A Few Favourites: December

Oh December, how I love thee. This month has been filled with mad shopping dashes, endless present wrapping, cosy film nights and countryside walks. And it has gone by all too quickly!

This year, we spent Christmas at home. For the last two years we have dashed off to Switzerland for a family Christmas, so to enjoy the festivities in Kent was a real, relaxing treat. It is strange to think that this time last year I was on the slopes (can it really be a whole year?!) and we’re having many a wistful conversation about going back. We will. At some point.

But until then, there’s plenty to do. Before December finishes we have Stars Wars to watch, plenty of leftovers to eat (it’s turkey sandwiches for the foreseeable) and 2016 to ring in.

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*Bluebird Tea Co.: December is the time for hot drinks, and this month I discovered the Bluebird Tea Co. They do the most amazing tea blends which are all so fun and inventive, but it was their Christmas collection that really pulled me in. I found Mulled Wine and Snowball in my stocking on Christmas morning (thanks Santa!), and my personal favourite is the Gingerbread Chai. They ship worldwide, so be sure to check them out!

*Christmas films: One conversation with my sister led to the discovery that she had seen pitifully few Christmas films, so I was soon on Amazon ordering the best ones. We’ve had many a cosy film night, but the highlights have to be The Holiday and Love Actually – it wouldn’t be Christmas without them! Aside from the festive offerings, we’ve also had a bit of a Richard Curtis/Hugh Grant extravaganza with Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and the Bridget Jones films. It’s been amazing.

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*Lush The Magic of Christmas: I’ve had many a Lush Christmas bath this month, but their reusable bubble bar, The Magic of Christmas, has been my favourite from the lot. Not only does it look adorable on a cinnamon stick, covered in glitter and complete with a bell, but it smells amazing. It also worked so well with some of their other bath bombs to create Lushie bath cocktails!

*Festive beauty bits: This month I seem to have fallen back in love with make up. I’ve been particuarly enjoying the Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara, which is as sensational as everyone says it is. I haven’t been parted from bareMinerals The Soundtrack eye palette, which is perfect for shimmery, festive looks and I finally got round to using OPI Red Fingers and Mistletoe, which is an amazing deep, shimmery red. I’m probably going to have to drag the festive make up into January, as I’ll just miss it too much otherwise!

*Big city life: I think there is no better time to see a city than at Christmas, and I’ve been lucky enough to be in London and Paris this month. In London we rode Boris Bikes around Hyde Park, ate festive food in many a restaurant, did yoga in the sky and went out for celebratory cocktails. In Paris we dashed around all the landmarks, perused the Christmas markets, drank coffee by the river and admired the Christmas lights. It’s been a great month!

How to spend… December

The first advent doors have been opened, Christmas shopping is fully underway and the streets are aglow with twinkling lights overhead – it’s finally December!

This is hands down my favourite time of the year. I love the feeling of anticipation as Christmas approaches, the mad rush in the shops fulfilling wish lists, the sing-song exchanges of ‘merry Christmas!’ and, of course, the food. Here are my suggestions for the festive season…

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*Have a go at handmade gifts: Rather than fighting the crowds and spending your every last penny, have a go at making some gifts this year. They will always be hugely appreciated and it’s a fun, festive activity! For the most loved person on your ‘to buy’ list, a scrapbook is an amazing keepsake. And, in a world where all of our pictures are digital, printing out and presenting photos has something special about it. Festive baking is a great way to give in bulk, and you can make your handmade goodies look beautiful with packaging, ribbon and gift tags (try Lakeland for supplies!). Or, spend a Sunday afternoon making paperchains and Christmas cards by the fire.

*Go ice skating: My all time favourite festive activity! Even if you’re a bit wobbly on the ice, you won’t be alone and its surprising how quickly you can gain your balance and start whizzing around. If it’s really not your thing, it’s also fun to watch the crowds gliding along (with the occasional fall…) and the stewards always put on an impressive display. Grab a hot chocolate or mulled wine, enjoy the festive music and watch them go round until you feel dizzy.

*Cosy down with your favourite book: … or read the next installment of your favourite series! With the holidays coming, everyone having a little more time on their hands and the temperatures forever dropping outside, now is the perfect time to revisit an old favourite or finally getting around the reading the next part of a series. Grab a blanket and cuppa and position yourself by the fire with the intention of not moving for a few hours…

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*Take time out in a coffee shop: Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle but without the stress. Christmas is the time of year for the coffee chains. With the fun, flavoured drinks, the festive cups and everyone rejoicing that their seasonal favourites are back, they are a great place to catch up with that friend you haven’t seen in ages, or simply people watch. Take a book or start making your to buy list, and just take an hour out from the craziness.

*Finally, eat all the mince pies!: Last of all my favourite suggestion, relax about what you’re eating. Of course, everything in moderation, but if you want the extra mince pie, or cake as well as pudding, I say go for it. This delicious, festive food will be gone before we know it. See you in the gym in January…

Merry Christmas, everyone – have a great month!