Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…..

Nooo danger of any mice with Don Vito around. But for now Donny my cat is curled up by the tree and my boyfriend Steve is snoozing too after a very busy year. As I sit at my desk with the twinkling lights of Bristol winking back at me, I think back over Christmases past and where we are today on the brink of a new chapter….
Historically on Christmas eve I would still be working in a salon, pretty knackered, a little bloated from excessive biscuit consumption (i don’t even like biscuits?!) and totally unprepared for the big day as I haven’t had time to do anything. Panic Christmas Eve shopping is what I do every year, it’s like tradition. It’s soooo painful and when you are that tired the most simple of decisions can become the Krypton Factor. My other pet hate in the past has been employers making me dress up at work… I don’t want to sound a scrooge…but I am 31!!!! There’s got to come a time when you can see that a thirty something dressed as an angel /fairy at work is a little sad?!?
Last year I vowed that my little Miss Santa get up had had it’s last outing! Case closed. I’ve taken back control this Christmas, and it feels good!
First job on this stress free Crimbo list was the tree…. So I find myself, after a lovely morning run, heading to B&Q to pick up a tree. After comparing a few varieties I decide on a chubby Norwegian Spruce. Over the shoulder, I lug to the checkout. Men in queue, sort of sniggering and seemingly intrigued by my activity….I realise I am only female in entire store. Feel empowered, I am strong independent woman who can carry own tree with gusto through sausagefest.
Having dressed my beautiful Spruce with lights, baubles and handmade stars from Mum whilst the cat watches in wonderment. My Yankee candle infusing the air with salted caramel, my mind wanders to bygone Christmases….

One year I was living in Surrey with a mate and had invited my family to ‘the penthouse’ apartment to host my first Christmas. On arrival my parents were v impressed, we had incredible views over Epsom Downs and the flat was like a poncy hotel suite throughout (my friend and I could barely afford to eat but had some wicked parties there!) My mother immediately remarked however on the fact that my tree was dead!! Somehow preoccupied with being the perfect host, I hadn’t really noticed!?
God it looked sad, prob as a result of being placed next to the heater, it had definitely seen better days. Limp and dehydrated like a metaphor for what was to follow…..This bad omen was to set the tone of the holiday. I had wanted my parents to meet a new boyfriend who was due to pitch up on Christmas Eve. My dad is a hard man to impress so was feeling slightly tense about the intro.
I needn’t have worried… as he never showed up. Not Christmas Eve, not Christmas Day, nor Boxing Day when my family got back on the road to return to Cornwall….. The embarrassment was chronic. But my wonderful family lifted my spirits and kept me laughing through the booze induced spill of occasional tears. We managed to have a laugh and I am thankful that I realised that, that chump was not a keeper early on I can tell you!! It turns out he had freaked out about ‘meeting the parents’ and embarked on a three day drinkathon?! Commitmentphobe doesn’t even quite sum that up does it??! I thank my lucky stars now to have an amazing boyfriend that the Olds love who is NEVER late!!

There was another Christmas where I partied so hard I literally wanted to stay in bed all day, much to my parents disgust. I remember I tried to sneak back to bed at least five times with my merciless hangover. My dad actually came in and tore my duvet off me whilst shouting ‘You wreck! I don’t care if you are suffering.. It is Christmas day and YOU WILL SIT WITH YOUR FAMILY AND BLOODY WELL ENJOY YOURSELF!!!’ Uuurgh. What a hitler ‘I felt a low being…’ in the words of Dr Samuel Johnson. Haaaa HAAA! I thoroughly enjoyed watching him do the same to my little brother a few years later though!
One of my best Christmases was one year where we went on holiday to Florida. Sitting down to Lobster and french fries by the pool with my family was amazing. Didn’t miss the turkey one bit folks! Also coming back to a pastey nation in January with a tan was a definite bonus:)

So these days, I’m a little more mature…. Not much, but some and I see it all in a different way. Rather than getting paralletic and starting the New Year through bleary eyes and cheese come down, I am getting fighting fit and healthy for 2014. What excites me now is creating something to be proud of. Valuing myself and the special people in my life that have stuck by me through highs and lows.
And that really is what Christmas should be about, being thankful for what we have. If every year feels like Groundhog day and there’s something missing in your life… change it?! That’s the epiphany I had this year.
I always feel reflective at Christmas and this year more than ever as I have spent almost a whole year trying to start my own business. I guess I have always dreamed of running my own salon. The vision was there but the mountain seemed insurmountable… It is with great joy I can finally announce that with a few twists of fate, some sheer luck and buckets of determination, we have pulled it out of the bag!

We just signed the lease for our new salon ‘Atelier’ due to open in Clifton Village late Jan 2014!!! ‘Atelier’ is the French translation for ‘workshop’ and what I hope to create is a tranquil, stylish and professional environment, where I can create beautiful work and happy memories, side by side with my talented and hilarious team.
So, it’s been a rocky road this year looking back (as some of you will know)! But I have been given the best Christmas present ever and feel so excited about the future, for myself and my team. We have big plans and are delighted you will be coming along for the journey.

On that note I would like to say thank you to all my lovely clients who have been so supportive in this time of transition. Many have become friends and many have given me great advice and reassurance when I’ve needed a pep talk! You have all contributed to me making my dream a reality and I cannot wait to welcome you all to Atelier next year. I will be giving details of the launch party soon on my page:)
Right now I am getting ready with a glass of Bolly to go to our dear friends party. I feel positive and thankful for great family and true friends that can always make you smile. I anticipate an exciting year to come where I feel we can achieve anything we put our minds and hearts to.
Merry Christmas Bristol and here’s to a happy and prosperous New Year.