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Lovely Christmas stylings

How beautifully wrapped are these presents? They're from my dear friend Holly – whose family my family and I spent Christmas day with. And how clever of her to know that the blue of the envelope my card was in would so perfectly match my leg and footwear combo of the day. She wrapped my beautiful gifts (more of which imminently) in the stock and shares pages of the Financial Times. Simple but Lovely.

Great Brazilian lace table cloth - ready for the ginormous roast Christmas goose Holly cooked (my own freaky but reassuringly non-nut loaf style vegetarian creation for me - involving stuffing mix, whole cranberries, liquidised Quorn pieces (not mince) – for bounce, oyster mushrooms, and broken up chestnuts). When pudding came around, we all had chic mismatched plates collected over years, like..

this one, around £12, from Elfi KDO

and this one, £19.99, from the London Transport Museum (it's Park Royal Station, which is rather spectacular)

and this one, £20.50, from Donna Wilson

The chef – with my favourite saucepan ever (and a cunningly matching outfit). Try eBay for similar

What a brilliant Christmas tree. "A dog's dinner" said Holly's mother. How mean! I think it's most stylish. Oh, and on the left you can just see the Christmas moustaches  – so much more fun than festive paper hats

The end of New Year's Eve. A slice of home-made bread and a cup of tea (or coffee) from a cute pot. Circus in Brixton Village is always full of such items, and Oxfam online is also a treasure trove of the things if you are a patient rummager

Deal with Christmas cheese in a compact space by putting it on a cake stand. All this lot was from the John Lewis festive Nordic range (love the robin).

A random selection of baubles – sticking to the same colour or style helps mixing them up. And three is the magic stylist's trick for a good display.

Last-minute Christmas decorating!

Been meaning to post this shoot of my festive-ed up house up since it was published, last Sunday, in the Independent's New Review magazine.

It's a piece about how to decorate your house for Christmas at the last minute. There are some seriously low-effort, time-poor suggestions in it - though not one of my favourites which there wasn't room for, as suggested by Sarah Dare, from John Lewis, who came to share her expertise and some lovely Nordic style festive furnishings:

No tree decorations? Cut up some tinsel in the same colour into little snippets, and simply chuck it at your fir. Genius.

Photos by the lovely Rachael Smith

Christmas makeover coming soon

I've just had my house made-over by a department store for Christmas for a shoot. I'm writing about the experience for the Independent on Sunday (look out for it in the magazine next weekend). It was a weird experience but in a house that doesn't usually bother with festive festooning, but this year has a need to, it was actually rather inspiring. Above are a couple of shots you won't see in the feature - Reggie the dog posing with a Christmas tree shaped cushion, £20, on the sofa, and a sweet little wooden tabletop (or, as here, shelftop) tree, £13. Both are from John Lewis.

Now I'm feeling all festive, I've had my radar on for other nice decorating bits and pieces...
Love the glittery fawns at Paperchase, £2.50 – they come in white, pink, green and gold as well as the purple colour above. They also do fully-grown reindeer, families of penguins and lots more sweet stuff. Also love their funny knitted tree decorations shaped like teacups, £5 for four. 

Drift Living - which specialises in Scandi-tinged products - has a clean-looking angel choir mobile for £12.50. An unusual idea that could look good in a pale, minimalist home.

And what a brilliant idea from utilitarian design mecca, Labour and Wait - fir-scented incense, £5, "to give any home a wintry log cabin feel". And what gorgeous packaging. 

And with last posting at the weekend, you might just make it in time to get your hands on some of Kitty Nation's original vintage greetings cards (or you could always stock up for next year). this Santa and Rudolph one is from 1960 and costs £1.69.
This "Merry" sign (below) by Johnny Egg, £40 at Heal's is rather brilliant too. And this sleek red glass Christmas bird, left, £5 from Marks and Spencer (3 for 2 as you can see) is just like a non-festive blue bird I recently bought in Habitat for a little more cash... 

French vintage furniture and bits

Love this 1960s French magazine rack, which costs £20 from a website I've just discovered called Rue Du Chateau Interiors. They have lots of much pricier - and more substantial - things, but there are bargains nestled into the mix.

Here are some snaps of the shop itself, which is based in West Sussex. I'd quite like to live in it, wouldn't you?

More festive reindeer

Your final reindeer Christmas tip for the day (well, possibly...).

This stylised handmade driftwood decoration - to hang on the tree, or line up in a row on a prominent shelf - is made by Karen Miller of Driftwood Designs in Devon, from washed up branches found on beaches all over the world.

It comes in dark-stained or light (as in the picture) wood and you get four for £14. Nice. Buy them at Not On The High Street

Vintage Christmas
decorations: a reindeer

How cute is this retro reindeer, currently on eBay at £1.99? I'd like a trio of them to line up on my windowsill. Buy now, and the post should be on your side - so you'll still have time to adorn your home with a touch of individuality.

Find more fantastically kitsch or surprisingly stylish vintage decorations on eBay.

Festive John Lewis doormat

This weekend I had my house made over for a Christmas shoot for the Independent on Sunday. This lovely reindeer doormat from John Lewis, £13, didn't make it into the feature, but I loved it so much I had to snap it. Along with my new Icelandic sock slipper things, perfect housewear for this snowy weather.

Another Xmas present idea: recycled notepad

Not only is this pretty notepad biodegradable and made from as many recycled components as possible – it's also refillable. My absolute favourite thing in a notebook. Along with having an elastic strap – oh, it's got one of those too (only this one's made, rather brilliantly, from a bra strap). It's got feint lines and comes with 216 pages of them, and is one-size only – A5 (surely the ideal notebook size, too, no?). All it is missing, as are all potentially perfect notebooks (in my search thus far, at least), is some tabs to separate your projects. Not much to ask, is it? 

You can call your notebook Natalie – as its makers have, as each of their notebook designs is named after a famous, eco-friendly female. But – forgive me eco ignorance – who are they on about? Do let us know if you do...

Natalie costs £14.99 from Reecovid

    PYMCA prints, Faris Badwan, Lawrence Watson - and loads more affordable art at the Book Club

    Live in London? Like art? Like art you can afford? Looking for a rather special Christmas present or two...? Then check out the art, prints, posters and arty/printy books sale happening at The Book Club in Shoreditch on Wednesday 15 December.

    The quirky bar, which launched last year, has been hosting all sorts of cultural events over the last 12 months – and the images available in this Christmas sale are their favourites from the art and photography exhibitions they've hosted. There will be DJs to perk up your ears while you browse and, of course, it's a bar – so a festive tipple to encourage you to be reckless with the credit card. 

    These images (by Faris Badwan, left, PYMCA, the youth culture photo agency, below, and music photographer Lawrence Watson, top, who should all be hanging around on the night) are just a tiny taster of what will be on offer - and it is for one night only so put it in your diary.  

    The damage? So un-damage-y: prices from £30 for a Faris Badwan screen print (limited editions from £70); PYMCA posters are £5-10, prints between £50-150. Sonic Edition prints are £69 but they have  £5 posters, and there are books – usually £20 – doing some crazy buy-one-get-one-free and print + free book offers.

    The Book Club
    100 Leonard Street
    London EC2A 4RH
    6pm – 12am