The Start of Advent, Cleaning Cobwebs and Our New Shark Vacuum

Sisters hugging on a white bed with red plaid Christmas matching PJs on
I love the matching PJs

The Start of Advent


Despite all the Christmas activities we did in November (including the Christmas Experience at Marsh Farm, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and Christmas at a local Shopping Centre) not to mention me chatting to the man in red on 3 occasions it’s December when I really get in to the spirit of Christmas.

Last Saturday we got the Christmas bits down from the loft so I could leave out the toys and books next to the advent calendars ready to be found on Sunday morning. There is no elf on the shelf in this house, but I did leave the girls the Christmas bath mat and front door mat they could put out. Yes, in this house I prefer my children to do the hard work, although lets face it they only do it when it’s fun.

I got the girls matching Christmas PJs from the Factory Shop after Sainsburys cancelled half our order when they realised they had run out of stock. In previous years I have kept the Christmas PJs until Christmas Eve, but it seems like a much better idea for them to enjoy them throughout December. By the time I had crawled out of bed at 8 am (thank goodness for the weekend and G being home) the girls were both changed into their matching outfits and they stayed in them for the rest of the day. 

As well as opening the first door on their advent calendars we listened to Christmas music, watched films, played games and decorated some gingerbread stars. Ok they were a pack bought from Morrisons, but it was much less stressful than when I made gingerbread with the girls last year. I don’t even think there were any arguments. 

Sign saying "Countdown 24 Days Until Christmas" hanging on a Hive thermostat

A table with advent oresents including books, matching PJs, advent calendars, gingerbread stars to decorate and Christmas Duplo
Advent presents included: calendars, PJs and the Christmas books out

A gingerbread star decorated with icing and coloured sugar pieces
Decorating gingerbread stars is a tasty job

Christmas Decorating and Cobwebs


We have yet to put the decorations up, although they are gradually coming out of the boxes by stealth. They can only go up out of reach of little hands and I have quite a few cobwebs to remove first. Maybe this weekend. While I like to leave it until close to Christmas, it’s also a lot of effort putting decorations up and getting them down again. I can fully understand people putting them up as early as possible so they get to appreciate their hard work for longer.

Am I the only one that feels bad getting rid of cobwebs? We have a few spiders that live in our house and just seem to stick to their corner so I don’t really want to bother them. If I find any wandering around I put them out of the house, but the ones that aren’t causing me any trouble other than making a very cobwebby corner don’t really deserve to be re-homed. It does make me look like I’m behind on my cleaning, which is true, but the cobwebs are mostly intentional.

An 8 year old girl hugging a shark cordless vaccum box with lots of mess in the background
She was excited about the new Shark cleaner as me thanks to the power of TV advertising

Our New Shark Cordless Vacuum Cleaner


Talking of cleaning (and I spent pretty much all of Saturday scrubbing things like the damp off our bedroom wall) our new vacuum cleaner arrived at the weekend. It was a Christmas present from the outlaws that we bought in the Black Friday sales and have been given permission to use before Christmas because our Dyson has died. We are now proud owners of a Shark.

When I was looking for a new vacuum cleaner and asking for recommendations 95% of people suggested we go for a Shark. We went for the Shark DuoClean Cordless Vacuum Cleaner with TruePet IF260UKTH (affiliate link). My initial impression is there are lots of things to love about it, but there are also features of my Dyson Animal V6 I miss too. I love that the Shark can fold over in the middle so it can be stored with out falling over, the headlights are handy as is having 2 batteries. I don’t really like the height of it, that it pulls away from you on carpet and the movement generally. Our Dyson brush was really easy to move around so you could get round corners and small things easily, the Shark head doesn’t manoeuvre as easily and it is much happier going in straight lines. If you have a large carpeted room it would making vacuuming an absolute breeze. 

After a few months I’m sure I will get used to everything and the good design points will win me over. At the moment I am finding it being able to suck up large items a mixed blessing: it’s great for the cereal on the floor, not so good for all the little toys it sucks up too. My carpets are now considerably cleaner though and the suction has been great so hopefully we’ll get on top of those darn fleas. 

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