Hi everyone! It’s been a while since there was Geeking By update and eagle-eyed readers may notice that there’s a month missing; November. Honestly not much happened in that month so skipping ahead to December and January instead.
There are two Christmas markets in Glasgow each year and we used to go to at least one of them regularly before our health problems got too bad. Every year we try to get there but are unable to do so, so it was great to be able to do it this year! It was just such a shame that the markets themselves were a total let down 🙁
The last time we went to the markets the emphasis was on the stalls and amazing products for sale. This time we found that they have been heavily diluted by food stalls, the prices are through the roof and both markets were pretty much copies of one another. They smelled great and looked great, and got me into a christmassy mood but generally speaking they have really gone down hill. At least it was a win for both of us to have made it out to them even if it wasn’t a great experience!
This was the first year without Chris’ gran, Peggy, and so chose to host for the first time too so that Margaret could sit back and enjoy the day as much as possible. It was a new experience and a hectic one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I have no idea how on earth my grandparents managed to cook for 5 families every year! Even just cooking for the three of us was enough for me!I've said it before and I'll say it again; I have no idea how on earth my grandparents managed to cook for 5 families every year! Even just cooking for the three of us was enough for me! Click To Tweet
As you do at Christmas we made waaay too much food for just three people and had plenty of left overs for the next few days. That was actually a good thing because we only had a few days before we left for London so we weren’t planning on a new shop until we got back. We had ham, potato and leek soup for starter, our main was roast chicken and individual beef wellingtons, with roast potatoes, sweet potatoes and caramelised vegetables. For dessert we had toffee and pecan roulade and home made trifle.As you do at Christmas we made waaay too much food for just three people and had plenty of left overs for the next few days. Click To Tweet
Christmas traditions are very important to me and since my mum got sick I’ve lost one of them so this year as it was our first time hosting I was determined to start a new one. I decided that every year I’m going to buy everyone attending a Christmas top. For Chris I got him this awesome Pokemon t-shirt with Pikachu & Evee on it and for Margaret we ended up hunting on Christmas Eve for something at the last minute. You see, when I ordered my t-shirt and Chris’ the shipping said they would arrive in time. Then they got delayed or they changed – whatever happened they weren’t going to turn up! I was absolutely devastated because one of Chris’ presents had also got messed up by the ebay store so that wasn’t coming either.Christmas traditions are very important to me so this year as it was our first time hosting I was determined to start a new one - a Christmas top for everyone! Click To Tweet
Then all of a sudden on Christmas Eve a Christmas miracle happened and everything appeared! But crap… we didn’t have one for Margaret! So we had to nip into town in the middle of our cooking prep and hunt one down. I warn you now; NEVER EVER leave Christmas clothes shopping until Christmas Eve. By this point the shops have all swapped to Boxing Day Sales and they have NOTHING Christmassy at all. We did thankfully find something in Dorothy Perkins which was this really cute grey jumper with dogs, snow and bells. We joked that the cats would like the bells… next day we were in stitches as we watched the cats following Margaret around! 😀I warn you now; NEVER EVER leave Christmas clothes shopping until Christmas Eve. By this point the shops have all swapped to Boxing Day Sales and they have NOTHING Christmassy at all Click To Tweet
As you can see from the photo my t-shirt was naturally a Star Wars one! It was a close choice between R2-D2 and BB-8 but this BB-8 one was just too cute to pass up! I did get some stick from Chris for not getting the R2-D2 one though. Maybe next year 😉
I got a brilliant bunch of gifts for Christmas! It was easier for my parents to give us money rather than us hauling things back from London, and so it was easier for us to give Margaret a joint wish list for both Chris and myself. On it we marked a few things specifically for one of us and then the rest was really a whole load of dvds. For me she got me the latest Tamora Pierce book Tempests and Slaughter and the L’oreal sugar scrub I’ve been wanting for absolutely ages! She added a few of her own things like a pair of pyjamas, lots of chocolate and a stocking she does for us each every year.My MIL got me the latest Tamora Pierce book Tempests and Slaughter and the L'oreal sugar scrub I've been wanting for absolutely ages! Click To Tweet
Gift giving is my favourite part of Christmas especially as Chris and I have began to up our game over the years. Every year it’s a fun game of hiding our presents, and our big surprise from each other while we tease what we have planned. All I knew was that it was something I’d asked for – that narrowed it down so much!
It turned out to be this gorgeous engraved box which he used to create my very own personal stationery subscription box. He recalled me saying that I wanted to find a stationery subscription box, so he decided to make me my very own one! He included three sets of washi tape and a set of bullet journal stencils. He also brought me an absolutely gorgeous calligraphy set:He recalled me saying that I wanted to find a stationery subscription box, so he decided to make me my very own one! He included three sets of washi tape, a set of bullet journal stencils & calligraphy set. Click To Tweet
As you can see, it not only came in it’s own most gorgeous box but it was also too big to fit into the other box. He wisely decided to keep it in it’s original box and wrap it separately. I’ve yet to try the calligraphy set yet partly because I’ve been ill and because I’m pretty damn scared to try out a proper set with ink and nibs. It didn’t seem like the best idea for someone who is ultra clumsy to be fiddling about with a set like this while really sick. Hopefully this month I’ll get a chance to try it out so check back for February’s update 😉
Any fellow washi tape addicts in the house? I’ve had a chance to try out some of the tapes and they’re gorgeous! You couldn’t tell when they were wrapped up but each set contained a thick tape and then a super thin one of the same pattern for borders. They’re going to be really tricky to use, although really useful! Here’s all the new tapes laid out for you washi addicts 🙂 You can see some of the thinner tapes better in this photo.
Another gift I got from Chris include a much needed desk organiser, which I thanked him for profusely when I unwrapped it. I had my first one last year and it helped me so much. This year I went a step further and got a slightly bigger one that includes post-it notes, a smaller pad, and a pocket for notes alongside the large weekly planner itself. It all wraps up into a neat book so you can carry it about easier too! It’s purple with planets and stars, and is visually stunning. Already it’s helped me keep on track so much. Here are a few pictures for you:
My other gifts from Chris were a new purse which I badly needed – my old one was literally falling to pieces. He got me this lovely dark blue one with a cat wearing a witch’s hat and a sitting next to a pentacle. It’s got so much space in it and folds up so neatly! I’m not a fan of the big long purses and prefer small ones, so I was really impressed with how many card holders and how much space it had inside. One of the best designed purses I’ve seen.
The other “small gift”, as he put it, was one that really meant a lot to me (yep, even his small gifts are so extremely thoughtful!). It was this aromatherapy oil diffuser bracelet. It wraps twice around the wrist and buckles like a watch, and beneath the beautiful tree motif is a small sponge which you dot the oil on. It comes with 8 coloured sponges so you can accessorize with your outfit, or, as I choose to, use colour therapy alongside the oil (much to Chris’ bewilderment as he’s an atheist and on this we completely differ in beliefs). I’ve been using it with the Focus Blend I reviewed several months ago and it has been helping me fight back the fatigue really well. The sponges are also washable too so it’s really easy to reuse them.
My big gift for Chris was two Magic the Gathering playmats which he wants to start using to decorate the wall space around his desk. I had the hardest time trying to decide which ones to pick, especially when sometimes my idea of a great piece of art is very different to his and I’m not at all familiar with the minor cards. Other than the Planeswalkers themselves I’ve no clue, but those mats are incredibly expensive so they were out. Thankfully I picked well and he absolutely loved them! I also managed to pick one from an event which makes it semi-rare, so bonus!
He also wanted a case for his Switch so I got him a Pokemon themed one with Evee on it (guess which Switch he got :P). I also got him a board game addict t-shirt, and a few smaller presents too. There was supposed to be an actual Evee plushie to go along with the Switch case and Christmas t-shirt. Chris has been collecting them and currently has three of the Evee evolutions. Unfortunately as I mentioned an ebay shop messed up an order and this was it. It took them several days to realise that the order had not been sent to their shipping site properly, and by that time it was too late for it to arrive on time for Christmas. It’s my own fault for ordering it so late, however, I wasn’t best pleased with how they handled it either. They were very apologetic, but what if it had been for a child? I ended up ‘owing’ Chris a present and he got something else he needed after the holidays.
New Years & January
We headed down to London to see family and friends a few days after Christmas and it was a pretty low key trip. Chris wasn’t well for most of it and it took several weeks into January for his illness to reveal itself as a nasty ear infection behind his ear drum. Before we knew that it was a fun mess of symptoms from tooth ache to sore throat, glands, headache and all number of things. It turns out that behind the ear drum infections are nasty little buggers that send your entire nose-ear-throat system out of whack. He’s on anti-biotics now and on the mend but for a while there we thought he just had a sore tooth – until the other symptoms started. I was having all sorts of flare ups too, PMT playing havoc and a really terrible migraine one day.
So we took it easy and relaxed. I’d planned all sort of work and was pretty gutted at not getting any done, especially when I ended up behind on my dissertation work. But it seemed that my body had picked something up while travelling and once we got back home I started to get really sick. I’m just so glad I managed to get my flu vaccine before we travelled – and what fun and games that was!
I’d been sick on and off again for months, so of course I missed my flu vaccine and wasn’t able to rearrange it until a few months later. This tends to happen every year and there is never a problem. Last year they changed the system and didn’t bother to mention it in the letter they sent out. I called to arrange my vaccine only to be told that it had been given away!I’m sorry, what?! Here in the UK the vaccine is given out free by the NHS to people who are at risk such as the elderly, those with certain health conditions and those who care for them such as carers or those who work with vulnerable people. I get the vaccine due to being asthmatic (and ME is most likely on the list too) so to be told that it had just been given away, and that no one had taken the time to contact me to check if I wanted/needed it.. yeah I was not happy. There was nothing in the letter to suggest this would happen (it only asks you to tell them if you don’t want it), and as I said this had not been procedure in previous years.
I managed to speak to my doctor who explained that the vaccines had also changed this year, and they had run out of the one I was supposed to get (the 4 strain version) but they had 3 strain version available. I explained that I would rather have some protection in my system when travelled through two major city stations and she arranged for a nurse to call me. When I turned up for my vaccine the nurse was super nice and explained that there had been a huge misunderstanding; she had the correct vaccine after all! She had just been more organised and moved them all to her fridge so she could keep count of them easier, and my doctor didn’t realise. So after all that I got the right vaccine!
We did at least get to spend some time with my best friend Haley and her son Aaron, and Chris had fun playing Pokemon with Aaron while we talked. Haley then returned on her own a few nights later to read some tarot for me, hence the photo above. We had a much needed long talk about a lot of things and it was so good to talk through a lot of things on my mind. Haley is scarily accurate at reading Tarot, and she’s been reading my cards since we were teenagers so our spiritual bond is really strong. It means that our readings are…. interesting. For example, for January I got the tarot card ‘The Lovers’ and the corresponding moon card ‘The Lover’. I mean, what are the chances?! In the entire spread I think we counted 3 or 4 matching cards.Haley is scarily accurate at reading Tarot, and she's been reading my cards since we were teenagers so our spiritual bond is really strong. It means that our readings are.... interesting. Click To Tweet
Overall the spread was pretty much a massive hammer from the universe telling me to get my act together. Haley had a massive giggle as she read the cards out, I can tell you. It was useful, interesting, overwhelming and intimidating but also reassuring.Overall the tarot reading was pretty much a massive hammer from the universe telling me to get my act together - useful, interesting, overwhelming and intimidating but also reassuring. Click To Tweet
Organising & Studying Updates
I already mentioned falling behind in my dissertation schedule over the holidays, and that’s because I seriously underestimated how much time I wouldn’t have before the holidays, as well as feeling so crappy while in London. I lost another week when we were back home, but for the last few weeks I’ve managed to get back on track and I’m slowly making up the missed weeks. I haven’t been struggling to do the 500 words a week, and last week I managed to do extra quite easily, so I just need to add a bit extra each week and I’m golden. I have two months left to get my first draft done and so this month means I really need to crack on with it!
As I discussed in my Word of the Year post I’ve been trying to work on my time keeping and organising my time better. I took January off to work on blog work without worrying about a posting schedule, and I’m now back “officially” posting again. My weekly organiser has helped me keep organised and I’m using it to make lists of things to achieve each month. I didn’t complete all of my January list but I got half of it done which was way more than I expected to!
Over to You
That brings me to the end of my update! There will be more posts coming soon and on a more regular time scale. Transmog Tuesday will be back next week, and all my monthly series will be resuming this month. I’ve also got a couple of reviews that I’ve been working on too!
How was your holidays?
What gifts did you get?
What was the best gift giving experience for you this year?
How is 2019 turning out for you?
As always I look forward to reading your comments <3