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Christmas

A Christmas of mounting debts? #finance

We all feel some obligation at Christmas to buy gifts for friends and family. That obligation is taken advantage of by advertisers and marketing people to make us feel guilty if we don’t provide all that is expected of us. This can lead to mounting debts over Christmas and sleepless nights in January.

mounting debts

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Take better pictures this Christmas. #photography

Do you tend to get blurry or noisy pictures? Do you want to take better pictures this Christmas? The secret to better pictures is simply shutter speed. You want a fast shutter to freeze the action. If you’re using a camera, set it on portrait and it will set the aperture wide letting in more light. Whatever you’re taking a photo of, if it is a close-up, then portrait is the best setting or if you can set the aperture yourself. Set it wide.

take better pictures

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Words and pictures #social media

You can get quite a powerful message across to your audience with an image that is not just a picture but contains one or two words as well. Today’s picture contains just one word and gets across a Victorian image for no particular purpose. I designed the image as an exercise just to see what I could do with a photograph. People make assumptions when they view photographs and although we see thousands of images in a year on television, in magazines, newspapers and online they all have some effect on us. Words and pictures combined have an even greater effect.

words and pictures

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Going over to the dark side #life

We’re all going over to the dark side now as the winter solstice approaches. In ancient times they actually believed in the evil spirits of winter and looked for evergreens like mistletoe, holly and ivy to protect them from the dark side. The evergreens were thought to have magical properties that kept them green all through winter.

the dark side

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Getting ready for Christmas #life

Yes, I’m getting ready for Christmas. I have to stay in nearly every day this week waiting for deliveries. Today I’m waiting in for an air-fryer to be delivered. No, I haven’t bought it as a gift! I bought a new basket for my air-fryer not long ago and I had to alter it to make it fit and it cost £26. While I was ordering Christmas gifts I saw one on offer for £30 that would usually cost over £90. I shall put it away and when I need to replace the basket on my air-fryer, I’ll simply replace the whole thing! I see it as an investment. It will save me money in the long run. I’ve also been preparing for Christmas by sorting out some Christmas cards. I bought those well in advance too. The ones I was going to use are nice but too small. I want to insert a set of art cards inside my Christmas cards as a little extra for friends and relatives.

preparing for Christmas

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Merry Christmas

It is Christmas Day and I’m writing a post on my blog. I suppose I should be doing something else like spending time with family but that will be in a couple of days. I don’t mind spending time alone, it gives me time to think and discover new ideas.

Merry Christmas

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Dreading a white Christmas? #ramble

So it is Sunday morning again, it soon rolls around. What’s on my mind this week? In a word… Snow! Yes, it is snowing and getting quite deep. I think there must be four inches of snow on the top of my car and it’s still coming down. The problem is, it will probably freeze hard tonight and then clearing paths and clearing my car will be so much harder. When it stops for a while I’ll wrap up and try to clear some of it away. I think we might have a white Christmas…

SNOW AT NIGHT - white Christmas?

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Taking photos like a pro #photography

I photographed the Christmas lights switch-on last Friday. It is a difficult event to photograph and I was alongside professional photographers with full frame cameras. I still got reasonable pictures and shot some decent video. So today, I’ll try to give you some tips so you can take pictures like a pro too.

XMAS LIGHTS - shooting like a pro

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Preparing for Christmas #thrifty #frugal

It might seem too early to prepare for Christmas but bargain hunting takes time. I needed a new tray and basket for my air fryer which I’ll be using a lot over Christmas. The parts were really expensive but I found buying directly from Philips was cheaper than buying from many of the stockists. It is useful to buy extra when you’re doing your weekly shop as well. Things for my Christmas buffet are already going into the food cupboard. Preparing for Christmas takes time and a last-minute rush can be very stressful. Start now and take your time!

preparing for Christmas

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Take the rough with the smooth #ramble

It is not only Sunday morning but Christmas day too. Of course, I’m still writing blogs what else would I do on a Sunday morning? I share my thoughts on a Sunday morning and the fact that it is Christmas won’t change that. The year is coming to an end and so I can reflect on the year and set goals for 2017. So far 2017 looks promising but challenging, but that’s life, isn’t it? We have to take the rough with the smooth.

rough with the smooth

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Christmas Eve thoughts #ramble

Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve and people are bustling about buying enough food to last through winter! Our thoughts often go back to happier days when we were excited by the magic of Christmas. Christmas really is for children and we should make more of an effort to make it exciting for them. There are lessons to be learnt at Christmas too. Such as living within your means and not landing yourself with a huge credit card bill after Christmas.

Santa on Christmas Eve

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If you got something good going… #Wednesbury

“If you have got something good going, don’t tell nobody,” that was a tweet I read this morning. I suppose it would help avoid a lot of competitive envy. I have to admit to having something good going. I photographed a group of excited kids this week that came to the town hall to bring gifts for children less fortunate like the ones who have been taken into care this Christmas and will be away from their families. I experienced the true Christmas spirit.

Christmas spirit

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Festive savings on Christmas essentials #thrifty

Before you start spending money on Christmas food and presents, consider what the festivities are all about. The religious significance is all but lost as commercialisation overshadows it. There is another meaning for many people. It is a time to take a break and enjoy the company of family and friends. We shouldn’t get stressed out by it and we certainly shouldn’t get into debt in a bid to impress our family and friends. Save money on the food by cutting quantities.This can be difficult because over the festive period much of the subtle and not so subtle marketing will be structured to encourage you to buy more than you need.

festive savings

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Christmas events in the community #Wednesbury

I had a busy day yesterday with more Christmas events. I always write my blog post of course and did my photography post before lunch and then off to the town hall to photograph the Christmas lunch for the older and wiser members of the Wednesbury community.

Christmas events

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Christmas on a budget #thrifty #Christmas

It’s that time of year again when we try to keep Christmas within some kind of budget so we can afford our bills after Christmas. We buy presents that only last 5 minutes like horrible Christmas jumpers. We also buy food that gets thrown away. I’ll be looking for good value in the run up to Christmas and because I have been thrifty and frugal all year I can afford a few luxuries at Christmas!

Thrifty Christmas

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Christmas news and views #Wednesbury

There are the usual Christmas parties starting this month. There will be some for older people like me at the Town Hall and the Centre of Oneness. Various groups will have a Christmas get-together too.

1 CHRISTMAS LIGHTS 2015

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Lottery wins: do they always come in threes?

It is Sunday morning and so as usual I’ll share my thoughts and allow you into the inner workings of my deeply troubled mind. Anyway, I forgot to mention last week that I’d won the lottery. Don’t worry it won’t change me and I deserved a bit of luck. They say things to do with luck come in threes don’t they? I’ve had good luck and bad luck this week.

DEPUTY MAYOR SUSAN DOWNING WITH COUNCILLORS AND LIBBY ROSE ROBBINS

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Thinking about the little things #Wednesbury

I’m going shopping today and so I’ll add to my box of food for our ‘Breaking Bread’ food bank. While I think it is ridiculous that we need food banks in a country as rich as Britain we have to help because we can’t change government policy. My small contribution will help and it is the little things that count.

Wednesbury - thinking about the little things

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A sensory Christmas #Christmas

Christmas Timeline

At Christmas, we try to make things look nice and we like the sounds of Christmas too. Our senses are bombarded with stimuli that always makes Christmas a special time. From the aroma of freshly baked mince pies to the taste bud tingling of the Christmas fare, it all makes Christmas special. (more…)


Taking photos at Christmas #photography

PANTO WEDNESBURY (14)

You will probably be taking photos this Christmas and it can be tricky when we have low light and we only have one chance to get some decent pictures. (more…)


A Scrooge-like Christmas? #ramble

People haven’t been spending in the shops this week even though stores are cutting prices and having early sales. We do have official austerity and the poorest in society have been hard hit by government policies. (more…)


Santa on social media #Christmas

DSC_0217 (Copy)

This week I’ve photographed a Christmas lunch for the elderly and when Santa’s sleigh passed by my house, I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures. The pictures of both events went out quickly on Facebook and helped promote the events. It raised awareness so people feel like it’s Christmas. It has added to all the other Christmas promotions too. (more…)


Wednesbury Celebrates Christmas lunch

TOWN HALL CHRISTMAS PARTY 2015 (76)

I photographed a Christmas lunch yesterday that was laid on by our local community organisation ‘Wednesbury Celebrates’ for older people. A press photographer took some pictures too, but my purpose was quite different. I wanted pictures that promoted the charity and the event. (more…)


A Sunday best Christmas? #thrifty

In the old days when people went to church, they were scorned and criticised if they didn’t wear their Sunday best clothes. Buying smart clothes for the whole family was phenomenally expensive, especially as they had large families in those days, so the clothes became a valuable possession and were often pawned on Monday. (more…)


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