An alternative Christmas tree

This idea for an alternative Christmas tree has been in the making for a few weeks’ now. I had been chatting to a friend about Christmas and getting a bit over-excited about our annual tree buying day. The fact we always have a fairly large, real tree; the tradition of decorating it. The scent of the pine needles. And she said, much as she’d love to have a tree in their sitting room at Christmas — real or otherwise — they simply didn’t have the space for one. Instead, they had a tiny fake tree that sat upon the window ledge. She said they always made an effort to decorate the rest of the room but were sadly lacking in the tree department, due to floorspace being in short supply. Which got me thinking. Now I’ve seen a fair few non traditional Christmas trees on Pinterest but really wanted to create something that would work in their home. I’ve spotted some fab ladder versions but they’d potentially take up as much (if not more) room as a regular tree. And I’ve seen lots of lovely wall-hanging trees made of twigs and twine. But they’re a bit rustic for my friend’s taste. So my idea for an alternative Christmas… Read More

Rocking around the Christmas Tree with the VQ Christie Radio

Since my boy and I have been together, fetching the Christmas tree has been one of the highlights of my year. We have always bought a real tree and the tradition of choosing — and decorating it — is one of my favourite things in life. We’ve collected a number of decorations over the years and I love seeing them again each December. I was lucky enough to also be given my Granny’s old decorations too — beautiful and unusual ornaments from the 1950’s. For the first couple of years, when we owned our first home, we themed the decorations. Blue and silver the first year — just silver the second. But as the years have rolled by the only ‘theme’ we have is a tree full of decorations we love. Each one offering memories of Christmases past; little reminders of where we were and why we’d chosen a particular decoration. I love the fact that our tree is always bursting with sparkle and colour. It has a real mixture of vintage and new decorations. And they work so beautifully together — never jarring — always sitting so happily side by side. Decorating the tree is never rushed either. It’s often spread over two or three days. An hour… Read More

Home Etc #80

Welcome to the last Home Etc of 2016! My co-host Jess — mummy of boy girl twins — and I have decided to wrap it up for Christmas (no pun intended) and give ourselves a little break until the second week of January. The last couple of  weeks have been a little quiet; everyone’s been knuckling down for the festive season and there have been fewer linkers — which is to be expected at this time of year — but not so good for the lack of comments on the lovely blogs that have linked up. Come on guys — share the love! If you add your link, please do pop along to see what some of your fellow bloggers have been up to. Anyway, that aside, Jess and I looking towards January with much anticipation. There are going to be changes to the Home Etc format; we’ll be welcoming two more hosts (more of that to come!) and hopefully growing our little community even more. But back to last week. Home Etc Favourites Favourite posts were from Caroline who blogs at Diary of a Mum of 3. She and her family have recently bought a house and have been getting stuck in to renovating it. We’ve really… Read More

Holiday Inn Express ‘What Matters Most’ campaign

Christmas — the most wonderful time of the year. Not sure about anyone else but, for me, Christmas literally starts on December 1st. There is a frisson in the air — almost like a light being switched on — that happens the minute the calendar moves on from November. But as I’ve got older I’ve realised that the anticipation of Christmas is sometimes better than the real thing. And I don’t mean I don’t enjoy the day itself — I really, really do — but I used to look forward to Christmas day so much, I almost wished away the time leading up to it. And then I always felt a bit cheated, as it was over so quickly. With that in mind, these days I tend to celebrate each day of December. Spinning the entire month out and enjoying the whole lead up to the day itself is a great way of making you feel as though you’ve really had your fill of the festivities. For me, Christmas is all about family. Spending time with friends and loved ones — and really making the most of the fact that everyone is off work at the same time — is a wonderful thing. I thank my… Read More

194 weeks and 6 days {HomeSense Christmas party}

Last week I met up with one of my blogging besties, Sarah, for a night away in Birmingham and the HomeSense Christmas party. I’ve barely been at home over the last few weeks — there have been press days and workshops — and I feel as though I’m thoroughly behind on everything. That said, it was really lovely to get away, despite the fact that Sarah and I had a bit of a nightmare with our hotel booking. It could have been utterly disastrous, if it weren’t for the lovely staff there. I’m not going to dwell too much on it — other than to say I shan’t be booking anything Last Minute again. The party more than made up for the challenging day that preceded it though. It was held at a fabulous venue called the Lost & Found, in the enticingly named ‘Bar Behind The Bookcase’. Such a cool place; a little gem with a fabulously eclectic decor, that really showed the HomeSense Christmas decorations off to the best advantage. Behind the scenes at the HomeSense Christmas bloggers party It was so lovely to hang out with some lovely like-minded people. Really nice to finally meet up with Home Etc regulars Lins {Boo and Maddie} and Jane… Read More

Home Etc #31

The final Home Etc of the year! Jess and I have decided that we’re going to have a couple of weeks off over Christmas so we can start afresh in 2016. We have both really enjoyed hosting this little linky — it’s brought together such a lovely little community of like minded folk. Thanks so much to everyone who has joined in over the past 6 months. Amazing to think that we’ve been going for that long. The first Home Etc was on 20th May and we have had so many fabulous blogs linking in week after week. Thanks too to our generous sponsor — HomeSense — for providing the monthly prize! :) Home Etc is a weekly blog hop for like-minded folk to share any posts that include interiors, DIY, garden or allotment, crafting and up-cycling; basically if it’s at all home related, we would love you to come and link up with us! Our favourite posts from last week came from: Rachel at The Ordinary Lovely. We loved her quirky ‘home coffee bar’ idea. Beautifully styled — as ever — and full of festive cheer! The perfect gift ideas for a caffeine addict. And I can say with some certainty that the syrups are AMAZING!… Read More

144 weeks and 6 days | It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

As well as decorating the house for Christmas, I’ve been burning some amazing scented candles recently so, as well as looking festive, it’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas too. Orange, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove — these are the kind of aromas I associate with this time of year. The sweet fragrance of mulled wine, gingerbread and zesty clementines are a dead giveaway that Christmas is just around the corner. The candles I’m burning at the moment are by a company called Beefayre; I came across them in the summer and they have some really lovely things. As their name suggests, they produce products for the home and body inspired by bees and nature. Their candles are made with natural plant wax — rather than petroleum based — and blended with pure essential oils. They’re all sold in little glass votives too — everything from tiny tea-light sized ones to  a chunky 3 wick version. I can’t quite put into words just how amazing they smell!! They give off such a pure, fresh scent, that quite literally fills the house. It’s not cloying either, like some scented candles I’ve had before. The ones I had in the summer were infused with Rosemary and Neroli — they were absolutely lovely — but these ones I’ve been burning over… Read More

The ultimate Christmas Gift-Guide for the hard to buy for…

The festive season is in full swing and unsurprisingly there’s been much chat between my friends and I about presents — or to be precise — Christmas gifts for the hard to buy for. We all have them, don’t we? The father who has everything, the mum who doesn’t want anything and various other relatives — and friends — who have specific hobbies and aren’t really interested in anything beyond that. It gives me a headache usually. But this year I have managed to do all my ‘hard to buy’ present buying in one place. One stop shopping — minimal fuss and effort — with some fantastic results to boot! I recently popped down to our local HomeSense store for some Christmas decorations and was blown away by the ‘non-home’ items they’d got in stock. I can say with some certainty that HomeSense have some amazing home bargains (if ever I need something for the house or garden it’s always my first port of call). In fact, my friend and I have ‘HomeSense missions’ and regularly treat ourselves to an afternoon’s shopping in our local store, followed by a posh coffee. Sorry, I’m digressing. Anyway, they had SO many fab gifts — the shelves were literally rammed — with fabulous goodies… Read More