This time of year is hectic. All that time spent running around getting things for other people, finding costumes for Nativity plays, baking things, throwing parties and trying to keep the peace within our families. And whilst it is the season for goodwill towards others, it is so important to look after yourself as well. If you are feeling overwhelmed or daunted by all that Christmas and New Year brings, here are 7 ways to make sure you have the energy to keep going, and to stay happy.
1. Cut yourself some slack: Take up a mantra of ‘Good enough’. No-one will mind if the mince pies you bring for the kids’ school party are shop-bought. An old large t-shirt with a dressing gown cord as a belt and a tea-towel headdress is a perfectly acceptable costume for a tiny shepherd. If you don’t have time to write and send cards, just send an email instead – people will love hearing from you, and it’s one less card for them to have to reply to. If money is tight this Christmas, make some homemade presents for friends and family, like this amazing peppermint bark – put it in a jam jar with ribbon and a nice label, and watch your loved ones devour it in seconds. And stash a jar away for yourself for emergencies.
2. Keep things simple: You don’t need elaborate Christmas decorations for the house or your table. Greenery strewn across the mantlepiece and tucked behind pictures looks festive and cheery, and you can forage it for free in nearby hedgerows and parks. Stick to a simple colour scheme for the table, using a plain white linen tablecloth as a backdrop and accessorising with brighter napkins. Use pine cones sprayed with gold paint as place markers, lay ivy and yew tree clippings along the centre of your table and dot with candles in jars. Use Instagram for inspiration, but don’t start comparing yourself to others or worrying that your house looks inferior. Remember, we all edit what we want people to see. Don’t get sucked in. A simple table laid with beautiful linens and some natural trimmings will be just fine. Look at this gorgeously simple table created by Hannah Bullivant of Seeds and Stitches.
3. Take time out when you can: If you have a houseful of people over the holidays it can be hard to get a moment’s peace. Find reasons to go out for a walk by yourself, take a long bath while everyone watches a Christmas film, sneak back to your bedroom for ten minutes with a cup of coffee and the newspaper, get up half an hour earlier than the others and get a head start with food preparations without being interrupted.
4. Ask for help: It’s not always easy to ask for help, but people are usually only too glad to assist. If you are hosting a dinner party, ask guests to bring a salad or desert. If you have houseguests delegate some of the cooking to them – who could balk at some gentle peeling whilst listening to the radio or chatting with you in the kitchen? Think of jobs that need doing and allocate them to someone in your household ahead of time, like chopping logs, walking the dog, unpacking the groceries or turning on the oven.
5. Be prepared: It takes a huge amount of brain space to just fulfil the basics of the holiday season, but a bit of forward thinking can ease the load a bit. Stock up on essential groceries so you don’t have any last minute dashes to a petrol station for a tin of baked beans on Boxing Day. Make sure you have plenty of toiletries for guests and your family. Wash towels in advance, or invest in a spare set if you have people staying and want them to feel pampered. Make sure you have plenty of baking soda, table salt, oxygen bleach and laundry detergent so you can deal with any gravy stains or wine spills and rescue your lovely linens before the stains set (find advice on removing stains from linens here).
6.Tidy up in advance: You don’t want to be worrying about having a messy house before the chaos of presents and wrapping paper even begins. Get your kids or family members involved and have a quick spruce up, so if people drop in unannounced you don’t have to sneak off and clean the toilet or wipe grubby finger marks off your mirror. If you go into the holidays with a clean house you will only need to do a little light tidying and clearing to keep things manageable until it’s all over. Invest in some more storage solutions if it helps you stay sane (like this genius bag-cum-play mat). Give away unwanted clothes, toys and books to charity or goodwill shops before the deluge of new things arrive.
7. Breathe: It can be hard to deal with cantankerous relatives or crotchety children at Christmas. To keep yourself from snapping, or if you are feeling stressed and need a quick fix, try this breathing technique: breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts and breathe out for four counts. Repeat until you feel calmer and more able to cope with the situation in hand. If necessary, step outside and take deep inhalations of fresh air.
We wish all our readers a wonderful holiday, and a happy New Year. Check in soon for some exciting new posts and collaborations.
Disclosure: We sometimes work with affiliate partners to bring you beautiful products we think you will love as much as we do. We will only work with brands that share our ethos and fit with our aesthetic. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Linenbeauty.
Despite the fact that in our part of the world we are experiencing a mini heatwave, our thoughts are turning to the Fall. We love this season shift, as the nights draw in and the evenings become chilly. There is such bounty in Fall: the ripe fruit hanging from the trees waiting to be eaten or preserved, the hedgerows swaying under the weight of juicy blackberries, the squash and pumpkins swelling above the soil. Then there’s all the thrills of Halloween, Thanksgiving (in the US) and Bonfire Night (in Britain). We find ourselves drawn to rituals that celebrate light in the face of the coming darkness of winter.
If, like us, you are trying to eke out these last few weeks of summer by spending as much time as possible outdoors, here are some handy hints to help you picnic in style. Whether you are planning a big get-together, an impromptu open-air meal a deux or escaping from your desk with a lunchbox and blanket, we’ve got picnicking covered.
With the advent of summer comes the joy of eating, drinking and generally relaxing outdoors. It’s time, then, for some easy ways you can make your outdoor space more inviting and beautiful. Here’s our 5 top tips:
Add softness and comfort to the outdoors by scattering some cushions. This will instantly brighten up your chairs and benches, and pull together your colourscheme. You can even drape blankets or sheets from trees and fill the space beneath with rugs and cushions for a boho-style tipi. If simple is more your thing, stick to a neutral palette to create a serene feel to your outdoor space.
Why save breakfast in bed for special occasions? We think it’s too good not to make time for as often as possible. What better way to start a busy day than with a quiet, contemplative bowl of something beautiful? And it doesn’t have to be anything grand and extravagant – here’s a few simple hints for making the best breakfast in bed.
Break with your normal routine, celebrate quiet time with a partner, read the paper or make a mental to-do list, accompanied by a steaming cup of coffee, sumptuous sheets and some morning sunshine. You just need enough energy to get to the kitchen and back.
Let’s face it – planning a dinner is great, but preparing for it takes a lot of time and effort. The most terrifying and excruciating work that needs to be done before the dinner party is to iron your tablecloths and dozens of napkins. If you are having tough time ironing, maybe you are doing it wrong. When done properly, this work actually doesn’t require a lot of your energy and the results can be quite astonishing – neat lines, no mess at all, that’s how tablecloths should look.
Create a vintage-inspired table setting perfect for afternoon tea with beautiful natural linen textiles from beautiful LinenMe collections. Offering everything you need to create a truly inspiring spread, from tablecloths and napkins, to decorative runners and placemats, LinenMe is the place to go for superior quality fabrics at pleasantly affordable prices.
Create an inviting table setting that exudes effortless style with luxury linen textiles in smart monochrome tones lovingly crafted in Lithuania and exclusively designed by
brand creative Inga Lukauskiene, the sophisticated collection of 100% linen napkins, tablecloths and placemats offers exceptional quality at pleasantly affordable prices.
Quality linen napkins are an essential part of a tasteful setting of the table, whether it’s a casual weekend breakfast with s spouse, a festive dinner or some stylish party for friends. Sizes and designs of linen napkins have varied greatly over the years and today we have a huge assortment of linen table napkins available.
The function of table napkins is very simple – they are meant to wipe food and drink from the mouth, and they also can be used as a protection for clothing while eating. Napkins – and especially linen napkins as they are extremely absorbent – are also used as coasters when serving a drink, or serve as a dishtowel to soak up small spills of liquids at the table.