Christmas To-Do List Recap/Happy New Year!

Now that Christmas has come and gone, I thought it might be fun to check in and see how I did with my Christmas To-Do List for this year. Here is the list of things I’d planned to do this holiday season –

– Buy a new Christmas tree & decorations
– Buy Christmas lights
– Buy matching wrapping paper
– Put up the Christmas tree

– View the Christmas lights in the city
– Make gingerbread lattes
– Make gingerbread cookies
– Make my favourite Christmas shortbread cookies
– Try one of the Christmas cocktail recipesfrom the Donna Hay magazine
– Christmas Dinner / Secret Santa with my girlfriends
– Christmas Dinner / Secret Santa with the family
– Host christmas Day breakfast
– Christmas Day lunch with the family
– Watch Home Alone
– Watch Elf
– Watch The Santa Clause

– Watch The Polar Express
– Watch Die Hard
– Write and send/hand out Christmas cards

I don’t think I did too badly this year. I didn’t have enough time to watch all of the Christmas movies I hoped to watch, but such is life. I think I’m most disappointed about not getting a chance to head into the city to see the Christmas lights. Hopefully I’ll get around to doing that next year. Well, this just about wraps up the holiday season for me, I hope you all had a VERY Happy (and safe) New Year’s Eve, and I hope 2015 brings you everything you could possibly hope for.

December Giveaway #5 – Books!

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to host a giveaway at the end of each year of a selection of books that I deem my favourites of the year. It was pretty hard for me to narrow down my list this year, which is a good thing of course. Nevertheless, I managed to whittle down the list, and decided that my four favourite books from 2014 were: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, Intensity by Dean Koontz, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, and In The Blood by Lisa Unger. For a chance to win one of these four titles, simply leave a comment below telling me which book you’d be interested in winning! Please note that this giveaway is open internationally. Entries close at midnight on January 22nd 2015 and the winners will be announced on January 23rd 2015. Good luck!

50 Book Challenge 2014 (recap/final reviews)

Although I didn’t quite reach my goal of 50 books read this year, I don’t think I did too badly. I managed to finish 40 books in 2014, and I still have a couple that I’m making my way through that I’ll be moving to my 2015 reading list. I didn’t get around to posting reviews for a couple of the books I read later in the year, so here they are –

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (6/10) – A friend of mine mentioned this book earlier in the year, and I made a mental note to pick it up when I had the chance. I managed to grab this from my local library (great for books you know will be one-off reads), and churned through it in a week or so. It was a very easy read, and the storyline was interesting enough to keep me turning the page. This is very much a YA book though. Not a whole lot of substance to it, but definitely a bit of fun.

Tampa by Alissa Nutting (3/10) – This was the second book club book that my friends and I read for the year, and it was my choice. I thought it would be an interesting book to read with the aim of discussing it at the end because I knew it would be quite controversial. The book itself had some potential, the plot was unique enough that if it was executed well it would have made for an interesting story. Unfortunately it just wasn’t as good as it could have been. In fact, it was pretty awful to read. Only one out of the six women in my book club liked this.

The Vacationers by Emma Straub (5/10) – I’d heard a few people raving about this book, so I ordered it in my Spring/Summer book haul earlier in the year. To be honest, it wasn’t as good as I was expecting it to be. It was a nice, easy ready. I’d recommend this as a beach read, or a book to pick up if you’re going on holiday somewhere sunny.

We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt (6/10) – Marcus Zusak mentioned this book in a tweet, and if Marcus Zusak recommends a book you can bet that I’ll be picking it up ASAP. I won’t give too much of this book away, but I will say that I think fans of ‘We Were Liars’ will probably enjoy this. Another easy read, and I finished it off in one weekend.

I’m going to be doing my annual giveaway of the four best (in my opinion) books that I read this year, so stay tuned for that later in the week!

Thoughts of the week…

01) It’s Christmas week! Are we all excited? I’d love to hear what you all have planned, if you celebrate Christmas. I’m hosting a breakfast at my house, and then heading to my sister’s house for a delicious Christmas lunch. I’m excited.

02) This dog getting on with life after being given 3D legs is absolutely gorgeous. What a brave little thing! I always tear up when watching videos like this.

03) 73 Questions with Amy Adams.

04) Pepsi is feeling festive.

05) Cats vs Christmas Trees

06) Seems like Nick Offerman is as upset as we all are about the fact Parks & Recreation is ending.

07) Everyone’s favourite Podcast ‘Serial’ finished up this week… What did we all think?

08) I instagram-stalk a woman who has the most AMAZING planner. Everything about it is so neat, and organized, and beautiful. So you can imagine how excited I was when she posted her very first Youtube video this week. And guess what it was? A planner tour. o-m-g.

09) We’re entering the bleak period where no new TV will be on our screens for a little while… Homeland is finishing up, American Horror Story will be wrapping up soon, and the next show we have to look forward to isn’t until the end of January next year. We’ve decided to fill the gap with ‘Jericho’, a show that Sebastian thought I would like – and I do, so far. Has anyone else watched this? What did you think?

10) It would be remiss of me not to mention the siege that took place in Sydney earlier in the week. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the coverage, it was a truly terrifying situation and I can’t even begin to imagine what the hostages went through. May Tori and Katrina rest in peace, and all others involved in the situation find some peace of mind as soon as possible.

December Giveaway #4 – Jergens

Ho Ho Ho! Time for another giveaway. This time I’m teaming up with Jergens to give away three bottles of my favourite body lotion, and a new discovery for 2014. I raved about this lotion earlier in the year, and I’ve been using it every single day since first purchasing it. Most definitely a favourite. For a chance to win one of these beauties, just leave a comment below telling me what your #1 body product for this year has been. For an additional entry, feel free to share this giveaway on social media – just be sure to link your tweet/post below so that I can see it. Please note that this giveaway is open to Australian residents only. Entries close at midnight on January 18th 2015, and the winners will be announced on January 19th, 2015. Good luck!