Archive of ‘Lifestyle’ category

#ChristyLovesWimbledon: How to throw the perfect Wimbledon screening party

Summer marks the start of a special time of year for Christy, not only because the sun is shining and the flowers are blooming, but because summer is officially Wimbledon season.

Christy is extremely proud to be the official towel supplier for Wimbledon, particularly when the likes of Andy Murray and Serena Williams are seen sporting our championship towels. And while we would love to be courtside brushing shoulders with Bradley Cooper during the Men’s Finals, for many of us, it is but a distant dream.

But instead of sitting in despair, why not take the opportunity to throw a Wimbledon viewing party for your friends and family? Keep reading to discover how to throw a ‘proper’ British party and enjoy the games at the most elegant sporting party of the year.

Decorations 

The colour theme for any Wimbledon party should, of course, be green and purple to represent the iconic colours of the men’s championship towel. Think bunting, flags, crisp White linens to contrast and your finest bone china to really impress your guests.

For extra bonus points, pitch your own tennis court in your yard using a net and rackets from a toy store. This will keep your guests entertained between games and give them a chance to polish up on their own tennis skills.

Food

Every tennis fan knows that Wimbledon is synonymous with the iconic dessert of strawberries and cream, but why not try experimenting with these two ingredients to serve a trio of desserts that will really impress your guests?

For the first dessert, we would recommend sticking with the classic strawberries and cream dish. It is the perfect accompaniment to a hot day and will provide a healthy(ish) option for your guests.

Next up is something a little more indulgent – strawberry and cream donuts. Simply use this fabulous doughnut recipe from Epicurious and swap out the vanilla filling for fresh cream and sliced strawberries. Just be sure to let the doughnuts come down to room temperature before filling to avoid a pre-party disaster.

And finally, the third dessert in our trio is a real crowd pleaser – a strawberries and cream cheesecake. This delicious recipe from taste.com can be made a couple of days in advance to give yourself some much-needed spare time on the big day.

Drink

There’s only one drink you’ll need for a Wimbledon viewing party: Pimms.

For the perfect Pimms pitcher, you will need:

  • Plenty of ice cubes
  • 200ml Pimm’s No.1
  • 600ml lemonade
  • 5 mint sprigs
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 10 strawberries, sliced

To assemble your pitcher, add ice until it reaches the halfway point in your jug. Then pour your Pimms and lemonade over the ice, ensuring to leave room for your sliced goodies. Finally, add your cucumber, orange, strawberries and mint, stir and serve.

So, are you ready for an indulgence of Pimms, strawberries and cream and tennis this summer? Come immerse yourself in the world of Wimbledon over the next two weeks on the Christy blog. We’ll be posting regular updates with more recipes, craft ideas, home style all inspired by our favourite sporting event of the year.

Serve it, Smash it, Win it, Love it.

Love, Christy.

 

Etiquette guide for a day at the races, by William Hanson

Royal Ascot, held annually in mid-June (this year: 20th – 24th June), is the epitome of the British Season.  As well as being a major social occasion it is firstly a world-class sporting event, dating back to the late eighteenth century.

Tickets for the Royal Enclosure need to be applied for well in advance and letters should be sent to Her Majesty’s Representative at Ascot (currently Jonathan Wetherby).  You’ve missed out if you haven’t got your tickets for Royal Ascot, but there are many other events at Ascot and other racecourses coming up in the near future; knowing how to behave is key, especially at the grander races such as Royal Ascot and Epsom.

Firstly, honour the dress code.  If formal daywear isn’t your thing then some of these events may not be for you.  Cheltenham (which has been and gone for 2017) is perhaps the least dressy race in the social calendar.

Within Royal Ascot there are varying dress codes subject to the different enclosures: there’s the Royal enclosure, Queen Anne, Village and Windsor enclosures.  (As a side note, never try to sneak into an enclosure that you haven’t booked.  Know your place!)

Royal Ascot has tightened up dress regulations in recent years, especially for the top enclosure: the Royal enclosure.

Here, gentlemen are asked to wear morning dress: the most formal daytime dress code and ladies wear smart dresses with often creative and outlandish hats – although something a bit more timeless and practical is best advised.

Fashions and trends change each year but dress colours that always work well for the races are pastels, bright colours, neutrals such as cream and fawn.  As for materials, linen creases easily and for an event where you may be sitting to enjoy a picnic, this is not a good idea.  Lightweight wool and silks are preferable.  Skirts that ride up when you sit down are not, however.

Umbrellas may be a nuisance but are worth it if it begins to rain.  They can be left in a cloakroom if needs be: parasols are naff – remember, My Fair Lady was a Hollywood film.

Hats should be on straight and should be sensible: too much veiling and you won’t be able to drink or eat.  If the brim is too low then you may not be able to see, so it is important to make sure you are wearing a sensible and comfortable hat, which should on no costs be removed, as your hair will look messy.  When purchasing or choosing your outfit, do remember that you could be in it for up to seven hours.  Shoes (if new) should be worn-in before the event as to avoid blisters.  Avoid stilettos.

Whether you are enjoying corporate hospitality or have brought your own catering, remember not to overindulge in the alcohol.  Less is very much more.  Ascot still has a sense of decorum, even if other racing events in the social calendar have a different reputation.  Don’t let the side down.

When attending any racing event remember to take more than a passing interest in the racing itself.  Don’t just attend for the social aspect – many also in attendance are hardened racegoers or horse owners and won’t take kindly to seeing your back turned to the racecourse whilst the sport is happening.   Place a bet or two and enjoy the main reason the event is happening, but don’t then try to haggle with the bookmakers over your winnings, losses and pay-offs.

If stuck for conversation with a racey-type – ask them what ‘the going’ is today and watch them silently squeal with joy that you are taking an interest.

Finally, remember where you are.  As with the moratorium on drinking to excess, a more restrained  type of cheer and applause is what is needed at the appropriate times: it’s not a football match.

 

How to host the perfect BBQ this Father’s Day

In this blog post Nicky Roeber, the Online Horticultural Expert at Wyevale Garden Centres, shares his top tips for hosting the perfect Father’s Day barbecue.

If the great British weather holds up, dads up and down the country will be lighting up the barbecue and hosting their very own Father’s Day feasts. If you want the festivities to go as smoothly as possible — and avoid cremating the sausages or giving your guests food poisoning while you’re at it — then read on to find out how to host the perfect barbeque this Father’s Day.

Make sure you’ve got the right kit

First things first: you need the right kit if you really want to treat your guests to a delicious meal.

Let’s start with the barbecue itself. While they offer instant heat, gas barbecues don’t impart your food with any of the smoky flavour that defines barbecued food. In terms of flavour, you might as well be cooking your burgers in the oven. So, if you’re after authentic flavour, go for a charcoal barbecue every time — one of The Telegraph’s pick of the best is sure to serve you well.

What many budding chefs don’t realise is that the type of charcoal you use can have a big impact on the flavour of your food. The best outdoor chefs treat charcoal the same as they treat herbs and spices, as they do the same thing — give your food flavour. Corenlius Veakins of outdoorbbqchef.co.uk recommends lump charcoal over briquettes for better control and a smoky flavour. Stock up on yours in advance so you don’t have to settle for whatever the local supermarket has in on the day.

Putting together the perfect BBQ menu

Burgers, sausages, and chicken skewers are barbecue classics, but there’s so much more you can do with a good outdoor grill. Fish, ribs, and lamb all taste extra special when grilled or smoked, while vegetables also go great on the barbeque and will ensure your guests get at least a somewhat balanced meal.

Take a look at BBC Good Food’s and Jamie Oliver’s collection of barbecue recipes for inspiration, and don’t be afraid to experiment a bit — although, include the classics on your menu as well to keep everyone happy.

Setting up your garden for the feast

In the build up to the big day, it’s a good idea to get your garden ready to serve as a kitchen.

First, be careful where you place your barbecue. Avoid putting it on your grass, as any coals that fall out will scorch it, causing permanent damage.

Make sure to clear a space between the barbecue and your seating area to prevent any mishaps when your guests take their food back to their seat. Also, if there’s going to be kids about, make sure to set up a separate area for them play in that’s well away from the grill to help keep them safe.

It’s also a good idea to get your garden looking the part. Make sure your potted plants are getting plenty of show by arranging them in full view from your seating area. Your bedding plants should be in full bloom in June, so they’ll make a great display. If you really want to add some colour and vibrancy to the day, you might even want to pick up some new pot plants or hanging baskets for an explosion of colour.

So, there you have it: everything you need to know to host the perfect barbeque on Father’s Day. Stick to these tips and you’re sure to serve up some delicious dishes that will have your guests wishing it was Father’s Day every day. Bon Appétit!

 

How to introduce hygge in your bedroom this spring

In 2016, the world went crazy for the Danish concept of ‘hygge’. Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah), is the art of feeling cosy and content within your surrounds. Most people associate hygge with a cold winter’s night sat under a cosy blanket with a hot chocolate in hand. But in fact, hygge can be embraced at any time of the year. And as winter has drawn to a close and spring has sprung, this Danish art can be embraced to bring a serene and contented feeling to your home.

Here at Christy, it’s no secret that we’re advocates for a good night’s sleep. So, to celebrate National Bed Month, we’re sharing our tips on how to embrace hygge in your bedroom this spring and how it can help you get a restful night’s sleep.

Candles

For us, hygge is all about indulging your senses to create a relaxing atmosphere and appreciate the joy in the little things, and what better way to do that than with a candle. The natural, warm glow from a candle is relaxing at any time of year, and placing one on your bedside table will help you to de-stress at the end of a long day.

Lighting

It’s universally agreed that the ultimate mood setter is lighting. Blue light (the kind that is produced by the sun as well as LED lighting, TVs, phones and laptops) is used to regulate your body’s natural sleep and wake cycles. This means that if you’re using bright lights and electronic devices in your bedroom, your body will think it’s daytime and you will not want to go to sleep. So, when it comes to introducing hygge into your bedroom, warm, dim lighting is key.

Texture

A simple way to indulge your sense of touch is by introducing different textures into your bedroom. Compliment your silky soft bed sheets with a soft mohair throw and velvet cushions that will not only feel great but look great, too.

Loungewear

Another way to introduce comfort into your bedroom is by wearing soft and loose-fitting loungewear. In the warmer months, opt for white, breathable cotton or silk, and in the colder months, wrap up in a fleecy pyjama set, cosy robe and a pair of cashmere bed socks.

Scents

Scents can be brought into the bedroom in a variety of ways, including scented candles, pillow sprays, essential oil diffusers, reed diffusers, incense sticks…the list goes on. But when it comes to creating the right atmosphere for a good night’s sleep, there are certain scents such as geranium, bergamot, chamomile and, of course, lavender.

Why not see if you can introduce these simple tips into your bedroom? And remember, hygge is everywhere, you just need to discover it.

 

The Spirit Of Motherhood / A Mother’s Legacy

Sounds like a cheesy line from a Mother’s Day card but my Mum is the best Mum ever – fact! If anyone ever asks me who my biggest inspiration has been – the answer is always “my mum”.

Yet it’s only since becoming a mother myself that I’ve realized that her biggest inspiration / gift to me has been her Mothering Legacy. Everything I know about “how to be a good mum” and everything I aspire to be myself I’ve learnt from her.

She gave my brother & I the best childhood. She was always there whenever we needed her (and sometimes when we thought we really didn’t!) it wasn’t about flash toys or the latest games console (although at the time we probably wouldn’t have minded!) It was about always having time for us, listening to whatever bit of non-sense we wanted to share with her; thinking creatively to get us interested in (un-inspiring) school projects, making learning and the other (boring) day to day stuff fun; supporting whatever groups, activity or event we were involved in; nurturing; inspiring and never being “too grown up” to play with us whether building dens in the garden or creating he most stylish, coordinated dolls houses you’ve ever seen from cardboard boxes (truth be told that’s probably where my love of all things interiors began!)

On days where I’m struggling with a strong-willed four year old or I’m up in the middle of the night comforting the baby all I have to think is what would mum do – and I instantly know the answer…and if I don’t then I text her and ask!

She is an inspiration, making me strive to be a little bit of a better Mum, to give my boys that little bit more attention, be a little more patient , and most importantly to slow down, not to let the moment pass me by, to enjoy Motherhood because it is a blessing.

Of course there is a downside to having my very own Super Mum…they are pretty big footsteps to follow and there are days when I beat myself up because I should have been more patient; I shouldn’t have yelled; the laundry could have waited and I could have played trains (yawn!) or I’ve been busy thinking about a work project and have no idea what the cute quizzical little face in front of me has just asked! But as Mum herself reminds me – there are so many pressures on Mum’s these days to have / be everything and sometimes we just need to take the pressure off ourselves a little.

I consider myself so lucky and thankful to have her by my side on my own journey of motherhood. I’d be totally lost without her and so would my boys.

Mother’s Day is an opportunity – to say thank you. For me it’s to my Mum but really it’s not about the biology, it’s about recognising those women that embody that “mothering spirit” grandmothers; stepmothers, Aunties, Sisters, friends, who have loved us unconditionally; nurtured & inspired us and who’s mothering legacy continues to guide us.

Happy Mother’s Day #hergifttome

 

Gifts With Heart by Marie Nichols

Let’s face it who wouldn’t love a gorgeous new snuggly robe or new beautiful linen to rest a weary head upon at the end of a long day? It’s a given! But this Mother’s day here are a few simple ideas that will add that extra special personal touch to gifts that Mums will instantly cherish and are virtually cost free…

Create a chalkboard tray

Serve an extra special breakfast in bed with your own personalized message to Mum. Mask off the inside of the tray and paint using blackboard paint. Once the paint is dry chalk on your message, and get the kettle on!

Hand Picked Bouquet

A few daffodils and tulips picked from the garden can be bulked out with foraged foliage or in expensive fillers such as Wax Flower or Gypsophila from the florist.

Wrap in tissue or brown paper and finish with a cute personalized tag.

Mum Tag

To make a tag roll out air drying clay to approx 5mm thick, use a cookie cutter to cut out a heart shape. Make the hole to thread ribbon through by “punching out” the clay with the end of a drinking straw .You can create a pretty embossed design by pushing lace into the wet clay. Then use stamp to write your message and leave to dry.

Fill A Jar With Love

Cut strips of paper and ask the children to write down (or you write for them if they’re very little) one thing that they love about their Mum on each piece of paper. Fold them up and pop them in a Jar labeled “We love Mum because…” A jar full of sweet sentiments that are sure to put a smile on every mum’s face and be treasured forever.

Mother’s Day Tokens

We don’t know any Mum that would turn down the offer of a Lie-In; a lovely (child Free) soak in the Tub or somebody else offering to do the dishes, so spoil Mum with promises of little acts of thoughtfulness that will make her very happy indeed.

Share your gifts this Mother’s Day using #mygifttoher #hergifttome on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

Welcome wellbeing into the home this autumn, with Sarah Jones

Leading lifestyle and holistic expert, Sarah Jones, shares her tips on how to make the most of autumn and winter by creating a sense of wellbeing in your home.

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Autumn presents us enormous opportunities to reconnect with nature. The air around us becomes cool, twilight beckons earlier, beauty of the rustling changing leaves, the billowing fragrance of burning fireplaces fills the night sky, and bulky blankets nestled around our home – a cosy comfort within easy reach. Bringing nature inside our house shores up replenishing vibes, and when our environment is surrounded by things with contagiously good energy, we pull better circumstances into our lives.

Autumn is a wonderful time to set new intentions for self-care and regarded as a time to pull our energy inward to prepare for winter. Autumn is about layering up and slowing down. It’s normal during this transition to feel a sense of loss as the light fades so cultivating balance is key during any transition. Recognising that we are part of the cycle of nature and that there is a time to put our energy outward (Spring and Summer) and a time to draw our energy inward (Autumn and Winter) sets the foundation for a sustainable wellness preparation. Making even slight lifestyle adjustments to our everyday life will support our wellbeing on many levels.

Goodness

Display plump pumpkins around your home, they are your lucky charms, attracting material goods and wealth. Pumpkins are also known as a protection against negative energy, so a few by the front door is great! Fruit and apples are a sign of peace. Fill a bowl with them and place it on the kitchen table. Be inspired by pine cones and acorns and incorporate what you love. It all represents good health and a long life.

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Vibrant Colours

Gaze outside, nature wears a kaleidoscope of hues. Drink its inspiration and switch out summer colours with cascading Autumn tones. Orange is a social colour that boosts lively conversation. Red is seen as healthy and abundant, so it’s an excellent choice around the front door specially when we want to attract crisp opportunities. And yellows and browns summon an earthy vibe that harnesses grounding, comforting energy in our home.

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Gratitude

Yellow mums are a great way to feel golden. Symbolic of Autumn, they signify gratitude. Once outside temps drop, we stay inside more and household plants naturally remove indoor toxins and purify the air, dispensing plenty of healthy breathing space for everyone.

Happiness

The kitchen is symbolic of wealth, and it’s where family and friends naturally gather for meals, games, and conversation. Inviting loved ones into our home for food and nourishment is a delightful way to encourage prosperity. When love is gathered under one roof, it leaves a delightful aura.

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“Autumn offers us a multitude of authentic delights that carry restorative power. Stand in the sun and absorb its warmth. Let the cold air bite your cheeks. Listen to the birds and the harvest wind, whatever seasonal sounds surround you. Begin a day with a few minutes in the sunlight, and honour its end by soaking up some moonlight. You are a powerful source of energy in your home. And when your energy is renewed, you become a relentless life force for good.” Sarah Jones.

 

Creating The Show Home Look

There is something unspoken about a show home, that makes you want to make yourself a cup of tea, sit yourself on the sofa and switch on the TV. These homes manage to be stylish and elegant whilst still being cosy and inviting. We spoke to Caroline Verity, Creative Director of Skipton Properties, to get her tips on creating the show home look in your own home.

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Space

We all want our homes to feel spacious and one way to achieve this in your house is to continue your chosen flooring through to all areas on each floor. For example, in our latest show home in Kearns Village, we wanted to create a contemporary country look to the home so we chose Karndean wooden effect flooring which we placed throughout each room of the ground floor. This gives the illusion of more space as well as creating an elegant and clean look for the home. In areas that need to be softened, like the living room, we placed rugs on top of the wooden floors, to create a cosier environment.

Colour Palette

Choosing the right paint for your home is key to making the calming environment that show homes create so well. Picking neutral colours, like mid-grey or taupe, will create a soothing backdrop that you can then add accents of colour and personality to with the furniture and accessories. In our recent show home we used a few different colours from Farrow & Ball’s range including Ammonite, Strong White and the very popular Elephants Breath. We don’t often use wallpaper but if you’re a fan then go for a neutral design with a bit of texture.

Mismatch

Choosing the right furniture can often lead to disaster. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try different styles together, it doesn’t always need to match; for example, we paired traditional French beds with contemporary marble and metal side tables and it worked brilliantly.

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Mood Board

Lastly, my final tip is to create a mood board to compile all your ideas together and see how they will look. We use images from magazines and online, organising them by room and laying out the furniture alongside the lighting, soft furnishings and paint colours that we’ve chosen. If you already have pieces of furniture you want to use, photograph these and add them to the board. This will allow you to see how your own furniture will fit in with the ideas for your new look.

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Creating an Autumnal Abode with Joy

As the nights are getting darker and the days are getting colder it’s time to snuggle into autumn. And there is no better way to get truly cosy than in your own home, snuggling under a blanket and binge watching your favorite show on Netflix. We took some inspiration from our friends at the fashion and home ware store Joy, and will share some tips to help you transform your summer space into an autumnal abode.

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Lighting

The number one tip when it comes to creating a cosy environment in your home is the lighting. Warm and soft lighting will give any room a welcoming and inviting glow. If you have bright overhead lights then replace the light switch with a dimmer to soften the brightness (it will also save you energy!). Or just ignore your overhead lights altogether and put a number of table and floor lamps through the home to create little pockets of soft lighting. A tasteful application of fairy lights will also have the same effect. Similarly, nothing says winter than twinkling candles throughout your home, and you really cannot have enough. We are absolutely loving Joy’s range of beautiful candles. We particularly love the Landon Tyler Wild Berries candle, with a deep scent that combines cranberries, raspberries, wild roses, tea and sandalwood to create a warm and cosy atmosphere in your home.

Soft furnishings

Winter is all about the layers, both for you and for your home. Warm blankets and throws are perfect for softening the look of your rooms and inviting you to snuggle down with a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night. We are incredibly proud of our selection of throws, like our Atlas Throw Teal – this gorgeous 100% cotton waffle throw in sumptuous teal looks incredible on any sofa or bed. Scatter cushions create a snug environment and are a great way to add accents of winter colours to your room without having to repaint your walls every season.  Try cushions in deep berry red or royal purple to create the look.  

An Inviting Welcome

There is nothing nicer than coming in from the cold to a warm home and immediately getting into your comfy clothes. So why not place a large wicker basket by your front door and fill it with fleecy and fluffy slippers or bed socks for you and your guests. As soon as you get home you can remove your outside shoes and quickly slip into something a lot more comfy, plus it stops mud and dirt from outside being trampled through your home.  

 

Time to get cosy: Using lighting to create the perfect atmosphere

Søren Ravn Christensen, Chief Creative Developer at VITA copenhagen, shares his tips on how to create a cosy atmosphere in the kitchen.

As the days get shorter and darker we are less reluctant to go outside and brave the chilly weather. Instead, we must rely on our homes to be the backdrop to our entertainment, so creating a cosy and welcoming environment is essential. Making a few changes around the house can make the transition from summer to winter both easy and inexpensive.

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“The kitchen is the centre point of the home during autumn and winter. All kitchens need to feel inviting and inspiring. Kitchens are often used not only for practical reasons but also as a focal point for social interactions with your family and friends stopping by during the colder winter months.

Every kitchen needs two types of lighting – functional and ambient. Functional lighting enables us to complete the tasks at hand in the kitchen, and ambient lighting serves as a more decorative and accent feature in the room. With the VITA Ripples and Acorn families of small pendants, you can get practical and focused task-lighting, while at the same time creating the ambience needed for making the whole room more inviting and cosy, thus making the perfect setting to relax and take time out with your loved ones.

As a rule of thumb – the bottom of the pendant should be the same height as your forehead when standing up whilst also recessed around 30cm from the front of the counters. Try to align these pendants in groups of two or three to create an intimate setting.

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