family, friends, life, mental health, relationships

This Is Not A Gift Guide

I was skimming along my twitter timeline the other day and saw a link to another gift guide on some website or other, where a gift was recommended that was “only £4,995”, that “only” just kills me.

A lot of people are struggling at the moment, finances are tight, a shop assistant I spoke to today said that they were still waiting for the Christmas rush, she was worried that if there wasn’t one she’d lose her job.

Five grand is a lot of money, and completely out of many people’s ability as a one off spend on a Christmas present.

Growing up there were times money was tight, when my dad was made redundant, when my mum was not working because she had two small children at home, when my parents bought their house. But we never went without.

We always had presents, I remember getting a new bike one year, and my auntie used to send us dresses every year, which we wore for Christmas day lunch, there were pyjamas, books, board games, toys, but not more than we could actually play with, we certainly weren’t spoiled.

So when I see these completely unrealistic gift guides being promoted, and there are more realistic ones out there, with presents that very few could buy, it makes me cross.

You don’t have to be religious to celebrate Christmas, Jesus was probably born in June and people have celebrated the solstice/yule etc for thousands of years, but it shouldn’t be all about stuff.

We’ve become too materialistic, yes I blog about beauty products, but I am also passionate about things that matter, I’m a proud feminist, I speak out against injustices, I am currently furious about the foul way some people treat other members of their communities due to race or religion.

Christmas, for me anyway, is about family, friends, being together, doing things like decorating the house, eating a meal, watching cheesy films, together.

Not about how much stuff you get, or how much money you spend.

So, I won’t be suggesting gifts, I won’t be telling you that spending £4,995 on a gift shows someone how much you love them. Just be with them, do things together.


family, life

A little love story…

My grandparents celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary recently and on Sunday the entire family went out to lunch with them. It was postponed from the beginning of the month as my poor Grandad had shingles, but he’s all better now.

We gathered at the rather posh Oatlands Park Hotel in Surrey, not far from my mum’s hometown. Amusingly the ‘children’ now outnumbered the ‘adults’ at the table as both of my cousins and I brought our partners along.

Their story is sweet but also rather sad.

My Nan had a fairly tragic childhood and although it had a happy ending, her life was full of loss. She married her childhood sweetheart, Bill, at 18 and had two daughters (my mum and auntie). Bill died at 30 from Non-Hodgkins’ Lymphoma, leaving her a widow with two small children to support.

Meanwhile in Yorkshire, a young man lost his wife to cancer and decided to head out to ‘The Smoke’ to find work and start over.

My Nan was mainly raised by The Aunts, and it was Auntie Doll (a pretty kickass woman in her own right) who introduced her niece to the young man whose accent was so strong, she thought he was Scottish!

It was love at first sight, and then he met her little daughters and a family was formed. My mum and auntie were bridesmaids and got a new dad.

They are still very much in love and Grandad is one of my favourite people on the planet. He has taken such good care of my little Nanny. She hasn’t been very well in the last few years and he has done everything he can to keep her well.

Here’s to many more family get togethers and love.