Monday, 22 December 2014

The fir tree

night time at the forest fir tree forest at night pine forest choosing the Christmas tree light leak unwrapping the Christmas tree lit up Christmas tree 2014 Christmas tree
From the dark forest by pale moonlight, we chose our fir tree.

We turned him this way and that way. Checking him over. Making sure no straggly branches or bare patches. The careful process of deciding which tree is to be hung with all our precious baubles and encircled with fairy lights and tinsel. It actually did not take too long. But we didn't need to rush for Little Bird's sake as we have done in the Christmases of past- another sign of my boy maturing.

7ft and sturdy, a perfect shape and colour. Cocooned in  netting and taken home. I wonder if a tree knows? I wonder if he likes his new home and dressing of gold and glitter? It is a little sad, like an animal in a zoo and maybe next year we will buy an artificial Christmas tree. Or am I thinking too much....?

We watched a short film about the life of The Fir Tree, it was very cute. It's on the BBC iPlayer if you'd like to see it. Subtitled as it is in Danish which adds to the charm. Seriously will be the best thing you watch all Christmas.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas in our town

Christmas shop window Christmas in my town with the shops open late, aglow from within with pretty things to buy.
 Even the nail salon looks inviting by night with its flashing neon and masked workers busy within - I notice these curious salons everywhere now with rows of workers buffing and polishing.nail shop at night town Christmas parade A parade through the shopping centre with Disney characters, drummers and huge lanterns, decorated by local schools. 
An enchanting stream snaking its way through town towards the grand Christmas tree and the night market. 
We joined the tail end and followed the procession of swinging pyramid lanterns. A new tradition over the last few years for such candlelit parades. I'd love to have a go at making a lantern.
They are like the ones from last year's Lantern Magic at Chester Zoo. LB was in a pushchair then, no need for one now!
clothes sop window at night

lantern parade pantomime characters winter lantern parade To the twilight market with vintage wares, reflected candlelight in mirrors and teacups full of Christmas. Wreaths made of tiny bells and coloured bottles hanging from under the tarpaulin. 
A bewitching event for Christmastime. night market night marketsPast the old library where in Victorian times the sub-librarian was a gentleman called Edwin Evans who had my house and the one next door built for him and his two daughters. One never married and lived in my house all her life. 
The part of my house that is now the kitchen was filled with cabinets from the library and where I now warm myself by the woodburner, was her range where she cooked. I hope she would approve of the house now and the love and light within it. Maybe she still pops over.
food at the night market Stalls full of foodie goodies tempted us - pies, cheese, sweets and fudge. Cloth lined baskets full of the most gorgeous looking pastries and local producers offering samples. 
We saw the cheeseman and bought a wax coated cheese truckle - just love these. We adore cheese. This time we bought an El Gringo Chilli, Lime & Tequila Cheddar which was so tangy.
Rudolph sleigh Rudolph from the Round Table showed up. winter son We tucked into chips on a bench and waited for the fireworks display. LB clung onto me and managed very well with his sensitive ears. We didn't go to a display on Bonfire Night as we were unsure but these smaller occasions are perfect for testing the water. 
Fireworks cascaded over the library and the towering Christmas tree and LB peered over my shoulder and watched them in the glass reflection of the shops behind us.huge snow globe This was a huge inflatable snow globe that you could have a photograph taken inside of its winter wonderland. Children threw fake snow around and had a super time in there, followed by some snow princesses and an elf!
The whole town was brimming with festive cheer.
Cafes were open and people sat outside with hot chocolate in the chilly air.
Pantomime characters from the local theatre mingled and the sparkle in everyone's eyes matched the tree in the square.
We had a truly enjoyable family evening and all the better for LB managing the sensory delights of it all. I hope he will dream of all he saw and feel Christmas joy in his heart.
town Christmas tree lit up
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Christmas Campaign, ‘Give Beautifully’, Unveiled by Stella Artois

Stella Artois recently released information regarding their 2014 Christmas campaign.
As you may know, Stella Artois was first brewed to be given as a festive present to residents of Leuven in Belgium. 

Each Christmas, the origins of the brand are celebrated in many ways.
This year’s Christmas campaign, ‘Give Beautifully’, is focused on giving thoughtful gifts to your loved ones that they can savour; a hat-tip to the importance of drinking responsibly at Christmas.

Marketing Manager for Stella Artois, Phil Pick said:

“Christmas is a special time of year for Stella Artois, having first been created as a Christmas gift to the people of Leuven. We aim to bring this to life through our limited edition packaging this year but also ensure consumers enjoy Stella Artois responsibly this festive season, with an out of home advertisement which reminds people of the importance of responsible drinking.”

Watch the TV advert for the campaign below:

                         **This was a collaborative post**

Friday, 19 December 2014

Tips on Decorating your Very First Home

Moving into your first home is a very rewarding, liberating experience. After you settle into your fresh environment, you’ll want to start decorating your new found space in such a way that will showcase your interests and personality. Decorating a home for the first time can be a daunting task for some people, but with the below tips in your armoury, you’ll be well equipped to get things off to a flying start.

1. The bedroom
The bedroom is where you’ll be spending over 33% of your time when you’re at home so it makes perfect sense to give its design some serious consideration. Start with buying the best mattress that you can afford, as it will make all the difference in the long-term scale of things. If your budget will allow it, you should think about creating a colour theme by painting the walls in the bedroom to coincide with the colours of your bedding.
Your bedroom should always mirror your personality and style, because you’ll be spending a significant amount of time in it.

2. Don’t buy everything at the same time
So, you've just got the keys and you’re eager to start buying new things but there really is no need to rush out and buy everything right away. Give yourself some time, get comfortable in your surroundings and then decide what it is that you need and want. Even if your desire is to have aluminum bi-fold doors in your conservatory and frameless sliding glass doors in your shower, it’s ok to wait until you’re in your home for some time before installing them.

3. You don’t have to have everything matching
Despite what all the big marketing chains will tell you, it’s not important to match absolutely everything in your house. Pictures in magazines and the advertisements on TV are designed to try and entice consumers into buying matching items in the form of table sets, bedroom furniture and bathroom fixtures etc.
When possible, be original with your d├ęcor to avoid giving your home that generic “showroom” look, unless that’s the style that you’re going for. In most cases, buying matching sets of items will end up costing you a lot more money than if you were to go and find individual pieces. Besides the cost-savings, buying individual items is so much more fun than just investing in one big ready-made look.

4. Solve problem practically and inexpensively
Rather than going out and buying a new set of kitchen cabinets if yours are a little drab, why not freshen them up with a lick of paint? More often than not, this will be more than enough to inject some extra life into them and bring them up to date. In the bathroom, you can change the lighting system to immediately improve the overall appearance of the room. It’s all about solving these little problems practically and as inexpensively as you possibly can.

These are just a few quick tips that will help you to organize your thoughts when it comes to decorating your very first home. It’s a special time in your life and a start of a new beginning, so don’t forget to enjoy the experience and do your best to make your new space as comfortable and as homely as possible. 
Image Source: Decorating with paint Shutterstock

**Collaborative post**