Tag Archives: Christmas

Three tips for surviving Christmas with your family

4 Jan

To be quite clear, this post does not come from a place of resentment but love. Anyone who knows me knows exactly how much I adore my family and friends. However, never more than at Christmas is the phrase ‘too much of a good thing’ so pertinent. Whether it be hitting the cheese board a little too hard or spending an extended amount of time with your nearest and not so dearest.

Follow these three simple guidelines and all will be well…

Christmas, surviving christmas, family christmas, awkward photo, awkward family photo

1. The simple games are the best

When you open up a new board game and have a whole new set of rules to get accustomed to, it splits the family unit down the middle, and you find out very quickly which half each person falls in to. It separates those who are board game rule Nazi’s from those who couldn’t give two @$$*’s and just want to get on with the G%$ D*$% game.

Our favourite game to play at family gatherings is a variation of charades. All family members note down around 10-15 names of celebrities or well-known people on scraps of paper throw them in to a big bowl, pick small teams and commence ‘three round charades’. Teams get one minute each time and the bowl must be empty for you to move on to the next round. The most correct answers at the end of all three rounds wins the game.

Round one: You must describe the individual

Round two: You must silently act out the individual

Round three: You may just use one word to describe the individual

Super simple and loads of fun when everyone’s fuelled by a tonne of libations. I’m not going to promise that things won’t get ‘lively’ and someone won’t accidentally throw something or call their boyfriend an idiot (this has never happened) but it’s great fun.

2. You can NEVER have too much food and drink

Besides the fact that Christmas somehow turns off our natural ability to say no, to ANYTHING, regardless of matter how much you love your family and friends, when celebrating the festive season in the UK the inevitability of atrocious weather means that you’ll be confined to one room for an extended amount of time.
If it helps, visualise it as some kind of solitary confinement sentence or an awful disaster where you’re trapped in a lift with tinsel and flashing lights. Now wouldn’t you find it much more bearable plied with lashings of cheese* [*replace with your festive culinary vice] and alcohol? No! So stock up!

3. Foolishness must be unanimous

By foolishness, I’m talking ugly festive headwear (inclusive of headbands, deely boppers, santa hats and paper crowns) offensive jumpers and flashing earrings that at any other time of year would be considered an eyesore.

Make it known to any friends you invite along that your family enjoy, encourage and demand that all attendees must be willing to ‘ugly up’. Start as you mean to go on and set the tone for foolish behaviour, jokes and music.

You’re welcome! Please remember these three key things next time Christmas is fast approaching in order to enjoy quality time with your loved ones to the maximum.

Got any family rituals or essential components that make the festive season all the more bearable for you? Add your own contribution to the comment box below and help others in a time of need…


Christmas Snowflake Gift Wrap Bomb

6 Jan

Inspired by Etsy blog‘s Christmas wine bottle glitter bombs I felt compelled to craft my own presents in their own unique way.

Inspiration: Snowfall, crystallisation, textile patterns, contrast, bold hues, simplicity, random arrangement, odd numbers, Christmas and empty branches.

Project: I began by wrapping my new Christmas purchase in eccentric fuchsia tissue paper. I followed this with a scattering of plastic snowflake sequins on to some cling film laid out flat. I then tightly tucked my wrapped recipe book in to the film, pulling as firm as possible at the end of the plastic wrap.

I finished off with a little tape, and ensured the sequins had been shook in to a perfectly random pattern, et voila – fit for any good boy or girl with eyes like a magpies‘.

TOPTIP: Be sure to use a flat surface, this project is no good if placed upon a lap, or the back of a snoozing relative – you’ll simply end up with sequins everywhere, and loose gathered cling film. Use paper and decorations that present a stark difference, and try to stick to a colour scheme that’s easy on the eye. You could also perhaps use the same idea for birthday or easter gifts, just use your imagination; glitter, sequin stars, diamonte’s, handsome pencil shavings.

Snowflake sequins

Here are some other snaps I gathered when Christmas spirit was brimming from wall to wall:


Top 5 Tuesday: Favourite Bella Bunting Blog photo’s

8 Mar

It has been so hard to choose just 5 images that are my favourite across the whole blog feed, but here they are:

Pretty much one of the first images I took, on one of my first posts. My favourite craft piece (and the only project I ever did well) plus it’s the last thing I see at night.

I’d love to know the story behind these clay feet. This is an image taken on my Blackberry at the abandoned J.H.Weatherby & Sons factory that I visited.

I love the focus and vibrancy of this photo, it was such a happy day and ‘Yumchaa’ is hands down the best tea spot in Camden.


I like the nonchalance of this shot, it was a nice viewpoint that I snapped on my way to get some Portuguese custard tarts from Brick Lane. I love the blurred woman approaching and the disguarded furniture.

It was hard to choose between the shot of the bay at Castellammare and this one of my dad, but it had to be this cheeky little grin from daddy dearest. I do so miss the chats I have with him, and how everything seems possible when he’s around. Love you daddy!

[Okay so I couldn’t choose 5 but here are just a few more that I love.]

This was one of the first posts that I did on Manchester vintage. A seriously great day out, I played around with the hue’s here for a warmer feel. Plus I love Julie’s anchor tattoo, and Sara’s hair that looks like copper wire in the sunlight.

My dear friend helped with a creative hair twist photoshoot, my favourite pieces about this picture are all the textures, her honey coloured hair, the uplifiting zing of the heather and the little snowflake heart hanging in the window, very ethereal.


Attach the string to labels

…Finally we have an image not far from Christmas morning, I was making present labels for all my gifts to the family and the light from the front bay window gave a perfect setting in which to take pictures in. Plus I love these tartan pyjama trousers I stole off the boyfriend.

Top 5: Crafty buys for Men

27 Jan

But craft’s for girls right?..Wrong! I’m often scowering the net for crafty pressies for the boyfriend, or my Dad or Brother, I even crafted my Dad’s Christmas present (which he loved.) So here’s a swipe of the cream in handmade presents. You could either hint at your significant other to treat you for Valentine’s day, or splash out on yourself – after all it’s cheaper than therapy!


Stag print from CrowBiz

  1. I love woodland creature prints like this inspired by masculinity and symmetry, you could even take your hand to a fine line pen and re-create the image yourself. Imagine how proud this would look on your desk, wall or nightstand all framed and refined. The text behind the image really makes it a visual feast.

    Orwell print 'Silence in the dark' from StandardDesigns

  2. I bought this Orwell print for my boyfriend at Christmas, as his novel 1984 was personal to us. There are lots of other prints of great literary men and women in this collection. I always think it’s nice to wake up to some inspirational words. The lovely artist Simon James even wrote a personal message on the reverse.

    Tea/Coffee Mug from NoTHS.com

  3. I think this is actually my favourite piece, it means that whoever’s making you a brew knows exactly how you like it without having to yell at you from the kitchen. The kind people of ‘notonthehighstreet.com‘ even personalise it for you. The price is pretty unoffensive as well!

    Hand crafted pipe from ExoticTobaccoTools

  4. I’ll always remember my grandfather have a drag on his mahogany pipe out in the garden when I was younger, it’s great as a prop for photography, or a show piece in your bedroom – or perhaps if you’re a smoker you can even make use of it. Stunning Swedish-esque design, and hand crafted, with it’s own little stopper so your 1950’s Lucky Strike tobacco won’t make a mess.

    Antique printing blocks from NoTHS.com

  5. Actually, I was lying before – these are my real favourite item. I actually bought some similar to these at an antique traders in Notting Hill – although they aren’t as stylised as these beauties! You could get inventive, and instead of spelling your name, you could just have your initials or an inspirational word like ‘success’. (However, with my modest student budget I’d try and keep it simple with as few letters as possible – i.e. ‘Bawse’, ‘Fly’, or ‘Gin’.)

Sweethearts and petals

23 Jan

Charity shop flower press

Before Christmas 2010, using my beloved charity shop flower press I took some petals from a bunch of burnt orange roses the boyfriend had bought me.
I actually forgot about them until I unwound the compressed flora the other week. I was delighted with how they turned out but had nowhere to put them. The frame is actually a left-over from a load of frames I bought from a British Red Cross charity shop in Stoke town.

I tried a variety of backgrounds with the petals and picture – pink and white candy stripe, coloured tissue – but the blank white seemed the most effective. Showcasing the central images and petals scattered in front and behind the image.

One of the most simple craft pieces in my room, but one of the most effective – plus it has a sentimental elegance.

Petals suspended and scattered

Hearts shaped petal

Sweeheart frame & pressed petals

The Night Sky Bunting

20 Jan

Clouded Bunting

Okay, the story behind this one is – I had 15 minutes to add a handmade present to my good friends hamper, bunting seemed the most obvious choice. This wonderful friend has an immense imagination – and once dressed up as a cloud to a fancy dress party (hence the starry night theme.)

Inspiration:The stars shine all day too’ Rob Ryan print (I bought a mug with this design from Pick me up design show last year), Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, Don Mclean – Starry Starry Night, Cloud costumes & honey gold twine and deep fearless Indigo.

Project:Along a crease in my thin cotton starry fabric I cut out several bunting triangles, hanging these triangles over a length of twine I stitched along the upper hem line to create a draw string bag style hem. (I had all-in-all 15 minutes so I used a simple running stitch) I planted some fabric stickers on alternate triangles, folded it neatly and placed it in an opaque polythene bag. Sorted!

Megan showcases the bunting

TOPTIP:With bunting, you need to think about the string just as much as the fabric or material of the bunting, ensure there are no overt clashes. When cutting out the triangles it’s best to use a card template on each one, and also use odd numbers of triangles (or whichever shape) as you will get a defined semi-circular dip!

Starry starry night

Crescent and correct

Packaged for Shannon

‘So cliché it works’ bunting

13 Jan

Catkin wall-hanging in the background

Inspiration:Totally and unashamedly inspired by ‘RaggedHome‘ of Etsy – I set about tracking down some hessian potato sacks on old faithful (Ebay.) There were some gorgeous plain sacks, and also some vintage inspired printed one’s (I bought one of each and intend to frame the printed version.)

Project:For this project there was no need to stitch or sew, as the hessian sack came with a hem already sewn in. The real ball ache was threading string through it. My initial intention was to thread a brown twine as the bunting line, alas it was too thick so I opted for my trusty ball of string. The bunting triangles I cut out using some decent kitchen scissors and a card template.
Using the left-over felt from our infamous Ashford street personalised stockings – I hurriedly cut out a lower case version of my blogging pseudonym (Bella) and just stuck it on with a little PVA glue and a prayer. I lined the bunting triangles with a mix of my favourite shade of duck egg blue mixed with a little PVA (this was to ensure the ends didn’t fray to much, it looks pretty – and I got to pretend for 10 minutes that I was a cake chef. Et voila! My ‘so cliché it’s kitsch’ ‘Bella’ Bunting.

That darn hem!

TOPTIP:Channel your inner Cath Kidston and get brave with colours, who says vintage burlap brown and candy pink won’t work? To hell with the rule book, make it truly your own and as kitsch as you like.

Proud as punch

Duck egg zig-zag hemming