Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year! We don’t try and hide our love of the festive season and we have lots of blog posts planned for between now and the big day. Let’s start off by looking at three schemes we have put together for our perfect Christmas living room. We have gone for a trio of contrasting styles so hopefully there is something for everybody. We have put links to the products below each scheme. Let us know your favourites in the comments or contact us on twitter, facebook or Instagram.
Where to Buy | Glam Christmas Living Room
fig.1 Gold Tree / fig.2 Tree decoration / fig.3 Tree decoration / fig.4 Tree decoration / fig.5 Tree decoration / fig.6 Wreath / fig.7 Room decoration / fig.8 Fireplace / fig.9 Sofa / fig.10 Side Table / fig.11 Stocking / fig 12. Feather Cushion / fig.13 Geometric Cushion / fig.14 Candle Holder
Where to Buy | Scandi Christmas Living Room
fig.1 Arch Light / fig.2 Tree Decoration / fig.3 Tree Decoration / fig.4 Tree Decoration / fig.5 Tree Decoration / fig.6 Tree / fig.7 Patterned cushion / fig. 8 Woven Cushion / fig.9 Star Decorations / fig.10 Sofa / fig.11 Candle Set / fig.12 Side table / fig.13 Stocking / fig.14 Log burning stove / fig.15 Woven blanket
Where to Buy | Cosy Cabin Christmas Living Room
fig.1 Wreath / fig.2 Lantern / fig.3 Tree Decoration / fig.4 Tree Decoration / fig.5 Tree Decoration / fig.6 Tree Decoration / fig.8 Plaid Cushion / fig.9 Faux Fur Cushion / fig.10 Christmas Tree / fig.11 Snow Globe / fig.12 Stocking / fig.13 Sofa / fig.14 Log Basket / fig.15 Wood Burning Stove / fig.16 Reindeer Hide Rug
It has been another busy weekend for us as we prepare for a weekend break and start to think about how we will be decorating the cottage for Christmas. Let’s look at out Top Five and what has kept up going this week.
Sunday just gone was the first Advent in Christmas. Being dutiful God-Parents to our Godson Dexter we gave him a toy Nativity set to start the Advent celebrations. We have yet to find a Nativity set that we agree on, but are hopeful we will find one soon.
We have a tradition of watching Christmas movies through December to get us in the mood for Christmas. We started with the 1942 classic “Holiday Inn”. We will spend the rest of the month trying to make sure we fit all the movies in before our final movie, a Muppets Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve.
We made a little trip to Ikea on Sunday to pick some items to make our Christmas gifts. As it is either illegal or impossible to leave Ikea without buying candles we left the store with a large number of them. We will be using them throughout Christmas as they help make the cottage cosy.
We like a good advent calendar and this year we have decided to go for a traditional one, ie without chocolate in it, and found this vintage looking one in John Lewis. Don’t worry, we will still have a chocolate one and will be including the cat and dog as they will also be getting special pet friendly ones too.
We are off to Copenhagen on Thursday for a short weekend, start of Christmas break. This is the second time we are going and are looking forward to the fairy tale feel in the city. It is also predicted to snow, which is equally as exciting.
This weekend is the first in Advent, which means only one thing, it is the start of the official countdown to Christmas! We both love Christmas and we usually mark this countdown by getting our advent calendars and making our own first mulled drink, which is our Cocktail of the Week, Mulled Cider.
Mulling drinks over winter is a European tradition. Nearly ever European country has their version of a mulled drink. In the UK it is mulled wine, Germany and Austria it is Glühwein and Nordic Countries it is Gløgg, all of which we have partaken in over the years. The concept of mulling wine and other drinks spread across Europe thanks to the Romans during the 2nd century as they conquered and traded with the countries they passed. The mulled spices we use today vary from country to country. The spices in the English version include cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. A Medieval version of a mulled wine also included pepper, rosemary and pepper. There is no one recipe for mulled wine and some of the more unique versions can include sausage and savoury herbs or be fortified with other spirits for good measure.
For this week’s cocktail, you will need;
• Mulling syrup or spices.
To make this week’s drink, pour the cider into a saucepan and heat gently. Add the syrup or spices and bring to a boil. If you are using spices add a a little bit of sugar. Once boiled, allow the cider to cool slightly and ladle into a glass or mug. Add some apple, cinnamon or star anise and you have this week cocktail, Mulled Cider.
Any mulled drink is an enjoyable drink to have on a winter’s night with your feet up next to the fire and mulled cider is one of our favourites. That said, we are always happy to have a mulled drink when it is available.
This time last year we were in a small town just outside Boston celebrating Thanksgiving with our American friends. It was Rich’s first Thanksgiving and Calum’s second. We ate too much food and probably drunk a bit too much but it was a wonderful day, and we wish we could back again this year. Thanksgiving is a great American tradition and it is something we miss out on in the UK.
What is all about anyway?
We’ve probably all seen thanksgiving celebrated on American tv shows or in movies, Friends particularly comes to mind, but what it is and how is it celebrated?
Thanksgiving is the on the 4th Thursday of November. The Festival dates from 1621, when a group of pilgrims in New England shared a feast with the local native tribe that had helped them with their harvest. The holiday was officially recognised in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln and the date finally settled on by President Franklin D Roosevelt.
The secular nature means that more Americans celebrate Thanksgiving than any other holiday. It is time for family and friends to come together to celebrate. Although plenty of shops sell cards and decorations it is nowhere near as commercial as Christmas. The main event is the meal, Roast Turkey with all the trimmings, followed by pumpkin pie.
Other features of thanksgiving include the annual Macy’s Parade in New York City, (American) football games and the black friday sales.
Can we celebrate in the UK?
Closer to home we have tended to celebrate harvest festival, we hosted a harvest dinner earlier this year. Having said that there is nothing to stop you, and it seems more and more Brits are embracing the holiday as this recent article in the Waitrose Weekend suggests. We love the celebration so this is something we can get completely on board with.
This year we look back fondly on our trip to last year. Not quiet as much excess this year; we are just having some pizza, beer and a slice of Calum’s Pumpkin pie. Whatever you are doing this Thanksgiving, we hope you have a great time and don’t eat too much!
We are now well and truly back to full health, thank goodness for that! Let’s hope we stay healthy and full of beans for the rest of the year! To celebrate being back up and running we had a pretty busy weekend full of fun stuff, let’s take a look at this week’s top five
Aren’t these little guys cute? We picked this up at the annual Scandinavian Christmas Market in London. Located on Albion Street in Rotherhide and conveniently between the Norwegian Church and the Finnish Church. The market is a celebration of all things nordic and festive and is a great day out. The market isn’t huge but it is perfectly formed. There were stalls to buy lots of gifts from, as well as many serving scandi food and drink (we enjoyed the glögg). Inside the two Churches, there are further stalls and places to eat. It is a great little day out!
On Saturday we headed to Twickenham to watch England play Fiji as part of the Old Mutual Wealth Series. We love heading to Twickenham to have a few beers and watch the rugby. It was a good game with England winning 58 – 15. After the match, we headed to Hampton Wick where we used to live, to have another couple of pints and a curry. A good day out!
One advantage of having a florist in the family is that we are often given leftover flowers. On Saturday Rich’s mum did a large event with lots of table displays. When we got home we found she had made us a small arrangement using the left over roses. It made us very happy!
As if we weren’t feeling Christmassy enough having for to the Scandinavian Christmas market on Friday, we headed to the Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market on Sunday too! The market is now in its 10th year and is going from strength to strength. There are 100 stalls, plenty of food and drink options and an even an ice rink! If you visit on Sunday 11th or 18th December there is a family carol concert in the cathedral too
We love beer, we love our dogs. What better way than to enjoy a beer with our dog? We discovered this doggie friendly beer in Pets At Home at the weekend and we thought it was a great idea so we picked some up as a present for Hettie so next time we have a beer she can have one too!
We are now in the middle of autumn and we have been experiencing some unusual weather. However, we have also had some of the most sunning sunsets! The deep reds across the sky have been enough to stop us from what we are doing to sit and watch the colours change and the sun sets. On a recent trip out we were reminded of Harvest Festivals and we came across this cocktail that would make a great and seasonal Cocktail of the Week, Harvest Sky.
Traditionally harvest marked the end of the growing season and there was a social side to the harvest that usually culminated with parties and gatherings once all the hard work had been completed. Once the gathering of the food had been completed, things turned to post harvest to store and preserve the summer fruits and veg for the winter and maximising the shelf life. Many of these traditions still continue today with, particularly in religious services, but there are also many farmers who still make the most of the end of the harvest with a beer or cider!
For this weeks cocktail, you will need;
- 1 measure vodka
- 1 measure of chambord
- 2 measures of cranberry juice.
- Pumpkin spice sugar to rim the glass.
To make the pumpkin spice sugar add some pearl sugar to one table spoon of pumpkin spice in an airtight container. Shake it well and leave for 24 hours. For the cocktail, add the vodka, chambord and cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and mix well. Take two small plates, add a small amount of water to one and pour the sugar to the other one. Take your glass and dip the rim into the water and then into the sugar, turning the glass until the rim is covered in sugar. Turn the glass up and carefully add the cocktail. There you have this weeks cocktail, the Harvest Sky.
The cocktail has a wonderfully spicy flavour that comes from the pumpkin spice that works really well with the chambord. It is a great drink to sip as you watch the magnificent sunsets we are having.
It might not quite be winter yet, but it is close enough! We thought it would be a great opportunity to have a look at Winter Living by Selina Lake a book we bought a few weeks back whilst bed bound with illness (the amazon app is a dangerous thing!). In the summer we bought our first book by Selina, Botanical Style and we loved it so with thought we’d give this a go.
Winter Living offer inspiration for making you home stylish through winter. It is stuffed full of gorgeous photography and countless ideas showing you how to turn your home into a romantic winter haven. This year there have been published countless books on Hygge, the Danish art of cosiness, this book has a broader scope but it definitely fall is into this category.
The book starts off by looking at winter inspirations before guiding through various winter styles. The first is ‘Homespun Charm’ a colourful style full of craft and vintage finds to create a warm and welcoming look. Next, it is onto ‘Faded Grandeur’ all about turning the tatty into the tasteful using rich textures and tones. The third style is ‘Rustic Retreat’ an earthy simple and natural look inspired by old barns and log cabins. Lastly is a look at ‘Winter Whites’ a clean and classic look inspired by snowflakes morning frosts and pale skies. The book finished up by taking a look at festive celebrations, after all, winter is party season! There is some great inspiration here on different styles to decorate for christmas, along with some great ideas for parties.
Our favourite look is definitely ‘Rustic Retreat’ but there are plenty of other ideas for us to steal once we find our new home. Winter can be a depressing enough time of year but this book reminds us that being inside can be cosy and snug, to create a haven at home to forget about how horrid it is out! It is a great addition to our book collection and we will no doubt be referring back for many winters to come!
You can buy Winter Living by Selina Lake here
Follow Selina’s Blog here
Hooray, we are on the mend! Hopefully, that is our illness out of the way now and we can start to enjoy ourselves. It is getting pretty busy between now and Christmas, we can’t believe it is only 40 days away, we better start getting organised. But first, let’s have a look at this week’s top five.
On Friday it was the annual day of Remberance for those who lost their lives during World War I, II and the more recent conflicts. We always pause and pay respects for the two minutes at 11am on Remberance day and Remembrance Sunday. A worthy thing to do as a frequent reminder of the few who gave their lives for us to live peacefully.
It is great to be able to get out and about again with Hettie. We took this snap on Sunday morning, it was a beautiful misty and mellow morning, and it was great to be outside to enjoy it!
In just over two weeks we are heading to Copenhagen for a pre-Christmas getaway. We are beyond excited and are busy planning what to do. There will be plenty of castles, history and culture. We’ll also be sampling the best of the city’s food and drink. We can’t wait! If you have any tips please let us know.
We love Christmas, really really love Christmas! To help with this year’s planning we have been buried nose deep in all our favourite magazines’ Christmas editions. We’ll soon be getting the decorations out for their annual audit and then it is Christmas all the way!
Continuing the Christmas theme we bought Jamie Olivers new Christmas cookbook. This Christmas Calum is cooking so any help is going to be very much appreciated. Jamie (along with Nigella and Delia) will be helping us out!
In these days of TV dinners, there is something special about sitting down to eat in a dining room. Having a separate room to eat in was a requirement on our ongoing house hunt. It is a room for entertaining in, but also just to sit together and have a catch up over supper. Inspired by our recent Havest Themed Dinner party we have created this Autumn Dining Room scheme.
Where to Buy | Autumn Dining Room
fig.1 Autumn Leaved Print Minted
fig.2 Pendant Light Lighting Lighting
fig.3 Autumn Leaves Plates Pottery Barn
fig.4 Plaid Napkins George by Asda
fig.5 Wine Glass John Lewis
fig.6 Rochelle Table made.com
fig.7 Rochelle Chairs made.com
fig.8 Wilton Mirror One World Trading
fig.9 Recycled Glass Vase Cox & Cox
fig.10 Sunflowers Vase Sainsburys
fig.11 Hunter Rug wayfair.co.uk
fig.12 Glazed Sideboard Maison du Monde
fig.13 Oro Antico Colour Courage
fig.14 Soft Grey Colour Courage
fig.15 Terra Di Sienna Colour Courage
Hello, so you may have noticed we’ve been a bit quiet of late? We’d like to pretend it’s because we have been really really busy, alas not. We have both been ill, with Rich doing especially well as he caught pneumonia! We’re on the mend now and will be up and running properly again soon. In the meantime let’s have a look at five things that have been keeping us chipper!
It is nice that people are thinking about us when we are not doing very well. Rich’s best friend Nikki sent flowers, a particularly lovely thing to do! And our Godson, Dexter (age 1 3/4), made us this wonderful get well soon card. It is the little things that brighten your day!
It has got pretty chilly in our part of the world of late. We have been bundling ourselves up to keep warm. It is also cold enough for the first fire of the season at Rich’s folk’s cottage. When you are feeling poorly there is nothing better than being snuggled up next to an open fire. Bliss!
Despite being cold it has been glorious clear weather around our neck of the woods. Being couped up inside means we haven’t been about to get out and enjoy the glorious colours of autumn. Having said that the garden has been a riot of colour so we have been able to enjoy it a bit.
We have a dilemma, Halloween is over so we really should be taking our autumn decorations down. But we are loving having these decorations about. In the USA they have the excuse to keep on going until Thanksgiving. We love thanksgiving so perhaps we should use that as our reasoning?
One advantage of being sick in 2016 is that due to Netflix we no longer have to put up with bad daytime TV. Firstly we got a little bit hooked on The Gilmore Girls which is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Since Friday we have been loving The Crown, a really heavyweight drama that is just pure quality!