Baby It's Cold Outside : Creating the Cosy Kitsch Home

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Winter is most definitely upon us and there’s nothing quite like coming home on a cold, dark evening and curling up in front of the fire with a cup of hot cocoa! With Christmas just around the corner (can you honestly believe it’s less than a month away!?) it’s time to start getting your home looking super sweet and cosy in time for the festive season.

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Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you should rush to get your home turned into a winter wonderland, it is (maybe) a little early for that, but why not get your home looking kitsch gorgeous and inviting on those cold wintery nights. Here are just a few ways to keep it kitsch this winter. 

Cosy Colour Scheme

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Don’t worry; you don’t have to get yourself stuck into any extreme home makeovers in order to introduce cosy colour schemes into your home. You can introduce plenty of warming colours through the décor you pick and the ornaments you have no doubt collected. You can also use retro fabrics or blankets that you have collected over the years, anything in red, yellow or orange tones will work best and can be used in any of your rooms to really add some warmth.

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Plenty of Candles

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What is it about candles and log fires that make a room just so much more inviting?! You may not be able to install a fireplace into your home, but you can certainly recreate the look of one using candles! Filling vintage jam jars with tea lights or tall church candles and surrounding them with pine cones and foliage can create a cosy centrepiece in your living room and is something you can reuse on the dining table if you’re throwing any winter dinner parties.

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Cushions Galore

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If you plan on cosying up in front of the fire this winter, then cushions are essential. If you’re anything like me, you’re bound to have an abundance of gorgeous retro fabrics you’ve collected over the years that you just haven’t found the perfect project for yet. Why not put these fabrics to good use, dust off your sewing machine and set yourself a winter project to do. Turning these sweet fabrics into kitsch cushions could not be simpler and are the perfect addition to any retro inspired home. If you’re new to sewing, fear not there are plenty of tutorials online to help you

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Colourful Crochet

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Retro crochet blankets are a super addition to any sofa, especially if you fancy adding a bit of colour to your cosy retro winter décor. Whether you’re an avid crocheter ready for a challenge, or you have a stash of these blankets hidden away that were knitted by your Nana, they look fantastic draped over your cosy arm chair and are perfect for cuddling up under. 
If you need a little extra help reinventing your home for winter, then there are plenty of ideas available online to help you, from winter food and drink to cosy colour schemes, it doesn’t take much to give your home a fabulous winter makeover. Of course, no cosy kitsch home would be complete without a steaming cup of hot apple cider spiked with a dram of whiskey! 

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More Tips for Retro Home Decoration

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Retro decorating is just so exciting, probably because there is just so much you can do to decorate based around your favourite era. Retro, to me at least, tends to cover anything from the late 40s to the late 70s, which is fantastic as there were so many super sweet home ideas throughout these years. Of course, when it comes to decorating, there are so many ideas floating around, it’s easy to lose sight of your initial plans, which is why it’s so important to plan every detail to make sure you get things just right.

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If you’d like to turn your home into a retro haven, here are just a few tips to help you.


Colour Schemes

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There were plenty of dramatic changes to fashion from the 50s onwards (and well before too!) and this is very much reflected in the home décor too. It’s important to pick out a colour scheme for your home; obviously you can mix things up a little, but a lot of patterns in these eras tended to be pretty bold, so it is probably best to try to keep things as consistent as possible as you want to avoid these loud colours clashing. 

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Firstly, you should pick your favourite era and then go from here to work out your colour scheme from popular colours of the time - don’t worry, you can always mix elements of your favourite in later. The late 40s and 50s were the rockability years, think pastel colours,colourful kitchens and plenty of chic little extras dotted around the home. For the sixties, things were much more chic and smooth with plenty of bold patterns and colours. The seventies were still colourful but slightly more toned down than the 60s, so opt for pop-art prints, floral prints and plenty of orange, brown and yellow tones.

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Furniture

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Furniture is perhaps one of the major elements of achieving a retro home. Retro furniture is a work of art and is so different to a lot of the furniture we see today. Furniture from the fifties is stunning and there was plenty of colour and curved edges, whilst the sixties were more daring and there were plenty of statement prints and egg shaped chairs. When it came to the seventies, colours were more autumnal and there were more wood finished as well as futuristic themed furniture. 
Retro furniture is fairly easy to source and you can have a lot of fun finding the perfect pieces. Carboot sales, house sales and furniture warehouses are the perfect place to start and you can even search your local charity shops too. If you don’t mind travelling to pick things up then Ebay is also a great place to look, just be sure to read the description carefully for any flaws that the item might have.

Small Details

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Small details are so important in retro inspired homes, and you’ve no doubt collected plenty of them. From brightly coloured melamine crockery to sweet pictures to frame and hang fromyour wall, the small details make your house a home! If you’re a dab hand at sewing, why not make matching cushions and curtains from vintage fabrics, it will allow you to incorporate your colour scheme in a pattern or fabric that suits you! You should also make sure your windows are up to scratch, attention to detail is everything and beautiful curtains deserve beautiful windows! Companies such as Dunster House Limited have some vintage inspired designs which allows you to keep that retro theme throughout your home.

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Steam Punk On the North Coast

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Monday 24November th7.00pm, Foyle Theatre, Strand Rd Campus

North West Regional College’s Foyle Hair & Beauty Academy presents STEAM PUNK - a mesh of Victoriana and modern machinery, mixed with a futuristic twist.  For months Level 3 hairdressing students within the Foyle Hair & Beauty Academy have been developing styles for this one off catwalk show, which will be complemented by performances from NWRC’s very own talented drama students.

The retro-futuristic looks will be showcased during a stunning catwalk show, and for the first time, NWRC Barbering students will be styling models for the show.  The event follows hot on the heels of Derry’s first Fashion Fest and tickets for the event cost just £3 per person and always sell out so early booking is advised.   To book your tickets contact Liz January on 028 7127 6311.

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The Cloth Ear, Where 'Pub Grub' Meets Fine Dining.

The Cloth Ear is the public bar which is part of Belfast's Landmark luxury hotel, The Merchant.

Photo from The Cloth Ear's Facebook

Photo from The Cloth Ear's Facebook

Being a sibling of The Merchant, The Cloth Ear as you expect is a classy affair, with a comfortable, plush interior design based on 1930-1950s musical theatre. Children are welcome, in fact there is a kids' menu and colouring pens and sheets waiting for them.

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Even the bathrooms are luxurious!

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So what of the food on offer? Well it isn't the usual pub grub you'd be served in any old bar, it keeps to the high standards of The Merchant Hotel. My son ordered cheesy garlic bread for starter, and literally tore through it.

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My husband went for the buffalo wings with blue cheese sauce. I had the meat platter. These were very generous in size, and for someone like me they would probably suffice for a light lunch just by themselves.

Wings

Wings

meat platter

meat platter

Our main courses: I had duck confit on a warm salad. The neat was so well cooked it simply slid off the bone.

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My husband chose the Beef & Burger. That's a burger topped with pulled beef, caramelised red onion garnish and monogrammed brioche bun. The photo looks good enough to eat.

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Little Michael chose the kids' meal fish & chips option. His meal was a fantastic size, considering it was a children's price, and just look at that batter.

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After finishing our main courses, we mourned that our eyes had been bigger than our belly when we had order starters, and our downfall was being too full to get dessert! We couldn't have even fitted in a cup of tea!

It really is a pity as I wanted to try their dessert kebab. Hanging kebabs both sweet & savoury are one of the signature dishes of The Cloth Ear. They look delicious.

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Steak and chips. Vertical.

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So if you're looking for somewhere to impress you other half with a lunch on a busy Christmas shopping day, The Cloth Ear is for you.

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Arguably the Best Kids' App Creator, Toca Boca, Has Created Tattoos for Your Little Ones

Toca Boca are my absolute top favourite kids' app creator. Their imagery is fresh, inventive and quirky, like being the Ikea of smart phone or tablet games, and they pride on keeping the games gender neutral .

Their latest launch is physical however, the Artists Play series. On sale over time on their online store the first collab is between themselves Virginia Elmwood and is called 'Toca Ink'. We received a pack to play about with. Michael loves it. We have almost every Toca Boca game, and the tattoos are of characters from the games.

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They are applied the way all temporary tattoos are, with water.

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And parents, I highly recommend the Toca Boca games (many have free previews) Click here to see what they have on the iTunes App Store, or search on your tablet's App Store. Have fun in Toca Boca world!

Toca Town

Toca Town

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To a Train

To a Train

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas at M&S #FollowTheFairies

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There's a certain November day when the light is just right, the shops are sufficiently bustling and the smell of cinnamon is in the air, and it hits you, the Christmassy feeling. With all the new Christmas adverts launching this week, including the Marks and Spencer fairies my Christmas feeling hit me on Saturday.

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Our son has had his eye on this adorable little tin of gingerbread men the past two weeks, so this Saturday I allowed him to pick one of the light-up tins for his own Christmas display.

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Marks and Spencer invited me to pick out my top choices from the new Christmas and party range, to share with you, my readers, what I think it worth stocking up on for celebrating with this December.

Yeti £2.50 : Gold Whips £1.65 : Christmas Pudding Cookies £2.00 : Twigs £1.50 : Smaller sweets 60p

Yeti £2.50 : Gold Whips £1.65 : Christmas Pudding Cookies £2.00 : Twigs £1.50 : Smaller sweets 60p

You won't be short in supply of sweet treats to pick from. Reindeer twigs (Matchmakers) and smaller lunch time chocolate novelties can be found near the till. The coconut covered mini Yeti are a sweet idea, and if you ever want a cookie that tastes EXACTLY OF CHRISTMAS then you'll adore the Christmas Pudding Cookies.

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Then there's the return of the chocolate sprouts. These look so realistic in their needed bags and cost only £2.00

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There are also chocolate Santas.

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Juice £2.00

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I couldn't do a Christmas food round up without including mince pies. I only started eating & enjoying mince pies about two years ago. Before I thought they tasted disgusting. Maybe my palette is changing as I age, but I still play it safe by making sure the mince pies I do eat around Christmas time are from M&S, where the quality will be superb.

Heres a cool little idea, a Night In Christmas Treats Box for family movie night, or indeed nibbling through on a Saturday night, cheering on your favourite in Xfactor. Makes a nice alternative to the yearly getting smaller box of Roses chocolates.

Treat Box : £8.00 : Mini Mince Pies £2.50

Treat Box : £8.00 : Mini Mince Pies £2.50

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I also treated myself to this gift box of very special handcrafted chocolates. The Chocolatier's box is something special. The colours make them look like jewels rather than exquisite desserts. Hands off, this is mummy's box of chocolates.

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With all the sweet treats, I didn't have much budget left over for savoury, but as ever M&S is streets ahead with the quality & inventiveness of their party food. Remember to call in soon as items are on 3 for the price of 2. Freeze them until party season & have saved some money.

Pork Belly £6 : Ready to Eat or Heat Prawns £7

Pork Belly £6 : Ready to Eat or Heat Prawns £7

Pizza fashioned into Christmas tree shapes are ideal if you've kids coming round to visit.

I've often wished you could concentrate the taste of Christmas into one thing, and M&S have only gone and done it. Dare you try the 'Christmas Soup'? Tell me what you make of it on Twitter (@rudedoodle).

Christmas tree pizza £5 : Christmas Soup £2.50

Christmas tree pizza £5 : Christmas Soup £2.50

Finally, a quick peek at some other items in store which I didn't try out, but which look splendid all the same.

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M&S helps homeless charity Shelter every year with proceeds coming from sales of their Christmas takeaway lunch selection. The packaging is almost too cute to throw away.

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And there's a whole red labelled section of the store for those basic Christmas ingredients you might forget otherwise. PLUS they are on 3 for 2 right now.

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The Ultimate Onesie from Marks & Spencer

I'm a big fan of onesies. I spied this beauty last week on the Marks & Spencer Instagram feed, and knew it had to be mine. I picked one up thanks to M&S yesterday, and it's everything I could have wanted. The faux-fur is super soft, and the anti-bobble fleecy material that makes up the body of the sleep suit is peachy, velveteen delicate yet cosy. I'm calling it the Ultimate Onesie.

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It costs £27.50 and you can order online and have it delivered in your size (ranging from 8 - 22) with FREE DELIVERY to your local M&S. Now when I picked mine up in store I was a little worried (excuse the pun) as I'm only 5ft4" and it's a TALL one size fits all type garment. But somehow it works. The onesie is lightly elasticated at the waist and ankles, so it doesn't sag or trail, even on tiny ladies like me. While I'm talking about it, I'm going to admit something that's probably not very cool,  but I get all my jeans from M&S Denim Collection. They have a comprehensive sizing guide and three different leg lengths available for each dress size. So I can wear a 12/short and not have my jeans soaking up rain water, trailing along the pavement.

But back to onesies, check out the kids' and men's jammies they also have available. All non-bobbling, all soft and snuggly. Perhaps get everyone a new onesie for Christmas Eve night, then they'll all look smart in he Christmas Morning photos. 

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Monty... is that you?

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There's even a onesie Christmas card!

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