Archive: Nov 2014

  1. How to… choose this year’s Christmas colour scheme

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    When it comes to adding a festive touch to your home, there are so many colour schemes you can opt for – it’s just a matter of picking complementary shades and textures. But remember – the decorations will only be needed for a month or so, so invest in pieces that can be combined in different ways to work all year round.

     

    Eclectic glamour – blue and gold

    Gold candle Bluw bottleCombining traditionally festive gold with deep blue gives a scheme with an exotic twist. To achieve this look I matched an elegant blue glass bottle with a gold leaf candle and some festive silver potpourri. This potpourri has the scent of frankincense and myrrh, which is a wonderfully fresh and light alternative to traditional Christmas scents.

    I love how the simple blue colour is lifted by the glitter and gold, and this is the perfect example of how to decorate with pieces that you can use all year round.

     

    All that glitters – pink and silver

    While not a traditional Christmas colour, pink works perfectly as a highlight colour alongside silver, sparkly tones. I combined a gorgeous pink and silver perfume bottle with a pink votive and glitter pillar candle, plus some of the same festive silver potpourri (pictured, above).
    Another way to create this look is by investing in a luxurious white fur throw for the bed or sofa (think of it as a thick blanket of snow on a Christmas morning), and scattering over a few sequinned accent cushions.

     

    Winter forest – natural woods and neutral tones

    Star decorationThis is probably my favourite scheme of all, as it is so easy to put together and automatically makes a space look amazingly festive. For this look I used natural wooden pieces like this carved hanging star and heart garland – so simple and yet so pretty. If you opt for this scheme, scatter a few winter woodland cushions on your thick-white-snow throw.

    Scent is an important part in any scheme, so I like to dot around a few green scented pillar candles. The result is an effortless and festive vignette that will make your whole room smell of a fresh and frosty Christmas morning in the countryside.

    For more inspired home interiors ideas, head to Rachael’s blog: interiorthinking.com.

     

    Three key pieces:

    Cushion KeyPiece_colour-200x210 Berry Wreath,

     

    White Fur Throw, £25; Berry Wreath, £8; Watercolour Effect Robin Cushion, £12 (available in selected larger stores).

  2. How to… have a homemade Christmas

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    I don’t think there is a more magical time than Christmas. I start getting excited the minute Halloween is over – with a little help from my 8-year-old daughter who is literally counting down the days. Creating festive treats, either to decorate or to eat, is easy and fun – here are my favourites.

     

    Festive chocolate ‘bark’

    A incredibly easy recipe that’s as much fun to make as it is to eat, and it’s perfect for gifting.

    Children decoration a traybakeMethod:

    1. Melt 500g of chocolate, line a tray with baking paper and set your Christmas biscuit cutters on top.
    2. Pour the chocolate into the cutters and push to the edges with a chopstick.
    3. Sprinkle over decorations (nuts, sprinkles, crushed sweets – anything goes!) and put in the fridge to set overnight.
    4. Once set, leave the chocolate in the cutters and present them inside a festive mug for a stylish, homemade Christmas gift (pictured, above).

    A nice alternative is to leave out the cutters and simply pour the melted chocolate into a small lined tray. Decorate and set as normal, then break into pieces and gift in a stylish box (pictured, above and right).

     

    Pine cones in a Christmas cupWoodland sparkle

    With the help of my children’s foraging skills and a little magic (courtesy of gold spray paint) I transformed nature-inspired bits and pieces into the most beautiful Christmas decor.

    Method:

    1. Go for a hunt in your local park for pine cones, leaves, dried seed heads, and gather any old glass jars and bottles lying about at home.
    2. Lay your treasures out on old newspaper and spray paint them gold.
    3. Leave to dry (my decorations took less than half an hour), then create a festive display as pictured above, or pile them in a Christmas mug as table centrepiece (pictured, left).

     

    Cornflour dough decorations

    This easy dough can be made with household staples. Once the dough is dry it looks like bright white clay and makes wonderful ornaments for the Christmas tree, or as place settings on a festive table (heart ornament, pictured above).

    Child using cookie cutter on pastryMethod:

    1. Mix 300g bicarbonate of soda, 70g cornflour and 180ml cup cold water together in a small non-stick pot.
    2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the dough comes together and has the consistency of mashed potatoes. Take off the heat and let it cool until you are able to handle it.
    3. Knead the dough a little to make it pliable then flatten into a disk. Roll and cut out shapes and carefully poke a hole using a straw.
    4. Carefully transfer the decorations onto a lined tray and leave them to dry overnight. Thread ribbon through the holes and paint or decorate however you choose!

     

    To discover more of Lucy’s fab ideas, head to supergoldenbakes.com.

    Three key pieces:

    Cookie cutter Eat drink and be merry mug Merry Christmas cup

    Eat Drink & Be Merry Barrel Mug, £2.50; Christmas Tree Copper Coated Cookie Cutter, £2; Oversized Eat Drink & Be Merry Mug, £5 (available in selected stores)

  3. This week we love… Christmas cards

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    Yes it’s that time already where we dig out the address book, dust off the good pen and start wishing people a Merry Christmas. I think sending out cards is one of the loveliest Christmas traditions – reminding our family and friends, near or far, that we’re thinking of them, and hope they have the loveliest Christmas yet.

    When it comes to choosing which to send out, I like to mix it up a bit and choose the right card for the right person. But I also keep in mind that the cards I send out will be going up on display in living rooms across the land – so they need to look good! Here are my top Christmas card picks.

     

    Christmas cards

    The family

    One of my grandmothers is quite traditional so I’ll choose a nativity scene card for her, while my other grandmother will appreciate the pretty robin design. The cute red letter box cards will go down well with anyone – children in particular. All of these come in packs of 12 for £2.50, and 10% of the price will be divided equally between Comic Relief and Royal British Legion. Festive and fund-raising!

     

    Christmas cards

    The friends

    The cards in this pack of 30 (£4) come in two different sizes and are a lovely blend of traditional and modern – with the simple wreath design and the touches of glitter. Ideal for friends and colleagues. And I have a few friends that love a spot of luxury, so the silver leaping deer card (pictured above) will be perfect for them (6 pack – £4).

     

    Christmas cards

    Simple Santa

    It’s easy for Christmas costs to spiral out of control, so these sweet Santa-scene illustrated cards are great at £1 for a pack of 10. A perfect all-rounder.

     

    Finishing touches

    Don’t forget, Christmas wrapping is all part and parcel of the festive season – a mixture of traditional, fun and sparkly (pictured above) looks great underneath the tree!

     

    Tip of the week

    It’s a good idea to look out for money-saving deals on Christmas bits and pieces now, so your bank account doesn’t take one big hit in December. And remember – the last recommended posting date for Christmas (for delivery within the UK and if sent first-class) is Saturday 20th December. If you’re sending season’s greetings overseas, the last recommended posting date will depend on the destination. Find out more here.

     

    Three key pieces

    Christmas cards Gift tag Wrapping paper

     

    Burgundy & Cream Foliage Wrapping Paper, £2; Midnight Trees gift tags (x8), £1; Tartan & Dog gift tags (8 pack), £1; (all part of the 3 for 2 deal).

  4. This week we love… the Collection range

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    When I’m in the mood to give my home a little ‘lift’, I like to invest in a few high-quality accessories – it’s a really easy way to give your home that premium feel, without the premium price tag! Here are my top tips for how and where to add those extra touches.
    Towels

    Rise and shine

    It’s not just the look of your home that makes a difference, but the feel of it too. And absolutely nothing beats the feeling of stepping out of the shower into a big fluffy towel – especially on these chilly mornings! So make sure you’ve a good selection of them in your airing cupboard.

     

    Good afternoon

    Food mixer, hand mixer and toasterI love classic white tableware – it’s a refined look that never goes out of fashion. So next time you’re hosting, make sure you have some bone china to hand – perfect for channelling that ‘afternoon tea at The Ritz’ feeling.

     

    Cooking up a storm

    There’s nothing like stylish cookware to breathe new life and a touch of sophistication into your kitchen; top-quality gadgets are a good place to start. My absolute must-have is a kitchen machine – looks great, doesn’t cost the earth and helps make sure my baked goods are always top notch!

    Wine glasses

    Night night

    A fine wine deserves an equally fine vessel, so treat yourself to some stylish glasses to enjoy an after-dinner tipple. My favourite is a Crystal glass Champagne flute. And when the day is done, there’s no better way to finish up than by slipping into fresh, premium sheets. Heavenly!

     

     

    Three key pieces:

    ; Home Collection Bone China Faceted Teapot Home Collection Bone China Faceted Creamer Home Collection Bone China Faceted Serving Bowl

    Home Collection Bone China Faceted Creamer, £6; Home Collection Bone China Faceted Serving Bowl, £15; Home Collection Bone China Faceted Teapot, £15 (available in selected larger stores)