It’s Never Too Early To Start Thinking About Christmas

If you are a parent, you will know all too well what a crazy and stressful time of year Christmas can be. What’s more, it seems to extend far back in the year, and by no means it is restrained to the month of December. Chances are, you have already started thinking about it, and you are probably keen to try and find a few ways in which you can make it all a little less stressful, and a little easier, than it has been in the past. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the things you can do now to make sure that Christmas is much easier on you and your family when it finally does come around. As long as you’re taking care of the following early on, you will find it all much more calm and easy to deal with.

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Get Presents Early

There is no feeling quite like having all of your Christmas shopping done by the time you reach December, and this is definitely something that you will want to consider if you are hoping to make Christmas a little easier on yourself. Start drawing up your lists for what to get the little ones now, being careful to make room for any last-minute gift ideas that may crop up on either side of the equation. As long as you stick to the classic toys like LEGO, it is likely that you will be able to find some decent present way before Christmas. You can then step into Christmas knowing that the most stressful part is over and done with. Just be careful to find a good hiding place for it all in the meantime.

Plan The Food

If you are to be cooking on Christmas day, it will certainly help if you plan it out beforehand. The sooner you do this, the more likely it is that you will find it easier and less stressful on the day. Of course, there’s not much of the food that you can buy the early, but you can at least ensure that you are going to know what you are cooking, for how many, and what your plan of attack is going to be on the day in general. Then you can enjoy being in the kitchen, with whatever help you might have to do, and make sure that you whip up a fantastic Christmas meal for all the family.

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Find The Decorations

When it comes to the decorations, there are generally two situations you might find yourself in. one is that you need to go out and buy yourself all new decorations, possibly even including a tree. The other is that you have decorations somewhere – in an attic or basement, perhaps – and you need to dig them out and unravel the fairy lights and so on. Either circumstance is known to cause stress and anxiety, so you can make things a whole load easier for yourself by locating or buying those things now. If you’re feeling super prepared, you might even decide to unravel the lights in time for the Christmas period too.

Drastic on Plastic: Reducing Your Plastic Usage as a Family

If you are on social media then no doubt you have seen videos for reusable straws, animal welfare videos from turtles or whales being damaged by plastic bags, or updates from restaurant chains talking about their plastic usage and how they will cut it down and stop using straws or disposable coffee cups. The thing is, these things are only used for a couple of minutes, but they can take years and years to disappear. In fact, a lot of single use plastic doesn’t disappear, filling up landfill and the ocean.

So what can we do about it? Here are just a few small ways that you as a family can reduce how much waste you have, particular plastic waste. It is great to get kids on board with it too, so empowering them to make changes can be a really great thing to do.

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Stop the Straws

Straws are things that kids love and are likely to be given them anytime that you eat out. But if you are offered plastic ones, say no. You could look for some paper straws to use, or even get your own washable and reusable straws that you can take with you. With fun prints and designs, there will be some that your children love.

Cloth Nappies

Back in the day all that there was for babies was cloth nappies. Then disposables were created and so many people made the switch. But with more and more of us being more environmentally conscious, the rise in people using reusable nappies is growing and growing. It can mean some forward planning and some trial and error to get the hang of it, but it can mean that you are reducing what you send to landfill.

Bamboo Toothbrushes

Toothbrushes are pretty small. But if you are using around two toothbrushes a year, for each family member, the plastic that can’t be reused or recycled is just being sent to landfill. Add that up over a lifetime and that is a whole lot of plastic toothbrushes just sat there. Bamboo are a more environmentally friendly option, as they are a completely natural product, making them biodegradable and recyclable. So why not look for those next time you need to replace toothbrushes?

Recycle Right

Naturally, one of the things that you are likely to be doing is to recycle. But you need to check with your local council what they do actually recycle. If you put a type of plastic in the recycle bin that they don’t actually recycle, then it will contaminate that load of it and none of it will get recycled. So take time to sort the waste you throw out, and make sure that you are putting it in the correct recycling bin.

Shop Savvy

At supermarkets and green grocers, there are usually options to buy a bag of carrots in plastic, or to get some loose carrots. Go for the latter, and take your own paper bags or multi-use shopping bags, to carry them in. Small things like this will reduce the number of plastic wraps and packaging that is in your home.

Exercise Take 2!

I don’t know what it is… well maybe I do.. I start exercise plans and then something comes up and I fall away from it all again. I feel like I’m constantly starting and stopping with the end result of piling on more weight. I self sabotage and then beat myself up about it again and again. No more.

Whats different this time? Well, for starters the youngest starts school in a few weeks which means from Monday to Friday I am pretty much a free agent and can hike til my hearts content. I don’t know if I want to spend money on a gym membership anymore or if I do, it will be on a low priced membership which costs under £20 because if I don’t manage it, I wont feel as bad.

Secondly, I have been on Instagram for a while and I follow some pretty amazing people who motivate me to the hilt and helped keep me going when I embarked on the West Highland Way and my next attempt to finish. I am taking pictures of before and after, sharing them on my feed with certain people only (sorry ), ad I will see some changes by Christmas.

I plan on getting some new gym clothing and most importantly a good supportive sports bra which means doing some research on line and has brought me to this Racerback bra from Knix . I like how comfortable it is, the material is soft and I don’t feel the need to remove it immediately after a work out like normal sports bras. It also washes really well and makes me feel good.

Its really important to me to look and feel good when I’m exercising because due to my own low body confidence right now, if anything is even slightly tight or if I feel uncomfortable in any way, I just feel rubbish.  This is why the old stuff is being thrown out and I’m making way for the new and better fitting stuff which will make me feel good.

On my quest, I am making sure that I start looking better again in terms of appearance.  One of the people that I follow has just recently got her hair cut and she looks great. I need something that is easily manageable and a color too because my greys are coming through really quickly. This will be dealt with tomorrow and I’m also going to get my brows done too by someone else rather than doing my own. A girl needs pampered!

So please join me as I embark on my new journey,which brings me much excitement and hope that this will be the time for my change.

West Highland Way Part 1

I haven’t written in quite some time! I did mean to update everyone and post pictures etc but I have been busy. I cringe every time I write that as its like my catch phrase and will be put on my grave stone I think!

So, did I do the WHW? Yes… I started on a rainy Monday morning with apprehension and a bit of fear, I won’t lie. I couldn’t sleep the night before and had been at work until 22:00, where people had been wishing me well but also planting seeds of doubt in my head. No, they weren’t being nasty but they were concerned about my safety as I was doing the walk on my own. I am a feminist.. usually stuff like that doesn’t phase me but it was starting to this time.

I waved the kids, husband and dog off, got my stuff together, had my breakfast and bid farewell to a friend who was good enough to drop me off in Milngavie which is the start of the walk.  I have to say that I started to have doubts.. how was I going to deal with the alone time that I so craved since planning to do this, the time to think and just be on my own for the first time in a long time? Was I ready for such a big and momentous task with minimal training? Would I sleep at night in my tent and not be scared of the noises throughout the night? Only one way to find out…

Off I walked and walked, and walked… you get it… As I walked, my spirits and the weather lifted. I ran into two guys who were over from Israel and I think they took me under their wing. They wanted to give me their number in case I found myself in any trouble and needed someone in an emergency. I started to feel the camaraderie of the “Way” that I had often read about.  I was part of this amazing experience and it really  felt quiet empowering.

As I walked, I noticed that I would pass the two guys and catch up, they offered me food, chat and friendship and it felt like they were making sure that I was ok whilst doing this on my own.  I took pics on their phone for them and I really regret not taking their details. I wonder how they got on and if they completed it as the last place that I saw them was in Rowardennan Youth Hostel.

My first day got me from Milngavie to Drymen where I had the best steak pie in the universe at one of the most friendliest places in Scotland, called “The Clachan Inn“. I go here regularly an I always order the same ting because it is amazing and despite looking like a drowned rat with no reservation, they took me in, gave me warmth and provided fantastic hospitality.  At the end of the first day, I was tired and emotional and my bones were killing me. I had wanted to walk further but I just couldn’t manage it. One of the owners spoke to me as she could see I was full of self doubt and I called her when I came home, to tell her just how much her words meant. Her words made a difference as did two other women I met when finishing up and who were also doing the walk, (more about them later).

That night I decided to stay in one of the hotels, The Drymen Inn and I tried to get to bed early but I got restless legs and was tossing and turning all night. I didn’t mind as the bed was comfy, hotel clean, shower much appreciated and weather turned out nice again. I also decided to get baggage transfer which a lot of folk had told me to do but I wanted to do everything on my own. That’s just  who I am.. I am stubborn and I am strong but I knew that the walk would be much more manageable had I just done all of that in the first place.

I called up Greg from Baggage Freedom and he couldn’t have been more accommodating. He was resourceful, hilarious and his dog Spike, who was in the van with him, really cheered me up. I wish I had known about him before but thankfully I do now and I will be using his baggage transfer services this summer. He also transfers pets too so I can bring Allie , my border collie and she can explore the great outdoors with me.

Ongoing Training

I haven’t updated for a while because I’ve been super busy training and preparing for my walk and reading about other people’s journeys. I’m also incorporating HIIT By using the BodyCoach DVD that I purchased in November.

All of this will prepare my body to tackle my biggest and most adventurous goal to date and as I read more and more, I get incredibly excited! The only thing is that I’m noticing the shin splints an awful lot but @gymguymark has advised me to use a really simple kitchen mechanism, the rolling pin! What a fantastic idea and one I’ll report back on over the next few days! If I get them whilst on the hike, I can use a branch to help ease them out and cold water soak will also do the world of good too.

I’m still having an internal conflict in relation to shoes. The more I read, I see how many people have stated that their normal trail shoes did them well and were more than adequate for completion of the WHW. However, if it rains which I am banking on it happening , it won’t be a good idea to only have 1 pair of shoes.

So far, my waterproof ruck sack coverings have come, my gaiters and my map/guide. I’m deciding on which jacket to pack and also what kind of tent because everything needs to be as light as possible since I’m carrying my own stuff and not using any kind of baggage transfer system despite a lot of people telling me to do so.  I have had one person tell me that I won’t enjoy it if I carry my own stuff and I’m not thinking its going to be an easy feat but its something that I want to do to try and push myself.

That’s where I am just now and I have o say that as I approach the date  i’m getting more and more excited!

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