Festive fun and running a business...

It's no secret that we both love Christmas. The excitement of Fenwicks window reveal is always highly anticipated (and isn't this years just fabulous? I think it might be one of my all time favourites). In years gone by we've always had our tree up and decorated on the 1st December and have enjoyed making the most of the festive season.

Past highlights include helping decorate the house at Wallington and Lucy and her mum making a Christmas wreath at Blackfriars. Both events are highly recommended if you ever get the chance. Wallington is a lovely National Trust Property set in it's own grounds and they offer you the chance to go behind the scenes and help to decorate the house for Christmas. We enjoyed learning to make origami Christmas tree decorations in such a magical setting. Obviously Wallington will be already decorated if you visit this year but do keep it in mind for next year.

Last year's wreath making workshop was an absolute joy. Ran by Kate Norris from Northumbrian Flowers we learnt step by step how to make a Christmas wreath. Kate is a horticultural expert with her very own flower farm right here in the North East! Based at Garden House, Wark on Tyne a pretty village in Northumberland Kate has cleared and prepared her plot to create a unique flower farm right on the banks of the River North Tyne. Everything grown at the flower farm uses sustainable practices with no chemicals or pesticides used. When we arrived at Blackfriars we were taken upstairs to their workspace and each given a moss ring which would form the basis of our wreath. Using greenery from the flower farm we set about building our individual wreaths. One of the most fascinating things was seeing how different everyone's wreaths were considering we all had exactly the same materials to work with! The wreath making workshop was followed by a delicious 3 course Christmas lunch in the hall a Blackfriars. Again, very much recommend Kate's workshops if you fancy making your own Christmas wreath (her Blackfriars workshops are sold out this year but she does still have availability at the Duck House).

So that was some of last years festivities and events. Fast forward to this year and the tree went up on the 1st December but alas we haven't got a decoration or even lights on it because we've being so busy at various markets and in STACK and Whitley Bay! Hopefully we'll get that sorted later today but festive events have had to take a definite back seat this year which is why I was thrilled to find out Kate was offering a DIY Christmas wreath making kit. Delivered to your house the kit comes with everything you need to make your own wreath at home. The perfect solution when you still want some festive cheer but haven't got time to actually go a workshop or find they've all sold out!

With easy to follow instructions and an abundance of greenery I set about making my own wreath. The kit comes with a 12″ mossed ring made with jute twine and a wire ring base and a bundle of fresh mixed eucalyptus and noble fir. I have to say the smell of the eucalyptus and noble fir combined with a hot chocolate and marshmallows and Christmas tunes meant both us felt relaxed and Christmassy despite the lack of Christmas tree or any other decorations in the house. Lucy spent a lovely hour or so creating her wreath which certainly has it's own personality. Making the most of the lovely foliage has perhaps created a slightly wilder, larger wreath than anticipated but we both love it and hope we've done Kate proud. For those of you who may have missed wreath making sessions or just haven't had time to attend them we'd definitely recommend the DIY wreath in a box option and would love to see any creations you make.

Now to find time to actually decorate the Christmas tree...

Just for info - we paid for our Wallington visit and the wreath making workshop at Blackfriars. Kate kindly gifted us the DIY wreath making kit but as ever we wouldn't recommend any product or supplier that didn't fit in with For the Love of the North ethos and we definitely think Kate and Northumbrian Flowers is a fabulous North East creative who we are proud to shine a light on.