Christmas 101

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In the past, I've not been all that excited about the festive season. It's something that I've found pretty hard and generally pretty stressful but this year feels so different. It's my boyfriends and mine first Christmas together in our house which is super exciting and something that has lifted my typical Scrooge spirit. And I've teamed up with Homesense this year so we've got all bases covered from gifts to entertaining to decor and I'm so excited to show you everything we've got in prep for the festive season. If you're not aware of what HomeSense is, they're part of the TK Maxx family and if you're a lover of the home section in TK Maxx then you will adore Homesense. It's an entire store dedicated to those unique items that always have up to 60% off and shopping there always feels like you're on a treasure hunt. There is always something incredible in store and they have fresh deliveries throughout the week so you're bound to find something for you or a loved on this season.

FESTIVE FINDS

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As this is my boyfriend’s first Christmas and mine together we're yet to set in stone what our traditions are. We made the decision that when it comes to our decor that we want something that is personal to us and allows us to show our personality whilst still looking nice and festive of course. Our first priority was decorating our tree with some fresh decorations, I've got some wooden ones from my childhood that are precious to me but I wanted to add in some new options that we've both chosen. Naturally, as big dog lovers, we've picked up a couple of puppy decorations which were a bargain at £3.99 each, they’re so beautiful and unique. And that's the great thing about Homesense, we've been customers of the store for a long time and we always find unique pieces that we're unlikely to find elsewhere. As well as the pieces being unique they're also great value as everything is up to 60% off RRP so we can have a beautiful Christmas for less. Once we'd decorated the tree which of course is the center point we added a few more festive pieces to our living room by adding a beautiful snow globe, wreath as well a few festive scents to our fireplace and shelves.

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As you can tell we haven't got too much of a colour scheme going on in terms of tree decorations as it's not really our style. But we've kept some key tones in like greens, whites, silvers and gold’s which all blend together beautifully and of course suit the season perfectly. Our living room is white which gives us free reign to add in pieces as we please as white is a great blank canvas for interiors. As we're unable to put a wreath on our front door we've utilised our radiator shelf to create a little winter wonderland with the wreath, candles and that darling snow globe. I've added in a couple of scents for the season too, I've not gone down the traditional pine route as we don't have a very big space so often those scents can be a little heady. So I picked up a woody vanilla reed diffuser because it's a classic scent that transitions through the season beautifully and it's in this beautiful deep blue bottle with gold tree's on. And even though I'm trying to cut back on candles I couldn't resist this beautiful icy blue number. It's not your typical floral option despite it being hyacinth but it's totally seasonally appropriate.

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As well as the super festive options for around the room we've made things a little more seasonally appropriate by switching up our sofa cushions, blankets and bedding. We wanted something that could not only suit the season but could transitional easily throughout the rest of the year too. So we went for a beautiful selection of greys, I'm such a sucker for greys as it's a shade that I always think is effortlessly festive. As well as the squishiest cushions we could find, they're are so unbelievably comfortable that it's hard not have a little snooze on them we also picked up a new blanket. A grey and white option that is perfect for wrapping up in those chilly evenings. And for our bedding, I'm carrying on a tradition that I've had since my university days and plan to have for a very long time is switching to brushed cotton. You cannot beat brushed cotton or flannelette sheets in the colder months. The print and the mix of the white and grey is perfect for this season as well it being so beautifully soft and snug on those ice cold evenings. Beware though it does make it impossible to get out of bed in the morning.

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ENTERTAINING

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Even though we're not hosting Christmas dinner this year we were in need of some dishware and Homesense is a treasure trove for the kitchen. The vast majority of our dishware came from Homesense so we knew we'd find some awesome pieces that stood the test of time. As it's the season of baked goods and it's something I want to do for my loved ones we needed to pick up some supplies. And if you're hosting Christmas dinner for your loved ones then they have some really lovely festive cookware as well as table decorations, we did pick up some snowflake bowls as they're ideal for little snacky bits at home. We went with a large mixing jug for a mere £12.99, something with a handle is key for me when mixing and a speckled baking tray for £5.99. Typically good cookware isn't cheap and when you buy cheap you always end up buying again and ruining many meals in the process. But because Homesense always has up 60% off the RRP your finances are never left with a serious dent in. And if you have any friends that have just moved into a new place then anything homewear related is the perfect gift.

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A FAIL SAFE COOKIE RECIEPE

This is recipe that I've used since I was kid to create the most wonderful cookies, a classic for the season. 

You will need: 

  • 75g of margarine 
  • 75g of brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • A few drops of vanilla essence 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 100g chocolate chips 

Baking Instructions; 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. 
  2. Mix the sugar and the margarine together.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla essence to the mix. 
  4. Stir in the flour, salt and the chocolate chips and mix until thick and chunky. 
  5. Place spoonful onto a greased baking tray and use the spoon to shape the cookie.  
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Leave to cool and then enjoy! 

GIFTING

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A big part of the festivities at Christmas is, of course, gift giving. And Homesense has a huge array of options for your perusal. They have all options covered for the guys in your life or your best girlfriend or elderly relatives. There really is something for everybody and pieces that aren't the obvious options either which I love. As well as an incredible array of gifts they also have a vast stationery and gift-wrapping selection, which is key for the season. And if you're not blessed with your wrapping skills [like me] then they also have a huge array of gift bags too, which can be the easiest option for some gifts that are notoriously tough to wrap. For one of my boyfriend's gifts, I picked him up some slipper boots for £15.99 and they have a hard sole which means he can pop out in the garden with Josie without having to mess around putting his shoes on as well as keeping him feet snug inside. For my dad, the guy who can never ever decide on what he wants I found this beautiful tin of English biscuits for £6.99 with a sweet robin design which I know he'll absolutely love. Homesense has a huge array of food and drink in store which is perfect for this season as it's the time we entertain the most as well as them making a great gift for a loved one. 

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For my best friend, I picked her up that absolutely adorable penguin teapot for £12.99 as she collects them and as she is somebody who absolutely loves the festive season I know she'll adore it. As well as the unicorn planter, because as well as being a festive season fanatic she is a houseplant lover, I think on last count she had nearly 100 or so. So this unicorn planter will make the perfect addition to her and it's not something I've ever seen before. And finally, like I said, she collects teapots so when I discovered that ornate teapot spoon decoration I knew I had to pick it up for her. Of course, this post wouldn't be complete without talking about what I bought for my beloved pup Josie and as it's her first Christmas with us I had to get her a few bits. We're always picking up new toys for her and the first thing we found for her toys was that lovely Nordic basket you can see as we'd didn't have a proper storage system before. And she loves it and she can get to all her toys and pick what she wants. As well as a new home for all her toys we picked up a few new options for her to play with at Christmas. That adorable fox that was a mere £4.99 doesn't have stuffing so she can't rip it apart and the crocodile is a tough toy meaning she really play rough with it and it won't be destroyed within a few plays. 

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- this post was produced in collaberation with Homesense -

Rebecca WarrinerLifestyle