…getting festive. At least our own versions of festive. Robyn’s is an explosion of colour and gold and opulence and joy, while Emma’s is a single lonely stick looming over a stark white candle that’s already burnt out. It’s a funny old time of year for us both – we each love parts of Christmas, and there are parts we find challenging, so we like to find the joyful parts and maximise them as much as possible. So, without further ado, this is our rundown of what’s, spine-tinglingly, mince pie-crushingly hot this month.

Afternoon tea and cake
Come to Mama

Afternoon Tea at The Curtain Hotel

Yeah that’s right, afternoon teas aren’t all for sunny afternoons and strappy heels – The Curtain London have teamed up with Penhaligons to bring you a festive afternoon tea inspired by the perfumer’s Halfeti fragrance. Expect tea and cake and little sarnies with the crusts cut off, and get it all from just £35. Sounds pretty excellent, right?

Full disclosure: we do work with Penhaligons, but haven’t been asked to post about this

image shows the menu echasse vase
It is a vase? Is it a bowl? It’s both and I want it so bad

Emma: Crossing My Fingers That Santa’s A Reader

Santa, if you’re reading, firstly, great job – you’re really nailing the whole getting around the world thing, and have I told you how much red brings out your cheeks? On my Christmas list this year is a bunch of stuff I’ve had my eye on for ages. I love them them all with my whole heart, and therefore probably deserve to have them, right..? First up, the dream Echasse Vase from Menu World. A stone cold classic and still one of my favourites. Actually, while we’re at it I’ll take the Menu World JWDA Lamp as well. Then the Normann Copenhagen milk jug, even though I never drink milk, and a couple of their Liquer Glasses as well, you know, for the festivities. And then because no Christmas is complete without an outrageous handbag purchase, I’ll also take the Acne Musubi Milli bag as well. All understood, big man? Stay silent if you’ve got it.

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Emma: Doing Christmas Myyyyyy Waaaaaay

I used to LOVE Christmas. Loved it. Loved the wrapping and the music and the family and togetherness and food and general merriment. Then my Mum died and it’s never been quite the same since. I miss her a lot at this time of year, and it’s taken some of the shine off Christmas, so rather than plough on through and pretend everything’s ok (my go-to), I’ve come up with a few new ways to get through the festivities and still feel good. It starts with finding new traditions. Doing the same old thing with one important person missing just makes me feel sad. It might not always, but right now it does. So I’ve started doing things differently. Last year we went away for Christmas (WONDERFUL) and this year we’re having mini family Christmases ahead of the big day, then spending actual Christmas in London together, to start our own traditions. Less travel stress, less pressure on one day, more fun for everyone. What do you do to keep your festive sanity? Answers in the comments…

Robyn: and I’ll be doing it my way (but my way is more Shane MacGowan than Frank Sinatra)

Like Emma, and I suspect most people, my Christmas is more carefully orchestrated than the Olympic opening ceremony, and to be honest it could do with the armed police presence. It’s also a sad little nostalgia fest to a time when a. no one was dead b. my family could be in the same room together and c. the day involved travelling maximum five miles and wasn’t a day, more like a three day joy-a-thon. But we are where we are. As I’ve mentioned, I’ll have my Ally Christmas to take the pressure off. Then I’ll embark on the obligatory Challenge Anneka dance around the relatives. Actually it’s more like Dave Benson Phillip’s Get Your Own Back but instead of gunge I’ll be covered in a blend of anxiety, dread and excitement (also the name of my upcoming fragrance trio). Know that if you’re in the same boat, or any other irregular mode of emotional transport, people get it. It can be balls. But it can be nice. There’s the killer – you Just Don’t Know. But what I do know is this – it’s a finite amount of time and if you’re kind to yourself and lean on your top dudes, you can do it. We can all do it. So let’s go have the best/worst Christmas we can possibly have. And to take the edge off I hereby condone you buying ANYTHING YOU WANT to make yourself feel better*.

*Robyn has a chronic shopping addiction and should not be condoning anything of the sort

Making ourselves smell fresh as heck with Malin & Goetz

We both got a great present from one of our all-time favourite brands Malin & Goetz which is Very Bloody Exciting. Their Bergamot hand and body duo is an absolute Christmas cracker and smells good enough to entice you off the sofa and into the shower cubicle (just roll there if you’re too laden with roasties to get to your feet). What’s more, this year their beautiful Christmas packaging has been inspired by artists Sol LeWitt, AND they’ve teamed up with Present and Correct for some stationery-making, so have sent us this kick-ass calendar too. Perfect for getting a head start on your 2020 resolutions. Are they the most thoughtful brand in the world? It’s very possible.

body lotion and shower gel in white bottles in a white box
Hubba hubba, can’t wait to be the best-smelling, softest-handed cat in town

Emma: Getting My Festive Paint On

Ok, this might not be a Christmas story, but it is a bit like the gift I never dared dream I would get: my landlord has agreed to let me paint the flat! Horaaaaaaay! Be gone, Prison White, and welcome in, something that’s probably not that far from white, but which will be warming and lovely. I’m working with Colourtrend on the project, whose whole thing is durable paint in excellent colours, with names like Mucky Swan. Right up my street. It’s my first time painting a wall, so I’m gonna need lots of help choosing colours and so on – pop on over to @thecrapflat on Instagram over the next few weeks to offer opinions.

The Great Crap Flat Paint-a-thon is a paid partnership

Gifting Each Other Some Lovely Smells

‘Have yourself a smelly little Christmas’ we bade each other, as we exchanged bags in the Miller Harris store at Coal Drops Yard. Manager and scent aficionado Richard (who we wanted to spend the rest of the year with) took us through a profiling to find us both our most-perfect home and personal fragrances. The results were kind of what you’d expect and kind of not at all what you’d expect. We’re going to be talking about them over on the Miller Harris Blog soon, so stay tuned to find out which ones we chose!

The fragrances were gifted so we could write about them

A bauble on a tree branch
Doesn’t it make you want to drink sherry and snuggle up? Image by @chadmadden

Decorating It Up, Big Styles

Emma: I’ve never really decorated my own space before because I’ve always been with family or away for Christmas, so I’m interested to see how my tree turns out. I’m always feeling quite natural tones at this time of year, and predictably, am not a fan of novelty things, so have my eye on these paper ornaments from Arket, this belter from Georg Jensen, and could fall for these delicate designs from Sankari. All strewn on a bit of old stick, obvs.

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Robyn: An event that demands an intense theme and multi-sensory embellishments? I am IN, I tell you. So what I’m gunna do is get a bloody big tree, this wonderful ombre one from if Jamie lets me. Then I’m going to cover it with all the decorations I’ve collected over the years. Then I’m going to search every inch of the internet to find this Dolly Parton bauble that appears to be sold out everywhere. Then hopefully I can hang the peace sign wreath that Bloom East and I have been planning since last year. *Mops brow* That’s the eyes done. Now for the other senses. I will be scenting up my space with a Diptyque festive candle, popping on some jammies like these Uniqlo beauties and cranking up the volume on the Christmas bangers from now until December 31st.

a green wall with travel prints. festive table with tartan cloth, flowers, gold plates and champagne flutes
Lasy year’s Bloom East number was legit

Robyn: Did anyone say CHEESEMAS?

Yes, I said Cheesemas, nay shouted it! I’m dangerously into cheese. If we ever meet I’ll ask you my patented pint of cheese scenario. Be prepared because if you get it wrong you are literally dead to me. The Cheese Box Christmas box is the thing my little Northern heart has been calling for. Staples like Colston Basset and Montgomery cheddar are paired with some wild cards like Brie De Meaux with Truffles and Carboncino and then the elves deliver it directly to your door. I am counting down the days till I can gorge myself on this plethora of dairy delights.

This is not my house. And this is not my chair. It’s like the Scandi, neutral cousin of my chair.

Robyn: getting this home office off the ground

I’ve got the Flokk Capisco chair. The cat is out of the bag. I couldn’t contain my excitement and hide her any longer because she is quite literally the most beautiful, comfortable and functional chair I have ever encountered in my life. I just had to show her off. BUT that’s as far as I’ve got. I’m mid-trawling eBay for a vintage filing cabinet, the rug is getting delivered soon and trying to find an aesthetically pleasing standing desk converter is proving very hard work. But by the end of December it’ll be finished and 2020 will be the year of really organised businesswoman extraordinaire, Robyn Jade ‘Buy, Buy, Sell’ Donaldson.

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