It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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So now Halloween, Bonfire Night and Remembrance Sunday are over, thoughts in the UK start to be casted towards Christmas: A season where we all get a bit busier preparing for the biggest day on the calendar and excitement levels start to build.

It maybe only mid November but the war for the best Christmas TV advert has already begun with John Lewis and Sainsbury’s leading the way.

The City most local to me has had it’s Christmas Lights switch on and Christmas events are starting to appear in my diary. Christmas is officially in full swing in my world. I love the fact that it isn’t just one day and that the build up to the day can be so exciting. I know Christmas for some is a challenging time but I am a full on lover of Christmas.

The most important thing about Christmas to me is holding on to the meaning of the season and celebrating the birth of Jesus and all that the event meant for the world. Whilst keeping that at the forefront of my mind, I also enjoy other activities the season brings.

I love how Christmas is a good way of getting people together and to socialise. I feel friends and family tend to make more of an effort around the Christmas period to see each other and spend time with each other. The time spent together is normally spent eating, drinking and laughing together. I love the mood that Christmas puts people in. I really notice people going out of their way to be nicer to each other.

The other thing I like is being generous to others at Christmas. I feel that the season brings the generosity out of many of us. I enjoy thinking of and buying gifts for people. I am currently deliberating over the best gifts to get my wife and I love trying to come up with the best presents I can for her. Also this year I am doing a sponsored run to raise money for a family whose story really touched my heart. I am so looking forward to passing on the money that I raise and I really hope that it gives them some joy and hope at Christmas.

Spreading Christmas joy is so much fun. There is nothing like putting a smile on the faces on others and it is a lovely feeling to know you have helped make someone’s Christmas a bit extra special.

I hope you are all looking forward to Christmas and getting carried away in the right ways.

Home Brewing

Over the last couple of months I have ventured in to the world of Home Brewing. After visiting friends in Baton Rouge and seeing them excel at it I caught the bug for it. Over the last year I have been reading up on it and getting advice about the art of making the perfect brew. Then a few months ago I went and brought my first set of equipment and got to work on making my first batch.

The process took a bit longer than it should have, but last night I finally got to taste the produce of my hard work. I went in with low expectations but was pleasantly surprised by how drinkable it was and felt proud of my first attempt.

I think you get a great satisfaction and sense of achievement when you make something yourself. Adding skills to your belt is also so rewarding. By doing something different you have a new conversation topic around friends, you can make new friends through it and be encouraged to take on more challenges. I had a few trepidations when I started Home Brewing but I am so glad I pushed through.

I don’t like getting drunk but I do enjoy drinking the odd glass of quality alcohol. I think in the 21st century thanks to the aid of cooking programmes on TV and the internet we are, on the whole taking more care and being more creative with the meals we eat, so I think we should also take that approach in to what we drink.

By Home Brewing I know exactly what is going in to my drink, I can experiment with flavours not available in my local shops and can brew the beer, ale or lager to my taste. Home Brewing is also a good long term investment as after you have laid out your start up costs the ingredients to make a huge batch are quite cheap. You would be hard pressed to find a pub, bar or grocery store that sells it for cheaper than you can make it.

The message I have learnt from this is: when something seems hard or complicated don’t be put off, give it a go. You will learn more by doing something and failing than you will by just reading about something.