Givenchy Antigona Dupes | #SavingSeason

The Givenchy Antigona Tote has been a favourite of bloggers and YouTubers for a while now. Though first released in 2011 the handbag made a comeback in 2016 which has seen variations of this handbag being draped over the arm of many celebrities. This versatile bag  comes in three sizes and in many colours, ranging from the elegant black to a playful pink.

The extremely functional and durable tote was designed by Riccardo Tisci with a clean design and strong geometric ornamentation. Priced between £1,000 and £1,500 (depending on size) the handbag is priced at a somewhat mid-range amount when compared to other luxury handbags brands such as Chanel. However, over £1,000 for a handbag isn’t a cost that the average handbag lover can afford to part with which is why I have been searching for the best dupes available.

There are a  number of dupes that can be found on the highstreet and I’ve listed some of my favourites below.

Modalu Willow Grab Bag

Willow Large Grab Emerald

www.modalu.com, £239

 

Radley Structured Grab Bag

Black Structured Grab Bag

www.tkmaxx.com, 89.99

Modalu Verity Tote Bag  

Moss Green Verity Tote Bag

www.tkmaxx.com, £79.99

 

 Michael Kors Studio Mercer Medium Leather Duffel
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http://www.michaelkors.co.uk, £310

 

Dune Dinessy Tote Bag, Black

Buy Dune Dinessy Tote Bag, Black Online at johnlewis.com

www.johnlewis.com, £70

 

Mango Zipped pebbled bag

Zipped pebbled bag | MANGO

www.mango.com, 29.99

 

So there you have it, you can achieve the same look without splashing out on the expensive price tag. Which one is your favourite?

 

In love with the Gucci Dionysus but not the price tag? Check out these dupes too.

7 Habits of Successful Savers | #SavingSeason

Continuing with the #SavingSeason I thought I’d review some habits of successful savers. Bad habits are difficult to lose, but it’s easy to pick up a new habit with only a few changes in your mindset. I assume that you’re reading this post because you’re keen to start saving? I’m glad that you’ve made this decision because the changes you make to your saving habits now will determine how you spend the rest of your financial future… no pressure!

Here are some habits that you can start implementing today:

1. Be Proactive.

The first thing you need to do is decide that you want to save! Sounds simple, but without it you won’t begin to save. You may not have any debt or financial worries but if you start saving now in an unforeseen circumstances you’ll have something to fall back on. Don’t wait until you need the money, start now. For those in a place of debt, facing up to this fact is the first step of being proactive. It’s not a point to dwell on, but time to start doing something about it.

2. Have A Goal In Mind.

Once you’ve decided that you’re going to start saving the next step is to  set a goal. You may be trying to pay off debt, wanting to buy your first designer handbag, or saving for a deposit for a house. When you know how much you want, or need to save you can work back from here.  You can concentrate on a concrete goal so write it down somewhere that you can go back to as a reminder.

3. Put A Number On It.

If you know what you’re saving for, you’re likely to be able to put a specific number on how much you want to save. Having a goal to ‘save loads’ isn’t enough to hold yourself to. Be specific. No matter how long it’ll take you to reach the number, work out how much you are working towards so you can stick to it.

4. Prioritise Your Saving.

You need to make saving a priority. It’s far too easy to go out and buy that item you don’t really need if you haven’t put saving on your list of priorities. You may also have have multiple savings goals that need to be prioritised individually. If you have debt, prioritise this ahead of making a luxurious purchase. Once you know what’s important you know what to prioritise and what you can do without.

5. Remember, Every Little Bit Adds Up.

‘Every little helps’ isn’t jut a catchy jingle by Tesco, it’s true. You may only be able to save a few pounds each week but that few pounds will get you closer to your savings goal then saving nothing each week. £5 a week may not seem like a lot but if you stuck to this goal you’d be saving £260 a year, and that’s before you consider the interest paid on saving accounts. Consider saving £10 a week, which is equal to saying no to a couple of specialist coffees, and you’d be saving over £500 without much effort at all. It’s the small things that go toward making a big difference.

6. Track and Review.

Saving is great, but you need to have a way of tracking how much you have managed to save and how much you have left to save too. Tracking your savings can be a way to motivate yourself to keep going and provides a platform to review how well you are doing. I choose to do this with an Excel spreadsheet which shows how much money I have in my bank accounts this month and then compares to last month’s balance. There are a range of apps that also help you to track your savings along the way. Or if you’re a pen and paper kind of person then keep a pad in a safe place to track and review your progress regularly.

7. Make Saving Easier.

‘That’s easy for you to say’ I hear you shouting! But a few small changes will actively make it easier to save by making it inconvenient for you to spend. Setting up a separate savings account is one way to do this. If your wage goes into a current account, you can set up a standing order that sends a fixed amount to another account the day after pay day. I can’t access my saving account without going to my high street bank and asking for the money in person. This is a perfect deterrent for me as the effort isn’t worth the £20 that I really don’t need to spend.

The 7 habits may not be a shock to you, and they shouldn’t be. These are simple changes to your everyday thinking that will help you towards meeting your saving goals throughout 2017.

Do you have any habits that have helped on the journey of successful saving?

 

 

Gucci Dionysus Dupes| #SavingSeason

Hi my name’s Naomi and I’m a bagaholic. I’m a reliable saver but when it comes to handbags I always struggle to say no. As a result, I’ve been in a position to buy a couple of ‘it’ handbags that I will keep forever and always enjoy using.

Although I have a weakness for a beautiful handbag, what I have learnt throughout my purchasing journey is that there are some incredible ‘dupes’ on the market for a range of prices, many at a more affordable cost to the majority of buyers. So, I’ve had a hunt for some of the top ‘it’ handbag dupes of the moment, to show you that you don’t have to spend hundreds (or thousands!) to enjoy a similar look as part of my #SavingSeason. This week I’ll be showcasing those inspired by the Gucci Dionysus. Priced at £1420 the Gucci Dionysus is quite modestly priced in comparison to many other ‘it’ bags, but do you need to spend this amount to stay on trend?

Gucci has made a wonderful comeback in 2016 and is now regularly seen as a brand worn by bloggers and YouTubers alike. From the Gucci loafers to this beautiful bag, the brand has gone through somewhat of a revival which has seen the Gucci Dionysus make a statement in the fashion world. The unmistakable monogram print would have to be faked to truly resemble the bag, and while I don’t encourage heading to a  blatant fake for personal reasons, I would direct you to the following bags which carry a great deal of Gucci inspired style.

Zara Split Suede City Bag

Image 2 of SPLIT SUEDE CITY BAG from Zara

www.zara.com, £69.99

 

JARVA Snakehead Crossbody Bag

JARVA Snakehead Tote Bag

www.shopjessicabuurman.com, $105

 

ASOS Vintage Leather Cross Body Bag With Metal Ring Detail

ASOS | Vintage Leather Cross Body Bag With Metal Ring Detail - Khaki | Lyst

www.asos.com, £28

 

ALDO Blush Jewelled Top Handle Bag

www.asos.com, £55

 

So why not try the look with one of these beautifully inspired handbags?

The #SavingSeason

It’s January already… can you believe it? Christmas is over and New Year greeted us with a bang. The festive period can be a costly one as we want to excite others with the treasures that we’ve found for them. I’m always tempted to leave my Christmas shopping until the Boxing Day sales where the same gifts could be half price, but in reality the look on a loved one’s face on the big day is worth the full cost of the gift.

January is a time that we make Resolutions to improve ourselves and different parts of our lives. Coming out of the expensive season, one Resolution that I believe we could all make is to set and meet some savings goals. With this is mind, I’m declaring January at naomisophia.com the #SavingSeason!

Over the next month my posts will be dedicated to saving, budgeting and all things practical to help you reach you savings goals in 2017. I promise to not hit you with hard financial information that would bore even the keenest saver, but rather, I’ll offer some practical advice that I’ve found helpful in the past to meet my savings goals. This won’t be a month of telling you that you can’t spend even a penny, but rather, how to make sensible choices to save while still doing you.

I’ve always been a keen saver. The warm, excited feeling that you may get when you see or buy a beautiful handbag, or luxury beauty product, is the same feeling that I get as I watch my bank balance grow. You may ask, ‘how can you talk about spending while also telling me to save?’ or ‘does saving really fit in with your blog when your previous posts are encouraging me to buy?’. They’re valid questions that I considered before launching the #SavingSeason. Unless you’re in serious debt, I don’t believe that spending and saving have to be exclusive. You can buy what you need while also reaching your savings goals and this is what I hope to convey throughout the month of January.

So, if you’ve resolved to hit a savings target in 2017, or think that maybe you should, then stick with me throughout the #SavingSeason!

 

 

 

2017 Resolutions | Looking Forward

I started writing this post so long ago. Then stopped because who else but me needs to know my resolutions, right? Then started again before deleting it once and for all. Now I’m back because although I’ve never kept a well intentioned resolution before, I’ve decided that 2017 really will be the best year yet. To accomplish this I have only one resolution: Be The Best Me. Simple.

Now obviously there’s more to the resolution then just four words and I’ve chosen to detail this more. I think it’ll be interesting to look back on this post in a few months, or at the turn of 2018 (!) to see if I’ve manged to keep this resolution.

“His resolve is not to seem, but to be, the best.”

Aeschylus

Being ‘the best me’ can mean so many things and I’m sure that if I asked you what it would mean in your life you’d pick something I hadn’t thought of. I’ll break it down in to three points that I really  need to focus on this year if I’m going to achieve the ultimate goal of being the best I can be. They all focus around being healthier in three different parts of my life:

Healthy Mind

This is something that I struggle with on a day to day basis, because I enjoy losing myself in the busyness of the day. I rarely take time out to reflect on the day, week or month that passed. My mind is always a couple of hours ahead of the moment that I’m physically in and so firstly for me, a healthy mind starts with learning how to enjoy the moment. To be able to switch off my brain enough that I can enjoy the company of those around me without zoning out to make plans for the future or review the past.

The second thing I resolve to do this year is take some intentional time out. I once read about a respected man who who spent a weekend every year away in the countryside, alone. He would read and journal while stepping outside of his busy day to day. He was a successful man with many businesses and a happy family but this one weekend a year ensured that he kept his life in balance. I’ve been meaning to force myself to take some time out for a couple of years now but never have… I will this year.

Healthy Body

This is a simple one to promise myself but probably the hardest one to carry out. ‘The diet starts on Monday’ but Monday never comes. Does that sound familiar to you? My goals have always been to lose a stone here or there for a party or holiday. I usually start a fad diet that doesn’t last much longer then a month and then give up, resulting in the lbs making their way right back to where they once were. This year I want to achieve a healthy body through balance. No fad. No quick fix. Just a good old fashioned move more and eat less. First step, signing up to the gym again tomorrow.

 

Healthy Spirit

The most important thing to me is my faith. You may or may not know that I’m a Christian and this point fits alongside that somewhat but for 2017 a healthy spirit really focuses on finding people with a similar drive in faith and life. I want to get settled in a Church and develop my friendships there. I want my existing relationships to grow. And in turn, I want to find out more about myself. How exactly this point will play out throughout 2017 I don’t know, but that’s a part of the journey right?

 

So, that’s my big resolution for 2017 and how I would break it down in to a more manageable three. I’m really determined to succeed in a resolution for the first time ever, but I won’t be beating myself up if I have a momentary slip.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated though… Have you made any resolutions for 2017?

Welcoming 2017

Happy New Year to you all!

I  hope you all had a wonderful evening bringing in 2017 however you chose to do so. I spent the evening at The Comedy Store in Manchester with one of my best friends. As two singletons we had an incredible evening of belly laughing, pizza and Prosecco at midnight! If you’re ever in Manchester you should be sure to catch a show.

I wanted to write a short post to say a huge thank you to all of you who have been reading my blog since I started in September. I finally made the decision to get my blog up and running and have had such a great time in the few months that I’ve been online. This year I endeavour to keep up with both, producing interesting content that you want to read and engage with. I’ll be setting some specific blogging goals in a future post but for now I just wanted to extend a special thank you.

If you’re reading this, then you’re amazing!

Love Naomi x

 

P.S. If you haven’t already, check out my latest post: What I Learnt in 2016

 

 

What I Learnt in 2016

Well, well, well. Can you believe that 2016 has come to an end? It’s been a great year with many a twist and turn but I’ve loved so many moments. As I sit and reminisce I recall plenty of happy moments spent with friends and family, old and new. I feel satisfied with what I have achieved, the adventures I have been on, and the memories that I’ve made. I tip my hat to 2016 and look back with a fond farewell.

I started the second year of my Graduate Scheme, moved 200 miles away from home, visited Dubai with my girlfriends, travelled to Rome alone and finally set the foundations for naomisophia.com. It’s been a big year and I’m only excited for what 2017 has to bring. But before I move on to the next chapter, I think it’s important to take a moment and look back at what I learnt in 2016.

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1. There’s nothing wrong with doing nothing.

This is something that I seriously struggled with earlier on in the year, and for many years before 2016. I need to be busy and when I’m not I associate doing nothing with being lazy. What I’ve learnt is that doing nothing doesn’t have to be passive, but is actually a verb, which requires action. We all need to take time out to rejuvenate ourselves in order to be effective when we are on the go.

2. It’s okay to say no.

No, no, no, no, no! That’s how comfortable I am with the word now. For years I was somewhat of a yes man. Not to please people all of the time but because I like to be the person a friend or colleague can go to for help and support. Here’s the first lesson: you can’t be the go to person all the time, and that’s okay. Here’s the second lesson: it’s okay to not want to do what you’re being asked. It’s hard to say no, but when you do you you’ll be proud of your strength.

3. I don’t need to be surrounded by people to have a good time.

This ties in with the first point somewhat. I’m an extrovert who enjoys the company of others. I come away from spending hours with friends feeling reinvigorated but I’ve learnt to truly love my own company this year. I wrote ‘Spending Time Alone & Enjoying Every Moment‘ afters surprisingly loving a full weekend without seeing my friends.

4. A good friend deserves a good friend.

I’ve uttered the words ‘I really don’t understand why she wants to be my friend’ many times. After uttering them earlier on this year I decided to reflect on why I felt that way. Deep down I knew that I wasn’t giving my friends the attention that they deserved, yet I expected them to be there whenever I was ready for them. I don’t believe that they picked up on this but it’s the small things that can speak the loudest.

5. Good things happen when you say yes to adventure.

Adventure won in 2016! I went to Dubai on my first girls holiday and then took a solo trip to Italy where I met some great people and have a great experience. Saying yes can be scary, but the adventures you have as a result are worth taking the plunge for.

6. Quality over quantity.

I carry this lesson across many parts of my life but this year I’ve applied it to friends and beautiful things. It’s simple really, I’ve learnt to appreciate having smaller amounts of the aforementioned, knowing that they’ll last and remain special to me, rather than having so many that I don’t have the time or inclination to enjoy them as much as I should.

7. (Almost) nothing worth having comes easy.

I had to add the almost because I’ve been blessed enough in some areas that they have come relatively easily, but this isn’t the case for everything this year. I’ve had to fight for what I truly want and work hard to keep it working well. Take naomisophia.com for example. Can I be honest? I thought it’d be a heck of a lot easier then it has been! Juggling consistent, engaging and relevant content alongside a YouTube channel, work, family, friends and other goals is time consuming and hard. So worth it, but hard.

8. Dream big.

No goal is too great for you to achieve. You have a whole lifetime to achieve some things and a shorter period for others, but always keep the dream alive.

9. Surround yourself with ambitious people.

Believe it or not I don’t know it all, not yet. I do know what I want out of life and think that it’s important to be around others with similar goals who will push you forward and toward the goal rather than talk you out of it or to hold you back.

10. Keep your eye on the goal.

Last but in no way least, and a lesson I need to keep on learning. If you know what you want then you can achieve it. When you take your eye off the ball, you can forget where you’re heading, so stay focused and keep moving towards it.

 

I’m sure that I’ve learnt even more then the ten lessons I’ve explored here, and I’ll keep on learning throughout the new year. What lessons are you taking away from 2016?

December Favourites | Beauty, Skincare & A Book

This month has seen many parties, events and festivities with friends. It’s around this time of year that I take more adventures with my makeup and try out looks that have a real wow factor. Makeup I haven’t used for a while is enjoyed once more and to compensate for this I like to ensure that my skincare routine is suitable. My December Favourites reflect this. I’ve also thrown this month’s favourite book in for good measure. As much as I love beauty I think it’s important to cultivate the mind in other ways also and getting lost in a good book allows me to do this.

YSL Touche Éclat Le Teint Foundation – www.yslbeauty.co.uk, £32.50

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I’ve used many foundations over the years, spanning across the pricing spectrum. The YSL Beauty is a luxury brand and everything about this product is inline with this. From the beautiful gold packaging to the formula used, this foundation lives up to the hype. The foundation gives natural look with a dewy finish. It’s long lasting and can be worn all day without having to top up. If you prefer the matte look then a swift sweep of powder will achieve this for you, under the base of YSL Touche Eclat le Teint. I wear shade B80.

YSL Pure Chromatics – www.yslbeauty.co.uk, £42.50

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This Eye Shadow Palette shouts luxury. The four shades have a beautiful shimmer to them and can be applied wet or dry depending on the look that you wish to achieve. This long lasting  palette gives you a range of looks to really make your eyes sparkle before heading out. Unfortunately the exact palette isn’t available online at this moment, but the Couture Palette for Smokey Eyes is very similar.

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Eyeliner – www.bobbibrown.co.uk, £19

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Boasting over 12 hours of wear, there’s a reason that this eyeliner has won multiple beauty awards. With this product you’re offered the precision of liquid liner and the ease of a gel-based formula. I have worn this eyeliner while swimming and so can vouch for it’s waterproof, sweat and humidity-resistant wear. Though it looks small at only 3g this long lasting Bobbi Brown Long Wear Eyeliner will take you through many months if worn frequently.

Clarins Double Fix’ Mascara – www.clarins.co.uk, £20

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The Clarins Double Fix’ Mascara is a simple yet effective product to have in your make up collection. Fantastic for making your everyday makeup turn into a long lasting product, to endure what a full day or night has to bring. This item can be worn alone, in place of mascara and an eyebrow pencil or shadow, or it can be used on top of what you have already applied to fix into place. Truthfully, could you buy this product at a much lower price on the high street and enjoy similar results? Yes, you certainly could. But what you’re purchasing along with the Double Fix’ Mascara is a trusted brand who ensure that their products are dermatologically and ophthalmologically tested.

Collection Velvet Kiss Lip Cream, Rosie 3 – www.superdrug.com, £2.99

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I recently reviewed the full range of Collection Velvet Kiss Lip Creams and of what the colours look like when applied. I chose this colour specifically to be in this month’s favourites as I have been turning to it a few times a week to really make my make up stand out. Every girl should have a go to red in her makeup collection, and the Collection Velvet Kiss Lip Cream is a great place to start at only £2.99. In fact, the full Collection Cosmetics range is worth checking out if you are looking for some inexpensive additions.

Temple Spa Go Easy, Eye Makeup Remover – www.templespa.com, £16

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This amazingly gentle eye makeup remover effectively removes eye makeup, even the waterproof types, without leaving a greasy residue that other bio phase eye makeup removers do. It soothes the delicate eye area, reduces inflammation and sensitivity associated with tiredness, so is suitable for all skin types. With wearing so much long lasting makeup this month I’ve really needed the reliable Temple Spa Go Easy Eye Makeup Remover.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish – www.boots.com, £14

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The Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish has won over 100 awards and is a firm favourite with beauty bloggers. Rich and creamy, this hot cloth cleanser quickly removes daily grime and make up. The purifying eucalyptus essential oil, toning rosemary plus soothing chamomile and cocoa butter leave the skin feeling clean, soft and radiant. This product has been perfect for keeping my skin healthy throughout December.

Strong Woman by Karren Brady – www.waterstones.com, £9.99

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Strong Woman by Karren Brady is inspiring with practically useful chapters, ideal for anyone wanting to improve themselves, their professional lives or their business. Karren Brady is an inspiration to women, and her incredible success stems from her passion, business instinct, ambition, and down to earth outlook on life. The book gives a real look at work and life, showing how Karren defied the odds as a business woman in a male industry.

And there you are, the products that I’ve been loving this month. From beauty to a great book. I hope this inspires your choices for what to try out next month. What else have you been loving?

Temple Spa Purification | Review

Temple Spa products are made in England with a nod to the Mediterranean which influences the ingredients and style inspiration. The brand’s development team includes world renowned doctors, herbalists, professors of biochemistry and dermatology from Switzerland, Italy and the UK. Temple spa boasts a wide variety of beauty and skincare products ranging from nail polish to face serums and lip gloss to shimmer duos.

Those who know of Temple Spa will likely have been introduced to the luxurious products through a Temple Spa Party hosted in the home by one of the brand’s own Consultants. Outside of these events you can also purchase Temple Spa via their website or at the world renowned Harrods store in Knightsbridge, London. The somewhat exclusivity of Temple Spa may lead you to believe that owning any part of the range would be outside of a moderate budget but in actual fact, Temple Spa have products many price bands which make it accessible to many.

One of my favourite products is the Purification Deep Cleaning Mask which is described as a ‘vacuum cleaner for the skin’. This rich face mask, made from land and sea mud, is packed full of natural extracts which are known for their ability to tackle blocked pores, blackheads another effects of oily skin. Though I would describe my skin as normal-combination rather than oily I use Purification once a week as recommended. For the first use you should only keep on the skin for up to 15 minutes so that you can make sure that the formula agrees with your skin. After this first application you can use as often as you please for as long as you wish to treat your skin. I have slept in the mask, once dry, for upwards of 6 hours and woken up with bright skin and minimised pores.

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The mask doesn’t tighten on the skin as you would expect from a clay mask. Rather, it dries well but leaves a flexibility in the skin. As you apply the mask you’re greeted with the aroma of Lavender, Lemongrass and Tea Tree which only helps you in relaxing to enjoy the mask.

Purification can also be used as a spot treatment on particularly troublesome areas of the face. I have been known to use the mask first thing in the morning as I wake up to ‘vacuum’ out the contents of a spot. This can also be used across an oily T-zone or an area with particularly open pores.

In comparison to other products found on the high street Purification may seem costly at £27 for an 85g jar but I am yet to find a face mask to rival this one. The results mean that I will always turn to it when my skin is calling out for a spa treatment in the comfort of my own home. You need only use a small amount of the product which should see a full jar last for around 4 months if used once a week as recommended.

Whenever friends or family visit I am known to offer them a treatment during their visit, both men and women alike, and I am yet to find a disappointed visitor. So why not give Temple Spa‘s Purification a go and treat your face to an at home treatment.

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Method:

  1. Remove Purification from the jar with a spatula or tea spoon. You will only need a portion the size of a marble to cover the whole face.
  2.  Apply the mask across the whole face, being careful to avoid the mouth and eye area. You can use your fingers for this but I choose to use a foundation brush to apply the mask from the back of my hand.
  3. Leave on the face for as long as you please. This can be an express 15 minute treatment if that is all the time you have.
  4. Relax.
  5. Remove the mask with a warm damp cloth. Again, careful to avoid the eyes.
  6. Once removed I would recommend applying a facial toner to close your pores post treatment.

Key Ingredients:

Lemongrass, Kaolin, Lavender, Vitamin E, Myrtle, Tea Tree, Vitamin A, Bergamot, Eucalyptus oil, Anise, Pomegranate, Rosemary, Sage, Lemonbalm, Planains, Date, Sugar cane extract.

Suitable For: 

  • Oily skin
  • Men & women, including teenage skin
  • Normal skin that has blocked pores, black-heads and other blemishes
  • Other blemished areas, including backs and upper arms

A Festive Message to All

Hello and Merry Christmas! I write this post as I am surrounded by family with the Dad’s Army Movie on in the background. I decided to take a minute or two out to say a short hello and to wish you all the best for the remainder of the day and the upcoming days ahead.

Christmas can be a busy period. Running around to find the perfect presents, cooking the meal of the year and providing a night of entertainment for those you’ve chosen to spend the evening with. But in the busyness of it all, remember to take a moment out and enjoy what the day has had to bring. Maybe you’ve been blessed and it’s all gone to plan. Maybe the day has been one mistake after another. But take a moment out to be thankful for those you have in your life, the gifts you may have received, and the fact that you’re here enjoy another day.

Merry Christmas to you and you loved ones!