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Occasions done differently


Rebel Bunting

Multicoloured tassel bunting, by Rebel Bunting

Forget your usual festive hues. When it comes to dressing the house at this time of year (or in fact, any time come to think of it!) — I’m opting for all things bright and beautiful. From the Christmas tree or Christmas fireplace, to the Christmas table decorations — we’re about to get rather colourful.

Speaking of colour, scientists have given us the green light to get the decs out early this year after revealing that nostalgia reduces stress by bringing childhood memories to the forefront. Well, that’s all the excuse I needed to get started. I absolutely cannot wait to show you what the small business community has created to cheer up our homes in 2022 (lucky, lucky us).

Bespoke ‘Frida’ crackers, by Happy Crackers

You may have heard (!) that I’m fond of a theme. And this year, my Christmas table will be a love letter to Frida — starting with these stunning reusable crackers, commissioned from the brilliant Happy Crackers, and which I’ll hide different treats inside, year after year. It’s also no accident that everything surrounding them was made by a female founded business. Yet my real ‘golden thread’ throughout everything however — is that all my decorations are (and will always be) from UK-based independents. Because if anyone’s going to bring the colour, it’s them.

Kitty McCaul Stocking

Summer garden Christmas stocking, by Kitty McCall

Just look at these! Designed by Kitty to inspire creativity, her patterned, joyful prints bring magic to any mantel. A vibrant twist on the usual knitted varieties, Santa’s in for a real treat. (She also makes all kinds of wonderful gifts from purses and prints, to tins and trays, so it’s worth checking out her website too.)

Mandarin orange candle, by Esh

I defy anyone to light this candle and not immediately think of satsumas tucked in stockings — they just smell so deliciously Christmassy! I’m using mine to decorate the table (I might do a veg theme on Boxing Day this year), but they work equally well in a fruit bowl as the detail and realness just has to be seen to be believed. And to think this business was only started in lockdown. Can’t wait to see what they do next.

Ceramic queen tree topper, by Lebon Ceramics

I have always looked for a less ordinary tree topper and was thrilled to find this one in Little Bit Margate when we visited — now set to be an heirloom in our family for years to come. Sad to think how strange it will be to not listen to her majesty’s Christmas speech for the first time in our whole lifetimes, but this will enable us to raise a toast at least and keep her ever present, watching over us.

Multicoloured tassel bunting

Multicoloured tassel bunting, by Rebel Bunting

You might have seen this in my pictures before and there’s a very good reason for that — I bloody love it! It’s made of recycled fabric, sneaks up at every occasion from birthdays to baby showers, and each string of disco bunting is colourfully unique. It’s like a great big festive rainbow to cheer up any room. Glad I started early so I can enjoy it for longer.

Honeycomb Carrot

Honeycomb carrot, by Paper Dreams

Now here’s a fun addition to Santa’s Christmas Eve plate and something that can be used every year (unlike the mince pie and sherry!). They’re hand-dyed (that’s how they get this beautiful, rich colour), made from 100% sustainably sourced paper and can be stored flat when not in use (though, to be honest, I can imagine my niece Olive keeping this dangling in her bedroom all year round in the hope of welcoming in a pet rabbit).

Strinsel, by This Thing is String

Ok just say this out loud — Strinsel (as in ‘string tinsel’. How wonderful is that?!). It’s enough to make you pack away the 70s strands for a more eco-alternative in itself. And made from cotton, jute and twine without a hint of plastic in sight, this is just the ticket. Comes in a range of colours, too. (Oh and incidentally, if you want to find more everyday eco-swaps for your home, check these out.)

Hand painted ‘Santa’s Welcome’ sign, by Signs By Jorge

I couldn’t be prouder to display our hand painted Santa sign by the brilliant Jorge Jacobs (and by the looks of it, neither could Olive!). Jorge’s talent is immense and she’s painted everything from album covers and motorbikes to shopfronts and mirrors — and even once made an appearance on Salvage Hunters, to brighten up car wheels!

Christmas Spirit

Christmas spirit, by Poetry Pharmacy

And finally, in case you need to prescribe someone you love some Christmas spirit this year, the clever folks at Poetry Pharmacy have just the medicine. Each bottle comes with a poetic extract inside as well as the pills (not to be swallowed!), and they make wonderful tree decorations or place setting gifts to make people smile — the perfect way to add some colour to Christmas!

Now that the decorations are covered, if you need some inspiration for your gift list this year, try my ‘Gifts for husbands, dads, sons, brothers and even the milkman’ collection or ‘My favourite finds for the minis I love’.

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