Tag: family

Spend Time not Money the Christmas

When I think of Christmas I think of traditions.  Those little rituals that cause you to feel warm and happy.  For me, it’s these little  things you do year after year that make my festive season special.  Spending time rather than money

I have put together a round-up of Christmas traditions that have been part of my family for years, and others that I have gathered from other fabulous woman around the world.

Here are my top 8 Christmas traditions (in no particular order):

  1. The treat cupboard.  So many of us remember our Mom’s having a special cupboard or shelf set aside for Christmas treats.  We start buying early and slowly it fills up with lovely goodies that are only revealed on the 24 December.  I love the illicit delight of knowing that there is chocolate in the house, but it cannot be eaten.  This is a really practical tradition too – because it is a great idea to spread the cost.
  2. This leads neatly into a fabulous Christmas tradition that I started when my son was born (23 years ago). I received a book call the Ultimate Christmas Book by Jane Newdick.  In it she describes a tradition called the 13 desserts which originates in Provence.  On Christmas eve you set out a plate with a risen cake (I use a small Pantone) and 12 other treats including fruits, nuts, nougat, biscuits and more.  These are to represent Christ and the 12 Apostles.  The idea is that this plate of goodness is to be refilled over the festive season, and welcomes people to your home.  In my home it is simply called ‘the plate’ and is an essential part of Christmas.
  3. Christmas music. My guilty pleasure.  There is nothing I like more than cranking up the volume and singing along.  I wait with eager anticipation for Christmas FM to come online.  Christmas music is an absolute must when decorating the tree, cooking the turkey and wrapping gifts.
  4. Christmas Cards – giving and receiving. I think it is quite sad that the ritual of sending cards seems to be dying out.  I make my own cards and love the process of checking addresses, writing short messages and getting a pile ready for the post office.  It is a really good way of remembering people who you might not see that often and touching base at least once a year.  I also have to admit I love the thunk of a Christmas card through the door, and delight in seeing who it is from, and savouring the connection.
  5. Books and chocolate on Christmas Eve.  Although we normally allow one gift from under the tree on Christmas eve, I have recently read of the practice of receiving gifts of books and chocolates the night before Christmas and then snuggling up for a good read and a nibble.  Jolabokaflod – literally translated as book flood is an Icelandic tradition that I will definitely be adopting.
  6. Decorating the tree. We all have special dates we start, and then special traditions.  Each decoration I have is individual and many are handmade.  As each decoration come out, it tells a story.  So many of us have decorations and baubles bought to mark special occasions like the birth of a new child.  that mean a lot or decorations that hold lots of memories.  Put on the Christmas music, break out the mince pies and keep decorating.
  7. Christmas Baking. It doesn’t matter what you choose, but almost everyone you speak to has a Christmas baking tradition.  Every sense is awakened by baking – including the obvious delicious tastes and smells!  In our home we have to have homemade shortbread – which is consumed when unwrapping stockings on Christmas morning.
  8. The Gingerbread House – although this could be considered baking it isn’t really. Every year I buy a kit. Which we assemble on Christmas eve.  It has progressed from a purely Mom affair through a family construction that was more fun than beautiful to a carefully engineered construction.  I do know that it always means lots of laughs and the gift of time spent together.

Christmas is a great time to think of the people we share our life with, and to spend time, rather than money.

I would love to wish you and your family a wonderful festive season as you take time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.  Happy making memories.

Kerry xx

Life Lessons from my Granny

Lessons learnt from my Granny

I am privileged to have had many woman in my life who have guided me and shaped me and made me who I am. Today I would like to acknowledge the life lessons taught by my maternal grandmother – Olive Hanson.

My granny passed away in 1978, when I was 13, I may have been young but I have remembered she taught me some great lessons.

My granny was born Olive Pickavance (I do like that name) and was one of 10 children, 5 boys and 5 girls.  All the girls had names of plants – Olive, Iris, May, Hazel and Violet.   My granny was a lady, and one with a sharp wit.

I have fond memories of staying over at my grandparents on a Friday evening.  We went to sleep with a huge sense of anticipation of the adventure the next day.  My grandfather brought us tea in bed, something that didn’t happen at home.  We got up and got dressed with our frilly knee socks and black patent shoes and got ready to ride the bus to town.  Saturday morning in town meant a visit to the hairdresser for my gran (a proud supporter of the blue rinse) and then a visit to the multi-storied department stores which have now disappeared.  The excitement of tea and scones in the tea room and a little purchase or some kind meant we returned home on a high.

These trips were the ignited a passion for independence which had me riding the busses for many years.  At 16 I rode the bus into town and secured myself a job selling children’s shoes.

Here are a few great life lessons I learnt from my Granny.

  1. You are never too old to learn. Granny learnt to drive at 63 before my Grandad passed away.  I think it is fair to say that she was never a great driver but it didn’t stop her getting around.  My little sister always maintained she could hear Granny arriving.
  2. The importance of underwear. Granny always maintained that you should have good undies in case you were ever in an accident.  Years later I was in an accident and found myself lying in the ambulance trying to remember what I had put on in the morning.  Luckily I was ok!
  3. The value of a good story.  Granny was a great storyteller. Sometimes the stories grew and grew like the story of the cat that was so big it could fill a bath.  I did see the cat once and it was big, but not quite that big.  Stories are our history and really should be passed on
  4. The need for walking shoes and sitting down shoes. As a young child I couldn’t understand what Granny meant when she talked about sitting down shoes.  Now I know exactly what she meant.  I have both types on my shoe rack.
  5. The importance of being well dressed. Granny was always elegant and well dressed. She valued her clothes and would spend a good deal of time choosing a piece of fabric that would then go off to the dress-maker. She also didn’t like black.
  6. The value of a social occasion. As she got older she often attended the funerals of her friends. She wore Navy and saw these occasions as not only an opportunity to pay her respects but also to socialise, a wise woman.  She also loved a good wedding for the same reason.
  7. How important quotes and sayings are. She loved sayings – perhaps I have inherited that from her too. One of my favourites was – You would notice an inch on the end of your nose.  This referred to skirts that were too long or too short. (She was way ahead of her time would have enjoyed Pinterest)
  8. The value of occasion.  She had a real sense of occasion. A tea-tray was set and cups and saucers and always a little something to nibble would be brought out for a visit after school. Making small things special.
  9. The importance of high standards. Always told her three daughters to put a price on themselves.  It has been something I have never forgotten – the importance of valuing yourself – featured on  my blog here.  Her three daughters, my Mum, Aunty Ingrid and Aunty Elna were reminded – Remember you are a Hanson. Basically behave yourself and keep high standards.
  10. Everyone is special.  Granny had a way about her that you always believed that the time she spent with you was special.  A real gift that I hope I have inherited.

My granny was born on 12 March – she would have been 109 on Saturday and probably still dishing out wisdom in the form of stories.  I will set a tea-tray and sit down and raise a cup to Olive Hanson – thank you for the lessons you taught me Granny.

 

Kerry x

 

 

Getting my life into balance

Balloons in a box fabuliciousfifty(3)

 

The concept isn’t unique, but it is something that I have adapted for my own use and how I try to keep myself  in balance.

2012 was all about balance for me.  I started with one inflated balloon in the box a few partly shrivelled ones, and some that had almost no air in them at all.

So the basic idea is that you have 7 balloons – each one represents an area of your life (in my head these balloons are all different colours) – all these balloons have to fit into a box.  So, if one balloon is over inflated, the others must shrink to fit.

Now of course  it is impossible to get them all even, but the idea is to strive for balance.

The 7 balloons are :

  1. Family
  2. Spirituality
  3. Friends
  4. Work
  5. Health
  6. Hobbies
  7. Relationships/Love

There are many theories that talk about the areas of our lives that we need to master.  My thoughts are not that sophisticated.  Simply an idea that I fixated on during the time when I was striving for balance.

When I started  work was the biggest balloon of all.  I think that perhaps I threw myself into work, to avoid thinking about other things.  I was running my own business and as any entrepreneur will know this is quite consuming.  It had come to a point where work, friends, social life, health, and hobbies had all become rolled into one.  Not really a healthy state.  This was a big balloon.

Although I had a wonderful relationship with my son, and I was lucky enough to have one of my sisters living close by, the family balloon was sadly deflated.  To be honest I think that I had forgotten how important family was.  I was having problems in my marriage, and my close family lived miles away.  Through the year, I worked towards rebuilding and analysing the relationships in my life.  It is extremely sad when you realise that you are better off letting things go, but then it is hugely uplifiting to rebuild relationships.

If you think about it your sisters (and brothers) are your first friends.  Re-establishing a true friendship with my oldest sister has been such a ray of sunshine in my life.  We work at it our relationship and I consider both my sisters true friends.   I can honestly say that despite my separation I have moved toward re-inflating the family balloon.  I need not say that at this time the love balloon would have been hard to find in the box.

My health was at an all time low.  I had received diagnosis after diagnosis and I was terribly unfit.  I think that this was one of the biggest wake-up calls and learning how to pay attention to my health and give this balloon priority was a huge part of getting my life into balance.  Although I reached the end of 2012 with better health, this remains a priority.  The health balloon for us all is something that needs to be constantly monitored.  I always need to keep my eye on the ball from a health perspective, and yes, sometimes this balloon gets forgotten in the bottom of the box.

My spiritual life and beliefs are not something I am very vocal about.  It is a deep and personal part of my life.  It is sad however that when we go to a dark place this is when we need to be in touch with our spiritual self.  Meditation and prayer are a great solace for a life out of balance.  This was yet another balloon lying deflated at the bottom of the box.  It was actually through my walks that I reconnected.  As yes, bubbly Kerry goes silent and meditates regularly!

Friends are a great joy in my life.  Thankfully this balloon has never really deflated.  When I reflected on my life in 2012 however I did realise that my friend group was very closely linked to work.  I had met some of the most amazing people through crafting.  I will always be so grateful for the friends I made through crafting.  I met some amazing people who will always be in my life.  I do believe however that a good diverse bunch of friends makes you truly rich.  I am proud to have friends from 18 to 80 plus from all works of life.  Thank you for being my friends  – it means everything that this balloon remains inflated.

Hobbies or pastimes is balloon that is more important that we often think.  It is important to have fun times and hobbies help us explore and learn about all sorts of things.  I used to craft and paint as a hobby.  When I opened my shop, my hobbies became my job.  As I have worked towards balancing things out, I have started to enjoy my hobbies, and have even added a few more.  I joined the ICA (Irish Country Woman’s Association) where I have learnt a few new skills and made new friends.  I am of course, back painting and crafting as a hobby, but I know that I need to expand and try new things.  Hill walking perhaps?  Or maybe a spot of history.

 

Thanks for reading and thank you for all the lovely feedback.

 

Kerry

 

 

 

 

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