I get asked a lot about Christmas, what I do for it, do I enjoy it etc etc. If you’re in retail like me you’re know that you never actually stop thinking about it. Well maybe for a month in January and then if you’re like us by March you will have shot the Christmas brochure, but the products into production, figured out whats going on in store and on it on it goes. Putting aside all the retail stuff for a mo on a personal level I keep things super low key.
My Christmas decorating style is pretty simple this year. I’ve overdosed on fairylights and scattered t-light candles everywhere. I also love to decorate with mossy branches, ferns, foliage, mistletoe, berries and wreaths. It’s all very natural and woodsy.
My sister Gem oversees all of our faux botanicals and makes the most stunning wreaths – I love mine so much I actually keep it above the fireplace all year round. The best thing about fauxs is that they can be reused year after year. Mine gets upgraded with copper string lights for Christmas, but it’s definitely not going anywhere come January!
To find your own signature style, keep it simple and find a colour palette you love. It’s all about adding rich colours, glittering lights and plenty of sparkle. Whether you’re going with winter whites and greenery, or want to embrace kitsch fun with purple and silver tinsel the trick is to be consistent and reign in the colour palette. That way you can mix and match with abandon, but it’ll still all look pulled together.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
Don’t forget scents! They’re so intoxicating and evocative. In keeping with my “winter forest” theme I’m using our We Took To The Woods scented candles this year. They summon up the magic of tramping through a damp pine forest on Boxing Day. I also like to dot fragrant bunches of fresh pine, thyme and rosemary about the place to make sure the whole pad smells incredible. I’m never ever a minimalist at any time of year, so Christmas doesn’t seem the time to start! I love to cover things in an abundance of greenery, cinnamon sticks, fruit, herbs, pine cones and wreaths – both faux and fresh.
THE BUILD UP
I love how festive London looks for the season – it’s constantly inspiring. It conjures up a truly magical Dickensian Christmas, and nowhere more so than the food markets. I adore visiting Borough market in the week leading up to Christmas, and queuing outside Neal’s Yard, The Ginger Pig and Monmouth. The market food shopping is my absolute most favourite thing to do – it feels so festive and abundant.
I prefer something jazzy to most Christmas tunes if I’m honest. I’m famous in the office for being a bit of a Christmas music-phobe (they’ve been playing xmas tunes upstairs all month!) but I stick with my favourite French radio FIP for most of the season. Although I can’t stand hearing Christmas jingles as early as October or November I have been known to steal Christmas playlists for the big day. A bit of Eartha Kitt, Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite and the lovely Carols from King’s help to set the tone. I’m also obsessed with Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, sung by the London Community Gospel Choir. Not strictly festive, but it always makes my playlist.
THE BIG DAY
It’ll be a big family Christmas this year with me, G, the Ms, my parents, and my two sisters and their families. Both of my nieces are under five, so it’s really fun to have small kids around for Christmas (Gem’s been telling me I need to get a snow machine for them… um, not sure about that one!).
My dream Christmas is very simple – relaxing with good food, long walks with the dogs and spending time for family. I tend to veer away from parties and pubs, I much prefer PJs, fires and candlelight. We have a few family traditions I treasure, such as all meeting up for a stroll in one of the Royal Parks on Christmas Day. Then coming back to cocktails and champagne on the terrace (if it’s warm enough), Christmas dinner and then hovering around the outdoor fire pit sipping warmed cocktails. Perfect.
It’s been an absolutely manic few months in the business, so all I want for Christmas is some time off! A log fire slowly burning in the grate and a good book – simple simple things.
My favourite Christmas memories will always be the excitement, anticipation and thrill of Christmases when we were kids. The very best ones were when my grandfather was alive. After a late Christmas lunch he would start a bit of a fight with all the left over Christmas cracker paper. It would start off quite slow and lighthearted, but would always inevitably lapse into a full on food fight, with him wrapping mince pie grenades in tissue paper and flinging them across the room. I loved it, and it still makes me laugh thinking about it! Silly, chaotic and fun – isn’t that what Christmas should be?