Christmas traditions from around the world

Hi everyone!

It’s only a few hours until Christmas now, and I thought I would do something extra fun for my last festive blog post of the year. Most of you guys who read my blog posts are from completely different parts of the world! On the same day, I’ll have readers from: England, UAE, Vietnam, Singapore, Greece, Germany, the U.S., France, The Netherlands, and Canada (to mention a few!). And I love this! I wanted to appreciate this global community in the festive season… So I’ve gathered festive traditions from bloggers all across the world and asked them all to write a paragraph sharing a special Christmas tradition that they each have. I hope you enjoy reading about what people all across the world do to celebrate this season. They may seem like small things, but these little traditions are what makes the holidays so special for everyone. Feel free to comment one of your holiday traditions in the comment section at the end of this post!

New Jersey, USA

Natalie Park – Capturing Life on Camera Blog

“Every year, my family and I play “Dirty Santa” where everyone brings a gift that is around $25. Everyone gets a number and goes around and chooses a gift in the order of their numbers. The fun in the game is that you can steal presents so the later numbers have the best shot. Every year my Grandma brings the worst gifts. At this point, I own a crystal vase, some vitamins, and too many regifted candles. It has become a running joke in my family that my grandma is the worst gift giver!”

Kent, England

Jasmine – Just Jasmineella Blog

“Hi I’m Jasmine and I’m from England, Kent. One tradition that my family and I have is having new Christmas pjs on Christmas Eve. I still get really excited about this! Every year my mum wraps up a fresh, new, festive pair of matching pyjamas for me and my sister to slip into right after a lovely hot bath. She has done this ever since we were tiny, when we were babies it was little Christmas sleep-suits! She always picks a beautiful set that starts the excitement and build up for the next day. They tend to be a traditional button up style with a Christmassy print of some kind. I love doing this because it’s so lovely when me and my sister are opening our presents in matching pyjamas in front of the Christmas tree. We usually have a photograph of us both in front of the fireplace on Christmas Eve leaving a snack ready for Father Christmas and a carrot for the reindeer. These are special Christmas memories that I will always treasure and wish to carry on with my own children when I’m older.”

Florida, USA

Liddy Dow – @itsliddystyle

“First off, I want thank Little Miss Expat for having me on her blog. She is such an inspiration and has an amazing story that I connected to from the beginning. She has achieved so much this year and it’s a privilege of mine to called her a friend on Instagram!  My name is Liddy and I run the Instagram Fashion account, @itsliddystyle. Little Miss Expat asked me what my Christmas tradition is and I would love to share it with you all. Before I moved to where I live now, every Christmas Eve we would go over to my families house and have a huge party. My favorite part about that upcoming day was picking out my fancy dress to wear that night. I looked forward to it ever year. It was an exciting night that was filled with laughter and love. Continuing with another tradition I have, is every Christmas or so my family rents a beach house and we stay for about a week. It’s always so nice to see all of my cousins and family together at once. My favorite memory was a couple of years ago when we decided to dig a HUGE hole in the sand. It look us all day and in the end it could fit all 6 of us cousins in it. (We even made sand stairs and a bench inside). It was such a fun experience to work with my cousins and I will never forget it.  But those are my Christmas traditions I have. Thank you again, LME for letting me share my experiences with you on your blog. I hope everyone has a great week and have a happy holiday and Merry Christmas!”

Cairns, Australia

Elina Passant – Just So Elina Blog

“My favourite Christmas tradition would have to be our little Christmas Day vlogs we make every year. My mum started filming Christmas morning when I was 2 on her old camcorder, you know the ones that record onto tapes instead of sd cards. As I got older I started adding onto her little videos, so once she filmed us opening presents I would film who we were spending Christmas with, our animals and whatever Christmassy activity we were doing that morning like making a gingerbread house. We continue to make the vlogs to this day and I love it because I get to look back on past years and my favourite Christmas memories. It’s also what started my love for filming videos, so it’s really been a win win tradition.”

Erfurt, Germany

Sixtina Alwardt – Six Miles Away Blog

“ADVENTSKALENDER

One typical German tradition is the Adventskalender. It basically serves as a countdown until Christmas. Starting from the 1st of December until 24th, you can open one “door” per day. Each of these doors is filled with chocolates (usually).

However, over the years these calendars changed in shape, size and filling. Lots of companies sell these calendars with their products. This can be herbs, toys, cosmetics and so on. You can even buy couple calendars nowadays. Super cool idea.

DIY Adventskalenders also become more and more popular. This basically means someone in your family is making and filling it for you. This way they are more personalised.

Adventskalenders really don’t have an age. Young and older people enjoy them equally every year.”

Buckinghamshire, England

Lexie – What Lexie Loves Blog

“For the last couple of years, my family has welcomed a new tradition… our Christmas Morning Muffins. Every Christmas Eve my mum makes up a batch of these orange and cranberry muffins, and in the morning we bake them and have the fresh and warm. The cinnamon-ny, fruity taste is delicious and just reminds me of Christmas. It’s a small, simple tradition but it really does make my Christmas morning… we love huddling around the breakfast table eating them!

Rohini Kudva – RoRo K Designs Blog

“My family loves watching movies and every year we always take one day before Christmas to have a long marathon. The marathon usually includes Elf, The Holiday, All of the Holiday episodes from Friends, a Charlie Brown Christmas, and many more. I’m the only one that enjoys Hallmark Movies, so we only watch a couple. My aunt makes really yummy gingerbread cookies and ginger tea, which we eat while we watch the movies. It’s something I always look forward to every year.”

Dubai, UAE

ME!

I’ve grown up spending Christmas in different places around the world, but one of the traditions that is pretty steady in my family is our Christmas walks. In my family after we eat Christmas lunch, we all go for a walk (to work off all the food we ate!) and to enjoy the winter nature of England before we go back to Dubai. Only after the walk are we allowed to open our presents!

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Thank you to all the bloggers around the world who collaborated with me on this post!

I hope you enjoyed reading about these Christmas traditions from around the world! Comment down below a Christmas tradition you have and where you’re from! Merry Christmas everyone!

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The ‘I can’ mindset – #ExpatWisdom – Sixtina

Hi everyone,

This weeks blog post is another from the Expat Wisdom series! I’ve been working with Sixtina from Six Miles Away blog to share her expat story. Her blog is a heaven for any traveler or expat, as it’s packed with travel tips and stories, I could honestly spend hours reading it all! She was even kind enough to interview me, and write about my expat story on her blog, incase you wanted to take a look at that!

Her story, like many of the others that I’ve shared in this series, is one that I can relate to. However, the advice she gives is something that I really wish I had thought of during my move, and perhaps it will help you as well!


It’s all about the “I can” mindset, right focus, and positive attitude!

The travel bug had already been awakened in me in early years. Growing up in East Germany (former DDR), my parents didn’t have much freedom when it comes to traveling like us nowadays. As soon as the wall came down my parents, especially my mother started traveling like crazy, of course, taking me everywhere with them. I’ve basically visited 2 new countries every year since I was 1 years old, but I don’t even remember them all!
six miles away in iceland
The first time I moved abroad, I was only a teenager myself. Wanting to learn English, my grandpa helped to finance a year in an American High School, so I ended up in Kentucky, USA. Around Christmas time I got very homesick, which I guess was normal for a teenager being far away from home for the first time and for a long time in a foreign country, where things were different. However, instead of locking myself up in my bedroom, crying and complaining about things, I focused on the positive points, such as my lovely host family, lots of new food to try, fun entertaining games, and I also called my family back home. I had a great time, and my mum booked a flight to come over for my birthday.
six miles away in a wood house
After studying for 4 years in The Netherlands, where I also got to spend one semester abroad in Mexico and one in Spain, I moved to Ireland shortly after I graduated. I have been living here for 4 years. Being an expat is not always flowers and roses or as easy as it may look online. There are downsides for sure, including organizational, situational and also emotional things.

The first 2 years in Ireland were super hard for me and I was very upset; I didn’t go out, I gained weight and I was simply miserable. Yet it was my own choice to be there, right?

Why was I upset?
I was in an unhappy relationship, I lived in a dirty apartment where I didn’t even want to return to, I had a call center job I hated, I found no hobbies I liked to practice, I had no friends/people I liked enough to hang out with, neither did I have a great social life. On top of that public transportation and weather were bad as well.

After being miserable for around 3-6 months and constantly complaining, at some point I woke up and realized that nothing is ever going to change if I continue complaining. No new job will appear by itself, no agency will come to me offering a new apartment, no social club is going to ask me if I want to join and so on…

I don’t remember what my exact wake-up call was, but in the end, it all comes down to the “I can” mindset, right focus, and positive attitude. First of all, I focused on the things I could change quickly. That included getting rid of that boyfriend, joining social clubs and start hanging out with people that are my cup of tea. A new apartment and job came later on by itself, as I was full of energy and most importantly with a positive attitude.  
girl enjoying sweets
What am I trying to say?
It really is up to us, how we handle situations and what we make out of them. My advice is to get up, focus and change things that are within our reach and stop complaining. Be positive and try to perceive new things with an open mind, rather than find the “wrong” bits and pieces of it. After all, there is always something to learn from every negative and positive situation. You might not see it right at the start, but it will become more clear eventually. All you have to do is stay positive, focus on the things that you CAN do/change, and have an “I can do anything” mindset. The rest will happen by itself, you’ll see!

I hope you enjoyed reading Sixtinas story, and that you can take something away from it! As always, be sure to take a look at the other posts in my Expat Wisdom series, or if you’re interested in being featured feel free to reach out to me at LittleMissExpatBlog@gmail.com!
See you next week,
Little Miss Expat

The BEST photos I’ve ever taken. This is how I did it.

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a fabulous week! Out here in Dubai, we’ve had a long weekend, which I definitely needed (the junior year sleep deprivation is real guys). This weekend also gave me some extra time to put together a post that I’ve been planning for a while now.

Back in the summer, you may recall that I was hinting at a lot of exciting content that was coming soon, and this is one of the posts! If you remember, my sixteenth birthday was during the summer holidays, and something I really wanted for my birthday was a ‘blogging board’. I had seen quite a few bloggers using them, and I really wanted to take my photography skills to a new level over the summer. So after hours of pouring over online stores, and different paint samples, I finally decided on my blogging board.

To backtrack a bit, my blog is based around advice for teenagers, especially expatriate teenagers. But it’s also a place where I share what I enjoy doing, and what’s going on in my life, and something you guys really enjoy reading about is my photography tips. I wrote a HUGE guide with all of my photography tips here, and another photography guide specifically based around flat-lays. However, this post is dedicated to one photography tip that I’ve found really takes my photography to the next level. And that’s having a blogging board.

For those of you who don’t know what that is (to be honest I didn’t until a couple of months ago), let me explain. If you’re a blogger, Instagrammer, or content creator, you will understand ‘the struggle’. You’ve just put together the most perfect looking smoothie bowl, and you want to snap a photo of it to post, but you can’t find a background worthy of being in your photo. All that styling you just spent so long doing, now goes to waste because your photo doesn’t have that ‘wow’ factor.

This may sound a little silly, but let me explain: When I first started out blogging and Instagramming I would spend ages making my food look pretty and ‘photo ready’ but my photos somehow always looked unprofessional. Unless you live somewhere with beautiful marble countertops or rustic looking wood paneling, it will always be hard to find a place to take your photos. Trust me, I tried taking photos outside in our garden, on my desk, on my bed, or even on my rug, but they just never looked right to me.

That’s why my tip for taking your photos to the next level for any blogger/Instagrammer is to find or invest in a background that you use specifically for taking photos. At first, I had a roll of wrapping paper that I put down and used as a white background for my flat lay photos or food photos. But when I saw blogging boards all over the internet I knew this was something that would improve my photos even more. Basically, my blogging wood is a square of wood planks with one side painted white and distressed, and the other white with a hint of gold. It’s something I can whip out when I’m taking photos, and I don’t have to worry about spending ages finding a clean background, that complements my photos, and doesn’t reflect the light into my camera. It just makes my photos so much easier to take, and it makes them look a whole lot more professional.

In this post, I’ve included some examples of photos I took using my blogging board as a background so you can see the difference that it makes. I got my board from Soularty, they specialize in food photography backgrounds and props. They were also kind enough to give me a discount code to share with you guys if you were interested in purchasing anything off their site. Use: ‘EXPAT_FROM_13_OFF’ to receive 13% off any purchase! I’m by no means saying that you need to purchase this product to take better photos, and this post is not an advertisement either! But my number one tip for taking your photos to the next level would be to find a background that you can regularly use to take food photos or flat-lay photos. Whether that’s a large sheet of paper, or whether you choose to invest in a blogging board, either one will make a difference to your photos!

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You can see here the set up of my blogging board, I can put it down anywhere and get a nice photo!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the photos I took for this post; I had so much fun taking them and using my blogging board! As always, let me know what you think of this post in the comments section, and what you use as a background when you take flat-lay or food photos?

Have a great week everyone!

Little Miss Expat

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Be Part of The Beauty Evolution – Evolve Beauty

Hi Everyone!

This weeks post is one I’ve been waiting to write for a really long time, and I am SO EXCITED to finally share it with you!

To backtrack a little, if you’re long-time followers you will know my philosophy about beauty, and how I believe in natural, non-toxic beauty (I wrote a whole post explaining it here). I think that what put on our faces, is just as important as what we put inside out bodies, and I’ve been on the search to find products made of real ingredients that do great things for my skin. Evolve Beauty is one of the brands whose products I love using, they smell amazing, they do wonders for my skin, and the company is just so lovely to work with!

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I reached out to them when I was writing my Clean Beauty post, and they were kind enough to send me a few of their products to review! One thing I love about Evolve Beauty is just how lovely they are, they were nice enough to get back to me and let me write about them. Evolve Beauty is a small artisan brand, founded and run by Laura Rudoe. You guys know, I’m all for small, local brands, which is one of the reasons I love Evolve Beauty so much. All of their products are handmade, and on each of them, there’s a little tag telling you the name of the person who made it. How cute is that? Evolve is based on Laura’s passion for natural skincare, nurtured by growing up with her grandmother in Romania. She’s researched natural beauty for years and ensures that only the best goes into her products – and it definitely shows when you use Evolve products.

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Evolve products are made by a small team in Hertfordshire, England, which is another reason this brand is so close to my heart. Hertfordshire also happens to be where I used to live when I was in England, and it’s such a coincidence that’s where they’re based. Their products are also packed in recyclable bottles, which is just amazing (you guys know I’m all about the environment)!

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Overall, I think that beauty just comes from who you are and nurturing what you already have. Not from covering up everything, and changing who you are. And that’s one of the reasons I love Evolve Beauty, their products allow you to care for what you already have, without damaging your skin or changing who you are. As they promise, Evolve Beauty products are natural and organic, artisan made, they follow ‘green science’ which means they’re free from synthetics, they’re vegan, cruelty-free, and their packaging is recyclable. But most importantly, they celebrate your beauty and the beauty of nature.

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You can head on over to Evolve Beauty and take a look at their range, and you can get 10% off any purchase using my code ‘LITTLEMISS10’. One of my absolute favourite products is their Radiant Glow Mask, made of cacao + coconut… It literally smells like brownie batter. I also love using their Tropical Blossom Body Polish in an evening shower, it leaves my skin feeling so smooth and smelling amazing, and it’s a nice de-stresser at the end of the day. And after I use their Tropical Blossom Body Butter, my skin feels like it’s just soaking in the oils and goodness, and it applies literally like ‘butter’ to my skin.

Also, just a disclaimer, I am not in any way endorsed or sponsored by Evolve Beauty to promote their products. I simply want to share my love for all things natural with you guys, and Evolve Beauty is one of the brands I love.

Scattered throughout this post are also some of the photos I took of their products, and I’m so happy with how they came out! Let me know if you want to see a post on how I do my photography. What’s your favourite beauty product? Let me know if you purchase any Evolve Beauty products & which ones you get, I would love to talk to you about it!

Lots of Love

Little Miss Expat 

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The Expat ‘Would You Rather’

Hi Everyone!

This week I have a little surprise for you, I have teamed up with Little Miss Honey (find her blog here) to create a really fun and entertaining post for you guys!

When we first talked about a collab, I was unsure what to do, as I didn’t want to do something boring that you could find anywhere. I finally decided on an ‘expat would you rather.’ In this post, you will see several ‘would you rather’ questions, directed at expats, answered by both Little Miss Honey and me. I’ll admit, some of these questions were really challenging, but we did our best to answer them all for you. Enjoy!

Would you rather… Never be an expat, or move to a new place every year?

Little Miss Honey: Never be an expat, moving every year can be really stressful especially for my family, so I’d rather stay put. 

Little Miss Expat: Never be an expat, I’d have to agree, while being an expat is amazing, it would be hard to pack up and move every year. 

Would you rather… Not be able to meet anyone new, or not remember anyone old?

Little Miss Honey: Not being able to meet anyone new, I don’t want people I know to feel bad that I don’t remember them. 

Little Miss Expat: Not being able to meet anyone new, I wouldn’t want to forget important people in my life.

Would you rather… Move somewhere really hot, or cold?

Little Miss Honey: Move somewhere really hot, actually I did before, as I lived in Saudi Arabia.

Little Miss Expat: Well I already live in Dubai, which is super hot. But I wouldn’t want to move anywhere very cold, I definitely prefer the heat. 

Would you rather… Move somewhere as a student in school, or as an adult with a job?

Little Miss Honey: Move somewhere as a student, I always wanted to study in Canada when I was younger but was never able to do so. 

Little Miss Expat: I think as a student, It’s easier to fit in and make new friends when you see them every day at school. And I think that moving is easier when you’re younger as you can adapt more. 

Would you rather… Move to a city or a rural area?

Little Miss Honey: Definitely a city, I am a true-blue city girl. 

Little Miss Expat: I would love to live in a rural area, but I don’t think I could do it forever. So I would go for the city, as there’s always something to do there.

Would you rather… Be an expat as a kid or an adult?

Little Miss Honey: Either way is fine by me.

Little Miss Expat: That’s a hard one, I feel like as an adult I would be able to do things my way, but I think I would move as a kid because I would have my family and parents to support me and help me out. 

Would you rather… Be an expat in an English speaking country or a non-English speaking country?

Little Miss Honey: I would love to fantasize about living in a non-English speaking country but truthfully it would be better to move to an English speaking country. 

Little Miss Expat: It would definitely be easier to move to an English speaking country, as I would find it too confusing to learn a new language, and have that barrier. 

Would you rather… Not be able to talk to anyone you meet, or hear anything they say?

Little Miss Honey: The first one.

Little Miss Expat: I think the first one, at least I could work around it. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, by not listening to what they say. 

Would you rather… Not be able to make new friends, or see any old ones?

Little Miss Honey: Definitely the first one.

Little Miss Expat: That’s really hard, but the first choice. I wouldn’t want to forget my old friends, even though it would be hard not to have any new ones. 

Would you rather… Not be able to experience the culture of your new home, or completely forget the culture of your last home?

Little Miss Honey: The latter, always look back to where you came from.

Little Miss Expat: I’d agree, I wouldn’t want to forget my culture, but it would still be hard to live somewhere and not experience any of the culture. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this kind of post, let me know if you want to see more like this! It was just a little bit of fun, be sure to let me know your answers to the questions in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Little Miss Expat

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