I went on the most magical little one-night, mid-week getaway with a friend this week. I’m such a creature of habit and routine and I find that I do feel completely thrown off when my schedules, routines, and daily rituals are altered, but there really is something so special about the way the right little trip can just make you feel so inspired. We visited Langdon Hall in Cambridge and it was exactly the right little trip for me. Lots of beautiful traditional spaces in an old country estate, paired with acres of well-cared for gardens and nature trails as well. Basically, everything I loved all wrapped up into one package. I would say that the vibe there is definitely “fancy” but also really calm, relaxed, and unfussy. It’s somewhere that you can feel completely at ease and just enjoy every little detail without worrying about if you’re doing things the right way. I’ll definitely try to share more about my little trip soon.
We’re hosting a Friendsgiving this weekend and I’m quite excited about it. We have a really close group of neighbour friends that we get together regularly with to celebrate just about everything throughout the year. I thought this year it might be fun to have our own little neighbourhood Thanksgiving celebration and American Thanksgiving seemed like the perfect time to do it. With the pandemic and everything, our “real” Canadian Thanksgiving in October was a pretty small affair and I always find myself feeling a little left out when American Thanksgiving rolls around, so this was the perfect excuse for us to join in on the fun. We typically do everything potluck and keep things pretty low-key so we’re doing something very typically American instead of a big Turkey dinner – hot dogs. We’ll have a variety of different types of regular and plant-based hot dogs and sausages, buns, and then everyone will bring a few different toppings to share. It’s going to be easy, fun, and very kid-friendly. 🙂
I’ve been very slowly starting to put out a bit of Christmas decor this week. I think part of my reluctance to start Christmas season early this year, apart from our fall just being so nice, is that I’d really like to just enjoy it all. I want to avoid that part of the season where it all starts to feel like a little too much and I just want it all GONE. If I can skip that part altogether, that would be great. 🙂 So I’ll definitely be keeping things pretty simple this year and trying only to put out our very favourite things. I did find myself starting to light the Christmas candles though, and wanting to maybe watch a Christmas movie or two, so I thought it might be a good time to put up a little bit of festive decor. I’m definitely looking forward to taking some pretty Christmassy photos of it all once it’s done though. I always love that part. More to come on this developing situation soon!
Christmas teas are back this year! One thing that I’m very happy to go all-in on right from the earliest possible moment is the drinking of Christmas teas. There are some really great ones out there and I feel like this is such a nice, simple way to embrace to feeling of the season during the course of a regular day. I couldn’t find my favourite anywhere last year and I survived, but I definitely missed them, so I kind of got excited and stocked up a little bit when I saw them this year. I love Candy Cane Lane from Celestial Seasonings and Christmas in Paris from Stash is always on my must-buy list as well. Holiday Chai is one that I’m trying for the first time this year and I’m absolutely hooked. It’s just perfect and I even brought a few bags along with us to Langdon Hall so we could have hot toddies with it by the fire. Perfection.
My monthly Christmas countdown challenge has just worked brilliantly, if I do say so myself. As we head into this busiest, fullest part of the Christmas season, I definitely feel a sense of quiet and calm that I don’t usually experience at all at this time of year. You can see all the almost-monthly mini task lists in the Christmas Countdown Archives if you’d like to start preparing yourself to do this along with me next year. The best part about this whole thing has been that I totally dropped the ball for a few months and didn’t get done what I set out to do quite a few times, and yet I’m still in a good place and feeling very prepared, calm and ahead of the game this year. I’m very much looking forward to working on it all year again next year and fine-tuning things even further.
NEWS AND FINDS
-My blue and white Christmas decor posts from last year have been getting so much traffic. Blue and white is such a great color combination and I have find that my blue Christmas decor is the stuff that has been reused the most over the years. It’s just timeless. I prefer a darker navy blue if I’m trying to keep things classic, which I always am. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my navy blue Christmas ball-style ornaments and the truth is that I got them from IKEA about 17 years ago. They’re still my favourites. I found these which are a similar dark blue color. Everyone seems to be looking for faux blueberry stems as well like the ones I’ve been collecting for the last few years. I’ve been recommending these, which look very similar to mine, but I also just found and love these from Brooke and Lou.
-One other thing that I’m on the lookout for to help me keep up with my daily walks through the winter, aside from the best fleece-lined tights I can find, is a good ear-warmer headband. This cashmere headband is definitely a contender, but I think the most practical choice would be this one from Patagonia. You really can never go wrong with Patagonia if you’re trying to stay warm, and they tend to run a bit small in everything, which is perfect for me. Any ear-warmer recommendations from other winter walkers out there?
-My white all-weather adirondack chairs are in stock right now and on sale! A pair of these would make such an amazing Christmas gift if you have someone on your list that you just don’t know what to get for. These chairs have the best reviews and always go out of stock as we get closer to spring.
-This Jacquie Lawson digital advent calendar was one of the highlights of our Christmas season last year. Not only was it so delightful for Jack and I to “open” everyday, it’s also totally clutter-free and obviously an environmentally friendly option as well, since nothing needs to be made or wrapped. Such a fun gift idea to send to someone, but I also definitely recommend getting one for yourself as well. This year’s theme is “Christmas in London”.
-Here’s another similar digital advent calendar. I love these, especially this year since I’ve been decluttering so much recently. 🙂 31 Days of Gifts You so Deserve
MORE RECENT POSTS
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- Five Things on a Friday 11/12/21
- Thrift Store Decorating: What I Always Look For
- Plant-Based Jalapeño Popper Dip
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.