Christmas in July

Christmas in July, or Yulefest as it’s known in Australia is pretty much an excuse to have a big Christmas type gathering with family and friends, but without the pressure and stress of the real Christmas. The added bonus is that it’s winter in July in Australia, so sitting down to a big hot meal feels much more natural than it does in the middle of summer.

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This year Yulefest was made extra special in our house with the inclusion of an amazing 7ft Silverado Christmas tree from Balsam Hill. The tree has an ultra-realistic feel with true green needle type foliage. Even though it’s a ‘slim’ tree it is slightly more full than other slim trees I’ve seen. The tree comes pre-lit in 3 sections and is super easy to put together. It took me less than 15 minutes to assemble it and flick on the twinkling lights!

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To be honest, the tree didn’t need too many decorations, it looks quite impressive with all the pretty lights, but we decided to go all out and add a set of silver and gold ornaments from Balsam Hill.

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Also, since it’s winter in Australia we added a gorgeous fur tree skirt which is so luscious and beautiful my daughter wants to wear it as a cape. It is thick and soft and adds another layer or luxury to the tree.

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Decorating for the real Christmas is a full day event in December,  but since the Balsam Hill trees are so easy to assemble it only took me half an hour to create this beautiful tree. I think it makes such a difference to the festivities and really adds to the Yulefest celebrations.

I’m going to do a big roast for lunch, complete with piles of vegetables and thick gravy. But we all know that everyone is more interested in what’s for dessert, don’t we? This year I found a recipe for Red Velvet Cheesecake with Meringue Frosting and Raspberry dust that looks delicious.

Image : Le Crueset

Here’s the link for it if you’d like to give it a go too.

Are you going to celebrate Christmas in July? I’d love to see your decor or yummy recipes, send me an email or tag me on Instagram!

Happy Christmas in July!

Hayley x

Silverado slim Christmas tree, 210cm Candlelight LED, $799, currently on SALE $479 here.

Silver and Gold ornaments, set of 35 – $459, currently on SALE $299 here.

Lodge Faux Fur tree skirt, 120 – 180cm, $189 – $299, currently on SALE $129 – $199 here.

*I was not paid for this post. I was gifted a Christmas tree and decor from Balsam Hill. All opinions are my own.

Aerin X Williams Sonoma

You guys really love this range!
I get it, I am totally obsessed too!

The new Aerin and Williams Sonoma collection has landed in Australia and it is all kinds of incredible. Inspired by summers at her family’s Hamptons home, Aerin has created another stunning collection.

I unboxed it on my Instagram story a few days ago and I have had so many people ask me about it. I even had a lady stop me in my local supermarket and ask if it is dishwasher safe, ha!

I have the Ardsley range, an amazing blue and green floral design with various patterns to mix and match. It looks fabulous layered together or paired with plain colours.

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AERIN Ardsley | Williams Sonoma

I thought I’d do a quick post here and answer some of your questions so everyone can see (and I can stop repeating myself). Let’s go …

Is it dishwasher safe? – Yes!

Can I use it in the microwave? – Yes!

Did you use a filter on your stories to make the colours more vibrant? – No, the colours are true.

Is the base colour pure white or off white? – I would say off white, but not a yellow or creamy white. It should mix well with most white dinner sets if you like to mix and match.

Will the green work well with my cabbage ware? Yes, it is the perfect green!

Can I mix and match it with the first Aerin collection? Most definitely! I think this collection is one that can be mixed with lots of different design, the more layers the better!

Are the napkins embroidered? This collection has a few different napkins available including a block-printed Floral Print cotton option, the Ardsley linen-cotton blend option and an Embroidered Floral Set. The first two are not embroidered, the last set is. I have just ordered them, so stay tuned on Instagram and I’ll show you when they arrive.

If you could only buy one piece what would it be? For me, I think the Champagne Bucket is the most versatile piece. I will use mine for champagne (of course), fresh flowers, plants or just sitting on my table. If you have a bar cart, the champagne bucket is essential!

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I hope that helps, if you have any more questions please DM me on Instagram or comment on this post.
I’ll leave you with a few happy snaps of dinner at our house this week …

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If you want to shop the Aerin range you can find it here.
Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

Is your child getting their Forty Winks?

We’ve all heard the studies about how important sleep is. As adults we definitely notice our body slow down and our mood change if we have a few late nights, but what about our children?

The latest research says that adequate sleep can help children fight obesity, avoid colds, illness and increase their concentration at school. The studies suggest that sleep is essential to good health. Kids that get enough sleep have fewer learning problems and attention issues and when kids don’t get enough sleep it directly affects their mood and behaviour.

Last year we had so many problems with our youngest, Orlando. He’s 6 and due to our crazy lifestyle and hectic hours, he just wasn’t getting enough sleep. He had minimal self control and was constantly fidgeting at school. When the school teachers suggested his behaviour was not normal for his age, I started taking his terrible sleep routine more seriously. Wow, what a difference it made!

It’s obviously crucial to nurture their sleep habits, so how do we make sure our kids are getting what they need?

It’s not always easy, especially if your little one is a night owl or has trouble getting off to sleep.
There are definitely things you can do to help your children sleep. You can use lavender oil on the soles of their feet, you can limit their screen time, you can wear them out with sport activities and numerous other tactics. However, the most important tool to help your child have a good night sleep is to make them feel safe and happy in their bedroom.

Their bedroom should be their sanctuary, it should make your child feel comfortable and content, they should be surrounded by their special things and feel like their room reflects their personality. Kids love to be involved in the planning and decorating of their own space and by letting them help, they feel a sense of ownership and pride in their space.

So what do you need to create the perfect bedroom for your little one? Let’s start with the most important thing – the right bed.
Forty Winks have been the sleep experts for more than 30 years, they know beds and they can help guide you to the right one. The variety nowadays is vast and beds come in lot of sizes and styles. Consider the age and size of your child now, but also think of how much they will grow in 5 years and future proof your purchase by thinking ahead.

Before you decide on the bedroom furniture, have a good look at your child’s belongings, assess how much storage space he/she needs and how he/she will use their bedroom space. Does he/she need extra storage space for a large toy collection? Do you have teenager that needs somewhere to study? Do they have friends sleepover often where a trundle-bed or bunk bed would be handy? Do they have a small room that need to be multi-functional?

By simply choosing furniture that fits your needs and offers the right storage solutions you can create an organised and serene space.  Creating a place for everything helps your child to be neat and tidy and put their belongings away. Sleeping in chaos is not relaxing, having an organised space bring a sense of calm and makes it easier to relax.

Let’s have a look at some great furniture solutions for all your kids, from their first big bed, to shared spaces and the teenage years.

If you have a little bookworm, a bed like the Pluto would be perfect. It’s crafted from solid Victorian Ash and with its built-in shelves there is space for all your kids book right next to them in bed. It also has a trundle which is handy for sleepovers.

PLUTO / Forty Winks
PLUTO / Forty Winks

If your child shares a bedroom with a sibling or is simply a social butterfly who has lots of friends over frequently, the beautiful French style SNOW bunk bed might be the perfect option. It is a slanted design with a single bed on top and a double bed on the bottom, it also has a trundle for extra sleeping space.

SNOW | Forty Winks
SNOW | Forty Winks

If space is tight, the Quantum Loft bed packs a lot into its smart design. It only requires the floor space of a single bed, but it is a complete sleep / work / study / play solution. With a loft bed, desk and utility area, wardrobe storage and toy storage it really is the workhorse of kids’ beds!

QUANTUM | Forty Winks
QUANTUM | Forty Winks

The ODYSSEY is a great option for kids or teens. It has under bed storage and a ‘secret’ compartment in the bed head, perfect for stashing diaries and special things. This range has a fabulous range of matching storage solutions such as the 2-drawer bedside table, 4-drawer tallboy and study desk.

ODYSSEY | Forty Winks
ODYSSEY | Forty Winks

The ARC is a great choice for kids that don’t like the dark, it has a bookend bed head with built-in LED lighting so the kids can quickly and easily access the light without having to leave the safety of their bed. This king single sized bed also features a trundle and under bed drawers for extra storage.

ARC | Forty Winks
ARC | Forty Winks

As you can see, Forty Winks really do have you covered for all your children’s furniture needs.
Once you have determined your furniture you will need to choose a mattress. Take your child with you and let them lay on the mattresses and find what’s comfortable for them. Of course, you can be guided by the experts at Forty Winks, they will help you with the right fit for your space and budget. Keep in mind your child is growing fast and they will need the right support and comfort through these important growth years.

Bedlinen is also important, especially to some children who are sensitive to different textiles. Choose soft, warm and comforting layers that they can add or remove for their personal temperature control.

Lastly, finish with the decor. Ask them their favourite colour or talk about a theme for their room. We’re not talking about splashing Transformers or Barbie’s all over their room, choose a more subtle theme such as the ocean, the solar system or rainbows and unicorns.
If your child insists on a character theme, you don’t need to have licensed quilt covers and character cushions to get the look, think about the colours in that character and use them as your base to work from. For example, if your child chooses Mickey Mouse, you can work with red and yellow with a splash of black.
Personalise their space with family photos, framed art, baby mementos or special belongings. Give them a place to display their latest Lego creation or school art project.

Creating a bedroom with your child will give them a sense of ownership and make them want to spend time in there. Ultimately, that’s what we want, and that’s what will help them relax and sleep like a baby!

I’m happy to say, after making a few changes to Orlando’s bedroom like adding some comforting elements and removing some stimulating ones, he sleeps like a baby and is a much happier, calmer and attentive child.

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

Disclosure: This post was written by me in partnership with Forty Winks. I only work with brands that I personally love and think you will too. Thanks for supporting that brands that help me keep Mum Little Loves alive.

My obsession with Linen!

If you follow me over on INSTAGRAM you would have seen and heard me raving on and on about linen lately.
No, I am not sponsored by the Linen industry, is that even a thing?
I just truly, madly, deeply love it!
My bedroom is layered with linen sheets, linen quilts and linen throws …

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I can see you rolling your eyes out there, like I’m all a bit crazy about this linen stuff. This is what I say to you – Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. I challenge you to sleep in it for a few weeks and not love it!

I swear I sleep better!
I find it cooler in winter but still warm enough to keep me comfortable when hubby blasts the air-con so cold we are all shivering.
I love the way it drapes over your body with a gentle weight and super soft texture.
And the best part, I have embraced the crumpled look, it looks luxurious and inviting and I can’t wait to jump into my  bed every night. Apparently, neither can the rest of my family who are frequently found hanging out in there too!

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I wasn’t sure whether the linen was laced with magic unicorn dust that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy or if there is an actual reason why they are so good, so I asked the gorgeous Julie from Bed Tonic to give me all the info. Here’s what she had to say …

Why is linen considered by many to be the ultimate fabric for bedding?
Linen is a 100% sustainable fabric grown from the flax plant. It requires very few pesticides and fertilisers during its growth cycle compared to cotton and uses a fraction of the water in comparison, making it much kinder to our planet. It’s incredibly buttery soft to sleep in and is a natural thermo regulator.

Linen is cool in summer and warm in winter, why?
Linen’s fibres are hollow grass like straws compared to cottons dense fibres. This allows air to flow naturally around your body in the heat and yet cosy warm under layers in the cooler months!

I’ve read that linen is good for people with skin conditions or allergies, is this true?
Because linen uses few pesticides, fertilisers and toxic chemicals to harvest, it is low allergenic making it kind to our skin.

How long should our linen sheets last?
Although our linen is still grown, harvested, spun and woven in much the same ways as earlier days, it is now put through an extra process called soft washing where the linen is washed with pumice stones after the garments and bedding have been made. This is similar to stonewashed jeans whereby it softens the fibres making it buttery soft from your first sleep.

However this process does shorten the life of the fabric somewhat as you don’t have to wash it for years to soften it anymore like in the olden days.
It also depends on how many sets of sheets you rotate on your bed. We have many customers who love their linen sheets so much they wash and dry them and put them straight back on the bed so obviously these would wear out quicker but you should still expect to get a solid 5 years plus from your linen.

Do they require special care?
Linen is not as fussy as it seems. It is pre washed before you sleep in it to avoid shrinkage. Warm machine wash and line drying is preferable but if you use a dryer keep the temp to warm or your linen will get very crinkled.

Occasionally I get a customer who says their linen has got stiff. This is caused by a build up of soap powder and a water only wash will strip the build up and make your linen soft again. Fabric softener is also ok.
If ironing is necessary (defeats the purpose of linen in our opinion), iron with a medium to hot steam iron. 

So there you have it, there is actual reasons why it’s so good!

If you want to try some for yourself, here’s what I can recommend as I have them in my own home, on my own bed …

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Navy Ticking Pure Linen sheet set from Bed Tonic here.

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Belgian Flax Linen sheet set from West Elm here.

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Belgian Flax Linen Diamond Quilt and Pillowcases from Pottery Barn here.

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Isle Linen Ruffled Throw from Her Shed here.
I also have the Capri Linen White & Natural Reversible Quilt from Her Shed which I am looking forward to using when the weather cools down, you can see it here.

I’m sure I’ll add to my collection and I’ll be sure to let you know what I think in the future.

Do you have linen? Are you as obsessed as me?
Tell me everything!

And Happy Shopping!

Hayley x