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Top 5 Gifts for Coffee Lovers

Top 5 Gifts for Coffee LoversAnyone who knows me, knows that I love coffee. It’s my main drink of choice, in fact I probably drink coffee more than anything else, and I really enjoy using our coffee maker to it’s fullest potential. Being a coffee lover myself, I thought I’d put together a list of gifts that most coffee lovers would appreciate, which will hopefully give you some inspiration ahead of your festive shopping. Here’s what I’d love to see in my stocking:

Coffee Beans

Obviously, I have a particular brand of coffee that I always buy, but I do really enjoy trying out new beans. Different coffee beans have different flavours and strengths and can compliment different foods, just like wine, and we often have a few different varieties in the cupboard at any time so I’m always keen to try something new. Little hampers with snippets of history containing a variety of beans would make a superb gift.

Grinder

If you’re serious about coffee then grinding your own beans is a great idea. Grinders can range from budget to seriously high-end and the more you spend, the better quality the grind, but it’s possible to buy something for a reasonable price that even the most discerning coffee lover would love.

Syrups

A great way to add flavour to your coffee, if that’s something you like, is by using flavoured syrups. They’re available in a whole range of flavours and even come in sugar-free varieties for the sugar conscious amongst us, plus Monin also often offer some really sweet little gift sets for Christmas containing festive flavours.

Milk Steamer

If your coffee lover likes a latte or a cappuccino, buying them a milk steamer so that they can make their own cafe-quality drinks would be hugely appreciated. Steaming your milk takes good coffee to the next level and they’re a great little gadget for the kitchen.

Biscotti

I’ll be honest, there’s nothing nicer on the side of a coffee than a slab of biscotti and they make a brilliant gift when given with some beans in a hamper. Choose a good Italian variety for an authentic experience…just don’t expect your gift recipient to share them with you!

Are you a coffee lover? Is there something you’d like to receive for Christmas that I haven’t listed here? Leave me a comment below!

Letters to Santa

Post Commissioned by Vertbaudet

Letters to Santa

The lovely people at Vertbaudet are helping little ones get well and truly into the Christmas spirit by offering a series of templates on their site which you can print off and give to them to help them let Santa know exactly what they want for Christmas this year. There are three to choose from, with gorgeous illustrations ranging from a snowman to a beautifully bedecked tree, or even a pile of presents which are just asking to be coloured in by your little Christmas artistes! Also, if you share your lists on any of Vertbaudet’s social media channels, you might just get a little treat…

I’m a huge fan of Christmas. I wasn’t so much when I was a kid, as I remember a lot of stress and angst in the lead up, with inevitable drama on the day, be it over burnt birds or soggy Brussels Sprouts, but now that I’m a Mum I really enjoy injecting the magic into the festive period for Sausage. She’s still young enough to buy into the magic of Christmas and will excitedly leave mince pies and brandy out for Santa, plus a carrot for the Reindeer (although how Ol’ Beardy manages to fly the sleigh straight after 3 million snifters of the strong stuff, I’ll never know!).

Sausage has been keeping a list of what she wants for Christmas for some time now, in a two-fold effort – a) for my sanity because when it gets to around September-time and the inevitable “Mum, I really want…” starts, I can say “Well, add it to your list for Santa!” and b) because when it gets to the time that relatives start asking what she wants, I can give them definite answers, rather than plucking ideas out at random!

This year, all of the grown-ups in our family are doing a Secret Santa, which means that we’ll all have one present to open on Christmas day (and our shopping this year should be a whole lot easier too!) and we can focus on the kids, who will no doubt have mountainous piles of their own to conquer.

Being pregnant means I won’t be the one polishing off Santa’s brandy on Christmas Eve, after Sausage goes to bed, but I’ll definitely be getting my chops around a mince pie or two…not too many though, I’ll still be on my low GI diet, even on the big day, so no Quality Street for me this year! I’m considering keeping a few Christmas treats back and indulging once the baby is born – two Christmases might be a little bit excessive though, don’t you think?!

Listography – Top 5 Life Lessons

I’m totes excited to say that the wonderful Kate (and I’m not just saying that, she really is a super-duper top gal) at Kate Takes 5 has decided to bring back Listography, which is probably my favourite linky of all time. She may have been ever-so-slightly badgered into it by me and Carolin from Mummy Alarm, but I like to think of it as a case of active encouragement, rather than actual internet bullying *ahem*…

If you’ve never seen Listography before, there’s a great explanation of it all here, but without further ado, here are my Top 5 Life Lessons:

 Speak Your Mind or You’ll Never Be Happy

I grew up in a family of terminal subtexters – if there was a direct latin translation for “Never Say What Can Be Hinted At Instead”, that would be our family motto. It’s taken many, many years for me to realise that life is far fecking easier when people just say what they mean, instead of saying a passive-aggressive, close approximation of what they mean, coupled with some facial expressions, and hoping people understand what it is that they want. I’m still guilty of it at times, as my poor, beleaguered Husband will attest, but I am trying to be less internal with my communication and my life has improved for it, because if you never say what you want, you’ll never bloody get it.

Housework Will Always Be There

As you’ll probably know, I’m a self-proclaimed domestic failure. I have bugger-all interest in the majority of household tasks and I have to be prodded to get off of my butt and do things all the time. However, my main reasoning for that is that there are SO MANY more interesting and important things that I can spend my time doing. I don’t want to be one of those Mums who says “Yes, Sausage, we can go swimming, but just wait until Mummy’s steam-cleaned all the skirting boards and re-grouted the bathroom tiles” – I want to be the Mum who’s already got one arse-cheek into her cossie before Sausage has even finished asking, because the washing up will still be there but my chance to make Sausage’s childhood fun might not be.

Stop Eating When You’re Full

This one is quite personal, and again, if you’re a regular reader you’ll know that if food were a person with a Facebook page, my relationship with it would read ‘It’s Complicated’. However, if I could give ONE tip to anyone who’s struggled with their appetite, it’s that you need to stop eating when you’re full. I know that may seem like a no-brainer to a lot of people, but it’s not always the case if you’re a person who has food issues. In fact, if I could go one step further I’d say stop slightly before you feel full, because you probably are full, but your brain and belly haven’t quite synced up yet. I wish someone had told me this years ago and I could have saved a lot of issues with gastric reflux, saved myself a lot of money on Gaviscon and ultimately not had to have had so many cameras shoved into so many different orifices (dont ask…)

Read LOTS

And by lots, I don’t mean Tolstoy, Hemingway and Shakespeare, I mean bloody anything. I’ve always loved reading but I don’t just read the books that people say you’re supposed to read and my brain and soul are all the richer for it. When I was a kid, I’d read literally anything I could get my hands on (which at times has even extended to sitting in the bath and reading the backs of every bottle in the bathroom) and now, as an adult, I love the escapism that a good book can provide. Obviously, the internet is full of awesome stuff to read; Husband recently introduced me to Reddit and if you can get past some of the odder subReddits, it’s a brilliant source of knowledge, humour and general fun-ness. I’ve been known to just sit and read random Wikipedia pages too, and it should go without saying that I love reading other people’s blogs. Yes, that might make me a bit of a nerd but knowledge is empowering and reading is the best way to absorb knowledge, even if it’s Mills and Boon.

Be Polite

This may be a case of me secretly trying to indoctrinate my readers, because rudeness is probably my single biggest bugbear, but the old saying that manners cost nothing is so true. You could be the most awesome person in the world, but if you lack basic manners, you’ll always give a bad account of yourself. Saying please and thank you is like a reflex to me; if I’m out in the car and I think that someone is parked, then drive on before realising that they were actually giving way, I feel bad all day – I’ve genuinely contemplated driving around the block just so I can thank someone properly! However, if you always remember to be polite, say your pleases and thank yous, be considerate, hold doors open, you may not always get the same amount of politeness in return but YOU will always come across well and you may just improve someones’ day by being the first person who’s shown them any human decency all week.

So, those are my Top 5 Life Lessons. What would yours be? Leave me a comment below and also head over to Kate’s blog to read the other entries.

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Mum’s the Word – A Retrospective (Pt. One)

It seems weird looking at the calendar in the bottom corner of my screen and seeing 01/01/2013. This year will be my 29th birthday, Husband’s 34th birthday, Sausage’s 5th birthday, 7 years since we adopted Chuck, my 7th wedding anniversary, my baby sister’s 21st, my baby brother’s 14th….and so on and so on! I remember the days that my brother and sister were born SO vividly and it’s hard to believe that they were that long ago, let alone the fact that I have to get my head around the fact that I’ll have a 5-year-old!

 So, before I look forward to the exciting year ahead, I thought I’d do a ‘Mum’s the Word Retrospective’, a look back at the posts that I’m most proud of from the last 12 months. Yes, it’s self-indulgent, but it’s MY blog, so ner! *blows raspberry*

JANUARY

At the beginning of January, I was saying goodbye to Bob Holness who was a childhood favourite of mine and his passing sparked some fond memories. In this post, I was waxing lyrical about my new iPhone 4. I’m not sure I’d be so effusive now!

This time last year, I was still reeling from the passing of my stepmum, who’d lost her battle with cancer just 10 weeks before. Here I talk about how certain Buddhist teachings had helped me with my grief.

In this post, I share some of the harsh realities of adulthood that I’ve picked up on along the way, but it’s not as grim as it sounds, don’t worry!

FEBRUARY

In this Silent Sunday post, I proudly display the partially erupted wisdom tooth I had removed, despite some people thinking that it was a weird picture of a nose!

This was my first attempt at short fiction. I tried to make a linky out of it but didn’t get much interest, but I was still quite proud of my efforts. Here, I discuss the stress of being a working Mum and how hard it is to relax at times. Finally for Feb, I overheard a conversation in Waitrose which literally tickled me pink.

MARCH

March began with me musing over what I wanted to be when I grew up. Turns out, I still haven’t…Sausage kept us amused with some surprisingly subversive humour for a then-3-year-old.

In a more serious post, I talked about how you tackled the subject of mortality with your little ones, which provoked some interesting comments. I rounded the month off with a satirical post about things that, at 27, I’d realised I was too old to do. This is a personal fave for 2012.

APRIL

The beginning of April saw Husband and I changing our strongly anti-Barbie stance, me doing some serious Sausage related trumpet-blowing, attempting to talk about the dangers of Melanoma and celebrating my move to being self-hosted with a post about being reborn.

MAY

At the beginning of May, I wrote about my Nan and Grandad, which is still one of my favourite posts ever. I also mused about what it would be like if our brains were like a computer harddrive and posted a Silent Sunday featuring a very personal subject for me.

This month also featured part one and two of my Cybher run-down.

This post about parental choices was one of my favourite posts because of the debate it sparked in the comments. I still stand by my original thoughts, which were brought into sharp focus later in the year with the horrible events in the news. I often wonder how people’s opinions will differ now.

JUNE

The beginning of June saw me thinking about the parental instinct to protect and why it’s lacking in some people. Here’s another favourite Silent Sunday, featuring a house-guest we had with us for a while. This photo was one of the things to spark the idea for Closer to Nature, a linky that I started later in the year.

I was having a pretty bad time of things in June and this post is me trying to make sense of my thoughts and feelings, the prevailing being that of loneliness. Later in the month, I also discuss euthanizing a beloved pet and when is the right time to say ‘enough is enough’.

 

A bit of a bleak finish to the first half of the year, but I’m amazed to see how much I wrote in that time. I hope you enjoy reading through and come back for part two!

Happy New Year from Mum’s the Word.

Yellow Days

Sausage’s Birthday List

We all know that kids are covetous little creatures, but Sausage has made a seriously early start this year by giving us her birthday list precisely six months early. Some of the items are rather…random, so I thought you lot might like to see what the average 3 and a half year old REALLY wants!

A Hoover
A trampoline
A pink bowl
A party box
A Moxie Girl
A tortoise
A tarantula
A big photo of mummy, daddy, Sausage, Chuck and Happy
A snuggly teddy bear
A BlackBerry
ZingZillas stickers
Perfume
Necklace and bracelet set
Lilo and Stitch and Rugrats Wii game
Ham

Some surprises in there, no?!

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