Thursday, 28 November 2019

LIFE LATELY // How To Advent Like Us

Ideas for Celebrating Advent

There is exactly one week until Advent starts, and indeed December, which means that my brain is desperately trying to get everything ready to enable me to enjoy the Christmas Season. Over the years I have shared lots of ideas as to how we celebrate Advent and Christmas as both these events are very important to us as practising Christians.

Advent is the run up to Christmas, the 24 day period until Christmas day itself and one of my favourite times of year. The joy of Christmas is that it is a whole season, not just one day and it is really important to remember that.

It is not just about one day and living in the now, it is easy to forget the true importance of Christmas time. I really work hard to make the whole of Christmas time seem like a season. As soon as the 1st December hits we can fully immerse ourselves in the joys of everything Christmassy: films, movies, mince pies (OK we have had a few of them them already) but you get the point. The whole of December is the period of Christmas, in fact we keep it going until January 6th (Epiphany) when Christmas time officially ends. 
It is really important to us to keep the real importance of this time alive as it is can be forgotten now but there really is a greater meaning to this time.
I thought I would share some of the things that will be going on in our house this year as I feel I have lots to share.

Advent At Home

So like I said; Advent is the period between the 1st and 25th of December. For us this means we have 24 solid days to build the excitement to Christmas but to also reflect on what this whole period can be about.
Part of trying to keep Christian practices alive at this time really falls to us as parents so a lot of our focuses are based around that but we have a few other traditions that can work in all homes.

Traditional Paper Advent Calendars


Grandma always provides these, purchased from our church. They always depict a traditional Christmas or nativity scene and have doors which can be opened to reveal images relating to Christmas. These are something we have always had and even though chocolate ones are way more fun, it's nice to have a simpler reminder of counting down the days to Christmas.

The Names Of Jesus Advent Calendar



Another gift from my Mum this year is this Names of Jesus Advent Calendar which you string up and turn each card over as each day passes. For older Children this is a nice reminder of who the person is we are celebrating. Even though there is no WOW factor to it, as an adult it will be a nice little daily reminder of the season.

Hide The Baby Jesus


I did something similar last year but when I was in Rome, a place full of amazing tat; I picked up a small baby Jesus for a couple of euros. I plan to hide him around the house (not everyday) but just as a fun little game with probably a chocolate coin reward.

Sinterklaas


This is an activity we have celebrated since I was a child. A dutch tradition based on celebrating the feast day of St. Nicholas. Children put out their empty shoes the night of the 5th December in the hope that St Nicholas will visit and fill their shoes with chocolate treats. In The Netherlands this is a huge celebration where gifts are exchanged and families come together. We will be putting our shoes out just like we do every year.

The Giving Manger



This is a new purchase for me this year, one that is actually off an Instagram advert but I am so pleased with it!
My mum has done something similar for years but this is a nice physical representation of marking good deeds.
The idea is that you fill up the manger with single pieces of straw every time you do a good deed for someone else. In the home this could be helping tidy, washing pots, making the bed, helping someone else, etc. when the manger is full you can put the the baby in it. This also has a lovely book that you read first explaining the real joy of giving to each other. A great reminder about gifts not always being material objects.

A Gift Advent Calendar



To be honest, this year this advent calendar has been thought about the least. Usually full of little gifts I feel that our children have enough and if I am going to use it I think I am going to maybe put in little physical gift ideas like a ticket to choose what we have for dinner that night or a suggestion to watch a movie that day or play a game, something more time based where we actually physically do something as a family each day. It will take a bit of thinking but I am going to come up with something in the next few days.

Christmas books

I absolutely love theming the kids' bookcase and make sure I have as many Christmas books out on display as I can. We have a mix of religious and just seasonal books which we read each night at bedtime.

A Travelling Nativity


I shared this on Instagram Last Christmas and it got an amazing response so I thought I would share it on here. Christmas week we spent the 7 days moving Mary & Joseph around the kids' bedroom whilst reading parts of the nativity story. The kids absolutely loved this journey and after Christmas day we carried on bringing all the guests to the stables. The shepherds and kings came later but together we were able to build up our nativity. This is one of my favourite activities in Advent.

Star Of Night Biscuits



Leading up to the 24th baking is always a nice little task. For us it is our Spiced Biscuits which is a recipe I shared back in 2014!! Always in Star shape to remember the bright star that shone down over the stable!

Christmas Mugs For Christmas Movies


I actually treated us to some bargain mugs from TESCO to use through the advent season and I thought these were a good share to end on. These will be used for all the hot drinks we are going to be having as we sit down and watch ALL the Christmas movies.

All of this is about teaching the children about the joy of our faith. This all relates to trying to be a good person, to learn to offer to others first and to remember and keep alive traditional practices that bring joy into our lives.

This may seem like a lot of things to do and yes, there will be days that we don't do something but it is a time for me to really try and work all these small fun and meaningful experiences into our family life to help us celebrate Christmas.
I hope you have found the post interesting and you can use some of the ideas in your family home.

Enjoy the Season!

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Monday, 25 November 2019

CREATIVE // Our Thanksgiving & Home Sewn Table Decor

Thanksgiving As A British Family


As a British family I can categorically state that we do not celebrate Thanksgiving for the same reasons as US citizens. For them, they have a history embedded within the celebrations which is a wonderful thing for the country.
We celebrate it along side our US friends as a reminder to feast together as a family and be truly grateful for what we have.


Life is so busy, we can all agree and we can find that we do not sit down together as a whole extended family all that often to recognise and celebrate all that we are thankful for.
For the past 6 years we have got together as many family members as possible (sometimes on different nights) to celebrate our version of thanksgiving. A big meal and an individual toast to each of the things in our lives we are thankful for. For each of these years it has always happened at our home, with a few extended tables and plenty of food to cover them. I find it really exciting preparing for it all, decorating and getting everything ready. To say it is easy in our small house is a lie and as the family keeps expanding I have a feeling that the church hall is probably going to be our new venue.


Over the years I have found that each thanks giving has offered me some kind of valuable learning experience. Not all positive but things I can learn from all same.

I don’t think anything will ever beat our first meal though. Etta was only a few months old and we had just finished our extension. It was the first time I had the opportunity to decorate the “new” house for an event and Rob and I were so proud of how everything looked. It was the end of a lot of work and the beginning of a new journey as parents of two little people. I will never forget my mums reaction to coming in. I thing the soft glow of the candles and the house looking fresh and new completely shocked most people. Etta was asleep in a cot in the corner and Raph at 2 and a bit was the toddler wondering around. I really clearly rember my mum saying to Rob as he worked on the food, “ Thank you for giving Emily all she has ever wanted.” The beautiful house, the children, the husband, it was all there, and it was true, it was all I ever wanted. I never expected it to appear in that way but at that point in our life, 4 years in to our marriage, that was us completely. In our little space, with our children. It was all we needed.
I think after our extension our home took on a new role that night. It became part of us and I remember that as we worked round the table and each shared what things we were thankful for the top of mine and robs list was the re-creation of the house and almost the new life we were about to have. We felt we had already achieved so much and now, six years on it is amazing to reflect on all the life changing experiences we have had since that day.


My goodness, I couldn’t even begin to write everything down but the reality is I have had a couple of big travel experiences this year which I couldn’t have even imagined 6 years ago and these things have taught me so much!

This thanksgiving is going to be a time for celebration. Another reason to get together and make sure that, as an extended family, we share a table, a simple thing that can just be forgotten about!

Making a Thanksgiving table

I thought I would share a little table "how to" as I have made my napkins and table runners for Thanksgiving this year and I am really pleased with how it looks.

For this you will need;
Fabric, I have one metre of RUST and PINK from my favourite HIGGS AND HIGGS and an Overlocker, I used the JUKI AIR THREADING OVERLOCKER

Runners: Simply cut your fabric into three lengths. My thin table suited only needing a 1m length as it was 1.45m wide.
Then overlock your edges and iron.


That is it! Just like that you have some table runners.


Napkins: The joy of the overlocker is that it does the job so simply. Cut your napkin into squares, about 40cm x 40cm and run the overlocker around the edges and iron. DONE!


Making the table is then pretty simple. Lay the runner across the table, load up with your crockery, candles and some greenery. Add in your napkins, glasses and cutlery and you are ready to fill those plates up with hot food!

I hope you have enjoyed this post and can find ways to celebrate thanksgiving in your own homes.


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Friday, 8 November 2019

LEARNING // What Blogging Is All About.

This post is an educational tool for me to use to help teach children about Blogging. I have been asked to attend a local school and talk about it so this post is part of that. Feel free to share it with other young people if they are interested in this online world of work.

Welcome to my blog: Brick Dust & Glitter. On here I am going to leave some key points to help you understand blogging and how to write a blog.

About Me

My name is Emily and I have been writing a bog for over six years now. I started when my little girl was just six months old. 
As a family we wanted to share what we got up to and we thought that a blog was a good place to do that. Sharing this publicly was an easy thing and I enjoyed writing about all things creative. Click HERE to read my first ever post.
I don't write as much any more but I love it when I do. I hope you enjoy this post.

What Is A Blog?

A blog is an online website where a writer can share information about chosen subjects. It can be personal to you or you could write a blog for your community. There are lots of areas of interest such as:
Movie Reviews
Sports
Fashion
Days out
News

I write around an area called Lifestyle. This means I share lots about what we do, what I wear and emotional conversations about parenting and life that I may want to share.

What Is A Blog Post?

A blog post is an individual article that you write to go on your blog.
I write about things that interest me and I like to share pictures with each post. 
I choose one subject or situation to write about and write a few paragraphs that I then upload onto the main blog website.

Is Blogging Safe?

Blogging is safe but you have to work hard to protect yourself and your private information.

If you write anything online you need to be aware that anyone can see it. Even if you think it is private, sharing information between other people online is very easy.

When blogging you should NEVER share:

Where you live
Your telephone number
The full names of your parents
What School you go to
Where you like to play
Pictures of people's faces who you do not know
Pictures of your body if you feel uncomfortable about it.

There is a lot of cyber bullying online nowadays and people find it very easy to say things on a computer that they would never say in real life. People can write nasty comments on blogs and criticise you. If you feel that someone is being mean to you online you must ALWAYS tell an adult.

Remember, behave online like you would do at school. Always try to be a kind person. 

How Do I Write My First Blog Post?

Pick an area that you want to talk about. For this post I thought about what I wanted to tell all of you about blogging.
If you don't have any ideas here are a few that might help you:
  • Review a film or book. Talk about the actors or writers, plot twists and if other people should read or watch it.
  • Write about a day out. Write about if it was good, what your learned, any bad parts or things you may change about it. If you loved all of it tell people why it was a good experience.
  • Talk about a hobby. I really like dancing. What do you like? Tell people why it is good.
  • Discuss current news. Share your opinion on current situations around the world. Remember not to offend others with your opinion though.
  • Share a photo walk around a local area. Focus on something like plants or animals, maybe looking at birds or flowers. Make sure to not share exactly where it is though if it is at your home. Think about privacy.
  • Write fiction. You can share stories you have written yourself, let people read you own work.

Can Blogging Ever Lead On To Other Things?

If you work hard at something you will be rewarded.
Blogging for me gave me a new career. I started working in this school as a teaching assistant 11 1/2 years ago and always wanted to work with children, but my life changed and so did my work. However, once I started blogging I found that people were interested in what I had to share and that opened up all kinds of opportunities.
Now I work in a completely different area to the one I studied in earning money though writing and photography.
I write for my own blog where brands pay me to share information or products. I write for other people's blogs where I send them work and they publish it. I write for a local magazine which is a paper version of my blog. I also now work with another blogger building her website. My working life is busy, but really creative and really fun. 

I hope you can use this information to help you write a blog. Think about all the things we have discussed and you to could be a blogger.

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Friday, 1 November 2019

FASHION // Neutrals For Winter

Neutrals in winter may scare you, but here is how best to wear them:

For a few years now I have really enjoyed taking neutrals colours into the autumn winter. In fact, I have previously written about my love for wearing cream all year round. I love colour, I wear a lot of it, but sometimes nothing beats blending soft neutrals for that ultra chic look. Greys don’t suit me as much a brown tones do. I love the minimalist trends that use a lot of grey as their base but I find my skin tone needs the warmth of a brown. It has taken me a few years to realise this but brown colours really lift me.


As we head into the dark grey days, I find I need to just lift myself a bit more so investing in a good metallic skirt is a must. This gold one is a few years old now and I originally bought it for a party but it has been an invaluable piece in my wardrobe; the kind that is worn for all sorts of occasions and goes so well with so much. I love it styled casually and with these Grenson boots, (I know, they are going to feature lots) they bring a modern cool to the whole outfit.


For me, Autumn/ winter also means you need to up your layering game. Cashmere jumpers are always a winner; they go with everything! Investing in a wool blazer is also a good idea. This one, in a classic caramel brown colour I will use for years!
As always, building great outfits comes from enjoying your clothes. Things don’t always need to be new, just find ways to rework your items and wear them with confidence.








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