My Spirit of Christmas findings

My family and I attended the Spirit of Christmas this year.  In the past I have attended as a buyer for a retail company, on the hunt for unique and special products and vendors.  This time I was on the same hunt but for myself and it was a wonderful start to the festive season.  There were hundreds of vendors (gift and food) and it took the majority of the day to visit all of them.  I thought that I would share a few of my favourite finds.

 Food

Copas Very Very Special Turkeys – The sample that I tasted was extremely delicious and moist.  I do not like white meat that much but this was wonderfully tender. They offer award winning traditional white, free range bronze and free range organic turkeys.  They also sell some special accompaniments, great hamper fillers!

www.copasturkeys.co.uk

Crosta & Mollica Panettone – I very much enjoyed the apricot panettone

www.cmkitchen.net

Children

Pepe & Co – Adorable children’s clothing offering classic, contemporary Spanish brands.  Specialising in brands from babies to 6 year olds.

www.pepaandcompany.com

Walkers Books – Offer a great selection of children’s books that will become treasured favourites.

www.walker.co.uk

Plaid Tidings – I saw an old favourite of mine of their stand, a Father Christmas fabric Advent calendar.  They offer different designs as well as some really great fabric toys, beautiful quilts and much more.  Do visit their website as there are some great gifts to be had, not just for Christmas.

www.plaidtidings.co.uk

Stationery & Print

Ros Shiers  – Wonderfully illustrated prints and stationery.

www.ros-shiers.com

East End Prints – Vibrant and humorous prints

www.eastendprints.co.uk

Lorna Syson – Contemporary design with a nostalgic  undertone.  My favourite was her robin red breast print.

www.lornasyson.co.uk

Pottery

Blue Dot Pottery – Fine multi award winning Polish stoneware. My favourite pieces were their Christmas trees in varying sizes.  The beautiful designs have a heartwarming craft like feel whilst being chip-resistant, oven proof, microwave and dishwasher safe.  Outstanding!

www.bluedotpottery.co.uk

Advent calendars

20 days until December 1st! A bit too early to be buying your Advent calendar? Certainly not! There are so many options out there, far more evolved from the heavily glittered nostalgic Manger or snowy village scenes of years gone by. Thankfully though you can still find those heart warming calendars. My mother in-law bought one for our 1 year old boy recently. It made me smile and filled me with much nostalgic joy.

You are never too old to have an Advent calendar. My dear mother bought me one every year and my husband carries on the tradition (I have a delicious Lindt one this year).

The options below are only the beginning (I hope). I shall keep on adding to them as I find them.  If there are any that you find that want to share, please let me know.  The more the merrier!

All price points are covered and there are even some lovely wooden ones reasonably priced.

Paper

Probably my favourite as I still remember the excitement of wondering what festive picture was about to be revealed as I carefully pulled back the window. The glitter always crumbled off!

Crumble Cottage Advent Calendar - Anna Dempsey £5.95
Crumble Cottage Advent Calendar – Anna Dempsey £5.95
fortnum skate
Fortnum & Mason £10
Fortnum trad 10
Fortnum & Mason £10
Liberty of London £9.95
Liberty of London £9.95
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Personalised Advent calendar – Modo Creative (notonthehighstreet.com) £12

Wooden

They have been around for a fair few years now. They are an investment but will become a wonderful family treasure that will be loved year after year.  Have fun personalising them, not necessarily filling them with confectionery but maybe little notes, jokes or pocket money treats. I think that the preparation is as exciting as the daily discovery! I feel the same way about Christmas present buying and wrapping.

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Fortnum & Mason £90
john lewis 40
Scandi House Advent Calendar – John Lewis £40
m and s 45
Wooden Train Advent Calendar – Marks & Spencer £45
m and s 65
Wooden Cabin Advent Calendar – Marks & Spencer £65
the contemporary home 40
Gisela Graham red wooden Advent Calendar – The Contemporary Home £30

Confectionery

It is only during the Advent season that eating a chocolate shaped jingle bell before breakfast is okay!  Long gone are the days of the chalky (so called) chocolate Advent calendars.

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Swiss chocolate Advent Calendar – Fortnum & Mason £30
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Wooden Advent Calendar, confectionery filled – Fortnum & Mason £125
johnlewis 15
Jelly Belly Advent Calendar – John Lewis £15
lindt 549
Santa’s Bunny Sleigh – Lindt £5.49
lindt 999
Adorable Bear Advent House – Lindt £9.99
Gingerbread House - Williams Sonoma $14.95
Gingerbread House – Williams Sonoma $14.95
Organic milk & white chocolate Advent Calendar - Montezuma £9.99
Organic milk & white chocolate Advent Calendar – Montezuma £9.99

Children’s Advent Calendars

There is an amazing array of fun Advent calendars for children.  Beautifully crafted fabric calendars hold wonderful tactile surprises.  They are usually bright and add much festive colour to a room.  Fuzzy Felt and Lego are one of many favoured toy brands that make Advent calendars.  A new toy a day, what a treat!

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Away in a Manager fabric Advent calendar – GLTC £36
johnlewis 1997
Lego City Advent Calendar – John Lewis £14.97
Fuzzy Felt Advent Calendar - Yellow Moon £14.99
Fuzzy Felt Advent Calendar – Yellow Moon £14.99

Chic Advent Calendars

Some of these blow the budget a little but they will look beautiful in situ.

peace-on-earth-advent-calendar 49
Peace on Earth Advent Calendar – Land of Nod $49
Pillow cover Advent Calendar - Potterybarn $59
Pillow cover Advent Calendar – Potterybarn $59
pb 199
Stocking Ladder Advent Calendar – Potterybarn $199
pb 159
Gilt galvenised Advent Calendar – Potterybarn $159

The new Christmas decorations of 2014

As previously mentioned, my family and I were lucky enough to go to California in October.  The shops were beautifully festooned with fall/autumnal decor in the run up to Thanksgiving.  Christmas decorations were being rolled in and I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase  some magical looking pieces.  The first of which were a couple of Potterybarn’s Silver Mercury Glass Christmas Trees.  I bought them in sizes mini and small.  I would have loved to have purchased it in large but I was rather nervous about the fragility of them.  I treated them like little newborn babies in my well padded (newly purchased) Whole Foods freezer bag!  There is a little cut out at the base so that you can insert fairy lights or a flameless battery operated tea/candle light.  I cannot wait to have them in situ (maybe on the sideboard and then the dining table on Christmas day) and will take a picture of them when they are in place but for now, do look them up on the Potterybarn website.  They will deliver to the UK.

Silver Mercury Glass Trees - Potterybarn c. £10.69 - £50.86 (depending on change rate)
Silver Mercury Glass Trees – Potterybarn c. £10.69 – £50.86 (depending on exchange rate)

There are a few mercury glass/silver Christmas trees out there (I am sure there will be more as the season progresses) but my favourite so far are the ones from Potterybarn.  Here are a few other options for sale this season.

Silver Tabletop Tree Decoration - Marks & Spencer £15
Silver Tabletop Tree Decoration – Marks & Spencer £15
Set of Three Mirrored Glass Trees - The Contemporary Home £36
Set of Three Mirrored Glass Trees – The Contemporary Home £36

Christmas season preparation

I am not the most organised person in the world, far from it but I do try to improve on my Christmas planning every year. It is November 9th and I have had my Christmas head on for a fair few weeks now. I started off by purchasing some Christmas decorations whilst my family and I were in California in October.  It is wonderfully festive already in the U.S what with Halloween and the lead up to Thanksgiving.  I purchased my first Christmas magazines whilst there and continue to add to my collection.  The covers are so enticing and they are packed with excellent tips for making the lead up to Christmas go as smoothly as possible. I have started to compile a bit of a wish list of decorations too. I shall post my most interesting finds as I see them.

Here are some links to my favourite UK Christmas publications so far:-

LSC XMAS cover house-and-garden House-Beautiful-Nov-2014-gift-box-2