I was out with some friends last Friday and the group was divided between those who were decorating their houses for Christmas this weekend and those who were giving it another week. We were chatting about the pros and cons of having lived in a house for a long time. I really enjoy unwrapping my much loved decorations every year, it’s all part of the tradition of Christmas. But there are so many lovely things in the shops and sometimes it’s nice to add a few Christmas home updates. So I thought I’d do a post on the little extras that might just add a bit more sparkle.
Christmas home updates – cushions
I’m starting with cushions because these are the first things that I changed over this weekend. I get very sentimental about my Christmas cushions because my mum made them for me from scarlet silk when I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of my first baby. He was born on 21st December and each year I marvel at how we were able to rest him on just one cushion when we brought him home from hospital just before Christmas Eve. I don’t think even one of his feet would fit on them now but the cushions are a wonderful link to a very special time. Look – I even found a photo of him, clearly thinking deep thoughts at about 10 days old (you can tell it’s pre-digital, the corners are damaged)!
Anyway, 21 years later the cushions are still going strong. However as a little Christmas home update, this year I have interspersed them with faux fur and a reindeer cushion (and yes I know the sofa cushions need plumping but I’m hoping you agree that it is one of the most soul destroying tasks when you have teens returning at 4.30pm to sprawl all over them)!
Here are some other cost effective options.
L-R top to bottom
Village scene – this lights up!
Red faux fur (also available in grey or ivory)
Reindeer cushion – this is the one I’ve bought
Christmas home updates – tree
As you’ll know if you’ve been reading for a while, each year we go to a local farm to choose our Christmas trees. So I never thought we would buy an artificial one but this year, I had to do a Christmas photoshoot for JD Williams in the first week of October. I desperately needed to make the house look Christmassy so I did some research and decided that the White Company had the most cost-effective natural looking one. I bought the 6ft and must admit that when it was delivered, I wished I’d gone for the 7.5ft tree but I didn’t have time to return it.
6 ft Christmas tree (15% off plus spend over £50 for free delivery with code AS329)
If you’re looking for an artificial tree, it is more expensive than a lot of them but until you get very close to it, you really would think it was real. The 6ft size looks a bit lost in our extension (you can see it in the cushion picture above) but we’ll transfer it into one of our smaller rooms where it will be perfect. I also bought the cherry bulbs that are designed to go with it (you can see them in the shot above) and they look really lovely. They cast more of a glow than traditional fairy lights because they’re just that bit bigger. We will still buy real trees for the other rooms.
Cherry bulbs currently 30% off – grrrr!
Christmas home updates – hallway
Anyone who remembers my post about the stair carpet will be pleased to know that after a lot of palaver, we have finally chosen a new one and the threadbare one has left the building! Of course it means that the whole of our hallway and staircase needs redecorating before it arrives. I had hoped it would be done by now so that I could show you a picture but the decorator couldn’t fit us in until this week. I’ve chosen strong purples (Brassica and Calluna from Farrow and Ball) which should work well with the very dark purple (Pelt) that we have in the breakfast room which is nearest to the stairs. This gives you an idea of the depth of Pelt – you can see where I preserved the youngest’s tiny, greasy handprint before we painted – it’s about two feet from the ground!
Anyway, last month The White Company invited me to choose a few pieces of homeware for Christmas. I took a deep breath as I thought about the tree and lights I’d already bought and then decided that the new hall will need some finishing touches so I chose this pre-lit beaded garland to go up the refurbished bannister…
Twig garland pre-lit and decorated with buds and beads (currently 30% off)
…along with these little trees. From Friday 1st December I’ll have them on the dining table, next to the advent calendars.
Set of three mini trees (15% off plus spend over £50 for free delivery with code AS329)
I will also be changing the doormats over for Christmas, probably to one of these for a bit of fun when friends arrive.
Christmas home updates – windows
We’ve always decorated our windows for Christmas – maybe because Mr MC was in charge of the Christmas window production at Selfridges for so many years. Our house is in the heart of the village and we have a series of small Georgian windows that face onto the little high street. Whenever I meet someone new locally and they realise where I live, they always say “oh the Christmas house!’ So you see we have a reputation to maintain! The real impact comes at night when the shutters are closed and the lights are switched on so each window sparkles individually. One year I wired greenery around the lights which looked fantastic… but that was when I seemed to have a lot more time on my hands.
At the back of the house as you know, we have added a modern extension and so we decorate it with oversized snowflakes.
As soon as I start to post my outfit shots I am asked about where they come from so here they are:
I’ve also found these this year. If you’ve ever ordered from the Midlifechic Boutique you’ll know that they match my packaging!
Christmas home updates – fragrance
There’s nothing nicer than opening your front door and being hit by a wave of warm, cinnamon scented air. My fragrance of choice at Christmas is (honestly and it has been for years) The White Company’s Winter. They may not thank me for suggesting this but a lot of people really liked the tip I shared last year. The very cost-effective way to have it permeating your home is to buy the fragrance oil and use oil burners. Of course this is where my years of retail force me to say that you should never leave a burning candle unattended. However I confess that I do, once I’ve assessed that its surroundings are safe. So, this is what I use, you simply add a few drops of oil to water in the dish and burn a tealight beneath to diffuse the fragrance:
Fragrance oil (15% off plus spend over £50 for free delivery with code AS329)
You can adjust your measures until you achieve the level of fragrance that you like best. I usually boost it with a candle on the coffee table next to the sofa (these botanical candles are the best value).
Botanical candle (15% off plus spend over £50 for free delivery with code AS329)
I did also order the Neom candles that I featured a few posts ago and I’m really enjoying the contrast between them. Remember that there is no point in saving candles for best because the fragrance oil will deteriorate. And always burn them until the wax has pooled over the top (i.e. the whole top layer has melted). Wax has memory and if you blow a candle out too soon, it will tunnel every time you burn it which means that the wick will burn lower than the wax. In the end it will drown and your candle will be wasted.
Christmas home updates – open fires
One of the things I love about not living in London is the ability to have roaring fires at Christmas and we’re lucky because the rooms in the old part of our house have open fireplaces. This is our ‘snug’ – it’s my sanctuary because it doesn’t have a TV
At Christmas we use these pine cone fire starters so that we can lay a fire quickly when we want one.
This year I’ve also ordered some of this magic dust which gives you thirty minutes of disco flames for a bit of fun
Christmas home updates – mugs
We change our mugs over at Christmas and we already have some so I have no excuse to buy these – I’m hoping you do…
And I think that’s it for now. Just because I really enjoy it, I will be doing a finishing touches post next week to cover off the last few bits and pieces for home.
Mr MC and I are making a bid for freedom this week. Firstly we’re going down to London for the Thirty Plus Blog Awards on Thursday night. Regardless of whether I win or not, thank you so much if you voted for me. I feel very honoured to have been put forward for Blogger of the Year and I’m really looking forward to the evening. The event finishes at 9pm so Mr MC and I are hoping to revisit the little Soho restaurant where we did most of our dating – if it’s still there of course… it’s been a while!
Then on Saturday we’re off again on our own but this time to review a country pub that has just opened on the other side of the Scottish border. I’ve been taking a break from the hamster wheel that is Instagram but I’ll be back again at the end of the week so you can join me there if you’d like to @midlifechic.
Friday’s post will be a quick catch up with some recent outfits of the day. I’m sorry that I’m behind with the comments again – I like to take my time when I answer them and there just hasn’t been any time recently. I do appreciate the snippets of life that you share with me there though – please don’t give up on me, I’ll be replying soon. Last piece of news – the handmade luxury totes are currently on their way across the sea and will be delivered any day. So will the new crossbody bags. I’m really pleased with them and hopefully I’ll be able to add them to the shop next week. Until then, have a good week and thank you, as always, for reading Midlifechic.
Disclosure: ‘Christmas home updates’ is not a sponsored post. I was allowed to choose a few items from The White Company. For this post I chose the garland and the small trees but the other items were paid for by me. I also chose a couple of other pieces which I will include at a later date. Oh… and if only she was here I would also thank my mum for the cushions she made – everything was such a blur in 1996 that I’m not sure I did at the time.
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