Hearing aids and heels…

The hearing aids bit anyway!

I had a bit of a moment the other day where I felt really stupid. And I mean really stupid. Like I was incompetent and worthless stupid. It’s a more frequent occurrence than I would like!

I had to ask my hubby to repeat something several times and even in the end I still didn’t hear it properly. It’s not because I’m stupid, I just didn’t hear him. Don’t assume its hubby making me feel this way, it’s me and my hearing that is doing it. I was on my way out to get some milk and he said something, a joke probably but I just didn’t hear him. I sat in the car and it hit me just how much this is beginning to bother me and also how much I have been hiding it from others.

So what am I on about?

I have been losing my hearing for a few years, and up until now it hasn’t really worried me, it’s one of the reasons I was going to call the blog hearing aids and heels. But just recently it’s begun to have a big impact on my life – both personally and professionally. I’m struggling to hear students in class, made all the more difficult with the fact that they are international students and we were having to wear masks. I avoid talking to colleagues as I know I won’t be able to hear them. I smile and hope I’m looking like I can hear people and smiling at the right moment too!

I do have an appointment for another hearing test in the next couple of weeks as I’m well overdue but with pandemic delays and suchlike any previous ones had been put off. My hearing aid hasn’t worked for almost a year and is well overdue a service, I thought I was getting on alright without it but clearly I’m not.

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When did it all start?

Just over 14 years ago I was having ear issues, constant earache, pain and suchlike. I didn’t worry about it I just thought it an inconvenience at the time as I’d suffered with ear problems when I was young. But after a while and realising that this wasn’t going away, visit number four to the doctors finally discovered I had a perforation of the ear attic. Bearing in mind this had taken two years to discover and things were not looking pretty. I was lucky as the doctor I saw that day knew a bit about ears!

I was booked an appointment to see a specialist in ENT. Went through lots of poking about and x-rays and scans. Then the bombshell hit. You have a tumour. Of course the first thing you think is I’s cancer. Thankfully it wasn’t it was a benign tumour, but it was in a nasty place and there was a secondary infection going on which given the nature of the tumour was making its way to my brain.

Cue the “right, young lady, let’s get you booked in for surgery and quickly, we don’t have much time” moment. To be honest I’m not sure if he explained much about it as I was in a fog but I signed the forms and went ahead anyway. It’s not every day you get told you have something wrong that isn’t normally bad but with the extra problem of an infection going on could kill you.

Well, me being me didn’t tell people it was as bad as it was, why worry others with stuff they can’t control. My parents would have been worrying (as parents do!) and I couldn’t be arsed with people fussing.

Hair shaved and off I go, I had the surgery to remove the tumour, get rid of the nasty infected stuff and rebuild my inner ear. Took a few hours but seemed to go ok. Things were a bit muzzy for a while. Head was itchy where the hair was beginning to grow back but it wasn’t all that bad. I got the piss taken out of me by family members but I’m the black sheep anyway so this was nothing new.

I am on lifetime care regarding my ear. I slowly regained some hearing in my rebuilt ear and things seemed to be all going tickety boo. Until I had one of my quarterly check-ups. And, boom. It was back! The tumour had returned and was obviously happy as it was growing far too well! This was almost 8 years ago. Back into surgery I went again, head shaved, ear sliced and off we go. I now have miniscule plastic tubes and bits where my little bones were. Micro surgery is amazing. 

Anyway, same old operation, seven hours in and redone prosthetics. All is well? Not quite. This time my hearing really is shot. To top it all off the hearing in my other ear has been degenerating quicker than I would like and I’m now at the stage I am now. The surgeon managed to cut a little bit of my facial nerve so my face drooped a bit but thankfully wasn’t noticeable unless I was tired, it’s still a little noticeable even now but only if you look carefully!

I didn’t realise how much having poor hearing would affect me. I didn’t think it would be something that bothered me, but the pandemic and others wearing masks really has made my life hard. Over the years I’ve learnt to lip read, albeit in a basic form, and this has been a lifeline for me even with a hearing aid. But it really is frustrating when you go into a coffee shop and ask for something and can’t hear what the barista is saying as there’s noises of the machines, a mask over their mouth and people chatting. It was getting to a point where I put a note on my phone and showed them what I wanted.

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I’m fed up of not quite getting what people are saying in conversation as they’ve turned their head a little away from me and I can’t see their lips properly. I’m fed up of getting frustrated by asking people to repeat things several times. I am at a point now where I don’t know where to turn or go to make this any better. I know some sign language but not enough to get by. I struggle with lots of noise in the background, or when both kids are trying to talk to me. I can’t manage a group conversation I can’t process it all with what little hearing I do have.

I am grateful for mask wearing given the Covid situation, and I am an avid mask wearer and still will to certain extent even though restrictions have been lifted. However, it hasn’t made mine or any other hard of hearing person’s life easy.

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I was quite surprised when I heard on the news recently that BSL isn’t a legally recognised language like Welsh or Gaelic in the UK.  Given the fact that there are eleven million people in the UK that are deaf or profoundly hard of hearing and only 131,000 actually use BSL I’m surprised they don’t teach it in schools, although I know by the already saturated curriculum that there simply isn’t any time to teach it and teachers simply don’t need any more stress. [source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/understanding-disabilities-and-impairments-user-profiles/saleem-profoundly-deaf-user#]. Apparently it is also the second most common disability in this country. I always thought it was an old person’s disability, but whilst figures do show 40% of the over 50’s are deaf it rises to 70% in those over 70, there are increasing signs of it becoming more prevalent in younger generations.

This got me thinking why this could be happening. Could this be our constant need to be plugged in to something? I know I’m often saying to the kids even with their noise limited headphones that they need to turn to volume down and take a break from wearing them. Of course I get ignored completely and their eyes roll but I think I may have a point. I found this article interesting and it’s not the only one saying similar things https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/53221-Kids-headphones-earbuds-hearing-damage-tinnitus

When we listen to loud music for long periods of time we damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear and the hearing nerve which is called sensorineural hearing loss. Of course hearing loss can be caused by many things, most commonly ear infection but I do think our habits play a big part in how we manage hearing loss in the future. I know I check my kids ears regularly, it’s habit, just like checking for head lice – you never know!

So let’s rally round and encourage our kids not to listen to their music or videos up too high, taking breaks away from it more frequently and hoping they have a sensible bone in their body to actually pay attention to the advice we give them. They’ll thank us for it later!

I’m hoping my hearing test won’t be so bad and that they’ll sort my hearing aid out and I can get back to being ‘normal’, as much as I can be.

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

What did we do before the internet?

This is a challenging one for those who were born in the noughties and beyond. So come on in and dip into my little trip down memory lane.

I was pondering a question posed by some of my students, they asked me what people did before the internet existed. This is a pretty normal subject for me as an ICT teacher but it got us as a class talking about things before the internet and how we coped without social networking platforms and also how we managed our mental health before the vast minefield of the internet and the pressures of social networking, trying to lead the perfect life depicted by so many Instagram influencers and the like. We discussed this at great length but it made me think it might be an interesting post to write.

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I thought about my childhood and what it was like to grow up in the late seventies/early eighties. I often see memes on Facebook about growing up in the days before the internet and mobile phones. How we popped to the shop to give back our glass pop bottles and got 10p for each one, and when we stayed out all day only coming home for food. Our parents seemed to trust us more then perhaps as they couldn’t check on us, we were out and stayed out in all weathers. We walked to school, very few were driven to school by their parents. If you lived further out from school you caught the bus.

I remember a childhood where I used to go out on my bike, and hop on space hoppers. We made daisy chains in the fields, checked to see of we liked butter with a buttercup, played hopscotch, ran to the shop with our pocket money for a bag of one penny sweets! Rolling down grass embankments, listening to music on the radio and playing records on a record player. I remember my first seven inch vinyl I bought with my pocket money was XTC Senses Working Overtime! All seems so idyllic, I know, I’m sure it wasn’t always perfect.

The only ‘searching’ I can remember was for four leaf clovers!

So, how did we manage to find out information, call people, find our way?

Well, we might have used or done some of these:

Encyclopedias. These were the gift that no one wanted but needed. They were really expensive and I remember school having a complete set of very old ones. Most of the information I’m sure was outdated but these things were our internet of the day. I remember having a couple of Children’s Encyclopedias passed to me from my parents from when they were kids. They were beautiful leather lined crafted books that were heavy but were well used when I was young. I may still have one of them somewhere. Although we have the internet and the kids can access what they need when they are using their laptops we still have a couple of more modern up to date knowledge books as my son is an avid reader and soaks up information like a sponge so he’s busy learning things in bed at night the old fashioned way not on screens.

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Magazines and books. I am a tactile person and love to read, always have. I remember the magazine/journal section in the school library being full to the brim of national geographic and other colourful delights for us to peruse. I like to have my gardening magazines even now and not just for the freebie packet of seeds that might be attached! I have several books on the go too. I’m currently reading the second in the Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman and a book called The Couple at Number 9 by Claire Douglas. Both very good I hasten to add. These were both Christmas gifts from dear hubs, he knew how much I liked the first in the Thursday Murder Club but also ‘The Couple at Number 9’ was one that is a Sunday Times top three best seller but also the title is a little personal standing joke to us. I won’t divulge now, maybe another time 😉

Maps (paper ones). I remember learning to drive and satellite navigation didn’t exist! When I was a kid we occasionally went out of day trips on the weekend when Dad had time off and would just head out somewhere. Often not really knowing where we were going. We always had a paper map with us or one of those big map books you used to get as a freebie with roadside rescue plans. More often than not the map would be out of date but it added to the fun of things. We got lost on more occasions than I can remember and we did the alien thing of asking for directions such an outdated thing to do these days! Shock horror!

Record players. I used to love routing through my parent’s vinyl collection, especially dads. I grew up listening to The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Status Quo! There was a bit of Errol Brown/Hot Chocolate mingled in there too. I can also remember listening to Black Beauty on vinyl, it was fantastic. The story and music all rolled into one. Fab. I guess it was an early form of Audiobooks.

Cabled telephone usually found in the hall. We had one cabled telephone in the house and as expected it was in the hall, some posh houses had one in the living room in the warmth. There was one of those old fashioned telephone benches where you could sit down but calls were quite expensive then so we didn’t really spend that much time on a call anyway. I know that there was never any privacy so calling a friend for a cheeky chinwag and find out who fancied who didn’t really happen! If we wanted to call someone in private we went out to the public telephone box after raiding our piggy banks for change and every excuse in the book to the parents otherwise they’d be suspicious 😎

Diary/paper calendar. Anyone remember the days of the Filofax? I had one lasted years. Even used it when I had a phone to do it all for me. I used to like the way you could just pop in new pages and organise things efficiently. They weighed a tonne though. My shoulders always ached from lugging them about. I did think I was the bees knees when I had one. I felt super ‘cool’ 🤣

Remembered things/wrote them on a list. I still do this today, although I need to write things down on a list otherwise I’ll forget things! I’m the type that can forget what I was doing whilst doing it. We didn’t have the internet or Alexa. We had to pay attention and listen to what was being said otherwise we wouldn’t learn anything.

Wrote letters/cards. This is something I tried to instil in my kids as I like to write thank you cards to those who may have gifted me something but despite my best intentions even I have started to wane on this a little. It’s just so easy to send a thank you text or message, but it doesn’t have the charm of a personal letter or card. Perhaps this is a dying tradition that just needs a little push to revive it. Note to self: make an effort! 

Went to the library. Ooh I used to love trips to the library to borrow books. I always came back with an armful. I’m an avid book worm anyway and love the tactile quality of books. The feel and smell of a book is a pleasure to me. I don’t get to read as much as I perhaps would like to, but I still love books. Libraries are vastly different today. They are ‘hubs’ for just about everything, sort your council tax out, collect more recycling bin bags and claim your benefits are amongst some of the things you can do at libraries these days.

Banking – paying with cash and cheques. I can’t remember the last time I paid by cheque and certainly wouldn’t know where to find my chequebooks or paying in books for that matter. But I used to enjoy going to the bank to empty my piggy bank of pocket money and put into my bank account. My parents encouraged good money management quite early on, and I remember having my first cheque book and paying for something with it. I felt so grown up! I used to enjoy the little chats with the cashier when checking the bank balance or paying money in, seeing it through rose tinted specs it was so much more personalised then.

Shopping – catalogues. Remember when there were big paper catalogues for things? Scouting through the pages of a catalogue and ordering something, only to wait weeks for it to arrive. I know we have catalogues these days but it’s all online and even the Argos catalogue is online an instant delivery.

Playing cards/board games. I’m an only child, and can remember the board games I used to cajole my parents into playing with me. I had no other siblings to annoy so pestered my parents instead. Board games are still expensive and can remember playing Monopoly, and my favourite, Cluedo over and over again. All very fun and much more social, although I’m sure my parents didn’t think so at the time.

Going to the travel agents. I asked my students to consider life before the internet and social networking. I asked them to imagine there was no internet, no social networking and consider how their lives would be different. They were horrified! Shock horror, noooo, you can’t take away the internet and social networking. What would we do!?! I did say they could call and text using a phone but that just sent them into a swathe of sheer panic! I wanted them to consider how they might book a holiday or flight as it’s something they do regularly for when they go home (International students from all over the world). They hadn’t a clue. I said that they could visit a travel agents. This was something completely new to them. They didn’t even know what a travel agent was let alone that they still had some shops out there that you could visit and book holidays and flights. It just made me realise what a vastly different world we now live in.

Cutting out coupons. We do still get paper coupons but they are few and far between these days. I have a ration book used by my grandparents and think about what life must have been like. How hard it would have been. I can remember milk tokens when I was a kid, and Mum used to cut out a coupon or two for discounts on the weekly grocery shop. I even had coupons for Freebies from the hospital when I had my kids so it’s still a thing, just mostly digital these days. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the ‘free Tena pants’ coupons that come through the letterbox. I’m not quite at that age or stage in life… yet.

Using cameras with film in. I think I still have my 35mm camera. I haven’t used it for ages, and probably won’t, but it’s a lovely piece of kit. I used to love going to the shop (Lloyds Chemist we used to use) and getting my films sent off to be developed. I can remember the negatives in the packs too. Something great about looking at a negative with the light shining through.

Photo albums. My parents have loads of the old fashioned photo albums, there must be at least thirty on the shelf in their living room. Although we don’t look through them as much as we perhaps used too, it’s still nice to see the old grainy photos from yesteryear. I have a few of my favourites. I was so upset when I thought I’d lost some my Mum had sorted out for me. They are special memories that once lost are lost forever. I can’t remember everything from my past and having an old photo or even an object brings back those moments in my head. Warm and fuzzy feelings most of the time.

Clubs. Aah… I remember the youth clubs of my day. The local village kids club, the church youth club and then the big town youth club where we could go to keep us off the streets. I used to like the clubs when I was younger but as I moved into my teen years I started to like them less, although it did allow me to meet other people who didn’t go to the same school which was nice. Having friendships outside of the school environment is so important I feel. Clubs aren’t seen as being trendy enough these days and funding has dwindled so much very few places have any ‘real’ youth clubs. Many organisations have to rely on Lottery Funding and fundraising events to keep going.

Face to face, in person meetings. Word of mouth, conversations with others.  Something which still happens in business although the Pandemic has had a huge impact on home working and online meetings these days that this is a dying trend. It has been for some time with the introduction of more and more accessible technology but there is something nice about a catch up chat at the ‘water cooler’ in an office, or a meet up at the coffee shop with friends. I’m a person that does like a good chinwag and can talk the hind legs off a donkey but I also like silence on occasion, so being able to mute someone during a group call is nice sometimes – oops did that come out. I do get bored at pointless meetings where it could have been summed up in an email but that’s all down to poor management skills not the meeting itself.

How to manuals/books. Hands up if you’ve never read an instruction manual (dearest hubby you are excused). Always kept and subsequently lost, these were the things that never really helped much anyway! So much easier to watch a video these days on good old YouTube, we are very lucky these days. 

Newspapers. I remember we didn’t have much by the way of newspapers, we kept up with the local news by going to the village shop and buying a local Bicester News, Malvern Gazette or something like that (depending on where were living at the time) and we watched the BBC news in the evening after our dinner on telly. I can remember my early childhood being surrounded by Farmers Weeklies! I think that may have been one of the weekly papers my Dad would read to me when I was a baby, no wonder I’m a tomboy!

Typewriter. I’m old fashioned enough to have one of these. I think it’s what started off my love of writing. Mine wasn’t one of those old metal black ones you see in ‘Murder She Wrote’ but a Maritsa bluey green plastic cased one. It was really expensive at the time and I still have it to this day. My Dad bought it for me as a birthday gift and I’ve loved it and looked after it ever since!

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Yellow pages/phone book. Every house had a Yellow Pages and most often a BT Phone book where you could look up business numbers and private dwelling numbers. Of course more often than not the books would be used to prop up a table or be used as a doorstop. They were super heavy and people used to attempt to get into the Guinness Book of Records by ripping up yellow pages books!

Whilst it’s so easy to see our childhood and growing up through rose tinted glasses, it wasn’t always easy. We had blazing hot summers yes, but we also had really cold snowy winters. We didn’t have houses with central heating, I remember an open fire blazing out on a winter’s day that would pretty much heat up the living room and if you were lucky enough to have the bedroom above! Bedtimes were always accompanied with a hot water bottle and several eider downs. We had a Rayburn (like an AGA for those who weren’t sure) in the kitchen with a back boiler that fed the water heater (and radiator type heaters in the house if we were lucky enough to have them). In one cottage ‘Red Cottage’ I remember it being called, we had the fire brigade over so much, they would ask if we were putting the Rayburn on if they saw us in the village shop, our chimney stack went on fire so often. It was a standing joke, wouldn’t be allowed to happen these days, but you just got on with it.

We didn’t have double glazing, we had metal framed single glazed windows that froze both inside and out. Condensation would run down the windows and soak the window sill. I used to mop it up with a towel in the mornings before heading out to help Dad on the farm or school. Insulation wasn’t a ‘thing’ back then. If you ran out of milk and the shop was shut, tough. You had to rely on your neighbours for things like that!

And I’m sure there will be some of you reading this that will be saying I had it easy when I was a kid, but I’m only in my forties. It was harder but in many ways it’s a different kind of hard these days.

If we were bored we didn’t have instant gratification from a screen. We had to find things to do to cure our boredom. My kids are always asking me “what can I do?”, “I’m bored”.  I’m forever saying find something to do. Be bored, it’s good for you. Let your imagination play. They always moan at me as I’m not thinking for them, they are part of the instant gratification generations that have grown up with something there at their fingertips. But they are also more anxious than I ever was, although they are only young and perhaps aren’t exposed as much to the general horrors of the news, Instagram and social media platforms as much as teens are, they still feel the pressures all the same. Getting the balance right is the tricky part and is a big part of being a parent. Knowing when to protect and when to step back. I’m still learning. Not sure I’ll ever get it right, but at least I’m trying.

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The internet and social networking has opened up a whole new world for us. We have access to information at the touch of a screen, we can book a holiday at the drop of a hat. We can order an item online and have it delivered the next day, stuck for something for dinner – Deliveroo are there to rescue you! We have so much freedom with the internet, yet we are somehow prisoners and slaves to it. We have come to rely on it so much, we would struggle live a life without it.

Do you remember using or doing any of the things I might have done? Let me know your childhood memories. What did you do before the internet existed? How did you keep yourself out of mischief?

Take care, stay safe.

Becks Xo  

Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022

“It’s been a funny old day”, I can never think or say this without thinking of old Arkwright in Open All Hours (those of a certain vintage will know what I’m on about!). It’s been a funny old year too! Lots of happenings not happening…

Lockdown no lockdown, mask no mask, stay in go out and every possible mixed message in between! Then there’s the lockdown parties in Whitehall which our Government say didn’t happen but then they did but weren’t parties they were working lunches with wine and cheese. I’d love a working lunch with wine and cheese, although I fear I’d be the size of a house and be jobless after having wine during the day if I did!

If I were to sum up the year of 2021 I’d say it was a slightly skewed, aiming to get back to some form of normality year. It wasn’t all negative there have been some real positives to come out of it. It’s all too easy to focus on the negatives in life and this is especially understandable given the strange happenings of the past eighteen months to two years.

There was some good news Climate challenge wise, COP 26 wasn’t necessarily a complete whitewash. Yes there were parts of it that failed the climate completely and yes some elements didn’t come out as strong as they could have but there are some small achievements that we can be positive about. Small steps, but steps all the same.

My year? It was pretty much the same as many others I should imagine. I managed to work, the kids were educated, and we experienced some strange weather. The latter part of the year meant we could go out more and enjoy some of the things we once took for granted such as a visit to the theatre as a family to see the Panto (absolutely brilliant I hasten to add!) and popping to London for a day trip (super quiet by the way – so not like London at that time of year, or any time, to be honest it was eerily quiet), then Covid decided to mutate a little and numbers were going up but thankfully the number of deaths has remained relatively low considering. Although not necessarily any easier for those who have lost friends or family, loved ones to the awful virus. My heart goes out to you if this is your situation.

Did anything happen to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Yes actually, there were some great moments. We had a fab week away in Wales, where I really felt close to my kids and saw a different side to them. I felt it was the break we all needed. Yeah, ok, they had their moments but they were also bloody amazing and they made me so proud to be their mum.

I was really happy that some of my nearest and dearest friends and family have managed to make real successes of their small businesses during a tough year, so it is my pleasure to encourage you, my fantastic readers to check them out! They are all fabulous people who are making their way through the minefield of business but they are amazing and why not give them our support. So, whether you like and follow them on Facebook or buy one of their products I’m sure they will love you for it.

Here are some of these amazing small businesses – really, you must visit…

First up we have the lovely Little Vines at https://littlevinesholiday.wixsite.com/littlevinesupton. Little Vines is a fantastic holiday let that focusses on the personal touch. Sally is trying to get her husband to buy her a fab KitchenAid Mixer like mine so she can whip up more of her delicious homemade cakes that are always waiting for her guests! If you’re looking for somewhere to spend a nice little break away then check out Little Vines but hurry as they’re booking up fast with a lot of returning vacationers.

Another fabulous small business I’m super proud of is my lovely cousin in-law Yvonne at https://www.facebook.com/fireandfilemetaldesign/ she has the most amazing jewellery in her store. She uses eco silver and has designed and made some really quirky but super wearable jewellery. She doesn’t just make jewellery, she makes wall art/hangings and book marks. I’ve bought a couple of bookmarks from her for the kids school teachers as thank you gifts so if you’re stuck for ideas then go pay her a visit at her Etsy shop and like and follow her for regular updates on Facebook.

One of my school run mum friends has a small business making gemstone bracelets. She does this as a hobby which has been a real booster to her wellbeing. You can find her gorgeous bracelets at https://www.facebook.com/natcmusi. I’m all for supporting the independent business and small local is always good for the community.

Although I’m part of a style club online and have actively promoted RuthEssex.com of which you may find a little treat in a future post by the way, I also have a lovely school friend from way back in the day who is a brilliant personal stylist. She has a small business where she does colour analysis and style advice. She has been in the business for a few years but recently made it a full time occupation as the perfect opportunity arose. Sometimes you just have to take that risk, and occasionally it pays off. If you’re interested in colour and style then Wendy is another person to check out at https://www.styleandcolour.co.uk/.

Last but not least if you want some lovely Cornish made crafts then pay my friend Lynn over at https://www.facebook.com/Kents-Cornish-Crafts-609845416339903/ a visit. She makes some lovely personalised crafts that invoke some very special memories for her customers. Lynn has made teddy bears from some treasured baby clothes which is a lovely keepsake, so if you have anything special in mind have a look and see what she can do for you.

What do I (we) have in store for this New Year?

A lot! We have a huge amount planned to be going on this year, but whether it will all happen remains to be seen but we can just roll with it and see what pans out. I’m still super busy with teaching, and blogging but you know me things will get done regardless. I have the usual stuff going on at home as well as a potential belated honeymoon on the cards too! We’ve been married over ten years but we never managed to get a honeymoon. We’ve been promising to have one all this time and maybe, just maybe we’ll get one this year. A global Pandemic stopped us last year, so we’ll just bump it over to this one.  

Coming up on the blog is an interview post with Ruth Essex @RuthEssex.com which will be coming out at soon so make sure you get in on that one. I just need to finalise a few more bits and pieces to it and it’ll be all good to go. I have lots of helpful blogs planned but again, it all relates to what’s happening with me and my life so if it doesn’t fit it won’t be written about at that particular time. I do wonder how some bloggers manage to post several blogs a week when I can barely manage one a fortnight! My life just isn’t that interesting perhaps?!

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What else?

So, I’ve decided I’m not partaking in any fad month this year. Dry January, Veganuary, or any other. It’s not because I don’t believe in following them I just don’t feel we need a month of doing something to make it right. I know it’s about focus and making the general public aware of the causes but for me it doesn’t sit right. Too many years in marketing and being slightly cynical of these events has had a lot to do with it. I will cut down on the amount of meat I eat, it’s a small thing that makes a big difference. I will drink dry wine instead of sweet dessert wine… no, no, sorry that’s not dry January. I mean I will reduce the amount of alcohol I drink. I’m not a heavy drinker anyway, but I do like a glass occasionally so it’s not a huge game changer but will make me a little healthier. I will make an effort and do more exercise. I have become far too sedentary and it’s not doing me any favours. All of these steps are small but important and I don’t need a designated month to get me doing them. If we make small changes over a longer period of time then we are more likely to stick to them, at least I know that’s what works for me. If you choose to do dry January, Veganuary or any other ‘month’ I applaud you and good luck with them. Either way we’ll all come out slightly healthier in the end.

The weather, well that’s always a good topic to talk about 😆

It’s funny I hear so many parents and carers on the school run saying its cold and they can’t wait for the warmer weather. I actually like the seasons. I know it’s cold, I’m sat at work with thermal undies on and several layers of clothes as I have to have my classroom window open because of Covid requirements for adequate ventilation and I have a hot water bottle on my back and a heater at my feet – chilblains anyone!? But, despite the freezy feel it’s refreshing, just as I like a clear spring day and a balmy summer’s evening I think all weathers have a part to play. I’m not so much a fan of fog and rain though. That just gets to my bones. Brrr. I did buy a thin pair of gloves to wear whilst I was working at my computer but as is the usual with my online purchases these didn’t fit. I must have very long alien fingers or these were designed for a child! My daughter now has a lovely pair of satin gloves! I got asked if she could wear them for school. She would be very glamorous if she did 😎

I am worried about the more extremes of weather we are experiencing and as I’ve mentioned before I am trying to do my little bit to ease the environmental strain on resources and helping Mother Nature along a little. But if, I’m honest, Christmas is always going to be hard on the environment. There’s more paper and plastic to deal with. More of everything that we as a nation have wasted.

I was super good this Christmas just gone and had very little food waste as I shopped wisely and used up leftovers. It was surprisingly easy to do for those that don’t/haven’t manage/d it. I’m good at reducing food waste most of the year, there are loads of really good websites and apps that help, but always struggled at Christmas. I’ve always viewed Christmas as gluttonous and where we overbuy and overeat. But, also rather tellingly we over waste too. I can remember in past years disposing of leftover food in the waste and chucking mince pies out because they were past their sell by date. But now I’m savvier about waste. The sniff test on milk (thank you Morrisons, but I have been doing this for ages!), the use by is the date you need to be watching don’t worry so much about the best before as it’s only a guide. Use a bit of common sense, if it looks off it most likely is, if it smells funky it’s probably not worth trying it.

So there you go, there’s the first instalment of the New Year for you.

Here’s wishing you a belated, but important, Happy New Year and let’s hope it’s a good for us all.

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

Christmas decor trends in our house

And other Christmassy things!

With the month of December almost upon us, some of us may be thinking about digging out the well-worn and much loved decorations and dusting off the tinsel. Yes, it’s that time of year again.

I feel I can mention the C word (No not the really rude one! That’s just wrong!), as it’s almost December and only a few more weeks to go before we all start to overindulge and go into overdrive at how much we’ve spent… really? That much… again! But I budgeted this year! You know the drill.

I’m planning on fighting my way into the garage this weekend hopefully and will drag what I can out and see what is still useable. Much of our tat has been about for years and is looking a little beyond its best. But, sometimes that’s the way I like it. It means it has a story to tell, it’s seen a few Christmases and many changes along the way.

I am trying to be a little more eco-friendly and using what we have rather than buying new. I am using a fake tree – I would love a real tree, and have had a few in the past, but if I’m honest the fake ones we have will have already had their carbon footprint and it would seem such a waste if we binned them. They are a few years old so I’m hoping to keep them in good condition for as long as possible to minimise the damage they would and have done. They were expensive in the first place and are good quality so I’ll continue to use them for as long as I can. It’s better not to cut a tree down anyway, much better to have a potted one and grow it on – there’s lots of schemes out there where you can buy potted trees and when they get too big or after 7 years (assuming they are still alive) then they can go back to the supplier to be planted in the ground and you then start the cycle again. Cutting a tree down doesn’t always mean eco.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

What are the Christmas Trends for this year?

What I do try to do each year is see how the Christmas trends pan out and identify what is predicted for the year and use what I already have in storage and adapt it to suit. Looking at the predicted trends and what has been in the shops for what seems an age now, I know we have quite a few items that I can use this year. I’m not a minimalist when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree. I go for the more is more approach. I like it stuffed full of baubles, silly decorations and of course family heirlooms. This goes against the grain of the less is more trend some have predicted, a more stripped back approach for this year it seems.

The rustic, handcrafted trend is very much in this year, so of your love crafting little handmade gems will come in handy this year if you’re big on handmade. If you’re not a crafter you can still get the look but you’ll have to buy it and there are some super glamorous decorations out there, albeit made with more natural materials such as wood and berries!

There’s also a love of all things DIY still and this means plenty of garlands with dried fruit and foliage, going au naturel. I think the idea behind the DIY trend is due to last year 2020 being a year where we couldn’t see family and friends and do the ‘group’ activities we perhaps might normally have done and so this is a symbol of a new normal and getting back to some of the fun times we may have had in past Christmases.

I have to admit to failing at setting a perfect table display in our house. We have a small, tatty old table that fits the four of us and not much else. We have been meaning to invest in a bigger one but just never got round to it. We’ll probably look to getting a new one next year, we’ve so much on at the moment we just don’t have the time to go furniture shopping. So, I usually keep it simple with our nice John Lewis white crockery and our posh Oneida cutlery set (the stuff that only comes out for special occasions, I’m too clumsy to use it everyday!). I use a simple tablecloth and runner just to make it look a little more festive but that’s about it really. I dream of a huge table with lots of room to create a really elaborate display. I have a friend who puts on the most amazing table displays when she holds her dinner parties, and I’m sure Christmas is no different at her house, she puts so much thought into everything from the wine to the food to the decor. I would love to be able to do such things I admit, but we just don’t live that lifestyle. We are simple folk and rarely have guests over.

It looks like the colour trends are following clothing colours at this time of year, lots of burnished berry tones and natural earthy muted tones paired with gold and bronze. These are many of the colours I use each year anyway, and as we have a huge amount of decorations (7 Christmas trees, yes, you read correctly, 7!) this will not be hard for me to put together a scheme. I try to vary the colour schemes each year although clearly I can’t use colour schemes that will clash with the current wall colours or any of the permanent colour schemes in the house, but I do like to harmonise as best I can. I do let the kids go wild with their trees though, as kids should be allowed to be creative in my view.

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

What else will I be doing?

I will be using my new anniversary/Christmas gift mixer this christmas to make some cookies and I think I will get the kids to decorate them, they can use their imaginations, you never now we may end up with another day glo colour on the cookies (long story, for another time maybe). We will probably put a few in for close friends and family presents and also for just munching whilst watching cheesy Christmas movies.

Talking of movies, there are a few films we always watch at Christmas, we were put off last year as I don’t remember Die Hard being on mainstream telly. Christmas isn’t Christmas without Die Hard! I did watch Love Actually though which is also on my list of must see Christmas Movies. What’s your favourite CHristmas movie? Here’s a list of mine, in no particular order:

  • The Holiday
  • Love Actually
  • Last Christmas
  • Lethal Weapon 1987
  • Ghostbusters 1989
  • Gremlins
  • White Christmas 1954
  • Die Hard
  • Muppets Christmas Carol
  • Bridget Jones Diary
  • Bad Santa
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Deck the Halls
  • Jingle All the Way
  • Christmas Chronicles 1 & 2

I’ve quite possibly already peaked on the Christmas movies front as there are loads on daily at the moment and I dip in and out occasionally. If I peak too early I get a bit Bah Humbug, but I’m slowly starting to get into the spirit of things. We popped into a garden centre the other day on our travels and I was getting more enthused by the decorations as I was walking round. I did almost buy something but decided I probably wouldn’t have enough room in the boot along with the luggage from our weekend at the folks!

We booked the Panto this year too. The kids haven’t been to the panto and we were looking at perhaps booking The Play That Goes Wrong, but after the kids watching it over and over on iPlayer I’m all ‘The Play That Goes Wrong-ed out!’ We are really looking forward to spending some quality family time together with a few big belly laughs along the way. He’s behind you… Oh no he’s not!

We are not expecting any visitors to ours this year, although my parents do pop over for boxing day occasionally. We will do the trip to see the kids grandparents down South of which we all thoroughly enjoy visiting. We will take the bigger car this time, it’s got a bigger boot. I need say no more 🤣. It may all be a little different this year all depending on my mum’s recovery from her big operation. I’m hoping she’ll be able to make it to ours as I really enjoy having them both over. I’m lucky to have both my parents still around and hope it stays that way for a long time. It must be hard for some who’ve lost parents, especially if they have lost them recently or if they had a particularly close relationship with them. My heart goes out to you if this is you, you never forget them. This time of year can be tough for many and my thoughts are with them.

The light show!

Every year hubby usually does a big light display in both front and back gardens for the kids but the past couple of years has toned it down considerably. When we used to live at our old house the lights were really bright and you could see them from the car park at the back of the house, I have to say the garden glowed! This year with all the things we have on we won’t have time for a big display so will keep it simple and pop up a couple of strings of lights in the garden. It’s just time that is keeping us from doing a big display. It takes a whole weekend to sort it all out. Time we don’t have free this year. It seems to have come around so fast.

Are you doing anything special for Christmas? Comment or visit us on the facebook page, I’d love to know what you are up to this Christmas.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks Xo

Is it really all about the likes and stats?

I’ve found myself becoming more and more concerned about the amount of engagement I have and focusing on my stats of my page recently. I mean let’s face it, I’m putting myself out there and opening myself up to the world so why not, right?

But I’m finding myself becoming quite anxious about it, checking the stats on an almost minute by minute basis. I’m becoming almost addicted to checking and for me it’s a concern, I teach kids about screen addiction and social media issues and yet I’m now following that path!

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels.com

I’m not sure why I’m worried about the stats, perhaps it’s because I wrote a post that I thought might have appealed to more people and it didn’t, perhaps it’s because I felt I’d laid myself bare in my honesty and now I’m wondering if I’ve done the right thing, perhaps I expected more engagement, perhaps I did something people didn’t expect and readers were put off, should I have paid more attention to SEO as bloggers are often told to do to maximise their readership and engagement, perhaps people just didn’t get to read it, maybe I posted at the wrong time? Who knows there are so many what-ifs and could haves that I’m slightly overwhelmed by it.

Part of the issue I think though, is that I have been inconsistent in posting. For me this is a personal blog, about me and my life, so I don’t post every day, week or month – my life just isn’t that exciting! I am a busy mum, teacher, crafter and blogger, I’m perpetually knackered, so something has to give somewhere at some point. I post when I feel something important or useful happens and this goes against blogging advice, but there are so few blogs out there that aren’t out to make money that I wonder if that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I rarely do recommendations on anything and when I do I do it because it’s genuine and not because I’m getting paid for it, I switch off reading most blogs that have constant ad pop ups and so this doesn’t appeal to me. I like my little blog because it’s clean and free of the interruptions of everyday internet bombardment.

I know from looking at the blog and stats that the only comments I’m receiving are spam and they’re filtered out anyway, and it seems that only a handful of followers are commenting on the Facebook page and they’re usually close friends. Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board with the blog and social media and make some changes.

Am I going to be going against what I originally set out to so?  Probably, but we evolve and I suppose my little slice of the internet has to evolve too but I honestly don’t want it to. I’m happy with change, but not when it’s forced. I’m more of a natural evolver.

I get so wrapped up in what I’m writing that maybe perhaps I don’t focus on the structure of the post enough, I certainly don’t plan the post, everything I write is written from the heart and perhaps it comes across as a bit rambling, and loses its intention. There is so much information on the internet about ‘how to write the perfect post’ its information overload. And maybe I don’t want to write the ‘perfect post’ maybe I just enjoy writing and getting my personal story out there.

Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

I’m not even sure how to plan a blog post for my type of blog. I mean it’s a little slice of my life and how I manage things. I don’t want to churn out just anything to meet a statistical requirement but in my head I’m thinking the opposite – reader engagement, get the likes, get the comments, post, post, post! My fear is I’ll lose the feel of the blog and it’ll become another blah blog. How some people manage to churn out post after post day in day out is beyond me. Do they not sleep?! They can’t have a life surely? Or maybe they are just so incredibly organised they have planned everything months in advance like a professional!

I remember when I started out during the pandemic lockdown 2020, I researched online about how to start a blog, I grabbed as many planning tools as I could and filled them all in planned to the hilt and then put it all to one side and forgot about it. I do dip in and out of the pack every so often but I don’t give it my complete focus I admit. I found it easier to maintain a consistent posting schedule and there was plenty to talk about with the pandemic and all. But now were back to the new normal life has become busier (work, kids, home, crafting and blogging = busy, busy, busy) and it’s not quite so interesting. I’m not off on jolly’s out all the time and neither have I been on a posh cruise or exotic holiday so it’s all about the day to day stuff going on which can be a bit… well… dull really.

I’m not sure what you want to read, I don’t know what you find interesting or not about the blog so it’s difficult to write interesting things and insights for you. I’ve been told in the past not to change what I’m doing, I’m just not sure anymore, I don’t know what to do.

I guess it may be time to re-evaluate and look at what to do for the future with Mylifeandstyleover40.com. If you have any ideas (keep them clean!) pop a comment below, or on the Facebook page.

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo

A little catch up…

A huge heartfelt ‘I’ve missed you all, I’ve missed writing and sorry for not being about much’. I feel this is like being at church in the confessional, “Dear father, it’s been 8 months since my last confession…”.

Okay so maybe it’s no quite so, but I do feel guilty a little for not being in touch sooner. It’s been a mare of a year to date and I honestly think the only thing keeping me sane is my family (most of the time!) and my lovely supportive ladies in the style club I’m part of. It’s funny how we turn to particular people or groups when we need a little pick me up from time to time, of which I’m sure we have needed one more than a little often during the past twelve to eighteen months. I know I’m not alone in feeling a bit weird about how things have panned out but we’re in this together and many of us have hit highs and lows during this time.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

I’m not going to dwell too much on what’s been going on with the pandemic but I will just sum up the past few months for you so we can move on and look forward.

I read through a few of my old posts on a whim, I just somehow felt the need to check in and I’m glad I did as it’s spurred me on to engage with everyone again. I had been feeling quite down and had been finding it hard to et out of that blah feeling. You may know the feeling, the one that is difficult to describe but blah seems to fit in many ways. I think I needed the pick me up from others in a small way.

At the start of the year I posted about resolutions and setting small goals. I both succeeded and failed in those that I set! I did lose the stone I aimed to lose and then put it all back on again and more (story of my life!), and I managed to save a fair amount of money but ended up spending a bit of it on a newer car as my old one was 13 years old and although still going strong, Nissan Notes are practically bombproof – well childproof anyway, it was getting to a point where I fancied a change. I went for a more funky car this time around although if my boy keeps growing the way he is he’ll outgrow the back seats in a year! Oh well, best start saving again!

Anyway, it’s been crazy with work, I’m now teaching four subjects back to back day in day out with next to no prep time except the time I have at home which as any parent out there will experience is next to none. Covid is going around the school like wildfire and if I’m honest it’s not nice. I’m wary of it being coughs and colds season as at the back of my mind there’s the ‘it could be covid’ thought. I’m jabbed and although this makes me less worried it doesn’t make me invincible. I can still get it, it could still hit me hard and I could still infect someone else with it without knowing, but I could also get hit by a bus (always ensure you have clean underwear on as my nan used to say). I am staying careful and still masking up where needed, I’m keeping my distance and doing what I can to keep my family and others safe. It’s about being sensible and considerate to others which to me is good manners and common sense.

I’ve been checking in to friends and family on Instagram and Facebook as I’ve not seen some for a while, even though we’ve been out of lockdown for an age now. Things are the new normal and I’m adjusting to it, but time seems so lacking for me to squeeze in all the things I need and want to do. I’m organised but still it just seems to fly by! I love seeing what people are up to and I class myself as an avid people watcher.

Myself and hubby have recently discovered this joy together – at the beach. We usually try to pick a slightly overcast day and when the kids are at their grandparents for the weekend, we pop out to the beach, grab some chips and a hot drink and sit in the car nice and dry and people watch. It’s funnier on a dreary day, but nicer on a warm and sunny one as we can sit out and swap chips for ice-cream! It’s great just sitting there watching the world go by. It’s a nice time to switch off (as much as we can at least) from the world. I find it very therapeutic.

I used to love sitting at a cafe with coffee and cake and just watching passers by. I enjoyed seeing how people interacted with others, what they wore and even what they said – Shh! dont tell.

Whilst it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I just find myself fascinated by others. Are you a people watcher like me? I have a friend who likes to sit in a café, notebook and pen ready to make notes on ‘life’ as it goes by. It gives her inspiration for her teaching and allows her to engage with her students on a more realistic up to date basis.

It’s been a bit of a hard couple of weeks recently. My mum fell and managed to break her hip. sadly she had to wait over four hours for an ambulance by which time she was in so much pain, I can’t imagine how she was feeling. I have to say the problems aren’t the poor ambulance staff, it’s the mismanagement of the NHS in general. We have a wonderful resource at our finger tips and yet it’s been abused for many years by so many. Dad is missing my mum terribly, he’s not used to life on his own, and not being able to visit her is really playing on his mind. He calls her every night and is happier after talking to her. We’ll have to see how she goes with her physio to find out when she can come home. Hopefully soon.

Hope you and your families are all safe and well. Time for me to sign off for now.

Take care, stay safe

Becks Xo

Happy New Year

I was hoping that this was going to be a good 2021, but as I write we have been thrown back into a third lockdown here in the UK. That said there is still an opportunity to make it a little more positive.

The start of a new year usually heralds a host of new years resolutions that will most likely get thrown out by the end of February, sooner if you’re me! I usually make a token gesture of exercising more, losing weight, budgeting better… the list goes on.

This year I’m not setting any major goals, I think for many of us it’ll be another year of living the new normal, with a lockdown or two in place and a bit of a wait for the vaccine to come our way, but all that said I do think small goals are something we can aim for at the moment.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

What am I going to set as my small resolutions?

That’s the big question, especially as I said I’m not good at sticking to them. So, whilst I know I need to lose a lot of weight I’m starting with just 1 stone. One is a magic number. To me it starts things off. makes it easier to breakdown large goals. I am also planning to save a little more money.

How am I going to attempt to lose the weight?

By not wasting my money on the usual weight loss methods! In the past I’ve spent a fortune on Weight Watchers, Slimming World, what was Rosemary Connelly, diet books galore and even Paul McKenna. Some were small successes but most were a waste of money. When it takes over a year to lose a stone and a half there’s something not right somewhere.

I know what I need to do, I’m not stupid. Just lazy. I’m not a huge fan of the sweet stuff, I’m a savoury fan. Which also means that crisps and salty goodies are not friends with my hips, bottom, thighs, oh what the hell, just about anywhere really!!!

I think that if we use a modicum of common sense small goals can be achieved in a sensible timescale. I have decided I am going to follow some very simple and basic guidelines:

check portion size

half of the plate veggies

quarter of the plate carbs

quarter of the plate protein of some sort

keep snack foods to a minimum and making sure they are healthy-ish

drink a more water

It’s all about moderation, it’s ok to have a little treat occasionally, just not too often. I am aware that I do need to have a realistic mindset about it all. I am like most people I should imagine, we all want results fast. But, doing things fast doesn’t always last. If you are anything like me you will end up putting on the weight you lost and some extra to boot!

My main problem is lack of exercise. I can be on my feet all day as a teacher but with the Covid-19 pandemic I have started to teach more from my desk and keeping my distance from my students, which doesn’t always make for amazing lessons. Needs must. Now that we’re in lockdown I will need to make sure I get out and walk a little with the kids and at least get some fresh air.

I will start slowly I’m not built for Marathons 🤣

What about my other resolution?

I didn’t want to set a lot of resolutions as I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed, especially with all of the extra pressures of another lockdown, so my other resolution is to save a little more. I thought long and hard about it and have come across what looks like a fairly easy was to save just over £1000 by the end of the year. Ok, it’s not big money but it’s enough to get through the difficult patch after Christmas which some find themselves in.

The general principle of the was to save is to start week one with £1, then in week two double it. Week three you put in £3 and so on. So after five weeks of saving you have £15, by ten weeks you have £55. As I said it’s not much but it’s easy to save these small amounts. Carry on saving these regular amounts and by twenty weeks in you’ll have £210. Forty weeks in you’ll have £820 saved away. Fifty weeks in, almost the end of the year a lovely £1275 sitting in your bank account.

I will admit it gets harder throughout the year to save as the numbers get bigger each week, week fifty is a whopping £50 to put away, but there is nothing to say that you can’t juggle it about a little and save the bigger amounts when you can afford it. I would just keep a tally/table/record of when and how much you’ve put away to make it easier to keep track of.

I know I will be finding it hard on occasion as I’m only being paid for the lessons I teach at the moment as I don’t qualify for flexible furlough so my income will be significantly reduced. But I am hoping once schools are back and things settle down late Spring I will be in a much better position to save the larger amounts.

I will of course be aiming to save as much as I can throughout the year but thought the scheme I found was quite simple to do. If you try it let me know how you get on. Remember you can always post a comment in the comments bit below or on my facebook/mylifeandstyleover40 page. Join in and get the conversation started. Remember, be constructive I’m not about being nasty here it’s a positive blog and that’s how I want to keep it.

I’ve waffled on for a bit so I’ll leave you for now, but do let me know what your resolutions are and how you get on…

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

Xo

Christmas

Ah, Christmas. Love it or hate it you can’t escape it. with just less than two weeks to go it really is upon us.

Collage of our Christmas trees, image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

Everyone who knows me will know I really do enjoy Christmas. I usually have a bit of Christmas burn out mid November as I’ve binged out on Christmas films by then, but bounce back within a week full of plans and gusto on where to put the tree and which colour scheme are we going for this year, which to be fair is a no brainer in the living room as we always have a tree covered in warm soft white lights, soft toy decorations, handmade delights and family heirlooms (or soon to be family heirlooms!). Thankfully my daily décor in the room is usually neutral enough to handle the red, white and greyish Christmas theme I go for, although I’m glad we went with the box green on the walls this time it really makes the Christmas decorations sing this year!

Last year we had a green, pink and purple in the kitchen/diner as we had some funky Orla Kiely style print curtains with a purple and green colourway, but this year its changed a little as we have a navy and blush pink colour scheme. I let the kids go wild on the tree in the diner as we have loads of baubles and I wanted them to feel it was their tree, despite them always being involved in the family tree decorating in the living room. So this year its a pink and purple colourway with the odd bit of blue tinsel and a few blue baubles placed several to a branch, mostly at kid height! I resisted the urge to remodel their efforts. Ok… I admit I let it go for a couple of days and then did a slight bit of rearranging. Only a little bit though, in my defence there were eight baubles on one branch and the tree was starting to lean a little!

I didn’t get as enthusiastic this year as I normally do. Maybe it’s the general ‘feel’ of this year, but I have felt a little ‘un-Christmassy’ on occasion, that’s not to say I’m completely Bah Humbug, just a touch here and there. What I am aware of is that not everyone is happy about Christmas and the pressures and expectations that are pushed onto us this time of the year. It’s not just this year either. For some the pressures and expectations for us all to be the perfect family, have the perfect time, spend vast amounts of money we may not have, cook the perfect meal, panic buying the perfect present, dealing with crowds of people in shops that we really don’t want to be in but can’t justify giving our money to conglomerates like Amazon (I’ve nowt against them for the odd item or two but would rather shop small and local if possible). The constant pressure from Instagram feeds where the perfect Christmas décor starts way back in September so by the time Christmas arrives it’s already become a pressure cooker of emotions and stress. I used to really like Instagram but sadly there are just too many fakers out there making ordinary lives a nightmare.

For some the sheer thought of having to put on a brave face for others is exhausting, leaving them hiding away from the season completely. There may be many reasons why Christmas can leave a bitter taste in the mouth and sprouts aren’t necessarily guilty! For those who have had a bereavement at this time of year they are reminded of it at every step. I can’t imagine what they must be having to do to keep it all together. We shouldn’t judge others for not perhaps enjoying Christmas as much as us. Just like anything we don’t know their story, or what their reasoning is. We are all individuals and need to be supported.

We also need to remember that not all religions celebrate this time of year the way Christians do. I’m not a particularly religious person I’ll admit but I still like to celebrate Christmas in my own little way. I have Muslim friends who put up a tree and give presents and send cards as they like to reciprocate at this time of the year.

So whether you enjoy this time of year or not, it doesn’t matter. You are you, I am me and we may chose to celebrate or not in our different ways.

I’m off to do some wonderfully lovingly made crafts to give as gifts… er… no I’m not. I’m off to buy someone else’s beautifully crafted items 😉

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

xo

My favourite Bloggers

I’m new to the blogging game as you know and I am in awe of those who are able to pull off a super clean, professional look to their blogs and also be a joy to read. There are lots of bloggers out there who claim to have made thousands in their first two months of blogging, but the reality of this is far from the truth. It takes years to be successful in the blogging world and it takes a lot of hard work – even if writing is your passion and you are super good at it. It takes a lot of time to research even a short post and then you have to write it up, and then check it and check it again!

There are lots of bloggers who fulfil the clean professional joy to read category for me. They aren’t all in the same arena either. I follow a variety of different bloggers as I have lots of different likes and interests. Here are a few of my favourites, maybe you might like them too.

(Please note that I do not receive any money or perks from these bloggers/websites so feel free to click away! I like these for what they are not for what they could pay if I were affiliated with them).

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

That’s Not My Age aka Alyson Walsh – this is a brilliantly put together blog on all manner of fashions and other things from another fabulous woman over 40. Alyson is an jumpsuit wearing now convert of skirts and has been featured in broadsheet newspapers and magazines alike. Always worth a read. She pops up on my Facebook feed regularly, so it’s a joy to read her acerbic witty approach to being over 40!

Not Dressed as Lamb – You’ll recognise Catherine Summers from the L’Oreal Advert on telly, with her beautiful red hair and equally fab style full of colour, you can’t miss her! I like her upfront and honest approach to style and being over a certain age. Her love for colour and quirky hats is abound and she writes in a truthful and inciteful way. Well worth following in my book!

Scary Mommy – very american in it’s approach but I love this blog so much for the straightforward and very honest, if sometimes scary, ‘lifebites’. I occasionally have a eureka moment when reading posts on this blog. Very informative and honest.

The Londoner – A nice little blog by Rosie who writes about her life and travels. Initially starting out as a way to keep in contact with close friends and family her blog soon grew and now she has an extended family all over the world.

Forever Amber is another blog by a beautiful redhead. She calls her blog The Awkward Girls Guide to Life. Her Awkward Guides are a must have read. They really make sense to us awkward girls.

Hayley Hall aka London Beauty Queen talks about beauty, life and a host of other delights. She’s young but knowledgeable in all things beauty and is a great read over a cuppa. It’s no lie Hayley likes the best things in life and clearly has the budget or affiliate relationship to be able to do so, but her approach is honest and her experience in the industry clearly shines through.

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs is a blog I have recently started reading. It’s a simple lifestyle blog from a mum with two young boys. Her journey hasn’t been easy but she writes all about it in her blog. Worth a quick read over a cup of tea.

Midlifechic is a fabulous blog written by the brilliant Nikki Garnet who is just peeking at the other side of 50 and has a great uptake on life and looking good. Her articles are well written and well researched. A very good read indeed. Nikki’s lockdown analysis was interesting, and how she managed during it.

Pushing the Moon written by Catherine who has dreams of being in her words; “Norfolk’s version of Martha Stewart, but in reality, I am probably more Kat Slater crossed with Ma Larkin”. She has a nice approach to her writing and as with many of the blogs I’ve mentioned always a nice pick me up read over a nice cuppa.

The Twinkle Diaries is a heartfelt blog originally set up to document the beginning of a new family with twins on the way seven years ago. Suffice to say things have moved on a bit in those seven years but the essence of the blog is still the same.

The Skint Dad – Full of useful and sometimes quite brilliant money saving tips from a man’s point of view. I have found this blog to be absolutely brilliant in its simplicity. Another must read. This blog was established in 2013 and has been growing ever since. It’s now one of the top money saving financial blogs in the UK.

Hurrah for Gin – just bloody hilarious! Cracks me up every time I read it. Probably one of the more well known of the blogs on here. But I can;t say anything more than if you haven’t read it and don’t get easily offended by a bit of naughty language then READ IT! But make sure you have your TENA pads to hand, you’ll need them!!!

So, if you have a spare few minutes, put the kettle on, or grab a glass of ‘vino’ and pop over to check these brilliant blogs out. It only takes a couple of clicks. All of these bloggers are knowledgeable and are always a good read. Don’t forget to leave a comment😊

Just a short post for now, take care, stay safe.

Becks

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