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6 tips to make planning your Christmas marketing a breeze

Christmas marketing - the adventure begins!
Photo by Simon Migaj from Pexels

Your Christmas marketing could be all about gifts, but it can also give you the chance to show your customers what you’re about and to have some fun. You can find some ideas for things to talk about in your Christmas marketing here. When it comes to sharing them there’s more to it than social media…

Email your Christmas marketing

You might think that email marketing went out with the dinosaurs, but it’s alive and well, with 99% of email users checking their inbox every day and businesses in the UK reporting an income of £42 for every pound they spend on email marketing. The key is to be helpful, entertaining, or both. Give your subscribers easy-to-buy gift options, helpful tips, discounts or something that will cheer them up.

Gift guides

Gift guides are a brilliant marketing tool because you can use them as a lead magnet to encourage new sign-ups to your email list and send them out to your subscribers.

When you use them in your Christmas marketing you can split your products into different categories and highlight the best gift ideas. Write a short and catchy description of each product, put them into a PDF with a gorgeous image and you’re ready to go.

Put a gift page on your website

Adding a new page on your website might sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. It’s just another way of sharing the information you put into your gift guide. That way, if someone doesn’t follow you on social media but finds your website on Google, they can still buy from you. Just make it easy for them to search by category or price so visitors can find exactly what they want.

Social media posts that show behind the scenes

You can help your customers get to know you by showing them what’s happening behind the scenes. If you’re celebrating Christmas jumper day or are supporting a charity, let your audience know. Talk about what Christmas means to you or share a festive joke. You can build engagement by asking your customers to share a picture of their tree or what their favourite Christmas film is. You can get more ideas from this book.

Run a competition

I don’t mean something that everyone and their dog would enter, like ‘win a bottle of fizz’ (unless you’re a wine merchant, then it’s ideal). Offer something that your ideal customer would value. You can use it to attract new email subscribers or social media followers and it’ll help you to create lots of posts as you can talk about the prize itself, the build-up to the prize draw then go live to choose the winner.

Don’t forget about print

When you were a kid, did you ever go through the Argos catalogue circling the stuff you’d love to find in your Christmas stocking? Print works because it cuts through the social media noise. Your customers can keep a gift guide on the kitchen table or pin a leaflet to their noticeboard. You can hand them out at Christmas fairs or put them in the post.

Send your customers a Christmas card and you’ll give them warm and fuzzy feelings and remind them that you’re here when they need you.

Do you need some new ideas for your Christmas marketing? Would you rather just hand it over and get on with running your business? I can help with that. Book a call here and let’s have a chat. You can also get ideas for Christmas posts from 1st December to Christmas Eve by snaffling a copy of my book here.

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Do you ever feel you’re pulling yourself in different directions?

A woman going in different directions.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I don’t think I’m alone in having a lot of different things in my life. We’ve all got those metaphorical balls (the ones we juggle, but occasionally the other kind too). There’s all the life stuff; the home, partner, kids, family and friends. Delete or add as applicable. I keep finding myself saying ‘let’s have a catch up soon’, then organising a coffee takes about a year. That’s even before I get to the bit where I run a business too. You’ve heard all this before, I know. The only reason I’m talking about it now is because I seem to have had an influx recently. There’s been more paying work, which is extremely lovely. Conversations about self-care seem to have become a thing too. As I write this the words of a wise woman telling me I’m hearing it for a reason are floating at the front of my brain. There have been new ideas that I can’t seem to make a decision on. Then there have been people asking about my book. Have I told you about the book? Maybe I haven’t, so let’s start there.

It’s always been about the book

Before I had the faintest idea that I might write content marketing for businesses, I wrote stories. I know that we all did that at school, but I carried on. Ideas for crime novels pop into my head at regular intervals. The one I’m working on now existed as an idea for a few years before I started making some notes, writing random scenes as they occurred to me. When I was a commuter I wrote on the train. Now I’m editing; it feels as if I’ve rewritten the thing about eleven billion times but I could be exaggerating. It’s a murder mystery, set in Leicester and I’m almost ready to send it out into the world.

I think I might be scared

There’s the problem, you see. I feel as if everything has been pushing me towards this point. Even the self-care conversations, because I know I need to look after myself to deal with whatever different thing comes next. It’s also why I keep getting new shiny ideas. A bit of me wants to get on with it. A much bigger bit is utterly terrified. What if it’s rubbish? (Apparently most first novels are.) There are characters inspired by people I love and tiny snippets of my life in those pages. It feels personal. The other nagging feeling is the fact that being a published novelist is my dream. I don’t know what happens next if the dream comes true. Will my life still be my own if I take it in a different direction? Will I become a magnet for trolls on Twitter? No idea.

What shall I do next?

This is a silly question, isn’t it? I need to finish the two little edits that are bugging me and send my manuscript out for someone else to read. I’ve got friends who’ve offered and I know where to get a reader’s report. An author friend (yes, I have one of those) even got me an email address for a published crime writer who’s happy to look at a couple of chapters for me. So, I know the answer to my own question. I just need to get on and do it.

Why am I telling you this story? It’s because I’m a writer and that’s what I do. I can help you find the right story to tell in your marketing so you can attract wonderful new customers. If I can help you with that, let’s have a chat.

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5 ways to improve your blog today

Improve your blog today
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Have you ever sat looking at a blog post you’ve just slaved over and felt that it was just a bit – meh? Could it possibly be a bit waffly and difficult to read? Maybe you’re just wondering why anyone would be interested in what you’ve got to say. If you’re worried that your topics are less than thrilling, this might help. Otherwise, read on to discover the 5 steps that will instantly improve your blog.

Edit ruthlessly

When you love what you do it can be easy to go on a bit. The trick is to know what to leave and what to remove. You might just need to take a few words out. Firstly, take out the adverbs. You don’t need to say that something is really exciting, it’s just exciting. Then, make each sentence as simple and jargon free as you can. If you wouldn’t say it to a customer in a face-to-face chat, don’t put it in a blog post.

Use subheadings

Subheadings are your best friend when it comes to readability. (Yes, that is a real word.) Reading one endless block of text is tiring; break it up with subheadings and you’ll instantly improve your blog. It makes it more scannable too, so if a visitor is looking for something specific a good subheading can help them find it. You’ll also make your post more user-friendly to people using assistive technology like screen readers. Another big plus is that Google loves subheadings because they suggest you’re organised.

Write a good headline (or 20)

A good headline might seem like a small thing, but it’s an easy way to improve your blog. A great headline will attract attention when it pops up in a search and makes it more likely that you’ll be found in the first place. Your headline needs to let people know what to expect when they click through (no clickbait please). Using the right kind of language also makes it enticing and relatable. Sometimes this can be as simple as making a headline feel personal by using ‘you’ or ‘your’. Write a few then try them out in a headline analyser like this one.

Add a CTA

OK, this probably won’t improve your blog in terms of quality. I put my hands up to that. Using a call to action (or CTA) will help you to make your blog part of your overall business building. If you want your readers to do something after they’ve read your blog post, tell them. People often need a bit of a prompt before they take action. Give them a link to your shop or to book a call, ask them to leave a comment or invite them to sign up to your mailing list.

Get feedback

Here’s the scary one. You will improve your blog much more quickly if you ask someone else to read it and tell you what they think. Weirdly, it’s far more frightening than hitting publish and sending your post out onto the anonymous internet. Getting feedback from a friend or an editor will teach you a lot. You’ll find out what bits have too much jargon or where your sentence structure doesn’t work. Being brave and getting feedback lets you make improvements now.

Could you improve your blog by letting someone else write it for you? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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How to get blogging basics right (aka I made mistakes, so you don’t have to)

Blogging basics
Image by Suzy Hazlewood via Pexels

If you’re just starting out writing a business blog it’s important to get the basics right. On the other hand, if you’ve been going for ages, it’s still worth checking to see if you’ve developed any bad habits. I’ve made every blogging mistake going (please don’t look, it’s embarrassing). When I look back on some of my early blogs now, they make me cringe. It’s made me realise how important it is to get the basics right. Here are my top 5 blogging basics that will get you started (or back on the right track).

Know your audience

Sorry if you’ve got déjà vu; I sometimes feel as if I start every blog post with this. The thing is, knowing who you’re talking to is absolutely fundamental. It’s not about excluding anyone; you’re just focusing your time and energy on the people who are most likely to need what you offer. When you have a clear idea of who they are and what they care about, it’s much easier to talk to them. That way you’ll create blog posts that make people feel heard and understood and not underwhelmed.

Don’t make assumptions

You might already know who your ideal customer is, but you’re cursed with knowledge. That makes life easy if you’re talking to other experts in your industry. Otherwise, it can be a challenge to work out how much (or little) your readers already know. The last thing you want is to drive your audience away by talking down to them or blinding them with science.

If you aren’t sure whether your audience is familiar with a particular topic or their level of knowledge, ask! Social media is great for this. You can use your own platforms or ask in other groups to get a wide range of opinions and create content at the right level.

Don’t dilute your message

I know that there are lots of entrepreneurs out there with a whole range of interests. They’re also incredibly skilled at distinguishing between the different parts of their business or showing how all the different elements combine to help you achieve the results you want. Why does this matter? It’s because it takes time for people to work out what you do then they’ll forget if you don’t keep reminding them. If they see you shift to only talking about something else, they’ll assume you’ve stopped doing the first thing.

Choose your tone

This is another reason why knowing your customer is on my list of blogging basics. You can choose the right tone of voice based on what they need and what they expect from you. The way you talk to a client as a solicitor is likely to be quite different to the approach you take as a beautician. Professionalism doesn’t have to be stiff and formal but it’s still worth bearing in mind. You might want to shake things up in your industry, but it should be on purpose!

Be consistent

If you start a blog then ignore it for a year, your potential customers might wonder whether you’re still in business. It might just be that they couldn’t keep up with their own schedule. When you start blogging, aim for a realistic view about how much you can achieve in terms of quantity and quality. A good blog post once a month is way better than a rubbish one every week. If you’re already blogging and the quality has dropped, do less.

Do you need help with getting your blogging basics right? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

Alternatively, if you’d like blogging and writing hints and tips straight to your inbox every month, just fill in the form below. I’m a vegetarian so I hate spam and will never share your information with anyone else.

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Why I wish we’d stop comparing COVID-19 to the Blitz

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I was listening to the news recently and heard Michael Rosen talking about ‘that’ Downing Street cheese and wine party that wasn’t a party. As you might remember, Michael is a poet who was hospitalized with Covid-19 and spent several weeks in intensive care. He compared lockdown to the blitz during World War 2. Here’s the quote that stuck with me:

“Instead of the equivalent of wreaths at the Cenotaph, what we’re getting is ‘oh, we were partying while you were doing that’.”

Michael Rosen

It bothered me and I couldn’t work out why. Then I realised that we’ve been hearing this kind of Blitz spirit stuff all the way through lockdown. It’s the people who say you’d never have survived if you’re hoarding toilet rolls or can’t even cope with staying at home. They say that everyone pulled together and no-one was out for themselves. The trouble is, it’s rubbish.

Michael Rosen was right

When Michael Rosen was talking about the Downing Street gathering, he referred to the social trauma that we’ve all been through in the last two years. In that sense, it’s a fair comparison. We’ve been isolated from our loved ones and faced huge uncertainty. We’ve longed to get back to normal (whatever that might mean). There has also been fear. We might not have faced being sent out to a foreign battlefront, but we’ve certainly dealt with the reality that a bomb might drop in viral form.

We don’t know what the long-term impact of Covid-19 will be. The Blitz generation grew up (and grew old) in a world very different from this one. I’m still absolutely certain that comparing our society to that one isn’t helping.

People cheated during the Blitz too

The reason I have a problem with the whole idea of a modern day ‘Blitz spirit’ is that it glosses over historical reality. There’s a nostalgia which imagines that every generation before this one was somehow perfect. We’re fed a wartime image where every neighbourhood pulled together. The trouble is, not everyone did. There were lots of examples of neighbours looking after each other and community groups organising resources and support. But then, as now, there were plenty of people out for themselves too. The blackout provided plenty of opportunities for crime. People behaved badly when they got the chance because they didn’t know when the bombs would drop. Even fundamentally decent people found ways to bend the rules. Which reminds me…

The rules are different this time

Covid-19 brought a set of rules that separated us from our loved ones so we’d all stay safe. In the 1940s my dad didn’t see his parents for months at a time because he was in a ship on the Atlantic. Near the end of his life, he told me that every day had been a bonus since then. He knew that a torpedo could come through at any moment and it would all be over. The difference was that when you got the chance to let off steam, you could do it in a crowd. The party that’s unforgiveable now would have been part of life then. The trauma might be the same but we processed it differently.

Why am I telling you this? It’s because even though no two lives are the same, we’ve all got shared experiences and it’s important to talk about them. You might not think that your personal stories can translate to your business marketing, but they can. If you’d like to find out how, send me an email or book a call and let’s have a chat.

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How to write your website homepage

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Your website homepage is the main point of entry for new visitors unless they’ve clicked through to read a blog post. It’s one of the most powerful tools you have for attracting new customers but it’s also easy to lose people if you don’t get it right. A website is an ever-evolving thing that you change as you learn more or your business changes, but here are just a few homepage basics to get you started.

Show visitors you have what they need (or not)

When a new visitor lands on your homepage you only have a few seconds to make an impression. It’s important that your headline shows them you can help. It could be as simple as saying who you work with and what you do. If you sell products you could start with images and a bit of explanatory content like ‘beautiful jewellery handmade in the UK’. If that’s what they’re looking for they’ll stay and dig deeper. They’ll leave if it isn’t for them and you’ve only lost someone who wouldn’t have bought anyway.

Show your human side

Even huge corporations have photographs of the people who run the show and it’s even more important when you’re a small business. Showing your face and those of your team (if you have one) helps your future customers to trust you. Include an image along with a brief bio on your home page and you start building a relationship straight away. Your home page shouldn’t be weighed down with too much text so add a click through to your ‘about me’ or ‘meet the team’ page for more.

Make information quick and easy to find

When you write your website homepage, give your visitor enough information but not too much. Put important stuff near the top then work down. (Beyond making sure visitors know they’re in the right place, there are no hard and fast rules. It’s one of those things you can play with and test over time.) Easy navigation is also key. If someone knows exactly what service they want, help them find it. If they need help working it out, signpost them to relevant information; that could be key blog posts, FAQs or a questionnaire.

Include testimonials

If you’re starting out you might not have testimonials yet, but they’re so valuable. They let potential customers see that you’ve helped real people like them. You’re not just telling them you’re good. It works on social media too – you’re much more likely to buy from someone if you can see that your friends like them as well. The technical term is social proof – it’s the digital marketing equivalent to asking around. Start gathering testimonials as soon as you can – I’m rubbish at this so it’s advice for me as much as you.

Contact details

This seems stupidly obvious but make it easy for people to buy. If you have an online shop this should be simple but if you don’t, show people how to book your services. Make it clear and straightforward on your homepage. Also, let people know what to do if they have a question. Give them a contact form. Put your email address or phone number in a prominent place and ask them to use that. This doesn’t just help them – it means that when you get questions you won’t miss them.

Are you trying (and struggling) to write your website homepage (or the rest of your website content)? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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Writing website content: how you can get started

This image of a computer screen might look pretty but writing website content is equally important.
Photo by Format from Pexels

First, a disclaimer. I know a lot about writing website content, but not so much about the techy side. Let’s just say I know what I need to do to keep everything ticking over. If you want to know how to build a website there are lots of DIY guides out there, or you could just talk to my good friend Clare McCabe at Purple Star Design. She’s ace. So, if you’ve got the technical basics sorted, here’s how you can get started with writing your website content.

Work out what your website needs to do and who it’s for

This might seem obvious, but your website design depends on who you’re trying to reach and what your business does. If you have an ecommerce business you’ll need a shop, product descriptions and a way to take payment. Your website is an amazing tool to help you generate new leads. If you offer a service and get work mostly from referrals you might only need a brochure site that shows your expertise. As with everything in marketing, the language you use depends on who you want to talk to.

Start with basic keywords

Even if you haven’t gone down the SEO rabbit hole yet, it’s worth thinking about keywords early on and getting your site set up to include them from the start. You can keep this simple to begin with. What words might your customers use to find you? This could be the service itself (i.e., hairdresser) or a type of product (children’s clothes). They might ask a question that leads them to you even though they don’t know the name of your service. Start like this and you can build as you go.

Show visitors they’re in the right place

When a new visitor finds your website, you’ve only got a few seconds to make an impression. Your home page is likely to be the main entry point so make sure they know what they’re getting from the start. Share the most important information first and keep it clear and concise. If you have a lot to say on a particular topic, create a separate page and invite visitors to click through if they’re interested.

While I’m at it, keep your page titles simple and clear. You’ll lose visitors if they can’t find what they want because you’ve called it something obscure or overly clever.

Share the transformation

I could write reams on this (and probably will) but the most important thing about writing website content is that is needs to engage your visitors’ emotions. They’ve landed on your website because they’re looking for something. Whatever it is, there is always an emotional need as well as a practical one. It could be wanting to buy someone the perfect present or feeling desperate because their baby won’t sleep. Show them that you understand where they are and where they could be with your help.

Include a call to action

What do you want visitors to do once they’ve found you? Buy something or book a call for a chat? Make it easy for them to do that. What if they’re not ready to take that step? Think about something they could do that’s less of a commitment, that keeps you in their mind while they’re deciding. Offer them any additional information they might need. Invite them to follow you on social media or sign up to your email list so you can keep in touch.

Are you trying (and struggling) with writing website content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

Alternatively, sign up to my mailing list for writing and marketing tips straight to your inbox every month.

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3 ways you can put your personality into your marketing

Photograph of Kirsty France, demonstrating how to put personality into your marketing.
Photograph by Amber Gosden

It’s a cliché for a reason – people buy people. Most big brands don’t build themselves around the personality of the owner, but small businesses like ours have to. It can feel utterly squirm inducing to put yourself out there in your marketing, but it’s worth it. Your personality is the biggest difference between your business and every other similar one out there. Need more convincing? Read this. If you’re already sold on the idea of putting more of your personality into your marketing, read on. I’ve got some great ideas to get you started.

Write the way you talk

Grammar is a slippery little beast. I know the rules which means that I can bend and occasionally break them for effect. (Like starting a sentence with a conjunction – my ten-year-old was horrified by that one.) The great thing about content writing is that the overall effect is more important than sticking to the rules. You can write the way you speak and your content will often be better for it, as long as it gets your point across.

If you find it difficult to sit down and write, start by recording yourself. Imagine you’re explaining something to a customer and go from there. You’ll be able to hear the phrases you naturally use and include them in your writing. You can then edit your writing yourself or send it to someone like me.

Show your face

If this idea makes you want to hide under a rock, I get it. I’ve built up my confidence over time but there are still days where I’ve planned to go live and talk myself out of it. The reason I do it is because it helps people get to know me. When you show your face, it gets more personality into your marketing. It makes it more likely that people will pay attention because they recognise you from earlier posts or face to face networking. You stop being a faceless business owner and turn into someone they can trust.

The easiest ways to show your face involve video, whether it’s live, prerecorded or a reel. Plan what you’re going to say then just press the button and start talking. The more you do it, the easier it gets. If you really can’t face that yet, start with photos that have you in them and build from there.

Tell a story

The human brain loves stories. We associate them with happy childhood memories or good times with friends. Telling a story in your marketing can put your audience in the main character’s shoes or give them insight into your life. (Which gives them another opportunity to see you as a real human being.) Case studies are a great way to do this as you can tell them the story of someone you helped who is just like them. They can identify with their struggles and see you as the solution.

Sharing a story from your life is ideal if you share common ground with your audience. You might have been in their shoes in terms of life experience, for example as a parent. You could also have felt the same emotions, like overwhelm or imposter syndrome. It doesn’t mean sharing your life story but giving a bit of yourself will help you to build a relationship with your audience.

Would you like to put more of your personality into your marketing content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

If you’d rather get to know me a bit first, you can sign up to my mailing list for blogging hints and tips straight to your inbox every month. You can unsubscribe whenever you like and I won’t share your information with anyone else.

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4 easy steps to help you plan your marketing for 2022

A planner that will help you plan your marketing for 2022.
Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels

When the Christmas scramble is over it’s time to turn your attention to a shiny new year. (If you’re really organised the best time to plan for the new year is before your Christmas marketing even starts.) If you plan your marketing on the hoof and never feel as if you’re quite on top of it, I’m here to help. Here are my 4 easy steps to help you plan your marketing for 2022.

Map your services to subject areas

This might sound like I’m stating the bleeding obvious, but your content needs to talk about stuff you want to sell. The key is to cover relevant topics in a way that shows your expertise but also lets your customers know that you understand them. You can keep things really broad at this stage and come up with general subject areas. For me, this part of the plan includes blogging, website copy and content marketing. Once you’ve come up with those, start to think about the challenges that your customers face that you can help with. Shifting your focus to the things that your audience care about will help you to come up with topics. Which brings me to…

Break the big ideas down into smaller topics

Within every big subject area there will be loads of smaller subjects. If you’re a beauty therapist one of your key areas might be skincare. Your audience will have different needs depending on their skin type, individual problems or even the time of year. Break them all down into the smallest topics you can think of. If you’re writing content for December your customers might be looking for Christmas gift ideas, ways to protect their skin in the colder weather or how to look after their skin during Christmas party season when they’re wearing make up more often. The narrower your topic, the more likely it is to be useful to your audience.

Choose a monthly focus

Marketing is pointless if it isn’t consistent. (You’ve probably heard me say that before.) We learn by repetition and studies suggest that someone needs to see your message at least 7 times before it sinks in. When you choose a monthly focus for your marketing it means that every piece of content sends the same core message. Even if your followers don’t see everything you share, the message sinks in and they understand what you offer. It also makes it easier for you to plan your marketing each month because everything comes back to the same central focus. It also means that you can use my next tip much more easily.

Repurpose your blog

A blog is a wonderful piece of content because it’s endlessly reusable. You can take each blog post and break it down into individual tips to share on social media. You can use each tip more than once, creating different types of content. That could include image posts, stories, Reels or other kinds of video just for starters. Look at your analytics to work out what your audience likes and try out new things to see what reaction you get. It saves you time because you don’t have to constantly plan new marketing content or write new words for each individual post. Don’t worry about repeating yourself because no-one sees everything you share.

Would you like to create a new marketing plan and brand-new content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

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My favourite things about Christmas

A picture of one of my favourite things about Christmas - the lights, not the unknown headless woman.
Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

It’ll soon be time to hang up the ‘closed’ sign and head off for Christmas. (My closed sign is metaphorical – my office is in the garden and I don’t get visitors.) I know that there are lots of things that are traditionally great about Christmas, but it can also be hugely stressful. The conversation at a recent networking event turned towards gratitude and how much it can benefit our mental health. It got me thinking about the things I actually enjoy about Christmas, so I decided to write them down. Here are my 5 favourite things about Christmas…

Time off

I love taking the school holidays off. There’s nothing quite so joyful as turning off the alarm clock until January. I get to visit people I don’t get to see and spend more time with the ones I live with.

My favourite day off is the one I take on my own before school finishes. I know, I’m weird. I spend the day pottering about doing whatever festive thing comes to mind. It might be ‘Muppets Christmas Carol’ (again) or it could be wrapping presents with a mug of mulled wine and a mince pie. Bliss.

Eating

I’m a vegetarian so I’m not talking about turkey (although I do love Paxo). It’s all the other stuff that goes with Christmas. The cheese, the mince pies, opening the Prosecco at breakfast time. It’s the ridiculously huge tubs of Twiglets, Cheeselets and chocolates that you don’t get at any other time of year. I know I could eat pickled onions all year round, but I don’t. It’s all part of the festive feast and I love it.

Christmas lights

If Christmas trees were banned tomorrow, I wouldn’t mind, as long as I could still have my lights. I love wearing jumpers and scarves and the fact that cold weather makes hot chocolate essential. The only thing I struggle with is the lack of light. A lot of my favourite things about Christmas involve lights – the Christmas tree, the candles and the high street displays. When January comes and the Christmas lights go out, the winter always feels just a little bit harder.

Singing

I’m not a religious woman, but I always head to church at Christmas. One of my relatives is a churchwarden and it’s always fun going to Christingle and watching lots of small children handle naked flames. Also, Christmas carols are brilliant, even if you’re not a believer.

There are also loads of good tunes on adverts and in the shops (although I was once a Christmas shop assistant and I know how wearing they get by Christmas Eve). It’s the one time of year that you can sing to your heart’s content and no-one bats an eyelid.

Murder

Don’t worry, I’m not about to start bumping off family members. Christmas is often associated with ghost stories, but I’m a crime writer. ‘Hercule Poirot’s Christmas’ is a fixture in my festive viewing, along with any new Agatha Christie adaptations that pop up. My husband bought me a copy of ‘The Mistletoe Murder and other stories’ by PD James a few Christmases ago. Since then that bit between Christmas and New Year, when you can’t remember what day it is, finds me curled up on the sofa with a new seasonal crime collection.

What are your favourite things about Christmas? Leave a comment and let me know!