Countdowners 2014

(171 Posts)
Farrowandbawlbauls Thu 26-Dec-13 18:31:56

Yes I know it's still Christmas 2013 for a few more days, but technically, the countdown started this morning.

So..Here we are again.

We will need:

Links to other threads about bargin hunting
Links to sales throughout the year
Links for decorations
Links for days out
Links for any good electrical sales
Links for budgeting
Links for really good gifts for men as they are generally the harest to buy for and grandparents/in laws.

There's no harm in starting a list now either for what you need to get next year, learning from this year and previous years.

The top of my list I must remember to write a card to SIL T&S, every single year they have sent a card and I've failed to send one in return for the 3rd year running now. Ditto Claire.

Must remember to buy crakers from M&S again, they were fantastic.

GeekInThePink Thu 26-Dec-13 18:59:08

smile well done for starting this!

lucysmam Thu 26-Dec-13 20:19:44

I'm in, already have next years diary with something to buy each week pencilled in grin

My top tip for next NOT move house four days before Christmas! It's been disorganised chaos here confused

Farrowandbawlbauls Thu 26-Dec-13 20:39:51

4 days before! Blimey, you like a challenge. Everything else inlife will be a breeze compared to that.

Farrowandbawlbauls Thu 26-Dec-13 20:42:36

I've started my list and I'm on page 3 already blush although, food and drink and snacks are on there that have gone down well with the kids this year which has taken up most of the space.

lucysmam Thu 26-Dec-13 21:08:31

Everything barring what we needed has been hidden in the garage to start putting away at the weekend...that'll be fun hmm

This weeks thing to buy is bargain wrapping paper tomorrow when me and dd1 go for dd2's birthday presents & cards.

I'm working from this years list for food/snacky stuff so will cross off any wasted stuff at the weekend & not buy again.

TheOnlySevenSleighbells Thu 26-Dec-13 22:36:28

Thanks for starting this farrow.

I think perhaps I need to tone it down a little next year, the DCs have had so many presents! Loads from my parents as well as us, spent half an hour tidying toys tonight because I got fed upof not being able to see the floor, they've still got presents from my sister to come too. Perhaps I'll just budget better so we can get fewer but better quality gifts. We've so much snacky food left too, far too much, haven't even started the cake or Yule log yet.

What have you thought of that would make next Christmas better or easier? I think I'll get one of those can money boxes and start saving 50p's towards the next one in the hope it'll cover the food shop. My parents save £2 coins, not sure I can afford that!

TheOnlySevenSleighbells Thu 26-Dec-13 22:37:13

^sorry I've had wine and I'm rambling^

ChestyNutRoastingOnAnOpenFire Thu 26-Dec-13 22:55:45

Yay fgrin

I had an issue with my roast potatoes! Didn't go as brown as normal or crispy fhmm

Was my issue
A. Too much goose fat?
B. too many potatoes in tray?
C. Oil not hot enough?
D. All of above?
E. something else?

TIA fgrin

kissmelittleass Thu 26-Dec-13 22:56:20

I just wanna cry I waited all year for this now I have to start again..well it ain't over till the fat lady sings and she ain't singing for a while I can tell ya

TheOnlySevenSleighbells Fri 27-Dec-13 09:25:09

chesty did you par boil them? We par boiled and roasted in goose tat and ours didn't go brown or very crispy, I just assumed we par boiled them for too long. They tasted good though!

Looked at the boots sale online last night, I've ordered mil present from DCs plus a stocking present each for DS and DD1.

Farrowandbawlbauls Fri 27-Dec-13 11:33:30

Farrow's Roast Potatoes

Serves roughly 4-5 greedy gits.

You will need:

Potatoes, cut into large golf ball sized chunks and enough to cover the bottom of the baking pan leaving enough room so you can turn them.
Garlic Salt
Corse Ground Black Pepper
Goose Fat

Pre heat the oven to 220C.
Par boil the potatoes for 10 minutes and pour 6-8 tablespoons of Goose fat into the baking pan and place in the oven.
Drain the potatoes, then give a shake in the pan and sieve to roughen up the edges. Leave in the seive to steam dry for about 5 minutes.

Mix up equal amounts of garlic salt, pepper and semolina and sprinkle all over the potatoes, making sure they are covered on all sides.

Place in the Baking tray with the oil and then back in the oven for roughly an hour, turning the potatoes twice in that time.

Once golden and crispy, taken them out, sprinke with fresh thyme leaves and serve hot.

Farrowandbawlbauls Fri 27-Dec-13 11:39:39

Farrow's Yorksire puddings

This really is fool proof and works every single time.

1 cup of plain flour
1 cup of eggs (about 4 medium sized eggs)
1 cup of water and milk mix

Heat oven to 220C, pour oil into whatever you are cooking the yorkshire puddings in and heat until hot.

Put flour, eggs and water and milk combo in a bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until light and airy.

Take oiled yorkshire pudding tray out of the oven and pour in the mixture. It should hiss and sizzle at the batter hits the oil.

Put back in the oven and leave it alone for 20-25 minutes.

They should rise everytime and be golden.

ChestyNutRoastingOnAnOpenFire Fri 27-Dec-13 13:37:10

Yes I parboiled. They tasted good but disappointed they looked anaemic fsad

Farrowandbawlbauls Fri 27-Dec-13 15:06:54

Occado are selling gold, silver and red wrapping paper at half price with matching gift tags at 99p per pack.

Debenhams half price sale is now on

200Cigarettes Fri 27-Dec-13 15:15:58

I wish I had a spare cupboard where I could store xmas stuff I buy all year round to spread the cost (decorations, wrapping paper, presents etc). Just have no space!

daiseehope Fri 27-Dec-13 15:19:20

Hello, I feel odd but I'm going to take the fab example you've all set and start planning..... hmm

ZingChoirsOfAngels Fri 27-Dec-13 15:21:27

you are all mad!

I'm shaking my head in disbelief but somewhat in awe of this level of commitment!

good luck to you all - and I wish a whole New Year of present hunting!grin

ZingChoirsOfAngels Fri 27-Dec-13 15:22:16

*successful present hunting!

daiseehope Fri 27-Dec-13 15:23:17

Roasties - parboil for 15, beat them up a bit in the saucepan when drained with a bit of salt.
Preheated oven and bit of oil on tray at 200 / 6
40 mins shake and turn occasionally till right colour xx

We just use vegetable oil, it's the heat and heated oil that's important not any fancy goose fat wink

Farrowandbawlbauls Fri 27-Dec-13 15:28:50

I know it's mad, but it does help me in a huge way with budgeting.

I know what foods to buy and not buy for next time ie, no wispas but more matchmakers, no cabbage, more ham, no mince pies with icing on, ,make more homemade ones etc.

Anything that's been left out this year goes on the list:

Ie, foil
Lights (2nd year in a row I've forgotten extra lights for the tree)
Plastic sucky hook thing for door wreath

And so on.

When the kids ask for something really expensive that can't be justify buying it for them, just for the sake of it, it get's bought but put away for Christmas. (like the 3DS).

That way the present list is kept to budget, and the kids get stuff that they've asked for eventually. Making them wait for it makes it that bit more special when they do open it and you know it's not going to be a fad thing unlike so many toys that are "must haves".

chanie44 Fri 27-Dec-13 15:33:18

I bought my first Xmas 2014 presents today - battery powered toothbrushes for the children. In Superdrug for £2.62 instead of £5.99. They will go in their stockings.

I know it sounds mad, but buying throughout the year means I can pick up bargains and spread the cost.

Farrowandbawlbauls Fri 27-Dec-13 15:38:20

Thanks for that Chanie - I'm going to get some for the kids as stocking fillers..I'll have a look on Monday we I get dragged out by the kids.

lucysmam Fri 27-Dec-13 15:38:44

Farrow I have a plastic sucky thingy for my's had to be suckered back on every day since moving in!

I've added new tree lights and a set of window lights to the bottom of this years (now rather scratty looking) list. Along with an extra tin or two of ham...seems to disappear entirely between dp and dd1!

ZingChoirsOfAngels Fri 27-Dec-13 15:40:36


I do get the jot down dos and don'ts while it's fresh in your memory!

same as what we do after a holiday (or DH after camping with kids) it helps make the next one better.

I'm not mocking (only a little bit! wink), but the title made me grin!

DH actually has a shopping list that he prints and updates each year, also prints out cooking times.

I made duck confit a week before the day (first time) - I will do it a month ahead next year.
also left the gingerbread biscuits too late so no gingerbread house this year (but I had terrible morning sickness so I really couldn't do things on time)

we also managed to get kids clothes for church ready on time this year (result!) and everything went pretty smooth, do it's definitely worth planning ahead.

And I would like a gift wrapping room like Niles in Frasier has - oh the dream of having a dedicated space for cards and gifts and all things giving in one

but I won't be hunting for gifts just yet - I'll leave it to you all!


ZingChoirsOfAngels Fri 27-Dec-13 15:41:16

<waves to lucy>

MoreThanChristmasCrackers Fri 27-Dec-13 15:41:46

I think its a brilliant idea and useful for busy people/ those working right up until the end.
I had lots of commitments with dd right up to the 23rd, had I known this in January I would have started then and kept up doing something every week.
The diary is also a good idea, dh suggested this last night, so will defo do this.
Thanks for a fantastic thread

Farrowandbawlbauls Fri 27-Dec-13 15:42:11

Bugger. Thanks, Lucysmam

I'll have to think of something else. I've got a metal hanger but it doesn't fit over the new door...I may have to bend it in a couple of places to mould it so it fits. I'll try that and see if that works.

ZingChoirsOfAngels Fri 27-Dec-13 15:45:34

I bought a wreath hanger from Lakeland for the front door - it's clear plastic and the height is adjustable.
I used a blob of Blutack at the bottom (coz of shape of door) and it's been perfect.

<sucked in now, can't escapegrin >

Farrowandbawlbauls Fri 27-Dec-13 15:46:19


This year I have learnt...

DO NOT store Yankee Candles on their side in the decorations box and keep it in the loft. They will melt in a hot summer and leak over everything, you will then have to melt them again in the oven so you can find the wick as the wax will have set again.

Store them UPRIGHT at all times.

lucysmam Fri 27-Dec-13 16:03:20

hey Zing how you doin'?

QueenofClean Fri 27-Dec-13 16:09:49

Loved the bargain threads this year, I saved a fortune.

Does anyone know if have their £30 off if you open a credit account still? I'll pay the balance in full but DD1 got a Wii for Xmas and as her birthday in March thinking about getting Disney Infinity for her. TIA

ChestyNutRoastingOnAnOpenFire Fri 27-Dec-13 17:58:42

Please remind me next year when I talk about putting the tree up to not switch the lights on for a week.

Can't figure out if its the tree or the non flashing lights that set ChestyDog off fitting.

Am on the snowballs, it's still christmas til the 1st...right??

I never end up saving yankee candles farrow I burn them all year round, love the festive smells fgrin

zing there's no escape, you're dooooooomed I tell you. You'll be christmas shopping in June grin

<passes round copious boxes of chocolates>

Farrowandbawlbauls Fri 27-Dec-13 18:04:40

I'll remind you Chesty.

I'll put it on my list of stuff for next year in case this thread gets lost.

Coveredinweetabix Fri 27-Dec-13 19:15:18

Have already bought all of my wrapping paper for next year & know which weekend in Dec we're seeing PILs.
I need to buy less sweet stuff & soft drinks (although all will be consumed in the next few weeks so not the end of the world) and find out how the neighbour attaches her cards to the stairs so I can do the same.

ZingChoirsOfAngels Fri 27-Dec-13 19:46:58


baby is due in July, then it's my 40th in August - I'll leave the Christmas gifts until after!grin

ChestyNutRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sat 28-Dec-13 10:10:54

How lovely zing a squishy baby fsmile

2anddone Sat 28-Dec-13 10:26:24

Queen Argos have Wii Disney infinity down to £29.99 atm grin

QueenofClean Sat 28-Dec-13 12:40:56

Thanks 2. According to Argos app it's £39.99. If I know the very credit thing works I'll only have to pay about £15. Thanks.

TheOnlySevenSleighbells Sat 28-Dec-13 22:04:50

<waves to queen>

MILs present for next year from the DCs has arrived, it's a royal jelly hand wash and lotion from boots. DH thinks I'm being odd that I hate her but have already bought her present, I explained that it cost £2.50 by getting it now and that later in the year I can devote more time choosing lovely gifts for everyone else without having to think about her. Also got a couple of stocking fillers half price for DCs.

Has anyone seen any Christmas ribbon on sale anywhere? I mean nice pretty fabric ribbon not the horrible acrylic stuff.

Farrowandbawlbauls Sun 29-Dec-13 12:33:57

I get wired ribbon for Works which is used for everything.

Fabric ribbons are usually on sale in local markets. You can always buy plain ribbon and decorate them yourself with some fabric glue and glitter.

Farrowandbawlbauls Sun 29-Dec-13 12:34:13

*from, not for.

QueenofClean Sun 29-Dec-13 13:36:03

<Waves to Seven>

andagiraffeinapineappletree Sun 29-Dec-13 14:11:18

wow well done on organisation! Just a quick wave hope you are all enjoying the hols!

whattoWHO Sun 29-Dec-13 14:21:41

There are some lovely Cath Kidston Christmas mugs in John Lewis reduced to £3.

Two designs had festive recipes on them (egg nog and christmas hot choc) and the other was red with white spots.

I bought a couple for teachers presents.

I then saw them in Cath Kidston shop reduced to £3.50 - result!

ChestyNutRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 29-Dec-13 16:11:14

<waves to giraffe>

Excellent bargain hunting WHO

Have just had my last festive coffee of the year fgrin

ChestyNutRoastingOnAnOpenFire Tue 31-Dec-13 16:53:36

Happy New Year countdowners!!

Farrowandbawlbauls Tue 31-Dec-13 17:15:33

grin You're early Chesty.

How Chesty Dog going to be tonight whenthe firworks go off again?

andagiraffeinapineappletree Tue 31-Dec-13 18:09:47

Happy Newy year all

Chesty - we bough a stove top milk frother from amazon and have been making lattes and spiking them with baileys, nearly finished a giant bottle between the two of us. When thats finished (prob tomorrow grin that will prob be my last festive latte

Farrowandbawlbauls Tue 31-Dec-13 18:15:08

Happy New Year all of you (might as stop fighting it)

Giraffe, great idea!

Why can't you have festive latte's all year round? Great for a Christmas fix.

ChestyNutRoastingOnAnOpenFire Tue 31-Dec-13 22:00:49

ChestyDog is currently curled up in his cage...does not like the noise at all fsad

I'm on the snowballs girraffes the lattes sound lovely tho.

Are you all partying the night away?

TheOnlySevenSleighbells Tue 31-Dec-13 22:13:22

Ooh I love baileys lattes!

Happy new year countdowners. DH is at work, I'm on the gin with a chocolate orange on the go. Not too bad though as I'm planning to watch Jools and DH hates him.

QueenofClean Sat 04-Jan-14 17:14:06

Brought my first Christmas present today grin Bayliss & Harding gift set £5 down from £10 in Asda for my MIL. Love a good bargain.

Okay I mainly lurked on the last thread, I want to jump into this one. So far I have bought all gift wrap, ribbon and tags for presents as well as all cards both family and packs for friends, school, work and neighbours.
Already started saving my stamps at morrisons and have a tin that I put £1 in on week one and £2 on week 2 then so on and so on, I seen it on pinterest and am giving it a go.

Farrowandbawl Mon 06-Jan-14 20:36:37

Hello peeps,

Well, that's it. It's over. Tree is outside, needles hoovered, decorations back in the loft.

DS cried as I had to put his tree up in the loft as well. sad

So, onwards and upwards..

Christmas 2014.

The kids have already decided to have another Pork Pie, gammon in Dr Pepper and a lot more Matchmakers need to be bought this year. Both mint and orange.

Less Cheese for me but more Wine - will have to get that in ASAP.

Ribbons are already bought.

Penny jar for the next tree is already coming on well - even the kids are putting in what they find or have left over.

I will pick up a tin tomorrow for £2 coins to help with the food shop. Will have to be strict about it though.

On the list already are :

Ipads (as long as the kids look after the cheap tablets they already have I promised tham an Ipad - exp will be buying them)
Amazon vouchers for their kindles
Ipod for DD
Lego LOTR Volcano thing

I think this year I will do the same as I did last year - less presents but stuff they will actually use and want - nothing spur of the moment or the latest fads. As they've made very good use of everything they have got this year. Makes the scrimping worth while.

giraffeseatpineapples Mon 06-Jan-14 21:53:34

Hi worn out and queen [wave]

Farrow how lovely are your dc saving for the next christmas tree smile

Yesterday we were all set to take down the decs but I really didn't want to because they were so pretty, so I told dp I would do it by myself today. The funny thing is I was totally happy about taking them down today and actually kind of glad because when I see them next it will be the fun build up part of christmas again!

Farrowandbawl Mon 06-Jan-14 22:02:51

They'll ask for it back tomorrow grin

"The funny thing is I was totally happy about taking them down today and actually kind of glad because when I see them next it will be the fun build up part of christmas again!"

That's exactly what I said to the kids today when I was in the loft!

"It'll be like Christmas has come early as I'd have forgotten about all the decorations I have, after I've been out and got more and doing other stuff throught the year for it."

I hate taking them down but I love shopping for it all too and I get to that all year round.

Oooh, that reminds me. I've got this glittery white star for the top of the tree but I'm not too keen on it. What I want is a big red bow instead. Can someone help me find patterns or ideas on how to make one?

I know I'm going to need wire in the ribbon or sew it in so it holds, it's just ideas on the type of bow I'm lost on, and how the hell do I fasten it to the top of the tree?

giraffeseatpineapples Mon 06-Jan-14 22:12:12

A lot of the time bows are in two parts with some kind of wire cinching in the middle bow bit, you could then use the wire to attach it to the tree and stick something decorative in the middle of the bow? There is sure to be a better way though!

Yes getting organised early does mean christmas lasts all year!

Farrowandbawl Tue 07-Jan-14 17:26:28

Went to get a new blind today from Dunelm Mill and came out with a load of Christmas decorations as well. Including 3 large baubles, which are clear but have red glittery star shaped confetti in. All half price. grin

giraffeseatpineapples Wed 08-Jan-14 19:36:59

Farrow is it worth buying christmas yankee candles for dec 2014. Do they still smell after a year?

Farrowandbawl Wed 08-Jan-14 21:52:30

Yes. I could still smell mine. I've got a couple that I've had for over 2 years and can still smell them. Just keep the lids on and keep them upright, and you're laughing.

TheOnlySeven Wed 08-Jan-14 22:39:23

Hi all. We went too mad this year. Next year I'm scaling right back but we are contemplating a much more traditional Christmas. Advent will be mostly calm preparation. Might not even trim up until Christmas Eve but planning on celebrating the full 12 days of Christmas. You may have to remind me of this when I'm desperate to buy the tree at the end of November!

Definitely need to be organised with buying presents throughout the year when there are good deals on, found out yesterday I'm expecting DC4.

QueenofClean Thu 09-Jan-14 07:28:37

<Waves to Seven> & Congratulations grin your so brave having the DC one after the other.

Hmmm Yankee candles now that's an idea.

Farrowandbawl Thu 09-Jan-14 07:56:09

Congratulations Seven!

giraffeseatpineapples Thu 09-Jan-14 14:08:53

Congrats seven! lovely idea for more traditional christmas - was thinking along those lines too.

Btw we did an elf on the shelf in the end but only when dc broke up from school - so less than a week and that was def enough for me!

there is 30 % off yc online, 25% in clintons but its cheaper there anyway and no p&p

stickysausages Thu 09-Jan-14 14:52:26

Marking place! We're going away for a week over Christmas 2014, so will be different this year!

QueenofClean Fri 10-Jan-14 07:16:11

Brought 2 more presents yesterday. Paint your piggy banks...£5 knocked down to £2 each in Asda. So good for my girls.

giraffeseatpineapples Fri 10-Jan-14 13:38:01

I got some wrapping paer in sainsbos for 25p yest!

ChestyNut Sun 12-Jan-14 11:34:48


seven congratulations grin how lovely!

Wow your all sooo organised!

I def want new decorations this year, teal, silver and white. Really should have shopped in the sales hmm

How many sleeps?

Farrowandbawl Sun 12-Jan-14 11:36:34

Too many Chesty sad

TheOnlySeven Sun 12-Jan-14 20:12:36

347 sad

I've started a list of present ideas, DS has been pointing out lots of Lego City sets he likes the look of so need to make a crafty note of them. If anyone sees any online Lego sales throughout the year could they please let me know? I'd like to get him the Lego fire station but it's £70 shock

Farrowandbawl Sun 12-Jan-14 20:29:00

I will Seven. DS wants the Lord of the Rings volcano thing so I'll be looking out for deals too. That firestation is brilliant!

I've ordered a couple of presents today via occado - the triple pack vaseline lipbalm thing for just over £3.00 for DD and the Nivea gift set for DS (he likes his smellies). They can go in the loft with the baubles I bought the other day.

I'm going to go to the other side of Sheffield this week to get my fave wine and store that ready for Christmas.

QueenofClean Sun 12-Jan-14 21:10:23

Aldi got some good craft bits in at the mo..I picked some stuff up today for birthdays & Christmas today grin

QueenofClean Mon 13-Jan-14 11:43:39

Gotta love the charity shops. Some great books in there this morning. Got DD1 who is 9 this year Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities - excellent practically new condition 25p and Flat Stanley Egypt The Great Tomb Robbery 25p - that one will be for her 9th birthday in March as they have started Ancient Egypt this term.

Farrowandbawl Mon 13-Jan-14 17:54:46

Thanks for that Queen.

I've just arranged to go to Aldi with a mate tomorrow and DD loves crafts. Will pick some stuff up for her.

QueenofClean Wed 15-Jan-14 09:28:51

Argos until tomorrow have the following on sale: for girls who like sequin art. £4.99 down from £9.99 so a £5 saving.

QueenofClean Wed 15-Jan-14 09:29:10
MamaPizza Thu 16-Jan-14 13:58:03

Hello Christmas mad ladies,

sorry for not joining this thread earlier. Been busy, then busier and now ill.

Quick rundown:

Christmas was fab, DS loved his presents.

The rest of the Christmas holiday was busy getting new carpets (which meant disassembling furniture, storing it and building it again...), finishing the upstairs with final touches and doing up the hallway / stairs / landing. Painted chipboard wallpaper didn't want to budge took ages to get rid of this stuff. Almost done there now and starting to look lovely.

Back to work busy and mad as usual, off ill at the moment, but on the mend.

£2 tin started, at the moment it has already £16 in it. I'm still on top of counting, but I know I'll lose track by February and the surprise will happen in December.

Bought decoration for next year, found a lovely wooden nativity scene in the sales.

Bought advent calendars for the dogs. Have checked and they don't go off until 2015, so a bargain for 50 pence each.

Not bought much else as I don't know what colour scheme I'm going for.


The super good news is, and I know you are all going to be jealous and want to hurt me


We are going to Lapland this Christmas!!! We are flying on the 17th and back on the 22nd. Me and DH (well DP) will finally get married there, I can't wait to be a snow princess grin. We will obviously also see THE REAL SANTA!!! DS doesn't know and we won't tell him until just before. Jingle will deliver the message the weekend before we fly. Putting deposit down this weekend, still on final umming and ahhing on hotel, but otherwise it's all good to go.

Farrowandbawl Thu 16-Jan-14 15:46:23


Congratulations on the wedding. You're going to have to let us see some pictures.

MamaPizza Thu 16-Jan-14 15:59:54

Thanks, I'll bore you with all the details in time wink

Regarding pics, I was wondering if any of you are brave enough for facebook friendships? I am, so if you want to send me a pm. My current profile pic is still Christmassy, must change it by Easter

Farrowandbawl Thu 16-Jan-14 16:07:43

Sorry darlin,

I was your FB friend but I deleted my accounts about 2 years or so ago now.

(I was molepomandmistletoe)

MamaPizza Thu 16-Jan-14 22:20:39

Yes, Farrow, I remember. It's been a long time. Shame you aren't on it anymore.

NinjaPenguin Thu 16-Jan-14 23:53:58

Ooh, can I join in? I got a lot of Christmas cards and so on in the sale, and presents hmm I have a feeling I will be overprepared! I usually love Christmas but this one was bad, so I'm hoping the next one will be great.

Farrowandbawl Fri 17-Jan-14 10:27:39

Welcome Ninja. There's no such thing as over prepared, just think of being able to sit in a coffee shop enjoying a festive latte while watching everyone else run around like headless chickens, screaming, tutting and getting stressed. - It's hillarious and part of my tradition now.

I was concerned about FBs so called safety aspects Mama. I don't like being tagged where ever I'm oout the house as it would invalidate my house insurance. I might as well have screamed from the rooftops "I'm not in the house at the moment! Come and break in" It's more hassle than it's worth now. I don't miss it and certainly don't miss out on anything. My life has got a lot more peaceful without it too and when I do apply for a job, there isn't the risk of potential employers having a nosy round and deciding if I shold have a job or based on my profile instead of my references and qualifications AND if other threads are to go by, no pressure to add collegues as "friends". FB is far too intrusive for my liking and people rely on it far too much in my opinion.

There isn't a single thing I miss about it at all.

QueenofClean Sat 18-Jan-14 07:46:34

Welcome Ninja as Farrow says you can never been to prepared. grin

Tips: January Sales are great.
Always check Charity shops. Incase of my children, I feel that as long as the presents are in good condition it doesn't matter if they are new or not.

Enjoy the festive coffee & muffins in December when it's all done smile

MommyBird Sat 18-Jan-14 10:24:58

HOW have i just found this thread?!

I am a Christmas loon!
Lovelovelove Christmas. I have started planning and saving already.

I will have a ln almost 5 year old and and 18 month old this year! I am beyond excited already.

I'm going to start buying for family when i get paid. Last year was a rush as i'd had dd2 in August so all money went on baby bits! (i usually buy/save throughout the year!)

Will have lots of things planned this year.
So glad to have found this :D

MommyBird Sat 18-Jan-14 10:27:39

OH! Have all my christmas paper, tags, cards, bags from Sainsburrys in the sale. And my DHto be has bought me a Christmas planner! Highly reccomend smile

Farrowandbawl Sat 18-Jan-14 10:48:16

Where did he get the planner from MommyBird?

I've been using spreadsheets on the laptop but really need a little diary or something that will be out with me.

MommyBird Sat 18-Jan-14 10:51:44


Its amazing. It has lots of planning pages, Christmas card lists, presents lists/budgeting, places for recipies, main/starter/pudding planning. It also lasts for 4 years!

If you like organising i would also reccomend the 'life book' by organised mum!

Farrowandbawl Sat 18-Jan-14 10:55:32

OMG..I'll have a look now.

Farrowandbawl Sat 18-Jan-14 11:03:38

OK, I've ordered it and some cluster lights for the tree blush

CaptainSweatPants Sat 18-Jan-14 11:14:33

Any good online sales on Xmas cards & advent calendars?
Any candle sales?

Farrowandbawl Sat 18-Jan-14 14:00:41

Try the cards shops - loads in my area still have them on sale.

Advent Calendaers, not so much...ebay?

Candles, now that depends on what type of candles. There is usually around 25% off Yankee candle fragrance of the month, and a quick google seach will lead to to many suppliers of discounted candles..actually, ebay is another good one for that as is... who have 50% off for this month.

QueenofClean Sat 18-Jan-14 14:39:10

Ooo Christmas planner now that is my type of thing grin will have a look on Amazon now.

QueenofClean Sat 18-Jan-14 14:46:06

Can you link to the planner you brought Farrow

I've started my savings at Asda & Iceland, will put money into my savings account at end of month too.

Yankee candles are fab presents.

Farrowandbawl Sat 18-Jan-14 14:53:43
QueenofClean Sat 18-Jan-14 19:13:41

It just happened to slip into my basket and checkout for delivery hehe...don't tell DH grin

Farrowandbawl Sat 18-Jan-14 19:41:00

lol, I won't.

I've found this little beauty earlier

Check out the bubble wrap suits under "for men". I might just have to get some for me and the kids. It won't matter that it'll be too big for them - it'll be hillarious. I've mentally spent a small fortune on that site.

(I'm seriously considering the Egg and Soldiers Tank with little helmet for myself. grin )

Farrowandbawl Sat 18-Jan-14 19:58:40

Look what I've found!

[[ ]]

A festive shop open all year round!

Farrowandbawl Sat 18-Jan-14 19:58:52
MamaPizza Sun 19-Jan-14 17:03:30

No worries, farrow, totally understand. I couldn't live without FB though, it's just kind of a routine to check what my friends are up to and sharing our news every now and then.

Welcome to all the newbies. <passes round leftover Christmas chocolate>

Bought some cards at Aldi yesterday, that's them sorted then.

Will have a look at the Christmas planner later.

Christmas needs to be more on a budget this year fat chance due to holiday and wedding beforehand. Problem is, no idea what DS will like in 11 months time, so can't really look for toys yet.

Farrowandbawl Tue 21-Jan-14 17:29:22

My planners here!

Shame I can't write in it sad. Trapped my fingers of my rright had in a car door. They are now, very, very sore and swollen, it's hard work gripping anything - so writing is off the table for now.

Bazoo23 Tue 21-Jan-14 21:07:53

Best thread ever!!
Love Christmas soo much, have already bought a ridiculous amount :-)
-x2 N Spa gift sets for SILS - £1 each ASDA
-Vv strong bottle of red wine for MIL - Regift
-Graperfruit small Yankee Candle for SIL - £2 Clintons
-Grandmas Brag Book photo album for Mum - £2 Max Spielman
-Colouring book DDs stocking -£1 Pound Shop
- The Night Before Xmas sticker book DDs bday late Dec - £1.50 The Factory Shop
-90cm pink foil tree for DDs bedroom - £1 Tesco
- Doc Mcstuffin magic flannel DDs stocking - £2 Boots
- Bebe Egg for DD - £3.50 Mothercare
-Peppa Pig pouch of bubble bath for DDs stocking - £1 Boots
- Stacking crayons DDs stocking - £1 ASDA

nickdrakeslovechild Wed 22-Jan-14 21:51:52

ouch Farrowandbawl that sounds painful! I have a lot of things i've bought in the sales already and done a huge shop at dotcomgiftshop which will cover a few birthdays over the next couple of months and quite a lot of their gorgeous vintage christmas kitchen bits.

Got loads in sainsburys sale a couple of weeks ago so sorted for cards and wrap for at least the next 5 years blush

The christmas board is the only place I can come and chat about Christmas as everyone in RL thinks I am a loon! ok, I might be a little bit, but I Lurvvve Christmas so dont care

Elizabeth22 Thu 23-Jan-14 15:51:22

Got some nice wrap and cards from Paperchase.

On the hunt for an advent candle in the sales. Anyone seen any?

TheOnlySeven Fri 24-Jan-14 23:25:12

Lakeland advent candles are only £2.99 anyway.

I've bought a couple more bits, not even in the sales but it's trying to get ahead. Fuzzy felt and some Octonauts puzzles for DD1. The book people have a set of Lego minifigures sticker books, I want to order one each for DS and my friends Lego-mad DS.

Hope your fingers are on the mend farrow.

giraffeseatpineapples Sat 25-Jan-14 20:28:01

ooh farrow hope your ok. Been a bit unwell so haven't got much done apart from enveloping the lego advent calanders and putting them in the loft.

kissmelittleass Mon 27-Jan-14 17:49:02

Got all my cards for the next 2 xmas's and a couple of 5m xmas wrapping paper for 70p..picked up some toys in smyths less than half price but problem is dd gets invited to so many partys I end up giving them and end up back at square one!

Bazoo23 Mon 27-Jan-14 20:01:00

Tube of Christm

Bazoo23 Mon 27-Jan-14 20:06:10

Tube of Christmas Maom chew bars bought from the pound shop, probably for one of DPs nephews/niece.
Also The Works has a huge sale on, everything seemed to have a half price sticker on!

Bazoo23 Mon 27-Jan-14 20:06:11

Tube of Christmas Maom chew bars bought from the pound shop, probably for one of DPs nephews/niece.
Also The Works has a huge sale on, everything seemed to have a half price sticker on!

ItsSoooFluffy Mon 27-Jan-14 23:35:00

I'm defo in on this, need to be more organised about Christmas this year!

ChestyNut Wed 29-Jan-14 22:20:46

Hi all!

Thread fell off my I'm watching.

It his time of year is rubbish!

Well done on the planning all.
farrow how's the hand?
mama squeeee a wedding? smile

chanie44 Sun 02-Feb-14 09:19:11

Can I join you ladies? I've already started to prepare for Christmas 2014!!

I returned some unwanted Xmas gifts I was given and exchanged for some sale items ready for Xmas 2014.

I've also started knitting some wristvwarmers. I have about 12 to make, which is why I have to get started now.

Farrowandbawl Sun 02-Feb-14 16:45:52

Of course you can Chanie.

Chesty! Welcome back.

Well, one month down already. 10 to go if we want to be finished by the begining of December.

I've found a load of tuotrials to make my bow for the top of the tree.
The list of crafts to make is getting bigger by the day. Pintrest is NOT helping me at all.

I've also added to the list to hire out The Rug Doctor again in November.

lucysmam Mon 03-Feb-14 21:49:49

I went awol, rl got in the way of early Christmas planning, but I'm back now smile

I've been hunting for some felt gingerbread house tutorials for tree decs, will link what I've found if anyone's interested. Must get my gingerbread man cutters back too so I can do some men to go with them.

I think I'm going to get some new red/gold baubles to go with them....wilko still had some Christmas bits last week when I was in so will check their shelves next time I go to town.

Also need to get a storage box of some sort to keep cupboard type bits in that I've picked up and find myself a good hiding place for stocking fillers (50p snowman/reindeer hats and £1 for two pairs of slipper socks in Primark. There were glove puppet gloves down to a quid too that I might go back for).

Right, off to read the rest of the thread since I last posted.

Should have said as well, Poundland had some Hello Kitty/Monster High/Minnie Mouse hair accessories in when I was in there on Saturday, might be a good stocking filler for someone smile

giraffeseatpineapples Wed 05-Feb-14 13:06:47

Hi all

Gingerbread felt decs sound lovely would love to see those lucysmam! I have some giant cushions we got from Ikea we couldn't use, I was thinking about making my family christmas cushions with some kind of felt detail. Hmmm. My brothers getting married at christmas so could maybe work that in to his...

Feel like I need to get my house in order and lose weight before I do any more christmas prep but def need to start shopping soon and think about crafts grin.

better get back to fly lady thread house is a tip!

TheOnlySeven Fri 07-Feb-14 19:19:45

Welcome back chesty.

Tesco have a sale on clothes online, I've got new onesies for DS and DD1 for Christmas Eve. Also bought a present for the new baby this week, a ladybird activity toy reduced to a fiver grin

Farrowandbawl Sun 09-Feb-14 10:58:27

Arggghhhhh, it's taking forever to come around again.

I need a Christmas fix. I think I'm going to do a bit of shopping on Tuesday..see what I can pick up, will have to listen to christmas tunes on the ipod though.

I've promnised the kids we'll do some baking next weekend so I'll have a go at making a biscuit Christmas tree....which reminds me, I need star shaped cutters and....something else but I can't remember just yet.

How is everyone?

Farrowandbawl Sun 09-Feb-14 18:50:13


I've nearly finished my kitchen so as a reward I've bought 2 plain thick garlands for me to for the stairs and one for the living room wondow

Plain empty baubles that I can decorate and fill myself

a few stocking oversized pencils etc...

I've also sorted out the recipie folder, made notes in the organiser and found a beautiful stocking which i'm going to steal the idea and make myself...I'll go looking for the material on Tuesday I think.

TheOnlySeven Sun 09-Feb-14 20:08:26

What will you fill the baubles with? I've never heard of doing that.

Farrowandbawl Sun 09-Feb-14 20:30:40

I'm going to pick some holly use that and some cranberries in 2.

In another 2 I'm going to dry slices of oranges and add a pine cone and in the last 2 I want to add glitter and er....something, I don't know yet. Fake poinsettas?

I've seen some glass baubles that you can tea lights too...seriously thinking of adding three of those to the list....I can see them on my tree now....

Bargin toy present you've grabbed there..nice one.

giraffeseatpineapples Mon 10-Feb-14 18:15:25

Farrow, apparently lakeland do the biscuit cutter tree set, I got a pack of star shaped from Amazon, thinking they would work but they were way too small. Baubles sound like they will be beautiful.

Farrowandbawl Mon 10-Feb-14 19:43:38

Thanks Giraffe.

I was building shelves for the pantry and having a clear out at the same time...I've oly found the very same tree star biscuit cutter from Lakeland which I bought DD for christmas (she loves baking) I don't even have to do that now.

I have bought some material, buttons and ribbon for my stocking project which I will start in the summer when my exams are over - I've got too much on at the moment to even think about starting anything else.

I have some more good news....I recently got a volunteering position I've been after for months, and it turns out I've been head hunted for ANOTHER position in another food's only a hour a week and I can do it from home RESULT! AND I've done two test today for math sna science and got 100% on both, not bad seeing as I haven't studied at all, THEN....I get a call from my mate who needed to borrow my drill, so I got the kids from school, went to hers to drop the drill off and she's done dinner for us all so I haven't even needed to cook and I'm back in time for corrie...

I don't think this day could have gone any better.

TheOnlySeven Mon 10-Feb-14 20:33:28

Sounds like an awesome day farrow. Better than mine anyway, emergency trip to doctors with 2yo DD1 with an enormous purple bump on her head from banging it on the hard floor.

Farrowandbawl Mon 10-Feb-14 20:37:38

Oh no, how is she?

TheOnlySeven Mon 10-Feb-14 22:51:31

She's ok thanks, they just wanted to check her as a precaution. She's been quieter though, laying on the sofa watching Finding Nemo this afternoon, she doesn't sit still for longer than a minute usually.

Farrowandbawl Tue 11-Feb-14 07:47:26

Poor little mite.

giraffeseatpineapples Tue 11-Feb-14 14:56:50

hope your dd feels better seven, always a shock for them sad

Great news about lakeland set farrow that's a few � saved smile Let us know how it goes!

been making brownies with dd, now have to was dds t shirt, scarf and a chair cover that are covered in cocoa powder. Now the hard bit ... not eating the brownies.

giraffeseatpineapples Tue 11-Feb-14 14:57:20

ooh pound sign went weird

Farrowandbawl Tue 11-Feb-14 18:57:20

I've found a FANSASTIC discount website for freebees and discounts.

I've just got £10 off an order off tassimo stuff...


This will have some great bargins nearer Chrsitmas time.

giraffeseatpineapples Wed 12-Feb-14 19:01:33

Ooh Farrow, MSE esp the forum and grabbit section are really useful too, not so user friendly though

I also got lots of great buys thanks to the bargain christmas thread last year and many of the bargains originated from Hot deals and mse . There are some problems though:
1 it gets addictive checking all the sites
2 you end up buying lots of bargains you don't need but can't resist because they are such a bargain
3 you might get the twitch as all your shopping will be done so early wink

TheOnlySeven Fri 14-Feb-14 14:18:49

Does anyone use quidco? It's a cashback website, I found out about it in the credit crunch section. I ordered DH brirthday present this morning and got £12 cashback smile

QueenofClean Mon 17-Feb-14 07:30:19

Hey Countdowners smile

I've brought some more Xmas presents in the half price George sale at that is MIL nearly finished.

DD1 had some books brought for her from the schools £1 book shop last week so that is good too.

Sorry for my absence not been feeling myself and trying to maintain normality for my girls.

Farrowandbawl Wed 19-Feb-14 12:36:33

Yankee Candles have their new range out - it's a good one this year I think.

Midnight oasis is is the palm trees one.

ChestyNut Sun 02-Mar-14 15:32:41


I'm not keen on the new ones farrow am still burning christmas ones grin

Congrats on the jobs! When's college finish?

<sigh> DM birthday this month and no idea what to get her.

how's DD seven?

Are you ok queen?

Smilesandpiles Tue 04-Mar-14 18:49:37

College doesn't finish until June Chesty. I have 3 exams in May and another 2 in June. So there's a while to go yet.

The job is going OK thanks but because of a huge move and shift in the entire process, my job is about to get a lot busier. A few feathers will be ruffled but hey, tough.

How's things with you? You've not been on for ages.

Smilesandpiles Tue 04-Mar-14 18:49:41

College doesn't finish until June Chesty. I have 3 exams in May and another 2 in June. So there's a while to go yet.

The job is going OK thanks but because of a huge move and shift in the entire process, my job is about to get a lot busier. A few feathers will be ruffled but hey, tough.

How's things with you? You've not been on for ages.

ChestyNut Tue 04-Mar-14 19:28:02

Oooooh disguise! Are you trying to confuse me grin

I'm ok, suffering with sinus' and waiting for surgery, making me generally miserable.

Is it December yet?

Smilesandpiles Tue 04-Mar-14 19:33:48

Oh no sad Do you have a date yet?

No, it's not December yet angry.

I've nearly finished my stockings though grin.

ChestyNut Wed 05-Mar-14 07:02:48

Mid June apparently sad

Very organised!

QueenofClean Thu 06-Mar-14 21:20:16

Hiya, I'm okay thank you Chesty. My OCD gone into overdrive again so struggling a bit..just trying to get it back under control.

Doing well on present front tho smile

Smilesandpiles Sat 22-Mar-14 21:30:48

Today I was listening to Christmas songs again and it gave me the excuse to make a start on the garland for the stairs.

I've trimmed it to fit the length of the staircase and put on the felt poinsettas and one set of battery lights. I just need another set of lights and some cinnamon sticks to bundle up and that's that done.

I've fallen behind with the presents but I do have ds's birthday and a holiday to pay for yet. After that it won't be long for me to get back on track though.

I'm assuming you've all forgotten about this thread.

nickdrakeslovechild Sat 22-Mar-14 21:39:36

Hi Smilesandpiles I'm still here, a bit more of a lurker but more active on the other Christmas threads. Finding lots of bargains at the moment and hiding them all away.
I made a garland for the stairs when we first moved into the house, I wanted this house as soon as I walked in and saw the amazing art deco staircase and stained glass window. It was made for a Christmas garland and I was instantly sold. The one newer addition to the garland are those battery powered little twinkly lights. I always wanted it lit up but haven't got a power supply without the cable running across the front door!

Smilesandpiles Sat 22-Mar-14 21:41:03

There's nothing like a good garland on the stairs is there?

I've spent aaages looking for a nice thick bushy one.

nickdrakeslovechild Sat 22-Mar-14 21:52:38

I couldn't find a bushy one anywhere so I got 4 and weaved them together IYSWIM? We can only put the christmas tree near the radiator so I also take a few branches out of the back of it and fill out the bannister with that too. We will have to do pictures when they are all up. at the end of november

QueenofClean Tue 25-Mar-14 07:16:07

Lurking more at moment and keep checking in.

ChestyNut Sat 29-Mar-14 19:07:06

I'd like a lovely garland for the mantelpiece. Couldn't find one last year.

Still debating changing tree colour this year grin

ChestyNut Sat 03-May-14 15:44:22

<sweeps tumbleweed away>

I was discussing Hallowe'en with my DD today (driving on the M25, )

"You do know it's only May " she said.
I daren't mention Christmas to her grin . Judgey child.

ChestyNut Sat 03-May-14 18:56:54


I'm desperatly trying to think of something for my team at christmas.
All ladies <ahem> and would like less than £5 each.

Quite fancied small jar yankee candles but can't find any less than £6 and it adds up as there's quite a few of them.

Any ideas?

ILoveChristmas01 Sun 04-May-14 07:07:06


ILoveChristmas01 Sun 04-May-14 07:08:32

Oooooops not sure what I've done there, but managed to post a picture of wine haha.... Oh well, cheers everyone!...

Katieweasel Sun 04-May-14 19:53:44

It might sound a bit naff but I bought all my team those microwave soup mugs last year. We all bring soup in for lunch so I thought it would be a good idea. Got them all in different colours. I almost changed my mind as I thought maybe they were a bit naff but they all loved them. I can honestly say that I've never brought gifts that have been used so much. They literally get used every day.

cheekycherryza Tue 06-May-14 21:25:49

I'm so glad someone started up a thread and also that I'm not the only weirdo thinking of Christmas this early!

I haven't been buying gifts yet, more getting ideas for gifts and planning what homemade gifts I'm making and updating my notes from last years Christmas.

I do know that I'm going to make baskets of homemade foodie things like blackberry vodka, christmas cake muffins with cute icing, homemade jam, chutney, shortbread etc.

DD gets so spoiled for Christmas that I land up putting some of her Christmas gifts away until later in the year when I bring them out to do a toy rotation. So this year I've decided to make a few things for her. My first idea is a table fort which will be great for cold/snowy or wet days and I want to make it to fit our fold down table so that it can be taken outside too.

I've also spotted some cute princess every day dresses that I just can't resist this set is really cute and I love the dresses DD is princess crazy so she'll love these.

Making these items might actually not be cheaper than buying gifts because fabric is blimming expensive but I think she'll love them nonetheless.

For DH I'm thinking of getting him a foraging course for his birthday and for Christmas I had thought perhaps a foraging cooking course perhaps with a few books on the subject.

Ploppy16 Wed 07-May-14 22:38:41

Ooh lovely people already buying for Christmas! I've just got some bits and pieces to put away for the DC's, my wrapping paper and tags and the Christmas pj's. My MIL thinks I'm off my box grin
I've made some bracelets for the girl children in the family as part of their hampers but stuck for anything to do for the lads, both mid teens and rather fashion conscious. Might have to give home made a miss for them.

Smilesandpiles Fri 09-May-14 11:45:12

It's June. It's cold and it's raining and it feels more like October...AND....I LOVE IT!

I'm waiting until my exams are over and then it's full swing for preperations for Christmas.

DS has already decided on his Big present which I will buy in the next month or so. DD will be getting a tv for her bedroom that she can watch her dvd's on, I might buy her one with freeview on but I'll be turning the power off to her room if she takes the mick.

I've bought a few more little stocking fillers and nearly finished the stockings themselves.

After the exams I'll start on practicing for the cookie tree...a christmas tree made up of layers of shortbread. I'll also need to get another gingerbread house.

I want my bedroom done this year too before Christmas and my present to myself will be a brand new bed.


I'll have a look around for mugs for your team, or something that you can buy.

Ooh I bought one of those Lakeland Limted silicone moulds for the little houses (can do baked gingerbread or chocolate)
I need to practice a

Smilesandpiles Fri 09-May-14 16:08:53


You have to practise - so you'll know it'll go right when you really need it too wink

cheekycherryza Sat 10-May-14 08:18:05

practice makes perfect!

Smilesandpiles Sat 10-May-14 21:15:44


I've found photo mugs in boots which you can get for a £1, but you have to act fast and go through this:

Smilesandpiles Sat 10-May-14 21:20:12

Oh, it's 1 mug per account. Sorry.

Unless you fancy making multiple accounts or getting friends and family to help out.

ChestyNut Sat 10-May-14 22:31:23

Thanks for looking smiles grin

Have been looking at the yankee votive holders and a votive? Or would a cup be better?

Bought another present to put away today [frin]

Chesty look on QVC for Yankee candles, they have loads of special offers

Large jars retail at £20 each, sometime QVC are practically 3 for 2.
I do get some that have scents I'm hmm at but it might be someone elses taste (I don't like lavender, rose or pine but other people love them)

The Christmas ones will be out about Sept/Oct

Look on QVC 24/25 July, they've got Christmas in July (they often have a preview on their website )

They've got some votive candle sets that are £30 ish + p&p for 30 votives (so if you pick up some clear votive glasses (IKEA might have) and a couple of votives , you're still under £5) and some left for you wink

Smilesandpiles Sun 11-May-14 12:25:03

Ebay has loads of Frozen characters for baubles if anyone is interested. I'd get them now while most of the populations isn't thinking about decorations.

Smilesandpiles Sun 11-May-14 12:25:54

I forgot about Christmas in July.

I missed out on loads.

TheOnlySeven Fri 01-Aug-14 21:45:00

smiles are you farrow in disguise? Apologies if not.

70 I bought one of those silicone moulds from Lakeland last year, I made a chocolate house, was actually quite easy and liked great, didn't last long though!

Anyway, hello, I fell off the thread months ago. I've fallen completely behind, only have a handful of presents and not bought anything for months. Suddenly realised yesterday that the card shops will start getting Christmas cards in later this month though so need to catch up to avoid the last minute stress.

DD3 is likely to arrive in less than 3 weeks so doubt I'll be getting much done unless it's online.

ChestyNut Sat 02-Aug-14 15:11:51


Oooh squishy baby grin

TheOnlySeven Sun 03-Aug-14 10:17:26

<waves back>

How much have you got for Christmas so far?

MamaPizza Tue 05-Aug-14 08:06:57

<sneaks in>

Hello again! I tried on my wedding dress yesterday and then it dawned on me that Christmas isn't that far away. In fact it's 142 sleeps grin

Before I know it I'm going to be in Lapland, meeting Santa and get MARRIED! <shrieks> It's all getting real now. I bet you will all love to hear that I am going to wear a snowflake tiara and I'll have a proper princess dress.

Someone on my FB mentioned yesterday that B&M have Christmas stuff out already, yay!

Once DS had his birthday in 3 weeks I'll properly start. I know what I'll get him, a Nintendo 3DS so I can play with mine without having to share and that will be it bar a few bits and bobs (which will probably end up being a huge pile again hmm).

How has everyone been?

I had a really shit start to the year, but it got better.

In January we had the news that FIL had stage 3 bowel cancer. Within three weeks he passed, on Valentine's day sad. It was horrible see him go that quickly and DH crumbled. I tried to be strong for him, but inside I was hurting just as much. He is the only son and was very close to his parents. His mum died six years ago.

Then we had more bad news. Beginning of April I was told that I was going to be made redundant due to falling numbers at the school and my subject specialism. My world fell apart, I loved the school I worked at. Lots of financial worries, wedding planning and excitement was on hold for a while as it isn't easy finding a job in my specialism.

Then mid May the tables finally turned. I found my dream job as Head of Department at an amazing school. It will be my forever school, I can feel it, the one I grow old in. I have already been told that I am earmarked as Assistant Principal, they give me so many opportunities. I start in September with the new school year and can't wait. But I know I'll be extremely busy, especially as I have a more senior role now and the workload will be much more. But I look forward to the challenge and opportunity - and the massive pay rise grin

Since then we have been plodding along, doing a bit more to the house after finishing the upstairs in winter, but one thing after the other (cars failed MOT etc) we just never had enough money to finish the downstairs. Plus saving for the Lapland holiday / wedding obviously. Will do that once my payrise kicks in.

Gosh, that's long now. Hope you enjoyed a cuppa and a read wink

So, what's everyone's news?

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