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Are you someone who updates your decorations for your tree every year, or do you build on what you’ve already got? Now we have our tree we need to sort out the decorations. I’ve been building up a bit of a collection of baubles and decorations over the past few years but I wanted to see what I could do to update our decor theme on a small budget. Working with The O2 centre in Finchley, which if you live in North London is a great place to go if you’re after a quiet morning shopping experience, I went to see what I could get for £50 to update our tree.

I spent the majority of my budget in Habitat but I could quite easily have done the same in Paperchase or Oliver Bonas, or even Sainsbury’s, who all have good stock of decorations, but I chose Habitat as I wanted to build on and update my vintage collection and also wanted to expand the stars that I have for some hanging decorations. I found the selection of items at Habitat best fit that brief.

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I thought these stripy ones reminded me of meringues! In the end I didn’t get these ones, much as I loved them, because I am trying to keep our tree to gold, wood and then will add homemade orange slices again, but I was very tempted! They would have fit in great with our little silver vintage tree where I hang my precious vintage glass multi-coloured decor, high on a dresser in our kitchen, out of the way of the baby, but the size was just too much for balance. Hard to leave behind!

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Pip has her own mini tree and I fell in love with the neon pompom light garland which you can see at the start of my very first custom video for The Little Pip! I had such fun putting this together but you will see I could definitely do with some practice, not least remembering to hold the camera horizontally! No talking either I’m afraid but I think I will try and give a day in the life video a go later this month…

In the end, I chose the neon pompom light garland, a large gold star, some smaller matching gold stars, two small strands of copper lights for my silver vintage tree and a couple of stocking things for Pip.

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I also liked that the O2 Centre wants to ensure that disadvantaged children and families in need across the Camden borough receive a Christmas gift, by launching its Giving Tree initiative. The Centre is asking its customers to pick a name tag from the tree, which will help inspire them to buy an extra Christmas gift for a child in need. A team of Christmas helpers will then ensure all gifts are delivered safely on December 23 to Camden Foster Care and Doorstep, in time for festive celebrations.

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Post in collaboration with The O2 Centre, Finchley.

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I really hope Father Christmas uses this list for inspiration as if he does, we will have one very happy Pip squeak come Christmas day. This year for the first time we have had many Santa Lists brought home, each time with a completely different set of ideas as to what she’d like, so we are still waiting to make a final present decision until nearer the time.

I’ve therefore based this list on some of things I’ve bought Pip over the year which have gone down well (these pencils for example are among the best we’ve tried), watched (we loved Swallows & Amazons at the cinema – and look out for a DVD giveaway coming soon here – & we’re off to see The Snowman again this year too, we all enjoyed it so much last year) and worn (slippers and pyjamas are a staple present in our house and these boots have been such a hit she asks me to bring them to school for her to wear home even when it’s not raining!).

I think a lot of these presents would be just as good for big ones as well as little ones! I’m rather sad the boots only go up to a kids 3 – if they sold them in a 6 I would snap up a pair!

 

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1 | Amazon Fire Kids Kindle 2 | Unicorn snot (rainbow glitter hair & body gel) £8 from Liberty 3 | Pink washi tape – I get mine from Choosing Keeping which is the nicest stationery/pen shop on Columbia Road 4 | Boden rose gold glitter slippers – From £20.50 (Use code F6P8 for 30% off) 5 | Kids Hale Hasbro The Original Muck Boot Company My Little Pony Twilight Sparkle boots {gifted} 6 | The Nutcracker book 7 |  Tickets to The Snowman Ballet at The Peacock Theatre (get seats in the front of the stalls if you want snow to fall on you!)   8 | Swallows & Amazons DVD – out 12 December £9.99 {gifted} 9| Lyra Furby colouring pencils 10 | Next My Little Pony Unicorn sweatshirt

 

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This year we did something we’ve not done before – we had our tree delivered in time for Advent Sunday. Usually we get a tree around mid-December but this year the plan is to be up and decorated by the start of December. A real Christmas tree is one of my favourite traditions, probably because I don’t feel it is in any way religious. It also occurred to me that the trees are likely to already be cut by now, regardless of when you actually buy it or have it delivered. So, I did some research into caring for your real Christmas tree and thought it might be useful to share some tips.

Pick the right tree…

I’m working with Pines and Needles on this post who delivered us the most beautiful 6 foot Nordmann Fir at the weekend. Nordmann Firs should last around 4 weeks inside when looked after properly and the one we were sent is gorgeously green and glossy. It was also a real treat having the tree delivered – what we lost in choosing our own was entirely made up for by not having to drag it home. Whilst they say the smell is not as strong as a spruce, it has a subtle Christmas smell which is noticeable every time we enter the room.

Real is better than fake: a real tree despite being cut down is actually better for the environment. Real trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air as they grow, as well as providing a habitat for wildlife. Artificial trees on the other hand are usually made from non recyclable plastic and fill up landfill once discarded.

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Consider the tree’s position carefully…

If you want your tree to last from now until Christmas, think about where in the room you will position it, both from an aesthetic view point but also much like you would cut flowers – the tree will fare best away from radiators, heaters and air-conditioning units. Heat dries out the tree faster so cooler is better but it will also prefer to remain a constant temperature.

An ideal place is by a window which will help keep the tree cool – if it is a front facing window this also has the added bonus of looking welcoming from outside! We’ve put ours in our sitting room bay window on the side of the front door, so we can see it as we come up the path and up the steps into our flat.

Prep is key!

Before the tree goes in the stand, give it a good shake to get rid of dried needles and insects. Cut the bottom inch off the trunk – straight across, not at an angle.

Trees drink a lot of water which it will be able to do best prepped properly and is then stood upright in a water friendly stand.

We used a small pruning saw to remove the bottom of the trunk and we then stood the tree in a water holding stand. We then did nothing for the rest of the weekend to allow the tree to absorb water and also for the branches to drop into position so we could assess which angle we think it looks best from, but you could absolutely just get on and decorate it too.
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Water frequently (& keep watering)

Use plain water, and don’t use soil or sand. Temperature of the water doesn’t matter, say Pines and Needles.

Each day so far I have topped up the stand with a large jug of  tap water. Don’t let the water level drop below the base of the trunk or else the trunk will seal up with sap and not absorb any more water (much like cut flowers).

The tree may drink 2-3 pints of water a day, depending on your room temperature settings.

LED lights

LED lights are less energy emitting, so will not dry out the tree as fast, which will help the tree last longer.

& decorate…

We now need to decorate and I’ll share some more photos over on Instagram in due course. I bought a few more decorations last week, we have our annual Liberty addition to add, and we are planning again to make our own orange and clove slices to hang which help make the room smell lovely.

Thank you to Pines and Needles for our tree, stand and delivery. Use code A110602R167211 for a free mini tree!