December was a busy month for me, not only due to surviving the run up to Christmas with two candy cane fuelled small children, but also because I completed another four things on my challenges list. These were all very festive and great fun. The most festive thing that I did, probably in my life let alone this year, was being an Elf in Santa’s Grotto for the Archie Foundation.
There I was in the middle of a shopping centre head to toe in elf costume, including jingling bells and garish leggings, discussing who was on the naughty list with 5 year olds – apparently no children were on it, but lots of parents were this year. I had so much fun indulging in the magic of Christmas with these families and hearing all of the excited stories being told by slightly star struck boys and girls (to clarify, they were star struck by Santa, not me). I left so full of the Christmas spirit that I even splurged and bought myself a festive hot chocolate on the way home. I will admit though, it was slightly bizarre getting ready next to the big man in red himself and seeing the famous beard being positioned…
A few days before my stint as an elf, I held a Pop up Pandas event. Once a month my friend Natalie and I hold a drop in support group for mothers / fathers / carers who are struggling with any perinatal illnesses including anxiety, low mood, loneliness and depression. As our group usually runs towards the end of the month we decided to do something a little different for December. Instead we opened our doors for everyone and provided a large selection of food and drink, as well as toys and games for any children. It got rather chaotic when all of the under 3s playgroup arrived, but everyone seemed to enjoy the event. My kids were especially delighted as I had some cupcakes left over at the end that they were finally allowed to eat. They had been under strict instructions not to touch when I prepared them in the kitchen that morning 😄 never have two children eating weetabix looked so sorry for themselves.
Cake came up again in December, as I was in charge of providing the puddings for the Drop In Games Club Christmas party. I love my nights with my games club peers, and I really wanted to treat them all to something special. I embraced my inner American for this and made a large chocolate sheet cake. As it was a Christmas party I added a festive twist and made a candy cane topping for it. I have to say, I was so pleased with the results (it was a bit of a gamble adding mint). To counteract the sprinkles and icing, I also provided meringues with fruit (everyone loves a strawberry) and whipped cream. The whole night was such a laugh. I really have such fun at this group, and even though my 30 challenges are drawing to a close (how has that happened so quickly!?) I will absolutely continue lending my support to the drop in games club for as long as they’ll have me.
Last but not least for December, I completed a Reverse Advent Calendar. This morning I went into Aberdeen and donated the contents to Street Friends Aberdeen, the charity that I volunteered with in the Autumn, who help the homeless and vulnerable in Aberdeen city. Within the box of donations was a variety of, hopefully, useful items, from toiletries to warm clothing and food items. A special mention to my friends Laura and Pip, who both added items to my Reverse Advent Calendar, and to my mother, who made her own box to be donated to a charity of my choosing. While I was in Aberdeen, I also donated some books to the Archie Foundation at the Children’s hospital, as I was so moved by the hard work put in by the volunteers at Santa’s Grotto. I hope that these books are enjoyed by many.
And with that, I will close. My birthday is drawing ever closer and I still have one more ‘challenge’ to write about, but that can wait for tomorrow. Now I will pour myself a nice cup of tea and curl up by the fire. Until next time, thank you for reading and I will hopefully see you back here soon xxx
PS: apologies for the sideways photos, my computer and / or this website tool thing have updated and I have no clue how to rotate them 🤷🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️