This is our third Christmas in England (read about last Christmas here) and third year we have gone with my Tiffany’s inspired Christmas tree. I had used this once before back when we were living in Hawaii. Sadly as a person of high mobility I know the experience of losing things through out the years as you move. We lost a whole box of our Christmas decorations somewhere from Hawaii to England. So much of what I have on the tree we have acquired since living in the UK. With a smaller budget and less Christmas holiday resources (lets be honest the USA really goes big when it comes to any holiday) I have been able to keep up the theme.
Aside from some of the token blue ornaments that did arrive I also had a few of the plastic diamonds that I had bought at a chain craft store in the US. It originally was a huge tub of these plastic clear diamonds in three different sizes with holes perfect for ornament hooks. I also had my Tiffany’s boxes, pouches, and bags that I have also graced my tree with this year. For hanging up the original boxes I pierced the box with a hand sewing needle twice and then threaded through a piece of white thread to make a loop from which I could hang it like an ornament. The two inch wide ribbon you see on the top of the tree has wire on either side which makes it easy to curl. I suggest either using the roll of wrapping paper or for a looser curl a one pint size beer can. The mask at the top was a prop I had used on a photo shoot in Hawaii which I have used to put a little bit of my years growing up in Italia into our holiday.
We have bought the rest of our ornaments at various pound shops (think dollar store). Pound shops are great places to find Christmas decorations! We have three different types of garlands on our tree and I found a matching tinsel garland this year which is across our tree on our mirror. The big foam snowflakes, the silver ornaments, the silver bell ornaments, and the silver gift tags (yes they work great as ornaments) also came from the pound shop.
Get Creative! I wanted to really punch the theme so I found those little white boxes in a wedding section of the store that you would use for reception gifts for guests. I put them together, taped them up, covered them in the blue coloured tissue paper, and added white ribbon to get little Tiffanys inspired boxes for the tree. I put in the ornament hook at the corner of the box so that it hangs at an appealing angle on the tree.
We also have a small (near enough to) three foot tall tree. It was our main tree our first year here in England before a client at the salon gave me her big tree before moving out of the country. The boys are using this one as their ‘free for all’ decorating. I grew up with a mum who did similar. We had a main tree that was decorated to a colour scheme and a smaller one we could decorate with all the other ornaments you collect through the years as a child. It is a beloved tradition we have carried on with our family and my boys had fun decorating their tree last night. It included our egg blown ornaments we made this week as a family as seen on Amanda’s blog in Making Your Own Christmas Egg Ornaments. I decorate mine with a map on the bottom half (a keepsake from Wales) and a night sky on top. The boys and my husband use tissue paper to collage their eggs with glue and I ended up joining in and making one more too. It is a fun idea for making DIY ornaments at home.
This year my kids opted to not use the star or angel on the top but our golden snitch ornament that we made with my sister, their Zia Zoe, last Christmas. Want your own Harry Potter Snitch for your tree? Find an ornament in a gold shade and grab some paper, scissors, and glue. I picked up our ornament for not very much at a charity shop and had my sister make the wings for the boys. It is our favourite (non blue/silver) ornament for sure! Anyone else have a Harry Potter inspired ornament on their tree? I would love to hear about it!
Q: If you put up a tree this year, what was your theme if you had one? Or tell me what your tree looks like!
Looking for Travel Tuesday? As it is Christmas Eve we have taken a week off to celebrate with family. Check back next week on New Years Eve for the next edition of #TravelTuesday!
* Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk
One of the things I have been anxiously awaiting to visit this holiday season is a Christmas market. We went to the German Christmas market in London two years ago and came home with the fondest Christmas memories. I do not think we will get to London this year but it was our first time to check out the Christmas market in Bath, England. We moved to Bath on the evening of the 23rd of December last year and had just missed the opportunity to visit it before closed for the holidays. Days before the market was ready to be opened we were seeing all the signs of it being set up around the Bath Abbey. From what I had seen online I did not think it would be as big as it was and the stalls seemed to fit every little alley, nook, and cranny around the Roman Baths area in town. We even found glühwein to keep us warm as we enjoyed the evening of holiday cheer. I will say there were quite a lot of people also enjoying the holiday cheer as the crowds were thick. It did not stop us from having an amazing time and even meeting some great people.
We met up with a couple of Ryan’s work colleagues which made the night even more joyous as we could share it with family and friends. Our christmas gift to ourselves was buying in on the 3 bottle deal at the hot sauce stand. Since we love things spicy two of our three bottles was The End, the hottest one available and very tasty. My kids fell in love with a stand that boasted tons of tiny figurines each with their own personality and character. ‘Uncle’ Hugo bought each of my sons one for Christmas: Ronan chose a blue dragon and Maddox chose a black bat. I got a chance to talk to the couple who were selling them who are originally from Australia but have been traveling over here. While he drives she makes these creative figurines on a tray on her lap. I really loved all the Christmas ones she had available including the figgy pudding ornaments for the tree.
It was a lovely evening and I hope to keep checking back around the markets each time we are in town. There is something about being around the sights, smells, and sounds of Christmas that really put me in a great mood.
Q: Have you been to a Christmas market this year?
* Photography by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | http://www.bonnie-rose.co.uk
It is the first of December and hence forth commences the 25 Days of Christmas at our house. We as a family have adopted many traditions from around the world in our travels including St. Nicholas from Germany, La Bafana from Italy, and Christmakah from the OC. It began with my parents who adopted Hanukah into our holiday traditions as well as those mentioned from our years living abroad as a military family. Now these traditions are carried on with my children and it makes this time one of our favourites through out the year. When I was a young girl living in England during the first Gulf War, my sister and I were visited by Ed the Elf. My father was away fighting in the war and having this special guest during the holidays helped keep up the holiday cheer in our father’s absence. Ed the Elf came every day and although we never saw him (unlike that creepy elf on the shelf), he always left little notes, quests, and goodies. Last year I attempted something similar with a Moose, whom I could not find when we relocated from Brighton to Bath. So this year my husband and I decided to do something different.
The Nutcracker Prince | As a little girl I loved ballet and I loved the whole story of the Nutcracker. So when we found this cute little guy at our T.K. Maxx store in Bath, we decided to take him home as part of a new holiday tradition. We stuck him inside a box, with a note in his mouth and some goodies tucked inside and put him outside our front door. However I think the Nutcracker Prince was a little too eager as my boys did not hear the first knock on the door and already was making his escape. 😉
Here is the Nutcracker Prince with his letter for today
and two bags of jelly beans were found inside for each of my boys.
The note told the boys that he had not a name nor a bed to sleep in and asked if they would give him both.
I know my eldest knows my handwriting, but my youngest seemed so tickled by our new house guest.
Maddox was eager to have him eat a jellybean and broke his handle off in the process.
So I have nicknamed my son ‘Fritz’. The boys even started working on making him a bed.
Here he is pictured with a blanket after he got broken. He has since gotten fixed.
The boys decided to name him Prince Ice.
I will keep you posted through out the month on how our Nutcracker, Prince Ice,
is doing and the things he gets up to during the night while we sleep.
Q: Do you have any Holiday Traditions passed down from your families?
* Photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | http://www.bonnie-rose.co.uk
This year we celebrated our first American Thanksgiving, a proper feast with other people for the first time in three years. As Thanksgiving lands on my birthday every 5,6, or 11 years I was happy to do without it our first year in England. However, as an ex-pat sometimes there are cultural traditions from ‘home’ that you forget you really do miss. It was not until we started preparing for this year’s feast that I found the memories of past Thanksgivings all coming back. I have celebrated so many Thanksgivings in Europe growing up in England, Germany, and Italy and this years was another one for the memory book. A big thank you to my amazing friends and hosts for this wonderful feast!
We celebrated with my American expat friend who is married to an English guy, their kids, and two other English families. It was a really fun experience. We started off with mulled cider and an array of canapes, had our Thanksgiving dinner, played a Thanksgiving themed quiz, shared what we were thankful for on the back of leaves, and finished with desserts. The kids even put together a ‘haunted house’ for us to explore during our evening together. I think the best part was the conversation and experiencing the cultural differences. For example one of the dishes was a jello salad with cherry cola, creme cheese, pineapples, bing cherries, and walnuts. I had never had it before but found it very delicious. The whole ‘salad’ description was a bit off putting to the English crowd, as well as it being served with the rest of the main courses and side dishes when it was really a ‘pudding’ (which is the english word for ‘dessert’). This really reminded me about getting teased in the US for loving to eat ‘beans on toast’ which is a cultural norm food here in the UK. There was also talk about beer as the hosts managed to find Coors Light beer. While I normally would not drink this in the states, it seemed only fitting for an ex-pat Thanksgiving in England.
We split up all the dishes between the families and everyone brought their part to the Thanksgiving dinner. I brought my apple pie made with coconut oil which you can find the recipe for on yesterday’s post.
R E C O M M E N D E D
P O S T S BY K A T E
M A K E F R I E N D S & F O L L O W K A T E!
*photography belongs to Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | www.bonnie-rose.co.uk