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Monday, 28 December 2020

Reflecting on 2020 and What It Has Taught me

lessons from 2020


2020 has been a year like no other. It'll be no surprise that I've been pondering the content of this post for weeks already; wondering where on earth to begin and how to phrase a year that has caused us all so much distress, sacrifice and pain in a positive light. Although it's been a tough year, with each year passing there will always be lessons to learn, things to be grateful for and reflections to be had.


Like others, I've had my low moments this year and at times, I've felt guilty for it. A key lesson I've learned this year is that all feelings are valid. We'll all be going through our own troubles, some will be worse than others but that doesn't mean your problems hurt you any less. 


As our normality shut down back in March, I began working from home full time for what I thought would be a maximum of 12 weeks. This time last year, if you'd have told me I'd be working from home for 10 months and still ongoing until further notice, I'd have never believed you. What it has taught me is that I am much more resilient than I give myself credit for, so much so that despite it all, I received a promotion this year. I also recognise the privilege that is working from my home when others may have much tougher conditions to cope with. It may be small, rented and claustrophobic at times, but it's quiet, clean and facilitated with all that I need to continue working. For that, I am very grateful. 


2020 reflection


In 2020, I realised the sheer strength of my love for my family and friends. Prior to this year, I'd travel home to see my family every 2-4 weeks on average. Due to the several lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions, I have hardly seen them this year. I've had moments of pure frustration. I've felt upset and angry at the time that has been stolen away from us to be together, but my care for them is greater and stronger than anything. Keeping them all safe and healthy is a priority and once the pandemic is over, I'll give them the biggest hug ever (probably sobbing everywhere at the same time).


I'm incredibly lucky to have had my partner by my side this year. He's been the one picking me up in those challenging moments and getting through it all together has been a testament to our love.


Throughout the ups and downs of the last 12 months, the support of my blogging community has remained. Sometimes I find it tough to share my vulnerability online but each time I have shared my soul with you, you've shown me kindness and I am extremely thankful. At times when I've felt alone, you've reminded me that I am not and I hope that I remind you of that too. 


It wouldn't be right to talk about 2020 without dedicating thanks to our frontline staff and essential workers. You've really carried our country through this year. Your resilience, hard work and bravery is admirable and no words will ever express our gratitude for the heroes that you are. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for others.


Who knows what 2021 will bring for us but what I do know is that we will face it with the same courage, strength and togetherness that we have faced this year with. I pray for brighter days ahead and I wish you a safe, Happy New Year. 


Love, 

Evie xxx



Tuesday, 22 December 2020

11 Things to do during the Christmas Lockdown

lockdown christmas

The latest announcement that London and the South East would be heading straight into strict Tier 4 restrictions over Christmas devastated many of us in the UK. Our Christmas plans to finally be reunited with those we love have been cancelled in one of the most brutal ways. The last minute change evoked so much sadness, anxiety and disappointment in me and I know I won't be alone in saying that. After hours of emotion, I've gradually come to accept that I'll be spending Christmas in the one bedroom flat where I've spent most of my year looking at the same four walls and all I can do is to try to make it as special as possible. I'm very fortunate to have my partner by my side throughout it all but they'll be many of you who will be alone this Christmas and my heart goes out to you. Please take peace in the fact that by sacrificing yet again, we'll be protecting other people, including those we love, from this awful virus. We will get through this.


Now the heartfelt negatives are out the way, I'll switch up the tempo of this blog post and share some ideas of last minute things to do to make your Christmas special. With just days to go, don't stress over getting everything just how you have it at home. See it as a new challenge, a chance to do it your way. Sit down and make a Christmas plan for the next few days but don't overwhelm your list or feel bad if you miss something. Think of everything you'd like to do, that you can do at home and jot it down. Writing our list really helped give us something to look forward to again and I hope it does the same for you. 


Here's some ideas for things to do during the Christmas lockdown:



A CHRISTMAS FOOD SHOP


I'm not ashamed to admit that food is one of my biggest comforts and at Christmas, like most of us, I love to divulge. I'll certainly miss Mum's Christmas dinner, Gran's Boxing Day buffet and Granny's Christmas Pud but the best I can do now is to recreate those favourites in my own way and add a few extras of our own too. We'll be picking up mulled wine, thick brandy cream and macarons this year which I don't normally have at home so I'm looking forward to that.


FESTIVE SAUSAGE ROLLS


This one I've stolen from Ben's lovely family. They make homemade sausage rolls at this time of year with puff pastry and sausage meat so we'll be making our own this year too in a effort to recreate that special tradition.


CHRISTMAS FILM NIGHT


Prior to this year, a trip to the cinema was our favourite date. We've tried to recreate it a few times at home and we'll certainly be doing it again for Christmas. To make it feel like we're somewhere new, we switch the room up. We move the coffee table to the side, throw the sofa cushions on the floor and add blankets to make it cosy. We turn the lights down low to give it a cinema feel, add candles and our favourite cinema snacks. There's quite a few Christmas films I adore so here's a list I put together to give you some ideas if you're stuck!



Left to right: Love Actually; The Holiday; The Christmas Chronicles; The Santa Clause; Deck the Halls; Home Alone; Chalet Girl; About a Boy; Elf; Almost Christmas; Christmas with the Kranks; Cool Runnings; National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation; Last Christmas; Christmas with the Coopers; The Grinch That Stole Christmas; Four Christmases; Holidate; The Knight Before Christmas; The Princess Switch; A Christmas Prince; Nativity; The Holiday Calendar; A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish.


CHRISTMAS PRINTABLE GAME PACKS


Board games at Christmas are certainly a guilty pleasure of mine! If like us, you don't have many board games with you, printing off some online Christmas games is a good idea. You can play these on your own and they are a nice way to spend the time. I found ours by searching "free printable Christmas games" into Google.


GINGERBREAD HOUSE MAKING


In previous years, my patience with gingerbread making has been lacking but this year may just be the year it's a success. If you can get your hands on one in the shops or fancy baking your own, gingerbread house making is a delicious activity to get crafty with.


WINTER WALKS


Fresh air on a crisp Christmas day is so refreshing and this year more so than ever! Pop on your favourite boots, a woolly jumper and a bobble hat and get outside for a wintery walk.


CHRISTMAS ROOM DECORATING


If you've not got a tree this year, not to worry! There is a lot you can do easily at home to make your space feel more comforting. From making old school paper chains to festive floral arrangements, just get stuck in and switch off for a bit with arts and crafts.


CHRISTMAS QUIZ


One of the greatest things we discovered this year was YouTube quizzes. There's such a huge range of topics and the videos guide you through the quiz. We usually enjoy music and film quizzes most but we'll certainly be giving a Christmas themed quiz a go over the period.


CHRISTMAS TV


I don't know how they've managed it but the TV entertainment industry has done such a wonderful job this year. I'm so thankful that they continued through such a challenging time to make shows we can all enjoy for the Christmas period. We're going to flick through the Radio Times like it's an Argos catalogue and highlight everything we'd like to watch this year. If nothing new takes your fancy or you have time to spare, a few of my favourite Christmas TV specials that always make me smile are Gavin and Stacey, Vicar of Dibley, Only Fools and Horses, The Office, and The Royals.


MINCE PIE MAKING


Another traditional activity is homemade mince pie making. I have a jar of Mum's homemade mincemeat in the fridge so I am going to bake a batch on Christmas Eve. You can also make your own pastry and find mincemeat in the shops if you fancied having a go too!


FESTIVE FAMILY ZOOM 


I know it's so different and difficult this Christmas but as sore as it may feel, video calling home will make you and them feel better so be sure to call your loved ones and wish them a Merry Christmas.


I hope this list helps and gives you a little Christmas spirit despite the circumstances. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I look forward to a time when we can all be together with our loved ones with no restrictions once again. If you're feeling low at any time, remember you can text 85258 anonymously from anywhere in the UK to talk to a trained volunteer for free and you can find your local NHS urgent mental health helpline here. Take care xxx




Friday, 18 December 2020

13 of the Best Christmas Jumpers On A Budget

christmas jumper

It's that time of the year when everyone either digs out their festive jumper from the back of their wardrobe or heads out to buy a new one to dazzle their friends and family on Christmas Day. From ho, ho, ho humour to festive fashion, Christmas jumpers can go a few ways. Personally, I'm always keen to purchase clothes that I can wear year after year to reduce waste and create my own tradition. This will be my third Christmas with the jumper I'm wearing above! If you don't have one or would love a new one, here's some of my budget friendly favourites from this year.


Ad - This post contains affiliate links, which means I'll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. You can read more here.

PATTERNED CHRISTMAS JUMPERS


Fairisle prints are a wintery favourite of mine. These jumpers will certainly wow and partner well with a pair of jeans or a skirt for a casual look.





SPARKLY CHRISTMAS JUMPERS



The key to keeping sparkly jumpers festive but timeless is to go less is more. Don't over sparkle if you want to get your wear year after year. From pearl embellishments to diamante detailing, these sparkly knits are a joy to wear this season.


TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS  JUMPERS



Traditional Christmas colours are typically red, green and gold. Use colour blocking with traditional colours to add a stylish touch to your Christmas look.




For more outfit ideas and styling tips from me, follow me on Instagram at @evieroselane

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