a way of life...

Month: December 2016

It’s A Wrap


It’s A Wrap!

Some people love it and some people hate it but for me wrapping presents is a real pleasure.  Finding the time is not always easy but this year I have found it easier as some presents were despatched earlier than others and therefore wrapped in plenty of time.

I guess the other reason some people find it such a chore is due to the cost of the materials required. Having bought a gift it is often a financial burden to spend more money on the requisite wrapping paper, gift tags and ribbon.

Polka dot ribbon from random packaging

Polka dot ribbon from random packaging

This year I found that I had quite a lot of paper leftover from last Christmas so rather than buy new I decided to jazz it up a bit with a variety of bits and pieces that I picked up whilst in and out of shops and fairs.

One of the High Street shops that turned out to be particularly useful was Tiger. For very little money I bought a pack of six miniature brown carrier bags; three rolls of satin ribbon in red, blue and purple; and a pack of tiny wooden Christmas trees. I think each item was about £1 so for £5 I had plenty of choice when it came to jazzing up my parcels.

Last year's paper jazzed up with Waitrose tag & snowflake, and Tiger satin ribbon

Last year’s paper jazzed up with Waitrose tag & snowflake, and Tiger satin ribbon and wooden tree

Next stop Waitrose where I bought a pack of gift tags, ribbon, string, and tiny wooden snowflakes. These were a little more pricey but not outrageous. Lastly, I bought three packs of plain white gift labels and two rolls of embroidered ribbon from The Loseley Rural Crafts Christmas Fair that I had the pleasure of attending in November.

I always re-use the gorgeous gift and bottle bags that I am given as they are far too lovely to throw away. This year I did splash out and buy some new bottle bags from Tesco, purely because they appealed to me. I find gift bags are really handy as it so much easier to put pressies in these, especially if they are an awkward shape, and much less time consuming. I have also found that bottle bags are not just for bottles; they are ideal for wrapping packs of socks which are an absolute must for the man in your life!

Tesco bottle bag

Tesco bottle bag

My final tips, which I’m sure you’ve heard before is to keep ribbon from any random packaging you receive and to use greetings card to make into gift tags. Chocolate boxes often come tied with a ribbon and many boutique carrier bags have ribbon handles. By using the picture, or part of the picture, from last year’s Christmas cards to make gift tags you will not only save a pile of money but give gifts that are truly individual and help save the planet into the bargain! What more could you ask for.

Happy wrapping x

All That Glistens

Christmas has officially started in our house! The tree is up, and adorned as promised, with sparkle and glee. In fact, all that glistens from my collection of Christmas decorations have been placed, with great care, on each of the branches. Miniature reindeer with bells on;  glimmering celestial bodies – moons, suns and stars; bells that really jingle; golden spheres intricately decorated with jewels; and chunky glass stars with glittery edges. The top of the closet has been brought to life with my Gisela Graham glass crystal swag intertwined with glittery fronds of hessian ivy.

Having reawakened my lust for everything that sparkles, twinkles, glitters, glimmers, shimmers, blinks, winks, and flashes, nowhere was safe. Peaking through the door into the sitting-room the mantlepiece shimmers and glows. Beneath a golden string of lights rests a swag of purple berries amidst a blanket of faux evergreen shrubbery.  mantelpieceOrnate Culinary Concepts silver stag heads, hanging from bright red satin ribbons, were the inspiration for my dining room.  Pops of red were introduced to bring a warmth to this otherwise neutral room. cc-silver-stagLooking out to the garden beautiful bulbous glass hearts and etched glass ornaments are suspended from a wrought iron curtain pole tied with varying lengths of red ribbon.

A jaunty Joules cushion and furry reindeer brighten an armchair which is cloaked in an Indigo & Rose stag throw.


These themes are echoed on the dresser where a red and white reverse advent calendar and felt robin redbreast join the party. Below a handsome stag struts his stuff whilst a pair of iron reindeer sit on the shelf above.

A starry H&M table cloth is brought alive with this tiny red berry wreath and Holly Park Noel linen ribbon used here as a table runner.

Now that I have exhausted my collection of all that glistens it is time to sit back and really start to enjoy this festive setting. Cheers everyone x

Guest Ready

I love the run up to Christmas and the prospect of decorating the house for the festive season. I’m sure like many, this doesn’t stop at choosing a beautiful tree and adorning it with sparkle and glee, but also ensuring the house is guest ready. We all strive to have our homes looking their best as we open our doors to friends and family.

This year I was eager to put the finishing touches to our guest room which had been freshly painted during the summer months. Unfortunately, I had had a minor accident at the time which prevented me from finishing what I had started. Now, fully recovered, and energised by the onset of the festivities I set aside a weekend to make the curtains which, by now, were long overdue.img_8492

I had bought a new duvet cover and matching pillow cases as well as curtain fabric from the Laura Ashley Runswick Seaspray range. The bed linen is a crisp, white cotton, embroidered with an oversized floral motif in shades of seaspray and yellow. By contrast the curtain fabric is a soft, off-white material with a subtle blue and yellow floral pattern, which hangs beautifully once made up. I retained the valances that I had made previously.img_8499

All of the pine furniture in the room has had an Annie Sloan makeover as featured in my blog of 14 March. The final addition to this light and airy seaspray room was a painting by Haidee-Jo Summer. I’m sure I can hear the waves gently breaking on the shore and smell the sea air as I peer at the view of the Cornish coastline from the window of the fisherman’s shelter. Cheerily decorated with bunting and sunflowers it evokes memories of summer by the seaside at an otherwise dreary time of year.img_8496

A string of fairy lights gently illuminates the bedstead and an Anthropologie Aloha Orchid candle adds a subtle aroma. Lastly, I love to make up small gift bags as a special treat. Filled with goodies such as lip balm and bath bombs, note books and pencils, and perhaps a handmade chocolate and indoor sparkler. I find these go a long way to making our house guests feel really welcome.img_8532

Now that the house is guest ready I am really looking forward to their arrival. Happy Christmas everyone. x

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