Whether you love it or hate it, gift wrapping in December can’t be avoided. I find it’s a lot more fun when you do it sat by the Christmas tree watching a cheesy festive film. Just as I’m not a fan of tinsel and prefer more subtle, matchy matchy Christmas trees, I also love to have a theme when wrapping. It normally starts with brown kraft paper, although for stockings, it’s all about the colour. In the past, I’ve used everything from mini jingle bells and toadstools to pom poms and garden twine to decorate the brown parcels. This year’s theme was especially easy, but looks quite effective, so I thought I’d share some Christmas gift wrapping ideas for 2017.

Easy  Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas for 2017

Easy Gift Wrapping Ideas

This year’s theme is all about textures and monochrome colours. I chose two types of ‘accent’ wrapping papers to tear by hand. The marbled paper was from Katie Leamon, bought at Decorum, and the spotted, inkblot paper from Paperchase. I used a range of different textured ribbons to layer or tie, including velvet, satin and grosgrain.

(The below was more of a present to myself… A delicious salted caramel cupcake from Peggy Porschen. Cupcakes make wrapping more fun too, by the way.)

Christmas Gift Wrapping Ideas and Peggy Porschen Cupcake

Present topper ideas for your kraft paper gifts

You can add nearly anything to your brown paper presents, here are just a few ideas:

  • jingle bells
  • real holly
  • homemade pom poms
  • homemade clay tags
  • branches of Christmas tree
  • glitter dipped pine cones
  • mini toadstools
  • mini baubles
  • Scrabble letters
  • handmade paper snowflakes
  • candy canes
  • wool
  • garden twine
  • wooden snowflakes
  • wooden initial letters
  • handmade festive stamps
  • initial stamps
  • festive mini pegs
  • wool tassels
  • homemade gingerbread
  • handmade mini wreaths
  • mini paper honeycomb decorations
  • handmade felt trees, holly leaves etc.

I could probably go on for a long time, but you get the idea – nearly anything festive goes! How will you be decorating your gifts this year?

Happy wrapping.

with love, b.xo

 

 

 

After a long time commuting, I’ve finally become a Londoner! Getting 3-4 hours of my day back means I can dedicate time to with love, b and re-position it to how it was always intended to be – a lifestyle and interiors blog. And of course, it helps to have my own flat and a new space to get creative with. There are definitely drawbacks to renting (no painting, obviously!) but luckily we’ve found somewhere that’s a pretty blank canvas with plenty of potential.

Grey interior design details

New adventures

I’m excited to share new stories about making a rented space a home, my addiction to upcycling furniture, pom poms and all-grey-everything . So, if, like me, you spend your spare time pinning dream homes on Pinterest, I hope you find some inspiration here! I’m going to be sharing my thoughts in three new categories:

Interiors Inspiration – Home decorating ideas and inspiration from own little slice of London. Sharing my favourite finds and upcycling projects.

Beautiful Spaces – Follow my adventures around the capital, exploring the decor of London’s secret spots and design-led interiors – from cafes and shops to exhibitions. I’ll probably find some inspiration from further afield, too.

Creative Thoughts – Everything else. Lifestyle ideas with a sprinkle of creative writing.

Inspiration from ELLE decor

I decorate, therefore I am

Some say you need a niche when it comes to blogging, others say post whatever you feel like. There shouldn’t be any rules, but after a few months experimenting, I’m happy to have re-organised with love, b to focus on what I really enjoy. They say write about what you love, right?

with love, b.xo

 

 

 

July Favourites

I can’t quite believe it’s almost August! Where is the year going? After a busy few weeks, I’ve been enjoying a relaxed weekend and reflecting on the last month. It’s been a pretty good one. I spent a week in my favourite place in the world on a staycation, extended my staycation to Dorset and went glamping, watched the first of my school friends walk down the aisle and got published! I’m sharing three of my favourite things I’ve discovered this July which are loosely related (kind-of) to these new memories.

Review of Flow Magazine

#1 Flow Magazine

I’ve always loved magazines. I love the feel of the paper and tearing pages out to keep for a later date. Yep, I’m a paper hoarder. During my staycation I came across Flow Magazine for the first time. And now I’m wondering where it’s been all my life. This is a magazine for paper lovers; packed full of quotes, inspiring photos, different textures of paper, illustrations, perforated pages that are ready to tear, not to mention great articles on the lifestyle themes I love to read and write about myself. I don’t think I’ve found a magazine that’s more ‘me’, however strange that sounds. It’s an independent Dutch magazine, but they make a few English editions throughout the year. Flow describes its aim as “celebrating creativity, imperfection and life’s little pleasures”. Just visit their website and you’ll see how they absolutely nail this. Writing for Flow is my new aspiration. It’s just perfect. Or perfectly imperfect.

 

Falling in love with Flow magazine

Photos in Flow Magazine, English edition

#2 Soulshine Cafe

Where do you find such cool independent magazines? Places that call themselves Soulshine, that’s where. Now it’s technically not true that I found Soulshine Cafe this July, as I have been once before, but it’s not until now that I’ve really ‘discovered’ it, if you like. I even went two days in a row. Soulshine calls Bridport, Dorset home. It’s a sleepy town on the Jurassic coast, making this quirky cafe pretty pioneering. They like to use local produce, make tasty juices served in jam jars and sell great cake. Their decor is sunny and fun, even the bathroom’s well-worth visiting. After lots of heavy pub food during my seaside staycations, Soulshine was the perfect place to shake things up. I tried their vegetarian chilli which was great. If you’re ever in the area, get some Soulshine in your life. You won’t regret it.

#3 All striped everything

I’ve always liked stripes. And I’ve always had a thing for blue clothes. But I’ve recently bought this over-sized striped shirt and its quickly become a favourite. I love the embroidered animals. I’m the kind of person that discovers they like something and goes out and buys more similar things. Safe to say I’m having a shirt moment, sorry bank account. I love these shoes too, but they don’t seem to like me much. My. Poor. Feet. I’m definitely no fashion blogger, but these have cheered me up during my post-staycation blues so they’re worthy of the list!

July Lookbook - Kurt Geiger loafers and striped shirts

What have you enjoyed about July? I hope you’ve discovered some equally great things!

with love, b.xo

 

 

 

Beth Crane - ELLE Talent Competition Winner 2017
It feels completely surreal to type those words. A few months ago I entered ELLE magazine’s annual talent competition with absolutely no expectation to hear from them. The competition asked entrants to write a memoir on the topic ‘The Outfit I Will Never Wear Again’. My idea was a little out-of-the-box. I doubted that my spin on the title was relevant enough to enter. But it was very relevant to me, so I took the plunge. Focusing on my mother’s impending retirement, it’s a tribute to how she has inspired me, to quell her nerves on walking away from the working world which has defined her for the last 40 years.

I am absolutely honoured to have won this and be featured in the August 2017 edition. It was such a huge buzz to open the magazine and see my name in print for the first time. Fingers crossed that it will be the first of many. I’m also so pleased the competition gave me the opportunity to write this for my mother and say ‘thanks’ for making me an ambitious, hard-working young woman. I’ll never forget the first time she read it.

Where to find the article

If you’d like to read my piece, it’s on p.97 of the ELLE UK August edition and also online here. I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to know what you think.

with love, b.xo

After a few very busy weeks and some terrible London commutes (let’s not talk about them), I couldn’t be happier to have a few days off. I’m a big fan of travelling and exploring new places, but sometimes there’s really nothing better than a staycation. I find it strange that I probably know more about some European cities than I do about some of ours. Although if I’m honest, my favourite staycations are less city breaks and more renting a cute cottage by the sea in the middle of nowhere. I’m sharing three reasons why a staycation is good for the soul and why this week, there’s no place I’d rather be than South Devon.

Three Reasons Why I Love Staycations - with love, b

#1 There’s nothing more relaxing

Staycations are one of the most relaxing breaks you can go on. No airports, no passports, just pack a bag, jump in the car and go. And when you get there, the pace of life just seems to slow down. Want to just watch the waves for a while? Go for it. Unlike going exploring abroad, there’s a much less pressing urge to do, well, anything. Removing yourself from life’s pressures, deadlines and often for me, train timetables, is the best way to unwind.

And one of the reasons that a staycation is so relaxing, is that there’s often no phone signal or wi-fi. When I feel like I’m running out of battery, there’s no better way to recharge. An excuse to get away from social media for a bit, to stop scrolling through my phone for no reason, to talk to people in person and do something offline for a while. It’s the best way to feel creative again, too.

The World Is Your Oyster - Seaside Flatlay

#2 The familiarity factor

As I write I’m sat looking out to sea in one of my favourite places in the world. I have been going here since I was two years old. Sure, there’s been other staycations around the UK, but nothing ever matches up. It’s one of the places other than my home where I’ve spent the most nights throughout my life. It’s comforting because nothing ever changes. The seaside air smells the same, the view is the same, the locals are the same. And the feeling is exactly the same. I step out of the car and everything is immediately better. Anyone my family and I take falls in love with the place.

Staycations in South Devon

#3 The best of British

Going on a staycation, especially by the seaside, often means great food and even better views. Is there anything better than fresh seafood or hot pasties? Going to local delis and bakeries is one of my favourite things to do on a staycation. As is being reminded just how beautiful our own country is. We’re always desperate to get away, and although it’s great to get a bit of sun, I think we underappreciate what we have at home. I love staying in quirky, wonky cottages that are full of charm. Think Kate Winslet’s cottage in The Holiday.

These are just some of the reasons why I keep coming back here. You may have noticed I haven’t told you where in South Devon ‘here’ is. I’m afraid it’s staying my secret! Do you have a special place in the UK that you always visit but don’t want to share? I have most definitely left my heart at the seaside.

with love, b.xo