fully freelance. The latter was a naive choice for six months of my life, but my mental health was simply too poor for me to be working at the time. 

2016 Mental health

In terms of mental health, I'm pretty proud of myself for this year. I managed to go through the whole of 2016 without self harming. This is the first time in so long that I've gone a whole year without it, so it really feels fab to be able to say that. Also, despite having six months off for my mental health, I got back into work, continued my freelance work and managed to not let my anxiety completely take over. I'm still working part time outside of the house, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. 

2016 Challenges

This year I really did push myself to the max. I tried skiing for the first time, and after a rocky start I totally fell in love with it. Hopefully I'll get to give it another go at the end of 2017! I have so many fears about injuring myself, trying new foods, meeting new people and going in a ski lift that I faced in this trip. I also went on a few more day trips this year, with the main ones being to Camden and Gloucester. 

2016 Blogging

My blog is something I really am truly happy with this year. I've made more posts than I ever have done before, and the difference in my photography between now and this time last year is a little startling. I set myself some big goals at the end of 2016. I wanted to reach 1K twitter followers, and I'm honestly so shocked to say that I've almost doubled that! Instagram was a little different to say the least. I hoped to reach 5K followers, but the algorithm, a change in style and being pretty inconsistent with posts has left me with just under 2000 followers. And finally, I managed to hit the big ol' 500 Bloglovin followers, but couldn't quite do the same with Facebook. This paragraph is more for myself than any of you, I'm not going to lie. I wrote a similar post to this at the end of 2015, and going back to read it was a great reminder to me of what my goals were. 

2016 top posts

I made some blog posts that I'm really pleased with too. Here are my top ten favourite blog posts of the year that I've written (in no particular order): 

Self harm and recovery: my story
Productivity, being a #Girlboss and its toxicity to my mental health
It's okay to say it's not okay
Why I avoid being part of 'the blogging community'
Loss: some waffly bullshit for Mr B
Beginner's guide: using Pinterest
10 ways to improve your blog today
How to create your own blogger media kit
Cancer survival and its impact on mental health
Why you need to switch to natural period products now

2017 Goals

Now it's time to set myself some goals. I don't think I've ever written down my New Year's resolutions before, so I'm SO grateful that Chloe popped a sheet for me to write them on in That Lame Company's Christmas #BoxofLame. This year I'm determined to kick my anxiety in the butt in terms of some things I've put off for so long because of it. I'm going to start to learn to drive. I actually applied for my provisional license (yep, I still don't have one of them because I've been putting off doing this for years) today, and I'm SO excited for it to come through in the post.

I'm pretty ashamedly awful at spending so I really want to save up £1000 during the year. This may seem like a puny amount to most people, but for me it really is a massive amount. As well as that, I want to do more travelling; go away with my sister, go on a weekend city break with my partner and do more trips in the UK. It'll be quite a challenge to manage saving with lots of travelling, but I'm determined to put saving first and be responsible with my money. 

2017 Blogging goals

Just like last year, I've also got some blog orientated resolutions. I'm determined to stop making content that I'm only half pleased with, or half-assed content that I've rushed to get out on time in order to keep to my schedule. Instead I'm going to go for quality over quantity, and that includes ensuring that I have photos that I'm genuinely happy with to go with every post. I'm hoping to hit 4000 twitter followers, 2,500 Instagram followers, 100 Youtube subscribers and 1000 Bloglovin followers. This are some massive goals for me, but I'm hoping that consistent work and good content will triumph over all the algorithms that have been holding so many of us back in 2016!

What are your goals for 2017?

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29 December 2016

5 Things to do on New Year's Eve as an Introvert

5 things to do on New Year's Eve as an introvert. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
Most people seem to either be a Christmas person or a New Year's person. I definitely fall into the former category. I'm all about the festive spirit, but a lot of the time I'm just not that into going out on New Year's, either clubbing or to a big party. This year I'm working New Year's Day and Eve, so I don't have much choice about going out in the evening. But honestly? I really don't mind. I'm going to celebrate New Year's Eve in my own way. 

I've always been a bit of an introvert, preferring the silence of my own company to the boisterousness of a group. This year I won't feel forced to celebrate New Year's Eve in this manner as I have felt on so many years in the past. So, if you feel like me, here are some ideas on how to spend New Year's Eve as an introvert whilst still having fun.

1.) Pamper session. Either invite over a couple of your closest friends for this or do it alone, either works. Set up a pamper station with facemasks, a bath bomb filled bath, some intensely moisturing foot cream & bed socks to lock it in, a hair mask and settle down to feel relaxed. You could even try making your own hair/face masks as a little challenge or experiment.

2.) Movie marathon. I'm seriously considering this one for my own New Year's Eve. Get in a selection of your favourite snacks (always necessary) and a stack of films to watch. You could even always go for a trilogy or set of films - I'm thinking Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings or my personal favourite, Harry Potter.

3.) Reading marathon. Challenge yourself to read a whole book in a night. Again, snacks are most definitely an important part of this one.

4.) Romantic night in. Get a bottle of something special and spend quality time with your SO, just the two of you with no distractions.

5.) Start a new hobby that you want to continue into 2017. Why not set up a blog or download Duolingo and learn a new language? You could even do something as simple as starting an adult colouring book.

What are your plans for New Year's Eve this year? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

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27 December 2016

10 Things Your Waitress Doesn't Want To Hear This Festive Season

10 things your waitress doesn't want to hear this festive season. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
1.) 'WHY aren't you open on Christmas day?!' Well it's our one day of holiday a year so let's just agree to disagree on whether we should be open shall we?

2.) 'I know it's not on the menu but ...' 

3.) 'Can we *gestures to 30 people* all pay separately?'

4.) 'Make sure you right our order down correctly'. This is a large part of our jobs, we're sure to do it without the patronising reminder.

5.) 'It's okay, the waitresses will clear up the mess after we leave'

6.) 'Let's pull some crackers' - cue a tonne of mess all over the table

7.) 'I know you didn't cook our meal, but there's something wrong with it and we just want to shout at someone, so you'll do'. Okay, I may have paraphrased this one.

8.) 'Keep the [15p] change as a tip, treat yourself'

9.) 'Oh, you don't sell *insert obscure drink/ale*, well I just don't know what else I could possibly have, what kind of place is this?!'

10.) 'Where's your festive spirit?' Far, far away from you my friend.

This post has turned out to be a little more bitter than I ever imagined, but oh so true. 

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23 December 2016

5 Top Festive Candle Picks

Top 5 festive candle picks. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Top 5 festive candle picks. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Top 5 festive candle picks. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Top 5 festive candle picks. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Christmas is SO close now, eeeeek! I CANNOT WAIT. So, in between writing my food shopping list for early tomorrow morning (yes, I am braving the supermarket on Christmas Eve) and wrapping the final few presents, I thought I'd share my five favourite candle scents of this time of year with you.

1.) Next's Festive Spice. Omg, I need this bottled for me. This has been my go-to throughout December, and I'm surprised at how much is left considering how often I've used it!

2.) Christmas pillar candle from Tiger (or Flying Tiger online). This is the white candle with small hearts and one Christmas tree on it. It is scent-free but I love the simplistic design.

3.) Wooden tealight holder. This is the only thing I've found in Homesense this Christmas that I loved enough to buy. This has been sat on my desk for the past few weeks and is the perfect insta-worthy festive accessory. 

4.) Yankee Candle's Snowflake Cookie candle. I bought this for my sister last year and fell totally in LOVE. At the moment I just have a mini version of the candle, but I'm hoping that Santa leaves a full-sized one under my tree ...

5.) Yankee Candle's Candy Cane Lane candle. I bought this in the Christmas sales a couple of years ago and it's one of my favourite scents all year round. It smells sugary, vanilla-y and full of a touch of peppermint, just like your first lick of a candy cane.

Watch my festive candle picks video:

What are your festive candle picks this year?

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20 December 2016

10 Ways to Give Back this Christmas

10 Ways to Give Back this Christmas. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

One of my favourite things about Christmas is how much more inspired people are to be kinder to those around them. It may not seem like that as you see a mother elbowing someone else's child out of the way to get the last toy left in The Entertainer, but it is true. The turn in the weather, and the fact that Christmas forces us to spend quality time with other people, and think about what they would like most in the world all help in the lead up. I also think that more people thinking about their faith at this time of year helps to remind them to give to those less fortunate. So, if you're feeling inspired to help others this Christmas too, then here are ten things you can do:

1.) Spend some time talking to a local homeless person, and wrap them up a gift that you think they'd enjoy.

2.) Send money to support the citizens of Aleppo, or simply spread the word about the massacre that's occurring (something that the media seems to be overlooking)

3.) Make sure no relative or friend dines alone on Christmas Day. There's always room for one more around the table.

4.) Challenge yourself to buy people thoughtful gifts. And if you can't think of something, talk to them, and find out what they're loving or lusting after at the moment.

5.) Give a Christmas card to everyone you know: it could be their only one.

6.) Gift toys to a local children's hospital.

7.) Help out at a retirement centre, or get a group together to put on a show.

8.) Do something extra to make a child in your family's Christmas that bit more magical.

9.)  Surprise your other half with something on Christmas evening that lets them know how grateful you are to be spending the most wonderful day of the year with them.

10.) Make your New Years resolutions about what you can do for others, rather than yourself. 

What would you add to the list?

19 December 2016

The Perfect Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate

The perfect dairy-free hot chocolate. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

The perfect dairy-free hot chocolate. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Wrapping cold fingers around steaming mugs of hot drinks is one of the best feelings you can have during the festive season in my opinion. I just have one problem though: milk isn't my friend. It makes me feel so nauseous, and totally ruins any hot drink I have. Thankfully more and more companies are warming to the idea that not everyone likes/can drink milk, so soya milk or a similar alternative is becoming more readily available in coffee shops and cafes. However, you still need to keep an eye out for hot chocolate powder that contains milk solids. Ugh. 

Hot chocolate is one of those things that is just totally irreplaceable. Sometimes you just need one, especially if you're sat down wrapping presents and want to feel extra festive. Tomorrow I think I'll have to recreate this recipe when I pop the Grinch on and attempt to tackle the mammoth amount of presents I need to wrap before the big day.

Here's what I need to make my favourite hot chocolate recipe, ever:

- 2 heaped teaspoons cacao powder
- Le Sirop de Monin Chocolate Cookie Syrup
- Rice milk
- Mini marshmallows

- Heat the rice milk in a saucepan until hot all the way through.
- Whilst it's heating, mix the syrup and cacao powder in your glass/mug
- Pour the milk into the glass and stir into the powder and syrup mixture until everything is completely smooth.
- Top with as many marshmallows as you like

This recipe is so good at this time of year, and makes me feel as though I don't have to miss out on festive drinks by not drinking cow's milk!

What's your favourite festive drink to make?

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18 December 2016

Christmas Tree Decorations Haul

Christmas tree decorations haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Christmas tree decorations haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Christmas tree decorations haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Christmas tree decorations haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Christmas tree decorations haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Christmas tree decorations haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

'Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree *mumbles the next few lines because who knows the rest of the words?!*). Now that I've made a habit of getting appropriate Christmas songs stuck in my head as I'm editing my pictures for blog posts, I'm starting to think I should have done a Christmas-song themed blogmas. Hindsight really is a bitch, isn't it?

Decorating the Christmas tree has to be one of the most memorable aspects of Christmas. As a family, you seem to gather more and more bits and pieces over the years, from painted macaroni primary school creations to long-loved baubles. This year me and my boyfriend are starting afresh with our own mini family (there's no surprise reveal here, I'm talking about our little pets), so we needed to get a whole tree's worth of decorations. 

Here's my video (you can check out my channel here) all about the decorations we picked up for our tree and where we got them from:

What have you added to your tree this year?

16 December 2016

What does Christmas mean to me?

What does Christmas mean to me? Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

'It's a time for giving, time for getting, time for forgiving and for forgetting' in the wise words of Cliff Richards (never did I ever think I would be saying that on my blog). But I really think the joy in Christmas comes in its individuality. Yes we all like mistletoe and wine a little bit extra at this time of year, but there are so many special things that make Christmas a little different every person that celebrates it.

The smell of tinsel and our old, yet still loved Christmas tree making its way down from the loft. That's Christmas for me. I could recognise its smell anywhere, and I'm sure I could do it in years to come. Then comes the tiny little chimes of bells, as my dad gets down his set of mini drummers playing carols, only to go back up into the loft straightaway - we don't want to wear down twenty years of one battery after all. 

Then comes the nativity set. The same one that we've had for as long as I can remember. The one that's migrating to my new home with my boyfriend this year. The one that is basically a miracle in that nothing is broken. The one that will be taking pride of place on the mantelpiece in our living room. This is the one thing now that really centres my home and my Christmas around where it all began.

However, Christmas still brings back joyful, faith-filled memories for me. I was raised as a Catholic, and attended a faith school until I was 18. Christmas means countless renditions of the Nativity scene, from when I was a 3 year old angel, right up to watching a girl perform a ballet version of the Christian tale during a school mass. Christmas means the lighting of the advent wreath, and with it a reminder of the coming of Jesus; the most wonderful time of year. Christmas means singing your favourite carols again, and trying to avoid the hymns that are too dreary. 

And then we have the big day itself. And the special day before the big day. Christmas eve is filled with wonderful smells. We head to Nan's to make homemade mince pies and sausage rolls, neither of which I like, but it's fun to cook. Then we open the tin of Quality Street and there is nothing that quite smells the same. The sound of crunching, scrunching wrappers as we dot Christmassy bowls of sweets around the house is something I will never not be excited by.

Christmas Eve means bringing the box of buffet treats for the evening of the big day downstairs, and getting to see what my mum has gradually been gathering up over the last few weeks. From Bisto to After Eights, everything we need is all there; a feast for slightly tired eyes. The best and only way to end this day is with a long soak in the bath, fresh PJs and fresh bed sheets, ready for the big man to make his visit.

Christmas Day is a family day. Waking up at 6am ... okay, waking up at 5am, and trying to resist waking everyone else up until six is a tradition I just can't kick. Nor is opening stockings on my mum's bed, despite the fact that she knows exactly what is in them. Then it's gift time; things are shared around. This year it's different: my dad will be visiting on Christmas Eve instead, and we'll have a new addition to the gathering in the form of my boyfriend. Usually we hit the day off with a trip to my Nan's for breakfast. 8 of us crammed around the table in her little flat have a great start to the day with an English breakfast and lots of crackers. More family arrive after we've eaten, more presents are shared and it's time to head home so dinner can be made. Dinner is another family affair, full of laughter, fizzy drinks and all the roast trimmings. Having an Irish background is definitely useful when you want a big gathering of people around your table.

The afternoon is quieter. 3 courses of food in and we're all a lot less talkative, and a lot less inclined to move. It's time to nap, or watch a film: everyone is loitering around the house, content, at ease. The night continues like this. More food, more family, more joy. Some games, some tears and a whole lot of happiness. 

That's what Christmas means to me.

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15 December 2016

Real vs Fake Christmas Trees: The Ultimate Debate

Real vs fake christmas trees: the ultimate debate. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Real vs fake christmas trees: the ultimate debate. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Real vs fake christmas trees: the ultimate debate. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Real vs fake christmas trees: the ultimate debate. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

There are a whole lot of decisions that cause controversy at Christmas: which are the best tins of sweets to buy? Turkey or Salmon? Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Eating out or in? Dressing up or a PJ day? The list is endless. My answers are for sure: Quality street, turkey, Christmas morning, eating in and dressing up, just FYI. 

But, perhaps the greatest cause of controversy comes from the great tree debate. There are what I call 'real tree snobs', who utter 'oh you don't buy those plastic ones do you, daahling?' in a derisory tone, and the people who take down the same battered but beloved fake tree from the loft each year. And then there's a whole lot of us in between.

I really struggled to find a picture of the Christmas tree of my childhood, so we'll have to settle with this picture of me and my sister as littluns, uncomfortably cuddled up with half our tree crammed in the picture with us. Up until this year, I've had the same Christmas tree. It was a little wonky, and there were no branches left bare because of all the decorations we've gathered over the years, but in my eyes it was beautiful. 

This year, as I've mentioned to you all about 30 times (I'm excited okay?), it's my first year not spending Christmas at my parents' house, and it's the same for my boyfriend. SO, we had to make the biggest decision of the season: to go real or to go fake. As you can probably tell from the pictures at the start of this post, we went for real trees. And yes, that is a plural. I have a mini potted one in my office as well as our main living room one! Here's a list I've made for you all on the pros and cons of each type of tree:

Real trees - pros

The smell. Fresh pine is beautiful, and if you cut open some of the little 'warts' on the tree trunk, then the tree smells extra strong, mmmm.
It's something we should all experience having at some point in our lives. Neither me nor my boyfriend have so we were extra excited.
The novelty of going and picking out your perfect tree.
They don't end up on landfills.
You can grow your own if you're willing to wait seven or so years.
You get to choose the perfect size/shape for your home.

Real trees - cons

The spines are damn sharp. And itchy.
Needles dropping, everywhere.
The hassle of trying to get it into your car.
Heavy baubles can make the branches sag easily.
You need to water it.
Putting it into its stand without making it wonky is SO fiddly.

Fake trees - pros

You can use them year after year.
The loft ends up smelling like Christmas and bringing your tree down every year comes with lots of scent-induced memories.
It's a one-time cost for at least a few years.
You can get them pre-lit with fairy lights and even pre-baubled.
They're easy to pick up in all the local supermarkets.
The branches are easy to bend to support baubles better.
The spindles are soft and non-irritating.
They are always perfectly symmetrical.

Fake trees - cons

It's hard to get rid of them, even if they look a bit sad, because they hold so many memories
Pets just seem to want to destroy them. Why are they extra tasty?
They just don't feel as special as real trees.
Getting a good quality one can be very expensive.

I've tried not to just include the opposites for each pro/con set so that there's a good range of things here for you to think about. Let me know what you would add to the list, and whether you've gone for a real or fake one this year!

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14 December 2016

Getting Christmassy with Caseapp*

Festive phone cases from Caseapp. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive phone cases from Caseapp. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive phone cases from Caseapp. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive phone cases from Caseapp. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive phone cases from Caseapp. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive phone cases from Caseapp. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk
There's always that one person that goes a little overboard at this time of year isn't there? That person is always me. I could barely sleep on the 30th November because I was so excited about the start of advent, and I wandered into work in a whirlwind of exhilaration. You see, after weeks of pestering, my manager had finally caved, and agreed that I could wear my Christmas jumper and put on the Christmas music at the start of December. So, naturally I arrived in a Christmas jumper, Christmas earrings and Christmas mittens. I don't do festivities by halves. 

My house is now fully decked out. Although, low funds at this time of year means there's about half as many Christmas decorations here as I would like. If every room in my house could resemble a Santa's grotto, I would be in my element. But, one thing has been seriously lacking in my life: a festive phone case. 

Caseapp got in touch at the beginning of December, asking if I would like to collaborate on a Christmassy post with them, and of course my immediate answer was yes. I've practically been sweating with excitement waiting for the mail to arrive each day with the two phone cases* I ordered. Today was a good day

Although they don't have the widest selection of festive phone cases, you can make your own using your own photos. I just wish I had taken photos of my little hamster sat in a Santa hat before I made my order (and yes, I do have pictures like that, hehe). Instead, I opted to pick two of their premade ones. 

I went for the Christmas Everywhere design* first because oh my word, this is my Christmas aesthetic. It basically looks like a tacky Christmas jumper (my one true love), and now I officially have a festive phone case that matches my napkins for Christmas day. I am my own #goals. 

My second option was their light blue marble* case. Although there were more obviously festive ones, I loved this one because it totally reminded me of a winter wonderland. All I need now is for the weather to get icy and beautiful too in the UK. A girl can dream, right?

*Although products in this post were provided to me for the purpose of a review, all opinions are, as always, my own*

Get 20% off your Caseapp orders with the code NOURISHMEXMAS20 !

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13 December 2016

Festive Homeware Haul

Festive homeware haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive homeware haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive homeware haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive homeware haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive homeware haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive homeware haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Festive homeware haul. Nourish ME: www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

Moving into my first home that wasn't a student home, or a parental home was such a massive deal to me, as you all know. I've been so excited about filling my home with stuff that I choose to have, and arranging everything in a way I like. Christmas is definitely the most wonderful time of the year, but having no festive homeware was seriously starting to grate on me a few weeks ago. I LIVE for this kind of thing you see, and what's Christmas without festive tea towels really?

Funds are a bit low at this time of year (note: moving house at the beginning of November makes Christmas shopping really tight on the ol' budget). So, I've been out finding gems in my three new favourite places: B & M, The Range and T K Maxx. T K Maxx can sometimes be a bit on the pricey side, but if you dedicate a whole lotta time, and a whole lotta trips to heading in there, then there are some shiny little deals to be found. Sometimes literally. I mean, what's better than a bit of festive sparkle?!

The burnt-out looking wooden tealight holder with deer cutouts is possibly my favourite thing I've ever bought. This was something that I actually picked up in Homesense, despite being more than a little disappointed in their overall range of festive homeware. Maybe I was just promised too many great things from the store, but after a scour around our two-story Homesense, this was the only thing that really caught my eye.

The Range, on the other hand, was a shop that I seriously underestimated. I'm going to be posting a Christmas tree decorations haul at some point in the near future, and that is going to be even more awash with goodies from The Range than this was, but oh my, did I love it. They've got everything, ranging from the glary in-your-face slightly tacky decorations (my fave), to chic, subtle ones, and everything in between. 

I have spent so long this year looking for the perfect festive tablecloth for the big day. Everywhere seems to only sell plastic ones that are vaguely festive, but I really wanted a nice fabric one. Their tartan fabric tablecloth was absolutely perfect, and now what I really need is some matching bedding. 

This little standing Robin in a Santa hat was just too cute to leave behind. I really wanted some bits and pieces that I could put on our sideboards and mantelpieces in the house to make everything look a bit more festive. We still haven't bought any little finishing touches for the house, so these are starting to make it feel a little bit more like a home. This is currently sitting on our dining room sideboard with the 'Christmas' sign which we'll likely be using as a little letter holder.

I picked up another standalone Christmas ornament in The Range, which I haven't got pictures of here (blogmas is clearly going very well for me), BUT I do show and mention in my festive decorations haul video which I'll be linking for you at the end of this post. My boyfriend picked out a little sitting polar bear wearing a scarf for the mantelpiece in the living room, which is much more 'his' room than it is mine. And finally, I got a little light up snowman ornament for my office/spare room from B & M. Me and my sister had these as children, so I hope she'll be as excited as I was to see it when it's sat in her room when she comes to stay over Christmas!

My final section of homeware picks kind of brings me full circle back to the first one, as it is Christmas linen. Now, although I don't have any Christmas bedding at the moment (I may have to shed a tear or two if I don't get some soon), I have stocked up on Christmas tea towels, hand towels and flannels. Because priorities. I may have told a lie earlier and the tea towels with Santa legs are my favourite homeware pick. Either way, it's a pretty darn close run game between that and the tea light holder. It's probably the least useful tea towel out there, but I'm giving a little thank you to the T K Maxx gods for bringing this absolute gem into my life. 

On the more practical side of things, I grabbed a set of 4 festive tea towels that will actually dry things from B and M for £2.49. Another reason why B and M is the king of cheap Christmas finds. These are the little white tea towels with various Christmas drawings on that you can see poking out in some of the photos. 

Here's my video of my Christmas homeware haul, which has a few extra bits and pieces that I didn't mention or manage to photograph for this post, so have a peek:

What have you picked up for your home this year?