Top 5 DIY Budget Christmas Gifts

budget-christmas1I LOVE Christmas!  I love the giving gifts.  I REALLY love the receiving gifts and I love the pageantry of Christmas time.  The Christmas season is a real delight for the senses,  with Christmas lights and tinsel everywhere you look.  The smell of mince pies baking and the heat of gingerbread on your tongue as you tuck in with a delicious coffee.


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After a busy start to the week with the husband pulling a 48 hour shift and numerous other commitments cropping up I was feeling well and truly burnt out today.  I started a detox yesterday and was feeling the lack of sugar in my system.  My mood was feeling much like the clouds over at Slapton……..dark.

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Slapton Sands Devon

I remember, as a child, vividly, going to the beach whilst on holiday.  We even went to Broadsands beach which is where we visited today.


I love this time of year for beach combing and so do the birds that come when it’s quiet!


There’s no need to worry about little ones wandering off.  You can’t lose them in the expanse of beach when your more or less the only ones there.  I love the cold bite of the wind as it whips your cheeks pink and the satisfying squelch of wellies in the sand and sea.  What better way to use your boots than jumping waves and exploring rock pools.



As I step onto the beach I often think back to those times as a kid on holiday.  I moved to Devon at age 20 and prior to that I was brought up in Manchester. I’m from a large family and so our holidays were often during the colder, out of season months in Devon visiting family.  Some might hear this and think we were unfortunate to not have visited exotic places or stayed in luxury accommodation.  I feel the opposite.  I’m reminded of a poem we studied in school by Simon Arimtage, It Aint What You Do It’s What It Does To You.  It describes how these trips to find yourself are unnecessary.  The place is not what’s important its what you take from it.  It’s about seeing the beauty in everything around us.  It’s all very deep.  Far too deep for a Friday afternoon stroll and yet I can’t help but think how relevant it is.  Some of my happiest memories as a child are of being on this beach, cold and damp, itchy wool jumpers and wellies.  Searching for crabs with numb fingers and eating sandwiches with salty fingers.  The thrill of the chase at discovering a fish and the excitement at what treasures the sea might bring to us as the tide went out.  To us kids from Manchester this was the exotic and we found it in every rock we lifted.


Our holidays were not in Spain or Greece, all inclusive with kids clubs to boot they were fantastically exciting and in cold Devon.  An 8 hour car journey squished in with bags under our feet singing Cliff Richard.  We would stick our heads out of the window when we hit Penn Inn roundabout insisting we could smell the sea and argue fanatically over who would see the zoo sign first.  The smell of Brixham harbour and the zing of vinegar on my tongue still send me to a place of scratchy carpets and attic bedrooms with seagulls tapping a jig on the roof.  That was my childhood and it’s one I’m hoping to repeat with my children.


So it’s my firm belief that the beach is not just for summer.  In fact my absolute favourite time of year to hit the beach is now, when I can be selfish and not share it with the holiday makers.  When I can see my kids running along it half a mile ahead completely un-interrupted.

Where I can stroll in deep repose reminiscing of my own time as a child.  Walking with my parents and talking about “can you imagine if we lived here?”  Like living here in this place was akin to winning the lottery.  It seemed as impossible as the lottery then and even now I wonder how I came to be here in this place of wonder.  We’ve lived here 10 years and still the sight across the bay from Berry Head melts my stress and fills me with a sense of awe.  That I’m now apart of this place.   That I can walk the beach not once a year but all year.  I can see the sea when I pop to the post office and hear the lions roar when I go to the shop.  I can smell the sea when I walk to my nans, that I can show my children how to lift rocks with number fingers. That I can call Devon my home.


The Beach….Not Just For Summer

The Count Down Begins!

Many of those who know me know my love of food and in particular anything sugary.  It’s now 2 weeks until Brads Christmas party and I’m already feeling like frumpy mum.  With Winter in full swing I know my love handles have grown more lovely and the spare tyre’s growing a twin so I decided with the party on its way I’d do a 2 weeks detox.


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Cup of Ginger Bread Love

Today the weather was hideous.  Luckily I’m currently in the cycle of organised mum.  This “organise mum status” will soon change to distraught and irate mum as I burn out, decide I don’t give a crap, relax about the house, rest and then slowly work myself back into being uber organised mum again before I burn out……..again.


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Celebrate Celeriac – Soup

Another banging soup recipe here.  This one originates from River Cottage and, as always. it does not disappoint.

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The Second Breakdown

We’ve been in Ireland four days.  It’s all going amazing well.  The car’s surviving and we’ve hit some of our bucket list.  We’re feeling cocky.  Lets put it out there we angered the parenting gods again with our taunting of “it’s so lovely here but you definitely need a car”  I know I can’t believe we said it either!  You’d think we’d have learnt from the first disaster


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The Dark Hedges The Kings Road

Our final day in Ireland has arrived.  Mum and dad have been dropped to the airport and we’ve had our first bit of rain.  I’m ready to go home but as a huge Game of Thrones fan in Ireland it just feels wrong to go home without visiting at least one of the film sites.  With the weather clearly against us we decided on The Kings Road or as it’s actually called, The Dark Hedges.


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Thick Leek and Potato Soup

I’m a huge soup fan.  I think it’s a great way to be healthy whilst also feeling like your getting something super luxurious and treat like.  Thick warming soups in winter are akin to a snugly duvet for the soul.  Wrapping you in warmth and comfort and they make the house smell amazing too!


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Kids Jobs List

As mums, I think we can all relate to there not being enough time in the day, to the stresses of running round like a blue bottomed fly. We’ve all, at some point, dreamt of having our own, Gru style, army of minions at our disposal.

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