Inspiration for Christmas 2014

I’m really enjoying the Christmas atmosphere in the UK right now. Having lived abroad for a number of years it’s great to be in the thick of the build up rather than just parachuting in for a few days… getting down the old Christmas decorations box and sifting through the contents of memories past, making mince pies, dashing out to get those last few presents, catching up with old friends, etc.

The other great thing about this particular year is this: I have time on my hands. I can curl up with a cup of coffee and my iPad and seek online inspiration for seasonal trends and creative projects whenever I feel the urge. Today, for example, I’ve looked at what’s new in the world of present wrapping, sought ideas for a simple yet stunning iced Christmas cake, and sought inspiration for Christmas decorations inside and outside the home.

There are some things that really stand out and I would like to build these into my Christmas theme and ‘to do’ list next year. Below is a selection of images that inspire me (all via my boards on Pinterest). I plan to hit the sales after Christmas to gather some of the items I will need ahead of next year’s Christmas celebrations at Le Manoir and The Little Grange. SCH

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Auction and flea market buys

A quick dash into town to do a bit of Christmas shopping between bids was not a smart move today! I got back just as the auctioneer was closing on three fantastic square wicker bread baskets… so frustrating!

But I did mange to get a painted table that will look good once re-painted in a lighter colour – it was a crazy £3 (£2 is the starting price); there were no other bidders. I also managed to get a piano stool without a seat for a future renovation project at The Little Grange that came with two chairs – the whole lot was a cool £10 before commission.

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I remember too that a few weeks ago I went to an indoor flea market and picked up three very handsome prints in gold frames for £5. SCH

The Little Grange at Le Manoir Saint Gervais is (officially) born!

The house purchase is complete! The Little Grange is soon to be a living, breathing reality that was barely a dream a year ago.

I signed the deeds in France on very sunny yet frosty afternoon – a glimpse of what’s in store this time next year! It was lovely to be back and also to see the house and area in winter; certainly a huge contrast to summer. The previous owners have permission to stay in the house for the next four months so that they can renovate the barn across the road. So for now it’s a case of taking lots of photos, measuring up, getting quotes for the work that needs to be done and finalising those spreadsheets.

The major renovation work will be to the top floor (attic). It is currently an open roof space with stud walls for two rooms already in place – but it is going to need additional rooms and bathrooms as well as insulation for the roof.

Below are a few pictures of the house before we start work in April next year to turn it into a boutique B&B with vintage crafts workshop. What do you think? SCH

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