If you’ve had enough of the feeding frenzy of Black Friday and instead want some to support local businesses and retailers who are trying to trade in an ethical, mindful way, you’re in the right place. Here at Linenbeauty we like to take things slow, to buy quality pieces that will stand the test of time and to invest in timeless homewares and clothes that aren’t swayed by fast fashion. It’s not always easy to resist the lure of huge markdowns and seemingly endless bargains. But when you take a closer look it makes so much more sense to step back from the Black Friday mayhem and to really think about how you can use your purchase power for good.
So, if you’re steering clear of the malls and multinational retailers’ ever-crashing websites, here’s five ways to avoid Black Friday but still get hold of some beautiful Christmas gifts for your loved ones.
1.Make things yourself
Thanks to Pinterest and numerous brilliant crafting websites it’s so much easier to find inspiration for homemade gifts. Whether you’re a knitter, baker or have never dabbled in crafts at all you can find a project that will be fun and rewarding, as well as cost-effective. Last year we bought a stash of brown paper potato sacks and followed this tutorial to create goodie-bags for extended family. Each family received a pretty yet sturdy bag filled with DIY cookie-making kits, homemade lavender linen spray, luxurious bath salts and rustic bird feeders. Something for every age. And who doesn’t love the idea of rootling about for treasures in a Christmas sack full of gifts made with love?
2.Give a subscription
Rather than add to your loved ones’ clutter, why not give a subscription instead? Many bookshops run subscription schemes where you get sent a certain number of books per month. And you can even gift someone their very own bespoke literary prescription: for her bibliotherapy service Ella Bertoud asks pertinent questions to discover which books will enhance your life and give you maximum enjoyment or challenge, depending on what you’re looking for.
For non-bookish types great subscription gifts could be a subscription to their favourite magazine, membership of their local football club, a gym subscription or, for the wine connoisseur, membership of a wine society.
3.Get a monogrammed set of linen
Because we love linen so much it always features on our own wish-lists, but it is also a beautiful gift to give someone else. To make it super special, get your gift monogrammed so your loved one can lie back on personalised bedlinen, or decorate their dining table with individualised linen napkins. A set of luxe linen bathroom towels with a couple’s initials embroidered on is a lovely present for someone setting up home or who needs a bit of luxury in their life. Linen is so durable and timelessly stylish that a gift like this will be treasured for years, and may become a family heirloom.
4.Go on vacation
Some people decide to not buy gifts at all over the holiday period and instead put the money they’ve saved towards a vacation or special trip. If you want to avoid any Christmas shopping at all and have the urge for adventure, this can be a really special way to celebrate the season. If you want the whole winter wonderland experience, head somewhere snowy like Scandinavia. You could even stay in this stunning ice hotel!
Local, independent retailers are worth supporting, and this time of year is often their main source of revenue. Support your home town and small businesses by buying locally. You’ll also avoid all the queues and crowds at the out-of-town shopping centres and malls. Done this way Christmas shopping can even be a pleasurable experience! Many towns have a late night shopping evening at the beginning of December, with shops offering drinks and refreshments and often some discounts. Make an evening of it and nail all your shopping in one go, fuelled by mince pies and mulled wine!
One of the things we love about linen is its durability. There’s a reason why linens have traditionally been passed down through generations: quite simply, it looks great for years and years. But every linen sheet or tablecloth will eventually come to the end of its life. If you’re trying to follow a sustainable lifestyle you’ll be glad to know that linen is biodegradable and so leaves no waste. And if you keep old linens for scraps, you can create anything from cleaning cloths to easy Halloween DIY crafts.
There’s no need to buy loads of plastic tat to decorate your house over Halloween (unless that’s your thing, in which case go for it). Instead, you can have fun making your own seasonal decorations, and keep things looking classy too.
Here are some ideas for Halloween decorations and costumes that you can make from any household linens that are past their best.
One of the joys of this glorious summer weather is eating outdoors. And there’s nothing quite like getting friends and family together for a BBQ, whether in the garden or on the beach. If you’re planning a gathering and are bored with the usual sausages and potato salads, we’ve got 5 delicious recipes for a winning BBQ.
Need some culinary inspiration? Tie on your apron, and get those coals fired up.
We are super-thrilled to be joined this month by food stylist and cookery writer Frankie Unsworth. Frankie has worked with many cooks, photographers and writers at the top of their game, styling photographs to create a story around each object or dish that’s being photographed. She has just launched her own cook book, complete with stunning images and brilliantly useful tips for making your meals look as good as they taste.
She has kindly taken time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions. This is a real treat: read on for inspiration about choosing to follow your passion in life, the joys of owning a dog, the love of good linen and being held at gunpoint at the age of 17.
Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
Whether or not you celebrate the festival of Easter there are plenty of reasons to make the next few weeks special. There’s the coming of Spring now the Equinox has passed, there’s the lengthening of the days which means more time outdoors, there’s the chance to plant seeds and see what has self-seeded in the garden over the winter months. Many of us have the urge for a Spring clean, sorting through our wardrobes and storing away winter woollies, and decluttering after a season spent mainly indoors.
We are so excited to be joined this month by Chris from Sweet Simple Vegan, who shares his wisdom on all things slow living, following your passion and building a foodie brand. Chris and Jasmine have a huge following (check out their Instagram: @consciouschris and @sweetsimplevegan) and are working to encourage more of us to adopt vegan principles in our daily lives. Whether you want to go vegan or just live a less animal product-heavy lifestyle, they will inspire you to get creative in the kitchen, and to be more mindful in the everyday.
And we bet that the mouth-watering pictures below will have you rushing for farmers’ market veggies and some luscious vegan recipes. Just look at the colours in those meals, the freshness just bursting out of the bowl. Totally yum.
Thanks so much for joining us, Chris. We are delighted to have you here.
Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
This month we are delighted to be joined by Heather Hall from thesiftedlife.co. Heather has developed a programme to help people ‘sift’ their lives – to get rid of clutter, to find simplicity and create more time for the things they love. She lives, and works, by this mantra: “There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less” (G. K. Chesterton). Her aim is to support and guide people who are feeling overwhelmed by ‘stuff’ and help them live better, with less.
Sit back and enjoy her insightful, thoughtful interview. We think you will love her ideas on carving out a simple path through this crazy world.
Woohoo! Here’s the second instalment of our interview series, A Simple Path, which explores how inspiring, creative people are doing more with less. This month we had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Erica Lee of The Hygge Wife (@thehyggewife on Instagram) and creator of thehyggewife.com. We are huge fans of Erica’s stunning photography and admire her commitment to living a simpler, more intentional life. Sit back and enjoy – we think you are going to love this one.
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.
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.