Monday, 5 December 2016

CHRISTMAS THINGS HAUL

Over the last few months I've gradually collected quite a few new Christmas bits and bobs, from Christmas decorations and craft supplies, to festive pins and colouring books, so I thought it was about time I did a Christmas haul to show you them all. 

They will no doubt appear in other posts throughout the month, but I wanted to share them before they all sell out in case you see something you like and want to buy. I'll link back to everything that's still available online beneath each image.


I had my eye on a set of vintage-style glass baubles from Dot Com Gift Shop for well over a year, so I finally placed an order a couple of weeks ago, and bought a few other things from their final clearance, too. The baubles are even lovelier than I'd anticipated, featuring three different designs in four colours; they remind me of some of the decorations we had growing up. They were an amazing bargain, originally retailing for £19.95 and on sale for just £4.95! I'm tempted to order another box or two. I also picked up another set of the scandi pegs I bought last year (one set wasn't enough), two packs of cake cases, a shopper bag to use when Christmas shopping, and a pack of festive tissue paper (which I forgot to add in to the photos, so you'll see it in the next one with my Hobbycraft haul). When my order arrived, I opened the box to find I had also been sent a complimentary pack of gift tags, which was a lovely surprise! I only spent around £11-12 in total, which was fantastic considering what I bought.


I always do a Hobbycraft shop at this time of year, picking up any gift wrapping and craft supplies I may need. I bought a huge haul last Christmas so I didn't need as much as usual this year, but I needed to get a new cracker kit (I like to make my own Christmas crackers every year), some ribbons, and tissue paper. I then fell in love with a set of fifties-style fat quarters which I just had to have so I can turn them in to some festive hoop art, and I couldn't leave without adding some paper Christmas tree, Santa hats, and snowflake decorations to my basket. I could have easily bought a million other things, but I was good and restrained myself. Am I the only one who finds shopping for craft supplies as enjoyable and addictive as shopping for clothes and beauty products?


I found these adorable metal Christmas pins in Sainsburys last week, and just couldn't leave without them. They were only £3 so it would've been rude not to. Just look at how cute they are! There were also some similar earrings I want to go back for, and I think I saw hair accessories in the collection as well. I can't seem to find these online, but you should be able to find them in the clothing or gift section in store.


I treated myself to a copy of an A Christmas Carol themed Christmas colouring book called Escape To Christmas Past, since I'd wanted to get my hands on it since last Christmas. It's full of lovely black and white Victorian and Dickensian line drawings to colour in, and I'll be reviewing it properly later in the month.

This is my first Christmas with my own pet dog, and the first Rosie will experience outside a whelping pen (she was born just a few days before Christmas last year), and I've turned in to a crazy puppy Mum who wants to buy her all the things. I couldn't resist getting her this Christmas jumper from Boohoo with the best Christmas movie quote ever, which is surprisingly soft, thick, and good quality for the £10 price tag. I went with the large for Rosie, my Tibetan terrier, who is about the size of a cocker spaniel, and I think it will fit her perfectly. Getting it on her without her shredding it first will be interesting (she goes nuts for fabric), but I think she's going to look adorable. I also bought her the cutest corduroy gingerbread man toy by Little Pet Face, which was just £4 from Sainsburys. She will probably tear it to pieces before Christmas Day is through, but I don't mind knowing it'll keep her happy and amused for at least a few hours. It's her Christmas, too.



My  little sister, Sarah, bought me this awesome Pete's Dragon Elliott Christmas decoration from The Disney Store a couple of months ago, just because. Since it's not at all festive, I'll be keeping him on display all year round. He's no longer available on the UK website, but you can find him on the American site here.


Another adult Christmas colouring book I've acquired is Johanna's Christmas by Johanna Basford, the creator of the best-selling adult colouring books Secret Garden, and Enchanted Forest. It's full of beautiful, intricate Christmas line drawings, with everything from Christmas trees and presents, to baubles and cuckoo clocks just waiting to be coloured in. It's lovely. I'll be reviewing it properly later in the month, with plenty of pictures.


Earlier in the year, I snagged a few things on sale from Cath Kidston, including two bright and colourful cotton Christmas banners, curling ribbons, Christmas stickers, and a pack of mid-century style Christmas cards. They were from previous Christmas collections, but I don't mind that at all.


And finally, these are a few things I picked up from a Paperchase outlet branch in the boxing day sales last year. I bought some little gift boxes, a gift bag, and two packs of nail wraps, which I'll be putting to good use in the next few weeks.

There are a few other Christmas things that I've collected this year which aren't pictured, including some Cath Kidston roll wrap that aren't here yet, my L'Occitane Advent calendar, The Snowman CD soundtrack my sister gave me this weekend, and a couple of Yankee Candles, but they're bound to pop up on the blog later in the month.

What festive things have you been buying this year?

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Sunday Favourites: Christmas Special #215

The count down to Christmas is officially on, which means things are going to be super festive on the blog for the rest of the year! Today, and for the next three Sundays, I'll be bringing you special festive-themed Sunday Favourites posts to help get you in the festive spirit, and give you lots of Christmas inspiration. This week, I've gone with a colourful theme in (mostly) soft, muted colours, to brighten up this dark and dreary Winter day. Enjoy.



I love this idea for DIY Christmas light balloon garlands. It looks so much cooler than plain, boring curling ribbon.

These DIY temporary tattoo baubles are so pretty, and such a fun way to get crafting this Christmas. I can't help thinking how awesome it would be to use Sasha Unisex's temporary tattoos for this DIY!



This Christmas tree cake looks amazing.




How gorgeous are these photos from Oh Happy Day's how to host a holiday cookie exchange post?

If Christmas cake isn't really your thing, how about making this awesome Christmas cactus cake instead? I want to!


This DIY Christmas wreath is lovely.


Technically, this photo was from a Thanksgiving post, but it's giving me plenty of Christmas inspiration. How cute is that turkey ice cream cake?!



These Elf quote Christmas cookies are everything.



When it comes to decorating the Christmas tree, I generally prefer more traditional colours like red, green, and white, but this colourful tree and its baubles are absolutely gorgeous.



If  you're looking for a unique way to deck the halls this Christmas, how about having a go at this DIY pegboard Christmas tree?


This beautiful Advent calendar DIY.


I love making my own Christmas crackers, and these DIY Christmas cracker favours are so eye-catching.


This whimsical wonderland Christmas table setting is absolutely beautiful.


Looking for a new and unique way to gift wrap all those presents this year? Take a look at this leather wrapped gift wrap DIY.

These glitter bottle brush trees are so cute.


I love this beautiful Christmas display. It also features a DIY for a pom pom Christmas tree topper.


Lovely mint green gift wrapping.


If  you're short on space for a real Christmas tree this year, why not try this space-saving fringed Christmas tree DIY?



This flower Christmas tree is so pretty.


And these Rice Krispie cone Christmas trees are adorable.

For more Christmas inspiration, check out my Christmas boards on Pinterest. 

Remember to pop back next Sunday for the next Christmas Sunday Favourites special! 

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, 3 December 2016

MY MERRY CHRISTMAS PATCHWORK CROSS STITCH SAMPLER

Last week, I finally finished the colourful Christmas cross stitch sampler I've been busy working on for the last few months, and since I need to reshoot some of the photos for the post I was planning to post today, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to share the finished picture with you instead.


The sampler I made is the Merry Christmas patchwork style sampler from Riverdrift House, a small Cornish brand who sell the loveliest cross stitch kits, patterns, and cards. I really love their designs, and I think this is the 7th or 8th of their samplers that I've made over the last few years. It's the largest, boldest, and most colourful one I've made yet, and I'm really pleased with how well it turned out.


When I started the project in August, I wasn't sure I liked it and considered setting it aside to work on something else, but as I got past the time-consuming letters (which took 2-3 hours each!), and it started to come together I changed my mind; I realised I liked the design after all, and started to enjoy working on it. It was super easy to stitch as the vast majority of the pattern was colour-blocked in simple patterns, so it ended up being a really therapeutic project. I especially enjoyed stitching the reindeer in Christmas jumpers, the wreaths, and the borders, and it was fun getting to work with bold coloured threads for a few months. Well, you know me and colour!


It  took me about three and a half months to complete, which was longer than I'd expected, but considering I had some technical difficulties with my joints this Autumn, which slowed me down and stopped me from sewing at all for a while, it's not a bad time frame at all. I mostly put in an hour or two a night, whenever I was up to it, and bibbidy bobbidy boo, three and a half months later, it's completed, right in time for Christmas! (Not that I'll actually manage to get it framed to hang on the wall this Christmas, but hey, it's still finished).


The design is ideal for cross-stitch beginners and pros alike. If you're thinking about giving it a go, just go for it! If I can make it, you certainly can! It's fun, it's festive, and oh so therapeutic.

You can find the kit on the Riverdrift House website here, and on Amazon here.

You might also like

Have you done any cross stitching lately?

Friday, 2 December 2016

25 WAYS TO ENJOY CHRISTMAS ON BED REST

For many, Christmas is regarded as the most wonderful time of the year, and if you're one of them, suddenly finding yourself bed ridden and unable to enjoy the festivities can be incredibly frustrating and upsetting. My first Christmas of being bed ridden from chronic pain was soul-crushing, but thankfully since then I've learnt that you don't have to miss out on the festive cheer altogether, just because you're laid-up in bed. (Obviously, this will depend on how poorly you or your loved one is).

From personal experience, I've learnt that there are many ways you can enjoy Christmas without leaving your bed, and I'm here to share some of them with you today.  So, whether you're bed ridden from chronic pain, chronic illness, disability, injury, illness, or any other reason, here are twenty five ways you can enjoy Christmas, or help make a sick loved one's Christmas more enjoyable, on bed rest. 

Don't write those festive celebrations off just yet!

1.  Decorate your bedroom / hospital room for Christmas so you can still enjoy some festive cheer while you're resting. Ask a loved one to help you put up a little Christmas tree, fairy lights, and all sorts of lovely Christmas decorations, and lay back and enjoy your own Winter wonderland.

2. Have lots of Christmas movie marathons. Get your family and friends to come join you for a film or two- they can bring the popcorn and other tasty snacks!

3. Watch festive TV programmes and Christmas specials. You can't beat The Vicar of Dibley, and Gavin and Stacey Christmas specials, or all the Christmas cookery shows and craft programmes that are on TV this time of year. They never fail to get me excited for Christmas.

4. Read some festive-themed novels like A Christmas Carol, and Little Women. They should not only make you feel festive, but help take your mind off being bed ridden and poorly for a while, too.

5. Listen to your favourite Christmas tunes. Dig out your old Christmas CDs or download some new Christmas albums, and make some killer festive playlists. Play them up loud, sing along, and you'll be in the Christmas spirit in no time.

6. Buy a lovely Advent calendar so that you have something nice to look forward to every day in the run up to Christmas. There are all kinds of wonderful calendars to choose from these days, filled with everything from chocolates to beauty products, candles to jewellery, toys and alcohol, and so much more.

7. Work on a Christmas craft project. There are many you could try while you're resting, even when you're lying down or propped up against a few pillows in bed. You could cross stitch, try embroidery, crochet, knit, make your own crackers, have a go at card making, make jewellery, link paper chains, make Christmas decorations, string popcorn and cranberry garlands, do some festive journaling, and all kinds of other fun crafts. You could make something lovely for yourself, or make Christmas presents for you friends and family. The possibilities are endless. I personally find cross stitching Christmas samplers enjoyable and therapeutic, and I love making my own Christmas crackers, too. 

8. Swap your usual bedding for a Christmas-themed duvet set, and add in a thick, cosy Winter blanket to snuggle in to on those cold December nights.

9. Get cosied up in Christmas themed pyjamas, socks, and slippers.

10. Invite your friends over for a festive night in. Pop on some festive films, eat delicious Christmas snacks, have a few drinks (if your health and medication allows), do each other's nails in festive colours, and give your skin some TLC with a face mask. (Peel-able masks are probably best if you can't get up to wash a mask off your face).

11. Colour your way through a Christmas colouring book. There are many aimed at adults now, and the pastime is ridiculously therapeutic and relaxing, as well as a fun way to de-stress.

12. Have your family bring Christmas to you. You could all open presents together, play board games, pull crackers, and even eat Christmas dinner together around your bedside.

13. If you can sit up for a while, why not get stuck in to wrapping Christmas presents as beautifully and creatively as you fancy? You could even offer your wrapping services to your family, who will probably be grateful to have one less thing to do.

14. Write out all of your Christmas cards, and if you like to write one, a Christmas letter to go with them.

15. Do all of your Christmas shopping online, and shop around for the best deals and perfect presents for your loved ones.

16. Drink festive drinks like hot chocolate and egg nog, and have all of your beverages served in a Christmas mug or glass.

17. Indulge in delicious Christmas food, like turkey sandwiches, mince pies, Christmas pudding, festive chocolates, apple pie, cheeseboard deliciousness, hot roasted chestnuts, cake... what ever festive foods you love best.

18. If you feel up to dressing and getting out of your PJs for a while, dress up in an awesome novelty Christmas jumper or fun Christmas-print dress.

19. Give yourself a festive manicure. Try some Christmas nail art, nail wraps, false nails, or glitter nail polishes, or get a friend or relative to do your nails for you.

20. Read Christmas blog posts on your favourite blogs, and live vicariously through their picture perfect lives.

21. Create Christmas boards on Pinterest, pin lots of beautiful Christmas images, and day dream about having your dream Christmas.

22. Go shopping online and treat yourself to an early Christmas present or two. You deserve it.

23. If your family and friends go out to Christmas carnivals, markets, and gatherings that you can't attend, get them to bring you back some goodies to enjoy, to include you in the festivities. 

24. Get yourself some Christmas photo booth props and amuse yourself by taking silly selfies of yourself wearing them all. Share on social media if you're brave enough.

25. Have a good browse around online for things you like, want, or need, and compile your Christmas list. If anybody asks for present suggestions, you can then hand over the list, or "accidentally" leave the tab open for your special someone to find.

Have you ever spent Christmas on bed rest? What helped you get through it?

Thursday, 1 December 2016

50 THINGS I WANT TO DO THIS CHRISTMAS

The Christmas count down has finally begun, and I have so much to do between now and the 25th. 

There are many things I need to do like sit down and write out all my cards, wrap presents, and decorate the tree. I also have a long list of things I'd like to do over the festive season, such as make Christmas crackers, bake Christmas cookies, visit a Christmas craft fair, and make festive hoop art. I have a festive to-do list a mile long! What can I say? I'm a Christmas enthusiast.

I thought I'd share some of my Christmas goals with you today to give you guys a few ideas on what to get up to this Christmas. I'll be sharing 50 of them to be exact. Please feel free to do as many goals from my list as you like! 

These are 50 of the things I want to do this Christmas.



1.  Buy a little Christmas tree for my bedroom.
2. Decorate my bedroom for Christmas, so I can still enjoy the festive cheer while resting in bed.
3. Decorate the tree and put up decorations with my family. Find some new ways to deck the halls that Rosie can't reach and destroy.
4. Go to Bourton-on-the-Water's Christmas lights event. It's so beautiful and idyllic at Christmas (even more so than usual). Their Christmas tree stands in the river running through the village, and the fairy lights twinkle on the water. It's magical.
5. Make it to my town's Christmas lights event. I haven't made it in a few years, but it always helps to get me in to the festive spirit.
6. Finish the two Christmas cross stitch samplers I'm working on. (Edit: One down, one to go!)
7. Make the last four Christmas cross stitch cards I've yet to finish.
8. Make the little cross stitch ornament I've been meaning to make for years.
9. Make lots of hand-embroidered festive hoop art, and turn them in to some kind of wall feature. I have the supplies, I just need to get cracking.
10. Dress Rosie in a Christmas jumper. Boohoo have some really cute ones. I bought her this one.
11. Make some Christmas cookies and cupcakes.
12. Make some Christmas dog biscuits for Rosie and Mia (Marie's German shepherd).
13. Make Christmas crackers. I won't be making them entirely from scratch; I've got a kit from Hobbycraft, and will probably fill them with fancy chocolates and scratch cards this year.
14. Put together some table favours as an extra treat for my family during Christmas dinner.
15. Visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Hogwarts In The Snow. I don't know if I'll make it, but I'd really like to go while it's dressed up for Christmas.
16. Count down to Christmas with a beauty Advent calendar. I bought the L'Occitane calendar this year.
17. Visit Blenheim Palace while it's decorated for Christmas, ideally for its Christmas craft fair.
18. Buy a new dress to wear on Christmas Day.
19. Try the Christmas nail wraps and false nails I bought.
20. Put together a Christmas box of goodies to enjoy on Christmas Eve.
21. Buy new Christmas PJs to wear on Christmas Eve night / Christmas morning.
22. Read my cloth-bound copy of A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Stories by Dickens.
23. Watch It's A Wonderful Life for the first time. I bought the DVD a few years ago, and I still haven't got around to watching it. This year I definitely will.
24. Watch Christmas With The Coopers for the first time.
25. Make my apple and blackberry trifle. It's a tradition for me to make it every Christmas Eve, and it's delicious, if I do say so myself.
26. Make a new dessert. I'm thinking maybe something salted-caramel flavoured.
27. Visit the Appleton Christmas barn. It's just a little farm near Abingdon selling Christmas trees, with a couple of reindeer to see, and a barn converted in to a Christmas shop, but it's lovely and they sell the most beautiful, Christmas decorations.
28. Play board games over the holidays.
29. Have lots of festive movie marathons. Who am I kidding? I've already had a few of these! I regret nothing.
30. Get myself a cheap Cadbury chocolate Advent calendar, like I had when I was a kid. (Check!)
31. Do my best to blog festive posts every day. I've already got a few posts written and scheduled, and have heaps of ideas, so fingers crossed I'll be around more this Christmas!
32. Go for a long drive to spot Christmas lights, not just around my home town but also around the much prettier little Cotswold villages that surround my home town.
33. Make a yule log- I've not made one since I was a kid, but I'd like to give one a go.
34. Buy or make a wreath for my front door.
35. Relax and de-stress with a Christmas colouring book. (I've bought two that I'll be reviewing soon!)
36. Go late night Christmas shopping in Oxford or Cheltenham to soak up the festive atmosphere.
37. Visit a European Christmas market.
38. Go to Hobbycraft and buy all of the festive gift-wrapping and crafting things. Buy all the ribbons!
39. Read a new-to-me Christmas-themed novel. Any suggestions?
40. Take lots of photos every day. Shouldn't be hard, considering it's me.
41. Make a gingerbread house. I've always wanted to make one.
42. Watch a new-to-me Christmas movie, either at home or at the cinema.
43. Try some of the new Christmas Yankee Candles. They all smell so good.
44. Write out my Christmas cards and send them out with plenty of time before Christmas.
45. Make some kind of feature out of all the paper honeycomb decorations we have.
46. Buy at least one new Christmas decoration.
47. Try a seasonal coffee or hot chocolate that I haven't tried before.
48. Buy a new Christmas novelty bag.
49. Reread Little Women. It's the perfect festive read.
50. Wrap all of the presents for my friends and family as beautifully as I can.

What's on the top of your Christmas to-do list?

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