COTM: November & Decemeber – DW Home Emerald Balsam

What a whirlind December 2016 was! We had a last minute (month long) dash to the finish line in order to get our living and dining room ready for a big family Christmas, and with my working hours also increased, it didn’t leave a single moment to catch up with you guys, and for that I’m so sorry. Lesson learned, in future I’ll be planning ahead for the blog as well as for Christmas itself.

I hope you all had a fantastic festive season however, and that your New Year has started in fine form. I love the New Year for the fresh start feeling, the post holidays clean up and all things new. And so I won’t post belated Christmas posts, except to keep up with my Candle of the Month post for November, and as it happened, December too. And that’s because this candle could easily take you into January and beyond.

I’m talking about DW Home’s Emerald Balsam. I purchased one of these from TK Maxx towards the end of October, and boy-o, does it smell like Christmas! It smells just like Christmas trees. It’s fresh and piney, but it’s rich and warm and simply wonderful. There are a couple of Christmas home scents out there I really like, and I don’t often stray too far away, but I purchased this particularly for that purpose. I wanted something Christmassy, but something that was different to what I usually go for.

Out of the three sizes, Medium Single Wick, Large Double Wick or Large Triple Wick, I opted for the triple wicked. You get less burn time for a candle the same size, but more oomph. As we were still mid-decorating and minus a floor in our living room, there wasn’t much relaxing time and I couldn’t have the candle in there with me whilst I was decorating. But when I did burn it, it was simply lovely, and I feel I got a little more than it’s suggested 26 hour burn time. With such little usage throughout November, it was more the latter half of December I used it, and enjoyed it so much so, I purchased another, which I will probably save for next Christmas.

DW Home describe the fragrance profile as “Fresh-cut balsam fir and Italian cypress enhanced with sage, and a touch wild thyme” and it really is a wonderfully green scent. It certainly enhanced the slight natural perfume of the Nordmann Fir we bought for the living room. With a back up all ready to go, I will certainly be burning this candle again.

January will see me get back on track with the blog, so please stay tuned for that. There’s still a lot to do in terms of redecorating and renovating, and we also have the fine details of the wedding to sort out, but there shouldn’t be any last minute rushes now and I can dedicate my time here accordingly.

Hope you’re all safe and well, and wishing you a great year ahead,

For now, with love,
Ellen

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Four Christmas Decorating Themes and How To Create Them

With less than five weeks to go, you have most likely started thinking about Christmas by now. Which means you’ve probably bought a present or two, or at least made a list. Wondered where you’re going for dinner, or how many you’re cooking for, and if you’re even slightly into home décor, you’ll definitely have imagined your perfect Christmas scene. If you’re drawing a blank and need a little extra inspiration, keep reading for four of my favourite themes, and some tips on how to create them.

Scandi Ski Lodge

Image from www.pippajamesoninteriors.co.uk

If you’re craving the feeling of a roaring fire in a cozy cabin, chances are you’ll love the Scandinavian look for Christmas. Red, white and grey are your key colours, and felt and wood are your top textures. There’s still plenty of room to play around as well, you can go more traditional and erring on the rustic side, more modern and playful, up the white for a real snowy vibe, and add extra ski imagery for that holiday at home feeling. I think of red and white fairisle knits, snowflakes of course, and also stars. But the odd pair of skiers in a snowglobe wouldn’t go amiss, and neither would a rustic wooden deer or two. Pass the cocoa and marshmallows please!

Rustic Goodness

Image from www.craftaholicsanonymous.net

This is my kind of traditional look. It’s more outdoorsy than a lot of people’s ‘traditional’ Christmas. I love rich fragrant evergreens, pine cones aplenty and deep, glossy red holly berries. I like tartan and hessian and, I guess, a slightly different kind of cabin vibe. Perhaps I’m sensing a theme here, and a desire for that roaring fire, now that we no longer have our fireplace! It’s simply my favourite Christmas look, as I mentioned in my November Top Picks post. The key is keeping it simple – not in terms of quantity, but in terms of variety. Have plenty, have too much, garlands and wreaths and boughs, but keep the non-plant (whether real or artificial) elements to a minimum. Perhaps you’ll pick hessian and plain red, or a tartan and deep green, a stag or a robin theme. Just don’t overdo it and mix in glittery stars and cartoon Santas or you’ll lose the natural outdoorsy tone.

Whimsical Wonderland

Image from www.pier1.com

This was my main rival in my décor contenders for Christmas this year. Sometimes you fancy a change, and again, there are little elements of this that could be shared with the two previous categories. For my idea of the Forest Wonderland, however, you are losing the lushness of the greenery that the Rustic look has, and gaining a lot more wooden and snowy elements. Unlike the Scandinavian look however, the focus is still on more natural imagery, and especially animals, than simple, more graphic styles. Think stags and owls, foxes and squirrels. Lots of bare wood and the odd pine cone, and oodles of snow, or snow themed pieces. White fur trimmed stocking, and feathers and natural elements go hand in hand to create this ethereal, magical wonderland. Maybe next year.

All That Glitters

Image from christmas.365greetings.com

This will always be a popular theme. If you’re not usually into metallics and shiny things, this is certainly the time of year you can overindulge and get your once-a-year fix. I think festive decorations are supposed to do that. Completely transform and take over your home, just until you have chance to get used to them, and then before you know it, it all comes down and everything looks so bare, and your regular old house looks almost unrecognizable for day or two. You’re not limited to gold or silver (I happen to like both together, especially when mixed in with a few white pieces). Red and silver looks particularly festive, but still “metallic” as opposed to the “traditional” look red and gold can have. And of course you can mix blue with silver, or black and gold. This is also great for colour matching your with your décor, and works particularly well with minimalist rooms. Stars and classy, elegant images work best for this theme.

What’s your favourite Christmas decorating style? Leave a comment below and let me know!

For now, with love,
Ellen

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Top Picks Under £10: November

11-november_mood_boardWe’ve had Halloween, we’ve had Bonfire Night, and now it seems the whole country is in Christmas mode. You won’t be ready to put decorations up yet (at least, you shouldn’t be!) but it’s definitely a good time to start thinking about them. A lot happens at Christmas. The more you can prepare in advance, the easier the festive period becomes, and decorations start popping into shops mid-October, and as something you can buy and put away for a month or two, there’s no reason not to get home décor accessories ticked off the list.

Besides, it’s so much less stressful than present shopping.

There’s so many themes to pick from these days, Nordic, Traditional, Vintage, Luxe, Retro, Metallics, Red, White, Blue, Gold Green or Pink, there’s a Christmas theme to fit every single taste.

I have to say I prefer more traditional tastes and colours – they just feel the most Christmassy to me. I do vary from one year to another, but it’s usually on a similar note. I like outdoorsy, rustic, traditional colours. Red, green, lots of wicker and berries and pinecones. Sometimes I may go for a slightly more metallic red gold and green look, or maybe more woodland with lots of animals, but that general idea just suits my personal tastes.

And so, along that theme, I have my Top Picks for the month of rustic Christmas décor. Think hessian and tartan, wood and green firs with red berries. There’s plenty out there to pick for this theme, and here are a few favourites I’ve noticed:

1. George Home Stag’s Head Ornament – George – £10.00
I really like this wooden stag head. It could also work well within a Nordic or Ski Lodge theme, but the carved wood effect (it’s actually resin) looks super rustic and outdoorsy.

2. 10in Mini Red Berry Wreath – M&S – £10.00
There are wreaths available within budget for this Top Picks, but for a lovely large outdoor one, you may want to spend a little more. For the price though, this mini one is super cute, and would make a great indoor accessory.

3. Tartan Decoration Set- The Range – £1.99
This set of 9 tree decorations are so cute, and a total bargain. I love tartan for this Christmas theme as it adds red and green but again, in a more rustic way. I think I’m going to have to pick some of these up, although I already have something very similar, so will check first that they don’t clash!

4. Tartan Tree Garland Reel – Dunelm – £4.00
I’m not a fan of tinsel. It’s one childhood Christmas decoration that I feel hasn’t really made a comeback. Some people still love it, and good for them – always go with what you enjoy. Personally, I usually just got for baubles on my tree, but this tartan ribbon garland would look super cute, and at £4.00 for 4 metres, it’s also a bargain. And doesn’t have to be limited to the tree!

5. Hessian Stag Christmas Stocking – Matalan – £6.00
Hessian – check. Tartan – check. Stags – Check. This just screams rustic Christmas. I adore it.

6. 8m Hessian Jute Roll – B&Q – £6.00
This would also look great draped around the tree. Or to make your own bows from. Or to tie around your dining chairs, or twirl around fireplace garlands. If you’ve found the perfect green wreath, that just needs an extra touch, items like this are perfect to add that rustic charm.

7. 3 Pack Red Berry Tree Picks – M&S – £5.00
Along with the jute roll, these berry picks are perfect to add into plain wreaths and fireplace garlands, onto presents and other decorations to add a little colour and texture in a lovely natural (at least in style) way.

8. Rattan Noel Hanging Sign – Wilko – £6.00
Adding little signs and decorations around your home really adds to the atmosphere. This small Noel hanging sign would be perfect in the hallway or kitchen, to continue your chosen theme around the house.

9. Red Flocked Bell with Floristry Detail – B&Q – £3.00
There are so many baubles that fit this theme and come in under budget. Literally, hundreds. But I chose this one for my Top Picks because it ticks so many boxes – the colour, the flocked finish, the design, the little needles and pine cone detail. Perfect.

So there’s just a little taster of what’s available for this Outdoorsy Rustic theme. I can’t wait to share photos of our décor this Christmas. There haven’t been a lot of house updates as progress has been slow, but it should all come together for Christmas, and I can’t wait to share.

There will be more Christmas posts coming up, so stay tuned for those.

For now, with love,
Ellen