Present-buying panic! | Simply Marcia

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Present-buying panic!

I’d kind of thought that with the summer being over, my usual wedding/birthday/christening/house-warming (etc) present-buying frenzy would also be over … My massive and ever-growing family have other ideas for October however; think one christening, a 30th, a 21st and an engagement … which is all lovely and exciting and makes me happy … however, besides these ‘special’ occasions there are other bog-standard birthdays to (contend with?!) shop for. Which sends my brain in to a bit of a spin as I harrumph around the shops and online in search of the perfect gift for each occasion. Which in turn is super time-consuming.

Stepping in to ‘save the day’ (excuse the pun) – hooray – are two brilliant godsends in the form of and that most creative of creative stuff Etsy ๐Ÿ™‚

Whether you have 5 mins or 5 hours you’re guaranteed to find something cute, quirky, original, in your price bracket and simply perfect for your recipient. You can totally lose yourself in searching through sparkly vintage necklaces, cosy beyond-cute baby bits and quirky man stuff. I love both these sites for their original and not-to-be-found elsewhere products.

I think I’m sorted, so:

For the christening – a Personalised Noah’s Ark Print from

For the 21st and 30th I’m going with jewellery (thankfully both are for girls – easy!) and am thinking
personalised bracelets (final designs still undecided …) from

For the engagement I’ve gone to etsy for a rustic vintagey wooden picture frame (I cunningly already have a lovely photo of the happy couple) – I think it’s a plan ๐Ÿ™‚

Present buying sorted and no longer a faff!


No-guilt pleasures

You know that thing where you give yourself permission to sit down on the sofa with a cup of tea, and some easy-trash on the TV. A guilty pleasure. You’ve probably, prior to this moment, been running around like a crazy person doing stuff – literally not stopping – running after kids, sorting the house, in the office – any and all of these. For hours.

So you’ve granted yourself permission to stop momentarily. You start to get comfy, legs tucked up under you when, you realise you have to do this, that or the other. You feel guilty. You question whether you really have time to sit, doing nothing, loosing yourself in crappy TV. 99% of the time you’ll be back up and on it – moving on to the next thing on your ‘in your head’ to do list … you don’t really have time or reason for a guilty pleasure.

But. Sometimes. Stop. Slow down. Recognise that actually, you don’t need to feel guilty for stopping (for a bit). Is it really a guilty pleasure? Sometimes we simply have to look after ourselves and give ourselves a teeny break. A little reward. A pat on the back. A metaphoric gold star for all the hard work, multi-tasking and juggling of everything we do every day. A job well done cheeky pleasure. An opt-out of heavy stuff.

For me, my not-guilty pleasures include any episode of Come Dine with Me, The Big Bang Theory or Robson Green’s Extreme Fishing (yup, really); a small bag of Cadbury’s giant chocolate buttons; silence (no radio, TV, laptop, social media stuff); making rocky roads or chocolate brownies (then eating them); copious cups of tea; driving the car with no one else in it (bliss = no kids); daytime power naps; window shopping (think both on and offline); occasional (very occasional) body treatments (a guarantee of silence and proper doing-nothing time) and a sneaky read of ANY BOOK (such a rare thing) when I should be doing something far more important instead …

No-guilt pleasure granted ๐Ÿ™‚


It’s a wrap …

Hooray for the beautifully sunshiney Indian summer that’s hit our shores this week. I love the warm and balmy days we’re having right now, followed by the cool evenings (and earlier and earlier nightfalls) … clear and starry skies! There’s definitely ‘something in the air’ though. Yep, in the words of John Snow (Game of Thrones fans will know what I’m talking about), “Winter’s coming”.

Which I equally love. If it’s possible to be a ‘fan’ of the changing seasons then count me in! (Is that a thing?) I love everything about this time of year but especially (and the most important bit of all) the buying of a new winter coat. Think big, cosy, soft, wrap around, enveloping, comforting, protecting …

And whilst today is definitely a flip-flops kind of day, my focus in the shops has been on the autumn update. Umm, obvs. So I’ve recenty discovered the ‘too cool for school’ poncho/wrap (I already have three (overkill?) – thank you H&M. These beauties are perfect for when you just need a little extra layer. You can wrap them around you a la comfort blanket style and they give a bit of a carefree but cute edge to an outfit (not that I’m over-thinking this or anything) ๐Ÿ™‚ I realise that they have been around for a while but you know, I’m finally jumping on the wrap-and-go bandwagon! M&S have a lush range too – really nice sludgy, autumny colours (and no more expensive than H&M – just a bit more choice!).

However, for when the weather finally takes a chill-pill, I’m thinking that a cute new non-expensive cuddle-up-in coat is definitely on my autumn wish-list and so far, I have three contenders:

A gorgeous M&S olivey/khaki green brushed unstructured beauty; a super-simple but classic and sexy H&M pale grey felted coat or my fave (and typically the more expensive out of the three, but totally love, love, love), a beautiful leopard print from Boden. They’re all so different, equally lully, but differing in price (!) – umm, could I justify all three?!

I’m thinking it’s time to get desperately rummaging around online for lots of discount codes …

Happy cosy-weather shopping ๐Ÿ™‚ x


September Gurls

Back in the early 70’s (a long, long time ago), the rock band Big Star summed up this time of the year in their ‘September Gurls’ single with the line ‘September Girls do so much’. And it’s so true. September is the craziest time of year with lots of new starts; in fact, for me, the whole back-to-school shenanigans kicks off in me (every year without fail) a proper feeling of nostalgia: think new pencil case, new pencils and pens, new school bag, new coat, new timetable to get stuck in to (I was a complete ‘keener’) and couldn’t wait to get back to school after the six-week break – true!

What I love about September is the feeling of change in the air. It’s not just about being back to school, back to work, back to the early alarm bell ringing (wtf!), back to crazy logistics and back to tearing hair out and screaming like a banshee at 7.44 am as youngest two fight on the back seat of the car EVERY morning en route to school … Nope, it’s the change of seasons – yay!

To some, that means new Autumn/Winter collections hit the shops and whilst I might browsette some of the fashion mags telling me what colours are in or out and what length skirt I should be wearing, the reality is that this time of year, all my fave colours are On Trend anyway (think sludgy, burnt, off-colour colours) which means I’m in luck as my fave (and frankly only affordable option right now) shop, H&M, will most definitely deliver the goods – hooray!

Once I’ve snuck a few olivey, khaki, browny, grey, woolly and cosy items in to the back of my wardrobe, I turn my attention to the other thing I love about September: reinvention. For me, more than the obligatory January resolutions, September always feels like a good time to start new things (it’s to do with the back to school thing). Maybe healthy eating, more exercise, sorting out finances … I’ve already started in fact. Think:

– finding out about local yoga classes (I WILL be taut, and firm and be able to wear leggings on the school run)
– working out when I WILL go blackberry picking and make enough crumbles to last all winter
– sterilising bottles and bulk gin-buying in the pursuit of the perfect sloe gin (hand-picked by moi of course in all that spare time Iโ€™ve got)
– declaring all five of us WILL eat dinner together every night and we WILL all eat the same meal (there will be no more fussy eaters in this house…)
– deluding myself that there will be no homework-related argumentโ€™s ever again – I’ve made a deal with the kids so surely nothing can go wrong – they’ve all agreed to come in straight from school and crack on with homework at the kitchen table whilst I lovingly create supper from scratch … Sounds idyllic.

In reality, what will happen is that all possible yoga classes will clash with my work/kidโ€™s school/club commitments (shame); blackberry picking will be put on hold/forgotten and once remembered will be of the super-slim-pickings variety; most of the gin will be consumed before the sloes are added; the one-meal-for-all dinner plan will quickly be replaced by the much-used line (in our house) “who wants what?” and well, homework … where’s that gin?

However, it’s the thought that counts? I still love September. It’s the promise of an Indian summer, harvest foods, warming casseroles, log fires, long walks, cosying up and (usually) great TV! Bling on the Strictly ๐Ÿ™‚