Christmas table

What an autumn this one has been! I haven’t stopped to take a breath  (not even over half term) and now I am begging for the winter break to hurry up so I can put my feet up, catch my breath and make plans for 2019. Is anyone else feeling the same way?

I’ve talked before about cooking Christmas dinner and about which wines to choose for Christmas in fact, I have a whole category labelled Christmas with all of my favourite things in there but today I am concentrating on how to make my table look wonderful.

Being a Wayfair Home Expert means I get to stay up to date on all of their fabulous products (and there are tons of them!) One of my favourite posts was the bedroom wall art and I still really enjoy this corner of my home. Wayfair was recently looking to peek inside blogger’s houses and see what preparations they made for Christmas. I replied that for me, my dining table takes centre stage and enjoying good food and wines with my family.

table food stand

There will be 12 of us this year on Christmas day, both of my brothers with their crew are joining us and it’s always a day filled with love and laughter. The brothers are excellent chefs and everyone in the family has grown up appreciating good food and learning to cook it. This year will be no exception. Everyone will be bringing some of their favourite products to the table and our eating starts on Christmas Eve and goes through to Boxing Day breakfast, that is a lot of eating!

I mentioned this in my email to Wayfair and they were curious to see what I would come up with to make this feast as enjoyable and memorable as past years have been.

They gave me a budget of £75 and I started to browse their shelves.

My first choice was for a new white tablecloth as my old ones are looking tired and the stains are refusing to budge – there are only so many things you can place on a table to disguise them! I was delighted to find this option and in different sizes too.  I went for the longest as my table extends to seat 12 people. It’s perfect and although you can’t see from the above photos (as I prepared the table for 6) it really will look the business on the day. Total cost £23.16

My second choice was for a tiered food stand. It’s a wooden frame with two removable slate shelves to place your food on and we have already had so much fun with it. We had a girl’s night in and filled it to overflowing with sweet treats for pudding, it was the perfect choice for two mums and their three daughters, chatting and eating sugary delights. I

In my Christmas photo, I dressed the stand with antipasti and I am planning all sorts of uses for my new centrepiece. Cheeseboard, condiments, more puddings and even a sushi evening! One other thing to mention is how easy it is to clean, just a quick wipe over with soapy water and air dry – Ii’s already ready for its next outing. £23.99

wayfair pot holder

My final choice was for a rather lovely pot holder. The shape caught my eye and the good quality of the wood. It will be the proud holder of the turkey on the day. £23.99

What do you think? Which product do you like best? Here’s wishing you the most wonderful Christmas this year.

christmas decorations

It may feel like autumn has only just arrived, but before we know it winter will be knocking at the door, bringing chilly nights, cosy coats, and – of course – Christmas. It’s never too early to start planning ahead on how to make the most of the festive season. Especially when you’ve got the little ones to think about. It’s a truly magical time of year for children, and there’s so much you can do to make it even more memorable for them.

Letters to Santa

This can get your kids beginning to think of what they would like from Santa. Though the chances are they’ll probably have a number of different drafts before November rolls around. If you have a fireplace, you could leave the letters in the grate and tell your kids they’ll magically be delivered to the North Pole overnight. It creates a little bit of spark, rather than getting them to write it down and saying you’ll put it in the postbox.

Festive Baking

festive baking

Getting the kids in the kitchen is a great chance to make some family festive memories. After all, Christmas is known as a time for carbs and indulgent eating. A fun activity, which is so easy to involve the children. You can keep it simple and bake biscuits, and leave plenty of time for decorating them. You could see who can make the best Santa in icing. Or make the biscuit in the shape of a tree and get silver ball bearings. You’ll probably end up enjoying yourself as much as the kids.

Lights

christmas lights

Christmas brings so much joy during dark and dreary winter. Homes across the country light up, and everything feels that little bit cosier. So why not get your own home involved with this? You can go beyond the fairy lights on the tree. Cox & Cox offer a fantastic range of both indoor and outdoor light decorations. They’re perfect for bringing a little extra sparkle into your home this festive season. Whether you want to go for strings of stars for the ceiling or a reindeer for the garden, you’ll find a perfect piece.

Homemade Decorations

There are some families who are meticulous when it comes to the tree. There are certain colour schemes, strategic ornament placing and tinsel is a no. It tends to sap the joy from it. You and the kids could spend an afternoon making your own Christmas tree decorations. It could be as simple making a cotton ball snowman or cutting felt into stars. These pieces will soon become treasured traditions – things you’ll hang up on the trees in many years to come and remember the afternoon you’ve spent making them. A Christmas tree should reflect the family of the home that’s it in.

Disclosure: Collaborative post

how the Grinch stole christmas

‘Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more’ 

There is a tiny part of me that completely resonates with the Grinch. Like him, I too raise my eyebrows at people who put their decorations up way too early (the first of December is early enough) and people who seem to buy every single product out there to give their loved ones at Christmas, overkill. In fact, the Grinch is one of my favourite Christmas books and films that I enjoy watching on the run-up to the big day.

This year, The Grinch is celebrating 60 years of being one of literature’s most iconic seasonal characters and Mari’s World has been chosen to be one of the Grinchmas bloggers – an accolade I am incredibly proud of.

Harper Collins has put together a fabulous Grinchmas hub full of wonderful Grinchy ideas and I decided to make a Merry Grinchmas door wreath to add to their pot of Grinchmas fun. Don’t panic as it really is quite simple, you should know by now that if I can do this – then anyone can!

How to make a Merry Grinchmas door wreath

merry grinchmas door wreath

What you’ll need

1 polystyrene ring
Dark green tissue paper
Assorted coloured ribbons
1 large green bauble
Red Felt stars
Light green deco mesh
LED lights
Card for the sign
Red and white pipe cleaners for the candy canes
Box of pins

  • Start with the polystyrene hoop and cover it with dark green tissue paper.
  • Wrap a red and white ribbon around the hoop until you are back where you started.
  • Wrap a string of LED lights in the same way and secure the battery pack with a tight knot that will enable you to get to it and change the batteries as and when required.
  • Glue on the felt stars and add bows made from assorted ribbon (mine are in gold). These can be pinned in place.
  • Take the large green bauble and draw on the features of the Grinch with a permanent marker. I started with the nose and eyes. There are plenty of drawings online to work from. The yellow eyes were painted using a nail varnish! Hang the Grinchtowards the top of the hoop and pin the ribbon or string in place to prevent it moving.

merry grinchmas door wreath

  • Cut large strips of the deco mesh and roll holding it tight in the middle, tie the middle with two kinds of ribbon to hold firmly in place. I used the red and white ribbon plus a snowflake version. Pin your deco mesh bows across the top.
  • Using red and white striped pipe cleaners form a couple of candy canes and glue into place.
  • Lastly, take a piece of cardboard and with a pencil, draw on the Merry Grinchmas and the small arm with the bauble. I found lots of examples online and copied directly from one of them. I then painted it and glued it in place on my door wreath.

merry grinchmas door wreath

What do you think?

I am really pleased with it and I shall hang it in our classroom from the 1st December.

Talking of classrooms, I’ve taken a look at the Grinch Classroom Lesson Plans too on the Grinchmas hub and I think we can have a lot of fun with them. Do pop by and take a look, you can have endless fun Grinchifying yourself like this…

Mari Grinchified

 

There are some wonderful ideas on how to grow your heart three times bigger, activity sheets to download and a 12 days of Grinchmas to join in too.

The time is nearly here and this weekend, if you haven’t got one already, I would advise you make your final choice of Advent Calendar for the run-up to Christmas 2017.

It might not be an easy choice as there are so many different types to choose from.

beer bottle advent calendarwine bottle advent calendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may have noticed the market has become flooded with advent ideas this year. What started as a joke on Facebook, a tired parent drawing fake windows to open on the exterior of a case of 24 bottles of beer, or adding pretty tags to 24 bottles on the wine rack, has sparked a lot of marketing minds and today we have, wine calendars, gin calendars, beer calendars, candle calendars, cosmetic calendars…you get the picture. Everyone has put a beautiful calendar out there for you to choose from.

I love all of them but…I’m not a huge fan of cosmetics, so I quickly ruled that one out. I was tempted by the alcohol but seriously? I’m heading towards the most indulgent time of the year and I want to lose weight on the run-up rather than put weight on. That thought quickly ruled out all alcoholic versions!

I really enjoyed the candles last year but I already have some candles on the go which I am enjoying so I didn’t need any extra this year. So….

I went back to basics – aka chocolate! I fell in love with Hotel Chocolat’s calendar for two. A unique idea which allows grown-ups to share a small delight of an evening (at least that’s when I plan to open our window). A special chocolate as each day is a new truffle to taste.

best advent calendars for two

I know it’s indulgent but the chocolate is small and it will prevent me from tucking into the big boxes that are invitingly stacked up sky-high in all supermarkets right now, tempting me as I walk past. ‘Buy me! Buy me!”

Just take a look at it and tell me you’re not impressed.

Whilst you’re in Hotel Chocolat, you may wish to select something special for the children too. We went for this version. I think they’re going to really enjoy it.

best advent calendars

I have decided that this year, Christmas is all about keeping it small and simple and this is how I propose enjoying advent. What will you go for this year?

Disclaimer: Hotel Chocolate kindly agreed to send me a calendar of each featured for the purpose of this post.

Christmas day 2012

It’s that time of year when I start getting prepared for Christmas. I am buying in Christmas cards to write to family and friends, advent calendars to be ready for the 1st of the month. I have cupboards with bags stashed in them hiding away the gifts I have found so far and lists of others I still need to get hold of.

I baked my Christmas cake last week, it’s sitting in a tupperware box soaking up some delicious Vecchia Romagna brandy from Italy courtesy of Ciao Gusto and I am looking forward to ‘feeding’ it again this Sunday.

With about 4 weeks to go, my life is going to go from hectic to chaotic until I reach Christmas Eve and finally, finally I’ll be able to sit down on my sofa with something alcoholic in my hand and enjoy the moment.

It’s at times like this when I remember past Christmases and our family sofa stories. My brothers regularly fall asleep on it after lunch whilst chaos reigns around them, kids playing, new toys being unwrapped, television on and they sleep soundly through the noise until tea time.

preparing cooking and carving the perfect christmas dinner

I can picture my lovely nan sitting there and saying, ‘I’ve never seen so many toys in my life!’ She has because she says it every year but in all due respect, I can see how Christmas of today is very different from her family Christmas as a young girl when they were most likely to receive one gift. There weren’t lists of products from the Argos catalogue handed around back then!

One of the funniest Christmas memories I have is when my lovely dad was still with us. I had moved in with Paul but had only been back in the UK a year or so. It was the year dad came to us to spend Christmas and my brother joined us too.

We had the turkey and all of the trimmings, the cupboards were over stocked with festive food and booze and we were ready to spend some quality time together as a family. My brother was in charge of the entertainment and he told us he had a really good DVD for us to watch, he’d been saving it to watch it together on Christmas Day.

Baxter with dog toys

How lovely of him.

We tucked in to our Christmas meal, pulled our crackers, read the jokes and lifted our glasses, happy to be together again. It was lovely having dad with us and such a pleasure to see him enjoying himself too.

Once the table was cleared and cups of teas made, we settled on the sofa ready to watch the DVD. That was the moment we discovered it was called 28 days. Brother gaily announced it was a film about the world being destroyed by an incurable virus and only a handful of survivors left who would try to find sanctuary.

Fun!

He was excited as it was a Danny Boyle film and had received a lot of attention by the press and film critics.

We sat down to watch and, well let’s say it wasn’t really Christmas Day viewing. Brother loved it. Dad, Paul and I looked at each other bemused and poured another drink, after all it was Christmas and the day of indulgence.

It goes without saying that brother still hears about that film choice year after year and we’ll most likely bring it up again this Christmas Day much to his delight.

Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with DFS but all thoughts are my own Visit their website to find out more about their great range of DFS Sofas