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Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

The perfect way to wrap...

Image via Pinterest
So have you started the mammoth task of wrapping all of the presents yet?  I certainly haven't.  It is something I look forward to each year, to sit in front of the fire with a glass of something festive and set about wrapping up the delights.

Stocking gifts are always wrapped in jazzy, brightly coloured paper.  The kind that an 'elf' would choose.

But for my friends and family I like to indulge my inner perfectionist and make pretty parcels.  I love this image above, that purple paper with dried hydrangea flowers - what a beautiful way to give.

So, how are you wrapping yours?

More inspiration can be found over on my pin board:

Advent Calendar 2014...



This year I have found inspiration for making an Advent calendar a little on the thin side.  Don't get me wrong there are many wonderful calendars out there and some great tutorials too.  Many of which I have pinned on a special Advent Calendar pin board, but until this weekend, my festive mojo was well and truly lost.

Then a sudden brain wave.  I saw this beautiful beautiful wall hanging, and thought that's it!  I'll do something like that. And so here is my version.

I used:

Navy linen
3 x wooden stars
gardening twine
sprigs of spruce
wire
toy stag (which comes out every year at Christmas and used in some form of Crimbo dec or another).
brown paper
chocolate money

Method:

* I stretched the linen over the hoop, and made sure that lengths of twine were also trapped into hoop once it was tightened (making sure there was enough twine left out to knot it securely at the back)
* Using the PVA glue I stuck on the wooden stars
* Cut lengths of wire about 2" in length, push through the linen and loop over the wooden hoop frame, to secure the spruce and stag into place.
* wrap the chocolate coins in the brown paper
* glue the felt numbers to the packages
* tie to the ends of the string and hang it up.

I am super happy with the result too.  Thank you to Hobbycraft who helped with supplies.  They have great kits and advent calendars there too.

My past years Advent Calendars can be discovered on this post.



Tis the season...

Image via Pinterest
Oh tis the season to be jolly!! (that is enough of my singing!)

December is always a busy month, days packed with adventure and magic - trying to squeeze in Christmas activities and see friends and family too.  I thought it would be fun to do a little festive round up of things we are doing and what you can do too.  Some are local events, and others are global... so all can get involved.

  • Join the lantern parade.  Our local community and schools are coming together on Saturday for lantern parade through the streets.  
  • Visit Father Christmas!  Possibly the best thing about Christmas is seeing the wonder in your childs face when talking to Santa.  It's the best!  We are going to see FC at National Trust Tyntesfield this year.
  • Give to people in need.  The homeless and the vulnerable - be a caring citizen and give to someone who needs it this year.
  • Visit the Theatre.  Lots of beautiful children's christmas productions are touring the country at this time of year.  Some good ones locally are:  101 Dalmations at the Tobacco Factory, Swallows and Amazons at the Bristol Old Vic and Rumpelstiltskin and the Egg, Theatre Royal, Bath.
  • Donate toys and clothes to the charity shops.
  • Go for a skate - Ice-skating is such a wonderful family event at Christmas.  We are heading to the rink by @Bristol in Bristol centre.
  • Chop down your Christmas tree.  As a family we LOVE doing this, and head to a farm just outside Bristol.
  • Go carolling.  Not door to door, as that is annoying.  But join in with a choir on the street.  It's so uplifting.
  • Christmas shopping at a local craft market.  Every town has one nowadays.  Support your local artist.  Bristol is such a creative city and two good ones are Made in Bristol at the Colston Hall and Christmas at the Orangery
  • See the Christmas lights switch on.
  • Be aware of your neighbours who may be alone this Christmas.  A card and some mince pies will make someone's day.
  • Gather in greenery, red berries, ivy - make a beautiful centre piece or great swags over a mirror like this.
  • Take time to have a night out with your friends, indulge in spicy cocktails and really laugh loud!

Have a lovely festive season - it really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Take a peek at my Christmas pin board for some Christmassy inspriation (if you are not bored of Christmas already!).


Rise & Shine Hamper from Harvey Nichols...

Image via Pinterest
So imagine it, Christmas morning.  You have woken to the sound of your children unwrapping their stocking, or perhaps you are unwrapping your own.  You wander down to the kitchen bleary eyed to make breakfast.  What would you have on Christmas morning?

Well, it's probably something you've always had, a bit of a family tradition.  Bucks Fizz, good coffee, croissants or smoked salmon bagel.  Something indulgent & perfectly delicious.

So with this in mind, why not treat your family, or perhaps friends, to a rise & shine hamper from Harvey Nichols.  It contains almost everything you will need for a perfect Christmas morning.  A bottle of Prosecco, breakfast blend ground coffee, English breakfast loose leaf tea, gooseberry preserve & strawberry preserve (for your croissants), acacia honeycomb honey, and two mugs.

A perfect treat for Christmas morning, or any morning for that matter.

This post was written in collaboration with Harvey Nichols, all thoughts and words are my own.

Merry Christmas!...

Image via Kinfolk
Just popping in to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
We are off to my parents in a little while.  Christmas Eve service at the church again (hope not to be blown away).  Then much hugs, food and wine.... with my family.  The best of times.
Have a wonderful day.
With much love from us here.... enjoy your time with your loved ones.
x

Santa cycle ride...



 








A few weekends ago, we took part in the Santa Cycle ride from Mshed on the harbourside, along the river to Ashton Court Estate.  It was pretty perfect.  Sustrans had organised a brilliant family day out.  Using one of the many traffic free cycle routes in and around Bristol, we wove our way in our Father Christmas costumes, in glorious December sunshine.

We hadn't been on a family bike ride for months, just a bit busy.  But as soon as we set off I remembered how much I love it.  Cycling past other people out in the sun, being greeted with smiles at the sight of parents dressed all in red, with billowing beards.

Once at Ashton Court Estate there was a competition, judged by the Mayor, on the best blinged bike.  Some of the entrants were awesome!  The atmosphere was lovely, choir singing, mulled wine, stalls with games and a chance to meet Father Christmas.  The boys received a little backpack filled with bike goodies, a bell, stickers, reflector etc.  They were super happy.

The final icing on the Christmas cake was to feed the deers.  We all walked over the deer enclosure, and shouted 'come on'.  Over the hill ran hundreds of deer.  So close we could touch we all stood in awe of these huge beasts as they feed on nuts.

Cycling home we were greeted with smiles again (forgetting I was wearing a full on Santa costume!).

A perfect day out.  Thank you Sustrans.
For more information have a look at Sustrans page and flickr photos of the day.

The last voyage of Sinbad the Sailor..




Christmas and a trip to the Theatre go hand in hand.  We always go, every year. To me, it is an important part of the Christmas magic.  Mulled wine, Christmas markets, a Christmas show and hopefully snow... 

Last Thursday evening we were thrown into the depths of the Ocean and went along for the ride with Sinbad the Sailor.  Stepping into the Tobacco Factory Theatre, we knew we were in for a treat.  A large Shark hung from the ceiling of the stairwell, and in the Theatre bar the walls and ceilings was draped with nets, and fishing buoys.  Even the Christmas tree was covered in fishing floats, rather than baubles.  The details were wonderful.

Sitting in the newly seated theatre, the set was transformed to a large ship, hammocks hung from the poles, with floats, buoys and nets everywhere.  We were sooo excited.

The story involved a cast of 4 sailors, 2 musicians and Sinbad himself.  The seven voyages of Sinbad were seemlessly threaded through, and we were soon swept along with the story of it all.

The boys loved the music, the singing and crazy dancing. I love the wedding scene and the lit up umbrellas.  It was a tale of bravery, magic, sea monsters and love.

Pitched at 6 years + it was just right.  Without patronising the children in any way, certain parts were a little spooky, but the boys LOVED every bit of it.

If you are looking for an alternative to the Panto, then The Last Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor is a must!

Thank you Tobacco Factory Theatre for a wonderful night.  It was perfect.

We were gifted tickets to see the performance.

Nature in the Home - Christmas week 1


I'm a bit annoyed this morning.  I bought some ruby red sprigs of winter Ilex from the florist especially for this post.  Arranged them beautifully, and as it's such a grey day I have candles lit, and the whole thing looks wonderful.  BUT my camera has run out of battery and I can't find the flipping charger!!! It's not where I left it (in the messy crap drawer in the Kitchen!) GRRRRR

So, here is an image of the Ilex I bought last Christmas.  Same, same but different. I do love Ilex.  The berries stay on forever.  This particular bunch lasted for over a month without the berries dropping off. Value for money, I like that.

Edit - I found the charger!  Here is the right image:

#christmas #winter - Ilex for #natureinthehome littlegreenshed blog


Anyway, enough of me ranting.  How did you?  Last week I set the task for the four weeks running up to Christmas...

Week 1 - A table centre piece (a jar of greenery, a simple sprig?)
Week 2 - Garlands, something for the wall.
Week 3 - Wreath (indoors or Outdoors)
Week 4 - The Tree!

Week 1 of Christmas Nature in the Home, home... excited!  Please # your instagrams and twitter with #natureinthehome so we can all find it.  And remember to pin your creation to the pinboard too!

Don't forget, if you have made a super cute Advent Calendar, please add it to my advent link up.




The Festive Season...

Image by Luisa Brimble 
Oh tis the season to be merry and light!!

December is always a busy month, days packed with adventure and magic - trying to squeeze in Christmas activities and see friends and family.  I thought it would be fun to do a little festive round up of things we are doing and what you can do too.  Some are local events, and others are global... so all can get involved.


  • Join the lantern parade.  Our local community and schools are coming together on Saturday for lantern parade through the streets.  
  • Visit Father Christmas!  Possibly the best thing about Christmas is seeing the wonder in your childs face when talking to Santa.  It's the best!  Two really good ones locally are - National Trust Tyntesfield and Sustrans Cycle Ride
  • Give to people in need.  The homeless and the vulnerable - be a caring citizen and give to someone who needs it this year.
  • Visit the Theatre.  Lots of beautiful children's christmas productions are touring the country at this time of year.  Some good ones locally are:  The Little Match Girl at the Wardrobe Theatre, Sinbad at the Tobacco Factory, The Little Mermaid at the Bristol Old Vic and Moominland Winter and the Egg, Theatre Royal, Bath.
  • Donate toys and clothes to the charity shop.
  • Go for a skate - Ice-skating is such a wonderful family event at Christmas.  We are heading to the rink by @Bristol in Bristol centre.
  • Chop down your Christmas tree.  As a family we LOVE doing this. Sadly our farm which we've visited for 10 years has now closed.  So we have found a new one, just outside Bristol.
  • Go caroling.  Not door to door, as that is annoying.  But join in with a choir on the street.  It's so uplifting.
  • Christmas shopping at a local craft market.  Every town has one nowadays.  Support your local artist.  Bristol is such a creative city and two good ones are Made in Bristol at the Colston Hall and Christmas at the Orangery
  • See the Christmas lights switch on.
  • Be aware of your neighbours who may be alone this Christmas.  A card and some mince pies will make someone's day.
  • Gather in greenery, red berries, ivy - make a beautiful centre piece or great swags over a mirror like this.
  • Take time to have a night out with your friends, indulge in spicy cocktails and really laugh loud!

Have a lovely festive season - it really is the most wonderful time of the year!


Advent Calender 2013... a woodland forest...

Advent Calendar - #advent #christmas #vintage www.littlegreenshed.blogspot.co.uk

So here it is.  Our advent Calendar for this year.  Very different from last year.  Here's how I did it.


Materials:

  • White boxes (bought on Ebay)
  • Vintage woodland illustrations found via the internet
  • Scissors
  • Small number stickers (bought on Ebay)
  • Star hole punch
  • Gold foil card
  • Brush
  • Mod Podge or PVA glue


1.  Firstly I found lots of woodland images & one of Father Christmas on the internet.  Using photoshop, re-sized and made black and white.  Printed them out on thick paper.
2. Cut round them and stuck them to the white boxes using the mod podge.
3. Punched out gold stars for the front.
4. Added the number sticker to the boxes
5. Filled with goodies.

You will notice that not all 25 days are there.  I only have space for 8 boxes, so a week at a time will be available, re-using the boxes and changing the number on the box with a new sticker.

Inside:

1. Stamped addressed envelopes to Father Christmas + chocolates
2. Chocolate Coins
3. Lego Mini Figures
4. Felt pens
5. Chocolate Coins
6. Stickers
7. Tea Lights - we are going on a lantern parade through the neighbourhood
8. A picture of a bicycle and a lego Santa - meeting the big man in Red via bike
9. Chrismas Cards to write to their friends at school
10. Chocolate Coins
12. Top Trumps game
13. Candy Canes for the tree
14. Lego tree - we are collection our Christmas tree
15. Tracing paper to make window snowflakes
16. Bauble for the tree
17. Popcorn to watch Polar Express
18. Lego Mini Figure
19. Tea Light for solstice lanterns
20.  Marshmallows - Hot Choc after school to celebrate end of term
21. Party Hat - Christmas Craft party with friends
22. Train tickets - off to see the Panto in Bath with Grandparents.
23. Candy Canes
24. Star and snowflakes cutters to make biscuits



I LOVE the results - and so do the boys!  Bouncing off the walls they can't wait for tomorrow.

Did you make one?  Have you an heirloom passed down through the family, or did you buy one?  I'd love to see.  How about linking up below, so we can all hop around and see.

Love it if you join me.



Decorating for Christmas...

Image via Notcutts
This Sunday it is the start of Advent, the calendar will go up and from then onwards Christmas is a series of traditional and magical events.  Every year I can't resist treating the home to a new Christmas bauble, garland or candlestick,  it's part of the magic, choosing a new Christmas decoration.  In next coming weeks, little bits and bobs will make an appearance.  Like greenery and the odd bauble or two.  But, I like to wait til the middle of December til I fully go wild.  

I love the idea of a gradual change of home furnishings.  The addition of lights is a must, as are throws, and candles.  Today I hauled 12 large sacks of wood into our dining room and filled the empty fire place with them.  It instantly feels like Christmas, they are there for both aesthetic reasons and our winter fuel.

Oh yes - Christmas is nearly here, and I love it!

This is a sponsored post.

Creative Juice - Advent Calendar...

Advent Calendar Tutorial #advent #christmas www.littlegreenshed.blogspot.co.uk

Christmas is so close.  The 1st is nearly upon us, soon it will be time to open the first parcel / envelope / box on the Advent Calendar... we getting super excited in this house.

Last year I made this Advent Calendar, much to the joy of the boys.  You can find the full DIY tutorial and the reason behind each item in the parcels there too.  Each item was not hugely expensive, but small, well thought out items with a big meaning.  I loved watching them open each parcel every morning, it was magic.

This year, I am thinking of something a little different, which will be a secret until the 1st.  So tell me, what do you do to celebrate the run up to Christmas?  A chocolate version or a family tradition, I'd love to know.

kings, carols, and Lego - Christmas


 






Christmas whizzed past in a whirlwind of school performances, Christmas markets, rushed decorating and Lego building!
Christmas Eve we walked up to the Church in my parents village to the Crib Service.  This is my favourite part of Christmas.  Watching little children come up, dressed as parts of the Nativity as the story is told.  My boys dressed as Kings and Rufus was chosen to place one of the King figures into the crib.
Christmas Day was loud, as cousins played together.  Lego was the theme.  Dan spent the entire day building one Lego base or another - he was in heaven!
And before we know it - it's over for another year.
It was lovely - but somehow the magic just wasn't there for me this year.  I think all those markets before just sucked the life out of me.  Note to self - only do one next year!
Hope you had a wonderful break...

1. My parents tree
2. Charlie as King Caspar in his school performance of Hey Ewe
3. Rufus singing carols with his class in church
4. Charlie with our German Christmas Pyramid
5. Boys as Kings in the Crib Service on Christmas Eve
6. Lego in their Pyjamas - Charlie didn't change all day!
7. My parents table dressed for dinner
8. Cousins

x

Hey diddle diddle..


Christmas and a trip to the theatre go hand in hand.  As a family we always try to go.  To me, it is an important part of the Christmas magic.  This and maybe a sprinkling of snow!

A few weeks ago, in the heady excitement in the run to Christmas, I took the boys to see a spellbinding performance of Hey Diddle Diddle at the Bristol Old Vic theatre.  Written for younger audiences aged 3-6 years, the show is performed by just three actors - each one playing an instrument, acting and singing to bring the story to life. Popular nursery rhymes blended seamlessly to bring together a quite enchanting tale.


I thought Charlie would be a little too old for this style of performance, but he soon became swept along with the magic of each story, singing loudly to The Grand Old Duke of York and snarling to show his wolf like teeth!

Rufus' only words throughout was 'that's really cool' when the youngest child/actor climbed up into the fabric and hung from the ceiling as a spider.

As I no longer have toddlers, we don't seem to sing nursery rhymes much. I love to recall them and remember singing Twinkle Twinkle to my boys.  My favourite part of the play was the Owl and the Pussycat - I must get myself a fur coat!

Hey Diddle Diddle is on at the Bristol Old Vic until Jan 5th.
Do go along it is pure magic.
x

this is a gifted post.

Longleat to meet Father Christmas...















I had always thought that Longleat Safari Park was a place to visit in the summer, or at least in warmer times of the year.  But when I was kindly given tickets to visit by Moneysupermarket  to review as one of Britain's best days out... I jumped at the chance.

After looking through what was on over the Christmas period, my excitement grew.  A chance to ride a steam train to meet Father Christmas!  My two sons will flip with joy at the sight.

So just 3 days before Christmas... we set off early to Wiltshire.

As we arrived the sun just started to shine. The long road snaking down the hillside towards the big house, gave us sneaky views of golden lions on large gates, a giant Christmas Tree and an Ice Rink. We opted to experience the Safari before the Christmas delights at the Mansion House.  

We travelled up through woodland and came out to the top of the hillside.  Stretching down before us we could see small dots of animals. From the back seat there was squeals of 'I can see a Giraffe' or 'Is that a Rhino?', their excitement was infectious.  We started from the top, and after a quick loo stop, we drove through the enclosures of the Giraffes, Zebra's and Rhino's.  And then on to the Monkey enclosure.


Please excuse the high pitched squeals.  Yep - one of our family highlights!  The little blighters. You can opt out of the Monkey enclosure if you don't want to risk your aerial!

Then forward... into Big Cat territory.  Rufus, my youngest is a big cat fan.  He sleeps every night with his toy tiger 'Tigey' which he had on our first family visit to Longleat 3 years ago.  Tigey had come with this time to return to his homeland and say hi to his fellow Tigers.

We really didn't expect to see the Tigers so close.  I thought they would be lounging in their huts.. sleeping.  Happily, no.  They were prowling around, a huge beast crossed the road within metres of us.  It was breathtaking.  Paws the size of dinner plates.  At this point my boys were hushed in the awe of such a gorgeous creature.

We followed the road on into the lion's area.  When suddenly we came to a stop.  Two lionesses bounded across the road, quickly followed a by a line of tiny lion cubs. We all squealed with delight! Nine leaping, lion cubs (could be part of the 12 days of Christmas?).. snuffled, climbed and played amongst the trees.

The Safari was such a delight, much excitement and wonder.  It truly didn't disappoint. It really didn't matter that we were on a day out in December, the sun was bright, and most of the Safari was spent in the warmth of the car.

On to the house for a date with the man in red.  I had already bought tickets quite easily via the Longleat website, using their on-line booking system.  I had printed off the tickets at home, and advised them of the ages and names of my boys before they arrived to meet Father Christmas.  

We arrived at the train station in good time.  Everywhere was bedecked with garlands and baubles. Christmas music was playing.  We boarded the Santa Express, a small red steam train with beautiful bright yellow carriages. As the train set off, past the lake, we could see the Sea Lions jumping up around the paddle steamer.

Rounding the corner we gasped at the sight - a winter wonderland.  Snow!  As the train pulled into stop, we could see an avenue of fir trees and lanterns, marking the way through the snow covered woodland.  We jumped out of the carriage and ran up the path.  Past the Elves and on to the little wooden cabin at the end.  Hesitantly Rufus knocked on the snow covered door... it creaked open and a smiling elf stood there.

'What's your name?' she asked.  
'Rufus' he replied
'Well you better come in and meet him' she said.

We stepped through the door.  The warm glow of a real roaring fire lit up the faces of the elves and there sat beside the fireplace was Father Christmas in his long red coat and black boots.  Father Christmas asked the boys if they had been good, and said he knew they had done well at school and were kind to their friends.  He then gave them gifts with their names on, and wished us a very Merry Christmas.

It was truly magical.  Snow covered Lapland had come to Longleat.  He had even bought six of his reindeer too.  We waited by the steam train until all of the passengers had in turn seen Father Christmas.. when his last visitor had been, he walked down to the train to wave us all off.  A really lovely touch.

Back at the house, we visited the Jungle Kingdom and the Adventure Castle.  We feasted on mince pies and drank mulled wine.  Watched the ice skating and listened to the singing Christmas tree.

There really is so much to see at Christmas time in Longleat.  Next year I might book to see the Pantomime too.  

Thank you Tots 100 and Moneysupermarket for giving us such a magical family adventure.
x