Tuesday, 17 October 2017

7 Classy Halloween Decor Ideas

Halloween is my second favourite holiday - closely following Christmas. I love the chance to dress up and decorate and, having grown up with all the brilliant Halloween films of the nineties (hello, Practical Magic), it's definitely a time of nostalgia for me.

However, I'm not into all plastic mock-horror tat that we buy at the pound store and throw away the next day - I love to really make an effort. And I know some of you who read this blog share my love of (for lack of a better word) 'classy' Halloween decor, so here are a few ideas I've collected from the wonderful world of home decor websites and put together just for you. All images are credited with a source, so please go check them out for more ideas!

1. Floral Skull Centerpiece

Honestly Yum has put together this fantastic DIY using a model skull and fresh flowers. It looks like something that belongs in a Vanitas painting - morbid but beautiful.

2. Gilded Insect Plaques

Don't worry - these aren't real insects. You can recreate this DIY from The Gathered Home by using giant plastic insects, liquid gold leaf and wooden plaques for a classy creepy crawley wall display that will trump any boring old painting.

3. Mantel Bunting

What's a party without bunting? If you're having a Halloween get-together this year, try making some super easy no-sew bunting with alternating orange, black and white shades with this tutorial from Staying Close To Home.

4. Dead Porch Trees

Got a porch? Then this foolproof decor idea is for you. Simply take a couple of long branches, remove any leaves, then prop them up against the side of your house. Find some faux ravens รก la Create Craft Love, and finally decorate with some pumpkins!

5. Halloween wreath

Wreaths aren't just for Christmas. They look positively enchanting with a Halloween theme. Etsy shop SignsStuffnThings has some amazing wreaths for this time of year, inlcuding the one above.

6. Nature inspired bottles

Artist Laura Zindel creates white bottles featuring beautiful nature-themed illustrations, reminding me of 'wet specimins' (insects in fluid solutions) in an old abandoned laboratory. The ones with the spiders on the front are my favourites.

7. Alternative pumpkins

You really can't go wrong with a pumpkin (unless you're this person). They epitomise Halloween, and look fun as they are, or with an interesting carving - OR painted gold with ribbons around the stem, like these ones from Decor & Style.


Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Best Thing About Autumn? My Birthday...

There's always a little bit of excitement in the air for me when October comes around. Yes, it's truly autumn (and if you're a regular reader you'll know that it's my favourite season), Halloween merch has hit the stores, and - most importantly - it's my birthday month.

I could write about what I received for my birthday, but hey, I've got to have some secrets, haven't I? So instead I'm going to talk about my favourite part of the day: breakfast.

When it's your birthday, you don't want to wake up and eat a bowl of bran flakes. You want a delicious tray of yumminess that will set you up for the most fabulous day of your year. Eat what your heart desires - you want pancakes? Eat pancakes? Hell, throw some ice cream and syrup on that. Your birthday is all about you, and your birthday breakfast should reflect that!

If you've been following my Instagram stories, you'll know that it was my birthday yesterday. My partner and I went out for a late brunch, but we had a little bit of breakfast beforehand...

Because I knew I was in for a day of treats (cake, of course - plus my birthday tradition of super cheesy vegetarian lasagne), I decided to keep it fresh and healthy with tomato and avocado on toast, with a cup of strawberries and a delicious mug of English Breakfast tea* from the English Tea Shop.

My partner cut my toast up into heart-shaped slices (is that a collective 'ahh' I hear?), and I drizzled a tiny bit of olive oil onto my avocado and tomato, along with a sprinkle of black pepper. I ate my strawberries plain as we had bought them that morning and they were sweet with just a little tartness - the ideal treat to have with English Breakfast tea.

My tea was made to the specifications of the English Tea Shop's Master Blender, Sampath Amarasena, whose guidelines indicated to boil filtered water in a kettle and pour it over the tea bag in a mug, then leave the tea bag to steep for 3-5 minutes. I left my tea bag in for 4 1/2 minutes, then added a fair amount of milk (which I've been told ALWAYS goes in second), and left the tea to brew for 5 minutes before drinking.

A great way to start my day.

Whilst I was getting ready, I put on the kettle for a cup of Earl Grey*. Somehow I feel like Earl Grey makes me feel more relaxed, which makes it perfect for a morning brew if you know you've got a busy day ahead of you. It's super fragrant - this comes from the blend of Ceylon black tea with fresh bergamot - and tastes so delicate.

Sometimes I like to go against the grain and have this with milk and sugar. Today, however, I went for a teaspoonful of honey, and a slice of lemon. If you've never tried it, do. The combo brings out a totally different flavour and you'll probably be hooked.

Both the English Breakfast tea and Earl Grey are great for when the dark mornings and early evenings start to roll in (which is round about now, I guess). So stick on a hot water bottle and get cosy with a cuppa.

Find out where to buy English Tea Shop teas here.


*Gifted for review
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