Festive Admin: Get Through Your Christmas Checklist With Ease*

The festivities seem to already be in full swing- decorations are up around the shops, and all the adverts are out and giving us that warm Christmas feeling. It’s a busy (or hectic) time of year (well, they don’t call it party season for nothing) and there’ll be plenty of places to visit and faces to see over the coming weeks. However with everything happening so fast the weeks and days seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate before the big day arrives- along with the week following Christmas in the lead up to New Year. Therefore you’ll probably have a list as long as your arm in your head with things you need to organise, complete and sort out in good time so that you can relax and enjoy celebrating as much as possible.

It can be a challenge getting through all your tasks however big or small they are with time left to spare to relax and enjoy watching Home Alone, or thoroughly let yourself go at the office Christmas party. However the more you prepare and plan the next few weeks the more you’ll (or yule) have a fun and carefree Christmas ahead of you. Ensuring that you have everything on your list is the first step; so you’ll need to make sure that’s out of the way first so that you can begin working through it methodically and effectively. The following are some tips, ideas and inspiration for the ultimate Christmas admin list and will ensure that you’re the most organised elf this festive season.

(image)

Equipment At The Ready

When you go through the festive season you’re likely to have to decorate, wrap presents and you might even be partial to a spot of Christmas baking. Therefore there’s no time like the present to ensure that you have all you need in your cupboards to see you through each task. If you haven’t already it’s worth gathering an array of different wrapping papers, ribbons, cards, and more importantly, plenty of sellotape so that gift wrapping becomes a little easier. You don’t want to be buying one sheet of wrapping per present and running out to the supermarket to grab more sticky tape at 9 pm- this will only waste your time and money and send your stress levels up when you should be relaxing in front of Strictly. Brown parcel paper and washi tape can go a long way and create a beautiful-looking package so make sure that you have everything you need to be as creative and decorative as you want.

The same goes for anything that you want to create in the kitchen- stock up on the basics first, like flour, sugar, colouring, icing, spices and butter (you can freeze this) so that you can whip up a festive biscuit or cupcake whenever you want to. You can start looking through some of your favourite cookbooks for festive recipes- decide when would be a good time or great occasion to make things and begin to gather your cupboard and freezer ingredients so that you just have any fresh items to purchase nearer the time.

Thoughtful Gifts

When it comes to presents it really is the thought that counts, and it’s not about the size of a box or the cost of the gift that your recipients will appreciate. Therefore write your gift-giving list and have a think about what each person may enjoy and why. For your dad or boyfriend check out some unique gift ideas for men so that you’re not wrapping up socks again or aftershave. Perhaps you haven’t spent a great deal of time with your mum or bestie this year so you could book a spa day or an afternoon tea to enjoy together in January. Whatever you decide to get them make sure it shows you’ve taken the time to think of something special and meaningful.

Time To Prepare

The most crucial thing (that you might be lacking) during the upcoming weeks is the gift of time to do everything on your list. Therefore sit down for an hour or so and take a detailed look at your calendar. Prioritise social get-togethers with friends and family, utilise your free evenings and weekends to get your shopping, decorating, wrapping and cooking done and ensure that you get to see everyone you want to. Be the organiser= you can plan a couple of get-togethers with different groups of friends and visit a Christmas market or meet for dinner so that you’ve seen them all and can hand out cards and gifts. Make the most of the festivities and enjoy yourself knowing that you’ve got everything under control this season.

end

Gift Guides: Christmas at Home of Juniper

Like it or not we’re creeping ever closer to the festive season- two weeks today and it’ll officially be December, and try as I might I can’t help but feel a little bit excited about Christmas this year.

For my next gift guide instalment I’m returning to a brand I featured earlier in the year, Home of Juniper have some of the loveliest Christmas decorations and gift ideas I’ve seen and I can’t wait to share them with you.

grow your own christmas tree | solar chalet light | jewellery | mini christmas soap | peppermint and chocolate marshmallows | penguin decoration

I think the solar powered chalet light is my favourite item on the entire website right now- at £25.00 it’s an adorable AND affordable way to bring some festive cheer in to your home without being too obvious and is something I’d bring out year on year.
Other particular favourites are the little penguin decoration (penguin obsessive here) and the rather delicious sounding peppermint and chocolate marshmallows which I reckon would be absolutely divine popped in to a massive mug of hot chocolate.

Have any of these pieces caught your eye? Let me know in the comments if you’ve spotted anything you love from Home of Juniper.

end

Gift Guides: Ideas for Him under £30 with Red Candy

Every year when I sit down to write my gift guides I find loads of ideas and inspiration for the women of the world but really struggle when it comes to the men. Thankfully there are websites such as Red Candy who come to my rescue by supplying a whole host of fun and affordable gifts and gadgets to appeal to just about every male I know.

I’ve worked with Red Candy several times over the year and they’ve been kind enough to once again supply me with some items to feature in this gift guide. I used Bob as my inspiration when browsing this time and picked out some quirky gift ideas, all costing under £30 which I knew would appeal.

The first item I picked out was this Diplodocus Dino Mug* which I’ll admit was as much for my benefit as it was for his. I’m a sucker for a good mug and this one, with it’s hidden ceramic dinosaur was right up both of our streets. At £11.99 this might be more than I usually pay for my mugs, but as a gift (and for the sheer novelty factor) it’s worth every penny.
I fell in love with this Planter Bot* the second I saw it and knew it would make the perfect home for the lonely looking cactus lurking in Bob’s house. I also know that my brother would really appreciate this, he’s a fan of anything robot or comic book related and this fits in to both of those categories. This little chap costs £13.75 and if you wanted to pad out the gift a bit you could always pick up a cactus or succulent to go in it.
Coasters are always in short supply around these parts and the second I saw these Cosmos ones* I knew they would be the idea addition to Bob’s home. He’s a massive space nerd (by his own admission) and absolutely loves these- at £10 for a set of four they also work out quite bargainous too.
As well as the items I picked out for this post I’ve also popped together a few more ideas for budget friendly gifts for guys as Red Candy is a real treasure trove for shopping for blokes. This barely even scratches the surface of what’s available so do make sure you check them out if you’re having a struggle- and it’s not just for guys, I’ve compiled myself a massive wish list of things I’d like to add to the home (both my parents and Bob’s!)

clock | lamp | terrarium | mugs

end

Gift Guides: Paddywax Candles at Rooi

There seems to be differing opinions as to whether a candle makes a good gift. Some might say it’s generic or a cop out, but I love to receive them and I also love to give them, especially when you stumble across the recipients favourite scent or some seriously luxe style on a budget.

I was recently introduced to Paddywax candles thanks to interiors retailer Rooi and was seriously impressed by their aesthetically pleasing style and intriguing sounding scents. I was lucky enough to be able to pick out one of the candles for myself- testing out their gift-ability if you will…read on for my thoughts and whether I’ll be hoping that Santa delivers me more from this brand.

I picked out the wild fig and cedar scented candle from the brand’s Hygge range which costs £27.95. This might seem expensive for a candle, but when you stop and think about what you pay for a large Yankee candle, or splurge on a Jo Malone one it’s really quite reasonable.

The candle itself is beautifully presented in a duck egg blue matte ceramic pot with a very on trend copper lid. This is a large candle weighing in at 425g and promises plenty of gorgeously scented burn time.

It’s always a bit of gamble ordering a candle online when you’ve not smelt any of their scents before but somehow I just knew this would be good- and it is. Whilst some candles have a highly artificial aroma to them this one smells fresh and natural, and once lit cannot help but make it’s surroundings feel cosy.

I’d be delighted to receive any of the Paddywax Hygge range as a gift, and will certainly be gifting them myself. If you’re on more of a budget or fancy a little treat for yourself then you can pick up smaller but equally easy on the eye candles on Rooi- next on my list is the delightful sounding “sunset sherbet” candle from the prism range.

Have you tried Paddywax candles before? If so, which scents would you recommend? You can find the entire range on the Rooi website, along with plenty of other gift ideas from brands such as Kate Spade and Emma Bridgwater. Definitely somewhere to be checking out when writing your Christmas list.

end

Deck The Halls: The Art Of Christmas Decorations*

Ok, it’s October and WAY too early for me to be thinking about decorations really, but for any earlybirds out there- or at least those who like to plan way in advance, this one is for you!

Christmas decorations are an essential part of getting in to the festive spirit. If you’re looking to decorate this year with a sense of style, here are a few tips and tricks that are sure to impress guests and bring a sense of magic to your home.

Don’t be afraid of artificial trees

Many people love to have a real tree, but they can be costly and messy. An artificial tree will get more use – you can pull it out year on year. You can also style it more easily to your home- for example, you don’t have to go green – there are white artificial trees that can be great for making brightly coloured tinsel and baubles really stand out and there aren’t any messy pine needles to clear up or stop the cat from eating!

Create festive focal points

Create Christmas zones that draw attention, the tree is an obvious focal point but why not try having other focal points in other rooms? The dining room table can be a great focal point and even coffee tables can be dressed up for the occasion as these tips on decorating your coffee table for Christmas show. Other focal points could be a specially designated Christmas shelf in which all items are swapped out for Christmas items or a decorated door.

Keep practical zones free of Christmas clutter

Don’t let your Christmas decorations serve as obstacles. For example, it’s best to keep Christmas decorations to a minimum in the kitchen- you don’t want to be finding bits of tinsel in your turkey!

(image)

Make your own DIY decorations

A great trick for those on a budget is DIY decorations. Consider paper chains and origami snowflake cut-outs- building these can be a great activity to do with little folk in the run up to the big day! Look up guides online on how to make your own Christmas decorations – you’ll be surprised what you can build with materials you may already have.

Don’t just hang baubles on the tree

If you’ve got an excess of baubles don’t try and weigh down the tree with them. Consider hanging them on light fittings and in the corner of rooms as an extra embellishment around the home.

(image)

Use greenery

There are lots of plants that are commonly associated with Christmas such as mistletoe, ivy and holly. These can help to bring a natural feel to your home that may offset the heavy use of plastic ornaments and baubles. The likes of ivy can be hung over picture frames and door frames just like tinsel. You could also have wreaths all around the home – they needn’t just be reserved for your front door.

Incorporate Christmas scents and tastes

Fill the home with Christmas scents such as cinnamon to help get you in the mood. Scented cinnamon candles can make a nice touch. You can also make use of edible decorations such as hanging chocolates or baskets of mince pies. Just make sure that these edibles don’t all get eaten straight away (you may even want to introduce an after-Christmas rule, if you dare!)

end