Blogmas – How I Wrap My Christmas Gifts 2017

I’ve already touched on how I decorate my Christmas tree so today its the turn of how I wrap my Christmas gifts. I’m a bit pedantic when it comes to Christmas gift wrapping and always try and stick to a theme. This year the theme is Scandi style meets American classic – simple but very very festive…

christmas wrapping scheme

Wrapping Paper

This year’s wrapping paper of choice is a simple, glossy, festive red. Cox & Cox are great for Christmas wrap and ribbons as everything comes in bumper sizes! After a cursory glance around the high street stores, there didn’t seem to be much available above a 5-metre roll with most averaging 3 metres. This is a humungous 10-metre roll which although a little pricey, will be more than enough to cover every gift (and its now on sale…WIN)! I’ve gone with a Cox & Cox scheme before choosing this beautiful dark grey and copper scheme complete with matching ribbon and copper jingle bells (very annoying, do not attempt if your pre-Christmas nerves are already in shreds)!

Ribbon

*I’m a bit funny with ribbon so I apologise if all this makes me sound like a ridiculous human being!* I’ve chosen to go the whole hog with the matching red and cream ‘Merry Christmas’ ribbon. Normally I’m not one for slogans or pictures on a ribbon (I usually opt for a wide luxurious satin) but this is really very pretty and subtlety chic. If you shop on the high street you’ll find that ribbon is generally sold in tiny quantities so I usually get mine in a haberdashery store where you can buy by the metre. Chances are I still run out but at least this way I can top up without the inconvenience of my chosen colour selling out (this has happened more times than I care to remember with M&S). This ribbon is (like the wrap) sold in a bumper 15-metre reel – I purchased two so I can really go to town!

Gift Tag

It wouldn’t be a Jessica Rhoades Christmas gift without a giant sparkly gift tag! I favour this postal tag shape and choose the colour depending on the years’ theme. This year its gold (actually if I’m honest it’s usually gold)!

Topper

For the final flourish, I like to tuck something pretty into my Christmas Gifts. In previous years I’ve used sparkly twigs, jingle bells, chocolate coins, buttons and baubles. This year I’ve opted for a candy cane to tie the theme together and give a bit of an American twist.

Tools

So apart from the giant tub of Quality Street, the stash of Christmas movies and the wine there are a few more essentials you need to gather before you start to wrap.

  1. A sharp pair of scissors (there is nothing worse than trying to cut ribbon with a blunt pair of scissors.) I have a pair of fabric scissors I keep specifically in my wrapping kit.
  2. Sticky tape – I love those little dispensers you wear on your wrist – so handy!
  3. Pen – A gold or silver pen or a new handwriting pen are good options for writing your gift tags
  4. Miscellaneous – depending on what you choose to top your gift with you may need sticky dots, glue, wire cutters…the list is endless

How do you wrap your Christmas gifts? Do you pick a yearly theme?

Elf On The Shelf – The Adventures Of Tuukka Tuukka DAY18

elf in the washing machine

Blogmas -A Guide To Christmas Etiquette

The hullabaloo and general noise surrounding Christmas often makes it difficult for us to see the bigger picture. Feelings are easily hurt, stress levels are through the roof and alcohol is plentiful. I thought I would write a little five-point guide to a few things to bear in mind over Christmas week and beyond. Sometimes a little mindfulness and taking a step back to consider can make a huge difference to your outlook and enjoyment of proceedings. Here is my guide to Christmas Etiquette…

chocolate orange espresso martini

Treat Others As You Would Like To Be Treated

As somebody who has worked in both retail and service industries, I say this with a wealth of experience…If you are hitting the shops or bars this Christmas, please be kind. Working over Christmas in these sectors is a hard, hard slog. Unfortunately, I have been on the receiving end of rude and aggressive behaviour and for that person, it can really take the shine off the whole festive season. As we head into Christmas week, spare a thought for anyone who works long hours over Christmas – specifically bar and shop workers and anybody in the healthcare and emergency professions. Just because you are lucky enough to have time off it doesn’t entitle you to be mean to those who don’t. A simple smile, a please and thank you and a merry Christmas means the absolute world in what can often be pretty thankless jobs.

Don’t Post On Social Media Without Permission

If you want to document your Christmas on social media that is entirely your choice. However, if the pictures you share involve others then do make sure you ask permission before sharing, particularly where children are involved.

Do A Good Deed

As I was leaving the supermarket this morning a little girl in the queue behind me found she could only afford one of the two items she had brought to the till. Quick as a flash, the man behind her paid the difference. Such a small gesture and yet the smile on the little girl’s face was priceless. I’m sure it made the man in question feel rather good also. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture but being mindful of simple things really can have the power to change someone’s day for the batter.

Be Gracious

Say thank you. Bring a gift for your host and acknowledge the effort that others have put in. It might be as simple as admiring a beautifully wrapped gift or complimenting the Christmas decorations but a kind word at Christmas goes a long way.

Dress To Impress

Forget garlands of tinsel, light up jumpers and reindeer antlers, Christmas is a special day and therefore worthy of donning your ‘Sunday best’. Generally speaking, December is cold; we’re not talking party frocks here but rather simple elegance. A well-tailored pair of trousers, a cashmere sweater and some statement jewels are always a winner!

Do you have any Yuletide bugbears? What would you add to your own Christmas Etiquette list?

Debrett’s Guide To Christmas Etiquette 

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Blogmas – How I Decorate My Christmas Tree

The ritual of putting up the Christmas tree is one of the highlights of the year. I’ve already talked at length about the proper way to decorate the tree (festive tunes and wine feature heavily) so without further ado here’s the big reveal…

blush pink christmas tree

blush pink and gold christmas decorations

pearl christmas bauble

The Great Tree Debate…Real v Fake

I can appreciate a real Christmas tree, really I can. The smell is beautiful, it’s traditional and feels authentic. The downsides to a real tree are well documented –

  1. Dropped needles,
  2. That pungent whiff that arises when the tree suddenly decides that it has had enough of being stuffed in a hot room and covered with glitter!
  3. Gapping. This is my main issue and it’s purely a case of personal preference. I like to operate what I call a ‘more is more’ aesthetic. This includes judiciously filling the gaps with sparkling gold twigs. A real tree just isn’t dense enough for the footballer’s wife/glitter explosion look I tend to gravitate toward.

Colour Scheme

I’ve always been a traditional girl at heart and really, you just can’t beat red, gold and green for all the Christmas feels. However, last year it suddenly dawned on me that I had collected an inordinate amount of blush coloured baubles and trinkets including a rather fabulous bejewelled bird (clearly I have been very easily seduced by the whole ‘millennial pink’ movement). Normally I would use this colour scheme to dress the stairs or the above the fireplace but such was the quantity I decided to go for the whole hog and create what would probably have been my childhood fantasy tree!

More Is Always More

You may have gathered by now that I am no minimalist when it comes to dressing the Christmas tree! Maximalism all the way! This year I’ve have managed to restrain myself, only adding one or two new pieces to my collection though West Elm has me very tempted with their Christmas offering! Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the market!

Which side of the Christmas tree debate do you fall on? How do you decorate yours?

Elf On The Shelf – The Adventures Of Tuukka Tuukka DAY 16

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Blogmas – The Christmas Jumper Edit

Following on from yesterdays post about everyday sequins and considering that today is, in actual fact Christmas Jumper day, I thought I would put together a small selection of the kind of Christmas jumper that you would actually want to wear…you know, the kind that doesn’t come with a battery pack as standard! Covering a range of price points, from the subtle to the shamelessly shiny here is my Christmas Jumper edit to make sure you head into Christmas week in suitably festive style!

The Novelty Sweater Oasis Robin & Holly Jumper 

This is most definitely on the chic-er side of novelty. If you want to join in with the fun but can’t stomach the thought of some of the more, ahem, ‘unique’ styles on the market, this super cute sequinned robin could be a great alternative.

Oasis Christmas Jumper

The Modern Classic Markus Lupfer Lara Lip Joey Sequin Sweater

Yesterday I spoke in a little more detail about the Lara Lip sweater by Markus Lupfer and how to work sequins into your everyday wardrobe. Yes, it’s a little on the spendy side but it really is a modern classic – I’ve had mine for a couple of years now – and makes the perfect fash-pack alternative to some of the more garish sweaters on the market.

Markus Lupfer Christmas Jumper

For The Understated Magpie  Zara Sweater With Jewelled Appliqués

If you fancy adding a touch of bling to proceedings but don’t want to overdo things then this jewel embellished fine knit sweater from Zara could be the one for you. Pair with smart trousers jeans or a leather pencil skirt for a perfectly glam Christmas day look.

Zara Christmas Jumper

For The Sophisticate  Hush Lurex Metallic Knit

This gold and cream lurex knit from Hush just screams luxury! Team with cropped trousers, heels, freshly blow-dried hair and a glass of bucks fizz for the most sophisticated of Christmas morning looks.

Hush Christmas Jumper

For The Luxury Lover, Chinti and Parker Stardust Printed Cashmere Sweater

For the ultimate in festive luxury, this sumptuous cashmere sweater is a no-brainer. Although this is the perfect shade of Christmas red, I have no doubt that this will earn its place in your wardrobe year-round – how gorgeous would this be in the spring paired with navy and white?

Chinti & Parker Christmas Jumper

I hope I’ve given you a few ideas of how to get into the festive spirit heading into Christmas week. Are you rocking your Christmas jumper today?

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Elf on the shelf selfie

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Blogmas – Everyday Sequins With Markus Lupfer

Growing up I was very much a girly girl. I took ballroom dancing classes and wistfully dreamt of the day I would be old enough to wear the fuschia pink frocks that came complete with sequins, organza sleeves and a feather hem. In my time I have owned sequinned leggings, sequinned camisoles, sequinned scarves and of course the obligatory sequinned dress! These days, my everyday style has much more of a ‘borrowed from the boys’ vibe but what can I say? Underneath all those blazer & jeans combos there’s a closet magpie. A playful Markus Lupfer sweater makes a brilliant addition to any fashion fans closet. The now iconic ‘Lara Lips’ design is a bit of a modern classic and at this time of year makes the perfect ‘fash-pack- alternative to the more, shall we say ‘flamboyant’ Christmas jumper. This sweater is a bit of a masterclass in how to wear sequins during the day. We’re all guilty of stashing the bling in the back of our wardrobes, only to see the light of day during those four weeks of the year that it’s deemed appropriate. But, by switching leather leggings for cropped denim and a smart jacket for a chunky knit or winter coat there’s really no reason you cant take your sequins out for a daytime spin. Here I’ve paired my ‘Lara Lips’ sweater (a few years old now but there are new designs each season) with cropped, flared jeans and loafers – boots work just as well if you’re just not up for braving the ankle chill (check out my post on boots & crops) and a blush coat to pick up on the hot pink of the lips. Wearing my Saint Laurent bag cross body immediately gives a more relaxed vibe – this would be the perfect Christmas shopping followed by cocktails look.

What are your thoughts on wearing sequins during the day? On point or over the top?

Paige Cropped Jeans Outfit

Saint Laurent Sac Universitè

Pink Zara Coat Outfit

Pink Zara Coat

Pink Winter Coat

Everyday sequins

Markus Lupfer Sweater Outfit

Markus Lupfer Sequin Sweater

SWEATER – MARKUS LUPFER (SIMILAR)

JEANS – PAIGE (SIMILAR)

COAT – ZARA (SIMILAR)

SHOES – GUCCI

BAG – SAINT LAURENT (SIMILAR)

SUNGLASSES – RAY BAN

Elf  On The Shelf – The Adventures Of Tuukka Tuukka DAY14

mucky face elf

elf on the shelf eating chocolate

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Blogmas – My Top Five Christmas Movies

So it’s pretty much a given that decorating the tree requires wine and Christmas songs (check out my top ten festive tunes). Wrapping presents, on the other hand, requires a stash of Christmas movies and a humongous tub of Quality Street to go with the wine which is non-negotiable (and probably the reason the tenth Christmas present never looks quite as pristine as the first).  Now I’m about to make an announcement that I realise many of you may consider to be sacrilege…I don’t like ELF! I know I am in the minority but I just can’t bear to watch Will Ferrell so it was never going to be a winner in the Rhoades household. That bombshell aside I’m not overly fussy when it comes to Christmas movies…of course, I have my favourites but I’ll happily watch pretty much anything that’s Christmas- related…I even own ‘Jingle All The Way’ on DVD (yep that’s the one with Arnie dressed as Turboman) so you see my standards are not particularly high within this genre. Heres what made my top five Christmas movies…

Christmas Movies

Arthur Christmas

Arthur Christmas has been my favourite Christmas film for the past, I would say five years. It tells the story of Arthur – Santas second son who takes it upon himself to deliver a present to a little girl whos been missed! The whole concept is so clever and offers a very modern interpretation of how Santa manages to get around the whole world in one night. The characters are brilliant (there’s Steve, the Versace wearing elder brother, the retired, cantankerous Grandsanta and Briony The Elf – special skills include wrapping any gift with only three bits of sticky tape)! Just pure awesomeness!

The Muppet Christmas Carol

There are so many variations of A Christmas Carol and randomly, this is one of the best! Growing up it was always My brother and I’s favourite and we had a tradition of saving it for Christmas Eve! Everybody knows the story…Miserly Scrooge is visited by three spirits – the ghosts of Christmases past, present and future. Over the course of one Christmas Eve, he is shown the error of his ways, emerging as kind and generous and full of Christmas spirit! Michael Cane makes the perfect Scrooge and Kermit & Miss Piggy as Bob & Mrs Kratchit is sheer genius! The music is what makes this film – I’m pretty sure my brother and I know all the words my heart!

The Santa Clause

I went to the cinema to watch this (the Lonsdale for all you Carlisle peeps) and vaguely recall not being impressed! It’s obviously a bit of a grower as its the first one I reach for when December hits and has spawned two sequels! It’s a very American tale of a high flying businessman who finds himself as the new Santa after knocking the old one off his roof! Much hilarity ensues as he finds himself slowly becoming Santa over the course of a year and having to deal with the inevitable fall out with his family who thinks he’s lost the plot!

Home Alone / Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

For anyone born in the 80s, Home Alone was the definitive Christmas movie. Given that I was only a couple of years younger than Kevin when the film came out, everything he did just seemed hilarious! I vividly remember sitting in the cinema belly laughing at all the booby traps set for the hapless burglars! The music still has the power to take me right back to my childhood Christmases and I honestly think that the sequel is every bit as good if not better than the original (the least said about the third and fourth instalments the better)!

Love Actually

I honestly don’t remember a Christmas without  Love Actually and yet it’s not really that old! The critics all seem to hate this movie but I’m yet to come across anyone who doesn’t just think its the best thing EVER! There are so many perfect moments in this film – Hugh Grants Prime Minister dancing down the stairs, Emma Thomson silently sobbing as she realises her husband is having an affair, Andrew Lincoln declaring his love for Keira Knightley, Bill Nighy in pretty much every scene he’s in, the final All I Want For Christmas number…I could go on and on but I’ve got myself all fired up now and need to watch it immediately!

Which Christmas movies make your top five?

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Elf In The Night Garden

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Blogmas – The Scent Of Christmas

Of all the senses, the sense of smell has the power to evoke feelings and memories like no other. Christmas is always going to be a nostalgia-heavy time of year. It’s an annual ritual that for good or bad is bound up with the memories and feelings that we gather as we go through life. I thought I’d put together a list of my favourite Christmassy scents – the traditional scent of Christmas and those extra special smells that conjure up memories of Christmases past…

Mince Pies & Eucalyptus

Mulled Wine & Mince Pies

I’m not sure who decreed that the aroma of alcohol and spice is a festive idyll but that fragrant, boozy scent is what Christmas is made of! As soon as December rolls around I crack out the mince pies, pour myself a steaming mug of mulled wine, make a wish and take a deep breath…Christmas has arrived!

Frost

I’m sure you understand what I mean when I say frost! I don’t think its even a smell as such, more of a mixture of senses combining to form that gorgeous sense of the season. Its the feeling of the cold on the tip of your nose, an unexpected shiver and that clean, sharp, fresh scent of winter.

Neom Christmas Wish

If you’ve been following Blogmas on Jessica Rhoades you will have seen that a luxury scented candle has made it onto not one but two posts so far…lets make it an uneven three! If you are looking for Christmas in a candle you won’t find better than the annual Christmas Wish Candle from NEOM. I’m a bit of a sucker for NEOM in the general sense (Their Real Luxury candle is on my permanent wish list alongside Diptyques Mimosa which was my wedding day scent). The fragrance of mandarin, cinnamon and tonka bean not only fills the house with that warming traditional scent of the season but also helps you to relax and unwind in the process.

NEOM Christmas Wish Candle

Agent Provocateur Eau De Parfam 

I’ve worn Agent Provocateur on and off for, probably clocking on twenty years (oh my bloody god). It’s certainly not Christmassy in the traditional sense – it’s a heady, old-fashioned rosey-musk that’s both sexy and uber glamorous. This scent is made to wear with sumptuous fabrics – velvets, furs (faux of course) and sequins –  it’s the perfect Christmas accessory!

Agent Provocateur Eau De Parfam

Christmas Decorations

Bear with me, I feel I need to justify this one. There’s something about that first whiff when you open your box of decorations after a years hibernation. A mixture of must and tinsel (I don’t even own any tinsel so lord knows why my decs have taken on that particular scent) this takes me right back to my childhood – when that smell takes hold, I feel I can almost touch that childish sense of excitement and wonder!

Stuffing

The scent of stuffing = the scent of Christmas dinner. i.e the roast to end all roasts. I actually think stuffing is the best bit of the whole meal…you know that scene in the Vicar of Dibley (yep the one with three Christmas dinners) where shes presented with a starter of ‘balls of stuffing’ – that’s actually my Nirvana!

Eucalyptus & Pine

At this time of year, I am often to be found stalking the flower stalls in the market as they lay out fresh tubs of Eucalyptus and pine. There is nothing in the world like this scent on a frosty morning – with a little imagination you could have landed right in the middle of Dickensian England, rubbing shoulders with Scrooge and Bob Cratchit…the power of scent!

What typifies the scent of Christmas for you?

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Elf On The Shelf Wearing My Shoes

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