Christmas Day is almost here, and how utterly fabulous has this festive season been?! Today (as it’s almost Christmas) is just a super chilled post with some Christmas Table Setting inspiration. You all know I love a bit of festive decorating, and that includes the table setting.
Maybe you’re in charge of your Christmas table this year. Or perhaps you’re not bothered by setting your own table, but like looking at other peoples (I am totally with you on that one). Either way, here are some pics of the setting I did for our early Christmas meal with Euan’s family before his parents left for Australia earlier this month.
I’ll be styling our Christmas Day table the same way too, but don’t have pics of that yet (obvs!).
Christmas Table Setting – Golds & Ivory
You’ll know from my Instagram that my general decor theme for Christmas in my house is red, but not for the table styling! This year I’m going for golds & ivory, with a hint of green. And lots (and lots) of candles!
When styling a table (or anything for that matter!), I always stick with one metallic and work the colours around it. So in this case I went for gold, and matched it with ivory/marble/greenery. I never mix metallics as you can lose the overall ‘look’, and it just doesn’t flow as nicely!
Do you make an effort with your Christmas table? If so, what colours are you going for this year? Let me know!
In case you liked the look of some bits from those pics, I’ve linked most items below… All very affordable!
Earlier this month I chatted a bit about having an eco-conscious Christmas & sustainable gift buying. I wanted to build on that with a bit about my goal for keeping my Christmas shopping as local as possible, and how it has gone this year!
*I live in a lovely market town with many super-cute independent shops. Not everyone is as fortunate to have so much on their doorstep, so this really is for the people who are able to shop locally! Everyone & their situations are different, and I’d never want to make anyone feel bad for not shopping locally this Christmas. So – as always – if you’re able to implement what I’m chatting about into your life, please do! But if you aren’t able to, then don’t feel like I’m preachin’ (’cause I ain’t!).*
Christmas Shopping Locally – How did it go?
So, y’all know I love shopping locally & using independent companies as much as possible. And with so much literally outside my front door, I thought it’d be a sin to not make the most of it this year!
I made a pact with myself that I would only shop in my highstreet shops this year (or as much as possible), and do you know what? I’ve done pretty bloomin’ well. All the gifts I’ve bought for my parents & brothers (apart from one little thing for my youngest brother) I bought in Tavistock. My other brother will be especially pleased about that as he’s very eco-conscious. I’ve also bought everything for our friends (and children of friends!) in Tavistock as well – yay!
Where I fell down was with presents for Euan – why are men so hard to buy for?! The shops we have in Tavistock are wonderful, but they do lack a bit when it comes to Euan’s taste. However, his entire stocking are gifts from shops on my highstreet, and I’d say 40% of his presents. That’s pretty good, right?!
The Importance of Shopping Locally
So why is it actually important to shop locally? There are many reasons, but these are the ones which resonate the most for me.
Firstly, the environment. In the grand scheme of things, Christmas shopping locally won’t make a huge impact on the crisis. But every little helps! Items in highstreet shops are already there. They have already been shipped, so you’re not adding to your carbon footprint by having things delivered! And if – like me – you live within walking distance of shops, that’s even better! No need to drive to get your Christmas shopping done.
Secondly, supporting local businesses. This is done by both shopping in their stores and shopping along the highstreet, even if that’s a chain. How? Well, a highstreet only thrives if it’s desirable. It’s only desirable if it has a wide range of shops, and shops that people have heard of. If we don’t shop in our highstreets (chains, independents, or otherwise) then shops will close – including the big ones! Highstreet chains are equally as important as independent shops, because without the chains you wouldn’t have the footfall for the independent shops!
In turn, that also means more jobs for the town. The more shops we have, the more employment there is. The more employment, the more people stay living here. The more people living here, the more money gets spent in the town… and so on. You get the picture anyway!
Lastly… It’s fun! And festive. Nothing gets me in the mood for Christmas more than a stroll down a christmassy highstreet, popping in & out of shops, and eventually stopping for a coffee (or maybe even something stronger…!).
Let me know if you did any local Christmas shopping this year! What is your favourite thing to do to get you in the festive mood?!
If you’re needing a bit of festive inspo to help get you in the mood, check out some of my previous posts…
I know, sounds weird (super weird), but I promise it isn’t as weird as it sounds! I wanted to make an effort to do some Christmas baking this year. Of course gingerbread men & mince pies are next on my list, but I fancied making a cake. But not just any cake. A festive, gluten-free, kidney bean cake, with raspberry & white chocolate. What could go wrong?
So I originally wanted to post the method as an IGTV, but sadly Instagram won’t let me… But instead I’ve uploaded the video clips to my stories & I will save them in my highlights. Head over to my Instagram page to have a watch!
Kidney Bean Cake – The Ingredients
You will need…
1 tin of kidney beans (400g)
100g of gluten free plain flour
50g of cocoa powder
75g of coconut oil (if you aren’t a fan, butter is fine)
125g of brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
250g of raspberries
1 bar of white chocolate
Icing sugar & other items to decorate
Kidney Bean Cake – The Method
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a 20″ baking tin.
Use a blender to blend the kidney beans into a smooth paste-like texture. Then, measure out the rest of your ingredients (apart from the chocolate & raspberries) and add it all into a mixing bowl.
Mix well until all the ingredients have combined, then add the raspberries. Gently stir the raspberries into the mixture, and add around 3/4s of the white chocolate (breaking it into small chunks as you add).
Pour the ingredients into your baking tin and bake for 25 minutes.
Leave the cake to cool for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, melt the rest of the white chocolate.
Roughly coat the top of the cake with the chocolate (I found a teaspoon the easiest way to do this), and add your decoration!
For my cake I used edible sugar holly leaves & berries and lightly dusted the top with icing sugar. But you can be even more creative, or just leave it with the melted chocolate!
Of course, this cake will work just as well with ordinary plain flower. You can also use butter instead of coconut oil, and milk-free chocolate if you want it to be dairy free too! Why not get creative and try different berries, or even dark chocolate?
Are you doing any Christmas baking this year? Tempted to try this cake? Let me know!
Okay, so who doesn’t love a Christmas film? I am alllll about snuggling up with a feel good film, especially at this time of year. Everyone’s festive film favourites will be different, but I thought I’d run through mine. You never know, there may be one or two you forgot even existed!
Not sure if this is slightly unconventional or not, but I absolutely adore this film. The cast is amazing to start with (yes – Eva Longoria is in this, thank you very much). But I genuinely love the take on the whole ‘Father Christmas’ story; they make it so legit, to the point where I genuinely could believe such an operation exists…! And who doesn’t love a cheeky cartoon at Christmas?
Home Alone #2
I also love #1, but I have to say Home Alone #2 is one of my festive film favourites. Not sure why, but it’s an absolute must-watch of mine at Christmas! I haven’t actually watched 3 or 4, and I think there might even be a fifth one?! Anyway, love this one. And every time I watch it, it makes me sooo desperate to visit New York!
The Snowman & Father Christmas
Another animation (I think I’m secretly still 6 years old) but I think this film is soooo cute. And I feel like it’s also seriously underrated?! It’s an easy watch, and the music is just gorgeous. I happen to have the double DVD which includes Father Christmas – not complaining! Another super cute silent film. Gosh, all this film talk is making me want to grab a hot chocolate and snuggle in!
So, maybe I’m just a sucker for a big cast… But I can’t get through the festive season without watching The Holiday. Fun fact! They filmed it in a village near where I grew up, and one day we actually went to the set & watched them filming. My mum loves Jude Law, and we stood at the front of a crowd of people and watched them film him crossing a road about 145 times. In the end they actually cut that scene from the film – gutting! They also covered the church in fake snow but it looked so magical. And, Kate Winslet’s house was actually only ‘built’ for the show (obviously not properly) so isn’t a real house at all. Sorry for the spoilers….!
Saving the best until last… This is my all time favourite Christmas film, and I’d almost go as far as saying it’s my favourite film full stop (it’s definitely in my top 5 anyway!). The cast is obvs second-to-none and I love the way they make the storylines in this film. The music is sensational throughout and the opening scene honestly makes me cry (let alone the rest of it). If someone said I had to choose between never being able to watch Love Actually again, or it being the only film I’m ever allowed to watch for the rest of my life… You bet yo’ bottom dollar that I’d drop all other films in a heartbeat!
To Conclude Festive Film Favourites
What are your film favourites at Christmas? Do you love an all-star cast like me, or prefer the more traditional films? Let me know – I’m always up for discovering new Christmas films!
In my last post I chatted about being eco-conscious this Christmas, which included a bit about gifts. But, I thought I’d delve deeper into the gift topic and find some sustainable Christmas gift ideas & companies to share with you…
Wearth – Sustainable Christmas Gift Company
I came across Wearth a few months ago and absolutely adore their products. It’s a bit like Etsy or Not on the Highstreet, in that they partner with over 125 independent UK brands. But instead, these brands exclusively make contemporary eco-friendly and ethical products. You can shop by values, or just generally browse, and I’ve selected a few gifts that matched my ‘values’… Perfect for a sustainable Christmas gift or two!
The Body Shop
I adore The Body Shop, particularly taking into consideration their cruelty-free & fair trade ethos. Whilst most of their products are contained in some form of plastic (which is a shame), I came across these two gift bundles which come without packaging. Instead they are presented in a reusable festive sacks, cutting down on the waste that usually comes with buying containers/boxes etc.
Anyone else find Etsy to be a bit of a mixed bag? Sometimes I find amazing products, other times I wonder how they let certain things onto the site. Anyway, I did a bit of searching and found a sustainable Christmas gift for him which I thought I’d share!
The Dartmoor Soap Company
This company is actually a local one for me, which is one of the reasons I wanted to include it. But the company in general use natural & sustainable ingredients to make their products. And they only make in small batch too, making each item a little bit extra special.
The Empty Box Company
*Disclaimer, this is my family’s company and whilst I have not been ask or paid to promote their products, it is my family business so I have to make you aware of my connection to it*
As mentioned above, The Empty Box Company is my family’s company but they are an eco-conscious, sustainable company and all the products are made using sustainable & recycled materials from within the UK (where possible). They make a range of stationery products which make perfect gifts, but mainly they make beautiful handmade boxes (perfect for presenting gifts in!).
I hope you enjoyed my little sustainable Christmas gift & companies blog post! Seeing as my house is now decorated, I’ll be writing a light-hearted ‘decorating the house’ post for you to enjoy next!
First & foremost, Happy December! The Festive month is upon us and I can’t wait to get stuck in to all things Christmas. Have you decorated your house yet? I think we are doing it tomorrow! I have lots of festive content planned throughout December… But, I wanted to kick-start the month with some eco-conscious and sustainability at Christmas posts. Nothing drastic, just little changes you can make/things to be aware of whilst you are planning your celebrations & buying your presents.
In the UK alone, around 8 million Christmas trees are bought each year. That is potentially a lot of waste. On the flip side, artificial trees (whilst they last longer) are made of mostly plastic, and use a lot of energy to manufacture. So is there a right or wrong?
Honestly? Not really. But there are a few things you can do to be a bit more eco-conscious with your tree this year. Firstly, if you have an artificial tree, look after it best you can. Make it last as long as possible. Fix any broken bits and spruce it up rather than just tossing it to one side & buying a new one.
If – like me – you love a real Christmas tree, then try to buy it from a local supplier. In the West-Country we are lucky enough to have many independent places selling trees grown on their own land. Or – if you have the space – you could even grow one (bit late now, but worth thinking about). Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to be surrounded by local tree-growers. But if you are then please do!
You can also look out for trees with FSC certification. And make sure you recycle your tree come January!
This is two-part. Firstly, wrapping your gifts & reusing your cards. Secondly the gifts themselves (which I will come onto in a different blog post later…).
Last year (in the spirit of being eco-conscious) I ditched the very tempting Christmas wrapping paper. Instead, wrapped all my presents in brown paper & string. Most ‘normal’ wrapping papers cannot be recycled, whereas brown paper can. Plus, if you’re savvy you can find brown paper that has already been recycled – win win! Doing this also allows you to get creative with gorgeous ribbons & extras (but remember to keep hold of them for reusing next year too!).
Another point about gifts… Don’t buy for the sake of buying. And if you have to buy, maybe try consumable products instead. Everyone always ends up with presents each year that they are never going to use. These presents either get left in a cupboard or thrown away. If you feel like you have to send someone a gift, but don’t know what they like, go for chocolates/cheeses/wines/hampers/sauces etc etc – things they can eat! That way we can cut down the mass-production of pointless and unused gifts. And if you can get away with not buying too many gifts, or perhaps donating to a cause instead, then do that. The less we buy, the less is produced, which in turn reduces our carbon footprint massively (and the footprint of the world!).
Personally, I love sending & receiving Christmas cards but I know they are not the most eco-friendly of items. Most people throw away their Christmas cards (1.5 billion in the UK alone each year – wowza), which is of course a huge waste. Instead, why not keep them in a box for the year and use the fronts of them as gift tags for next year? My granny used to do this and I think it’s a great way to reuse beautiful cards!
Alternatively, you could always send e-cards (which I think is the direction we’ll end up going in), and there’s always the option of getting creative & making your own (using recycled materials, obvs). Or – of course – not send any at all (but I don’t like this idea much – I’m a sap for tradition!).
General Eco-Conscious Awareness
At the end of the day, the best thing you can do it to just be aware of having an eco-conscious Christmas. When it comes to your food shop, buy locally as much as you can (especially your meat!), which not only cuts your carbon footprint but also supports local businesses at this expensive time of year. Be aware of where your items are coming from/being made etc, and maybe think twice about buying them if they have been shipped from the other side of the world.
Christmas is such a hectic time of year, but it’s also a time when we experience the most waste. So if everyone could do just a small thing to try and help reduce the waste/carbon footprint and be a bit more (yep, you guessed it) eco-conscious, we could make a huge difference!
*All pics in this post are from previous years… I haven’t decorated my house just yet!!*
Next up, I’ll be chatting about some sustainable gift ideas, so keep your eyes peeled for that! You can also find some more sustainability content & other Christmas content in the posts below…