Travelling in 2016

Thursday, 24 December 2015
2016 will be the year that Matt and I purchase our first house together, hopefully. That's the aim and we are on track to make that happen. Of course there is the "we need to find a house we actually like" - but trivial things aside this will mean that a holiday abroad is likely not to happen this year.

In the 7 years that we have been together we've done a few trips in the UK but these have been mainly in the Southern part of England. One of my favourite places we have visited already in the UK has to be Longleat.

We've visited Longleat three times in the last few years, twice where we've travelled up and back in a day and once we stayed over in a nearby Travelodge. My 21st was when we made is a proper staycation and we both really enjoyed it. Coming back home we'd actually felt like we'd been on holiday!

Another place in the UK that I really enjoyed visiting is Harry Potter! Matt and I are meeting up with our friends Leanne and Tom there next month which I am far too excited about, especially as there is the addition of The Hogwarts Express now.

We are going to make a bit more of a weekend out of it and spending time with Leanne and Tom. Hopefully we will get to head to a few shops near them, I know Leanne is a fan of the Swindon outlet because there is a really good makeup shop there. I'm sure the boys will end up playing on the playstation and we can head shopping.

Talking of shopping, I've heard so many things about Birmingham's Bullring, yet I've never been! It's a fair drive for us to head up that way so we'd definitely head to a hotel. I'm pretty intrigued to see the building in general! Looks very... strange!

I'm not quite sure how my claustrophobia would fair up - can anyone tell me if it's that stuffy looking when you are inside? What are the best shops in there? I would hate for the visit to just be like visiting my local shopping centre of St David's 2 which is what Cribbs Causway felt like - hated it!

Where are your top staycations? - we are going to need some ideas to compensate for no sun in 2016!

Hope you have a lovely Christmas! Doesn't feel like Christmas Eve at all! 

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Getting ready for Christmas

Tuesday, 22 December 2015
This film is what makes me feel instantly in the Christmas spirit. I'm not sure about you, but I've really struggled this year. The weather is warm and rainy, plus I'm working all over Christmas - how is Christmas on Friday!? I think elf might be my favourite Christmas movie, I have it on the TV for the 500th time this year. As I took this photo we were preparing the Christmas tree and it's become a tradition in the Parkin/James household to have this on and make the flat look like Santa's Grotto.

This year I've got my hands on some faux candles. These were from The Range and were around £15. Burning candles is one of my favourite homely touches, but these come with an LED remote control which means no change of fire damage. The candles look so realistic too, recently Matt and I were at his Dad's and it took me all night to realise that on the mantlepiece were fake candles.

Another brilliant Christmas item comes in the form of a box of chocolates from Tesco. Again I first saw this at Matt's Dad's house where his Step Mum had actually bought one for me and hidden it upstairs. Thinking it was just a light feature was exciting enough, but then I discovered it had chocolates inside! (They were like Lindt!)

Matt bought us our own named stockings a few years ago (I think from Ebay) and every year they go up on our "fireplace" in the lounge. 

Our tree this year is white and silver, pretty much the same as last year. I love white decorations on Christmas trees as it makes me think of snow. Being as my mum moved house this year we have inherited the decorations that I grew up with. It's been lovely to see them on our tree (and thankfully they match) because they bring back such lovely memories of Christmases that have been and gone. I do have a little smile on my face even more so walking past our tree this year. 

Finally, this years Christmas Jumper is from ASDA* and I am in love with it. Last year I had a huge novelty penguin with a bobble hat, which was even 3D. However this year I wanted something a little more tasteful this year. A cream jumper goes with pretty much anything and I'll probably wear this with jeans, new boots and a black shirt underneath for Christmas Day. 

What are your festive routines? 

#rehomingangels My pets adoption stories...

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

I know, I know - another post about my animals, but they are such a huge part of my life. Not that I need another excuse to talk about them, but I couldn't say no when asked to blog about the RSPCA's latest campaign #rehomingangels and their page about rehoming cats & dogs

The only way I can really get across just how much rehoming animals means to me is to go through the stories of my animals and touch upon the dogs home where I volunteer at.

In just a quarter of a year the RSCPA (just one charity) received over 3000 calls relating to abandoned animals. That is just unacceptable. I know just from the volunteering that I do, the numbers are similar all over.

Bertie was an abandoned animal. He was left in a cardboard box outside a farm near where I live. I visited there six years ago with my mum and my nan, saw him in a small hutch being poked at by kids and knew in that instant that he would be mine.
Luckily my nan bought me a hutch for Christmas and I took him home that same day. He's been the absolute best and I really don't know how anyone could have dumped him. A part of me is very glad though, because I wouldn't have had the chance to meet him otherwise.

Basil and Rocky were adopted from the Pets At Home adoption centre as they had become too old to sell in the shop. A slightly different story here, but the thought that these two were "past their prime" in selling age is just really upsetting. They were still very easy to tame despite being older - I'm all for adopting older animals. 

Mouse, the hamster. I absolutely love this little man. I adopted Mouse from a local hamster rescue who I support with donations as often as I can. The girl who runs the rescue is amazing and Mouse was in her care because the little boy who Mouse belonged to wanted a hamster in a different colour. The irony here is Mouse changed colour not long after I got him from an all black hamster to a grey fluffy hamster with a black face and a ginger bum. Adorable. 

I made a little video to go along with this post, please feel free to laugh at how uncooperative my crew was!! 

The charity I volunteer for are: Friends of the Dogs, Wales.  There are plenty of dogs in and out all the time. There's not really much more I can say than I do on the video - otherwise I would be ranting for hours and hours!

If you do have any spare time in your weeks, I would suggest volunteering - it's not your money that makes the difference, it's the time you give.

Christmas Wishing...

Monday, 7 December 2015

Yes, the big "bloggers love marble" but I love it and I want it. H&M have just opened up a huge store in Cardiff and I can imagine I would buy most of it. Probably the reason why I'm staying clear of the store. 

Luckily just a short walk from that new H&M store is the Vivienne Westwood and I can see up close the Vivienne Westwood Bags* for real! I really like the design of the two birds on this bag and it's part of an ethical fashion initiative. 

A few people seem to have these in their homes and I want to be one of them. A friend uses hers to house all her comfy blankets in her lounge and I'm very close to copying it. I'm a sucker for copper and this basket is a really subtle way to add the colour to my living room. 

When we get our first house we are going to have seasonal bedding. I'm being very well restrained at not buying Christmas bedding this year, despite so many great designs being on the market. I think my favourite is this one from Very and at the moment - it's in the sale! 

I'm very surprised I like this colour because I'm not one for pink at all, but this blanket would fit really nicely with the brown sofa that we have. It's not too expensive either, could this be the blanket that weans me off the cheap ikea ones?