Celebrate good times!

Word Press has just notified me that I’ve written my 500th blog post. Yay! And I wanted to share this little milestone with you 🙂

Thank you each and every one of you lovely readers for being part of this awesome journey. Stay positive, be blessed and happy. x

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Winter Survival Guide (35) ~ Handmade and Homemade and Full of Love.

Why not make some Christmas gifts for people yourself? Many people love the personal touch, time, thought and effort that goes into creating something just for them. If this is new to you, why not try making just one homemade gift, or part of a gift to add in such as a ‘stocking filler’?

If you are very skilled, maybe you are doing this already, and maybe you could help someone out who wouldn’t know where to start but who would like to give it a go.

We’re all a little more creative than we think, and sometimes we just need that little bit of encouragement to give it a try. 🙂

Some ideas for home made items:

  • Gift tags
  • Cards
  • Photo gift
  • Christmas tree ornament / decoration
  • A wreath
  • Woodwork
  • A drawing or painting
  • Jewellery
  • ‘Upcycled’ gifts such as bags, or decorating boxes to make them into gift boxes (I did this a few years ago – it was lots of fun)
  • A key-ring
  • Postcard
  • Hamper
  • Jam
  • Food
  • Cake
  • Knitting
  • Cross stitch / embroidery
  • A song
  • Anything else that takes your fancy….

 

Let me know of any brilliant ideas that you have that I have missed out of this list, I’d love to hear them and maybe even give it a go myself! 🙂

rose artwork
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

 

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Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Winter Survival Guide (34) ~ Christmas and Holiday Playlists.

So, we’ve covered our top 5 films and made an occasion of them, so what about some ‘feel good’ music?

I haven’t ever put together a Christmas holiday playlist, as such. I tend to just buy music and listen to it on my MP3, or if it’s something I might only occasionally listen to I’ll just look up songs on You Tube and listen to them as and when I’m in the mood for that particular song, or I’ll browse and discover new music. I like listening to things just in the moment as well, and I might not know the song or the artist, but it just connects with me emotionally in the moment. It is nice though to have some familiar favourites at hand for those cold winter days especially when we might need some cheering up.

What will be on your playlist, if you make one up? Or even if you don’t have a playlist as such, what music do you hope to listen to?

For me, I’d definitely want some reflective worship music that I can sing along and praise and worship God to, some instrumental music, some carols, and some good old fashioned Christmas ‘tuuuunes’! which will definitely include some hits from the 1980s and 90s.

What about you? What will you be listening to while you bop around the Christmas tree? 😉 x

ukulele beside a floral box and string lights
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on Pexels.com

 

close up photo of a woman listening to music
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com
man and woman wearing santa hats sitting on sofa popping a confetti surrounded by christmas trees
Photo by Thanakorn Phanthura on Pexels.com

Winter Survival Guide (33) ~Appreciate How Far You’ve Come.

I posted earlier about the importance of maintaining a healthy perspective, especially when we might be facing some gloomy wintery days.

Similarly, it’s important to take time every now and then to appreciate just how far we’ve come. Only you know your own personal life journey and how far you have come. The same goes for me. We might share aspects or details of our lives, but no other mere human being can enter into our experience with us. They might comfort us, walk beside us for a while, or encourage us, but no one (except Jesus) can feel exactly what we feel.

How far have you come? Not just this year, but through the bigger challenges of your life? How far have you come in terms of your mental and emotional health? In terms of your confidence socially? In terms of the challenges and hardships and traumas you may have overcome? How far have you come in terms of your education, your learning and in terms of your skills? How far have you come in your character – growing in kindness, patience and love? How far have you come to overcome personal pain and to help other people? How far have you come from simply surviving? How far have you come in health challenges? How far have you come in learning and growing in skills and abilities, talents and in your employment, and how far have you come in passing on some of this learning?

We have all come further than we appreciate or give ourselves the acknowledgement that we often need to keep on going even stronger.

What will you appreciate about how far you have come in your life journey today? x

selective focus photography of a man in white printed t shirt carrying backpack
Photo by Gvexx on Pexels.com

Autumnal Home Décor

Around this time last month, I wrote a post reflecting upon autumn, and also that I was making a start on creating an autumnal vibe in my home décor. I left you with a messy picture of the beginnings of ‘tidying away the spring’ in my home, and I almost immediately got to work on ushering in autumn into my home. The only thing is, I didn’t get around to posting it, so my apologies for that. You can look back at my previous post here:

https://livingfully2017.wordpress.com/2019/10/12/autumn-winter-home-decor-2019-cleaning-and-decorating-inspiration/

I’m well into my ‘Winter Survival Guide’ series, so I thought I’d better share my autumn home décor updates with you before it’s time to post my Christmas and winter home updates! 🙂

So here goes with a little glimpse into my home.

Gathering in what I already have:

I think with most of us wanting to be environmentally aware, and responsible, a good place to start when changing your décor from one season to the next, is by looking in your home to find what you already have rather than immediately going out to buy new things.

I did just that, and I didn’t actually buy anything new to update my home for the autumn season. I just gathered together what I had that might have been hiding away in the back of cupboards, or stored under the bed or wherever I had put my autumn and winter things, or just things that I hadn’t really noticed for a while.

Here is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy a little glimpse into my home.

I have a few more pictures I’d like to share, but that I can’t upload at the moment, which means you can look forward to a part 2 with the finishing touches 🙂 x

1. Looking through my home and gathering together what I already have, rather than buying anything new.

 

2. Organising and ‘redecorating’ with minimal fuss, to usher out the spring, and bring in some Autumnal vibes, that can easily be added to or changed up when Christmas and winter comes around.

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Winter Survival Guide (32) ~ Pictures and Perspectives.

It’s not uncommon to fall prey to our human nature of being ‘near-sighted’ in how we look at our lives. During winter time, this can be especially challenging if you find that the low light levels, and sometimes ‘gloomier’ days have a negative effect on your mood. It can become easy to lose perspective, to become inwardly focused, ruminative and negative.

We might feel like hibernating, hiding away from the world, and we can fall into a gloomy, wintery ‘slump’.

To help lift your mood, and broaden your perspective as the year draws to a close, instead of getting stuck in negative thinking, why not encourage yourself by printing off a few pictures of the highlights, or most meaningful times throughout your year. We live in a day and age where we’re all almost constantly taking photographs, whether with a professional camera, or with a phone, and most of these remain in digital form.

However, there is something nice about having some actual prints to keep and to look through every now and then. I did this a couple of years ago, and I meant to do it last year as well, so I’ll need to get around to printing off pics for 2018 as well as 2019! I put them into an album, and I have it in my living room. It’s easy to show to friends and family if they’re interested, and every now and then I’ll take it out and look back over the year of 2017, and it brings a real smile to my face to see the highlights of my memories, and the faces of people I love, and remind me of fun times I might have forgotten.

You can create a simple photo album, and while you pick out those photographs, get them printed out and then put them together it will hopefully bring back some of those good memories that you’ve made along the way. If it’s been a tough year for you, it might be a good way of reminding yourself of the good times too, even if those pictures are of the simple pleasures of life, such as a flower, or a nature picture if you don’t have so many eventful memories that bring you happiness from the year gone by. There will always be a blessing, even hidden away, if you’ll only look for it.

You could also go further and make a crafts project which you could do on your own, or if you preferred you could do this with friends and family. Maybe you could make a scrapbook and include your photographs in that, along with your own drawings, crafts, captions, and things like ticket stubs from events you’ve been to for example.

You can let your creativity run wild, and make gifts and presents with your photos, such as wall art, calendars, mugs or other keepsakes, either for yourself or to give as personalised gifts to the people you love.

It will make those otherwise gloomy days and nights seem brighter, you’ll have a project to get your creative juices flowing, you’ll feel more alert, positive and engaged, and will maybe even enjoy looking forward to the cold dark nights where you can stay in and work on your project. You’ll hopefully gain a more positive and grateful and wider perspective of your life, of the year gone by, the blessings in it, the meaning gained from any losses you’ve faced and lessons you’ve learned, and be in a better frame of mind as you look forward. You’ll also, by the end of it have captured some memories that you can look back on and share with others too. x

photo of polaroid camera near book
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Winter Survival Guide (31) ~ Five Festive Films.

Instead of getting stuck in front of the telly when the holidays arrive, mindlessly watching things that you aren’t even really interested in, so that you don’t get to spend your time doing other fun activities as well, be more intentional by planning ahead.

Why don’t you create a personal list of ‘Top 5 Festive Films’ (or however many you want to include, but 5 is a nice easy number to start with) that you really would like to watch during the holidays. Plan them into your schedule so that you can make a special occasion of it, and create some lovely memories.

You might like to include something that you’ve watched before, or maybe that you watch every year, and that has some kind of sentimental meaning to you. Maybe you could watch this with family and friends and have some people over, get some takeaway or popcorn and create a fun get-together with the people you love.

Maybe there’s a film that is shown every year in the cinemas, or smaller film theatres such as “It’s a wonderful life” (or is it ‘A Wonderful Life’…? Oops can’t remember). I have seen this film twice, once in a local artsy film theatre which was quite cosy. I went a good few years ago with a couple of friends from my church. It was snowing, and my female friend and I made snowballs and threw them at our male friend on the way there and back – it was a lot of fun 🙂 Last year I went to see it with another friend, this friend has recently moved home, and for that reason moved on to new friendships so at least I have that memory of a nice festive time together. I wonder what new memories I may make in the future and who with, watching this timeless classic.

As well as going out to see a film, or having a film night with friends and family, you could also have some ‘me time’ and make an evening of it – go to the cinema yourself if you like, or if you’d rather stay in and watch a good ‘oldie’, then get into your cosy clothes, wear some warm socks, get some yummy snacks and have a great night in to yourself watching one of your favourite films.

Make it special so that you’ll have the memories to look back on, rather than feeling like you just mindlessly lay in front of the telly for hours wasting time.

By being more intentional, it becomes more special, and frees you up to use your time for other wonderful things that you could do as well that might include going out, making crafts, or whatever it is that will make the season feel cosy and special to you. x

food snack popcorn movie theater
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Winter Survival Guide (30) ~ Lighting.

With my love of all things cosy, you may have guessed that I’m one of those people who has ‘fairy lights’ dotted about my home all year round. Mostly single colour lights with a soft yellow or white glow so that they’re quite subtle. They really add to the atmosphere, and I love looking at them, and the cosy feeling they bring.

If you don’t have them in your home throughout the year, why not start bringing them in and putting them in a bit earlier than December? I imagine most people wait until December, but with it being mid-November, the days are getting darker earlier and having that extra bit of cosiness at home makes it less gloomy to stay in on a winter’s evening.

I highly recommend it! 🙂 I wonder if there are others among you who also like to have fairy lights in your home throughout the year? Drop me a comment if you do! 🙂 x

Here’s a couple of pictures in my home, taken a few days ago:

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