Christmas Tips + Tricks

A SPARKLE on darling Christmas

Part #2

So many of us head towards the end of the year running at full force. We all want to get everything done and finalised before a new one, and more, which is why it is exactly the time we need to work on being consciously aware of what is ahead and why we need to make time to slow down so that we can actually be present in the important moments and end the year SPARKLING, not run down.

Make Lists

List’s can sometimes be overwhelming I know, but I’m going to leave you with 3 simple lists to create and tick off to leave you feeling more organised during the lead up. Lists also help when it comes to overdoing it and overspending.

  • Christmas presents – This seems simple enough that you may think you don’t need one, but when you hit the shops and there are hundreds of other people trying to do the same as you, it’s great to have a list to keep you focused and conscious about your spending.
  • Christmas Day guests – This will help with a lot on the day (a lot). Write down the definite’s and the maybe’s, because it’s better to be prepared for extra guests.
  • Christmas Day menu – From breakfast/lunch/dinner/sweets/drinks whatever you plan to include in your feast this is one of the best things to do for any event. This will help you to write your grocery list and work out if you already have some of what you might need saving you money. If you have time and are certain of what you are going to make, a cute typed up menu to put on the table is always a fun addition to any home dining experience, trust me your guests will love it.

Start Now

How many times have you read that preparation is the key to success? Well, there is something to this overly used saying, it really does work. Refer to your lists from above and work out what you can start preparing and doing now.

  • Shopping – This goes without saying but if you can get your Christmas shopping done early (at least before the last late night trade – trust me I’ve been there doing mine on that night don’t worry), well need I say all the benefits from doing this? Try your best, most is better than hardly, this includes wrapping, even if you wrapped one present a day before bed it will add up (oh and don’t forget the batteries!).
  • Connect – Get in contact with your loved ones TODAY, let them know what your plans are over Christmas and then see what their plans are. Work out who is going to be where and if they are bringing anything so you aren’t oeverwhelmed on the day working out who’s going to show up.. whilst trying to cook the roast, whip the cream and keep your in-laws entertained all with your phone attached to your shoulder. Whilst you’ve got them on the phone throw in a Merry Christmas just in case you don’t get to see them, another tick that you’ve been in touch with them before hand.
  • Groceries – Now you know who’s coming do some of the grocery shopping for the big day in advance such as the non-perishables and frozen goods, then all you have to grab beforehand is the fresh ingredients. You could even buy the ice now and skip the big servo line if you have enough room in your freezer.
  • Weather – Check the weather at least a week in advance. There is nothing worse than planning a day at the beach when it is suppose to be raining. Create a simple backup plan now so if the sun decides not to shine things will still run smoothly.
  • Setup – If you are able to do any setting up before the big day for the big day, start now. Whether it’s getting the spare bedroom ready for guests, finding your ice buckets and stashing them near the kitchen or styling the table ready to go (who says you can’t enjoy your beautiful table setting early anyway! Fold those napkins and put out the straws and stylish centrepieces!). Anything at all no matter how small that you can do early will save you time and energy closer to.

Embrace the Challenges

There will be challenges, there always is. A present you bought online might not arrive in time, a couple of family members may have decided that they aren’t talking right now a few days out from Christmas, thunderstorms are brewing beyond the horizon and well, you’re completely exhausted, oh and the leg just fell off your dining table. I feel you, I’ve been there.

Where there’s a will there’s a way? Right?

  • So.. one of your gifts isn’t going to arrive on time? Write that you’ve got something special on order for them which will arrive very soon in a beautiful Christmas card, who said Christmas can’t go all week long right? I’m sure they’ll understand.
  • So.. a couple of family members aren’t talking? Let it go, let them work out their issues in their own time. Don’t let family disputes ruin the magic of Christmas Day for everyone else, especially children. It’s a day for peace and love, and if a certain someone doesn’t seem to get that, put a big sign on your front door which says ‘Peace + Love inside this house only – thank you X’. Let them know you mean business, the magic kind.
  • So.. a thunderstorm is brewing? This is why I mentioned earlier about having a backup plan. You should always have a backup plan. If this means your festivities are now going to be indoors, gather together decks of cards, boardgames, old photo albums, home videos and whatever else people push aside when they can go outside. Make this a no phone time as well. Ask everyone to put their phones in bowls as they come inside so that everyone has an input in the new arrangement, and then watch them actually enjoy smashing their siblings in Monopoly or laughing till they can’t anymore at the home videos. They will surprise themselves.
  • So.. you’re exhausted? One of these best things you can do during this busy period is to make sure you get enough sleep. Staying up late organising and wrapping presents is great, but if you can instead do a little bit each night instead of everything at once and go to bed earlier you will feel much better for it and have more energy for when you really need it. There is always tomorrow.
  • So.. the leg fell off your dining table? Well, I’m really sorry, but to make the most of this extremely (I’m trying really hard not to laugh as I write this) unfortunate situation, you are just going to have to keep your head held high and go ‘picnic-boho’ on the ground. Get some beautiful cushions and throws and pretend that Christmas lunch this year was always going to be on the freshly mowed grass amongst nature, most will never question it.

These are purely examples, but the point is that you can always turn a situation around and make something better of it. Nothing is ever lost and the day is usually not ever over, not really. So grab some soul-glitter and SPARKLE on.

Find Quiet Moments

Easier said that done I know, but making time each day, even if it’s just 5 minutes to yourself will go a long way mentally and physically. Especially if you are the one running the show, you deserve to enjoy it just as much as your loved ones, make the time to take the time, and no I don’t mean sitting on social media either. Here are some simple ways to take time out just for you, it’s time to get a little ‘selfish’ because you deserve it..

  • 5 minutes – Wake up 5 minutes earlier to make your cup of coffee or tea and actually sit and drink it, no phone, no TV, sit outside if you can, and enjoy every sip. If you can’t do it in the morning do it after you walk through the door, just 5 minutes is all it takes to have a mini wind down just for you.
  • 10 minutes – Do one face mask each week, whether it’s one night before you go to bed or on the weekend in between all your to-do’s, put it on and close your eyes for just 10 minutes, and if you have a cucumber put some slices over your eyes for extra self-loving. Keep that beautiful skin of yours nourished so you keep glowing throughout the busy period.
  • 15 minutes – Go for a light walk. No need to run or do an intense workout to reap the benefits of the clarity you get from moving your body, even if you walked for just 15 minutes on your break to clear your head. Your body will love you for this little bit of fresh energy during your busy day.
  • 20 minutes – Swap out your nightly TV time or Netflix catch up and head to bed 20 minutes earlier to read. Have a pile of books you’ve been wanting to read? This is the time to start them. Not only does reading before bed clear your head, but it’s been known to be a simple relaxant too. I know personally I can be not even one chapter in and I’m already falling asleep.
  • 30 minutes – If you find you have 30 minutes to spare one day or on the weekend take yourself out on a solo date, time just for you (and no I’m not talking about going shopping!). Take yourself to your local cafe or park, or if you’re lucky enough to be close to the beach go there. Date yo’self, you deserve it. So many of us only seem to venture out when we have someone to go with, but for me taking myself out on a date is by far one of my favourite things to do in my spare time. We talk to people and look after others all day everyday, imagine not having to entertain anyone and just relishing in sitting by yourself for a half hour just for you. For me being in my own company every now and then is heaven.

Keep Your SPARKLE

Christmas is all about the ‘SPARKLE’ and keeping yours is just as important. Even if you did only a couple of the above things and let go a little to allow yourself to truly enjoy the festive season and all it has to offer, trust me you will SPARKLE. Yes this is a busy time of year, with the shopping, all of the organising and the events to go to, but it doesn’t have to drain you if you don’t let it. With anything that doesn’t go right or feels a little heavy, there is still always something to smile about I promise. Even if nothing is going right, look around, you have a home, a family, a Christmas tree, how special is that? Know how special it is to celebrate at all. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about isn’t it, celebrating this blessed life we get to live every day with the people we love? You can’t buy that. We are all so blessed to be able to do what we do on a daily basis so don’t be too hard on yourself, hold your head high, focus on what makes you happy and do that. Don’t let anyone (or anything) dull your SPARKLE.

I hope after reading this blog post you are feeling organised and energised to own whatever comes your way. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next blog post from the ‘A SPARKLE on darling Christmas’ series.

All my love,

Christmas Gift Ideas

A SPARKLE on darling Christmas

Part #1

Not sure what to get your loved one, best friend or colleague for Christmas (or what to add to your own wish list)? SPARKLE on darling is here to help! I have put together some of my favourite things for gift idea inspiration. Think everything from everyday wellbeing, wholesome eating and simple living.

for the active warrior..

VIVRA Lifestyle Pouch

This magnetic belt-free pouch has to be one of the best everyday accessories I’ve ever owned. It comes in a variety of colours and designs, snaps right onto what you are wearing whether you’re about to go on a walk, head to the farmers markets or are an on-the-go mum (Vivra have a range for your little one too so you can play matchy matchy!), inside you can fit your house keys, money and phone, it also doubles as a super cute clutch when you take it off so you can go from your morning walk to that brunch coffee date with your bestie. The VIVRA Lifestyle pouch is the perfect addition to any modern woman’s accessory wardrobe (or if you have a stylish other half – they have suitable styles for guys too!).

Featured: Vivra Pouch in Madagascar

Instagram @vivralifestyle

Website www.vivra.com.au

for the coffee connoisseur..

Frank Green Reusable Smart Cup

Not only are reusable coffee cups a much needed step in the right direction when it comes to saving the planet, but how many times have you burnt yourself drinking out of a paper coffee cup, spilt coffee all over you in your car because the lid just doesn’t stay on or by the time you actually get to drink it if you are on the go, it’s gone cold (and let’s be real – you just bought it right!)? Well, let’s just say that one of these is the answer to all coffee prayers when it comes to all of the above, and so much more. It comes in 2 different sizes, you can style your own by choosing the colour of the base and two parts of the lid, they are an on trend modern design that fits most (if not all) cup holders, what’s not to love? The Frank Green Reusable Smart Cup is by far, in my personal opinion, the best on the market, and trust me when I say that any coffee lover out there would not leave home without it, as once you go Frank Green you’ll wonder how you ever caffeinated before it.

Featured: SmartCup 8oz / 230ml Original

Instagram @frankgreen_official

Website www.frankgreen.com

for the book worm..

Book Light

Have you been told to turn the light off on more than one occassion? I’ve been there. A book light is an absolute must for the nightly reader. Not only is it more subtle on the eyes (hello happy circadium rhythm!), but they are so small, some like this one are pocket sized even, that you can take it with you wherever you and your novel travel. Pop it in the drawer next to your bedside table, in your handbag or your pocket when you are travelling (these work much better than the plane night lights if you are going on a long flight!). They come in a range of different colours, shapes and sizes. A book light would be a great secret Santa gift or stocking filler for the one who has everything. Imagine being able to read anywhere, anytime. A book light is one of the most useful accessories you might ever own.

Featured: The Really Tiny Book Light in Tiny Pink purchased in store from Dymocks, Brisbane City (not available online)

Instagram @dymocksbooks

Website www.dymocks.com.au

for the everyday style queen..

Just Peachy Apparel Headband

Whether you have short hair or long hair, these are the perfect hair accessory to style it out of your face leaving you feeling fresh and of course, stylish! These can be styled up or down, from home casual to dressing up and heading out. They come in a range of different colours and designs along with two sizes for yourself and your little one. This would be another great secret Santa gift or stocking filler, or even gift for yourself to go with your outfit on Christmas Day. Say goodbye to bad hair days and welcome a beautiful handmade Just Peachy Apparel Headband.

Featured: Twirl Knot in Blossom + Twirl Knots Original Range in Light Grey (both adult sizing)

Instagram @just.peachy.apparel

Website www.justpeachyapparel.bigcartel.com

for the eco concious..

‘ChicoBag rePETe Shopping Bag’

Let’s not get into how bad plastic bags are, but instead talk about how everyone needs a quality reusable shopping bag in their repertoire, the environment will thank you later. ChicoBag’s are reusable, this particular one shown has an 18kg carrying capacity (for carrying all the things!) and long straps for ease of use, they come in a variety of colours and are (one of my favourite perks of this product) machine washable (unlike the standard supermarket ones which tend to get a little well, unsanitary)! Whether you are doing the grocery shopping, picking up fresh produce from the farmers markets or need an extra bag throughout your day because you’re doing some unplanned shopping, a ChicoBag rePETe Shopping Bag (or any reusable shopping bag) is a must have for everyday life.

Featured: ChicoBag rePETe shopping bag in Serenity Purple purchased in store from Biome, Brisbane City

Instagram @chicobag

Website www.chicobag.com

for the home lover..

‘Glasshouse Candle’

If you have been into Peter Alexander or any other luxe boutiques that smell amazing, I can vouch and say that what you are smelling is most likely a Glasshouse Candle. The signature scent when you walk into Peter Alexander is usually the one featured here, though there are many other scents that will easily take you to some tropical island north of here, sipping a cocktail with the breeze flowing past you (we can all dream!). No need to dream though, bring a little slice of paradise to home with one of these carefully handmade candles. A Glasshouse Candle for me is an investment piece as they have a long burn and would also be the perfect item to add to your home on Christmas Day or an extra special luxe gift for someone you love.

Featured: Glasshouse Candle in Tahaa Mini Vanilla Caramel 60g purchased in store from Peter Alexander

Instagram @glasshousef

Website www.glasshousefragrances.com

for the treat inclined..

Pana Chocolate Ganache

Talk about a taste of heaven. This beautiful little bar of chocolate ganache is handmade from organic ingredients and is an absolute delight to the palette when it comes to smoothness and taste sensation. For all the chocolate lovers out there, and those that fancy a luxe treat over the store bought kind, this is next level at the least. Whether you are looking for a small gift or something special for after Christmas lunch or dinner, this is the perfect teat. Pana Chocolate Ganache comes in 3 flavours and unfortunately have sold out online (so believe me when I say they are out of the treat world!). If you can get your hands on one from one of their stockists (or more than one) snap it up quickly and put it away (I mean hide it!). This would also make a super cute gift for your guests on their table setting or to give them as they leave.

Featured: Pana Chocolate Fig & Walnut Ganache 80g purchased in store from Biome, Brisbane City (currently sold out online – check out in store at Biome or look into other retailers)

Instagram @pana_chocolate

Website www.panachocolate.com

I hope after reading this blog post you are feeling a little inspired and excited for your Christmas shopping and the gift giving festivities to come. Make sure to subscribe to SPARKLE on darling back on the home page to ensure you don’t miss the next blog post from the ‘A SPARKLE on darling Christmas’ series.

All my love,