Winter Survival Guide (37) ~ Go on an Adventure…?

For me, most years I’ll stay at home during this time of year after I finish up at work for the year. I’ll visit family and friends as many of us do. Sometimes I’ll take a couple of days to go on a ‘mini adventure’ to maybe see some friends in the same country, or perhaps take a mini break to somewhere in mainland Europe. This year I have a six day trip (including all of the travel time) to somewhere in Europe….I’ll leave that as a surprise so that you can enjoy my ‘photo diary’ and travel adventures later on.

I didn’t get a summer holiday this year because certain plans fell through, however it left me with 9 days annual leave to use up before the end of the year, and it wasn’t looking likely that I’d get the chance to go somewhere sunny (maybe next year I’ll get some sunshine – it is in short supply here in Scotland ! 😉 ), so instead I’m off for a wee festive adventure to somewhere equally cold, I presume….I’ll blog about that towards the middle of December after I’ve returned.

Some people, however, like to leave the Christmas postcard scenes behind and jet off to sunnier climes. I know a woman who has family in Australia and she will go and visit them there. My boss and his wife this year are going to Hong Kong and Thailand later in November, to be back in time for Christmas. I can’t quite afford to do that at the moment, but even just going somewhere not too far, whether to visit friends and family in a neighbouring town or city, to take a weekend away in a hotel, to go on a city break or a theatre break, to take a few days abroad but not too far away, or to head off further afield – it can be nice to have a bit of an adventure before settling in for the cosier ‘at home’ days as the year draws to a close.

Or maybe you are a full time traveller? What will you be doing? Do you have any winter adventures planned, and what will they look like?

For those of you who stay closer to home, do you like the idea of a few days off to go on a mini adventure before doing all the ‘homely’ stuff, or does the thought of planning and organising that add to your stress?

Although I didn’t get much of a break this summer, other than going for a couple of long weekend trips to visit friends and family, it is kind of nice to have a Christmas adventure planned, as I just love this season.

I have always wondered whether Christmas in New York would be as lovely as it seems on the movies, and I think I might just add that to my ‘bucket list’ of adventures to go on in the future. What about those of you who live there or who have experienced Christmas in New York as a holiday? Would you recommend it, and if so what would be your highlights? It does make me think of ‘Home Alone’ which is one of those great Christmas holiday films full of nostalgia and fun.

I hope whatever adventures you go on, or whether you stay closer to home, that you get the rest, refreshing and new perspective that you need this year. x

collect moments not things quote
Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

Winter Survival Guide (36) ~ Visit A Christmas Market.

It’s mid-November, and already the Christmas markets have gone up in my city. There are food stalls representing a variety of countries, chocolate stalls, crafts, clothes and woodwork for sale. You can hear uplifting and fun music, and feel the warmth from the freshly cooked food, and smell delicious sweet treats like chocolate covered churros, waffles and crepes.

No doubt it will get a lot busier as we near Christmas, so why not visit a Christmas market a little earlier and beat the crowds (although where there is yummy smelling food and deserts, the crowds will be there anyway, but hopefully a little less busy).

Even if you do go when it’s busiest, still there is something really nostalgic, cosy and festive about including a visit to some Christmas markets into your diary.

Try to remember those on the fringes of society as you walk past, enjoying the atmosphere with your friends. Maybe you could buy a homeless person a hot drink or something warm to eat and give it to them as you pass by, I am sure it will be a welcome offering.

Do you have Christmas markets near where you live, or do you have to travel to a nearby town or city to visit them? Have you ever gone abroad to visit some Christmas markets? If so, which are your favourites and recommendations? Do you enjoy including a visit to a Christmas market to your holiday festivities, or do you prefer to avoid them altogether?

I have some exciting adventures planned that may involve Christmas markets, but not any of them nearby, so keep a look out for my posts on that later on in December! 🙂 x

These are some pictures from Christmas markets I visited in 2016 in Scotland:

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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! 🙂

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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

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