This morning I wandered across with my two girls to our local market in the bustling East Belfast village of Ballyhackamore. It’s a monthly artisan market, running on the 3rd Saturday of each month, which started up just over a year ago and is already becoming one of the city’s most well-known spots to find locally produced goods.
This Saturday was the annual Ballyhackamore Christmas market, with more stalls than usual and extended hours of business, plus a little festive music, of course. I had a lovely mooch about and (in between entertaining and feeding my children!) discovered some superb local talents offering their wares, including everything from art prints to greetings cards and hand tied posies to jewellery – perfect for a spot of seasonal gift buying, whilst supporting the local economy, of course!
Here are some of the gems you need to look out for… (and excuse the questionable photography – my youngest was intent on photobombing me at every opportunity so I had to snap quickly!!)
Like a lot of people, we spent some time at the weekend putting our tree up and adding some festive touches to our home. As we hung our decorations and draped the fairy lights around, it occurred to me that we were formally welcoming the beginning of Winter in all its sparkling, glittering glory, and so, rather sadly, once again bidding farewell to Autumn and its lovely mild weather and beautiful colours.
For me, it’s important to welcome in a new season with some subtle tweaks to my home decor, be it cosy cushions in Winter or vases of daffodils in Spring. A few weeks ago, with Christmas still a distant thought, I started shopping for some decorative winter additions for the home. I was on a mission to choose some ‘Hygge’ friendly pieces to make the house warm and inviting to festive visitors and I found some gorgeous homewares from my favourite high street stores that I wanted to share with you. Hopefully it will inspire you to think about your own home decor this coming season!
A few years ago I decided to personalise things a little more at the Christmas table, and rather than setting out the usual crackers and place cards, I chose and individually wrapped little gifts for each guest, setting one at each person’s place at the table. It was a very well received gesture and each guest was thrilled with their little package, especially since I had chosen them with the receiver’s interests and tastes in mind. I was also delighted, because at £1-2 spend per person, they had cost less than the price of a cracker each!
With only a week to go until this year’s Christmas celebration, I thought I would share a few table favour ideas with you so that you can surprise and delight your own guests! (I had planned to write this post much earlier in the month, however with children’s sick bugs and general busy schedules in the run-up to Christmas, I am only now getting around to sharing this with you – apologies!)
The trick is to always choose table gifts that are either edible, practical or useful, so with that firmly in mind, here are some little ideas to get you started… and all for less than the price of a cup of coffee!
Many of you will be well and truly engrossed in Christmas shopping by now, but for some of you, the list making is still a work in progress, so I’m hoping that this final offering of my Gift Guide series will help you along.
As this is a home styling and decor blog, I thought it only correct to include a gift edit aimed at the home lover or interiors enthusiast in your life! I have had lots of fun putting this last gift guide together and am secretly lusting after several of these items – in particular the super cute doggy jewellery bowl from Rose & Grey and of course the dinky digital radio, whose funky mustard colour would look fab against a very on-trend palette of white and grey… (also there is free UK delivery on all Rose & Grey orders placed up until New Year’s Eve, using the code NOEL so do take a look). (more…)
I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend, despite the relatively fickle weather we’ve been having! I am just back afresh from a weekend break with some old school friends to Edinburgh and I had the most relaxing and fun time – very good for the soul! I am now back and ready to inspire you further with some more Christmas gift ideas. If you haven’t already, pop over to my previous gift guides I wrote up last week. If you’re searching for a gift for a coffee loving friend or family member, check out these ideas here and if it’s the foodie or keen cook you’re buying for, have a look here.
These days, so many of us are constantly on the move and for many people, their jobs take them across multiple cities and countries. As a result, we hop between airports, public transport and hotel rooms as a normal part of the day job and that is why I thought a gift edit focused on those who are on the move a lot would prove helpful to many.
Here are my picks for ladies (and a few for gents!) who travel…
I love the 1st of December as it finally marks the official countdown to Christmas and it’s gorgeous to see people’s homes being lit up one by one with cheery twinkling lights and welcoming trees. However, for some of us it also marks the beginning of a stressful few weeks struggling to find the right presents for everyone within a tight enough timeframe. BUT – do not fret! If you are starting your Christmas shopping or finding it difficult to find the perfect present for a loved one, then you’ve hopefully come to the right place. Over the next week or so, I’ll be doing a little online research to help you along with your Christmas shopping quest and will be putting together gift guides for the different personalities in your life. I have already put together a gift guide for the coffee loving friend we all have so do take a peek here if you fancy some inspiration on that front! Actually, while you’re at it, pour yourself a coffee and read on… (more…)
Over the next few days I’m going to post some gift guides to help you along with your Christmas shopping, especially when faced with buying presents for those ‘difficult to buy for’ people in your social or family circle. Basically, I’m hoping I can do the hard work for you and all you will have to do is click on the product link and buy! Done. Dusted.
When buying presents, the first thing we do is think about what the prospective gift receiver likes or has an interest in, so I thought I would organise my gift guides into types of people that we all have amongst our friends and family. The Coffee Aficionado. The Green Fingered Friend. The Foodie. The Gadget Freak. The Traveller. The Arty Crafty One. You know who I mean? Thought so. Ok, let’s get started…
Firstly, the Coffee Lover…
S H O P H E R E :
1 The World Atlas of Coffee £13.60 // Amazon
2 Alessi Heart Shaped Coffee Spoons Set of 4 £17.96 // Amazon
3 Murmur Dune Set of 4 Small Mugs £40 // Houseology
4 Porcelain Stars Coffee Cup £7.99 // Zara Home
5 Bialetti Moka Express Coffee Maker 6 Cup £32 // House of Fraser
6 Maison Blanc Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans £5 // John Lewis
7 Barista & Co Plunge Pot 8 Cup in Copper £44 // Amara
8 Coffee Lover Sign £12.97 // Etsy
9 Bodum Travel Mug £12 // Selfridges
Next time I’m going to be looking at what you can buy for the keen cook in your life!
Have a lovely weekend and good luck with the shopping…
If you’ve been checking out the blog this week, hopefully you’ll have been inspired by my Christmas Trend Watch series and maybe even done a little spot of decoration shopping this weekend? So far, I’ve taken a look at two key decor trends on the high street this Christmas season – ‘Winter Wonderland‘ (think pure whites and velvety creams with hints of metallic and glass) and ‘Nordic Homespun‘ (Scandi red and white with a homely, handcrafted feel). For my third and final part of the series, I’m going to look at the ‘Heritage’ trend, a warm, cosy blend of rich reds, greens and golds, giving that traditional country house at Christmas feel. (more…)
For most of us, now is the time to get cracking with readying our homes for Christmas… or at least starting to think about it! As part of my Christmas 2015 trend watch series of posts, I have already looked at the ‘Winter Wonderland‘ decor theme with its predominance of soft, snowy whites and shimmering metallics. So, if you love an all-white, pure and simple decor scheme with a subtle hint of sparkle, this look is for you. If you haven’t done so already, head on over here for some ideas on creating this look.
Today I want to let you know about another beautifully simple trend that has been inspired over the years by the tranquil Christmas decor schemes of Scandinavia. A personal favourite of mine, the ‘Nordic Homespun’ trend taps into everything Scandi and über cool, yet with a warming, handcrafted, homey feel. This look will work for you if you have a fairly neutral interior already, but like a pop of colour to lift the festive spirits. (more…)
Over the next couple of days I’m going to look at this year’s main Christmas decor trends for 2015. Without a doubt, one of the most fun things to buy at this time of year is a shiny new Christmas decoration for the tree – it just gives us that warm and fuzzy festive feeling! However, before you hit the shops to treat your tree to some new glitter hardware, remember this: the trick is to rethink what decorations you already have and the different ways you can blend them into a well-planned and considered decor scheme that works for you and reflects your home’s personality. Believe me, rather than throwing every decoration you have from Christmases Past and ending up with a bauble bomb site, a little forethought now will make your home look classy, elegant and pulled together this Christmas, whatever your style! (more…)