The Reason for the Season: Simple Ways to Enjoy a Relaxing Christmas This Year

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I love Christmas but I hate that it becomes so stressful. We put so much emphasis on having it a certain way that often if that doesn’t happen in the right way it can become a bit of a headache. That’s part of the reason the husband and I are spending the day just the two of us – possibly with friends – but we’re just not making such a big deal about it.

Here are some other things I’m going to try and do to make it feel more chilled.


Start Writing Christmas Cards Now


Take it slow by buying blank Christmas cards and start filling them out now. Work on them for a weekend. Try to think about good three good things or three good experiences you’ve had with the person and write them down. Tell the person how much you care about them and that you hope they have a wonderful holiday season.


This activity will be part soul-searching, part relaxation technique. The idea is to calm your mind and forget about the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Focus on the people you love and care about and why.


You could recruit your children or significant other to help you and make it a family event. Or, keep it solo so you can enjoy some alone time.


Sign Up For Deals and Wait


Sign up for deals from major retailers and wait for them to come rolling in. They will. Bed Bath & Beyond Black Friday deals, for example, are some of the best deals you’ll find on housewares, and gadgets.


Getting on a mailing list also exposes you to some gift-giving ideas – not just for the holidays, but all-year round. It’s a great way to start being more proactive about gift-giving too. Most people wait until the last minute to do their shopping. But, not only is this incredibly stressful, it’s not very productive. Of course, you might want to wait until the Friday after Thanksgiving to score some Black Friday deals. That’s perfectly OK, and it doesn’t have to be stressful.


Some gifts require planning, and the best gifts are well thought out in advance. And, when you have time to think and plan, you can use Black Friday coupons to save yourself some coin, and get what you really wanted to get for that special someone.


Make a List


Make a Christmas list of all of the things you want to buy for your friends and family. Go through a prioritize everything in order of importance. This will be key in keeping stress levels down. When you don’t have to think of things spontaneously while you’re out shopping, Christmas shopping is a breeze. Like a grocery list, you just go down the list and tick off the items as you buy them.


Plan a Day with Your Best Friend


Plan out a day with your best friend. We never spend enough quality time with the ones we care about. If something were to happen to them unexpectedly, we might blame ourselves for not seeing them one last time or telling them “I love you” or telling them “I’m sorry” about something that happened once, a long time ago. Only, there’s never enough time, so carving out a special day makes the time you do spend with that person extraordinary.


Order Some Gift Cards


Order gift cards for people whom you don’t know what to buy or who have specifically requested them. Gift cards sometimes feel like a cop out, but many people prefer to get them so that they can spend the money any way they wish. It’s like getting free money that the person can spend guiltlessly on themselves. And, that makes most people feel good.


Write a New Year’s Resolution


Write your New Year’s Resolution letter. The letter should detail what you plan to accomplish over the next year. Set challenging, but achievable goals. Make them action-oriented and practical. Make them relevant, and in-line with your personal values. This will help you look forward to Christmas, and the new year, rather than seeing it as a time of stress.


Sarah Zambrana has trained in alternative therapies and likes to share her insights on relaxation techniques and other related topics with an online audience. She writes for a number of health and lifestyle websites on a regular basis.


A big jumbled up mess

According to Instagram, its 46 weeks tomorrow since my operation and 44 weeks since I found out I had cancer (although I found out two weeks later that my operation had removed all the cancer and I didn’t need further treatment). However, I kinda stopped counting in weeks when I reached around 12.

For the first part of this year, all my energy was focussed on getting physically better. For the first time in around two years, I had energy; I didn’t feel unwell or weak, or sick. I wasn’t bleeding. It was amazing and this was wonderful for my emotional state. I was walking lots, eating and sleeping well – especially once I got my hormone patches.

I foolishly/hopefully believed this was it. That the enormity of what had happened to me wouldn’t hit and I would just carry on as I always had done.


It’s crept up on me slowly – bit by bit things have been hitting me:

Fuck! I had cancer.

I’ve had my womb removed.

I’ve not only had my womb removed, I also had my cervix and my ovaries removed too.

Sex feels weird now. Will it always feel this weird?

I will never have my own baby.

Why does everyone around me get pregnant? Can I not just have a break?!

Why do people think I’m just going to bounce back? That I will be the same? That I’m “ok” now?

Why is it me that has to apologise for how I feel?

I wonder if it’s because I didn’t have something that people can physically see. I haven’t lost a limb (or a boob) and I didn’t need any treatment like chemo, so I still have my hair etc. My scars are tiny or internal and under my clothes. Or is it because people need me to be the same?

The other thing is I’m grieving. I may not have lost a loved one but I have suffered a loss – the loss to be a biological parent, to carry my own child, to have a child that is a part of me and my husband. The feelings I have about this – the anger, the utter despair, the heartbreak – is the same as I felt when my dad died. And as I pointed out to my husband in a recently meltdown, you wouldn’t expect someone who was grieving due to death to bounce back after six months.

The third point I wanted to make is – if you wanted to take away the hysterectomy and the cancer and leave in place the trauma I went through between August and December last year, which alone is life altering. Think about it:

  • The bleeding so heavily, it was like I was haemorrhaging
  • Three operations
  • Hospitalisation due to an infection
  • Poor treatment during that hospitalisation (I was in hospital for 12 hours before treatment was finally started!!)
  • Fat shaming before one of the operations – the anaesthetist was more concerned about whether I was going to lose weight rather than keeping me alive during my second general in six weeks
  • The constant unknown for three months of whether I was seriously ill or not
  • The horrific experience of the anaesthetist right before major surgery being unable to get a vein and just stabbing me all of over the place despite me being hysterical


“So what do you want people to do?” I hear you ask. Well I don’t really know. On one hand I don’t want to be a victim or a survivor about what happened to me but at the same time, some acknowledgement about what I have actually been through would be appreciated.


As the title of this post suggests – I just needed to blurt out some of what I’m feeling. And having done that, maybe that will be enough!

How to save money as a wedding guest

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When it comes to romance and love I am a complete sucker – I absolutely love seeing my friends with that happy, healthy, excited and slightly nervous glow that people only seem to have when they are in love! Weddings are some of my favourite events of the year, and living here in London I often get to attend those of my friends and family from all over the world.
That said, being a wedding guest can be bloody expensive! Yikes! I always want to attend and put my best foot forward, but when money is a little tight I can sometimes struggle to justify spending heaps on a new frock, accessories, gifts and travel. I recently used Experian CreditExpert credit check to have a looksee at my credit situation, and me and the hubs have been making a conscious effort to keep our finances in tip top shape (which is hard, because London is expensive and dresses are pretty and fancy cupcakes are so good!). We have a few weddings coming up this spring, and so I am already in financial planning mode to ensure that we can afford the expenses.

Here are a few things that I am planning:

· A wonderful dress – Thankfully, the two weddings we are attending have similar themes and the two couples are in two totally different social groups, so boom! I’ve already saved money by deciding to wear the same dress to both (so I can spend double on the frock? Hmmmm, that might not be how this works). I am stoked to monitor Modcloth, who have a fantastic range of plus sized dresses, as well as to continue to attend fat positive fashion swaps on the hunt for something person.
· A gift – My friends have gone the route of registering, and so it makes gift buying very easy. I am on the look out to see if any of the items on their list go on sale around Boxing Day, and of course I will consider gifting them with gift cards (some of which you can get at a discounted rate during promotions!). Here are some more nifty ideas for saving money on wedding gifts.
· Travel arrangements –One of the weddings is in York, and so I am taking this opportunity to ask my friend if we can stay with her in her house just outside the city. Once of us will have to drive, but this will be wayyyy cheaper overall than staying in a hotel in the centre of town. I’m also scouting train promotions like it’s my job – as soon as I see I sale I will snap them up.
· Hen do spending- This one is harder to plan for – hen nights can get out of control so quickly! I am going to offer my place for pre-drinking – I figure that this will help us all save money at the bars and clubs, and we can also eat nice party food from M&S for a fraction of the cost. Don’t worry – we’ll still go mental, but this will be way more affordable!

Do you have any ideas for me? What has worked for you? Leave me some more ideas in the comment sections below!

Come rain or shine: how to dress for unpredictable weather

Hello friends!

​Spring is notorious around the world for its unpredictable weather. But in this country even the summer weather keeps us on our toes. At this time of year, it’s a real struggle to know how to dress. How often have you left the house in a beautiful summer dress, only to return looking and feeling like a drowned rat? We’ve all been there! Luckily, with a few small changes to your wardrobe, you can be prepared and look fabulous come rain or shine. Here are some of the tips that I have found most helpful.

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  • Never leave the house without some form of head protection. Sometimes when the rain comes on, we aren’t caught in it for long enough for it to soak our clothes. But long enough for it to make our hair look like Monica’s from “The One In Barbados”. I always forget to bring an umbrella. But if I do remember it, chances are it will be left on a bus. If you are like me, get yourself a lightweight hooded parka or mac. It’s light enough so you don’t overheat, but it keeps your locks and outfit dry.
  • You need a good pair of spring-summer boots. This kind of footwear will keep your feet dry without being too hot. Thankfully a lot of shoe retailers have realised there is a demand for spring-summer boots, and you can find such styles in most high street stores. Suede brogues are my favourite. H&M do a great range.
  • It’s all about layering. We love layering in winter. But this technique still has a place when the weather starts to warm up. You can shed your thick winter jacket as your top layer. Swap it for a good woolen jumper from somewhere like Aran Sweaters Direct. You can wear these jumpers with just about everything, so it’s a worthwhile investment for your wardrobe. They look especially lovely over a shirt or collared dress with the collar peeking out at the top. Layer shirts over vest tops and skirts over leggings for more spring-summer practical and pretty outfits.
  • Scarves are your best friend in unpredictable weather. Every girl knows that a beautiful scarf makes an outfit. And it’s amazing the difference it makes to your body temperature when you wrap a scarf around your neck. They can be put off and on easily depending on the weather. And if you are caught out sans hood or umbrella, you can use them to protect your head while you seek shelter.
  • Take a big enough bag wherever you go. The unpredictable weather can mean sweaty upper lip one minute and dripping mascara the next. Make sure you can fit all your essentials like tissues, deodorant, makeup, etc. so that you are well prepared, whatever the weather.

 With a little planning and tweaking to your wardrobe, it is possible to create many stylish outfits that can cope come rain or shine.

 If you have any more tips on this subject, let me know!



It’s time for another swap! We’re back at the usual venue in Islington for another afternoon of clothes, cakes and chats! 

It’ll be donations on the door again – with the normal expectation that you donate as much as your comfortable with (so if you’re skint donating nothing is ok!) and you don’t need to bring clothes if you don’t have anything to swap. We always have loads left over! 

I’m looking forward to seeing you all! 

Elvi cool


Jacket – co Elvi // tshirt & jeans – ASOS // cardigan (just seen) – ancient Evans 

I’ve pretty much lived in my ASOS biker jacket this past autumn/winter but as we start to seem a glimmer of warmer weather,  I have been on the hunt for a lighter jacket to wear. 

This faux leather number from Elvi has ticked all the boxes. Not being leather means it’s lighter and therefore not as warm, which means I can throw it on over a tshirt and not boil.

I wore the jacket the other weekend whilst having a walk around Greenwich park with friends. The jacket kept me warm enough but I didn’t over heat whilst hiking up the hill. 

The jacket has press studs around the collar which means you can pin it open, so that it sits comfortably without sliding off. 

All in all its a lovely jacket and has found itself a happy place in my spring/summer wardrobe. 

How to maintain a wardrobe?

Hello friends, like you all know I love all the items which are in my wardrobe, but maintaining them neatly is quite challenging sometimes. Recently I thought of cleaning my wardrobe and arranging my dresses, but I was confused from where to start. So I did some research and got some fantastic ideas on how to maintain a neat wardrobe. Here are some ideas which I would love to share with all my friends.

1. Take out every single thing present in your wardrobe
2. Remove those items/clothes aside which do not fits you, which you don’t like wearing, and the damaged ones
3. Hang those clothes which you wear on regular basis, as you don’t have to keep searching for it.
4. It is better you keep all the hangers in backward directions, as it will separate those clothes which you have already worn recently. So that you will have a clearer picture of what you actually wear often
5. Buy new hangers of different colours so that you won’t be confused while you’re searching your clothes
6. You can also buy some garment organizers, so that you can have a separate section of clothes into different categories for eg- your office wear, party dresses and seasonal dresses. This will help you to do your things easily
7. Fold all your denims, jackets ,skirts and other heavy outfits and keep it separately
8. Keep all the folded clothes, in a way that you can understand and don’t need to search it for a longer time.
9. You can sell your old clothes or give it someone who is really in need of it.

I cleaned my wardrobe recently and was very happy to see it neat and organized. If you are thinking to clean your wardrobe use these simple tips. What I did was cleaned my wardrobe and played online bingo for a while on my favourite bingo site New Look Bingo. The one thing which I love about this site is their mobile bingo. Now I can play bingo anywhere, anytime.

For more details click here and have fun and don’t forget to share your experiences with me.