Friday, 19 December 2014

DIY Christmas Decorations

Christmas, for me, is a lot about festive scents and though there are an abundance of beautifully fragranced home accessories available for us to buy at this time of year, nothing beats making your own and that's what I'm doing in today's post!

The scents I most associate with Christmas are cinnamon, cloves and oranges. Combine them all and it's a recipe for festive cosiness.

Let's take the cinnamon first. A simple way of bringing the scent of cinnamon into the home (without having to bake because I cannot bake!) is to frame a plain pillar candle with some cinnamon sticks. This also makes a lovely decoration that you can pop anywhere at all.

All you'll need are approximately 8 cinnamon sticks (less if you use a smaller candle), 1 pillar candle of any description, twine, scissors and some decorative accessories.

How to decorate a candle for Christmas, DIY Christmas Decorations
How to decorate a candle for Christmas, DIY Christmas Decorations
How to decorate a candle for Christmas, DIY Christmas Decorations
How to make a cinnamon scented candle, rustic DIY Christmas Decorations, country Christmas

A lot of methods for making this rustic Christmas decoration call for a glue gun but it's not at all necessary in my opinion, the twine works just fine and is far less complicated! You'll find as the candle burns down the heat will trigger that glorious cinnamon scent.

If you'd like a little more cinnamon scent around the house just grab a few cinnamon sticks, snap them in half and parcel them up however you fancy. Great for popping near radiators, on window sills and on the Christmas Tree itself.

How to make your home smell festive, Cinnamon stick parcels, DIY Christmas Decorations

Now we have cinnamon covered it's onto orange and cloves, another seasonal staple. The Christmas Pomander is about as traditional as it gets and there is a good reason why it's so beloved, it works and you can use it in a number of different ways.

For this one all you will need are (firm) oranges (as many as you like), one tub of cloves and a skewer. Twine / ribbon and scissors if you intend on hanging your Christmas Pomander.

How to make a Christmas Pomander, Christmas Pomander Orange, DIY Christmas Decorations
How to make a Christmas Pomander, Christmas Pomander Orange, DIY Christmas Decorations
How to make a Christmas Pomander, Christmas Pomander Orange, DIY Christmas Decorations
How to make a Christmas Pomander, Christmas Pomander Orange, DIY Christmas Decorations

And that's really it. If you wanted to make patterns in the orange peel before popping your cloves in the best method is with an orange peeler. Tie some string or ribbon around your Christmas Pomander Orange if you want to hang it. I place mine on the radiators and I also use them to fill out decorative plates.

Now we can bring our 3 DIY Christmas Decorations together and come up with something like this...

DIY Christmas Decorations, homemade christmas decorations, Christmas pomander, cinnamon candle

It's always best to use a decorative plate or a dinner plate that has a sunken middle, this helps with the aesthetics of your piece.

I love having decorations up around the home and it's great to have sparkly bits and pieces to look at but really, it's all about the fragrance, the scent of Christmas in the air. When you're settling down at night and the lights are turned low, the fire is roaring... nothing beats those cosy spiced scents.

Here's a little video of how I make my house festively fragrant - I hope you enjoy!

Do you have a favourite crafty decoration you always rely on? I'm looking to branch out!

This post is my entry into the Able Skills Christmas competition hosted by Victoria's Vintage

Party Shoe Tips with Simply Be

Whether it's the perfect pair of heels for Christmas parties or whether you're on the hunt for the sparkliest dancing shoes to take you through to the new year, there is always one very important point to consider. Your feet. Let's be honest, the days of having to suffer through painful tootsies is long over. We live in an age where we search for comfort. Now, unfortunately, you can't very well party all night long in your slippers (well, you could if you so desired but best to keep that for your party in your own living room!) which leaves us with the complicated task of picking a pair of Party Shoes.

Now, where to start choosing? Stiletto heels? Perhaps you're better with block heels? Closed toe, open toe and then there are the colours. So many decisions! Luckily for all of us perfect party shoe hunters, Simply Be have a handy Party Shoes Guide (here) where they not only have tips on road testing your party footwear but they also have a great guide to choosing which shoes are best for you.

Following Simply Be's advice, I went for a platform heel as they tend to offer a little more stability with a wider heel and less of an angle for your feet to try and deal with.

Party Shoe Tips with Simply Be, Christmas Party tips, fashion blog, style blog

First up, I chose the Anna Scholz T Bar Studded Platform shoes in Silver and am hugely impressed with them.

Wider fit shoes, NYE party shoes, Party Shoe Tips, Party Shoes Guide
Anna Scholz Simply Be, Silver Hi Heels, Silver party shoes

Built in a platform style, there's not much stress on the feet at all. The front part is just wide enough so as not to cut of the circulation to your toes. However, they did need a little breaking in!

Here are my best tips!

Firstly, find the THICKEST and fluffiest pair of socks you own. Heat them on the radiator (not just to keep your feet warm, trust me!) and pop them on. The heat will help soften the material in the shoe, plus wearing the thicker socks will help to loosen the shoes as well. You could do this lying around in your pyjamas OR if you happen to also have a little shoe-lover in the house, they can help out too.

Little feet, Big Shoes
Breaking in shoes, wear around the house, UK fashion blog, UK style blog

Breaking a pair of shoes in can be as simple as wearing the shoes around the house. Even just sitting on the sofa at night, wear them and every now and again do little dances with your feet.

You could also set the shoes just under a radiator as heat really does work well at loosening them. Stretching manually always works though I honestly swear by the chunky socks method.

So, you've done all you can in order to break in those party shoes. Is there anything left to do in order to save the foot ache that can come with dancing the night away in heels? Well, funny you should ask because yes, there is a wonder item that WILL help you. Have you ever heard of the Hi Heel technology from M&S? No? Well, be prepared to have your mind blown. I have been using only these style of tights for the past year and with the news that there are now FOOTLESS Hi Heel tights available, you are set, trust me! The reason these tights will save your feet this Christmas? They have built in cushioned pads for the balls of your feet. No more footache! I wear them with both shoes and boots and they have changed my shoe life!

All that's left is to don your sparkly Party Shoes and dance the night away.

Party Shoe Tips, Simply Be, Christmas party shoes, next day delivery, click and collect

Don't forget to stop by the Party Shoes Guide at Simply Be and just in case you've hit the panic buying stage, Simply Be still offer next day delivery AND click and collect so there is still plenty of time for Cinderella to get her glass slippers and head off to the ball!

Do you have any tips for breaking in shoes?