I get really excited at the prospect of writing a new blog post, but none more so than when it’s totally off the cuff and unexpected. Late last Sunday night, I was browsing through my Twitter feed when I saw a new notification pop up.
It was from the lovely Zena at Zena’s Suitcase. And I can say she’s lovely because I once met her – and she really is.
But I actually knew this long before I saw Zena in the flesh. You see, when I first started blogging, I approached a number of influencers for their advice – and Zena’s reply email was the one that stood out the most.
Why? Well, with a large family, a home and a successful blog to take care of, time wasn’t exactly on Zena's side. But what did she do? She took the time to send a complete stranger (me) a REALLY long email detailing what had and hadn’t worked for her when it came to blogging and offered loads of suggestions on what I could try (as well as what not to bother with) – and what great advice it was too.
So Zena, thank you so much for giving this stranger your time a couple of years ago – this one’s for you!
(Read Zena's answers to these questions too)
And here are the questions…
What’s Your Favourite Christmas Movie?
I don’t have one particular favourite that I watch every Christmas time, but I’m quite partial to comedies over the festive season, so something like Coming To America I could watch again and again. Otherwise, Pay It Forward or the Home Alone films are always a good bet.
Have You Ever Had A White Christmas?
We had a few snowflakes in Kent a couple of weeks ago, so I’m hoping for a white Christmas this time around, but I don’t think we’ll be so lucky. I honestly can’t remember the last time we had snow on Christmas Day, but I’m all over going sledging, building snowmen and having a snowball fight, so I start getting excited when I see the snow start settling.
Where Do You Usually Spend Your Holiday?
We usually spend Christmas Day at my parents and then swap on Boxing Day. This year we’re having Christmas Day at ours – and the whole (nearby) family is coming over. On Boxing Day my brother is taking us all out for a meal, which will be lovely.
One year we had Christmas dinner at the Toby Carvery. I actually think that was my favourite Christmas Day so far; because no one had to cook or clear up any dishes, everyone was really chilled out and it made for a really relaxing day. I would do that every year if we were all in agreement.
What Is Your Favourite Christmas Song?
I love 80s music and, not many people know this, but I like listening to hip hop/rap, so I’m going for Christmas in Hollis by Run-D.M.C. Every time I hear it, I just want to dance!
Do You Open Any Presents On Christmas Eve?
In the past I’ve let the kids open one present (from a friend or relative) on Christmas Eve if they came over and dropped it off . But until this year, I still had one child believing in Father Christmas, so there were no pressies under the tree until about 1am on Christmas morning!
Can You Name All Of Santa’s Reindeer?
I can only say with absolute certainty that Rudolf is Santa’s chief reindeer, but I’m really not great at retaining information like reindeer names – or even the seven dwarfs from Snow White come to think of it!
What Holiday Traditions Are You Looking Forward To This Year?
We’ve already seen two happen – putting the tree up/decorating it and going ice-skating. I was terrified that I’d fall on the ice and hurt my back (I’ve been having problems with it the last few months), but I managed to avoid that disaster luckily!
Is Your Christmas Tree Real or Fake?
VIP often talks about getting a real tree, but from past experience – although they smell very Christmassy – they do tend to shed their needles on a daily basis. And, as I can get a bit obsessed with vacuuming, I’d fear I’d be getting the vac out every half hour! So – fake it is and I’ve grown quite fond of our LED tree which was given to us by my parents – even if the power fan makes a loud humming noise!
What Is Your Favourite Holiday Treat/Food/Sweet?
My ideal Christmas Day food would be a bacon and egg butty to start – with a hotter than hot latte. I love the traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, but the parsnips and Yorkshire puddings would be mandatory. Dessert would be apple pie and hot custard, key lime pie or chocolate cake. Possibly a mix of all three. 🙂
This year we’ve decided not to go totally crazy for lunch so that in the evening we’ll have room for second helpings plus cheese and crackers (and my favourite – sweets!)
Be Honest, Do You Like Giving Or Receiving Gifts Better?
Well, I have long dreamt of being ‘The Secret Millionaire’ (like the people on the TV programme), where I get to share huge amounts of money with those less fortunate – just to see their reaction and how it would change their lives. So I’m definitely in the ‘Giving’ camp – especially if it’s not what people are expecting.
I have to add though, I’m possibly the most likely of all the family to be heard saying ‘let’s open the presents now’ (sometimes before the kids!)
What Is The Best Christmas Present You Ever Received?
It would have to be the trip to DisneyWorld in Florida for all the family (from my parents). We went earlier this year and it was epic; in fact, I want to go back to go on all the other big scary rides in Florida before I get too old! I wrote a few blog posts about it and also made a series of videos.
What Is Your Dream Place To Visit For The Holiday Season?
I’ve always wanted to go away for Christmas, but there are so many wonderful destinations that it would difficult to choose where to go. Actually, being on a cruise ship would be pretty great – you could see loads of new destinations in one go!
Are You A Pro Present Wrapper Or Do You Fail Miserably?
I like to think I’m good at wrapping. I try to put some effort in by using nice paper/tissue paper, ribbon and bows – it’s all about the presentation! And you can actually make a relatively inexpensive gift look very luxurious when you take care over the wrapping.
Most Memorable Christmas Memory?
It would probably have to be from my childhood when my parents used to take us skiing over Christmas – I loved it! Every night my mum would make me hot chocolate to take to bed.
What Made You Realise The Truth About Santa?
I still believe in the magic of Christmas. 🙂
What Makes The Holidays Special For You?
There are two things that make the Christmas holidays special (1) The fact that I get some downtime and I don’t feel under pressure to be ‘on it’ every day and (2) I get to spend time with family, playing games, watching great telly and just relaxing…it’s something I could get very used to doing!
I’m now passing on the baton and asking some of my favourite bloggers to take part in the Christmas tag – and hoping they accept! (fingers crossed!)
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