One of the activities that we do around the Christmas period is a trip to the garden centre. Luckily for us we have a brilliant Notcutts locally and we can spend a whole afternoon looking at all the Christmas decorations, having a cup of tea and deciding what plants we might like for the forthcoming year. The kids love it, its one of their most requested trips out. Notcutts really have a great range of stuff for Christmas and they have even put together some tips on how to do stuff. You can see a video on how to decorate your tree.
They have put together top five tips from expert stylist, Pippa Jameson. I thought these were quite useful so I’m re-posting them here for you:
1. Christmas Wreath
Save time and buy a ready-made wreath, then add on festive touches such as cinnamon sticks, dried oranges, berries and lots of other foliage. Hook it on to your front door or suspend it with ribbon to hang in front of the window.
2. Festive foliage for the stairs
Add pretty foliage to your stairs to make your home feel warm and Christmassy. Use a combination of fern, ivy, and pine cones and then add some clear glass baubles to create some sparkle. Finally, finish off the look with some bright red berries (Ilex aquifolium are a great option).
3. Fairy lights
Fairy lights are a simple and effective way to add Christmas sparkle to your home. They can be hung in a multitude of places but our favourites are above a mirror, on the banister, or over a doorway. If you are buying lights suitable for outdoor use, then hang them along a fence, in a tree or over the porch.
4. Table centrepiece
This is a must for the ultimate Christmas dining experience. The type of centrepiece you opt for should depend on the rest of your table accessories. Below are three of our favourites:
– Bright coloured baubles in a glass vase
– Single fern stem in three or four tall votives
– Berries and twigs in glass vase
5. Decorate the mantelpiece
Christmas mantelpiece garlands are really simple and effective. Choose your favourite foliage and tie the end with string first, then ribbon. Place them flat on your mantle, and then add your berries for a Christmas feel. The use of flowers can also give the garland a real injection of colour and elegance.
So, back to the shop. I find that if I am on the lookout for more unusual gifts then the garden centre actually provides a perfect range of things. This year I have bought everything from gardening tools for the tiny tots to biscuits for the mother-in-law.
We got send a few examples of the Notcutts range. This included a fantastic Peppa Pig Puzzle which has become the kids favourite jigsaw puzzle. It is a straight-forward puzzle with drop in bits and doesn‘t require much adult supervision which seems to give Boy and Fifi a great deal of satisfaction as they can do it without me. We also got a little Flower Pressing Kit which enables you to make home made cards using flowers. I love this, I used to work in the Herbarium at the Natural History Museum and it takes me back to my time there. I think its just a perfect idea, not only can you show the children and it enables you to talk to them about flowers, but you can make something lovely too. The hubby likes the Chilli Lovers kit he got sent, Chilli Jam is something to die for.
If you have someone difficult to buy for, or if you have run out of ideas I can strongly recommend Notcutts, even if you don’t have a store local to you, there’s always their website. I’m going to treat myself to these secateurs!