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Category: Christmas (page 1 of 2)

Christmas Is Coming

It’s a sure sign that Christmas is coming when you walk into a bar and there’s a tree suspended upside-down from the ceiling.  The one below was seen at The Bugle in Brading on the Isle of Wight last weekend.

Full marks for novelty, although maybe not so many for practicality.

The Bugle, Brading

The first of December spurred me on to buy our family Christmas tree. Having seen this room set at Neptune in Guildford I decided to buy a table top Nordmanniana from the Farm Shop Lyne.

I was taken by the simplicity of the decoration of this tree and by the glass vase in which it had been planted. Both struck a chord with me as I have spent much of 2018 aiming for a more pared back interior in our cottage.

Container grown Nordmanniana

Here you can see a close up of our tree along with some of the snow globes that I have made for the craft fairs that I have been attending this season. The one shown below is my most recent addition.

“Bringing the tree home” snow globe

Using a glass yoghurt jar, a miniature truck bought from Hobbycraft, and a mixed bag of bottle-brush Christmas trees bought on-line, I created a minute replica of these Ikea filled vases that I saw for sale at the Country Living Christmas Fair last month.

Giant truck snow globes

The homecoming truck laden with an oversized tree has been a popular image over the past few years. It seems to have been particularly prevalent this year and, with this in mind, I couldn’t resist buying this M&S bedding set which depicts the  tree being brought home on the roof of the family car.

M&S bedding set

I waited for the rain to stop today, and for the sun to emerge, before taking photographs of this lovely set along with our little tree and a selection of snow -globes.

Winter wonderland

Aside from snow globes and homecoming trees another popular decoration this year is the humble pom-pom. They have adorned everything from handbags to jewellery and have now been seen being used in Christmas decorations.

Handcrafted snow globes

The wreath shown below was one of my favourites and was spotted in the Giraffe & Custard gift shop in the Rectory Mansion, Brading.

I am now really excited about next weekend as I hope to plunder our loft and revisit my ever expanding supply of decorations. That said, I hope to honour my paring back strategy and use a mixture of fresh foliage and simple baubles.

I look forward to sharing the end results with you and hope that this blog has inspired you to start thinking about the season and the delights that come from the preparation for the big day.

Happy decorating!

Christmas Food & Craft Market

‘Tis the season of the Christmas Fair and I am pleased to announce that Langdon Hyde Design will be taking part in the festivities.

Next weekend Bourne Valley Nursery will be hosting its Christmas Food & Craft Market on Sunday, November 18 between 10am and 3.30pm.

I am delighted to say that Langdon Hyde Design will have a stall selling handcrafted gifts and decorations under the banner of The Edit by Langdon Hyde Design.

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Raindrops on roses

And whiskers on kittens

Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens

Brown paper packages tied up with strings

These are a few of my favorite things

Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels

Doorbells and sleigh bells And schnitzel with noodles

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings

These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Silver-white winters that melt into springs

These are a few of my favorite things¹

Snow Globes With Ribbons

The Edit at Langdon Hyde Design’s pop-up shop may not have all of your favourite Christmas things but it will have:

Snow globes with ribbons

and fairies with crowns

Lanterns like houses to glow all night long

Gold and white fir cones

to hang from the tree

And a selection of gifts for your family

Warm woolly hats

for the young and the grown

Hand-painted furniture to go in your rooms

Candles and prints

and cushions as well

Langdon Hyde Design will have these to sell

A few of my favourite things…

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Please come along as we would love to see you

For directions and more information go to https://www.bournevalleygardencentre.co.uk/static/contact-us.html

¹”My Favorite Things” is a show tune from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music

Pinwheels

Inspired by an article published on the Neptune website I decided to embark on a wholly new form of Christmas decoration this year; pinwheels.

Having restyled our sitting room in time for Christmas I took the opportunity to evolve a whole new style of festive festoons.

To make your own pinwheels take a sheet of normal A4 or A3 paper to practice on.

Draw a straight line to mark the first fold; 3/4″ from the end for A4 and 1″ for A3. 

Ensure the first fold is as accurate as possible as this will be the template for the remaining folds.

Press all the folds together and repeat this on two pieces of paper for each pinwheel.

Fold in half length ways to mark the middle of each concertina.

Using double-sided tape stick the two halves together and, using fine sewing thread, secure the mid-points.

If a patterned pinwheel is required carefully snip triangles through all of the folds.

Again, using double-sided tape stick the two folded halves together so they join and form a fan.Repeat with the mirror image so that both halves have opened out into fans which in turn form a circle.

Punch a hole in one of the folds and thread through a length of Baker’s twine for hanging.

Arrange with a choice of paper of chains, baubles, or foliage to make a display of your choice.

Whereas I chose to hang my finished arrangement above a mantlepiece it would look equally successful above a dining table.

The Winter Brocante 2017

As I left the house on Friday morning to attend the Winter Brocante at Cowdray House in West Sussex I suddenly realised that winter was upon us. It was a beautiful, bright, crisp morning, with a real chill in the air.

My good friend offered to drive us to the event as she knows the area well from when her son, as a young teenager, played polo at Cowdray Park. Settling into the comfort of her warm car, the imposing wrought iron gates opened majestically to allow our exit from the security of her swish country abode and onto the open road. We swept down past the abbey ruins and traversed the water meadows, only slowing down to negotiate the hump back bridge which allowed safe passage across the sunlit water.

We quickly arrived at the A road which bypasses Guildford and quickly allowed us to drop down onto the A286. We passed village greens, country pubs, and quaint villages, which seemed to come one after the other as we headed further south.

Leaving the village of Fernhurst behind us the road opened out and we were suddenly sweeping down through forests of golden leafed trees. Within moments we arrived on the outskirts of Midhurst and picked up signs directing us to the Winter Brocante which was set in the grounds of the grand house.

Once we had entered the grounds we were expertly directed to a parking spot on the grassy slopes along with a host of smart cars all of which had brought their passengers to this delightful home, set in the midst of the Sussex countryside.

Tents nestled into the hillside

As we stepped from our vehicle we could see (what I am reliably told) were the South Downs in the distance. Nestled immediately below the “car park” was a huge white tent which, for two days, was home to over one hundred carefully selected exhibitors.

On arrival at the entrance to the fair we were presented with wrist bands so that we were able to come and go as we wished. I found this immediately reassuring knowing that we could load the car as we felt the need, or even nip off to the Cowdray Park Farm Shop for some well deserved refreshments before embarking on more browsing.

The three antique bears by Cachepot

The first tent we entered was mostly home to antique and bric and brac stalls. Occasionally we would stumble across a gem of a stall selling the most contemporary tree decorations. One in particular had a selection of wooden whippets and sausage dogs painted in beautiful seasonal colours. Irresistible to my friend!

Handmade Bunting

Handmade crafts were on display throughout the three tents. Everything from this lovely bunting, to handmade fresh flower garlands, to original works of art.

Nancy Meiland perfumes

Nancy Meiland Parfums’ stall stood out as super sophisticated. Having explored her website since our visit I have learnt that you can have your own signature scent created which really appeals to me.

Decorative glassware

These coloured glasses reminded me of some that my mum has in her china cabinet. A must for a winter tipple.

Baubles & figs

Glass jars full of faux figs and delicate glass baubles caught my eye as well.

Pheasant feathers

I particularly liked this combination of terracotta, glass and feathers. I think winter is a great season to bring texture into the house and these simple items add warmth to an interior scheme.

Hydrangeas

These hydrangea wreaths were stunning and add another dimension to using fresh flowers to decorate your home.

I was very lucky with the hydrangeas in my garden this year and cut many blooms for the house. I had ambitions to dry some for the winter but unfortunately the frosts brought them to an abrupt end.

Helen McNiven’s rag and twig angel

Leaving the fair as the sun was low in the sky we bumped into Peter McNiven. His wife Helen makes the most gorgeous Christmas angels and sells them each year to raise money for charity. This year’s “Have A Heart” Christmas Sale is on Sunday 10th December at Old Farm Barn, Cranleigh, GU6 8LE.

Be Inspired

Use hamper boxes and large decorative carrier bags for storage

It’s a new year – what better time to be inspired to clear out the old and bring in the new! As the Christmas decorations come down it is a great time to review your surroundings and update/amend/adjust your look/style. I always take the opportunity to dust down the shelves and surfaces where decorations have been placed for the past few weeks and decide whether to put back the same ornaments and objects or whether to completely upend everything. It might only be a small change as a lot of what is on display is there for practical purposes rather than just for show, but the addition of a colourful object, or the rearrangement of some china, can go a long way to make you home feel refreshed for the coming months.

You might even go further and rearrange furniture. Out of necessity I had to move a chest of drawers to make space for the Christmas tree and am now in two minds whether to put it back in the Hall or leave it on the Landing. I am actually considering moving it into the study and swapping if for a table that is currently home to the printer. I would hope that this isn’t change for changes sake but to tidy up a messy corner and to bring freshness to a stale scheme.

I have some pictures to frame that I have been putting off as I wasn’t sure where to hang them. This has been the starting point for reviewing the layout in the Study as I will have to make some wall space to display this collection of prints effectively. I might even go as far as refurbishing the pine furniture which fills the room as I have my eye on some Annie Sloan Graphite chalk paint which I think will smarten up the room no end.

It’s also a great time to bring fresh flowers indoors as the supermarkets are full of spring blooms and indoor bulbs. Amongst my favourites are tulips and hyacinths as these bring colour and fragrance indoors and with them the feeling of Spring as the longer days approach.

If, like me, you are on holiday until tomorrow then today is an ideal opportunity to pack up the old and bring on the new. On that note I would like to wish you all the best for 2017 and hope you start the year inspired!

It’s A Wrap

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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.
entrance-hall

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.
patio-door

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

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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.
dresser

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.
table

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

Convivial Cowes

Unless you’re a seasoned sailor I’m not sure that you would venture into Cowes on the Isle of Wight on a particularly wet November afternoon. Not so! Finding myself with time to kill having arrived in East Cowes on Saturday I decided this was too good an opportunity to miss. Leaving the Southampton to East Cowes ferry I zig-zagged along the roads to arrive at the chain ferry in no time at all. Here the “floating bridge” was waiting for vehicles and foot passengers to board, and in no time at all I arrived in Cowes. To my astonishment I found that parking on the road was really easy, and what’s more, was free for up to two hours.img_8371

Umbrella in hand I headed towards the pedestrianised streets and arrived in Shooters Hill. My first stop was Staples & Green where, much to my surprise, I was immediately offered a glass of Prosecco and mince pie to enjoy whilst I browsed their lovely selection of smart furniture, accessories, and lifestyle products.img_8360img_8362

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas spirit now firmly instilled I wandered along the cobbled streets absorbing the atmosphere created by a huge variety of independent vendors who far outweighed the one or two well know brands. As I strolled past a vast selection of pubs, cafés, and artisan food shops, I could only imagine how busy they must be during the heady summer months when the yachties descend.

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Arriving in the High Street my next stop was Shoreline, a gift and stationary shop which also offered an engraving and picture framing service. I was particularly struck by their lovely collection of greetings cards and children’s toys.

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Another retailer which specliased in children’s toys, games, and gifts, was Live Like This which turned out to have a shop on either side of the street. Whilst one was purely aimed at children the other stocked the most amazing collection of decorative accessories. My favourites were the quirky lamps and the vast array of Christmas decorations.

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Leaving the High Street and heading down Bath Road towards the waters edge I had cause to stop at Chocolate Mad Cowes purely because I couldn’t resist the name! Here I bought two sachets of their plain and milk chocolate buttons with which to make myself a very indulgent hot chocolate drink.img_8391

Laden with gifts, and an immense feeling of satisfaction having made a start on my Christmas shopping, I headed back towards the car. My last port of call was a barbers shop, which you may think a little strange. In fact, their window had caught my eye as it was full of gifts and signs which would make ideal stocking fillers. Catching them just as they were closing up I made a couple of small purchases which completed my shopping for the day. Returning to the car within the two hour time allocation I felt that I had had an extremely pleasant and rewarding afternoon, so much so that I may well be tempted to return in the summer.

Despite the sunny days and mild temperature there’s no denying that autumn is in the air as the clocks go back this weekend. The afternoons will be shorter and the evenings longer as sunset is brought forward by an hour. Don’t despair as this is a wonderful time to put the garden to bed and enjoy the cosiness of being indoors.

I have stripped the beds of their summer-weight quilts and aired them in the autumn sunshine before packing them away for the next few months. Winter blankets have been removed from trunks and spread around the house to use as we snuggle up in front of the telly.img_8217

The shorter days needn’t be dreary as I’ve dusted down my favourite lanterns and votives and put in brand new tealights to add a glow to the mantlepiece.img_8209The last of the summer blooms have been cut and brought indoors to add seasonal colour and fragrance. img_8206

I’ve taken great pleasure in editing my wardrobe. A handful of summer items have been kept to one side just in case I manage to get away for a sunshine break this month but on the whole winter woolies have replaced summer t-shirts and my favourite boots are taking centre stage as they have been pulled forward from the depths of the cupboard; reheeled, revived, and ready to go.

I don’t celebrate Halloween in my house but what a magnificent excuse to decorate with spooky cobwebs, oversized spiders, and gloriously carved pumpkins. I know a lot of people will be celebrating this festival this weekend and will enjoy the spectacle that will besiege local homes and businesses.

All in all I love hunkering down for the onslaught of winter and look forward to the start of the preparation for Christmas and making plans for New Year’s Eve celebrations (already!).

This coming month there are a multitude of Christmas fairs offering unusual gifts that are often hard to find on the High Street. Amongst my favourites are The Spirit of Christmas at Olympia, The Christmas Fair at Ascot Race Course, The Medicine Garden Christmas Shopping Evening in Cobham, and The Rural Crafts Association “Crafts For Christmas” at Loseley Park.

For more details visit:

www.spiritofchristmasfair.co.uk

www.ascot.co.uk

www.themedicinegarden.com

www.loseleypark.co.uk

 

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