The End is… Better Late Than Never? | Blogmas 2015 | Day 22-24 (and More!)

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Ok, so Blogmas ended in an incredibly bumpy ride. I really do suck at this every day thing. Sometimes nothing happens and sometimes everything happens and I’m too overwhelmed to write. Maybe I need to work on balance. Maybe that should be my New Years Resolution.

For my family and I, Boxing Day is just like a second Christmas Day. Whilst one we spend with a quiet gathering of immediate family, Boxing Day is carnage. All the family turn up, my Nan cooks all the meat she can fit in her fridge and we all end up screaming at each other playing games.

I was really at my wits end. All the wind had been knocked out of my sails. I was over tired, run down, my eyes were constantly itchy and sore from allergies, I had a constant back ache from standing up all day, a constant face ache from smiling all day and a constant headache from all the focus and stress.

Not only that but because all my energy had been spent and I wasn’t giving myself time to recharge, I struggled to control any sort of anxiety problems that would raise their ugly head. Everything was ten times as difficult. However, after two days off, spent snuggled up with my family, baking, watching Christmas films, playing games and clearing my head, I was ready for a fresh start. I have decided that I am going to start slowly attempting to apply and practice my new years resolutions now, so by the 1st of Jan, I can dive straight in… or thats the plan at least.

So far it is working. I have started saying I can, instead of I can’t. Making an effort to be more outwardly happy and enjoy things around me, rather than constantly worry about what could possibly go wrong at any minute. To take the time to say ‘hello’ to people, or to make sure I have a smile on my face.

I guess it pays to try and get a little bit of self confidence to show it’s face and shine from the inside out. It isn’t easy, but it sure does help when you’re feeling blue and feel like you need a change in yourself. Positive changes to improve and build upon all your good points.

I guess that is Blogmas over for another year! This month absolutely flew by. Even though I still failed, I did better than last year!

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Club Tropicana Drinks Aren’t Free | Blogmas 2015 | Day 18 – 21

Ugh, I was doing so well. This is what happens when life runs away from you.

Much like last year, I did the Christmas party shift at Club Tropicana. I have to say, I do love Club Tropicana. All 80s. All night. It has a much more chilled out vibe than your bog standard club. Fancy dress is the norm, cheesy, guilty pleasure music is on all night long and you can let down your mullet without feeling like you’re being judged. It’s much more of an event than just a club. It’s an all out night of fun and frolics.

I also learnt a lesson in speaking up. Sometimes it is difficult to go against strong people with strong personalities. Especially if you feel smaller, weaker or lesser than them in general. Yet, when you know you are right, you are sure something isn’t one hundred percent there or are concerned, speaking up and not allowing yourself to be shouted down is something you should preserver with. Yes, in these few days I have had a little lesson in self confidence. It isn’t something I am necessarily proud of, as I would rather the conversation not happen at all and I would rather not bare witness or take part in it. Yet, it did make me take a step back and say “believe in yourself just a little bit more Kate.” I guess that’s the bigger picture here. No matter what else fell and flew around us at the time.

On a lighter note (not so much for me, but for you) I ended up getting caught with the most massive derp face by an incredibly well known star (in the UK at least), who is currently in the show I’m working on. He is a bloody nice bloke though, I’ll tell you that. I have nothing but nice words to say about him. One of the most down to earth and genuinely talented performers I have ever met. I don’t know how I constantly manage this though. I think my instant reaction to being nervous or surprised is to pull an especially ugly face or just chat absolute rubbish. I get tongue tied and just decide that pulling horrifying faces is the right answer. Kate, when will you learn, it’s never the right answer?

I also finally caught up with an old school friend. We’ve known each other since we were about five and are still in contact now. How fab is that?! The last time we met up was August, so we decided dinner and a catch up was definitely on the cards. Since everything is like a whirlwind around my ears we planned this around three weeks ago. Three weeks in advance! That’s how busy I am. That was my one and only window before Christmas. So we decided that our local pub would suffice and we would pootle off in search of Sweet Potato Fries and Chocolate Fudge Cake.

We found them. Oh, boy did we find them. We found them good.

They didn’t even last long enough for a photo. Sorry, not sorry.

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Allergic to my Face | Blogmas 2015 | Day 17

Honestly, the last three days I have had a pounding headache the entire time I’m at work. I assumed I was ill. My Mum assumed I was stressed. My Dad assumed I was tired, however, yesterday there was an odd turn of events.

On top of my vice like headache, bloodshot eyeballs and runny nose, I felt like I had been punched in the face. When I got home, after the longest day yet, I looked in the mirror and noticed a pea size lump under my tear duct. The more I looked, the more I noticed, the entirety of my under eye was red and swollen.

Not again.

This has happened before. The worst time I woke up with dried blood trickling down from my eyes like a horror film. I went straight off to the Doctor who told me I had an allergic reaction to something I had put near my eyes. So make up was off the menu.

Around once a year, I’ll have this reaction. It tends to be when I wear make up a lot. Not a lot of make up and little bit, but a little bit of make up a lot. I can cake that stuff on for one night and I’m fine. I even stuck craft glitter to my eyes once and nothing, but a little bit of mascara every day for a couple of weeks and its the return of Captain Puffy Eye.

The discomfort is unreal. I’m taking medication to fix it, but when you’re a bit self conscious and are coming into contact with over 1000 people a day, not wearing make up is an incredibly daunting option. I make sure any make up coming near my eyes is hypoallergenic, but apparently I’m allergic to that too. Even my own tears make my eyes itch. I’m in my early twenties and I’m falling apart. Ugh.

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Are They Carrots or a Christmas Hat? |Blogmas 2015 | Day 14 – 16

Oopsie.

This not uploading thing was my downfall last year.

Life got in the way as soon as the show I am working on opened. I mean, I’m so busy my breaks generally consist of playing “how much chocolate can Kate shove in her mouth in five minutes” and that is all.

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First of all it was time for a Christmas meal with my colleagues. The only people I know who can promise a civilised evening of fancy pasta and wine and end up with pizza, naughty jokes and side splitting laughter.

I mean, we were sitting at the table and my friend started stabbing at the table cloth, right by her side plate full of vegetables. After around two minutes of confused stabbing, all of a sudden she dropped her fork and covered her face with her hands. Worried, I asked her if she was ok. She lean’t over and whispered in my ear, “I’ve been stabbing my christmas cracker hat for two minutes thinking it was a carrot that fell off of my plate.”

How do you even respond to that?

Up next: press night. I know! Me! I went to a press night. Ooo, how fancy.  Now I wasn’t expecting there to be lasagne, but there was. It was a full on pasta dish with salad and everything. I was quite content with a fork in one hand and wine in the other… that was until they brought out the cake. Chocolate fudge cake with fresh, whipped cream. I had just done nine hours at work, I was incredibly tired, my back was sore, I was as bit overwhelmed, I had an allergic reaction to my mascara and my eyes were about ready to fall out of my head, so just to be given yummy food, a comfy chair and a glass of pinot, I felt like I was in heaven.

Last but not least it was my second panto outing of the year, but this time it was a big ole sparkly one, with bangs and explosions, glitter and snow. Every year, as is December tradition, my family and I go to see a pantomime. You may or may not have read my posts banging on about “the magic of panto” and blah, blah, blah. I love it okay? Deal. I’m a child at heart.

This time it was Cinderella and I am telling you now, when the Fairy Godmother flies in, when the Shetland ponies with their little feathered bridles appear , when Cinderella becomes Princess Starlight, when Button’s chats to the audience, when the Ugly Step-Sisters try and hoodwink the Prince: it’s simply magical. It just good family fun, where the answer to everything is simply “magic”. You’ve just got to believe, go with your gut, call out, shout out, sing, clap, join in and let go of all those adult inhibitions that are holding you back!

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Mumma Bear is Under the Weather | Blogmas 2015 | Day 13

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Doesn’t it suck when you’re trying to be happy and excited but you just can’t bring yourself to do it? The pain running through my body, the feeling of a vice squeezing my head and my eyes feeling like they were going to fall out of their sockets, just made my usual aim of a Disney-like manor a little hard to achieve.

I woke up this morning looking like the Ghost of Christmas Past i.e so white I was almost see through. I felt absolutely horrific and had the whole day ahead of me. Lucky me. I just had to suck it up, sniff it up (eww, Kate, staaap) and pootle on. No matter how much you love your job, there are times like this you just want to be curled in a ball in the middle of your mattress, feeling sorry for yourself and indulging your oncoming existential crisis.

When I walked into work this morning  I was greeted with, “eww, you don’t look well.” Charming bunch aren’t they? Yet, part of me kind of appreciated the fact that they could tell I wasn’t feeling 100%. When you’re feeling so unwell, and in pain too, it’s nice to have people steer clear of you unless they have something important or nice to say. I don’t know whether that makes me a Grinch or a normal person.

I managed the day with a little help from my friends and my “just in case” bag. My handbag, or the walking pharmacy/convenience store as my friends seem to think of it, is full of rubbish. Old receipts, empty packets, sweet wrappers… the list in endless. However, amongst the junk, I actually have useful things such as plasters, painkillers, extra socks… the works. I guess I took Mary Poppins’s bag seriously and recreated it, but for the every day adult.

You know you’re the Mumma Bear of the group when you have an entire bag dedicated to the possible ailments of you and your friends.

The Mum of the group: they’re prepared so you don’t have to be.

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The Mayhem Begins! | Blogmas 2015 | Day 12

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It has begun. Glitter, explosions, snow, the whole thing. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, panto has begun with a bang… several, I might add and some strobes for dramatic effect.

Sporting a tiara and a space, laser armband thing (because those appear in all the great fairy tales don’tcha know) I sung and clapped and smiled and laughed. I even did some festive nails.  A simple french manicure style, but with sparkly silver tips and a top coat of fine holographic glitter, just to add a little razzmatazz. I also found some little, star nail stickers in the pound shop (also by Allure, if anyone read my last Blogmas post, but these actually aren’t bad at all.) I popped those on the thumb and ring finger nails and, hey presto, statement nails. Is that a thing? It must be.

I love pantomime. It’s such a fun, family experience and for many children it’s their first run in with live theatre. To see so many little ones engrossed in and gripped by a story. Joining in and participating. Believing so incredibly hard that the stuffed, green pantyhose with visible fishing wire beanstalk is REALLY growing, that clapping their hands so hard will REALLY save Tinkerbelle and turn back on her battery operated fairy lights and that the papier-mâché headed child mice REALLY did turn into the Shetland ponies they can see on stage.

At that age it is all about imagination and wanting to believe so much in magic, that you just simply do. It’s that easy. Fart jokes are funny and magic is real. End of conversation.

What I would give to be four again.

Panto spirit is most definitely a thing too. The more you pretend to enjoy yourself “ironically”, the more you actually will enjoy it. To be an adult with panto spirit you have to believe just as much as the four year olds. I most certainly do. That’s the fun of it. The Christmas period is a time to believe in magic and miracles.

So, just like the four year olds, let’s just all believe.

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The Oreo Express | Blogmas 2015 | Day 11

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I’ve been waiting for this day all week. I know, I know, don’t wish your life away Kate, but I was so excited to chill out with my girlfriends that I had my Friday blinders on and was charging, full speed, at a large margarita.

Margarita pizza that is. Come on. It’s a Friday night, there is no way I would be anywhere else than at my friends with a dirty Dominoes and Christmas films on the TV.

In the words of Jonathan Saccone-Joly: “PIZZA PARTY FRIDAY NIGHT! PIZZA PARTY FRIDAY NIGHT!”

This morning, however, I had been blessed by the cold and flu fairies and I woke up to a sandpaper throat and the top half of my head feeling like it was in a vice. Of course I did. I had been looking forward to today all week. A touch of R&R was just the ticket… and a bonafide way to procrastinate just a little bit more. I mean, no-one likes chores, right?

I attempted to use a packet of Allure nail tip wraps. Unless you like temporary things or have an incredible amount of patience, don’t bother with them. As soon as they were stuck on, they started to peel off. Slowly they snapped, broke, disintegrated and peeled, until 3 hours later they were all chipped or lifting at the corners.

Well that was an hour of my life I’ll never get back.

But to pizza! There was Christmas trees, a lamb in the manager in the Nativity, pretzels shaped like stars, Christmas mugs, Christmas films, spiced hot Ribena and the piece de resistance a big, fat takeaway followed by home made Oreo cheesecake. It’s ok. I know it’s hard not to get FOMO (fear of missing out: another one I had to Urban Dictionary.)

We talked about everything and nothing. All the topics we could think of. We laughed for hours and then sat, just as comfortably, in silence, immersed in The Muppets Christmas Carol. That is my idea of a wonderful Friday night.

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Improvised Panto! | Blogmas 2015 | Day 10

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Brunch. It’s all about the brunch. It was meant to be breakfast, but someone (not me at all… maybe) wanted a lie in. It was my day off today and I wanted to spend most of it being as lazy as possible. I have to say the messy bun, no make up and pjs look is amongst my top three. Just call me Coco Chanel darling. Yet I was looking suitably human enough to be let out in public at this hour, so I scooted off to the local greasy spoon. It made me think, maybe I should try and get up earlier more often, especially if I’m going to get a fry up out of it. Yes, yes you can ply me with food.

Then it all went downhill because instead of plodding off home myself and my friend going to get her car fixed… we may have accidentally ended up in The Range. I don’t even know how we got there! It’s all blur! (Hi. My name is Kate and I have a crafting addiction.)

I ended up buckling and buying a set of those light up presents. I live in an incredibly small house. I have no where to put these, but I wanted, nay, needed these tacky Christmas lights. FYI: they are much bigger than you would initially think.

However, at eight pm it was time for my first panto of the year, but this was unscripted, unrehearsed and completely reliant on the audience. I couldn’t think of anything more terrifying as a performer. This pantomime was improvised, songs and dances included. I cry laughed the entire evening. Dick Whittington and his Giant Gorilla with 80s pop rock in the style of The Thunderbirds was, simply put, one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Improv is a style that is so raw and in the moment, that it reminds you why live theatre should always remain live and everyone should just enjoy being there and seeing it with their own eyes.

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The Final Delivery | Blogmas 2015 | Day 9

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Today it came. My final parcel containing my final few presents, and a few for myself too, arrived. Well I had to hit the free delivery limit (and that’s what I continue to tell myself.)

So I gathered my sparkliest wrapping paper, my stickiest tape and my sharpest scissors and finished off my Christmas wrapping!  Once next week hits, my next day off is Christmas Eve. So I’m getting ahead. In the words of Spongebob: I’M READY, I’M READY, I’M READY!

I grabbed my speakers, updated my festive playlist and headed on out the door, bright and early. Yet, one wrong tin of paint, three costas, ten boxes of pic n mix, a thousand stairs and a million bags of gummy sweets later and I was all tuckered out and ready to head on home to my PJs. Tonight was a bit of Mummy-Daughter quality time. We popped to Tesco and I tried to be really good but then a tube of Pringles accidentally jumped into my trolley and then onto the checkout and then into my mouth. I mean, what’s a girl to do?

After I sat through the obligatory soaps and was guilt tripped out of The Apprentice, it was time for a Christmas film… not that Big is specifically a Christmas film, however, it’s a bit like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or The Sound of Music. It just feels right at this time of year. My Mum, on the other hand, has never seen it. I know. Shut the front door! So of course that was todays choice. I’m waiting until really close to the 25th for Love Actually and Elf, because, ya know, they’re my faves and you always save the best until last!

So I snuggled up with my dog, my Mum and Tom Hanks and just put all my worries and doubts out with the cats for the night.

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Return of the Resting Bitch Face | Blogmas 2015 | Day 8

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Last night I did what I normally do: wrestled with an insomniatic sleep pattern and go to work with only 3 hours under my belt. Well done Kate, here have a medal, you absolute dipstick.

Today I was tasked with sprucing up the spruce, sparkling up the sparkles and snowing up some snowflakes. So I went down to the basement and dragged up some wreaths that were as big as me… before refusing to go near them because they had spiders on them. So my friend and I spent a good few minutes tapping the wreaths with sticks and the very tippy toes of our shoes, until we got the spiders and their cobwebs off.

When we were finished bending and prodding and pulling and fastening, I have to say they looked pretty swanky. Can I get a whoop whoop for fancy decorations please?!

However, by lunchtime, my bah humbug side had come out to play, I was feeling super tired that I felt my face physically drop, which is always dangerous because that only means one thing: resting bitch face.

Yes, my RBF made a work time appearance and she was not playing hard to get. Riding in a lift akin to that from the Twilight Zone, I managed to give my friend the glare of a life time. Luckily, she took it in good spirits, laughing so hard at how simply evil I managed to look as I threw her a nasty side eye. The sad thing is, I don’t always know when I’m doing it. I mean, I have genuinely lost friends over this. It is just something my face does when I’m tired… and add that I was hungry too. It was just all going against me.

So I shut up. Perked up. Got a coffee. Watched the sun set and dealt with life.

Boom. That’s how we Christmas.

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