Kate Hanlon’s top tips for Christmas

Kate shares some tips ahead of party season!

The lead up to Christmas, a.k.a. ‘Party season’, can quite often feel hectic and a little overwhelming. Catching up with friends, christmas parties, family do’s, last minute gift shopping (every year I promise myself I’ll have bought all my gifts by the end of November…it never happens!) as well as those cold dark mornings and evenings tend to lead us astray, and all of those good intentions that we’ve set ourselves back in September slip away into the distance only to be found at the bottom of Santa’s sack, normally on the eve of St. Stephen’s Day after a couple of days of serious indulgence!

Kate HanlonIn and amongst those feelings of both satisfaction and guilt we remember it will be a new Year in a week, and we make a resolution to get back on track…on the 2nd January I will go on a diet and start exercising!

Sound familiar? An easy way to get yourself ready for party season is to prepare for party season, and I don’t mean that you should be spending all your spare time in the local bar! Schedule your exercise in advance and stick to it.

Why not make your exercise a social event? Bring your friends to class, organise a hike or a walk, and then go for lunch or a drink after…at least that way you’ve earned it!

It also helps to prepare in the kitchen. I find my weekends in the lead up to Christmas normally revolve around food and drink, so I try to make sure that I eat well during the week to complement this. Planning my meals and doing a big cook up on a Sunday means I have all of my breakfast and lunch prepared for the week ahead and I’m less likely to make unhealthy choices. Good nutrition and staying hydrated will help to balance out the effects of all the partying so try to make it a priority.

Better waiting until January?

We’ve got 5 weeks until Christmas and if you’re thinking about waiting until the New Year to get started then you’re missing out on a tenth of the year! Just think of what you could achieve in those 5 weeks. If you’re really serious about getting started then there really is no time like the present.

Keep stress at Bay

The holidays can quite often bring with them some stressful situations – financially, with your relationships (read: all of your family in one room…not me though, my family are great…) and with the excess social commitments we all have.

It’s important to make sure that you take time for yourself over the holidays. Whether that’s making sure you get to bed early to in order to get a good night’s sleep – most people need around 7-8hrs, or taking time to do something that you love – knitting, learning a new language, for me it’s getting to a dance class – having that time will help you to reenergise for whatever the holidays may throw at you! It’s also important to appreciate what the holidays are really about which for me is spending time with my friends and family.

Do I eat clean and healthy?

I can honestly say that I intend to indulge on Christmas Day, and maybe even St.Stephen’s day too. I try to eat well in general, following the 80/20 rule – I eat well 80% of the time and for the other 20% I allow myself a little treat day to day , a glass of wine, some dark chocolate, banana slathered in cashew nut butter (if you haven’t tried this it essentially tastes like banoffee pie…yum!) and so taking a couple of days off from this is not something I’m worried about.

Christmas is a great time to sit down with your family and friends, sharing food and stories, being able to relax and enjoy yourself – it’s definitely not a time to be stressing about what you’re putting into your mouth!

Top of my christmas list

Are you there Santa?…It’s me Kate. Top of my Christmas list this year is a Le Creuset shallow casserole dish. That’s not very exciting….I know! But last year I received a slow cooker, and it’s gotten so much use over the last year, in fact it’s part of how I can be so organised with meal planning!

I’d like to add to my culinary collection with the Le Creuset, mainly because I want to serve food out if because I think they look great and secondly because I think it will encourage me to have more dinner parties! So, here’s hoping…