Tag Archives: Christmas

And Here’s One I Made Earlier….

starsWho knew crafternoons could be so stressful?

I had a couple of days off work recently, and inspired by countless articles in picture-perfect Christmas magazines, I had amassed a whole pile of crafty bits just perfect for creating a home-made Christmas.

Getting into an arty festive mood, I put some Christmas carols on, brewed some cranberry herbal tea, tied my hair up in a scarf, and set to.

After an exhausting afternoon spent weeping into my glitter, here’s what I learned:

  • Invisible thread is called invisible thread for a reason.
  • Air-drying clay does not dry in 24 hours.
  • The cat likes licking air-drying clay (ew).
  • Metal star-shaped cookie cutters are painful.
  • Potato stamping isn’t half as much fun at 40 as it was at 4.
  • Paper folding is not relaxing.
  • Cutting card with a craft knife is deadly.
  • Too much herbal tea was a mistake.
  • The magazines lied.

I don’t give up that easily, so the next afternoon, I put some hard rock music on, made some mulled wine and wrapped my hair tightly with an elastic band (glue guns and hair don’t mix).

First up, the easy one. Slice some oranges, put in oven at a low heat for four hours (‘a delightful aroma will infuse your home with a wondrous Christmas spirit’).

Next, glue-gun some baubles to a distressed wooden frame, in the shape of a Christmas tree ( a simple, yet charming idea).

Finally, make your own candles (‘a bee-yoootiful gift for friends and family’).

My oranges curled up and died, sending out plumes of evil-smelling, acrid smoke, I became more distressed than my baubles and frame and after boiling up wax pellets for the candles, I realised too late that the wicks I had ordered were too short.

All I have to show for my efforts is a string of clay stars. After all the pummeling, rolling out, cutting out, three days of air-drying and chasing the cat away from them, I was determined not to be beaten.

The next day, I went to Poundland (three fold-out stars for a quid), chucked out all my magazine articles, cursed Kirstie Allsopp and Pinterest and flopped on the sofa to watch ‘Elf’ for the eighth time (with some re-heated mulled wine)….

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A Sense of Disconnection

life without the internetOh my days. Who knew that being with a much-reduced internet connection over the last week could be quite so traumatic?

The Teenager has gone through a whole range of emotions, from full-blown panic (‘how will I survive? I am utterly, totally disconnected’) to deep depression (‘wake me up when it’s over’).

I helpfully suggested he read a book or I don’t know, make something.

I was smartly told that whilst that may be acceptable for old people like me who went through their teenage years *gasp* without the internet, he’d rather sit in McDonalds like a saddo all day where they at least have free wifi, thank you very much.

Anyway, we’re back on track and a sense of normality has returned to our little cottage (it won’t last). In other news over this quiet week:

  • I had a letter inviting me to my graduation ceremony next May and did I want to hire a cap and gown? Which means my degree results must be on their way, eek.
  • The Teenager gave up his paper round. Enough said. You really don’t want to hear about it. Or the specially-extended lecture I gave him.
  • My smartphone (so badly-named) decided to get in on the internet act and freeze at inopportune moments, leading to a telling-off at work. Boss – ‘oi, get off your phone’. Me -‘ I’m not on it, I’m waiting for it to unfreeze’. Boss – ‘right, no more coffee or chocolate at break times’. Me ‘be right with you, boss.’ To show how sorry I was, when the phone worked I sent him pictures of cats doing funny things as that always cheers him up.
  • All the crafty bits I ordered for Christmas have arrived – candle wicks, wax pellets, craft knife, cutting mat, white card, Christmas essential oil, modelling clay and star-shaped cookie cutters. Much hilarity will ensue.
  • The cat kindly left a birds head outside my back door. Which I stepped on.

While we have been surviving without much internet, my mum (62 years old and a great-grandmother) whizzed ahead of us.

In between Skyping her sister in Scotland, she upgraded her phone from a brick-like Nokia to a Samsung all-singing, all-dancing model. The Teenager is quietly impressed, if a little jealous….

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Christmas CtI am one present away from completing my Christmas shopping.

Before you start pelting me with mince pies (or Terry’s Chocolate Oranges – yes please), I can explain, honestly.

Organising Christmas for the last couple of years has been a bit of a nightmare, so this year I was determined to be calm, cool and collected.

I drew up lists, scoured the internet then decided it’d be far easier just to give everyone a onesie. Present list – big tick. The Teenager could have a Superman one, The Boss could have a Homer Simpson one and I’m guessing they make them for cats now too.

After running the idea past The Teenager (who looked at me in horror, told me he wouldn’t be seen dead in an oversized babygro and turned his music up even louder) it was back to the drawing board.

So now I have a whole stack of carefully-chosen presents, reams of wrapping paper, ribbon and gift tags. All waiting for that advert-inspired magical evening where I will settle myself down with a glass of mulled wine, Christmas carols playing in the soft-focus background and fight with the sticky tape and try to catch the cat when she runs off with the ribbon.

The internet has been a blessing, although I’m not sure my postman sees it that way, as he struggles up the path day after day. I’ve ordered everything from it – right down to a reel of invisible thread to hang my home-made stars with. Yup, getting the shopping out the way has given me time to pick up my glue gun. I’m going to get crafty this year. My Christmas wreath was a bit of a disaster (Pinterest made it look so easy, bah), but you can’t go wrong with stars. Can you?

So this year I won’t be barging my way through crowds. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’d slip unnoticed to the ground, trampled by hordes of eager shoppers poking each other in the eye with jumbo rolls of wrapping paper.

For people with MS, Christmas is a society-endorsed period of doing what I am an expert at – dozing off on the sofa in front of rubbish telly – and I intend to make the most of it.

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Back to life, back to reality

Christmas and New Year are well and truly over and it’s back to work today. I am torn. Part of me is excited and full of plans for the year ahead, yet  part of me will miss the lovely unreality of the last few weeks. After a truly terrible year, it was a chance to kick back, relax and recover.

Aside from celebrating Christmas, catching up with friends and family and all the usual over-indulgence, Christmas is an excellent excuse for suspending real life. Normal routine is put on hold and I could say, ‘oh, I’ll do that next year’. Well, now it is next year and reality is breathing down my neck. Even though I worked between Christmas and New Year, it felt different, as there were still ongoing celebrations to look forward to.

Christmas time cushioned me in magical possibilities. Dreams can come true and weird and wonderful plans were discussed late into the night, the Christmas lights twinkling softly in the background. I will be taking them down in the next day or so and will miss them and all my lovely decorations. Oh, and the chocolate coins and Christmas cake. I will miss the sense of expectation in the air. Stripped of the Christmas trappings, life comes back into sharp focus once more.

Anyway, I guess it’s time to concentrate on the here and now. The Teenager comes back from London on Saturday and normal routine will definitely be back with a rude bang – the schoolwork, the laundry, the rugby matches, the grunts, the mysteriously vanishing food. My final year at University starts in February and I will be knee-deep in study notes, essays and books.

Does anyone else find January a dreary and grey month? The only thing to look forward to is Valentines Day. If you have a partner. Which I don’t. I was joking with a friend the other day about how hard it would be to find a new man in my situation. If it was tricky enough before being diagnosed with MS – 30-something, divorced, single mother – imagine my lonely hearts advert now: 30-something, divorced, single mother and oh, by the way I have MS. I mean, what are the chances?


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Excess All Areas

I have had an excellent Christmas. It may be getting harder to squeeze into my jeans, but you can’t go to a family get together and suck on celery sticks, can you? I have eaten thousands and thousands of calories over the last few days and have enjoyed every single one of them.

The Teenager rolled up his sleeves and helped serve Christmas lunch to forty-odd pensioners on Christmas Day, bless him. He was a bit shy to start with, but got into his stride and was soon happily scooting round, doling out roast potatoes, slices of turkey and carrots. Everyone agreed that he was ‘a very nice young man, very nice, and ooh, so tall, what was I feeding him, Baby Bio?’

There was only one awkward moment. We all had to gather in the hall and sing along to carols. A woman went round with a box full of musical instruments and feeling very Christmassy, I grabbed a couple of plastic maracas and enthusiastically shook them along to ‘Jingle Bells’. Unfortunately, I was still shaking them in tune to the next carol, the sombre  ‘In The Bleak Midwinter’  and The Teenager was mortified.

On Boxing Day, I went out for the newspapers early and had to pick up some wine for a party later on. Believe me, it’s very embarrassing paying for two bottles of wine at 8am when everyone behind me in the queue is buying satsumas and milk. Especially when my hands are playing up again and the wine bottles rattled in my bag as if I was having tremors from alcohol withdrawal.

Anyway, MS-wise, I’ve been more tired than usual and have spent endless  hours lolling around on the sofa, wrapped in a duvet. My feet have been buzzing more and the foot drop is driving me mad. I also had a spectacular argument with my bookcase. The bookcase won and my upper arm is covered in a violent purple bruise and throbs incessantly.

Apart from that, I am looking forward to more days of too much of everything. I have two very large boxes of chocolates that I feel compelled to eat and a bag of Twiglets in the cupboard, just in case. What more could I possibly need?

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