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Decorating The House For Christmas

 

 

I’m so happy to be able to blog again - I really missed it whilst my website was under construction. The last one I published was about my Summer break in Yorkshire, and now it Christmas - how time flies!

 This past week I’ve been busy decorating my house for the festive season. The tradition in my family was to decorate the tree on the 13th of December - my sisters birthday. It was always such an exciting time where we would all help to place the decorations whilst listening to Christmas music and enjoying some tasty treats. Even now when I hear one of those songs on the radio I’m immediately transported back to that time and I just remember being so happy. 

 Now that I’m all grown up and have my own place, I’m starting to make my own traditions. Although I would prefer to put up and decorate my tree on the 13th, I simply have to do it much earlier so that I can film festive content for YouTube in advance, so now I do it on the 1st of December. 

 My family all live 400 miles away in England, so sadly they are unable to help me decorate my tree. Instead I entice my friends over to help with the promise of mince pies and alcohol - funnily enough they all seem to free for this particular occasion. For me, decorating the tree signals the start of Christmas, and although I am quite particular about how I want my tree to look, I would much rather be doing it with friends than on my own. 

 Over the years I’ve had both real and faux Christmas trees and I always change my mind about which I prefer. With a faux tree there is a lot less mess, it always looks more full and uniform, and it won’t start to droop after a few weeks of being inside a warm house. A real tree smells wonderful, and I just love the natural, irregular shapes and looks that they provide. 

 This year the allure of the scent of pine drove me to get a real tree. I headed on down to my local tree farm and picked the perfect one within minutes - a 9ft beauty with full branches and lots of character. It was delivered to my door three hours later and placed into position in its new home. 

 

 

Before decorating the tree, I like to let it sit overnight so that the branches can fall and open out. It’s always a good idea to do this, despite the temptation to get started right away. The next evening I had two friends over for drinks and they kept me company whilst I decorated the tree. 

 

 

I like to make my own garland for the fireplace using winter foliage. I have a good friend who has a huge garden - luckily she lets me forage every year for bits of evergreen, holly, and anything else I can find. 

 It is much easier than you imagine to make your own garland. I don’t bother attaching it all together with floral wire. Instead I just place the foliage on the fireplace and stick bits here and there in a symmetrical fashion until it starts to look good. This way you can keep standing back adjusting. I’m very happy with how it has turned out. 

 

One of my favourite things to do at Christmas is to set the table. It is even more exciting this year as I have a dining room!

 I had been looking for some festive tableware for quite some time but never really found anything I liked. Finally I discovered this Toys Delight collection by Villeroy & Boch and I think it is perfect. My new dining room is quite plain as I’ve yet to wallpaper or decorate it fully, so this tableware will add a little whimsy and colour.

 

 

It also brings out my inner child - the little boy who would excitedly decorate the Christmas Tree with his parents and siblings on the 13th of December each year - and for me, that is what this time is all about!

To sign up to the Villeroy & Boch newsletter and receive a discount - use the Nicolas Fairford HERE
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TAKING A BREAK - MY WEEK IN YORKSHIRE

TAKING A BREAK - MY WEEK IN YORKSHIRE

It was time for a break. After working 6-7 day weeks since September 2020, I was tired and ready for a change of scenery. Like most of us during this pandemic, my footprint has not ventured much further than my postcode recently, and as someone who loves to travel and explore, I’ve found it difficult. That’s why when my small team announced they would be away the following week, I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to pack my bags and have a much-needed rest.

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THE PERFECT BREAKFAST TO CURE A HANGOVER

THE PERFECT BREAKFAST TO CURE A HANGOVER

Shakshuka is a classic Middle Eastern dish that is packed full of flavour and goodness. It is my go-to breakfast after a night out - comforting, delicious and easy to whip up. 

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FLORALS? FOR SPRING?..

FLORALS? FOR SPRING?..
Cathy B Graham and I became friends after finding each other on Instagram. She had just released her brand new book ‘Second Bloom’ and was in London taking a break, so we decided to meet for Tea at Claridges, where she was staying. Cathy is such a fun lady, full of charm and completely hilarious - we hit it off immediately. Continue reading

AFTERNOON TEA RECIPES

AFTERNOON TEA RECIPES
Here are the recipes from my latest video ‘ How To Create The Perfect Afternoon Tea At Home’ which I recently shared on YouTube. I hope you find them useful and delicious. If you would like to see the episode CLICK HERE Continue reading

THREE OF MY FAVOURITE COASTAL HOTELS IN EUROPE FOR A SUMMER BREAK

THREE OF MY FAVOURITE COASTAL HOTELS IN EUROPE FOR A SUMMER BREAK
With today being the first day of Summer, and the weather being completely glorious here in Edinburgh, I have been daydreaming about where I would like to be right now. Travel is still quite restricted here - we have to self isolate on returning to the UK, and other measures mean that traveling is still not really very viable at the moment - but we can dream! Continue reading

4 NEW BOOKS ON MY ‘TO BUY’ LIST FOR SUMMER

4 NEW BOOKS ON MY ‘TO BUY’ LIST FOR SUMMER
As you will know by now, books are one of my very favourite things. From a novel I can’t put down to a fascinating biography that is not only entertaining but informative, there is nothing I enjoy more than settling down to some good reading. Coffee-table books are also something I love to collect. I truly believe that these big, glossy volumes with their stunning photography, illustrations and charm have taught me a lot of what I know about good design, as well as informing my taste and how I want to live. Continue reading

CHOCOLATE BISCUIT CAKE

CHOCOLATE BISCUIT CAKE
Famous as being one of two royal wedding cakes to celebrate the marriage of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, this delicious and easy no-bake cake is a real crowd pleaser. Taken from ‘A Royal Cookbook - Seasonal Recipes From Buckingham Palace’ this has become one of my very favourite cakes. Continue reading

THE ELEGANT LIFE OF CORDELIA DE CASTELLANE

THE ELEGANT LIFE OF CORDELIA DE CASTELLANE

Every now and then I discover someone on Instagram and get lost down a rabbit-hole of elegance. This happened recently when I stumbled across the account of Cordelia de Castellane - artistic director of Dior Maison and Baby Dior. Cordelia lives a charmed existence in her country home just North of Paris - this is a world of passed-down-antiques, outdoor dining under the stars, rooms layered with fabric and textiles, an abundance of flowers fresh from the garden - basically a romantic lifestyle that is rooted in simplicity and tradition.

Let’s take a peek inside Cordelia’s world.

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MY TRIP TO LONDON

MY TRIP TO LONDON
This past week I have been in London, filming a series of special episodes that will be released over the next few weeks. The first in this episode was released on Friday (June 11th) so if you have not had chance to see that yet, I highly recommend that you do so. In it I share some of my favourite places to shop and visit in London. Continue reading