⟢ THE CELEBRITY SEAL OF APPROVAL ⟣
Following Brad Pitt's Golden Globe win earlier this month, I shared my Inglourious Basterds illustration on Instagram - which you can buy a limited edition print of, at A3 size and in super high-quality, by clicking here. This drawing features Brad Pitt alongside B.J. Novak during the final scene of Tarantino's 2009 movie. Fans know it as the last, striking shot of the film, just before the credits start rolling. Much to my surprise, notifications suddenly bombarded my phone as the likes started sky-rocketing. I knew something was up. As it turns out, someone had kindly tagged Novak (@picturesoftext) in the comment section and he actually responded?!
B.J. Novak has liked that same drawing of mine when I posted it on Instagram in the past, but I was so taken aback to see my work on his Instagram Story, captioned: 'Definitely my favorite picture of Brad Pitt'. In all honestly, I sobbed a little bit on my living room rug after rushing downstairs and gathering my family and my boyfriend to share the news; I could barely get the words out of my mouth. The 8th of January will certainly go down in my books as a lucky day.
⟢ MEET MY NEW PUP ⟣
On the 20th of January, after spending the day puppy-proofing and cleaning, she became the newest addition to our family at around 5PM. A chestnut-coloured cross-breed, her mother was a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and her father a Toy Poodle; so she looks just like a teddy bear. Wrapped in a blue blanket at 10 weeks-old, she took a car journey to her new home and, naturally, she was slightly shaken to arrive in her new surroundings. In no absolutely time, she came to greet us all with happy tail-wags.
Ruby has been with us for one week now and I am so happy to share that she is doing amazingly well. Growing into a happy and confident puppy, she is becoming really curious about our home. Being rather food-driven, she is proving easy to train. She is so responsive to commands and she is learning to use the puppy mats; she even entertains herself with her toys. Because we have been laser-focused on making her feel safe and comfortable during her first week, she has had company downstairs at bed-time.
It is so amazing to see her learning to become more independent though. Ruby is still too young for her first walk but, since she's in her prime for socialisation, we've been exposing her to all kinds of brand-new experiences. So, she has met plenty of visitors to our house, including a young toddler and another dog with whom she did great. She has since met the hoover (which she is not a fan of) and the exercise bike - and she's doing incredible! Watch your fingers and toes though, Ruby is teething right now.
⟢ A CHECKLIST FOR CELEBRATING! ⟣
With so many of you itching to feel festive this year, I sold lots of my brand-new Christmas Countdown lists. These jam-packed checklists included 42 family-friendly activities to do during the most wonderful time of the year. Why? Well, my lists had a clear Christmas message. Each one personalised for individual children, they were written and designed mindfully. Most of the activities centred around spending quality time together, encouraging imagination and kindness, and they were budget-friendly for parents!
Being the big kid that I am, I saved one for myself. While all 42 activities don't apply to adults (like writing a thoughtful letter to Santa Claus), I substituted those suggestions for other must-do activities, like shopping with friends, enjoying festive dates with my boyfriend and finding cute, cosy places to have a drink!
⟢ TIMELESS TRADITIONS ⟣
As the great thinker Ferris Bueller once said, 'Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.'
Age is just a number! No matter how old you are, December is the month of excitement - so why not make the most of it? After all, everyone loves to unwrap a gift, sit down for a hot dinner, and we all cross our fingers to wake up to that white flurry of snow! From my official Christmas Countdown list, I managed to cross off 24 activities. Some of them simply went without saying, I enjoy making hot chocolate with marshmallows every year and I always decorate the Christmas tree - but trying my hand at festive baking and going to a Christmas lights display were totally new to me, and that's not all...
⟢ FINISHING THE DECADE WITH A BANG ⟣
So, with the aid of my Christmas Countdown list, I was fully inspired to celebrate the final bit of the decade wholeheartedly. What did I get up to? Tons! Black Friday shopping ended with seeing Last Christmas at the cinema with my friend. The decorations were put up promptly on the 1st of December. Date night saw my boyfriend and I wrap up warm for a winter walk around the park, and we were blown away by our local lights display! It was truly magical. Cut to gift-wrapping to Christmas tunes, watching Jacqueline win I'm A Celebrity, and then going for a drink in a toasty tipi with a fire pit and live music.
Mid-month, we ventured out to Durham for a chilly walk and to light candles in the spectacular cathedral. I snuggled up for a pyjama day and watched loads of my festive favourites, and we put on The Nightmare Before Christmas which I had never seen before! By the winter solstice, the family celebrations began with many gift exchanges and house parties. We enjoyed not one, not two... not even three, but four family games nights in between Christmas and New Year. And as the festive season unwinds, my boyfriend and I went on a cinema date to see Jumanji: The Next Level yesterday which was absolutely brilliant! Christmas well spent? I think so.
Did you enjoy your Christmas Countdown list too? Would you like to see me create more of these action-packed bucket lists for the year ahead? For adults as well as kids? Let's make 2020 bigger and better. Happy New Year to all!