Sunday, 16 December 2018

Sunday Favourites Christmas Special #357

I'm back with my third Christmas-themed Sunday Favourites post of the month to inspire you with lots of festive ideas, and help to get you in the mood for Christmas. After all, there's only nine more sleeps 'til Christmas...

The Make Arcade have the cutest range of Christmas cross stitch kits this year, and they're ideal if you want a fun festive project to enjoy while relaxing in front of the TV this December. I've picked up all three of the kits above, and they're even lovelier in the flesh.

Tell Love and Party's pretty DIY monochromatic gift toppers would set your presents apart from the rest under the tree this Christmas.

Or perhaps you'd rather go for gold with these gold gift toppers, also from Tell Love and Party?

This Christmas napkin iron-on DIY from a Beautiful Mess is so darn cute.

This gingerbread house from Erin Bakes is adorable. I've always wanted to make one, but never seem to get round to it.

I love Tell Love and Party's DIY cookie gift boxes. The idea is to save yourself the time and stress of baking and wrap a selection of cookies from the supermarket or bakery in pretty packaging to give as gifts. Perfect if you're short on time (or spoons!) now we're so close to Christmas.

This DIY pop art inspired stocking from Paper and Stitch would look so pretty hung over the fireplace on Christmas morning.

I want to make a batch or two of these colourful merry & bright Christmas light bulb cookies from The Sprinkle Factory.

Okay, it's a little late for a new Advent calendar now, but this colour pop mini envelope Advent calendar from Berylune was too cute not to share.

Another one from Tell Love and Party... these star Christmas cookies are some of the prettiest Christmas cookies I've ever seen.

OMG, how cute is this tasselled Ferris wheel tree topper from Anthropologie?! I love it!

Aycan from Little White Socks shows you some great ways to fill clear baubles with her DIY bauble mixes post.

Oh Happy Day's Christmas surprise balls are such an adorable way to wrap tiny Christmas treats for kids, and kids at heart.

The little details really make a difference, as Damask Love proves with their lovely Christmas holly berry twist ties.

Oh Happy Day's holiday drink cupcakes sound amazing.

These DIY fluffy snowflake napkins by A Kailo Chic Life will make your Christmas dinner table look so festive.

If you're looking for some gift wrapping inspiration, Little White Socks can show you 3 creative ways to wrap your gifts this Christmas.

Want to add a little something extra to your Christmas party? How about making a Christmas bauble pinata, like these ones from Make and Tell?

Display your prettiest Christmas cards in these DIY snowflake holiday card holders from A Kailo Chic Life.

You'll never have to run out of gift cards this year with these free printable Christmas tree gift tags from Tell Love and Party.

This DIY rainbow throw pillow from A Kailo Chic Life looks so cute and cosy.

I love these mini Santa's sack place cards from Little White Socks. They'd look so lovely on the Christmas dinner table.

If you're throwing a party or having family over for Christmas, why not create A Kailo Chic Life's amazing DIY faux gift photo booth backdrop where you can enjoy taking lots of silly photos with your friends and family over the holidays?

A Kailo Chic Life can also show you how to throw the perfect Winter Wonderland party. I love all of the colourful decor in this photo!

These DIY pour painted iridescent ornaments from Best Friends For Frosting are so darn pretty! I'd love to make some for my tree.

I also want to have a go at this adorable DIY Christmas lights paper garland from Damask Love.

If you'd like more Christmas inspiration, check out my Christmas boards on Pinterest; they're all packed with hundreds of inspiring images. You can also find all of my previous Sunday Favourites  Christmas Special posts here for more just like these.

Have you got any fun Christmas activities planned today?

Saturday, 15 December 2018

DIY Hobbycraft Nutcracker Christmas Crackers

On Thursday, I finally found the time to make this year's Christmas crackers and take the photos I needed to blog about them, so of course, I'm here to blog about them today.

If you're a long-time reader of my blog, you'll probably know that I love to make my own Christmas crackers and do so every year. I've been making them instead of purchasing a generic ready-made set for around a decade now, and it's something I look forward to doing every Christmas.

I was tempted to make my own crackers entirely from scratch this year, but then I saw this amazing Nutcracker Christmas cracker kit in Hobbycraft for just £4, and they looked so cute, I just couldn't resist them. This set of six crackers features a nutcracker design in vibrant red, blue, and green, with stripes and accents of yellow, black, and white. As you can see, they come in two complimenting colour-ways, and the set includes three of each design.

The crackers come flat packed ready for you to make, and the set includes cracker snaps, paper crowns, jokes, and silver curling ribbons. You just need to buy little gifts to fill them with, and then you can start constructing them.

These crackers are so ridiculously easy to make that almost anybody could make them- including children. All you have to do is roll the cracker in to a cylinder shape, slot the three tabs in to the slots, cinch one end with ribbon, fill it with treats, tie up the other end, and voila, you're done! I can make all six crackers in as little as ten or fifteen minutes (when I'm not stopping to take photos as I go along), but on your first attempt, it may take you a little longer to get the knack. You'll definitely be able to make them within half an hour, so it's the perfect craft to enjoy if you want to do some Christmas crafting but have little time to spare during the hectic festive season.

This year, I've filled my crackers with colourful confetti, Christmas scratch cards, and a selection of festive Lindt chocolates. I was planning to do something a little different this year, but my Mum came back from Costco last month with a huge pack of Lindt chocolates for me to use, and I was hardly going to turn away free chocolate. They'll definitely be a welcome treat on Christmas Day. I also decided to add a £1 scratch card to every cracker as an extra surprise, and to make Christmas dinner that little more exciting. It's unlikely anyone will win the jackpot, but you never know, it could happen, and the possibility of winning a couple of quid is always fun. Fingers crossed they're all winners! 

Helpful tip: if you want to add a scratch card to your crackers, make sure you stick a penny to the back with washi tape so everyone can enjoy them around the dinner table!

Of course, you don't have to stick to chocolates or scratch cards when filling your own crackers; you can fill them with all kinds of small treats. You could use: mini beauty products, make up, nail polishes, lip balms, hair accessories, costume jewellery, small toys (figurines, wind up toys, bouncy balls etc.), stickers, pens and pencils, keyrings, sweets, candy canes, packets of popcorn kernels, other edible goodies, flavoured tea bags, cinema tickets, gig tickets, gift cards, bookmarks, craft and art supplies, mini votives or tea light candles, seed packets, homemade vouchers, letters, money... the possibilities are endless. The gifts just need to be able to fit in to the centre of the cracker, and not be too heavy or sharp enough to cause an injury if it flies across the table as the cracker is snapped! Nobody wants a bag of marbles or a pen knife flying at their head or breaking your Mum's best china! It's up to you whether you personalise each cracker for each guest or fill them with goodies your whole party will enjoy, but if you want to personalise them, you can easily do this by catering to each person's hobbies and interests, and by selecting age appropriate and even gender-specific items. For instance, crackers filled with make up would go down well with your beauty-loving girlfriends, edible treats are perfect for foodies, and toys will always be well-received by children.

I originally tied my crackers using the silver curling ribbons provided, but after I finished, I decided to switch them for some red organza ribbon to make them look even prettier. I think it gives them a little something extra, and makes them look a little more tasteful. I love how it now looks like the nutcrackers are wearing red scarves! 

I'm also considering adding some jingle bells, mini baubles, or pom poms to embellish the crackers, but I need to see what I have left over once I've finished my present-wrapping. If you want to add your own touch to your crackers, you could tie them with ribbons, string, raffia, lace trims, strips of fabric, tinsel, or even strawberry laces. To decorate them, you could use Christmas decorations, present toppers, stickers, Christmas tree chocolates, silk flowers, fresh foliage, buttons, sequins, glitter, fabric... whatever inspires you. Just let your creativity run wild!

Hobbycraft's cracker kits are currently all sold out online, but check in store, as they may still be available. If you can't track them down in store, Litle Crafty Bugs also have a fantastic selection of cracker kits here in countless festive and non-festive designs. You can buy cracker kits from lots of other shops and craft stores these days, including Amazon and eBay, so be sure to have a good trawl through Google to find your perfect cracker kit.

You could also make your own crackers by downloading a cracker template from the Internet, and cutting out your own crackers from card or thick paper. You could use festive patterned or coloured card or use something plain and decorate it yourself. Really, you're only limited by your imagination and willingness to experiement. You'll just need to source your own cracker snaps, hats, and jokes, which you can usually buy from most craft stores at this time of year. Hobbycraft still have a set of cracker hats and jokes available online here.

It's so much fun making your own crackers instead of buying them ready-made, and once you start making them, you'll never want to buy a pack off the shelf again! They'll look beautiful on your dinner table, and everyone will love the personal touch of your handmade crackers.

I'm really pleased with my Hobbycraft Nutcracker Christmas crackers, and I know they're going to go down well with my family on Christmas Day. They always do. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone enjoy them, and finding out if anyone will win anything from the scratch cards. Not long to wait now!

Have you ever made your own Christmas crackers? Will you be making your own this Christmas?

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Friday, 14 December 2018

The Cracking Christmas Tag

A late one from me today. I was aiming to have this post up this afternoon, but I was half way through writing it when my Mum decided it was time to decorate the Christmas tree, and I had go join in. Now the tree is up and decorated, it's time to play catch up!

Tonight, I'm going to answer a fun new tag post called The Cracking Christmas Tag, which I recently came across on another blog. (I forget which one, sorry). The tag was created by Nina Louise Law and Becc4, and features ten quirky questions about Christmas that will help get you in to the Christmas spirit. I thought it would be fun to give it a go, so that is what I'm going to do. If you want to know what I get up to on Christmas Eve or which Christmas songs I loathe, tonight is the night you'll find out. This is The Cracking Christmas Tag.

Weirdest family tradition?

I've been wracking my brain for an answer for this, but I haven't been able to come up with anything; I think all my Christmas traditions are pretty normal. I guess we're really boring! Seriously, the weirdest tradition I could come up with is that ever since I was little, it's always been my job to set the table for Christmas dinner, and I don't really know why! I have two sisters, but somehow it was always left to me, while they slacked off and played with their new Christmas toys. Twenty five + years later, and the job is still mine. Luckily, I'm weird, and have always enjoyed dressing the table for Christmas dinner, so I've never actually minded. I like making things look pretty.

It's Christmas Eve; what are you doing?

I usually spend the morning popping out to the supermarket with my sister for any last minute supplies we need, and baking goodies in the kitchen while blasting out some Christmas tunes. I always make my blackberry and apple trifle on Christmas Eve ready for Christmas Day. Afterwards, I usually put on a Christmas movie or two and wrap any last minute gifts- usually my Dad's gifts to my Mum. Lazy bugger! If my Auntie is hosting her Christmas Eve party (occasionally it's a couple of days earlier), then everyone starts getting ready to travel to Worcester around lunchtime. I haven't been able to go since I've been chronically ill, though, (around seven or eight Christmases now) because it's too far for me to comfortably travel and the whole day would cause me too much pain. If I sucked it up and went anyway, I'd have to spend Christmas Day recovering in bed, which would totally suck, so I stay home these days. I spend the afternoon watching Christmas movies with the dog, and finish up any last minute tasks, like putting up birthday decorations for my Mum, whose birthday is also on Christmas Day! If my family stay home, I basically do the same thing, but with company. In the evening, I'll / we'll start grazing on a buffet or enjoy a cheeky takeaway, and then I'll generally reach my pain threshold, and crawl back upstairs to rest up for Christmas Day. I'll get in to my new Christmas PJs, relax with a face mask, do my nails, and enjoy some of the contents of my Christmas Eve box while watching some festive TV. My younger sister always joins me around half ten to watch a festive episode of The Vicar of Dibley together, as there's one on every year. I'll basically spend the rest of the night watching Christmas movies and reading until I fall asleep in the early hours of Christmas morning. I'm so rock 'n' roll!

Top 3 Christmas Dinner Components?

1. My sister's and brother-in-law's goose fat roast potatoes.
2. My Mum's sage and onion stuffing (she makes it with sausage meat).
3. Turkey!

When do you decorate your house? November, the beginning of December, the week of Christmas?

I never put my decorations up before December, but I like to put them up as early in December as possible. I usually begin decorating my bedroom for Christmas on the 1st, and we always used to decorate downstairs a few days in to December, but it gets later and later every year, and we only started putting the decorations up this afternoon! The tree is finally up and decorated, but we still have so much left to do! That's tomorrow job.

Loved and loathed Christmas songs?

There are so many Christmas songs that I love! I have hundreds in my iTunes library. I love the classics and the oldies- basically the stuff I grew up on in the eighties and nineties- but I'm not a fan of much modern Christmas music.

Some of my favourites are:

Last Christmas by Wham.
I Believe In Father Christmas by Greg Lake.
Step in to Christmas by Elton John.
Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin Stevens.
2000 Miles by The Pretenders.
A Spaceman Came Travelling by Chris de Burgh.
Stop the Cavalry by Jonah Lewie.
Fairytale of New York by The Pogues.
Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney.
Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson.
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), and All Alone on Christmas by Darlene Love.
Mary's Boy Child by Boney M.
Troika by Lieutenant Kije.
It's Only Christmas by Ronan Keating.
Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! by Dean Martin.

I loathe loathe loathe...

Santa Buddy by Michael Bublé. (Cringe!)
Let it Go and Do You Wanna Build A Snowman from the Frozen Soundtrack.
Any of those dodgy nineties / noughties Christmas pop songs from bands like The Spice Girls, Steps, and Kylie Minogue.

One big present or lots of little things to open?

I prefer to get lots of little things to open. I love receiving a gift bag or box full of fun, thoughtful, little presents that someone has put a lot of effort in to choosing, and it's always great to have more presents to open- it makes that Christmas morning magic last longer!

What is your favourite Christmas decoration? (Include a photo if you have one).

I'm not sure I could choose just one; I'm emotionally attached to so many of my decorations. I have two resin Mickey Mouse decorations circa 1990, one in the shape of a Christmas tree and the other a stocking, that I've always been particularly fond of. I got them when I was about five, along with a little drum and a hobby horse decoration, to make me feel better after I burst my ear drum at school and had to go to hospital. They're usually the first decorations I search for when we get the decorations out- and I still have to fight my sister to be able to put them on the tree because she does the same! I also really love my colourful vintage-style baubles from Rex London, all of my kitsch decorations, and some pretty white galaxy-effect baubles we have on our main tree that look amazing when the fairy lights hit them. I haven't got any decent photos of them to hand, but I'll share some when I blog a Christmas bedroom tour in the next week or so.

Do you like to have a themed tree or one with a bit of everything?

Themed trees aren't my thing; I'll always prefer them to be mismatched with sentimental decorations that have been collected over a life time, and bring back decades of great memories- kind of like a 3-D scrapbook. The family tree is covered in decorations in all kind of shapes, styles, and colours that have been collected not only during mine and my sister's life times, but my parents' and even my Nana's. I think some of them are as much as seventy years old! Nothing matches, it's so not Instagrammable, and it always looks like the eighties threw up on it, but I love it, and there are so many great memories attached to it all.

Christmas pudding: yay or nay?

Yay? I'm not crazy about it, but I don't mind a little portion with custard now and then. The best one I ever tried came with sticky toffee sauce- that was amazing!

What's at the top of your Christmas wishlist this year?

I have my eye on a little grey floral 'Alpine Ditsy print' speaker from Cath Kidston, some Erstwilder brooches, a handful of beauty palettes, and a few creative books. I actually blogged my Christmas list on Wednesday, so you can see what's on it here.

And that is The Cracking Christmas Tag.

I tag... anyone who wants to have a go! If you decide to answer the tag on your own blog, make sure you leave me your links so I can have a read!

What is your weirdest family Christmas tradition?

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

My Christmas List 2018

As it's almost Christmas, this week I've put together my Christmas list in lieu of my usual Wednesday Wish List post. 

I haven't written a Christmas list that I've shared with family members since I was a kid, but I like to share one on the blog every Christmas, just for fun. I won't be sharing it with family or friends unless they ask for ideas, so it's basically a fantasy wish list made up of all the things at the top of my wish list that I would love to find under the tree this Christmas. I don't expect to receive any of it, but I might treat myself to a piece or two if I'm lucky enough to receive any money for Christmas, or just feel the urge to spoil myself at the end of the month.

This year, my Christmas list is made up of a generous dose of fashion, lots of beauty palettes and gift sets, a handful of books, and even a few homeware items, and it may just give you a few last minute gift ideas.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14 // 15 // 16 // 17 // 18 // 19 // 20 // 21 // 22 // 23 // 24 // 25 // 26 // 27 // 28 // 29

1. I love the print and colours on this Pinball 50's dress from Hell Bunny.
2. Of all the brooches on my wish list, Erstwilder's Life By The Horns Rhino Brooch is still at the very top. I adore it!
3. I'm also smitten with Erstwilder's Okapi Of Course Brooch, and have been coveting it for months. I can never resist brooches inspired by unusual animals.
4. I chose the OPI nail polish Advent calendar to count down to Christmas with this year, but I'd still love to own the collection of polishes in the Ciaté Mini Mani Month calendar to make my nails look pretty in 2019. It's currently on sale, too!
5. This macaw print Tropical Parrot phone case from Skinny Dip is so beautiful. I once did work experience with macaws, so it's another reason why I need it. The best part is, it's currently half price!
6. Ciaté's new Glitter Storm eyeshadow palette looks absolutely stunning.
7. Armadillos are one of my favourite animals, and this armadillo brooch from Little Moose is one of the cutest pieces of jewellery I've ever seen! I want it so badly!
8. This cuckoo clock cross body bag from Vendula London is also one of the most amazing novelty bags I've ever laid eyes on. Just look at it!
9. I don't need any more eyeshadow palettes, but the Urban Decay Naked Cherry eyeshadow palette looks so gorgeous, I could definitely make room for it in my life.
10. I love the look of the Craft The Rainbow paper-craft book from The House That Lars Built. 
11. I really want to try some of the new Berry Bon Bon Delights products from The Body Shop.
12. Lindy Bop's Kody tea dress is one of my favourite Lindy styles, and it looks beautiful in berry.
13. This harvest mouse brooch from Tatty Devine is wonderful. It reminds me of Harvest Festival in primary school.
14. Hell Bunny's Pinball 50's skirt is almost as fabulous as the dress.
15. How amazing is this Mary Poppins glitter umbrella shoulder bag from Truffle Shuffle?! OMG!
16. I love Moorea Seal's 52 List books, and I love the look of her newest title 52 Lists For Togetherness.
17. The OPI Bubbles Collection is so fun and colourful.
18. I adore these Alpine Ditsy Bluetooth Speakers from Cath Kidston. I've needed some new speakers since my old ones broke last year, so my Mum's actually bought me them for Christmas! FYI, they're so inexpensive, and are currently on sale, too!
19. Little Moose's statement armadillo necklace is so cute I could cry.
20. I've always loved red and white toadstools, so I can't help coveting Erstwilder's amazing Forest Fun Guy Brooch.
21. I can't get my own real living, breathing narwhal for Christmas, so Kimchi and Coconut's galaxy narwhal brooch would be the second best thing.
22. Soap & Glory's Flatterbox gift set looks fabulous. There are so many great products in one handy palette.
23. This Moomin hot water bottle from House of Disaster is adorable.
24. Lindy Bop's Kasha kitten print tea dress ticks all the right boxes. I love the shape, style, colour, and print. And it has sleeves!
25. I'm dying to get my hands on the Breathe List Journal from Breathe Magazine. It looks fantastic, as do the other books in the series.
26. The World in Stitches make the best cross stitch kits and patterns, and I'd love to make this cookies sampler kit after Christmas.
27. What's better than a carousel horse brooch? A carousel fox brooch, like Vixen Copper, from Curious Carousel. I can't help thinking it would make a great design for a tattoo, too!
28. Too Faced's Chocolate Gold eyeshadow palette is so darn pretty. Those colours!
29. And this Bambi print leather cross body bag from Cath Kidston is wonderful. They always do Disney so well.

If you like the products in this post and would like to see more like this, you can view my full Christmas wish list on Pinterest here. You can also find all previous Wednesday Wish List posts here.

What's at the top of your Christmas list this year?

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Monday, 10 December 2018

Christmas Fashion and Homeware Haul

Christmas is my favourite time of year, and as a bit of a Christmas addict I'm powerless to resist anything pretty and festive. 

Over the last year and particularly the past few months, I've acquired lots of new festive things, from homeware and craft supplies to brooches and books, so I thought it was about time I compiled them all together and gave you a peek at everything I've bought with a brand new Christmas haul. 

Every Autumn, I always do a big Hobbycraft shop, and pick up all the things I need for Christmas crafting and gift wrapping, and this year has been no different. This is just the first batch of festive supplies I bought this year; since taking the photo above, I've been back to Hobbycraft two or three times for more supplies- mostly for coloured felt, wool, mini pom poms, and more embroidery hoops. I have no restraint when it comes to craft supplies; I could happily buy the whole shop! Luckily for me, I won a £20 Hobbycraft gift voucher in September for my felt floral wreaths (I entered one in to Hobbycraft's Make It Share It competition and came in as a runner up!), so at least I did a little less damage to my bank balance than previous Christmases!

This year, I bought a Nutcracker cracker kit and a cute needle felting decoration kit to make this Christmas, aida and embroidery threads for some Christmas cross stitch projects, embroidery hoops for wreath making, bottle brush trees for decorating my bedroom, ribbons, jingle bells, and present toppers for gift wrapping, and a paint brush for transforming a wooden house-shaped shelf unit in to nail polish storage. I'll be showing you all the things I've made with them really soon.

Earlier in the year, I managed to collect some beautiful Christmas homeware, stationery, and gift wrapping supplies on sale from Cath Kidston, with many of them down to half price. I was thrilled to get my hands on the Robins tray, tea towel set, and roll wrap pack, as I wasn't able to afford them  when they were first available two or three Christmases ago, and the Robins print is one of my favourite Cath K prints ever! I also picked up a couple of packs of polar bear Christmas cards and an adorable snowman mug, which were both from last year's Christmas collection. Unfortunately, none of these products are available now, but they do have some beautiful things in this year's Christmas collection. 

I also treated myself to the Robins Christmas organiser after finding it on Amazon this Autumn, because  these organisers are brilliant for planning for Christmas, and my other CK Christmas organiser is almost filled up from years of use. They're perfect for keeping track of presents, to do lists, shopping lists, recipes, festive menus, and everything else you need to plan for at Christmas time. They bring a new design out of year (this year's is a townhouse), but I just couldn't resist the older, prettier kitschy robin design. 

I love mid-century style Christmas decor, and I've been admiring the Jolie Noel homeware collection from Rex London (formerly Dot Com Gift Shop) for a couple of years. I recently popped back to their website for another look and discovered some of the range was on sale, so I took the opportunity to treat myself to a few pieces I'd had my eye on for ages. I bought the cake bunting kit and cupcake kit to encourage myself to do some Christmas baking, a pack of paper napkins to use over Christmas, a little navy wooden bauble decoration for my tree, and a pack of paper bunting to add to the retro look I'm going for this year. They're all so cute!

A couple of weeks ago, I finally bought this adorable retro Christmas deer duvet set from ASDA. I didn't exactly need a new Christmas duvet set (I bought a different retro deer set from them last year), but I just couldn't resist it. At just £12 (for a double), it would have been stupid not to buy it, right? On one side it's covered in fifties-style deer, Christmas trees, candy canes, holly, robins, squirrels, bunnies, and more, and on the other, it has a complimenting candy cane, holly leaf, and polka dot print. It's so lovely. It seems to be sold out online now, but I'd definitely recommend checking your local ASDA because it's great quality for the price. ASDA always makes the best Christmas bedding. 

Speaking of retro deer, I've also adopted a few of Paperchase's glittery fifties-style Bambi deer ornaments since last Christmas, and they look amazing next to my Christmas tree. I bought a brown Bambi deer and sit down Bambi deer while they were on promo on Black Friday (photo coming soon), and a pink deer in the sales last Christmas. Sadly, there isn't a pastel pink one available this year, but there is a bright pink version here.

A couple of months ago, I picked up the OPI The Nutcracker and the Four Realms nail polish Advent calendar, which I blogged a review of here back in October. I'm really enjoying counting down the days 'til Christmas with it, and have been revealing what polish I've been getting every day along with the contents of the Selfridges Glam Sparkle calendar I recently won, over on my Instagram. The nail polish shades inside are gorgeous!

I discovered this beautiful Christmas anthology called A Literary Christmas on Amazon last month, and just had to buy it to read over the festive season. It's filled with Christmas short stories, passages, poems, and illustrations from the greats like Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, and Rudyard Kipling, and it looks wonderful. I've only read a handful of them so far as I'm trying to savour it and save most of it for nearer Christmas, but it's perfect if you love good old-fashioned classics. The best part is, the cover is absolutely stunning! I especially love the little woodland animals- very Animals of Farthing Wood! Would anyone like me to blog a full review of this book?

I've been admiring The Make Arcade's cross stitch kits for the longest time, and recently decided it was time I gave some a try. I finally bought the Reindeer and Christmas Tree bauble cross stitch kits over the Black Friday weekend while they were 15% off, and I've really been enjoying making them this December. I've already finished the Christmas Tree and I'm currently working on the reindeer, which I'll give you a peek at once they're both finished, along with my other recent Christmas cross stitch makes. I've enjoyed them so much, I've just gone back for the gingerbread house kit, and still have my eye on several others. They're little 3 inch hoops to hang on the Christmas tree, and they're great for cross stitch beginners and pros alike.

Way back in March, I snagged this beautiful embroidered red Noelle cardigan from Hell Bunny in the sale, after admiring it from afar for ages. I just fell in love with the amazing embroidered satin deer motif on the back, and the embroidered white snowflakes on the front. I adore it. The sizing is tiny, though, and even though I returned my usual size for the size up, it's still quite snug, so I can only wear it open. (Which is fine, as I rarely wear cardigans buttoned up, anyway). It's still available in red and baby blue (but only in blue in plus sizes) and is currently on sale for just £14.99. Just make sure you size up at least once if you decide to buy one.

Of course, I also collected several festive Erstwilder brooches from last year's Kitschy Christmas collection in the spring, which I blogged about just last week. You'll find links to each piece in the post.

And last month, I also treated myself to two new Erstwilder Christmas brooches from this year's Festive Splendour collection, which you can read more about here.

I've also acquired some products from The Body Shop's new Peppermint Candy Cane range, but I haven't been able to get photos of them yet because it's barely stopped raining in weeks. I'll hopefully be dedicating a post to them before Christmas, though- providing I can get some half decent photos in time. In the mean time, you guys need to check the range out; the scent is amazing!

And, those are all of the festive things I've purchased since last Christmas.

I may have gone a little over board with the festive spending, but I love everything I bought, and most of it was brought on sale, so I got some fantastic bargains. Money well spent, I think!

Have you bought any new Christmas things this year?

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