A Day in London

A day in London

Back in November Mr T and I spent a day in London together which is always so special for us.  It’s where we fell in love, it was home for over three years and we it’s one of the worlds best cities!

We drove up instead of taking the train as we were seeing a late night movie with friends at the IMAX so needed  safe transport back home.  We parked at Waterloo and as we headed out we spotted the Boris Bikes and spontaneously decided to hope on and cycle rather than take the bus.  Oh my, did I love it.  I cycled behind Mr T. who mapped our journey on his phone while I was able to just look around and take in the amazing sights.

A day in london

We ended up at Sloan Square where we parked the bikes and headed to the Saatchi gallery.  It just so happens to be in my favourite part of London, Chelsea, and is right on Kings Road – my fave shopping destination ever.

A day in London

 

A day in London

The Saatchi had a special exhibition of Rolls Royce and we were just blown away by the detail and passion that is put into the making of these super deluxe and exquisite cars.  They had playful interactive art displays that we got a little carried away with and they even had a Roll Royce xbox driving game that Mr. T had a few goes on.

A day in London

funny art

Best gallery I think I’ve ever been to.  So much more than plaques and paintings.

A day in London

A day in London

Heading back out onto Kings road we stopped for tea and strolled around to soak in this lovely little area all decked for Christmas.

A day in London

 

A day in London

A day in London

A day in London

But we, of course, couldn’t leave this area without heading to ‘the’ London destination – Harrods.

A day in London

 We fall in love with this city all over again every time we visit.  It’s so beautiful this time of year, all lit up for Christmas. It was a special day to be in love in London.

When was the last time you were in the city?

5 Ways to Not stress this Christmas

5 ways to not stress this christmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….. or is it?  Sometimes it’s cookie making on steroids and the only time of year that you have to listen to the same songs all day every day with only gingerbread lattes and mulled wine to get you through.

But then add a couple extra family members and it can all get a bit hectic.  There’s meals to plan, schedules to compare and presents to buy.  Add in all the nativities, Christmas parties and special church events and you’ve fit an entire years worth of socialising into one month.

Here’s a few things I’ve been reflecting on that help me enjoy the best of Christmas.

1. Don’t cook turkey

This may seem strange and go completely against your Christmas tradition, but honestly it is the most difficult and time consuming meat to cook.  Don’t spend your entire day slaving in the kitchen switch up your Christmas meat and keep the sides simple with fewer choices to cut cooking time by over half.  My favourite for Christmas is gammon which is very affordable and makes amazing left overs.

2. Shop online

I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now and it’s been a life saver.  Not only do I get a huge thrill at all the discounts out there online, but I never have to stand in the queue, pay for parking and get stuck in traffic – lovely.

3. Make it more about people than presents

I have always found that the less I spend at Christmas the more I seem to enjoy it. I’ve had a few Christmases were I’ve been so inspired with Pinterest Christmas ideas that I’ve spent all my time thinking of how much everyone would love their own crochet snowflake in their Christmas card only to discover that it will take me 5 years to make enough for everyone.  What a waste! Just spend time with the people in your life rather than fixating on what absolutely perfect Christmas gift you could give them.  Too many details = stress.

4. Throw out a few traditions

Traditions are a wonderful thing to have and instil great memories, but when they become counterproductive by inducing stress and tension in the family it’s time to let them go.  We’ve had to work through this each year as we’ve never spent an entire Christmas on our own and so there is, of course, lots of compromise involved.  We tend to see the traditions more as guidelines than rules. For example, giving christmas pajamas on Christmas eve is a favourite tradition of mine, but not one we’ve always been able to afford.  So switch it up with Christmas socks or santa hats to keep the tradition going.  Another example is the date and time of things.  We’ve always traditionally put up our tree on the 12th, my brother’s birthday, but we tend to do it sometime in the week or as close to that date if we’re not available that day.  We’ll still get a Christmas tree and Christmas will still happen even though the tree is up on a different day of the year.

5. Stick to a budget

This is usually the one that always gets thrown out the window as soon as we spot that amazing deal or the massive toy that would just blow our kids minds, but it’s what can cause the most stress about Christmas – overspending.  There is no bleaker month than January with zero money.

I hope these tips help you stress less and enjoy this special time of year.

What are your best stress busting tips for Christmas??

2014 Family Christmas Gift Guide

Well, it’s December!  I’m so glad it’s here and we have so much to look forward to this month.  My husband’s exams are FINISHED!!  So now we can enjoy the kids nativities, Christmas parties, mulled wine and turning on the Christmas tree every morning creating that special glow.

My oldest has asked that we make lots of Christmas traditions this year, which of course we already have plenty of, but she’s made a lovely list of things she wants to do this Christmas.  Making Christmas cookies and gingerbread houses are top of the list, along with opening a present Christmas Eve, and giving a gift to those in need.  I think she’s nailed Christmas and she’s only 6!

But the inevitable Christmas shopping will come as well and so to help you along I’ve created a little picture board of gifts for all the family.  There’s always one person that is really difficult to buy for so I’ve got a little something for her, him and the kids.   Who are you struggling to find the perfect gift for this year?

2015 Gift Guide for Her
2014 Gift Guide for Him

Do you remember?

Remember his goodness

It’s days like this that I know I need God in my life.  Hard work, agonising parenting moments, stress, long hours and little sleep.  But do you know what?  We all have those days.  But as time goes by days like this will be forgotten and seem like a dream we once had.

Being able to forget the bad days can be a real blessing, but unfortunately that’s not all we can forget.  We can forget the great days, the fun times, the beautiful moments and miraculous events.  When we’re going through hard times, bad times, sad times or just plain boring times we can forget about the good stuff, and even more, the God stuff in our lives. 

I’ve been having a seriously amazing time reading through Deuteronomy.  I’ve been marking up my Bible like never before.  Did you know that the word REMEMBER is written 16 times in this book?  I’ve been highlighting each one.  In chapter one God finally reveals the Promised Land to Moses and the Israelites and declares that now is the time to go for it.

But there’s one problem.  Because of the Israelites terrible attitudes and bad behaviour they’ve roamed in the desert for 40 years so God could knock off a whole generation and wait till the next generation were of age to inherit the great promise given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  But they don’t remember why they need the Promised Land.  They’ve become so comfortable they can barely remember the mind blowing, universe changing miracles that God did in Egypt when He delivered them from slavery.  They can barely even remember being slaves.

Moses begins to recount every sign, wonder and miracle God did for the nation of Israel.  He gets them to remember so that they’ll stand up and take what’s being given to them.  When we can’t remember what was lost it’s hard to see what we’ve gained.  

There’s no more terrifying a place to be than complacency.  The Isrealites were chosen, set apart and declared Holy because of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The Isrealites did nothing but moan, rebel and sin against God from the day he delivered them from slavery.  They were so comfortable where they were they couldn’t imagine anything better.  They didn’t remember the pain and suffering of living as slaves so they took for granted the freedom and provision of God.

We can easily forget.  But never forget the goodness of God.  When we’re going through tough times we can easily forget that we serve a GOOD God.  When we’re happy and satisfied we forget that we serve an ABUNDANT God.  God is always good and is always wanting to give us more.  There is no end to his love and mercy.

Don’t stop where you are.  Don’t get stuck in the wilderness of disappointment and complacency.  God has so much more for you!  Remember his goodness, remember his miracles, remember his love and remember his never ending mercy.

Don’t stop, keep going.  Don’t delay, push on.  His love never fails.

What can you remember about the goodness of God in your life?  Have their been miracles in your life that you’ve forgotten?

Pancakes, blogging and other things

Pancakes, blogging & other things

It’s Saturday morning and I have been awake for about 3 and a half hours already and it’s only 8:45 am.  I have helped make two pumpkin pies, made my own grain free pumpkin pancakes (yum!) and have also assisted the making of bacon and pancakes for 6 children.

But now I am sitting at my desk (another small victory to be at a desk and not typing on my lap in some random corner of the living room), eating my pumpkin pancakes and sipping on my first cup of tea of the day.  Bliss…  It’s taken me all week to sit down at my desk to write.  I miss it so much but the days seem to fly by weeks at a time and I am just trying to make sure I’m awake at the right time of each day.  It’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between night and day and I pretty much feel the same at both times.

Oh yes, it’s that time of the year again when hubby is studying most hours and sleeping for the rest and kids activities seem to triple and the calendar just explodes with events.  And that is why I look forward to Christmas so much every year.  My husband will actually have some time off from work where he gets to be with the family instead of at the library studying, and it’s cold enough outside to make it perfectly acceptable to stay indoors in our pi’s…all week long.

Saturday was another one of those calendar explosion days.  My amazingly gorgeous nieces slept over and we all headed up to Leatherhead to my brother’s house for an EPIC Thanksgiving meal with friends followed by racing down to Billingshurt for the Christmas Fair where I had a stall booked to sell my beauty products.

I still need to figure out what food to bring to the Thanksgiving meal and have two batches of body butter to make, jar up and label for the Christmas Fair.  This could be a very long day.  But what I have learned is that if I stop and think too much about all the work I have to do I get overwhelmed from the work load and become “stress paralysed” as they say in the movie “Mom’s night out”.  That is so a real thing!

I know you mum’s know what I’m talking about.  You start off making your to-do list and then you become frozen by the volume of work that needs to be done while having a mild panic attack about how much more work there will be if you keep sitting still.  But you just can’t seem to move and face all the work because the thought of it all just STRESSES you out – stress paralysis!  Very, very sad, but yet very real.

So my defence mechanism against such “stress paralysis” is to just keep moving.  You just do one thing and then the other until all the work is done.  You basically turn into Jason Bourne from the Bourne Identity. The more pressure and stress he was under the quicker and harder he would work.  Brilliant, but I believe this is not exclusive to highly trained secret government agents.  Us mum’s can do this too!  I do it all the time at my work, at home with the kids doing housework and any other place that requires exhaustive amounts of work.  Just keep moving.  Don’t give up, don’t think about it and just keep going.

Everybody has to do hard work and even though our work as mum’s can sometimes play some cruel psychological jokes on us, we’re not any worse off than any mother out there – or so my mother keeps telling me?!?

So if you’re caught up in the extra doses of hard work and stress this time of year can bring – just breathe and keep going.  It will come to an end – Hallelujah!  Christmas will come, holiday’s will arrive and we can finally sit down with a hot drink and enjoy our families.

Happy Holidays x

 

What Every Woman Needs to Hear

Well I’ve been back a week now from my weekend in the Isle of Man and I feel as if my feet have barely touched the ground!  But I couldn’t let any more time go by without capturing all that happened while I was away.

It was a truly special time away.  The Isle of Man is a beautiful Island that honestly felt exactly like Horsham.  Very well kept and very friendly people.  I would love to take my whole family next time as it really is a great place to explore with lots of history and super friendly people.

My favourite thing about the entire weekend was spending time with all the ladies.  I was excited to be going to a new place and meeting new people, but getting to know all the ladies I went with on a whole new level, laughing and crying together, sharing adventures and making great memories was the best.

We went to the Living Hope women’s conference and the theme was Belong.  Now I’ve been to my fair share of women’s conferences and I absolutely love them.  It can seem a little intimidating at first, as you know how us women can be, and it’s because of all that insecurity in the room that at every women’s conference you’ll hear the same thing – you are loved.  This is a fundamental truth that will be spoken because it is the deepest ache of all of our hearts – to be loved.

We doubt ourselves on so many things and even those of us who are blessed with husbands and/or children who adore us we still sometimes have a hard time loving ourselves.  That can be the hardest part.  I loved all the fun times with my friends and I love getting to know their hearts desires, their dreams and aspirations, likes and dislikes.  Each of them is special, unique, kind, passionate, funny and loving in such different ways.

But for some reason we can get blinders on our eyes so that we can only see everyone else’s ‘beauty’ and be completely blind to our own.  We are loved by our creator and Father God and the more we know and accept this the more we are able to love others.

Another big highlight from the conference was hearing Rob Parsons from Care for the Family.  Hearing about all that they do to support marriages, families of any size and circumstance and those who have experienced bereavement.  It was a little heart wrenching at times, but their philosophy of not just helping those in crisis but preparing for what’s ahead truly gripped my heart.  I decided to partner with their ministry and was given an amazing resource bundle which I can’t wait to get into (more on that later).

I did manage to capture a few moments on my phone and if you followed me along on Instagram or Facebook will have seen a few of these already.  But here are the best parts of  my weekend away on the Isle of Man.

 

 

 

Jet, Set, Go!

Something very exciting is happening this weekend.  I’m actually getting on an airplane and flying away for the weekend!  Now, the flight is less than an hour long and the weekend will be spent at a conference, but this is still BIG news for me!

And even though I’m not technically leaving the country nor do I need to use my passport I am still majorly excited at the thought of ‘travelling’.  A weekend away on the Isle of Man for a women’s conference is a perfect way to get my ‘sea legs’ back.  This will also be the first time since I’ve had kids that I will be away from all of them and my husband.  I’m not worried at all about the kids because they will be having a blast with daddy, who is astoundingly good at taking care of them single handedly – what a guy!

I’m excited about being in a new place, meeting new people, travelling with my girlfriends and hearing from God.  I love conferences, and am always so expectant.  I love being together worshiping, praying and hearing God’s word spoken.  It gives me fresh perspective, new vision and passion for the next season.

In anticipation of my trip I have already planned every outfit and created a mental list of every item to go in my weekend bag.  Now, even though I love clothes, I am not a heavy packer and am happy with the bare necessities on my travels (my husband is already trying to convince me to take just one extra pair of trousers in case I want to change in the evening – ain’t gonna happen).   I have no problem living out of a suitcase and will never take things that need hanging or ironing (which I never do anyway).  It’s a two night stay so one pair of shoes, two pairs of trousers and tops with vests for layering up if the weather gets cold.  Here’s a  look at my travel outfit.

Jenny's travel style

Jenny's travel style

Jenny's travel style

A classic mac and a colourful scarf are lightweight enough for travel and versatile for the tricky Autumn weather.

Jenny's travel style

Jenny's travel style

Jenny's travel style

Jenny's travel style

Travel, in my mind, means comfy clothing.  Leggings and a knit top are practically outdoor pyjamas.  A statement necklace adds instant style to any outfit and with some easy slip on shoes you’re out the door in no time and with no fuss.

Jenny's travel style

jenny11

Jacket: old, Scarf: old, Knit Tunic: H&M (similar here), Leggings: H&M, Shoes: Topshop, Necklace: New Look (similar here)

What are your travel essentials?  Until next time…