Lifestyle archive

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not entirely sure what a lifestyle blog is. Apparently it’s what used to be called a personal blog, for those of us who’ve been doing this since the 90s. Either way, it seems to incorporate all the day-to-day life stuff. So here goes, my “lifestyle”...

Making memories: the ‘C’ word

The ‘festive’ C word, that is. I’m not sure I can bring myself to say it yet. C… Chr… Christmas. Aargh!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-Christmas. I love this time of year. I love the darker nights, the frosty freshness of the morning air on the school run. I love seeing the people who clearly don’t have 6 cats putting up their Christmas trees up as soon as Halloween is done, and the scrooges who take to social media to lambast them for ruining the spirit (the irony of arguing over it which is far more spirit-crushing IMO apparently lost on them). I love the planning and the Christmas socials, especially the ones that end in someone getting terribly drunk and stripping off for Santa (usually me).

I love it, but I am not ready. I have bought one single present, which needs a very important “other part” which I can’t find enough detail on to purchase. I haven’t even thought about what the kids want this year, let alone what I can actually afford to buy them. My social calendar is packed with at least two events a week between now and New Year which is drastically reducing planning time, and I’m just not ready. However, despite this total lack of preparedness, this year feels different somehow…

I don’t know if it’s because it’ll be the first Christmas the kids are at home since Gaz and I got married, or because I’ve finally reached that stage of general comfort and ‘at ease’ with my life that has been lost for so long, but I decided early on that this year I was going to do a many of the things that I’ve always wanted to do as possible. When I feel like I’ve hit “peak Christmas” I want to immortalise the whole lot in pictures on canvas, to join our baby and wedding canvas prints, which eventually might become one of those trendy photo walls that you see all over pinterest. Truprint even have 8×8″ sizes available, which they reckon is great for showing off Instagram photos, which appeals to my lazy side & would fill in the big gaps on our wall:

So, I bought a real Christmas tree. It was actually a spur of the moment purchase on the way to Glasgow last weekend:

A post shared by Jem (@jemjabellargh) on

But I’ve always wanted a real Christmas tree and although this isn’t the grand 7ft beautifully decorated tree of my dreams, it will hopefully serve us well this Christmas and can then be put outside in its pot until next year. I feel like I’m being somewhat optimistic given the aforementioned six cats (and the fact that it’s already shedding needles in our probably-too-warm living room) but it’ll be fun to see what happens.

While that is settling I’ve been looking at sourcing terribly kitschy Christmas decorations that I remember from my childhood, including these beauties:

Partly just for the fun of nostalgia, and partly because I’ve invited friends around for 70s themed Christmas drinks and if I can decorate for both in one go it’ll be perfect: another lazy box ticked. I actually put some paper decorations up for Izzy’s birthday recently, which is turns out is also a big 70s thing, so I reckon if we can find some more they can even stay up too.

I want a big Christmas feast, which is unlikely to pose a problem as I always overcook anyway. My sister and her partner are coming round to help us eat through a week’s worth of food in one day, and I will (as usual) extend the offer of Christmas dinner to any locals on their own this year.

Oh, there are so many things I want to do. I want to start traditions this year; stuff that we can do every year because we want to, things that the kids will look back on in 10 years time and remember as being a part of Christmas. Things that they’ll want to do with their kids. I want to make memories, and I want the kids to feel a part of something. I want them to feel that even though our Christmas might not be 100% conventional — split between two homes, with multiple factions of family to share their time with — that it was always about love, and laughter. I want them to be able to look back at the pictures of these times and feel like it was the best days of their lives.

No pressure.

Glamour, Glabrousness and Glad Rags

Glamour I recently did a nudey/boudoir photoshoot for Gaz’s upcoming birthday. It was supposed to be a surprise, but there was little point in attempting to keep it a secret after he saw me in full make-up – he guessed straight up what I’d been up to. I can’t tell if I’m predictable or he’s… read full entry »

300ft is really quite a lot

Last week I told you all about Team SCA‘s bloody AMAZING all-female crew winning the 8th leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, and that in honour of their win I was encouraged to take part in a challenge that would test my boundaries. I picked the 300ft bungee jump: the equivalent of jumping off the… read full entry »

Risks, boundaries and a 300ft jump

Back in June 2015 Team SCA won the 8th leg of the Volvo Ocean Race which in its whole, spans 5 continents and over 39000 nautical miles. The first all-female crew to enter the Volvo Ocean Race in more than a decade, the women battled across 647 gruelling miles, which saw multiple crew members suffering… read full entry »

Now that’s out of the way…

So now the introspective waffle is out of the way, let’s talk about the small matter of me turning 30 in a few days. Not because of the turning 30 part, there’s nowt I can do about that (and I’m looking forward to being FABULOUS at thirty … or something) but the part where I… read full entry »

London take two: part two

Those of you anxiously awaiting the news of my second ‘big’ London trip (hi mum) will be disappointed to know that there was little in the way of drunken clubbing and strip clubs this time round. Unfortunately my flu-like-bug recovery turned into a sinus infection while I was away and I ended up pottering about… read full entry »

London take two

I’m in London tomorrow for a blogger event thing — something to do with cooking something, I don’t know, but I get to meet Kip and he’s as grumpy about “mommy bloggers” as I am — and as it’s a year since Gaz and I “did London” the first time so I figured I’d treat… read full entry »

A what’s NOT in my bag post

After asking you beautiful people for blog post suggestions yesterday, you dutifully provided me with several of which I will no doubt make use of a couple over last few days of Septemblog. Aisling‘s suggestion to do a “what’s in your bag” post would work well if I was like any of the other millions… read full entry »


I have too many dresses

I nipped up Telford Town Centre today, because two invoices coming in on the same day made me feel rich meant I could get my haircut. I’m actually growing it out, but the back looked awful because it was about 5 different lengths thanks to a variety of asymmetrical cuts over the last 18 months…. read full entry »

Recipe: Eton Mess Cake

Yesterday was Gaz‘s birthday and in true birthday tradition (AKA any excuse for cake) I decided to bake, with the “help” of the kids. Normally for this sort of occasion I would find a recipe weeks in advance and fail attempt to make something spectacular. However, with work and kids to contend with, time was… read full entry »

If I inherited a million pounds

I don’t play the lottery (aka “tax on the poor”), scratchcards, or indeed gamble at all. It’s not that I have any ethical/moral concerns about gambling but rather I just seem to have awful luck. I’ve never won anything in my life, and regularly bemoan the frequent catastrophes that I seem to have to put… read full entry »

My Ideal Home

With at least two of my friends in the process of buying a house at the minute, and my place full to bursting with accumulated STUFF since Gaz moved in, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking lately about what I’d like out of a home. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not moving any… read full entry »