The Christmas Chronicles | December 2021

14 December 2021 

Morning! Thought I'd share a little bit of a catch up (which is also part of my procrastination and stopping me from doing any actual work). I had a very low key birthday last week, probably the quietest birthday in years. 

There were rumbles of storm barra floating about and the weather wasn't too great with a yellow weather warning so I just ordered a McDs breakfast from Uber Eats and spent the day watching Christmas films. It was actually really nice. 

Last weekend was busier and we spent Saturday in Teesside completing the Redcar Ice Trail and then heading to the Dorman Museum for their Santa VR ride, both were fab and it was nice to spend some quality time with the kids. 

Then on Sunday I headed out with the girls for bottomless brunch at Cuba de Revolution. Sadly, one of our gang was stuck at home self isolating with COVID but we still had a nice time and it is a good excuse to do it all again in January.

Browsing my Facebook memories this week, I have noticed that at this time every year I seem to get very overwhelmed with Christmas and all there is to do. But this year, I just haven't felt it at all which is bizarre. I think this is for a few reasons.

Firstly, when you have three kids in Primary School, there is a ridiculous amount of Christmas stuff to keep track of - parties, fayres, nativity, panto trips, christmas lunches, carol concerts, church visits etc.......However now 2/3 kids are in Secondary and Jack is in his final year of Primary and although some things are going ahead still, there is definitely less involvement from me. 

I also think with younger kids, my diary was always so busy with Santa visits, Christmas parties, Christmas days out etc...... where as now they are older, they do more of their own thing and want to be with their friends more and the number of Christmassy days out we plan have definitely reduced for us now. 

Secondly, yes, it shouldn't fall on one person to do the lion's share of the work when it comes to Christmas however over the years I do think my constant stressing about having to do everything has meant that Steve has consciously done more when it comes to Christmas recently. 

For example, in the past he would even refuse to help wrap gifts as he would just say he doesn't believe in wrapping paper. I mean how can you argue with that? But now, I think he kind of just thinks anything for an easy life and Christmas tasks are much more fairly divided (and he even does half of te wrapping) so I don't have to take it all on. 

I think the fact that he now works from home certainly helps as the regular chores are much more fairly divided too. 

Thirdly, we are eating out for the full Christmas period this year - Running Fox delivery on Christmas Eve and then a pub lunch on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Not having to stress about food shopping / turkey / Christmas food etc....... is a big factor and one less thing to worry about. 

However saying all of the above, I can't help but be worried about Christmas. There is a niggling doubt in the back of my mind that the kids are going to catch COVID or there will be more restrictions to come. 

I keep thinking I should get a back up turkey in case we can't make it to the pub! More people I know have COVID than ever before now and we have so far escaped it  (as far as I know anyway) and I feel like it's a matter of time! Fingers crossed we manage to make it to Christmas. 

We still have a couple of family days out planned. We always go a little extra with one trip to the cinema to see a new release before Christmas. This year, it is Spider-Man and there are 7 of us going in total. I've booked the VIP seats and have put together little Spider-Man gift bags for the kids with Spider-Man stickers, Spider-Man Pez dispensers, sweets etc..... . 

I know this is OTT but it is only once a year. We're planning on going to Nandos afterwards if we can get a table. We've booked opening night and struggled to get a table. 

Then it's Jack's birthday right before Christmas. He always likes to get fish and chips for his birthday - that's all he asks for bless him but this year we are inviting family and friends along too so it will be a bit of a bug family get together. 

Half of me kind of thinks that we need to live life to the full and make these memories with family and friends as we will never get this time back but then the other half of me thinks we shouldn't be mixing so close to Christmas. However, we are going for it. 

My YOLO attitude takes over and most of the adults will be triple vaxxed by then so our risks of becoming seriously ill are lowered. I won't hold it against anyone who doesn't want to come though - I think we should let people make their own decisions. 

I am signing off for Christmas late tomorrow afternoon. Cannot wait for an extended Christmas break this year. I am going to try and take three weeks off but sometimes around the end of December I do end up getting bored and end up typing up a walk we've been on or something.

I plan on spending the Christmas holidays re-watching all of This is Us ready for the new series starting in January. Sadly, Steve is working for 6 days straight between Christmas and New Year this year so it will just be me and the kids enjoying Twixmas. We just plan on having a really chilled week of gaming and watching TV though.

Right, I better go and do some actual work now if I want to finish tomorrow..... 

6 December 2021 

Hope you all had a good weekend! Ours was filled with lots of festive fun. Starting on Friday night and a girls night out in town. We had drinks at All Bar One and a festive meal at Cote Brasserie. I've dined at Cote a few times and it never disappoints and Friday was no different. Excellent service, excellent food, excellent wine.

I loved catching the last bus home. Some lads at the back started a Christmas sing song and the whole bus joined in with the singing. Such a good atmosphere and it felt so nice to be part of something so simple and spur of the moment, especially as 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas' echoed around the bus. Lush! 

On Saturday we took Ollie to the beach. We've been looking after him for 7 months now and love him! Last weekend I let him off the lead a little in our garden for the first time and it was fine so this weekend we decided to go for it and let him off lead at the beach (with his owner's permission of course).

Ah he absolutely loved it and was jumping around as he was just so happy. I'm sure he was actually smiling too! His recall is brilliant and he came back to us when we called him but to be honest he didn't really venture too far from us. 

It was an all round success and a big milestone. Obviously, I think it's super important to be responsible when letting dogs off leads and there is a time and a place and I only did this when I was confident enough. A quiet beach we were all familiar with worked a treat. 

On Saturday night we took Evan and Jack to Tyne Theatre Panto. OMG driving in Newcastle on a busy Saturday night / match day was a huge mistake. 

The traffic was so bad and we struggled to find parking. We did eventually find somewhere (Grainger Town on the 9th floor!) and made it to the theatre with a few minutes to spare. Phew! In future I will definitely take the bus. We had a brill night though and the traffic stress was worth it. You can read our review here. 

On Sunday we had arranged to go to Newcastle Winter Wonderland with the extended family for my birthday. I booked it as soon as tickets were released ages ago but I have to be honest, as the date approached I was reading so many mixed reviews and their communication skills have not been the best so I was a little apprehensive about what to expect. 

We visited on a rainy day and yes, it was muddy and wet but you know what, we dressed for the weather (well most of us did) and we had a lovely afternoon. 

I'm pleased we visited and I would go again. These things are what you make of it. Days out with the extended family now the kids are older are few and far between and we all wanted to make the most of it so we did and we had a nice time. You can read a longer review and see more photos here. 

On Sunday night we chilled at home and caught up on Strictly, Casualty (what was going on with this week's episode??) and watched A Boy Called Christmas. We must be the only family in the world who wasn't too keen on this film. It just didn't seem to hit the spot for us. 

Steve is off this week and we usually go out and about Christmas shopping etc.....but a new storm is set to arrive in the North tomorrow so we aren't making any concrete plans yet. 

3 December 2021 

Morning! A quick update before a busy weekend. Last night we popped down to Pantrini's in Whitley Bay to help celebrate 100 years of their family business in Whitley Bay. It was so nice to chat with everyone and learn more about their family history.

I'm going to share a blog post soon but I wanted to give a quick shout out to their deep fried pigs in blankets made with Pantrini's batter and served with christmas gravy. 

Wow! These are just as good as they sound and available to order from today. Highly recommend if you fancy a little festive treat (other items from Pantrini's Christmas menu are also pictured below). 

I have managed a few nights out during the last few years but I honestly can't remember the last time I went out with the girls on a Friday night to town. Well tonight is the night! I am so looking forward to getting properly dressed up. Cocktails on Grey Street and a meal at Cote Brasserie are on the cards. Cannot wait!

I'm going all out with a black dress, full curly girl hair, painted nails......the lot. However for the first time ever I'm also going out in town on a Friday night with a coat on. I must be getting old!

Jack has his Christmas fayre at school today and once again, parents are not allowed to partake. I am actually pleased about this though. As much as I love going to school for nativity/other events, I just don't get on with school fayres. 

It's always so crowded and busy and it was especially a struggle when I had all three kids at school and they were little. It was stressful!

I have always said I'd just rather send a fiver into school and not have to attend (hope that doesn't make me sound like a terrible parent). Jack is excited to bring his bag of festive fayre goodies home tonight and I know that last year the school still managed to raise a decent amount of funds so I hope the same goes this year. 

It's a busy weekend ahead. Tomorrow we are heading to panto at (ad) Tyne Theatre. I'm taking Evan and it's his first panto so I hope he likes it! This one is sponsored by Specsavers and has 3D elements so look out for a review soon. 

Then on Sunday we have booked to go to Newcastle Winter Wonderland with the extended family. I booked tickets as soon as they were released as Gosforth Park is pretty central for all of us. 

On reflection though, I kind of wish I'd organised South Shields or Rainton Arena Winter Wonderland as they are both free (Gosforth Park is £3.50/£5) and I'm sure they're pretty much all the same. I'm looking forward to a festive afternoon though. 

Just to end today's post, after thinking long and hard, I have decided to no longer promote reindeer events. A few readers have contacted me over the past month or so with information and after reading into it, it's something I have decided not to promote going forward. 

Over the years we have enjoyed visiting reindeer at events but what is life if you can't grow and learn. I predict in a few years time, reindeer at events are probably going to be a thing of the past. If you want to read more about it, just google 'reindeer at events' and look under the news tab. 

Steve has a week off next week and it's my birthday too. We have zero plans other than a meal at The Boathouse in Amble. 

When we visited a few months ago I knew I wanted to go back and try their seafood platter on my birthday. We do have a few ideas for things to do but we're going to wait and see what the weather's like first.

Oh if anyone has any recommendations for a birthday brunch in town or the coast, please let me know. 

Have a lovely weekend x 

1 December 2021 


I've had a few requests for my chatty posts to return so I've decided to bring them back for advent in December. Blogmas is a thing in the blogging world where you write a blog post every day in December.

 I'm just going to give it my own twist and update this post as and when I can across the month in a kind of diary form. I don't like to commit myself to every day!

So here is my first installment of 'The Christmas Chronicles'. With these posts, I basically just sit at a desk and type out whatever pops into my head so anything goes. 

We put our Christmas Tree up yesterday. We have a lovely artificial pre-lit tree and if I was to give one festive tip to anyone, it would be to buy a pre-lit tree. No messing around with wires (ever) and I think it always looks brill with minimal hassle. 

If you read my Bamburgh Castle post you will know that we have decided to give our Christmas Tree a North East theme this year. I have made a decent start on it and will share some close up decoration pics soon. 

Now that the kids are older, they basically decorate the tree and I just watch on. They even go in the loft for us to get the tree down. I enjoyed watching on and supervising with a mug of mulled wine (we found a bottle which was left over from last year. 

Along with the tree, I put up our box of Christmas Books. It needs a good dust but I absolutely love it and don't think I will ever get rid of it. It's handy for if other children come to visit too. 

Jack eased us in with a fabulous reading of The Smelly Sprout (click here to buy - ad affiliate link) last night which is a story about an unwanted sprout. I was living my best life! 

Last night my brother popped up to Rothbury with Canny Pizza to help feed some of the locals who still don't have power after the recent storm. It was all a bit last minute and organised through Northern Powergrid / the local councillor and he didn't get home until after midnight. 

He said the damage up there is heartbreaking but the residents could not have been nicer and were still in good spirits. Fingers crossed power and life is restored for those affected soon. 

It's 1 December and for the first time ever I treated myself to a beauty advent calendar. I went with the No7 one as I'm a huge fan of their products. I must say, opening the door and finding a little treat really put me in a good mood this morning. 

I also managed to book tickets to see Kevin Bridges in Newcastle next summer today. I absolutely love him and cannot wait to see his live show. They weren't too badly priced at £30 each either. 

Today I have been pretty much glued to my desk and writing my ultimate guide to what's on in December. These monthly what's on posts take forever to write but they really are worth it as if anyone asks for ideas for things to do, I can point them to a ready made post. 

I did get up from my desk briefly to answer the door and collect my Cramlington Veg Box. As always, it looks fantastic. I love my weekly fruit & veg deliveries. 

Oh and this morning I launched my '24 Days of Christmas Days Out' on Instagram - I'm going to share an idea for a festive day out each morning. Today it was Bamburgh Castle. I go through periods of scheduling and not scheduling posts on Instagram and at the moment I am pretty well ahead with posts scheduled on there for the next 7 days so feel organised over there (for once). 

Today I also took delivery of a bumper order from Decathlon. Harry really needed some thermals for when he's out and about working with Canny Pizza and I managed to get him thermal boots, socks, trousers, top, hat and snood for around £70 which I thought was brill. I love Decathlon for stuff like that. 

Tonight we are heading to Manor Walks for a blogging event at their ice rink where we'll get a little preview of what to expect - I'm sure I will share photos on Facebook. Then we're watching Home Alone once we're back at home. I've already watched Love Actually and Last Christmas this week but have a long list of Christmas films that Harry has put together to work through this December. 

Tomorrow I have emails to answer, reports to write and invoices to chase (booo!). I'm also going to try and get some more Christmas shopping done online if I can. 

Speak soon x 


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