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Monday, 4 January 2016

A Holly, Jolly December

" soaked up baubles and tinsel like melting snow..." 

Wow – how can it be that another year has bypassed us with its brief encounter and a swift adios? That’s not to say that 2015 won’t be imprinted in my memory for many years to come, as it truly was a wonderful year. The year that a Princess was born, the year that Tim Peake ventured into space (go Britain!) and the year that everyone became a Belieber.

On a more personal note, I’m thankful for everything I’ve accomplished in the last year. More importantly than 2015 being filled with numerous travel experiences, passing my driving test and receiving some Uni offers (wahooo), I’ve had a right good laugh amongst some of the best people.

As November drew to a close, I gathered 7 of my friends together before a busy December and hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner. My physiotherapist, who is American, had been telling me of the wonderful thanksgiving “holiday” in the States. Confused why one would have - what I thought - was the equivalent of Christmas Day twice, she went into great depth about the sentimental meaning behind it; “Britain just doesn’t seem to get it right here, they think it’s all about turkey and pumpkin pie” (I must admit to stereotyping this), “…but it’s about watching the football with your Dad, or going on a long family walk before you gather round the table and say something that you’re grateful for that year”.

In that case, my Thanksgiving Dinner was probably somewhat of an insult to Americans, so I apologise… I think too much Gossip Girl influenced my meal, although we did say our thanks and the night was spent in good company accompanied by a tasty roast! (…And may I just say my thanks for finally being able to tuck into my Thanksgiving Dinner without the stress of turkey teeth - adios brace face in 2015!) 

It’s the most wonderful time of the yeeeaaar…

December was filled with travel, my 18th bday bash and a magical Christmas (alongside plenty of mince pies).
The first weekend of December was spent in London with my boyfriend, soaking up the festivities.Although I’d been slightly apprehensive about the thought of visiting a museum, The Natural History Museum proved to be thoroughly entertaining. (Especially human biology if you’re as immature as us.)

That evening, we had booked to go to Warner Brother Studios just on the outskirts of London… Yes – Harry Potter World! We witnessed Hogwarts in the snow as wreaths and garlands hung in the Hogwarts Great Hall; Christmas trees stood proudly in the corners; and Christmas puddings were set alight in front of us! Not to mention the blanket of fake snow on the Hogwarts Castle model! The detail was meticulous and quite simply magical! For true Potter fans like us, it’s an indulgence discovering how they filmed with different sets and learning all the secrets of Harry Potter. 

Of course, being muggles we had to get a photo with our butterbeer in Hagrids motorbike…
 You could spend hours focusing on the intricate details of the props and sets!

Kick-starting the day with a delicious breakfast opposite Liberty’s, we spent the following day shopping on Oxford Street and nearby places we stumbled upon. As it dropped darker, the city's illuminations flicked on and Christmas shoppers bustled about with their full-to-the-brim shopping bags before the shops closed.


Covent Garden was our last stop before our train home, as we browsed in the shops and savoured the cheerful atmosphere.   

The following Friday I turned 18! After a lovely day at school, spoiled by friends, we went to the Bierkeller in Leeds that evening!
There were many work parties and groups there too, embracing the Oompah bands manic singing and dancing with our steins of beers - or cocktails! 

Saturday was my friends and family "drop-in" day... With a Breakfast at Tiffany's theme! My parents had gone to so much effort with the theme and even bought me a beautiful Tiffany necklace.
Canap├ęs and prosecco were on flow all day and friends travelled miles to join in the festivities - all of which I'm very grateful. Tiffany blue decorations were located throughout the house, along with pearls and fairy lights strung on mantelpieces.

Another huge surprise was the production of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (with Pixie Lott in!) that my mum has booked for us to go and watch at Leeds Grand Theatre in April. How fitting!  

Once my birthday celebrations were over, it was time to start prepping for Christmas!

The combination of cinnamon and pine aromas always evoke memories of Christmas and consequently spurred some baking for Christmas Day... 

The Breakfast at Tiffany's theme continued into some of my Christmas presents...
One of my favourite gifts to receive on Christmas Day is a book, so you can take yourself away from the madness of Christmas day, just for a while, and immerse in a different scenario. This year I was lucky enough to get a special edition copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's (YAAAY!).

Christmas Day has always been the same for me, but I would't change it for the world. It's full of our traditions, like going into the dining room in height order and opening presents, before my Grandparents and Uncle later arrive for Christmas Day and stay the night. Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year, it encapsulates all the festivities I love (good job I'm called Holly really!).

As for heading into the New Year and thinking about resolutions, remember to talk about what you love and keep quiet about what you don’t. Wake up on Monday with no complaints. Dress in your sassiest outfit on a day when you feel groggy as hell. Leap into action in 2016.