My bestie turned one on Saturday, and seeing as today is the dreaded Blue Monday (the most depressing day of the year according to the media) what better way of bringing a bit of sunshine to your feeds than a bumper, image-heavy Bungle post?
It’s been such an amazing year. Sunny and I had always wanted a dog – especially a Golden Retriever – and we couldn’t believe our luck when a Goldie not far from us had a litter last January (Friday the 13th, which should have been an omen really!). Bungle is one of a kind. He can be difficult and stubborn (I’m pretty sure I’m the neighbourhood laughing stock – he drags me around the block, knocks me off my feet and decides to hump me in the middle of the road on the daily), but we love him to bits. He’s the friendliest dog in the world and makes us laugh every single day (check out his Instagram for a daily dose of his trouble making). And because of that, we spoil him rotten. 😉
A couple of days before the New Year a bunch of daffodils sprung up and bloomed in our front garden – which is weird, because traditionally daffs have got at least another month or so of underground snoozing to go before they’re expected. But nope, these guys are up and ready to go. You know, as if they’re raring to smash 2018. I mean, if they were human they’d have quit smoking, organised their bullet journals and vowed to go vegan by now.
And it’s not just my eager daffs, during the first week of January there’s always that pressure to get up, get going and – like a crash test dummy on their first day of work – throw yourself at 80 miles an hour into a brand new year. There’s that fresh page right in front of us and the chance to start over and reinvent which is exciting…
…But also TERRIFYING, and comes with a huge amount of pressure (if you’re a writer then you’ll know how terrifying empty pages are!).
I wish I could say that I had the same January Get up and Go attitude that my daffodils have, but the truth is that it takes me a bit longer than that. For me, January has always been a massive struggle. I used to dread the trudge back to school and the old routine after spending time with my family at Christmas, and I’m always falling foul of the January Blues. It’s a dark, cold and miserable time of year; not exactly the easiest month to feel motivated to get up early and get crack-a-lacking on those goals, amiright?
For people like me, the expectation that I’ll wake up on the 1st of January bright eyed having switched into a new mindset overnight is completely unrealistic (…the truth is that I spent the first couple of hours of 2018 with my head down a toilet… but I digress…). And yet the pressure to do that is everywhere, so it’s easy to beat yourself up when you wake up in January and just want to groan and bury your head under the covers instead.
I’m not saying that I’m not excited for 2018, believe me, I really am (2017 was one of my favourite years so far 🙂 ). But I’m going to need some time to ease myself into it, and January seems like the perfect month for some self care and self reflection. I’m going to hold off on the resolutions and goal setting until February at least, and spend the month quietly feeding myself instead. Not with food exactly (although there are still two Chocolate Oranges in my kitchen cupboard that I’m very excited survived Christmas…), but with all the things that I’m going need to inspire that fresh mindset when Spring arrives. I want to read, I want to write, eat good food, go exploring and then come home and cwtch up somewhere warm and cosy with a cup of tea. Unlike those eager daffs, this girl needs just a little bit more time sleeping underground before she can be expected to bloom.
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda (Happy New Year)! And a happy 2018! Hope you had a lovely Christmas, wherever you were and whoever you were with. If you read my post a couple of weeks ago about Hosting Christmas then you’ll know that Sunny’s Mum, Dad and little sister came to stay and that I was in charge of cooking Christmas Dinner for everyone, including my Mum and Dad who popped over for the day too. It was waaaaay more chilled than last year; with plenty of food, presents, drink and an epic three hour long game of Cards Against Humanity. I managed to get everything out on the table by 3pm hot and not burnt… but, I did forget to buy crackers. Oops! 🙂
Bungle wasn’t exactly sure what was going on, but he did enjoy all the wrapping paper. He vanished while we were unwrapping our presents first thing in the morning and when it was all over and we went to find him, we found him in his bed in the kitchen amongst a massive pile of shredded paper! He was more interested in the wrapping paper than his presents, which was predictable, I guess!
Sunny got me spot on and gave me this massive book full of short stories about and written by women like Angela Carter (my fave!) and Margaret Atwood. One a day will definitely help me pull me through those January blues!
I can’t believe 2017 is over! It has to be said, away from the news headlines (which continue to make me feel like I’m living through an episode of the Twilight Zone every time I tune in…), I’ve had the most amazing year and feel incredibly lucky as I tip toe into 2018. So many exciting and wonderful things happened (with more to come in the new year – stay tuned!), but the biggest one – obviously – was Bungle bulldozing his way into our lives. Life with a clumsy ball of fluff as a shadow continues to be even better than I ever imagined it would be (and as I type this, he’s currently snoring away under the chair keeping my feet warm).
Anyway, instead of writing a long and rambling post about everything that happened in 2017, I’ll let my favourite pictures do the talking instead 😉
Happy New Year (Blwyddyn Newydd Dda) everyone! Hope 2018 has only the loveliest of things in store for you and your loved ones. Thanks for sticking around – see you on the flip side! X
Last year Sunny and I hosted Christmas for the first time. Buzzed about being in a brand new house – and finally one that was actually big enough to have people stay over – we invited everyone (and when I say ‘invited’ I mean insisted/pestered/begged everyone to come). In the weeks running up to the big day we brushed off all the “Are you sure?”s and “It’s a lot of work for you both!” and “What can I bring? How can I help?” and instead got excited about all the things we were going to do and the food we were going to serve and how we were going to make it the best Christmas ever.
And it was! On Christmas Eve we put on a massive buffet complete with a massive Gingerbread Cake I baked myself, I managed to serve up Christmas Dinner on time and hot on the plate (even though I had to borrow my brother’s oven to fit all the food in!), and late nights spent playing game after game of Cards Against Humanity had us all in stitches. But, by Boxing Day we were both exhausted; I felt like I’d been held captive in the kitchen for three days, and the pressure of herding everyone from room to room, coordinating games and keeping everyone watered and fed began to take its toll on Sunny. By Boxing Day he was in a stinking mood and I was disappearing into the downstairs loo every now and then to have a gin-soaked sob.
So then what the hell possessed us to perform an encore this year? Well, (and get ready to gag) because there was nothing better than having everyone crammed together. Plain and simple. For the first time in our relationship, Sunny and I didn’t need to split the time between my family in Cardiff and his in London. Instead, we were all together. It was cosy and fun and full of colliding traditions, as well as the start of a few new ones.
It was lovely, and I enjoyed every second – even the difficult ones. Plus, it has to be said, I’ve always been a bit of a Monica Geller when it comes to having people over (“I’m always the hostess!”). I LOVE it.
But this year – with lessons learned from last year – we’ll be keeping it simple, and giving ourselves permission to let things spill, boil over and burn if it means we can spend more time enjoying Christmas with everyone. 🙂
Lesson One: Have a Game Plan (and keep it for next year!)
One thing we did pretty well last year was to plan ahead. Ahead of time we decided exactly what we were going to be eating on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, made space for everything in the fridge, and got the house looking clean, tidy and Christmassy before everyone arrived. Knowing that we didn’t need to pop to the supermarket for milk or brussel sprouts made things so much less stressful. I used a notepad to keep track of everything, and even sat down with it before everyone arrived checking the cooking instructions on food packs and writing down timings. It was a simple, but genius idea – having a cooking game plan for Christmas Day prevented burnt turkey and soggy sprouts! Plus, I packed it away with the decorations so I’ve got something to go on this year. Handy!
Lesson Two: Be Flexible
Of course, there is such a thing as being over-prepared. Don’t be a Monica Geller! There’s no fun in having a Christmas that’s too organised – it’s stressful for you, and no fun for your guests! Some of the best moments at Christmas are the ones that are unplanned; last year Sunny and I woke up early on Boxing Day before everyone else and watched The Life of Brian together whilst scoffing a Chocolate Orange and it was perfect. Unscripted time to watch films, play games and snooze is what Christmas is all about!
Lesson Three: Let People Help! (And help themselves!)
Last year we wanted our family to have a fun and relaxing Christmas, which to us meant that they didn’t have to lift a finger or do anything, just enjoy themselves. There were times last year where I wanted everyone out of the kitchen and shut the door because I had my game face on, was in the zone and wanted everything to be John Lewis Christmas Advert perfect. I didn’t get that by doing that I was both literally and metaphorically shutting everyone out so they couldn’t help. The truth is that having a spare pair of hands to load and unload the dishwasher (I felt like was constantly opening the dish washer last year!) or peel potatoes or hoover the kitchen wouldn’t be such a a terrible thing at all.
Lesson Four: Give Yourself a Break
This year we’ve got our pup Bungle to worry about too, but, having him around will mean that three times a day one of us will have to leave “Operation Christmas” to get outside and walk him. It’s the perfect excuse to get out of the kitchen, get some fresh air and a bit of space. It’s important, I think. This year I’m going to give myself a break and take the time to chill out more and enjoy myself.
Fist bump if you’re hosting Christmas this year! I feel ya! 😉