The Mustard Yellow Edit

Ever since I was a little girl, watching Winnie-the-Pooh with childishly happy eyes, I have adored the colour yellow. It was always my favourite colour. Even though I decided blue was for a little while (I really was, as my brother protested, simply copying Jordan’s favourite colour), and a little later green took its place, deep down I believe yellow has always been my favourite colour. I distinctly remember my younger self believing yellow is the happiest colour. My reason was, naturally… Because it’s the colour of Winnie-the-Pooh! Today, I’m quite the lover of all clothing and accessories that are a mustard yellow. Today I wanted to share with you my two latest mustard yellow favourites.

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The jumper

New Look: £17.99

Just before Christmas I fell in love with this jumper. I stroked its cuffed sleeves with puppy dog eyes as I stared at my boyfriend. He convinced me I shouldn’t be buying any clothes so close to Christmas, as my primary aim of the day was to finish my Christmas shopping. I reluctantly agreed this was a sensible conclusion and moved to the scarf section to buy a present for someone else. Quite simply, the jumper was on my mind all over Christmas; I’d been searching for the perfect mustard yellow jumper for some time by this point. And I’d found it! How could I be so stupid to let it go?

On Christmas Day, I opened my gift from my boss. As an envelope revealed a £20 New Look voucher, my mind went straight to my beloved jumper; the jumper with “balloon” sleeves, a high neck and a slightly cropped bottom. The New Year brought with it one mission and one mission only: Purchase My Mustard Yellow Jumper. Last week I walked into New Look, gift card in hand, my eyes excitedly darting from one item of clothing to another. And there it was. High up and one left in my size. If I was less of a cynic I might just call it fate.

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The bag

Accessorize (similar bag- in blue): £32.00 (no longer on site)

On an earlier Christmas shopping trip last year, my boyfriend picked up my mum a bag from Accessorize. I, however, was a little distracted by a laptop-sized rucksack hanging on the shelf; practically made for me. I was in love but, knowing I had money to spend on Christmas presents and Christmas presents only, I was forced to move on. I barely thought about the bag again (apart from, naturally, when passing an Accessorize) until Christmas Day when I was at Aaron’s house. I squealed as I was reunited with the bag love of my life and the bag and I have been inseparable ever since.

IMG_6220.JPGAlthough these two new favourite toys of mine complement each other a little too much (so much so most wouldn’t advise one wears them together), I am not afraid of overdoing the mustard yellow. This jumper is flattering and, despite definitely looking it, not itchy at all! I wear it as soon as it’s washed and I float around feeling like Winnie-the-Pooh all day long. It’s the only mustard yellow jumper I’m going to need for a long, long time. Now, onto fangirling about the bag. As someone who loves rucksacks and lugging along a lot of things on a daily basis, I couldn’t have found a more perfect bag. Both my boyfriend and I wondered if the bag was entirely practical… I can confirm, however, that it is. It truly is. Let me list what I pop in it in the morning before I then walk to work:

  • Laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Phone charger
  • Purse
  • Book
  • Diary
  • Brush

And what’s more… It doesn’t hurt my back one bit! I’m really surprised myself to say it but it’s true. I walk a forty-five minute walk to work and this bag doesn’t cause me even the slightest bit of back pain!

To conclude, mustard yellow is my colour for 2018. What’s your 2018 colour?

~ Kat ~

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Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette

As I’ve proven from my previous Naked palette review, I am no beauty guru. But I do know this: Urban Decay’s Naked Heat palette (£39.50) is revolutionary. The use of the word “revolutionary” definitely places my butt firmly on the palette’s hype train and I’m perfectly happy to be there. It has very comfortable seats. It may be January─therefore, in the UK, very cold─but this palette has brought summer to my eyelids, six months early. Urban Decay’s Heat palette is full of rich and, actually, really “not me” colours. And yet I think it’s overtaken my love for Urban Decay’s Naked Smoky palette. *Asks beauty gurus for forgiveness and probably gets it immediately.*

palette edited two

PROS

  • Even though the palette is very centred around red kind of tones (making the colours not very “me”), I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with them. Especially as a few of them are amazingly shimmery- Lumbre, Dirty Talk, Scorched (my favourite) and Ember. I am quite the lover of sparkly clothes these days and these tones, over the Christmas period which included Christmas and New Year’s parties as well as an 18th birthday, provided for great shades to make me look a bit more extra.
  • Despite how wonderfully dramatic this palette is, it has a few nudes that I find really easy to use on an everyday basis. Chaser, Sauced and Low Blow are really good generic eyeshadows, while the others do the talking when you need.
  • While I can imagine these shades looking awesome in the summer as I sport a tan and sip cocktails from June-September (a girl can dream), I think the colours look really awesome during the winter, while I unwillingly sport my very pale skin. I definitely believe this palette stays true to the claim that it’s for all skin tones.

palette edited

CONS

  • There is a teeny tiny bit of fall out. I also, however, consider this to be one of the product’s pros, since its fall out is far less than its older sibling, the Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette.
  • There’s often a lot of blending needed when using these colours. Again, this isn’t a proper con; there needn’t always be blending too much, it depends on how you’re doing your make up and everyone needs to  blend… But, upon using this for the first time, my boyfriend said, “It looks like you’ve got a sore eye.” For me personally, I do need to blend up.

This palette is what palette dreams (definitely a thing) are made of. I love using Chaser as an every day shade whereas my party season eyelids looked something like this:

  1. Ounce all over the lids and brow bone
  2. Scorched heavily over eyelids and a little bit above the lid
  3. Ember or En Feugo in the corner of eyelid
  4. Ounce in the corner and, again, over the brown bone, blending until it no longer looks like one has a “sore eye”

Ultimately, I think this palette is going to be a really hard one to beat. Good luck Urban Decay; I’ll be waiting!

~ Kat ~

 

 

Kat’s Kitchen: My Baking Tips

One of my favourite pastimes is baking. I might not do it all too often and I admit most of my bakes do look homemade, but I love the process of measuring, stirring and baking to perfection. I love appealing to my sweet tooth with an extra layer of sugar; buttercream, as it has been since I was a young girl, being my favourite addition. It’s when I bake with my boyfriend that I realise, through baking with my mum over the years, I’ve picked up a thing or two. Aaron looks a little confused as I say something so far, to me, from profound. And then it makes sense to him. I definitely have my mum to thank for this.

birthday.jpgHere are a few baking tips and tricks I have picked up in the last twenty-one years or so.

  1. Prep your oven and your tray (or whatever tool you are using to bake!) beforehand. It saves precious time once your bake is ready for some heat.
  2. When following a recipe, don’t stray from the exact measurements. They are the measurements for a reason!
  3. Do, if you want to make something a bit different, mix and match a couple of different recipes!
  4. Using an electric whisk to mix your bake doesn’t mean you’re not a baker; sticking by your wooden spoon, though, can still be super fun.
  5. If it says stir, stir! If it says fold, fold! If it says… you get my drift!
  6. When making fairy cakes, muffins or butterfly cakes, use an ice cream scoop to transfer the mixture from your bowl to your cases. Just trust me on this one.
  7. While we’re on the subject of transferring mixture, there is always enough mixture for one more cake; for one more dollop of creamy mixture. Grab your spatula and start scraping!
  8. Do not interrupt your bake unnecessarily once it’s in the oven! This can often be the reason for a baking fail.
  9. Cool your bakes sufficiently. If your bake hasn’t failed from opening your oven door and peeking in, then it will if you rush to do the icing and plonk it on your bake. Be patient. Let your bakes cool and then add your sugary topping.
  10. Finally, if you baked it… you deserve to eat that gigantic slice!

Have you any baking tips and tricks for me?

~ Kat ~

A Cocktail for New Year’s Eve

It’s the final day of, without a doubt, the best year of my life so far. It’s been the year of three capital cities (Paris, Rome and New York), a summer holiday and a five star stay in my most local capital city. I turned twenty-one and had a room full of strangers sing a birthday tune to me, got myself a degree before graduating with some of the best friends and landed the first mini job whereby I get paid to write. I begun writing the book I really believe will be the first I finish writing and I beat a windy day by finishing a ten mile run (before appearing on television, looking a little ill) that really nearly beat me. I saw a handful of theatre shows, made my very own gin and saw one of my favourite bands, Kodaline, live. 2017, you’ve been the kind of special that can’t be replaced. So let’s wave you off in style!

New Years Eve 3


Ingredients (for one Cointreau fan) 

  • 35ml Cointreau
  • 100ml Prosecco
  • Cranberry juice (measurement at your discretion)

Method

  1. Pour in the Cointreau.
  2. Add the Prosecco.
  3. Fill the glass up, as you desire, with cranberry juice.

This, I believe, is the perfect New Year’s Eve companion. My mum and I have said a “chin-chin!” and admired a glass already. I won’t lie, I’m rather impressed with my concoction and plan on enjoying another in an hour or so alongside the gammon roast that is already underway!

This New Year’s is the first I’m getting to spend properly with my boyfriend as we are both not working it. *Fist pumps repeatedly because I’m still super excited about this.* I will be making him a glass of this cocktail before we head off to our friend’s for a three course dinner party (just like in The Vicar of Dibley, I’m struggling to fit in all of the roast dinners!). We then will be joining our college friends to see in the New Year with fizz and games. Happy New Year everyone!

~ Kat ~

A Christmas Short Story: Part Two | Blogmas #25

Dear December Twenty-Fifth,

Merry Christmas, you! December, it’s your main event and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m destined for an incredibly relaxed Christmas Day. I’ll be eating a lot of food and I may just have a few glasses of Buck’s Fizz. I just know you’re surrounded by the rest of the year’s months and I bet you’re having the best time. We’ve arrived on the last day of Blogmas; the last of my letters to you, the lovely December. Yesterday I wrote the first part to my quick Christmas story. If you’d like to remind yourself of my protagonist, Michael, you can do so here: A Christmas Story: Part One. As you begin to properly wake up now, I’ll tell you the rest of my story, December, and then I’ll leave you to get on with your day…


If there was such a thing as dreaming ardently then Michael was doing just that as Christmas Day began its fifth hour. Michael’s eyelids fluttered and a faint smile moved his lips. The exact smile Michael hadn’t smiled since his wife died just over two weeks before. His breathing quickened for a few minutes for his mind was dreaming of Alison.

“You’re a popular boy, ey, Michael.”

It was 1959 all over again and the new girl at school was staring at Michael with big blue, twinkling eyes. Michael had caught those very same eyes the day before in class and, while she smiled invitingly, Michael blushed and looked down. Michael wasn’t very good at this. “Huh?” Michael managed and met those eyes for a record of three seconds.

Alison tapped her cheek with her index finger. Michael lifted his version of her finger to the spot she was touching. He suddenly realised. His mother had landed quite the kiss on his cheek that morning as he left for school. Michael willed his cheeks not to flush as he aggressively rubbed his cheek, making it redden anyway.

Alison giggled but not in the way a lot of the other girls liked to. Michael no longer felt that he needed to rub so aggressively. He looked at his fingers and then at Alison, in the hope she’d let him know if the lipstick stain was gone. “It’s gone, silly!”

“You’re Alison.”

Immediately Alison liked that he didn’t pretend to not know her name. Goodness knows the whole of her class pretended she didn’t exist. Being the new girl was hard. Unknown to her at this point, the school would fall in love with her kind heart soon enough. “Everyone calls me Ali,” she shrugged. “I like it when you call me Alison, though.”

And from then on, while everyone else called her “Ali,” she was Michael’s Alison. 

Alison nudged Michael’s shoulder in a way that hinted they should get to class. Every day for three years they met ten minutes before school started and made that very same walk to class. And once they’d finished school forever, Michael gave her a yellow diamond that happily snuggled her ring finger. At sixteen years old, Michael watched his soon to be wife walk down the aisle to his completely in love eyes and he knew this moment would mark the rest of a very good life. 

Michael woke at just a few minutes past five am. His heart ached and it ached as he stared up at the ceiling. It was his first Christmas morning without his Alison and, for the first time, he was waking up in his eldest son’s home. His daughter Lily would join them at midday, as would his middle child, Harrison and his husband, Matthew. His family that was no longer he and his wife’s. He heard jingle bells jingle and he frowned. Slowly Michael moved out of bed to find the sound that would have made his wife squeal with excitement.

As it turned out, Michael needn’t search long and hard. He opened the door of his son’s spare bedroom and there sat, propped on a festively wrapped box, finished with jingle bells, was an envelope. Michael crumbled to the floor, hitting his knee as he did. His wife’s writing read,

My Michael,

Do not open until the morning of December 25th

While he knee throbbed, Michael felt a feeling he hadn’t felt for two weeks. It resembled something like hope and it fuelled him to pick up the envelope and gift, before closing the door and heading out onto the balcony. Fairy lights danced around the balcony and Michael noticed that Christmas morning looked good. Stars were still working hard in the sky and he was drawn immediately to the one he was certain winked at him the night before.

He perched on a chair that sat beside the railings. For a few minutes he stared at his star; not feeling any need to rush. Although curious, he didn’t yet want to overthink how one last message from his wife turned up at his door on this calm Christmas morning. With sweet trepidation Michael slid open the envelope to find a postcard of their favourite seaside; their home, Brighton. It was a photograph of the pier; the home of their many fish and chip dinners and secret kisses. His mind wandered through every memory of every kiss and every arcade game they played over the years.

Suddenly, like a boy waking up excitedly on Christmas Day, Michael turned around the postcard.

My Michael,

I knew you’d be the first up. Well, not the FIRST up.

Michael paused and managed to laugh a hearty laugh; the heartiest, most proper laugh he’d laughed for two weeks. This was down to his only little granddaughter, Megan, of course.

You see as soon as we found out about this grim illness of mine a few months ago, my first thought was… Christmas. Before I realised we’d seen our final Christmas together, I thought of you probably waking up at Patty’s house on the 25th and I gathered that would be a difficult one. So I got my very own Santa’s little helper involved. And here we are.

I don’t have much space left on the postcard of our home but that was my intention. My hand is hurting but my heart hurts more at each and every word I’m writing. I only want to say one thing, my darling.

Merry Christmas, Michael. 

All my love,

Your Alison

Michael stroked his wife’s name and a tear greeted his thumb. He looked to the sky and his star and he knew there was no stopping it this time. He cried for his wife and he cried for his heart. It took two weeks but he immediately felt relieved. His stare remained on the star as it waved from the sky above. His tears continued to fall but Michael didn’t try to stop them. He brought the small box to the palm of his hand and he slowly unwrapped the last gift from his wife; the jingle bells jingling as he did.

He opened the small blue box to see the Polaroid snap he hadn’t seen in what must have been over thirty years. Below the photo, his young man’s handwriting read “8th September 1952.” The photo captured the moment after he proposed on their pier, in the pouring rain. Grinning big grins at the stranger who offered to take the picture, this was Michael’s favourite photograph in the world. He kissed it briefly and looked at the sky. He looked back at the postcard and thought of Megan probably lying in her bed with her eyes wide open, waiting for someone to tell her she’s allowed to get up. Not that that had stopped her an hour before, of course.

Michael stroked his wife’s “Merry Christmas” written shakily but lovingly.

With more speed than he anticipated, Michael made his way from the balcony to his only grandchild who, as expected, was in bed, eyes alert with Christmas adoration.

“Good morning gorgeous girl,” Michael edged into her room that was lit up with her very own Christmas decorations. Snowflakes hung from the ceiling and fairy lights draped across her walls.

“Morning Grandpops,” Megan grinned knowingly.

“Thank you for your help, Meg.”

“I was helping Grandma, not you!”

“Through helping Grandma, you helped me.” Megan looked up at him, her young six years obvious as she simply grinned back at him.

“I wanted to.”

Michael sat on the edge of her bed and ushered for her to snuggle up to him. She did so immediately and he stroked her red curls. “Merry Christmas, Meggy-moo.”

“Merry Christmas, Grandpops.”

Michael checked the time to see it was now half past six. “Shall we…” Michael trailed off to get Megan excited. She bounced slightly, her mouth getting wider from excitement. “Go wake mum and dad up so we can see what Santa’s brought?”

“Yes, yes YESSSS!” She jumped up and he followed her little footsteps to Patrick and his wife, Jennifer’s room.

Once the turkey and the roast potatoes and the vegetables were served, Michael stared at the best family in the world. He lifted his glass that was full of Buck’s Fizz and he motioned for everyone else to do the same. He caught Megan’s eye and the fizzy pop in her glass and he laughed. “Merry Christmas everyone.”

He watched his kids almost sigh. For the sake of Megan and her little cousins, Michael watched each of his children put on the bravest of faces. With Michael’s three words it felt like a layer of sadness had lifted and room was made for a special Christmas. Michael looked from each of his children to the other and he smiled. Slightly out of sync, their “Merry Christmas everyone” back at him healed a part of his heart that he didn’t think would ever heal.

He looked to the star sitting on top of Patrick’s family’s grand Christmas tree and Michael thought to himself, We have quite the family, Alison.


Thank you for listening to me this month, December. I have adored writing to you. You’re quite the listener. I’m glum that I am writing the end of my final letter to you but I won’t be quiet over here on the blog for the rest of the month. All the same, writing to you was really something. Once again, have a very merry Christmas, December. You deserve the most cosy and fizz-fuelled day.

Love, Kat ❤

A Christmas Short Story: Part One | Blogmas #24

Dear December Twenty-Fourth,

Christmas Eve has always been a magical day for me. Although I’ve spent the day working for the last couple of years─and today is no exception─that Christmas Eve sparkle in my tummy has never subsided. By now, Santa has already set off on his mission and, still, many will be excited to leave out a mince pie and some carrots for our favourite bearded man and his lovely little helpers. Today, December, I wanted to share a story with you, if you don’t mind. I’ve been a keen writer since the age of six or seven and wanted my Blogmas to include a two part story. Due to work I haven’t had the time I’d like to have had to spend on this little Christmas story but all the same…

…Let me introduce you to Michael.


It was Christmas Eve and, this particular year, December twenty-fourth took place seven days after Alison’s funeral; Michael’s childhood sweetheart was laid to rest in front of an audience that adored her infectious laugh, happy eyes and wise words just like Michael did. This Christmas Eve Michael was watching the grey waves splatter against the miserable pebbles from his favourite seat. Well, he and his beloved wife’s favourite seat. Now, a silver plaque dedicated to Alison was sitting just below his shoulders. Already a little worn from the vile December weather, Michael’s heart ached as he remembered just six days before; when his children took him down to the seaside to show him what they’d done for him. Their bench now would be forever theirs; even after when Michael would one day join his wife.

In loving memory of

ALISON O’SULLIVAN

1946-2016

His youngest daughter, Lily, tightened her grip around her father’s old and loving hand as Michael stared at the dates. His three children were taking in the moment too but Lily always took after her mother- she had an innate sense of knowing what Michael was thinking. And he was thinking, You weren’t supposed to go first, sweetheart. He felt grateful for Lily’s comforting hand but he couldn’t look at her to let her know. If his eyes did anything but blink, he would break down there and then, in the bitter December wind and he knew his kids would follow within seconds.

Now, as afternoon was preparing for evening, Michael struggled for the first time since his wife died to bite back the heartbreak from leaking from his eyes. He let his eyes overflow for just two tears; he let his lip weaken before he stopped it with his teeth. He hadn’t cried since his Alison died in the early hours of December tenth. His body fatigued immediately; it felt as though his batteries were losing their energy in the two weeks before Christmas Eve. But he hadn’t cried.

If he cried he’d surely die for his wife wasn’t there to kiss his tears like she once did. His wife wasn’t there to hold him until his fingers no longer traced her beautiful age-tinted skin; needing to touch her to know he wasn’t alone. She wasn’t there to sing softly to him as he would stroke her thin grey hair that he loved just as much as her, once upon a time, auburn curls. He loved his children with all of his worn heart but it was only his wife who could save Michael from the utter despair that flooded his body two weeks before.

It wasn’t long before the sky begun to switch off. The already grey sky turning more grey; the sea looking more and more threatening with every minute that passed. But then the sea had been angry ever since his Alison died. Michael provided the sea with company every single day since his wife closed her eyes for the final time. He found a certain tranquillity in the wave’s ferocious tongue. He felt like the sea was letting him know that it missed Alison too. Michael stroked the space beside him that once belonged to his wonderful wife. They just loved the seaside and while it hurt to be there without her, he felt closest to her when on their bench, surrounded by pebbles and sea.

It was nearly half four and his eldest son, Patrick, would be expecting him for dinner in just over half an hour’s time. So, with a heavy heart, Michael whispered, “Goodbye” into the air. He hoped his wife could hear and, from the momentary pause in the waves, he knew she and the sea had heard. He stroked the plaque one final time and made his way through the December day, passing countless festive house displays en route, to his son’s front door; a wreath hung authoritatively above the knocker.

Michael lifted his hand to knock but stopped after his ears caught the sound of the festive chatter that was the soundtrack to his son’s home. He looked up to Christmas Eve’s black sky. He focused on one star and whispered, “Darling, send me the strength I need to get through this first Christmas without you.” As he was about to avert his eyes, he could have sworn the star winked.


Have a delicious Christmas Eve, December. With sorrow in my heart, I realise there is only one more letter left to send. I’ll miss talking to you but I’m excited to tell you the rest of Michael’s Christmas story tomorrow. Don’t let Christmas Day excitement keep you up too late tonight, December!

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. Yesterday I wrote to you about a Yule log from Bakedin. I’ve left another copy of the letter HERE.

A Yule Log from Baked In | Blogmas #23

Dear December Twenty-Third,

To me baking is an essential part of Christmas, December. Nothing says Christmas like home baked treats, waiting eagerly in a tin in the kitchen. Mince pies, Christmas cookies and the classic Yule log are my favourite Christmas treats. A year or so ago my boyfriend subscribed my mum to Bakedin, the baking club that sends out monthly baking kits and mixes. After a while my mum continued the subscription herself and she has baked goodies such as chocolate honeycomb cake (my FAVOURITE!), toffee apple muffins and even hot cross buns thanks to the best baking subscription package ever! Bakedin keep up with the seasons brilliantly and they are celebrating your month, December, with the kit and recipe for a caramel Yule log! My mum bought a second kit as it was on offer so what did my boyfriend and I do last night? BAAAKE!

IMG_5949.JPGBakedin is so simple to use and yet doesn’t take any magic away from baking. It works like this. You are given different packs of ingredients, labelled with numbers that will crop up in the recipe that you’re also provided with. The box contains some baking paper and a piece of card that helps you measure butter accurately. The Yule log recipe was super simple to follow and added a sprinkle of festivity (and icing sugar everywhere- oops!) to our Friday evening.

I do have a confession though, December. Through no fault of Bakedin’s, we messed up repeatedly upon making this. Thank goodness we have another box for my mum to succeed with! Until last night I considered myself a caramel making Queen. We began to make our first (of what turned out to be three attempts) attempt at the caramel that is to be drizzled over the cream in the middle of the log. It was a disaster. Second attempt: It was a disaster. By this point, we’re running out of home ingredients to succeed with but we do it. We make caramel icing that tastes like caramel and what do I do? I pour it straight onto the cream, forgetting it needs to cool. It ruins the cream and soaks the sponge. *Face palm.* We redid the cream and had to keep our Yule log as a simple chocolate one; it was a nightmare. But, after a long day of work today, I have this log waiting for me when I get in tonight. And I can’t wait to eat a slice.

I recommend Bakedin completely; it’s perfect for the seasoned baker and the novice baker too! It might even tickle your taste buds as the perfect last minute Christmas present. If any of your loved ones are pro bakers or looking to get into it, you can gift them with a subscription HERE! Sign them up, print off the proof and tie it with a red bow! Bakedin is something that little different something that Christmastime requires! Have a magical day, December. If you’ve got the time, roll up your sleeves and get baking!

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. December, yesterday I wrote to Santa instead: A Letter to Santa.

A Letter to Santa | Blogmas #22

Dear December Twenty-Second,

This letter is going to be a little different today. I hope you don’t mind but I need to speak to Santa. So today I’m going to give you a rest from my festive chitter chatter and write to our favourite bearded man. You may still wish to give it a read, though; this one feels like an important letter. Do have a lovely day, December. But for the time being, I need to have a chat with the man with the bag.


Christmas tree BlogmasDear Santa,

The big party you throw on the twenty-fifth of December is wonderful; its magic is felt by so many and you’re the reason for this. But while I wake up to a healthy family, a cup of tea and presents to open, so many spend their day like every other. Cold, tired and hungry; the grey sky above is their only witness as they shiver, alone in the bitter December weather. The rest of us are tucking into turkey and roast potatoes in the comfort of our heated, happy homes.

A couple of days ago I visited Winchester to get my Christmas shopping done and to wander thoughtlessly around its gorgeous Christmas market. While I took part in such a simple festive pleasure, I was passing too many (just the one freezing cold human would be too many) homeless people; shivering shiver after shiver. I spent the day grimacing at each transaction; spending money on loved ones’ presents with a little resentment on behalf of my bank balance.

Santa, I have a bed to return home to at night. I have the money to drop on a cold beer; for no reason other than I want one. And I have the money to spend on my loved ones. I am one of the lucky ones. These very sentiments and more flooded through me as I saw a man bent over into his knees, nursing a takeaway coffee cup, with his art spread beside him. He was selling his drawings for some pennies.

And what came next? I struggled with everything in me but I walked past. An internal war came to its end and I just cried as I walked down the street. I selfishly cried for the man who had nothing while I slowly wandered to the car that would drive me to my home… Before I indulged in an evening with a friend whereby we would eat a three course meal. “I don’t give the homeless money because I don’t know what they’ll spend it on” just doesn’t cut it for me anymore. I say this sentence in my head, reassure my conscience and carry on with my very privileged day.

We all do our bit for charity and those in need but most of us will claim we don’t do enough. We, however, admire charities that offer help to those with cancer or children with a tough upbringing or animals in danger. And, of course, we should. Yet we pass the homeless every single day; we see the devastation with our own eyes and then we dismiss them; we’re numb to the homeless. We’re turning a blind eye to real human beings suffering in entirely inhumane ways.

Santa, we believe they are different to ourselves. We tell ourselves that they got themselves into the mess they’re in; they aren’t taking help offered to them. Whether it’s true or not, these excuses aren’t enough. We say that they’re probably not actually homeless. Our minds call them liars when, really, for the sake of the many who really are homeless, we have to believe everyone seemingly suffering in such cruel conditions.

Santa, I know this is a long letter but I need your help. I only ask for this, this Christmas. I need you to help me spread the word. While I won’t give the homeless money, that doesn’t mean there aren’t so many things I could be doing instead. It’s taken me twenty-one years to realise how grim my refusal of money was. My money can go so far without directly giving it to the downtrodden, ignored human beings on our streets. So I’ve done my research, Santa, and I’ve left a few suggestions as to what we can do below.

  • StreetLink is a fantastic website and app that enables the public to inform local services where people are sleeping rough in England and Wales. It’s free to download as an app and entirely easy to use. You really may as well download it.
  • There are so many charities doing such awesome work on behalf of the homeless; donate today. Shelter and Crisis are just two brilliant charities. I suggest spending a little less on everyone’s present this year and donating this money, instead, to a charity that helps the homeless.
  • Charities strongly encourage people to not give homeless people money. However offering homeless people food or a cup of tea is, according to charities, a good idea. And if they don’t accept it? They don’t accept it. Whether offering food or not this Christmas, just ensure you treat them like a human. If a homeless person asks for money, politely say, “No, sorry.”
  • There are so many ways to volunteer a helping hand. Check out Crisis at Christmas if you’re wanting to volunteer this Christmas.
  • Don’t ignore the sellers of The Big Issue; put your hands in your pockets and buy one… and read it too.
  • Whether to local shelters or directly to homeless people, offer warmth. Clothes and blankets and socks and other such things are such a great help. Have a New Year clear out and give the result of it to the homeless.
  • Being aware of the problem is a big step towards helping the homeless. A simple tweet that includes links to charities that help is a brilliant thing to do.

Santa, I hope you can help the homeless this Christmas. They need it more than most. I hope preparations are going well, Mr. Claus.

Thanks for listening.


Love, Kat ❤

Winchester at Christmas | Blogmas #21

Dear December Twenty-First,

I had a day off yesterday. I woke up after a lovely long sleep with a sigh of relief. I don’t know if you know the feeling; you’re a pretty non-stop month.  My batteries felt recharged and Christmas felt doable. Even though, December, I still had a fair bit of Christmas shopping to do. That, however, was yesterday’s main “to do” and Aaron and I decided to make it a little more fun rather than a lot, a lot of stress. A forty minute drive away from our home is the beautifully old-fashioned city of Winchester. The city is notorious for their wonderfully picturesque Christmas market. I couldn’t wait to return and to get my Christmas shopping done with Winchester looking over me.

IMG_5921Bellies rumbling and noses excited from the smells, our first stop was food. We opted for a spinach, feta and onion pastry which, if I’m honest, tasted like a Cornish pasty… Which I was not complaining about. We munched and we munched, admiring the city’s normal town market before popping in and out of shops, ticking things off of my list as we went.

IMG_5923We then headed to the Christmas market, salivating at the amazing chocolates and admiring the phenomenal crafts that were on offer. Winchester’s Christmas market is the perfect place to buy something a little special for loved ones. For your loved one who loves their garden or their cheese or their one of a kind homeware; Winchester’s twinkling market delivers it all.

December, you’d think so close to Christmas that you wouldn’t find a moment’s peace. But, despite the crowds fuelled by agenda, I felt pretty content. Oh, and December, I got everything on my list! We headed to a local pub and nursed a beer before heading back into your grey day to soak up another portion of Winchester at Christmas.

IMG_5925If you’re down that way over the next few days, December, I recommend popping into the city to soak up the festive cheer and excited chatter. There’s nothing quite like it. How’s your Christmas shopping going, December? I’d love to hear from you. Speak soon!

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. I wrote about my favourite Christmas decorations yesterday, December. If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet I’ll leave it HERE for you.

Our Favourite Christmas Decorations | Blogmas #20

Dear December Twentieth,

You’re a gloomy Wednesday morning but you must be getting worn out by this point in your festive month. Happily worn out, I know. Gloomy December days are always counteracted with a sparkly and warm Christmas tree. Our tree is looking pretty dazzling this morning; it’s the star of our show and I hope you agree. For you, of course, are the master of Christmas trees. We are a red, gold and green kind of family as I’ve already told you this month. What makes our tree our tree, though, is definitely the decorations that hang happily off of the branches. Let me talk you through a few, December.

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Santa’s holiday

Contrary to popular belief, December, Santa isn’t always flying his reindeer and sleigh. He owns his very own plane and I like to believe it takes flight on Boxing Day. Once all the kids in all the world are happy with their Christmas Days, Santa gets to go on a well-deserved holiday. I like to think he heads to somewhere like Ibiza to let his beard down. When I popped this decoration on the tree this year I thought of my brother who hasn’t joined us for Christmas yet but will soon be taking his piloting test once he has.

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Santa in New York City

This decoration is a very new addition to our Christmas tree. I purchased it from the top of the Empire State Building and, upon writing this post, I’ve realised I simply adore Santa taking any kind of transport that isn’t his sleigh! I bought this for the Terry family and couldn’t wait to see him driving around the tree. I think he looks pretty cool, December.

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The hidden drum

Upon asking my mum about her favourite decorations on our tree, she pointed out the drum. And I realised then that our tree wouldn’t be our tree without this lovely little quiet drum. I’ve been putting this decoration on our tree ever since I can remember being old enough to take part in tree decorating festivities. It’s one of our timeless classics that make our tree whole.

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Yet another Santa Claus on our tree

Yes, December, we definitely seem to be a fan of Santa decorations and this one is another family classic. We’ve been popping Santa on our tree for years and years and years and he looks fabulous, don’t you think?

What’s your Christmas tree like, December? What are your favourite decorations? I just know your tree must look magical. I’m excited to spend a few hours next to my Christmas tree at some point over my next two days off. There’s nothing like watching a Christmas film with the glow of the Christmas tree in your peripheral vision. I hope you get to unwind with a film before your main event kicks off in a few days. Speak soon, December.

Love, Kat ❤

P.S. Still looking to finish off a present? I have linked yesterday’s letter HERE to hopefully help you out!