Sunday, December 22, 2013

Marks and Sparkle

Christmas is a funny thing, and I feel like I've come *almost* full circle over the years. From full scale hating, to live and let live, to this year, trying to find my own way with the festivity. It started with an email, a mug and a Christmas tree.

I have never been a full of the joys putting my tree up on December 1st, and I'm not there yet either. Quite aside the big bushy green living spruces not being to my taste, I discovered this year that I'm allergic to the damn things. December has passed me in a haze of anti-histamines and cursing.

But, a recent trip to my second home, Leipzig (FYI) yielded some inspiration. The mug is the current year's Weihnachtsmarkt offering, gotta love the red and stone and the beautiful silver tree (it spins with the heat given out from a tealight) is a gift from my family who also joined the trip since I played tour guide and translator extraordinaire.

And the email. Well the email popped in just as my allergies were realised on my return from Leipzig. Sent by the rather wonderful people from Marks and Spencer who wanted to let me decorate a room in our home using a super generous gift card. My pretty new mug gave me a theme idea- red and white, and it set me thinking about the kind of decoration that is important to T & I in our home.

One of the biggest factors on most decisions T & I make currently is cost and value. We don't have a huge amount of disposable cash, and so if we spend on something, it needs to be good value. In recent months, I find myself focussing on sustainability in a number of senses- making a conscious effort to reduce waste and excess not just financially, but environmentally and economically- making choices that fit with the reduce, re-use and recycle ethos and my focus here was no different.

The Christmas shop on the M&S website is full of wonderful things, sparkly, rustic, scented and sweet, but away from the tradition tree decoration and twinkling lights what really caught my fancy were the beautiful interiors and with my red theme and my wish to find a sustainable way to do Christmas decorations.

Seersucker striped cotton duvet cover & pillow cases, chenille throw, both c/o Marks and Spencer

Inclusion candle, Tartan towels, chenille throw, Mandarin, Clove & Cinnamon candle - all c/o Marks and Spencer

When I stood back and admired my new, clean, fresh sheets, the absolute softest piece of fabric I have ever had a hold of that is currently masquerading as a humble throw, fluffy new tartan towels and the array of candles throwing out warm ambient light on the shortest day of the year, well I have to admit a flicker of festive joy and pride did hit.

My take on festive decoration is not to everyone's tastes, I know. There is no tinsel, and I'm now counting the hours until I can take down the SJDV|ABDFLI|HVFPDIGHRW%$^%&%**WU******************** Christmas tree. But The red, the scent of cinnamon and cloves spreading through our flat, the anticipation that comes with new bedding (just me?!) that brings with it excitement and the warm, ambient light thrown out by candles says Christmas to me.

And to top it all off, a word on the values of sustainability in economic an environmental terms. Marks and Spencer very generously provided my with a £100 gift card to show off their beautiful products and all these products featured here were purchased with that gift card, and left me with enough left over to treat myself to some new PJs for Christmas Eve and the most stunningly beautiful smelling handwash I have ever come across. Whilst £100 sounds a lot, not a single one of the products here cannot be used again- I have threatened to start removing T's organs if he so much as considers harming my throw, and like it or not, we have to have sheets on the bed- just because the bottom sheet is red now, doesn't mean it will be all year. The candles purchased seem to have a brilliant burn time- they're still going strong, they smell divine and I burn them most evenings when I shut the door on my day. Nothing featured here will be going to landfill after the festive period, nothing here cannot be recycled in one way shape or form.

All these things are important to me- and whilst I know a Christmas tree or some tinsel might just cost less than the £100 gifted to me by Marks and Spencer, the makers of (in my humble opinion) the best Christmas advertising this year came up with goods by providing me with inspiration, and decorations to suit my priorities.

Voucher provided to me by Marks and Spencer, all views and reviews are my own and all contents, pictures and standpoints have been offered freely and without obligation by me. 

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