key steps to creating a stylish ‘X’ factor look for your guests this Christmas – Part 1.


Lights, Camera, action..

I adore Christmas, I know there is much criticism surrounding it’s commercialisation and its loss of religious focus and I know we all spend too much money, blah blah blah.. though some would argue that this is what makes the world go round, but for me, as a self confessed romantic, its the perfect time of year to live out my dreamy visions and set the scene, delight the senses of my family and friends and generally invite them into my Christmas dreamland – lights, camera, action…

You can’t really go wrong I think if you ensure a complete christmas overload of the senses, that is sight, smells, sounds, tastes and touch. So the first thing I tend to work on is the entrance, start the way you mean it to go on and hit them with a blast from the outset. So for me that definitely means christmas lights on some of the outdoor trees/shrubs, a small lit christmas tree in a pot by the door (this way I can plant it out in the garden when its all over), a Christmas wreath obviously, this year I’m making one up with Abigail Ahern’s Faux winter foliage practising my skills after having attended her flower workshop a couple of weeks ago. Faux’s are fab and hers are particularly good, more on those in Part Two. I love white Cyclamen, which are everywhere this time of year so a little tub of those by the door and/or a nice winter white frosty Christmassy planter. Then I add some lanterns with real or battery operated candles to give them a sense of the magic that is to come and then ding dong (I actually have the original door bell that sounds like the one in the servants hall at Downton, you couldn’t make it up!) into the entrance hall we shall go…

The Entrance Hall


Here I always hit the smell button big time and wow my guests with a heady Christmas waft!  There are some fab Christmas scented candles around now (some also not so fab, I smelt one in Tesco the other day and it smelt like toilet freshener, avoid, uck! I think its worth spending a bit more on better quality candles that do actually have a good strong and gorgeous scent. The White Company Winter Candles are always my go to Christmas candles, they look great and smell divine and I think offer good value, proper traditional smells, Mmm Delish, but make sure you are receiving their discount vouchers by signing up before you order! I then tend to add a couple of complimentary smells to the mix such as the ones I have picked up from Anthropologie recently. A new Anthro has opened up over the road in Spitalfields which is great if slightly dangerous! and so after an annual Christmas shopping lunch with one of my good friends last week (we have almost made a tradition of  candle smelling in Anthro pre Christmas, which has us oohing and aahing like crazy, staff must think we ‘re nuts! ),  I bagged a  Mercury Moonglow Candle, Vanilla and Cinnamon and a Giant Mercury Candle which has the fabulous scent of candied oranges and limes, this is quite an investment but this scent is so strong you only need to have it burning for a couple of hours and then just leave the lid off and it fills the room, its also great post Christmas too and you end up with a beautiful Golden jar which you could fill with your own candle wax or just use it as a gorgeous splash of gold, either way you do get your moneys worth with this one and if thats a bit over the top there are smaller sizes.

I also invest in some essence of Christmas oil by Pollyfields  who also make fabulous Christmas Potpourri, not the cheap and nasty looking stuff which looks a bit 80’s but really lovely home made large fruits, chillis, cones etc.. They make the oil to refresh it and you can also dilute it with 1-2 parts water and spray on your Christmas tree,  radiators  generally  as a room spray etc it’s great and long lasting.

So, I’m all set for the intro, I will have given them a taster as they approach and set the scene outdoors, hit them with a heady dose of Christmas scent now I need to think about the visual wow factor..

Don’t miss part two, next week – ‘adding the wow factor’ and photos of the finished set!

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