Tips for decorating your home at Christmas

Christmas is only three days away!  If you haven't finished decorating your home here are some tips on preparing your home for the festive season:

1. Start the festive feel outside the front door with a Christmas wreath on the door. It's all about curb appeal!  This is a lovely welcome to anyone coming to visit.  Last year I decided to have a different sort of wreath so I bought a dried hydrangea one (see image below). This year I opted for a more traditional wreath made from fresh Norwegian spruce and decorated with real cones, dried oranges and apples to which I added some cinnamon sticks which exude a heady scent of spice.

2. Ensure you continue the Christmassy feel with a ta-dah moment once you enter the front door. I chose to do this with red Amaryllis in a tall vase and coloured lights (battery powered). 

3. Use fresh flowers and greenery in abundance.  I have a huge vintage preserving jar of holly in my hall and a large vase of scented Longi lilies in the sitting room and another in the kitchen. Don't forget poinsettias as they always create a splash of colour if you group them together. I prefer the white ones so have a couple of tiny plants which just one flower on each! 

4. You always need a pièce de résistance, a large Christmas tree. My preference is for a real tree but there's nothing wrong with an artificial one.  It needs to be placed where its beauty is maximised and can be seen from various angles and ideally reflected in a mirror.  As children we looked up at the tree so I ensure that my two sons can always look up at the tree so it needs to be taller than them - we're up to a seven and a half foot tree now!  I tend to decorate my tree in two colours rather than multi-coloured. This year it is silver and glass with pops of purple.

5. If you have children around over Christmas make sure there are decorations that can be appreciated by children. I have a little faux tree from The White Company that I place on a table in the hall and all the decorations are geared to children.  I also have five little straw angels with musical instruments that I bought in a Christmas market in Bratislava that children love.

5. Continue the festive theme by decorating your mantle pieces, stair rails, mirrors and other available surfaces.  I bought a lovely metal tree with glass tea light holders from Petersham Nurseries which I placed on my mantelpiece with sprigs of fresh spruce at its base.

I'd love to hear how you decorate your home for Christmas so do send me some comments.  May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

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Find inspiration for Christmas at Petersham Nurseries

Hi everyone. I guess you are all frantically preparing for Christmas - decorating your homes and trying to decide what gifts to buy and what food you will eat.  I got off to a late start this year so on Friday I decided I needed some inspiration. So I headed to my favourite mecca for inspiration and soul soothing, Petersham Nurseries.  For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, I'm a sucker for Petersham and I've done quite a few blog posts on it. They are usually highly visual posts i.e. few words and loads of images, because Petersham is all about visual stimulation.  I therefore have decided that what you all need is few words and loads of gorgeous photos to feast your eyes on.  Hopefully they will inspire you on how to decorate your homes and your Christmas trees and also what gifts to buy. If you are lucky enough to live in London or the surrounding area, jump in the car and head over to Petersham.  Take a tray of coffee and cake into one of the glasshouses or a tray of lunch depending when you arrive.  Here's my coffee and delicious apple cake. Don't you just love these vintage painted distressed metal tables & chairs?

I took my new Nikon DSLR camera this time and spent three hours practising my photographic skills. I hope you are impressed with some of them; I'm very much a beginner but I'm really enjoying the learning curve!

I hope you enjoyed that.  Now it's back to the grind of lists and shopping. Bring on the festivities! 

I'd love to get some feedback from you about how you prepare your homes for Christmas so please write to me and I promise to respond!

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An invite to an exclusive blogger event

Hi everyone. I had the pleasure of being invited by India Jane to an exclusive blogger preview event today, Tuesday 1st December, at their flagship store in Kings Road, Chelsea, London.  For those of you not familiar with India Jane,  it's a family-owned home interiors business which was founded in 1992.  Their signature style embodies the understated elegance of updated classics and sleek lines of contemporary sophistication. They have ten stores in the UK but none abroad, at least not that I'm aware of. There were five of us (all ladies!) handpicked discerning bloggers of interiors!!  We were given a talk by their head of Marketing and PR, the very charming James Neil, on the key trends and latest products of India Jane while being offered bubbly and nibbles.  We were also offered 15% discount on everything we purchased and it was very much the embarrassment of the choice as to what to buy as it all looked so incredibly inviting, beautiful and luxurious.  And if that wasn't sufficient, they offered us a goodie bag when we left which I discovered this evening when I got home, contained a selection of gorgeous India Jane homewares.  I know Christmas hasn't come yet but I felt as if all my Christmases had come at once! 

I adore this time of year when the shops are dressed and styled to the hilt. Indian Jane is certainly no exception!  I'm no stranger to India Jane; I have a house full of their furniture, mirrors, soft furnishings, accessories and lighting (I have no less than five of their chandeliers in my home!). However I never tire of browsing one of their stores as they are styled within an inch of their lives but with the utmost taste.  Glitz and glamour but understated and refined. What more could you want?!

I took some photos on my iPhone but they aren't the greatest quality (says the gal who has just done a course in DSLR photography!) so do excuse the poor quality of some of the shots. I think I was overcome with the emotion of trying to decide what I could afford to buy when all I wanted to do was transport the entire shop to my home!

 India Jane is one of those shops, you have to buy something. I've never left empty handed! I'd love to hear about any interiors local shop that you frequent and the things they sell that you cannot live without. 

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