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Vol. 42 - 'Twas The Week Before Christmas

manifesting, moodboards, matchas, and everything I did in the lead up to christmas



Christmas Eve already? Where has the time gone!? I hope you are all finally in relaxation mode and that the worst of the Christmas craziness is already behind you. By the time this newsletter goes out, I will be preparing for my father and sister’s arrival (re: making sure there is substantial food and drink ready), as they are spending Christmas with us this year. As I did last year, I will be opening the members’ chat from 6 pm tonight through to Boxing Day (which you can access via the Substack app). Whether you’re alone this Christmas, it’s your least favourite time of the year, or you just want to talk to people who aren’t your family for the day, I welcome every single member to join and share in our virtual ‘Christmas Lunch’. Now, onto this week’s issue. The build-up to Christmas is rather chaotic and a time where we often think about the past, present, and future in tandem, so I will do the same in this issue. I will be starting with a topline review of everything I did in the week before Christmas before moving on to some of my favourite purchases in the past month and how I’m already preparing for 2024. With that, let’s begin!


 

A WEEK IN REVIEW

MONDAY


My morning started in Sloane Square with the 60-minute iconic facial at Sarah Chapman. The treatment used Radiofrequency, microneedling, and facial massage to firm and lift my skin, and I was impressed by how great my face looked and felt post-treatment. Usually, after more invasive treatments, my skin is left quite red and patchy, but I left Sarah Chapman with none of that. I strolled around Pavillion Road and popped into The Roasting Party to buy two bags of coffee (one ground, one whole). Next up, Natoora, for some wonderful seasonal goodies. Unfortunately, I don’t have a local Natoora, so I always make sure to pop into one should I pass by! I bought a wonderful Porcini Broth with beans and cavolo nero, a Jerusalem artichoke soup, and a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar. I walked part of the way home via Pont Street to browse in Anya Village (basically a collection of weird and wonderful stores and cafes by Anya Hindmarch). I went into Anya’s Grotto to pick up some gingerbread tree decorations. If you happen to be in that neck of the woods, do make time to visit Anya Village and stop at her Cafe for a hot drink and some pastries. If you like savoury, the soup of the day with half a cheese toastie is my favourite!


 

TUESDAY



After two weeks of rotting, I reluctantly headed to my PT to move my body. I always dread going and then realise how much better I feel after. I also had an ulterior motive: hitting Fortnum and Mason for some last-minute festive finds. Usually, a mid-morning, mid-week F&M stop is absolute bliss, but in the run-up to Christmas, it was just a tourist mosh pit. I grabbed some festive bits (if you’re curious, you can see exactly what in this Tiktok Video) and then continued on my merry way. It was pissing it down with rain all morning, so I took a detour down Burlington Arcade. I walked past a fairly new coffee shop called Noxy Brothers, and my curiosity got the better of me. I tried their matcha with coconut milk and a vanilla shot, and it’s now one of my top 3 matchas in London (I’ve also been told that their hot chocolate is particularly good). I then dipped into a few stores for some last-minute Christmas shopping, including Connolly. Not only is it a beautiful store to walk around, but they have a wonderful selection of clothing, accessories, and homeware that make for special gifts. A very good option if you have a man in your life who is difficult to buy for.



The rest of the afternoon was devoted to admin, filming, and editing my next YouTube video. As part of my Fortnum’s haul, I’d bought some Duck bone broth from Borough Broth, so I decided to make my latest food fixation, combining bone broth, leftover veggies, rice, and kimchi. As I went to add my kimchi from Kay’s Kimchi, I realised I’d quaffed the packet in less than a week. My other recent empties included my favourite poultry rub from Fortnum’s and my Kat Burki Bio Correcting Face Cream (one of my top beauty finds of the year!).


 

WEDNESDAY



I’m going to be honest; I did sweet fuck all. I was home alllll day working on my laptop, filming my last brand deals due pre Christmas, and editing Youtube. In the evening, I sank an extra dirty martini before eventually leaving for dinner at Maison Estelle. When you arrive, they cover your phone camera with a sticker, so I can’t even share any pictures of my food (booooo). We had a very good beef wellington, very average sides, and an amazing tart tatin with mulled wine ice cream. I need to know why mulled wine ice cream isn’t more readily available because it slaps. The club itself is very cosy and chic and feels akin to being in someone’s very nice townhouse. I wore my new Celine belt to match my old Celine boots.


 

THURSDAY



I started my morning at the PT (again) because I am a fitness legend. This time, I walked home via Loewe to see if I could buy the cutest scarf I’d ever seen (from their new collaboration). Long story short, there was only one left in the whole of London and I was determined to get it (which I eventually found and purchased!). I happened to be near The Japan Centre, so I thought it would be rude not to dip my head in and buy some bits. One of the purchases I’m most excited about is this Sowa pancake mix because I wanted pancakes for breakfast on Boxing Day (plus, Japanese pancakes are so delicious and fluffy). I picked up a hot taro bubble tea and a mochi doughnut on my way home before spending the rest of the afternoon working and planning Christmas. I even finalised the food menu to send to everyone. Planning, cooking, and hosting for a family who has both owned and grown up around restaurants is stressful, to say the least. Our friend came over as he is staying with us for two nights, so this Christmas, we are very much a pro-bono Airbnb!



 

FRIDAY



My day was entirely uneventful up until about 3:30 pm when a friend I hadn’t seen in a while came by for a catch-up over some dirty martinis (lethal as is, but even more so on an empty stomach). After a few hours of gossiping, they left, and Henry and I got ready for our evening activities. Two relatively new friends of ours had said they wanted to take us to a Christmas show to say thank you as we recently invited them to our annual Christmas party (and hosted the afters at ours) and we thought it would also be a nice way to do something festive before we all parted for Christmas. We were told very little about the show except its location and that there was no dress code, and for some reason, my mind automatically assumed we were going to the theatre. We started with dinner at Maison Francois, washing down our food with grape margaritas and more dirty martinis. Around 9 pm, we walked towards Leceister Square and into the Christmas market, where we could see a separate tent for a comedy, cabaret, and circus show called ‘La Clique’. To keep to the vodka theme, we loaded up on some double vodka cokes (vodka & ginger beer for me, because, wellness) and sat down for the show. Even as I type this out, I cannot believe this is what I witnessed, and I have a feeling that 80% of you reading this won’t believe me. Some of the acts I watched included but were not limited to a fully naked man covered in shaving cream with his head between his legs, shaving parts of his body and thrusting to ‘hot stuff’ and a naked woman rubbing herself with butter whilst hoola hooping and screaming gutterally, with a popcorn machine on her head. Don’t get me wrong, there were some very normal and fantastic acts, but these were certainly something. Anyway, he had a ton of fun and should you be looking for something unexpected and wild to watch, check La Clique out. Afterwards, we headed to Opium for some very late-night vodka cocktails, and around 1 am, we collectively decided we really wanted to do karaoke in Soho (not surprisingly, the ones in Soho are open until 3am). However, being Friday night AND Christmas, they were all fully booked, so we ended up in an Italian bar drinking more vodka and dancing badly to old-school songs. We eventually went to sleep around 4:30 am. RIP.


 

CHECKOUT NOW


For 2024, I’ve decided I want to put more concerted time and effort into my hosting and making our home as beautiful and practical as possible. I’ve also decided to be more creative with my day-to-day outfits instead of leaning into the same combinations that don’t necessarily spark any joy. As you can imagine, a lot of my recent purchases (and future wishlist purchases) sit in one of the above two categories. Hopefully, you might find a little inspiration in both the fun and mundane purchases I’ve made!


Bag Charms - As a teenager, I was obsessed with handbags. I’ve always been a bag over shoe girly because I feel like a bag can live a million different lives. Now that I’m older and financially independent, I still love a handbag, but just not in the same way I used to. I was thinking about why this was, and then I realised that it was because the act of buying a handbag is pretty easy. Anyone with the money and the desire can buy the same thing as you, and with the rise of social media and websites like AliExpress, it seems like anyone and everyone can have a handbag that used to be a rare sight and something special. However, whilst anyone can buy the same bag as you, not everyone can make it their own in the same way, which is why I’ve recently been going crazy on buying charms for my bags. As a teenager I used to use faux fur tails to make my bags stand out, and I couldn’t quite remember why I stopped. I’ve been using long pearl necklaces that I don’t have the chance to wear daily (like my beautiful ones from Cosmic Ordering with evil eyes and horoscope charms on them), my Chinese Coins (which need to be moved regularly anyway to keep the positive energy flowing) and then I’ve been scouring Amazon and Etsy for more ways to accessorize. I’ve ordered this fluffy bunny key chain in army green and this pom pom and tassel key chain.

Bamboo Bath Caddy - I have no clue why it’s taken me so long to buy one of these, seeing as I love a bath and spend most of my time in one either working or watching something, but I finally bought this one. It has space for candles, phones, wine glasses, iPads and books. I also plan on buying a nice container (maybe something seashell-related) with a matching spoon that I can fill with Epsom salts.

Containers & Storage Baskets - Boring but a necessity. All of my OXO containers keep food fresh and uniform, it keeps cupboards organised, and you can actually see what’s in it. The storage baskets have also been a game changer because now I can remove everything from a kitchen cupboard or my wardrobe in a single (and neatly organised) go, without pulling EVERYTHING out one by one. I’ve found them particularly useful for small bags and accessories!

Sostrene Grene Glasses - Okay so these are technically sold as vases but I think they’re gonna make really fun drinks glasses for cocktails. These are basically dupes for ones they sell in The Conran Shop but a quarter of the price.

Paper Table Cloth - On boxing day, I will be turning my dining table into a giant charcuterie board, and therefore a paper tablecloth is necessary. It’s such a fun focal point when hosting to be able to scribble the names of the food and wine directly onto the table, and even draw pictures of the guests! Best of all, the clean up is quick and simple.

Rhinestone Tights - In my defence, I did say I wanted to be more exciting with my sartorial choices, and I thought rhinestone tights would be entirely fun and unnecessary for the festive season. I’m not gonna try and justify myself any more than that.

Fiona Finds Placemats & Napkins - Okay, so technically, I haven’t bought any of these yet, but I’m slowly filling my shopping cart with as many things as my bank account will allow because Fiona 100% has the chicest and most perfectly curated selection of homeware. Whilst some of the items are on the pricier side, it’s still fantastic to browse for inspiration!

Loewe Panda Scarf - I scoured London to find the last one. Truly my favourite purchase this year.


 

2024


Only in recent years have I begun to make a concerted effort to write down what I want to achieve for the following year. This time last year, I actually dedicated a section of the newsletter to my 2023 goals and aspirations. I wrote:


‘I don’t particularly like ‘resolutions’, e.g. ‘go to the gym! eat better! stop smoking!’ because I hate being told what to do. Even if it’s from me to me. What I do like to do is sit down and think about my long-term goals and aspirations for the year. I write these down using specific wording so that there’s no room for ambiguity when it comes to what I’m looking to manifest or achieve.’

And you know what? All of that still stands. Except this time, I’m being even more specific with what I want and how I will achieve them. When I look back at some of the more personal things I wanted to manifest for 2023, I achieved them all. Some of the things I wrote down seemed utterly ridiculous to the 2022 version of me, yet they still came to fruition. I recently had a long discussion with someone who told me they felt a little lost and unsure about life. After a bit of digging, I played an exercise with them where I essentially asked them to imagine certain dream scenarios of their life in five years’ time. For example, in five years’, when you wake up in your dream home to start your day, what does your room look like? When you go to look out the window, what do you see? When you go to the bathroom to do your morning routine, what does it look like? How does it smell? What do you hear? What time does your day even start? What sort of job are you doing? Is it flexible? What do your responsibilities look like? How are you spending your lunch break? Your evenings? As I discovered, this person struggled to give me detailed answers to many of these questions, and I wondered how many of us truly take our time to sit down and understand what we want from the future. Whilst I don’t believe that simply saying you want something means it will appear out of thin air, I do believe that having it in your subconscious is the most important first step to making it happen. Everyday, your mind, heart, body, and soul will be working towards your goals, whether you’re aware of it or not. There are plenty of different ways to do this, and everyone has their own methods, but I’m going to run through some of mine.

  1. Before you start, break everything down into categories. These can be anything, as long as they are important to you. Career, Relationships, Financial, Physical, Mental, Personal Development, Style…you name it. Just make sure you have your key pillars so that you can dig into each category as thoroughly as possible.

  2. With categories assigned, the first exercise I do is written by hand. Find a notebook and dedicate as many pages as possible to each category. There are many different theories out there regarding how you word your goals, but I just try to keep it specific where necessary. For example, when it comes to categories that are more black and white to me (such as Financial), I will write something along the lines of, ‘I will earn X by December 2023’ or ‘My bank account will have X amount by X date’. Other people like to use broader phrases such as ‘I can easily afford my desired lifestyle’ or ‘I attract wealth and abundance’, but as long as your wording resonates with you, that’s what’s important. For each category, I write as many lines as necessary, covering as many of the senses as possible. I think the Taurean in me likes to understand how my goals will look, feel, and sound (maybe taste, where applicable), but again, that’s very specific to what works for me.

  3. I am an incredibly visual person; therefore, a mood board is my bread and butter for anything and everything related to my goals, aspirations, and inspirations. We are still splitting our categories, but feel free to have them all in one giant collage if that works for you. Different platforms I’d advise using either Canva for giant, interactive mood boards (best if you know specifically what you want as you will have to import your own images), Notion (if you have more time and you’re quite techy, it can be so rewarding when you build your page properly) or, of course, Pinterest. Two great things about Pinterest are: A) you are given a constant stream of inspiration tailored to you via the algorithm so you can be inspired as you go, and B) you can create separate sections within a mood board so that your categories are all split (see below).



This is where the fun begins. Whether you want beautiful imagery, words of affirmation, infographics, or actionable lists, Pinterest has it all. Again, you have to use whatever works for you. I like a combination of imagery and infographics instead of words of affirmation because they seem to resonate more. For example, when it comes to my ‘wellness’ section, I find infographics are a great way to learn and manifest in one.



4. With your yearly mood board done, it can be can easy to forget about it and not check in at all. So, what I also like to do is split my year into quarters, and create separate boards filled with things that inspire me. For example, you can see my Jan-Apr board I used at the start of 2023. This is just a good way to stay on top of your vision in smaller chunks and also remind you to check in with your year long ambitions and manifestations. Whilst my yearly mood boards are private, I keep all of my quarterly ones open should you want to take a look for inspiration!



 


If you have enjoyed today’s issue (or any issue) of The Rhubarb Society, please feel free to share with those closest to you using the button below. Thank you for supporting the Society, and we look forward to seeing you in the next issue.


We hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and we look forward to seeing you in 2024!!


With love,

Tamsin & Rhubarb

xoxo

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