10 Tips for Surviving The Christmas Shopping Trip….

10 Top Tips On How To Survive The Christmas Shopping Trip

Christmas. There, I said it!

I’ve been tiptoeing around the subject for a few weeks now, especially seeing as every year it seems to be thrust upon us earlier and earlier. However as I’m one of these uber organised folk that’s ready with the shopping list the moment Halloween is behind us.

This time of year seems to flick a switch in even the most forgiving of shopper. I’m personally not a fan of risking my life for the latest Disney doll or £10 off a light up toaster… all whilst news crews circle in a chopper above the parking lot reporting on the injury count. Yet every year we brave the hoards of high street shoppers in search of that perfect pressie as we prepare to get trodden on, elbowed and bled dry of our monthly earnings.

Thankfully if you’re on top of your game it really doesn’t have to be as stressful as rumour has it. In fact if you play your Christmas cards right you might actually find yourself having a jolly good time of it – unlikely I agree, but hey, I’m being optimistic for once!

So for those of you preparing to brave the crowds here’s my 10 top tips on how to turn the festive frenzy into tidings of comfort & joy…

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Wandering around aimlessly searching for Christmas gift inspiration can be stressful & tedious. Rather than shopping blindly, curl up with a note pad and jot down everyone you plan on buying for first. Think of their personalities, interests, hobbies etc. and go from there. Alternatively nab a few high street catalogues or pop online and I’ll guarantee your gift buying juices will flow. If you’re still struggling check out Not On The High Street, which is crammed full of unique little gift ideas from some of the UK’s best creative businesses!

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cst2

Keep in mind that evenings and weekends are peak times for big spenders so it’s no surprise that this comes with a mass of queues & disgruntled shoppers. If possible save yourself the hassle and schedule your trip for an early week morning, whilst others are busy at work or school you’ll be sure to find the space you need to browse the shelves without risking a bruised rib or trampled toe.

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cst3

Last year I witnessed at least 4 major falls from girls slipping or tripping as a result of tottering around in six inch stilettos. Gear up with your comfiest shoes, a cosy jacket that is light enough to pop in a bag should you begin to wilt and a practical handbag that is easily slung over the shoulder – leaving your hands free to grab those bargains.

.

cst4

It may be the season of goodwill but a high street full of handbags is a winter wonderland for sticky fingered thieves. Don’t be tempted to carry large amounts of cash, keep valuables at home and if you’re leaving bags of shopping in your car make sure they’re stored out of sight. Seems like common sense but it’s amazing how many shoppers just don’t get it – not everyone is as honest as you are!

.

cst5

If you’re pushed for time or prefer an organised approach to shopping why not opt for reservation instead? Many of the major retailers offer a service to collect your gifts in store that have been pre-ordered online… which is perfect for those who are doomed to miss delivery vans or may want to check sizing. This saves a whole lotta time and energy by allowing you to browse peacefully from the comfort of your own sofa/office chair/loo *delete as appropriate*

.

cst6

If the thought of stepping out into the harsh winter weather whilst laden with bags is too much for you to comprehend or you have a work schedule that’s busier than Rudolf’s come Christmas Eve, then sticking to ordering your goodies online is probably the best stress-free solution to your quandary. However to avoid a delivery dilemma why not ask a relative or friend if they would mind your goodies arriving at their abode instead? That way all you have to do is call in and collect on your way home without any worry.

.

cst7

Okay, so it might get a reputation of being a haven for bored housewives but there are actually quite a few nifty little items to be found on the shopping channels these days. Plus anything you see is tirelessly demonstrated, so if your Dad’s scratching his cranium over the new coffee machine you bought him, chances are you’ll probably be able to work it better than any budding Barista – all thanks to the 20 minute sales pitch you endured.

.

cst8

Don’t forget to check out voucher sites such as Wowcher & Groupon as some of the offers are pretty darn impressive compared to the retail value elsewhere. Keep an eye out for high street deals such as ‘three for the price of two’ and check out Money Saving Expert for lots of really useful money saving tips, advice and voucher codes to help keep more pennies in your pocket.

.

cst9

Needless to say when most of us think of Christmas Shopping we immediately think of huge glitzy department stores, personal shoppers and gift wrapping services, when in fact there is a multitude of wonderful little shops and businesses out there that provide an outstanding level of service and selection of goods that can’t be found on the shelves of their corporate counter-parts. By supporting local businesses you’re keeping the essence of your town alive and helping a small business stay trading!

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cst10

Reminding yourself you’re NOT a machine (or one of Santa’s highly trained little Elves) is easier said than done. Often we hit the high street with a the aim of dashing around getting as much done in as little as time as possible. However, unless you’re one hour from close of business on Christmas eve just sloooow down.

You may think you’re doing yourself a favour rushing around like a bee with a burnt ass but in fact you’re wasting hoards of precious energy, getting flustered & more than likely missing out on all the juicy bargains in the process. Taking a 30 minute break to catch a coffee (and your breath) is imperative to recharging the batteries & getting mentally prepared for the final shopping furlong.

pink heart

Don’t forget: it’s easy to get carried away with all the hype in the run up to shopping for the big day but it’s important for each of us to keep in mind the reason for the season. As stock runs low & tempers flair, remembering the person behind the counter is indeed a human being with feelings is much appreciated in the world of retail. If something does go wrong, often staying calm can yield better results than waving the arms about like a distressed windmill. Keep it cool & you’ll merrily avoid a seasonal meltdown & possibly with the help of a kind hearted sales assitant!

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If you have any top tips on keeping stress levels under wraps this Christmas or would like to share how you tackle your festive shopping I’d love to read about it in the comments below. As always, thanks so much for stopping by, wishing y’all a fabulous weekend ahead 🙂

Cheerio chums…

Karen signature

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Saying Goodbye…

Saying goodbye gran

This is undoubtedly one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written, but I feel it needs to be done. When I started this little blog back in October 2014 I never realised just how much it would affect my life – not in a bad way but in an amazing way. It has helped me through some of the toughest days… days where I felt like I’ve wanted to crawl into a ball under my duvet & cry the hours away. When battling Anxiety, GAD & OCD, life can be pretty torturous on the so called ‘bad’ days. However logging onto WordPress & reading such kind, supportive & encouraging comments from people I’ve never even met has given me so much confidence & helped rebuild what was once a crumbling shell of self-esteem. You guys (my readers & blog buddies) have been beyond amazing; therefore sharing my lows (as well as highs) just seems like the natural thing to do…

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On Saturday morning I received a phone call from my uncle. He was barely audible. Between sobs he tried to tell me what was wrong… my beautiful little 83 year old grandmother had taken a major heart attack in her nursing home. At the time my uncle called me, the cardiac crew were desperately trying to revive her heart. As they reached the hospital both doctors & nurses battled tirelessly to bring her back but she just wasn’t strong enough & we lost her. Even writing those words seem unreal ‘we lost her’.

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Since then I’ve cried so many tears I feel like I’ve lost half of my body weight (checking in the mirror this morning, no such luck *rolls a set of very puffy eyes*) However waking up on Sunday, my first thought was ‘today is the first day of my life I have woke up without my wee granny in the world’. Immediately panic set in, anxiety took over. and well, I’m pretty sure you can imagine the rest…

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Although Confetti & Curves is my little online beauty haven where I usually ramble on about the multitude of things cluttering up my vanity table, over time I’ve interwoven a little bit of my personal life into my posts too. As my gran was such an integral part of my life & helped me through so much, she is someone I cherish with every inch of my being, love with all my heart & admire so greatly. I feel it poignant to share her memory, to pay tribute to the woman who was a second mother to me & gave all of her heart to those she loved the most. My only consolation from her death is that she is no longer suffering but called back home to a place where death & pain have no existence.

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So please (if it’s possible) tell your loved ones just how much they mean to you. Hug them, kiss them & savour every single moment you have with them. Hold every memory as close to your heart as possible as someday you too will have to face the heartache of saying goodbye for the last time.

Gran, I miss you with every beat of my aching heart. I Love you more than words could ever begin to describe. Till we meet again…

gran collage

In Loving Memory of Freda Tumilson 13/07/1932 – 18/07/2015

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10 Tips To Banish Bloggers Block…

Bloggers Block

One of the most common issues us bloggers face is the dreaded ‘Bloggers Block’ – it can creep up when least expected and before you know it you’re staring gloomily at a blank screen wondering what the fudge to ramble on about next. There’s no denying, it happens to us some stage or other, however being able to overcome it is easier said than done… trust me, I’ve been there and worn the tiresome tee-shirt many times with my first blog.

As much as our minds try to convince us we shall never be able to string another interesting sentence again, trust me when I say it doesn’t last as long as you anticipate. However, how quickly you recover is entirely up to you *sigh* So for anyone out there who’s numbly trying to fill a page with a few interesting words here’s some of my own tips that help me unblock the thought process and get back on the blogging wheel once again…

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Close The Laptop:

no computer

Glaring into space or being hypnotised by a blank Microsoft Word document is never a quick fix for getting your mindset back into vibrant virtual health. Shut everything down, walk away and give yourself a breather otherwise you’re just simply trying to squeeze out words that refuse to flow naturally. Instead, flick on the kettle, pour yourself a glass of vino, watch a movie, take a nap… anything, yes, anything other than eye-balling your computer screen for hours on end.

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Chill Out:

Feet up

If I’m struggling with any aspects of my writing, the one thing I find usually clears my mind quickly is a relaxing dander along the beach. Just getting out of the house for a while blows of the cobwebs and makes me feel so much more relaxed compared to sitting hunched over a keyboard straining to string a sentence together. Realistically it doesn’t matter where you go or what you do, as long as it’s relaxing, distracting and therapeutic you’ll more than likely feel refreshed and ready to go afterwards!

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Read Old Posts:

Read old posts

Sometimes we simply tend to lose our own unique voices. I spend as much free time as I can reading other blogs but I always make sure I take a little trip back to read my own before writing my next post… sounds ludicrous? Well actually it’s not as bizarre as you think. Before embedding my posterior into a chair for a good blogging session I need to get back into the mindset of where I left off. Liken the scenario to reading a dozen books at once; often the last thing we read is the last voice in our heads, so check back through your posts – particularly your favourites. They’ll soon inspire you to roll up your sleeves and jump straight in.

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Grab A Glossy:

Magazines

For any like minded bloggers I literally cannot recommend you keep a copy of your favourite magazines to hand, whether they be beauty, lifestyle, fashion or your prized copy of Tractors Monthly *ahh hemm* Flicking through some of their top features is ideal for keeping your interest at peak performance and is also an excellent learning tool when it comes to layout and editing. The more professionally created pieces you read chances are the better you’ll become at mastering your own handy work!

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Up Close & Personal:

Up Close

Oddly enough some of the most fun posts I’ve written have been personal ones such as documenting a special day, taking piccies of my little work area, date nights, weekends or holidays with friends and family etc. Even more shockingly they’ve also been some of my most successful posts for interaction and stats… which is always an exciting little buzz to see!

Product Reviews are great, Favourites are fantastic, Wishlists are wonderful but sometimes the best way to make an impact on via blogging (and have a whole heap of fun in the process) is taking time to share a little bit about yourself! If you’re anything like me, blog buddy interaction is one of the biggest driving forces to feeling part of an encouraging community.

If throwing yourself in the spotlight seems a little terrifying then why not attempt a fun TAG post? There’s a ridiculous amount of them floating about to get involved in or better still create your own and nominate some of your fellow followers to get on board. The inter-world’s your oyster 😉

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A Problem Shared:

Question

Why not take your troublesome tit-bits and share them with the world? In other words ask your blog buddies for their advice or input on something that you might be trying to find a quick fix for? It doesn’t have to be anything deeply personal or profound! It’s a super way to get chatting with others, especially those who may have the perfect solution to your conundrum or indeed share the same issue.

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Keep A Notebook:

pink notebook

I’m now at the danger of sounding like a broken record when I stress how super-helpful keeping a little notepad & pen in your handbag at all times really is!. Only a few days ago I was flicking through ancient magazines in my doctors surgery when I spotted a great little article on a topic I thought would be good to blog about in the near future. Rather than make a mental note and run the risk of letting a great idea slip through the net – I  whipped out my trusy note pad and jotted it down! My notebook is now bulging with post ideas that are itching for creation. Another great remedy for banishing bloggers block!

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Check Out BlogLovin:

Bloglovin

If you’re a newbie blogger and haven’t yet checked out BlogLovin get yourself over there pronto. It’s packed full of amazing blogs from all platforms such as WordPress, Blogger etc which enables everyone to join together in one happy virtual party. This allows you to follow & read through as many of your favourite blogs as you want, which will most likely stir your musings with a sprinkle of inspiration! All you have to do is note down some fun post ideas in your trusty notebook and put your own unique spin on them! Voila… a great feature hot of the press for the rest of us to feast our eyes upon.

Ps: Don’t forget to mention anyone who’s helped inspired your post or feature, you’ll be surprised at how appreciated it is by other bloggers!

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Be My Guest:

guest blogger

Another great way to beat bloggers block is by collaborating with others or inviting some of your blog buddies to guest post on your blog. By getting others on-board to share their mullings on like-minded topics is a great way of shaking up some ideas for fresh content. Alternatively why not arrange a fun interview with someone who might be of interest to your audience?  It’s often a super way to inject some new and exciting topics and may even help you meet new bloggers into the bargain! Bit of a win-win wouldn’t you say?

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Take A Break:

Suitcase

Often the dreaded bloggers block stems from external factors such as pressures at work/home or even emotional stress that most of us go through from time to time. Blogging should never feel like a chore or hard work, so if you’re not having fun writing your posts it’s pretty safe to say others probably aren’t having fun reading them either.

If you’re struggling to keep up or stay tuned in then it could be time to take a well deserved break until you’re back to feeling on top form. Considering that your blog buddies & regular readers are also human they’ll be more than supportive of your decision and will still be around to give you a cheery welcome on your return, enabling you to fully enjoy your virtual vacation!

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Have you suffered from bloggers block? What top tips would you recommend for helping overcome it? Whatever your thoughts I’d love to read them in the comments below, so do take a moment to say a quick hello!

Have a wonderful weekend chums & as always thanks for reading…

 Karen signature

How To Survive The Christmas Shopping Trip…

 Christmas Shopping

Hello lovelies,

The jingle of sleigh bells, shop windows filled with fairy lights and the waft of cinnamon candles can only mean one thing – it’s that time of year again; time to brave the hoards of high street shoppers in search of the perfect pressie as we prepare to get trodden on, elbowed and bled dry of our monthly earnings. Yes, it’s Christmas Shopping Season!

However it doesn’t have to be as stressful as rumour has it, in fact if you play your cards right you might actually find yourself having a jolly good time… so here’s my top tips on how to turn the festive frenzy into tidings of comfort & joy:

Become an A-Lister:

Wandering around aimlessly searching for Christmas gift inspiration can be stressful & tedious. Rather than shopping blindly, curl up with a note pad and jot down everyone you plan on buying for first. Think of their personalities, interests, hobbies etc. and go from there. Alternatively nab a few high street catalogues or pop online and I’ll guarantee your gift buying juices will flow. If you’re still struggling check out Not On The High Street, which is crammed full of unique little gift ideas from some of the UK’s best creative businesses!

The Early Bird Catches the Worm Gift:

Keep in mind that evenings and weekends are peak times for big spenders so it’s no surprise that this comes with a mass of queues and disgruntled shoppers. If possible save yourself the hassle and schedule your trip for an early week morning, whilst others are on their way to work or caught up in the school run you’ll be sure to find the space you need to browse the shelves without risking a bruised rib or trampled toe.

Dress Sense:

Last year I witnessed at least 4 major falls from girls slipping or tripping as a result of tottering around in six inch stilettos. Gear up with your comfiest shoes, a cosy jacket that is light enough to pop in a bag should you begin to wilt and a practical handbag that is easily slung over the shoulder – leaving your hands free to grab those bargains.

Fantastic Plastic:

It may be the season of goodwill but a high street full of handbags is a winter wonderland for a sticky fingered thief. Don’t be tempted to carry large amounts of cash, keep valuables at home and if you’re leaving bags of shopping in your car make sure they’re out of sight. Seems like common sense but it’s amazing how many shoppers just don’t get it – not everyone is as honest as you are!

Having Reservations?

If you’re pushed for time or prefer an organised approach to shopping why not opt for reservation instead? Many of the major retailers allow you to collect the gifts instore that you’ve pre-ordered from online which is perfect for those who are doomed to miss delivery vans or may want to check sizing. This saves a whole lotta time and energy by allowing you to browse peacefully from the comfort of your own sofa/office chair/loo *delete as appropriate*

Rope in a Relative:

If the thought of stepping out into the harsh winter weather, laden with bags is too much for you to comprehend or you have a work schedule that’s busier than Rudolf’s come Christmas Eve, then sticking to ordering your goodies online is probably the best stress-free solution to your quandary. However to avoid a delivery dilemma why not ask a relative or friend who works from home if they would mind your goodies arriving at their abode instead? That way all you have to do is call in and collect on your way home without any worry.

Channel Shopping:

Okay, so it might get a reputation of being a haven for bored housewives but there are actually quite a few nifty little items to be found on the shopping channels these days. Plus anything you see is tirelessly demonstrated, so if your Dad’s scratching his cranium over the new coffee machine you bought him, chances are you’ll probably be able to work it better than any budding Barista – all thanks to the 20 minute sales pitch you endured.

Budget Busters:

Don’t forget to check out voucher sites such as Wowcher & Groupon as some of the offers are pretty darn impressive compared to the retail value elsewhere. Keep an eye out for high street deals such as ‘three for the price of two’ and check out Money Saving Expert for lots of really useful money saving tips, advice and voucher codes to help keep more pennies in your pocket.

Love Your Locals:

Needless to say when most of us think of Christmas Shopping we immediately think of huge glitzy department stores, personal shoppers and gift wrapping services, when in fact there is a multitude of wonderful little shops and businesses out there that provide an outstanding level of service and selection of goods that can’t be found on the shelves of their corporate counter-parts. By supporting local businesses you’re keeping the essence of your town alive and helping a small business stay trading!

It’s easy to get carried away with all the hype in the run up to the big day but it’s important for us all to keep in mind the reason for the season and enjoy every moment with our nearest and dearest too don’t you think?

If you have any top tips on keeping stress levels under wraps this Christmas or would like to share how you tackle your festive shopping I’d love to read about it in the comments below…

Cheerio Chums 🙂

Karen signature

Top Tips For A Stress-Free Pre-Wedding Eve…

 Pre Wedding Eve

 

Picture this… it’s the eve of your big day, you’re filled with a mixture of nerves and excitement as your beloved besties descend upon you, all eager to commemorate your last ‘official’ night of freedom. However before you start popping the champagne corks and divulging in new posh pamper products take a few moments to consider the potential consequences…

1) Don’t Bring On The Bubbly:

It’s pretty normal for most of us to want to relax, unwind or even celebrate all those hard months of wedding planning with a little glass of something sparkling, but before you go hunting down the corkscrew consider the potential headache you could end up nursing the following morning… definitely not the best start to one of the biggest days of your life eh?

2) Leave Lathering Up:

If you’ve managed to keep your pores looking as pristine as possible, it’s probably safe to say the last thing you’ll want is an outbreak of spots or a ghastly rash from a seemingly harmless new bubble bath or luxurious face mask, to ruin that flawless blushing-bride glow. Making changes to your regular skin care routine the night before your wedding is like playing Potion Roulette, it’s simply not worth the risk regardless how expensive, fabulous or highly recommended the product is.

3) Ditch the Movie:

If you’re already up to high doe with nerves (as most brides are on the eve of their wedding) you’re probably best avoiding any wedding related chick flicks. As fun and harmless as they may seem, most of the time the story line is littered with pre-wedding disasters – not great for the nervous system if you’re potentially on the edge of your perch!

4) Hold the Hair Care:

Those ladies who religiously wash their hair every single day of the week will struggle with this one, however your hairdresser certainly won’t be impressed with your head full of super, soft & silky locks. Freshly washed hair can be incredibly hard to style and work with – so if you can bear the thought of lathering up the night before the eve of your wedding it’s probably best to do so.

5) Case Closed:

You’ve more than likely spent several months obsessing over the tiniest little details, so pawing through your planner file at 11:45 pm is a recipe for inducing a full on panic attack that will undoubtedly leave you pacing the floors hours later. Just remember *almost* every problem has a solution. Step away from the wedding paper-work and quit obsessing!

 

 

I know, I know… it’s much easier said than done when you consider the combination of emotions leading up to the big day. However having worked with hundreds of brides, I’ve discovered some of the most effective pre-wedding nights pretty much boils down to being super organised and willing to take some much needed time to yourself. Light exercise (such as a gentle walk) followed by a relaxing bath and curling up with a great book is a super way to keep you feeling calm and your mind distracted. Don’t forget to stock on some relaxing herbal tea that can help aid a great night’s slumber –  just make sure you try it well before hand so you don’t end up with an upset tummy. Take no chances, keep it stress-free, familiar and you’ll reap the rewards!

If you have any tips to share on what helps you relax or de-stress I’d love to read them in the comments below… as always thanks for reading!

Cheerio chums 🙂

 

Karen signature