12 Days of Christmas ideas (mainly for Grandparents)

I don’t understand it, but the older you get the more you dislike Christmas. That hurt me to write. I, on the other hand, am 26 and still going strong.

I have loved the 12 Days of Christmas since I was a child. Thank you Disney Christmas CD for teaching me all the words – and making my family still sing it in the funny voices. And to add to my list of 12 million projects going on, I decided to do my grandparents their very own advent surprise based upon this song.

Now it was a lot harder than I thought it would be, because although there are so many things to buy out there (Matalan has a pear bauble, there’s a crime book called 12 Drummers Drumming etc) but this is for the older generation. They don’t even decorate for Christmas anymore, let alone want some random tat from me because it coincides with a song that I’ve always loved.

I couldn’t find much on the internet to help me either, so maybe this is the post to help others.

Some items are related to the name, some just the number.

I just want them to have that little bit of excitement in the crazy build up to Christmas, and let them know that although I’m not often there because I’m always busy that I’m still thinking of them.

It’s for them to open every other day, ending with Christmas Eve.

A partridge in a pear tree

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This candle was from Primark for £1. Although the smell is questionable, one of my Nan’s loves penguins so it was hard to say no.

Two turtle doves

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Dove. Get it? Plus old people love smelly things. This is around £4.

Three french hens

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Now you may not see the relation. That’s very well because it’s a stretch, but like I said it has to be things they would like – not just for the sake of it. So this is because of the 3 Christmas ghosts. I’ll write something on their tags to make more sense.

Four callings birds

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I think these are calling to you! Plus who doesn’t love a mince pie?! (Me, actually)

Five golden rings

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An essential, some say.

Six geese a-laying

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This item was from Aldi and only £1.99. Six baubles, which look like eggs (the geese are a-laying), and, even better, 100% of the profit goes to charity.

Seven swans a-swimming

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This one was a genuine nightmare. In the end I went down the route of swans swimming on lakes, what lake can the grandparents make? What’s better than a lake made of jelly or chocolate?!

Eight maids a-milking

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Milk chocolate. Obviously.

Nine ladies dancing

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I love this film, it’s a gem. And with both sets of grandparents loving Doris Day, what could go wrong?! And, of course, she dances in it.

Ten lords a-leaping

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Anyone remember the game Jacks?! No, probably not. No one would choose this over an iPad. The idea is that you have to throw the ball in the air – like a leap – while you pick up the jacks.

Eleven pipers pipping 

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Let them test their piping skills. This tube isn’t too small either, so hopefully won’t be too hard to squeeze.

Twelve drummers drumming

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To finish it off, the original item that I saw in September which made me decide to do this mad, stressful advent for my grandparents. I mean, wonderful and totally easy to think of ideas advent..

This is £8 and from Dunelm, and has toffees and fudge in.

The tags? They are from an etsy shop called MTBCreations for £2.49.

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Thank you for reading and hopefully this will inspire or help you with any ideas brewing in your own mind!

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Oh how I love ‘doing’ photos

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I seem to have an obsession with ‘doing’ photos. Pop the camera on the timer and capture myself doing whatever I’m doing.

They come in handy in the future sometimes, for blog posts, but there’s a fair few that I just have. It’s another collection of mine. I just document things.

Here’s a random collection, with no back stories, of me doing things.

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Thoughts after pumpkin picking

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You know at the end of the year so many people say ‘it doesn’t feel like Christmas’. Well, I think it doesn’t feel like October. Not only because the weather is all kinds of crazy at the moment, and my plants loving it, but because I don’t feel the same as last October. (Not that my memory is ever good enough to remember that far ago)

Halloween doesn’t mean much to me, so it’s not a momentous occasion (like Christmas) where I can declare ‘it doesn’t feel like Halloween‘, there’s not a bookmark in my brain for this time of year. I can happily say we have been pumpkin picking for 3 years now. Pumpkin picking is now the tradition where I can look back at years past and feel comforted by it or shocked at whoever that person was.

But it’s never that these month are different to other years, it’s not that the magic or thrill has run out, (never say a statement like ‘Christmas is for kids’ or ‘it’s not the same for adults’) it’s just that I’ve been on such a big journey in a year, just like us all, that it doesn’t feel like last October.

That’s all.

I’ve moved in myself. I’ve changed. Always am. No year will feel like the next, and there’s this international sadness that routine and traditions change but really there’s so much excitement in that.

The trick that makes you drink water

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now and for once it was never laziness that stopped me – I postponed it for more scientific research.

Okay, maybe, slightly, not a scientist. At all. Nor much research has gone into this, just a self discovery, then self reflection and then finally self acceptance. Which takes time, and who I am to rush what was going on???

So let’s start; the cup that makes me drink water. 

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This happened by pure accident. Pure, accidental, magic. I needed a drink: I used this cup. That was it. It’s a special cup because one of my best friends bought it for me, but it’s not one I always reach for, except if I’m having an alcoholic beverage – I think that’s the trick here, but just hold on a second.

I’ve always wanted to drink more, I think most people says this. I don’t know why It’s difficult, I can’t think of a reason other than we just don’t want to. So there was no intention when I reached for this cup, over choosing a glass one but before I knew it I had drunk it all. Filled it up once more, I carried on with my day, and my cup was empty again.

I kept weeing, and kept filling the cup back up. Ew, not with my wee. I should have worded that differently.

I still wasn’t paying much attention to what was happening, assuming I must have eaten a lot of salt recently (I feel like that’s a thing) so I don’t know how many cups I was going through. BUT when it happened the next day, and the next etc I noticed it could have been up to 20 cups a day.

I was feeling better all round. Weeing a lot, obviously, sometimes felt like I had a huge stomach, but I did feel better in myself and my skin was looking a lot clearer but then again I don’t think I’ve paid too much attention to that part.

I went with it, considered writing about it on my blog, but held it off to see where it was going and what impact it could have on my life. I began bringing it to work with me and while I worked on the computer from 6.30am to 1.30pm I would constantly sip away. I would take it out and about with me. It’s been there in photos I’ve posted online in someway or another; been there in a cosy shot of my bed at night, been there in an item I listed on ebay and it’s even been there in accidental shots before the real photo. I bought another one because I loved it so much, and suddenly I realised it was there, lodged into my routine. It’s been well over 28 days – I’m sure that’s how long it takes to make something a routine.

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In the past I’ve bought other cups and bottles before in hopes this would happen. I’ve made resolutions, I’ve made plans, I’ve made to do lists hoping I would drink more. And yet the most impractical cup – it can leak from the top and it’s not dishwasher safe – has done what I’ve wanted for years. It begged the questions..

What the fuck was happening?!

Of course when I questioned it my health anxiety went to ‘you’re probably drying, you know. It’s about time.’ – but that’s just every day life of an anxious brain. I then wondered if it was because it’s quite childish and fun and how many adults do you really see using plastic sipping cups? I’m not sure though, I think that’s just an added benefit. I worked it out anyway: I think I’m drinking alcohol. Well, subconsciously. (I personally am smart enough to know the difference. May not be a scientist but I know my alcohol and have been known to drink my boyfriend under the table.) (Also known for not being able to but giving it a good try.)

I associate straws and this cup with drinking alcohol, and I don’t know many people that drink alcohol slowly. You could easily knock back at least three in an hour without realising. You talk and sip, you dance and sip, you do everything and sip. And my brain is like yesssss, it’s party time, and drink on like I would with alcohol. It naturally links up with something in my brain, that’s wired this way from being a teen – like remember student nights when you could get spirits ridiculously cheap so you kept them coming? (I never went to uni, only the student nights).

Even as I’m typing this I’m having to go refill – I don’t even realise.

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I’ve tried to share this trick with a few people around me, but I don’t think they’re understanding that the cup, that actual cup is important. They went and bought other bottles (and *cough cough* haven’t kept to it). It’s the plastic, you don’t mind taking it with you everywhere and knocking it about, and also the handle which just makes it easy to carry. And the straw. The ‘can I have a southern comfort and lemonade please? ‘Do you want a straw?’ straw.

I’ve thought before that maybe I couldn’t drink a lot of water because my body just doesn’t want it, forgetting how much I could easily drink if there was a spirit involved.

And now I sound like an alcoholic, which oh, well, I do sound like an alcoholic. But not me, anxiety and depression, yes, but not alcoholic.

So this post has gone to something healthy to alcohol. Literal opposites. I came to a point though, after the shock, of being like fuck it. It sounds like an awful reason for my brain to easily drink water, but it makes sense that psychologically I’m tricking myself, and if that’s what it takes I’m not going to stop it. For one reason – it works. The ace of hearts is on the wall and Darren Brown has explained how, but even so, placebos can still work even when you know they’re a placebo. Point is:

This trick works.

(I’m assuming it may not if you’ve never been a drinker) (let me know?)

So rather me writing a post about the benefits drinking lots of water has had on me, you can Google that, I wanted to tell you my little secret to getting started and this journey I went on.

Now, is this all just a sign that I drink too much alcohol? Nah. Also, good to add, drinking this much water every day means hangovers have gotten a lot better! Result!

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Cosy nights

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In desperation, my partner bought me Sleepy from Lush in hopes I’ll settle better of an evening. I’m in an awful routine – which has spanned my 26 years – of getting anxious at night, getting what I call ‘restless leg’ (like growing pains in my legs) and being just a pain in the arse. Then, what makes it worse for my partner, the next morning I wake up and forget all about it and get on with my day.

‘What a lovely/horrible day I’ve had,’ I ignorantly say to myself, ‘it’s been very productive/lazy, oh look nights creeping in..’

and BAMB!

Hello friend, remember me now?!

Yes I do! Why didn’t I do anything to stop this?!

It’s a bit like 50 First Dates, or, a bit darker, like that Black Mirror episode where the lady lives the real life nightmare each day because she committed a crime.. I don’t remember committing a crime.. but neither did she……

So, inspired by my new product, which rather excites me more than I should admit, I had a day of tidying my bedroom and making it all relaxing and lovely. ‘How can it take all day to tidy?’ I hear you cry, well it was in a pretty bad state, with it also becoming a somewhat office/studio recently. So it’s not even finished now but I’m okay with that.

What did I do to help me chill?

Self care and doing things I love. Rule number one. (Well rule number one is always that you don’t talk about Sleep Club, even though I am right now) but taking time for yourself is so important that I felt like I needed a Fight Club reference to get it across. Did it work?

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Lit my new candle. I just can’t resist not smelling candles in shops. Same with trying on hats. Instantly Christmas hit me in the nostrils and it’s not even a Christmas candle, which is even more perfect really because it meant it was on sale. And oh, feeling Christmasy is the best feeling! I can just lay there and let that feeling consume me. But then again that’s not going to help me sleep – think relaxing, Emily, rellaaxxx

If you’re as obsessed and excited by autumn, winter and Christmas as I am, give it a smell and see if you agree. And also I now have relax, don’t do it.. stuck in my head. Oh, and there’s Zoolander in there too. Yep.

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Had my Sleepy lotion. I think I need to have a box of night time lotions and sprays next to my bed at all times. It’s actually getting ridiculous how much I struggle. I’ll start my collection now, Sleepy is the first one.

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Fairy lights. Atmosphere, it’s important. Not to my boyfriend. Nor probably a lot of people, but I think it’s another rule. Let’s recap;

Rule 1: Do not talk about Sleep Club
Rule 2: DO NOT TALK ABOUT SLEEP CLUB
Rule 3: Take good care of yourself and do things that bring you joy
Rule 4: Create a nice atmosphere

And other than clean bedding – besides detracting me from the smell of the sleepy lotion, everyone loves clean bedding – and as many comforting films as I could manage, and a read of Harry Potter, that was pretty much my evening.

BUT to top it all off, the next morning when I left for work at 6am, whilst still feeling all cosy and happy, these were the sights presented to me which sent my heart aflutter for the coming season…

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Road trip second failure and we haven’t even left yet

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As typing this, it is the night before the road trip. All these items are still displayed across my bed and I’m yet to see if it’ll all fit into my rucksack. Although it’s a road trip we won’t have a car on the ferry, we are picking up a rental in Calais, so we can’t just fill the car to the brim. We had to pack smart.

I expect there to be problems. I’m mentally prepared to not be able to find a place to sleep for the night or car troubles etc, but come on it’s the day before! I can almost laugh about it now, while my boyfriend is full on cracking up. I have spent the majority of today looking for my compact camera. This little bastard below. I know I’m not an organised person but I have a camera drawer so why wasn’t it in there?! Not in any drawer of mine, not in any bag, bookshelf, basket of wool, boxes of craft things, under my bed, underwear drawer. I spent a life time and finally I found it in a box full of old photos.

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As soon as I found him I felt so good, I was on such a high. I plugged in the battery to charge, everything was nearly finished and ready.. F**king w**k t*t. Lens won’t open. I spent all day looking and it doesn’t work. Then I spent hours trying to fix it. Nothing.

I won’t go on anymore. It annoyed me, that’s all. It’s such an old camera, it’s fine, it’s just frustrating that things seem to break all at the same time. I’m not taking my SLR so I was pretty upset. My partner has bought a new camera anyway, at 8pm. We are picking it up in the morning at 9am, then driving to Dover for the ferry.

I’m not sure how to word this without sounding like a sociopath but I’m still looking forward to more failures. I’m excited for it all. I don’t like things to be fake, I like to take things as they are and I find that thrilling. Whether things go wrong or right it’s going to be a fucking amazing trip.

Quotes for me and pottery

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You need to be tested.

Sentences pop into my brain every once in a while which sums up what I’m feeling or even advice for getting through it. It’s almost like there’s someone else in here with me that just points something out which steers me in the right direction. There isn’t a little man in here though, it’s an a culmination of all my thoughts jumbled up then like on Count Down it’s my job to find the words. It’s a little dose of clarity I need every once in a while.

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Other thoughts I’ve had the past week or two that were so strong I had to write down;

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Don’t become stagnant.

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Exercise is the baseline for some stability.

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You feel like you have so much to offer the world so why aren’t you offering it?

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Always try.