Spreading The Cheer

I’ve once again been rather lax about blogging, but I’ve now got a bit of time off for Xmas, so hope to do a bit of catching up. I thought I’d just post something to everyone who reads my blog wishing you the best at this time of year, and thanking you all for your support!

I’m not a Christian and tend to celebrate Xmas in a pretty typical, secular fashion – spoiling my relatives, eating far too much and curling up on the sofa to watch the Downton Abbey Christmas Special (can’t wait!). I’ve taken a bit of time off work for the holidays, which seemed convenient given the bank holidays, and often people don’t want appointments at this time of year. I go off with a little guilt, knowing that this is often a really tough time for people with mental health problems (Christmas can be stressful enough for those who don’t!) and feeling that I’ve just buggered off and left them to it. But I also know I need a break so I can be at my best at work, and it isn’t possible for me to be continually available (I don’t think anyone ever can be!).

There are some really great organisations that have put out some advice for managing with Xmas, so I’ll link rather than re-hashing what they’ve already said. There are a few good posts on Mind here and here

With such a focus on food, eating and indulgence, Xmas can be particularly challenging for people with eating disorders. Charity B-eat has some good advice and resources for individuals and families here.

Most of the helplines will be running over the Xmas period, though they are often busier than normal. Don’t give up if it takes a while to get through! A list of numbers is on the Re-Think website here.

My own advice would be (if possible) not to get too preoccupied with how Christmas ‘should’ be, and what other people are doing. Everyone celebrates in their own way, and it’s no personal failing if you don’t have masses of people to go out to celebrate with, if you can’t afford to buy a lot of presents, if you burn the turkey or if your family bicker all the way through the meal (and most do). I think all families have their problems and coming together for occasions like Christmas seems to push things to a quick boiling point. It’s good to know when to take a bit of time out for yourself, even if that means just going for a little walk to clear your head and get a bit of space from everything. And it’ll all be over for another year in a couple of days!

So much love and festive cheer to everyone! xx

Gift ideas: Pop and low-brow art prints

The problem I find with Xmas shopping is that I’m continually finding things that would be just great for me, but less so for other people…

Given I’m not a fan of crowds and I’m pretty lazy, I’m trying to do all of my shopping online. Mostly from bed. You probably already know from my blog that I’m a fan of illustration, graphic novels and surreal-pop/low-brow art. I think a print is a great gift for someone, it’s a piece of art they can use to decorate their home and it has a lot of personality to it.

I’ve rounded up a few of my favourite finds so far:

Sellers of wonderful dystopian literature-print tees, The Affair now do one of my favourite designs as a poster! (Just emailed my brother asking if he’d get me this for Xmas). £19.90

Tim Doyle ‘Tears in the Rain’ Blade Runner print. On sale at Greenwich’s Flood Gallery, £80.

Brave New World – Kevin Tong £60

To be continued…