Seven acts of revillaging for Christmas

[Image description: flat lay of mince pies, apples, pine cones, evergreen branches and a hot drink. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash] Christmas is often sold to us as a time of togetherness. Perhaps this has a practical function, especially in cold climates where dark, frigid days are prone to leaving us feeling disconnected and less energetic. But “sold” is the operative word when commercial entities max on our natural longing for real community. We are encouraged to overspend in order to connect or to buy distraction as a plaster for our pain. Yet because it’s a time where we’re…

Getting started on gift shopping – 50 Days of Christmas with Boots

In collaboration with Boots Despite my best intentions, I am generally a last minute shopper at Christmas time. Yes, I’ve been known to hit the shops and even the supermarket one year on Christmas Eve and I can’t tell you how dissatisfying I find doing things that way. Buying for the sake of buying sucks any spirit that’s meant to reside the experience of gifting. Not only that, but it’s a surefire way to spend more money than I intend and to wind up going with less ethical options than I would otherwise. Every year I have been getting better…

10 ideas for celebrating Epiphany with children

I’ve been trying to observe the Christian calendar with my children a bit more this year. I didn’t grow up with it so it’s interesting delving into it myself and making discoveries alongside them. On January 6th, we celebrated Epiphany, the day the wise men found the child Jesus, having followed the star God put in the sky. We’d been talking about it beforehand and I gathered a few fun ideas for simple ways to celebrate Epiphany with our family. As it turned out, between our home education co-op meet and Talitha’s ballet class, we didn’t have much time but…

A family Christmas tree – Pines and Needles

For weeks, Talitha has been excited about our Christmas tree delivery on December 1st. Its promise proved a potent pick-me-up when she started to get the blues about our holiday in Madeira coming to a close. The day after we got back, a friend took her to a home ed group and I dropped Ophelia to her childminder, dashing back to await the exciting delivery from Pines and Needles (tracking is available if you live in London but it’s not an option for Bristol deliveries just yet). When both got home, they were ridiculously excited about the packages in our…

This Homeschooling Life – November

That time’s rolled around again to look back at what we’ve been up to as a home educating family. This has been a month of contrasts. At the start of the month, we got up to quite a lot of in terms of organised activities but things got looser as the days passed as I’ve not been feeling well and Ophelia’s going through a rough patch sleepwise. Actually, that mix suited us just fine. That’s one of the brilliant things about home educating, slowing down is not a problem when life calls for it. Time for the highlights: Falling in…

Simplifying Advent

The moment Talitha woke up this morning, before she’d even got out of bed, she asked in the dark (I was still in the bed beneath with Ophelia), “Mummy, can me and Effie open our Advent calendars?” In years past, I’ve made intricate calendars like this toilet roll tree, complete with an activity planned for each day and a Bible passage. This year, I spotted standard chocolate Advent calendars at a fundraising fair for Easton Jubilee Trust, a non-profit organisation my brother and my sister-in-law are involved in, and I thought, “Why not?” I’m absolutely certain the kids found these…

“Something Wonderful is About to Happen” – Win £100 with Virgin Experience …

We’ve unashamedly got the Christmas feeling around here. Virgin Experience Days has asked me a few questions about what makes the lead up to the big day exciting in our home, so that’s probably got me feeling even more festive. When does Christmas start? I think Christmas officially starts for me in November. That’s when I start itching to listen to parang (Christmas folk music from Trinidad and Tobago) because it would already be on the radio by then at home. We’ve been listening to parang since Bonfire Night and the kids have fully embraced it, the older one asking…