Archive of ‘Lifestyle’ category

What Christmas means to me – Katie from BeNourishd

Following on from yesterday’s post, today I’m excited to be sharing my first ‘What Christmas means to me’ chat – with Katie from BeNourishd. Katie shares her thoughts on going for a walk on Christmas day, an unusual favourite festive film choice and how she’ll be waiting for a very special arrival…

Thank you so much Katie – it’s great to hear your stories!


What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?

My favourite tradition as a child was definitely opening stocking presents on my parents’ or grandmother’s bed (depending on where we were). I used to absolutely love waking up at the crack of dawn to run into their room with my stocking and their stockings if they had done one. I had a stocking until I was well into my mid twenties and it was still probably my favourite tradition then! I have to say, though, that as I got older, I became a lot more conscious of the ‘stuff’ that I got in the stockings.

My parents are brilliant gift buyers, so the things inside the stocking were always lovely, but by the very nature of stockings, they weren’t necessarily things I needed, and I just hated having so much stuff. I also moved house a lot in my twenties, so packing and unpacking all the little bits got too much, and we stopped the stocking tradition. Now that we’re about to have a small one, I can see this starting up again quite soon, though!

My favourite Christmas tradition now is a fairly new one. My husband and I try to do something active on Christmas morning – between the big breakfast and the big lunch, it’s nice to get outside and get some fresh air. One year we hired Boris bikes and cycled up to St Paul’s, one year we were in Florence, so we went for a long walk for most of the day around the city, and last year we were in Cornwall, so went for a walk along the sea. This year, I’ll be 39 weeks pregnant, so we might not be quite so active, but I’m still hoping to get to the local park for a short walk.


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


Me and my Dad on my first Christmas

Do you have any special memories of Christmas as a child that have stayed with you into adulthood?

Ha, my favourite memory of Christmas as a child is when I was sleeping in my cousin’s room at my aunt’s house one year, and woke up in the night to find my aunt, wearing a Santa hat and with a fake beard around her neck, putting our stockings out! I had kind of suspected for a little while that Santa wasn’t real (my experiences of Santa in Trinidad weren’t quite the same as I’d seen on TV…), but that sealed the deal. I remember pretending to still be asleep, because I knew somehow that it was quite important that she and my parents still thought I believed in Santa!


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


Me and a very sweaty Santa!

Do you plan to make gifts for loved ones at Christmas? Or, how do you go about buying gifts?

Yes. I’m hoping to make some edible gifts for my family this year. A few years ago I made a delicious caramel sauce, but this year I think I’ll be going a bit simpler and making some peanut butter and oatmeal cookies.

I always want to buy all of my presents online, but I never quite manage to do so. I tend to get presents for Peter and my parents online, as I usually know exactly what I want to get them, and then go into town to browse for presents for the rest of my family. Sometimes you don’t know what to get someone until you see it, but I do try my hardest to get things that people will actually use regularly, wear or eat, so that it isn’t just something quirky that they smile at when they open and then never look at again! Back to my problem with ‘stuff’!

What is Christmas 2014 looking like for you? Any exciting plans?

I have absolutely no idea what it’s going to be like. We did have big plans to host a huge family Christmas at ours, but being due the week after Christmas kind of kiboshed that idea! If I’m not in labour, I’ll be at my parents’ house enjoying a delicious Christmas meal. If I am in labour I’ll either be at home (although I’m still hoping for a turkey delivery from my dad) or I might be in hospital having a baby! It’s quite weird not to be able to know what we’re doing. The same goes for New Year and my birthday, which is in early January. I’m a massive planner, so not being able to plan anything is quite a strange feeling…

What’s a typical Christmas dinner setting like for you? Do you go all out traditional with turkey and Christmas pud, or add in your own family favourites?

Yes – very traditional. Turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing, bread sauce, sausages wrapped in bacon, maybe a bit of ham. For dessert there’s Christmas pudding and mince pies and brandy butter. I try not to have too many Christmas meals when out with friends and colleagues in the weeks running up to the big day so that it doesn’t all feel overdone by the time Christmas actually rolls around!


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


And finally, what’s your all-time favourite Christmas movie?

This is a bit of an odd pick, but Jason and the Argonauts… It isn’t Christmassy at all, but every time I was in London for Christmas as a child it was on TV around Christmas, so it’s got strong associations for me…

If you’d like a more traditionally Christmassy pick, I think it’s probably the Nightmare before Christmas or Elf. Love those films!


Thanks Katie! You can reach Katie over on Twitter, or why not have a read of her blog – she’s got some scrummy recipes up there.

Join me this time next week as I share with you some more blogger Christmas stories. Don’t forget to share your memories below – we’d love to see them!


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What Christmas means to me

Hello December, where did you spring up from? I can’t believe Christmas is just a few weeks away; thankfully the majority of my Christmas shopping is done, but I’ve still got some crafting to finish. To get you in the mood for the festive season I’ll be sharing a few stories of what Christmas means to some fellow bloggers. Over the next few weeks I’ve got four lovely ladies sharing their traditions – the first one arriving tomorrow.

Today’s comes from me and I’d love to hear your Christmas memories and traditions, so drop me a comment in the box at the bottom. Is anyone else as big a fan of Miracle on 34th Street as me?


What’s your favourite Christmas tradition?

There’s one that always brings a smile to my face. I was due to be born on 23rd December, so my Nan had prepared a little bag of goodies should I arrive – which included a reindeer cuddly toy called Rudolph (obviously). I didn’t arrive until the 3rd January, but Rudolph, every year, always arrived the week before Christmas and sat on my sister’s wardrobe looking out of the window waiting for Father Christmas, we were told. Then on Christmas Eve he’d disappear, so he could help Father Christmas prepare. We’d wake up on Christmas Day and he’d be back in the house sitting under the tree; some years we even wrote letters to Father Christmas for Rudolph to return. Even now, late into my twenties, my Mum still sends me a picture of Rudolph looking out of the window.


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


Christmas day – 1991

Do you have any special memories of Christmas as a child that have stayed with you into adulthood?

When I think back to Christmas as a child I always remember Christmas Eve more than anything; perhaps because of the anticipation of the ‘big day’ or perhaps because it always seemed so busy. Christmas Eve was always about getting an early night, so Father Christmas could come and give us presents. We’d go to Reading to see my Grandad Tom, looking out for the big Father Christmas at the garden centre on the way, go to church and sometimes have a fish and chip supper for dinner in our PJ’s before bedtime. I never remember sleeping on Christmas Eve, the excitement was just too much!

Do you plan to make gifts for loved ones at Christmas? Or, how do you go about buying gifts?

Given that I like to make things I probably should add some more homemade touches to my gifts, but no, I tend to buy them. There’s just really not enough time to make everything, though I really admire anyone who does it! Being the organised soul I am I buy gifts as early as I can; this year I started in September and I find buying little and often makes it far more enjoyable and manageable.


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


Possibly Christmas time. Not too sure, but I just love this photo.

What is Christmas 2014 looking like for you? Any exciting plans?

I’m very lucky in that I have three families to see over Christmas – my Dad, my Mum and Stu’s family. I celebrate Christmas with my Dad the weekend before – we’re having a big get together and the day will probably end with a competitive game of Cluedo. Christmas day will be with my Mum and you really can’t beat my Mum’s cooking; I love it and there is always an endless supply of food available. Mum – don’t forget the Ferrero Rocher! Then boxing day we’ll be visiting Stu’s family. With two little nieces to entertain it’s a full-on but fun day. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying Christmas is all about spending time with my loved ones and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have a lot of family around me.

What’s a typical Christmas dinner setting like for you? Do you go all out traditional with turkey and Christmas pud, or add in your own family favourites?

I’d say we’re a fairly traditional Christmas dinner family. There’s always lots of roast potatoes, parsnips, stuffing, pigs in blankets, gravy etc. The usual really. We sometimes go for a starter, which I think was added because I love prawn cocktails. Mum always makes a fruit flan – Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it.


What Christmas means to me - This Little Space of Mine


Boxing day – 1996. Yes, that’s a Manchester United scarf. It was a bit of a phase.

And finally, what’s your all-time favourite Christmas movie?

While the likes of Love Actually, Elf and Home Alone come close, for me it’s always been Miracle on 34th Street (the 1994 version). I have such fond memories of watching it as a little girl with my Mum and my sister and nothing for me comes close to the magic of Christmas I feel when I watch that film. Even now, I watch it every year and I know it’s still a favourite of my family’s.


So, what does Christmas mean to you? I’d love to hear your stories.

Be sure to pop back tomorrow for the first of my blogger pals to share their festive thoughts.

Have a good day!


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Five thoughts Sunday – 30th November

Yay for blogging events! Yesterday I spent the afternoon at my first Nuffnang blogger workshop – and loved it. Hello to anyone I met there!


Five thoughts Sunday - This Little Space of Mine


So how was your week? Mine flew by – after coming back from an ace weekend in Edinburgh on Monday, I was up in Nottingham on Wednesday and working non-stop. Probably why I’ve ended the week with a bit of a cold.

  1. Big news this week – I’m now a Mac user. I knew this day would come but I’m surprised by how much I love it. It works so well!
  2. This, eeee. I cannot wait for this.
  3. For various reasons, this feels particularly important at the moment. Let’s all try and be nice to each other.
  4. I started Pilates this week and I’ve got to say, I really enjoyed it. I’ve now signed up to do the rest of the term (until Christmas) and I’m feeling good about going again on Tuesday.
  5. I was shocked by the death of Philip Hughes this week. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of cricket or not it’s an incredibly sad and an unbelievable accident.

Next week I’ll be sharing a new Christmas tradition series, to help get you in the mood for the festive season. I’ll also be sharing some photos from our weekend in Edinburgh, putting up the Christmas decorations (and practicing night time photography!) and I’m off to see Jumanji at The Prince Charles Cinema – can’t wait!

Blogged this week: I shared my homemade Dashwood Studios Advent calendar with you (an absolute joy to make!) and talked about my key tips to working on a year long craft project.

I’ll be sending out my first newsletter this week, so if you fancy hearing all the latest and having a sneak peak of what’s to come in December add your details over here – it’s a once a month email, so I won’t be bombarding you with emails.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Leanne x

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Five thoughts Sunday – 23rd November

Happy Sunday! This post comes to you from Edinburgh (OK, I scheduled this in advance – forgive me). I’m a little sad to be missing the Renegade Craft Fair though.


Five thoughts Sunday - This Little Space of Mine


  1. I finished reading The Girl with all the Gifts this week and what a read! If you’re OK with reading about zombies and getting a little scared I highly recommend it. I thought it was great and I’ll be posting a review soon.
  2. I’ve been finding things rather stressful recently, so this week I’ve been looking into joining a local Pilates class. An exercise that comes highly recommended, I also stumbled on Good Relaxation – full of useful tips and ideas for a stress-free life.
  3. Luther is back next year. Yay!
  4. How cute is this Siamese cat salt and pepper set from Tigerlillyquinn’s shop? I may have treated myself to it, maybe.
  5. I ruddy love Cards Against Humanity and so this post from BuzzFeed made me laugh.

I’ve seen some great posts flying around blogland this week,so as a bonus to this post here are three of my favourites:

  1. I just love Siobhan’s bathroom renovation. I’ve got my eye on that bath board now and she’s worked with the space she has so well.
  2. Lucy’s post on photographing Leon’s really made me stop and think. Her photography is beautiful and her professionalism and work to fully understand their brand shines through.
  3. Ladybird Likes is a brand I’ve been in love with for a long time. While I don’t own my own business, I enjoyed reading all about how Zoe created a wholesale catalogue and the journey she went through.

How was your week?

Next week it’s back to work for four days and includes a trip to Nottingham. I’ve also got a movie night with Stu and my step brother and I’m heading to my first Nuffnag blogger event on Saturday; really looking forward to meeting fellow bloggers and finding new inspiration.

Blogged this week: I shared my experiences in learning more about photography and have a chat with Allison Sadler, a truly inspiring crafty lady. If you haven’t read it, please do pop over.

Have a great Sunday!

Leanne x

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Five thoughts Sunday – 16th November

Hello! How is everyone? I’m enjoying a crafty weekend and have finished a couple of Christmas projects already – yay! I love that satisfying feeling of finishing a project and being in awe of the fact you were able to make it. The upside of this rainy weather we’ve had – being indoors and able to craft away and not feel guilty because it’s sunny outside.


Five thoughts Sunday - This Little Space of Mine


Thanks for joining me for five thoughts Sunday – I kicked it off last week, as a way of sharing some thoughts and stories I’ve seen on my travels in the past week.

  1. On Friday I got myself into my first ever Facebook debate! It was all very friendly, but the subject? Believe it or not, the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert. Some thoughts echoed this Guardian post but, and while I know it’s good marketing, I think the advert is poignant and thought provoking. It so cleverly touches on the meaning of Christmas and I’m pleased Sainsbury’s are donating sales of the chocolate bar to the British Legion.
  2. This coming week Stu and I will be celebrating our two year anniversary, before heading up to Edinburgh for a long weekend away. I don’t know where the time has gone but definitely a moment to pause and celebrate. If you know of any good places to visit in Edinburgh do share – I’m so excited to finally be visiting and to see the Christmas market.
  3. After Charlotte’s recommendation this week I made this spinach, tomato and chick pea curry for dinner. Super easy and the perfect winter warmer! Be warned though, I warmed it up the next day and it didn’t taste half as good (so not freezer worthy, as I’d hoped).
  4. Is there a better way to bring a smile to your face than with a Friends reference? My all time favourite show, this tweet on Wednesday evening made me smile – before I then sent it on to my fellow Friends fans. It may also have been made my WhatsApp profile picture.
  5. Finally, this week Jojo rejoined the land of blogging and I’m so pleased to see it! I love how she writes and excited to hear more about her illustration degree.

How was your week?

Next week I’m only working four days, before our long weekend away. Yay! Hopefully we can also squeeze in a couple of episodes of House of Cards. Which is amazing. Have you seen it? Stu’s on nights at the moment, so could be tricky though.

Blogged this week: my first book review (what did you think of it?) and my home ideas scrapbook – turning Pinterest into real life. Next week I have a very special post that I can’t wait to share with you.

Have a great Sunday!

Leanne x

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A book review of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

A key message I want to get across in this blog is taking time out to relax; being glued to a screen all day long doesn’t feel particularly healthy, so recently I’ve found a lot of joy in taking time out to read and get lost in a story.

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson, is one of the first books (ever) where I’ve started it, got a couple of hundred pages in and started again. Please don’t let them put you off; I’m so glad I did start again and I wanted to share a book review of it with you today.


Book review - Life after Life - This Little Space of Mine


The basic premise of Life After Life is what if you had the chance to life your live again and again, until you finally got it right? Would you do it? Would you not? I’ve often wondered about my own paths, the highs and lows and thought if I’d change anything. My answer has always been no – it’s not like I can anyway, but actually I’m where I am today because of all those things. Even if they did hurt me, make me happy, or leave me wondering at the time.

The book starts in 1910 and runs through the first and second world war, often going forward and then jumping back, normally because of a significant event. For a while I had to flip back to the contents page to check where I was; I can absolutely appreciate why that might be off-putting, but it added so much more to the story for me.

The large majority of the book covers World War Two, a passage in history that I’ve always been fascinated with and drawn to in other books I’ve read. When reading I couldn’t help but wonder what other fictional characters were doing, or where they were – the likes of Winters and Easy Company (Band of Brothers), Cecilia and Robbie (Atonement), Pelagia and Antonio (Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) to name but a few. Reading about the war feels like it’s part of our generation of fiction and Life After Life looks at the brutality of it in a balanced way.

I’m going to expand on a couple of themes now, so if you haven’t read the book perhaps turn away from this review. I wholeheartedly recommend you give this book a go; it’s the first time I’ve read one of Kate Atkinson’s novels and the level of detail and insight she goes into is a wonder. It made for a truly heartfelt read.


Book review - Life after Life - This Little Space of Mine


Themes I spotted during Life After Life

The first theme I want to expand on is the strength of Ursula’s character. Given that she was born in 1910, there is expectation (from me, as a reader) for her to fit the mode the rest of her family have – get married as soon as you’re old enough and have lots of children. Yet Ursula never does. Of course certain events give reason to this, but Ursula feels like a character of the 21st century, strong, independent, curious and willing to find her own path. She stands out against the rest of the Todd family for this reason.

As I progressed through the book, to maybe two thirds, in I really began to feel almost home-sick whenever there was mention of Fox Corner. I felt comfortable at Fox Corner, learning the dynamics of the Todd family, events aside, and so when war begins and it takes us to Germany and London (depending on the story) I longed for the comfort and felt an almost desperation to get her back to safety. Speaking of the Todd family, I found it incredibly interesting how glossed over Slyvie’s death was. She began as a character I liked but slowly that turns and it’s actually Hugh we morn for.

Writing this post a day after finishing the book I’m tempted to pick it up again and read it, perhaps hoping for more twists and turns in Ursula’s life. I didn’t feel ready for it to end and felt great sadness in the last 50 or so pages. I could see myself reading it again, a great read.

When proof-reading this post, my boyfriend Stuart said a book review should have a score – what do you think?

Rating: 8/10

If you’ve got this far in my review I’d imagine you’ve read this story – so, what did you think of it? I’ve heard that this isn’t Kate Atkinson’s ‘best’ book, do you agree or disagree? What path Ursula took stuck with you?


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson - Book review - This Little Space of Mine




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Five thoughts Sunday – 9th November

So the first week of This Little Space of Mine is done and I’m so happy to be back! What do you think of my new blog?


Five thoughts Sunday - This Little Space of Mine


One feature I really wanted to include was a weekly post with some adhoc thoughts on articles, things I’ve been doing, news stories etc. Inspired by weekly posts from the likes of BeNourishd and Cider with Rosie, I give you ‘Five thoughts Sunday’ – for a quick Sunday read. Nothing too heavy, promise.

  1. While on a long train journey this week I started listening to Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to be a Woman’. My oh my, she’s just wonderful; I especially loved her thoughts on why woman pay for bikini waxes when they could spend money on cheese instead. She raises a valid point.
  2. It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in our day-to-day stresses, so taking time out on Monday evening to visit my Grandparents gave me some perspective and lifted my mood. I love them both dearly and loved hearing my Nan tell me about how they met, 67 years ago.
  3. There’s cake decorating and there’s cake decorating; this blew my mind.
  4. This week I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning how to use some new (to me) online software – helping me to manage my team at work, task list etc. I was impressed by Proof Hub, Gliffy came to the rescue for a flow chart I was working on and I’ve finally set up an Evernote account.
  5. Lisa’s 5 positive things to do this week series always brings a smile to my face; this week I especially loved her recommendation that we treat ourselves to a naughty box of cereal. I couldn’t resist and bought a box of chocolate Weetos.

How was your week?

Next week I have more posts to share, another long train journey (so more Caitlin Moran time) and hopefully some time for knitting on the cold winter evenings that have arrived with us. Brrr.

Blogged this week: I shared a recipe for my favourite banana loaf and got involved in Styling the Seasons.

Have a great Sunday folks!

Leanne x

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