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.

Gift ideas for boys.


I don’t know about you, but the thought of filling my house with more plastic action figures and cars this Christmas is enough to put me in a serious tizzy! I can’t find the storage space for them, I can’t deal with tripping over them on the floor and I really can’t deal with forking out $50 for another bright orange and purple car that does NOT fit in with my decor.

I’m sure you are all thinking I am a total grinch of a mother and I should let my kids play with the toys that interest them. Don’t worry, I do … Orly has more Transformers than I have cushions, but there’s is nothing wrong with encouraging some wooden toys in neutral colours, or getting your kids excited about home decor items at an early age …. right?

I have two teenage girls aged 15 and 16 and a 6 year old boy.
The girls are so easy to buy gifts for, make-up, jewellery, clothes …. EASY!
Boys on the other hand, boys are impossible!

You all know I love sharing, so I’ve put together my favourite boys toys that we already own or that are on my list for Orlando this Christmas.

Orly loves to bake, it’s our special time together on a Thursday afternoon while the girls are at dancing. We make brownies, cookies and cakes. He has these Star Wars cookie cutters and he loves them.
FYI – nobody is allowed to eat R2D2 except him and he saves all the Chewbacca’s for his sister Bella.
I just noticed Williams Sonoma has released a special Christmas pack with the cookie cutters, apron and cookie mix.

STAR WARS GIFT SET / WILLIAMS SONOMA
STAR WARS GIFT SET / WILLIAMS SONOMA

I always pop in a pair of PJ’s. If you can manage to find a pair with one of their favourite characters that is also super cute then your onto a winner. Cotton On often have a great range, I personally love this Jungle Book pair.

Joshua PJ Set / Cotton On
JOSHUA PJ SET / COTTON ON

You’ve probably seen the adorable mermaid tail sleeping bags that have been so popular with the girls, check out this uber cute shark tail sleeping bag that is sure to be just as popular with the boys.

SHARK TAIL SLEEPING BAG / ADAIRS
SHARK TAIL SLEEPING BAG / ADAIRS

Kids love to carry their stuff around, well my kids does anyway, he always has a backpack full of crap and that’s fine by me, as long as it’s not in my handbag, I’m happy!
This one from SunnyKids is super cute, it made from hardwearing neoprene and will be tough enough to contain all the boy stuff!

WHALE NEOPRENE BACKPACK / SUNNYKIDS by SUNNYLIFE
WHALE NEOPRENE BACKPACK / SUNNYKIDS by SUNNYLIFE

Orly has had these little wooden superhero’s for a couple of years now. He plays with them constantly and we have added to his collection as they bring out new characters. Great for little hands all the way up to older boys.

DC SUPERHERO FIGURINES / POTTERY BARN KIDS
DC SUPERHERO FIGURINES / POTTERY BARN KIDS

I was recently given one of these Wonderboom speakers. It really is the coolest little thing ever, I take it from room to room with me when I’m doing the housework, my teenagers take it outside around the pool (it’s waterproof) and I’ve been playing music in Orly’s room at night to help him sleep.
He prefers to fall asleep to familiar sounds instead of listening to the ‘scary wind’ outside.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this highly enough, everyone in the family will want one, in fact I’ve already got my eye on a pink one (just for Mum).

ULTIMATE EARS / WONDERBOOM
ULTIMATE EARS / WONDERBOOM

While we’re on the electronics, our kids seem to be using computers for everything these days, these caught my eye and I thought they were very cool. The Doodle Collection mouse has personality and I love that you can customise them with the included sticker pack.

DOODLE COLLECTION MOUSE / LOGITECH
DOODLE COLLECTION MOUSE / LOGITECH

Ok, enough with the electronics, how about some good old fashioned fun? When my husband saw this BRIO Labyrinth he was so excited, he had one when he was a little boy, which was quite a few years ago, this one has stood the test of time, Orly loves it too!

BRIO LABYRINTH
BRIO LABYRINTH (In stores by Christmas)

Not all plastic toys are terrible, Lego is still a favourite on every boys christmas list. I’m happy to buy it, it encourages their creativity and imagination, and I kind of love this big Chewbacca! He’s definitely on our wishlist this year!

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CHEWBACCA / LEGO

Little boys love to mimic their Daddys, Orly’s Daddy is a builder and I’m sure Orly would absolutely adore this wooden tool kit personalised with is name on the box.

PERSONALISED WOODEN TOOL KIT / HARD TO FIND
PERSONALISED WOODEN TOOL KIT / HARD TO FIND

I hope you found something for the little man in your life!

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

Christmas at the Little house.

Firstly, yes thats my surname – Little.
I’m not referring to my house as little, because even though it’s smaller than our last house, it’s still too big, I know … because I’m the one who has to clean it, urgh!

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that we are mid renovation and currently the entire upstairs of our house is out of bounds so we can paint everything, and I mean EVERYTHING and re-finish the timber floorboards. What this means logistically, is that every item we own is currently downstair or shoved in the upstairs bathrooms and balconies, you might have seen us camping out on our mattresses downstairs on the floor. Let me tell you, It is not an ideal living situation and I certainly wasn’t excited at the thought of Christmas decorating.

My tree is HUGE and takes at least an hour to put it up, and then it always looks like it’s on a lean no matter how much I try to make it straight. Next for the lights, I swear I wrap them up carefully each year but when I pull them out the next year they are in a pile of tangled mess, so I spend an hour untangling them (and swearing under my breath) to then spend another hour getting them on the tree. All that before I have even started decorating. I truly didn’t know if I had it in me this year, but I have 3 excited kids so I knew I had to make an effort …

Until Balsam Hill kindly offered to send me one of their amazing trees this year, and they said it would be pre-lit. Did you just say PRE-LIT? I couldn’t have said YES fast enough. It arrived in a couple of days, you might have seen the excitement from my youngest Orlando on my Instagram, he could barely contain himself!

We had the entire tree unpacked, assembled and the lights twinkling in less that half an hour. It was so easy and Orlando, who is only 6, was excited to help me fold out the branches with the included gloves, he was so impressed with himself. And I am so impressed with this tree, there was no wrangling lights either, the entire tree is pre-lit evenly and beautifully, all you need to do is plug it in.
FYI – My tree is the Monterey Pine 150cm, you can find it here.

Monterey Pine / BALSAM HILL
Monterey Pine / BALSAM HILL

At 150cm, our tree is on the smaller side this year. The advantage of having a smaller tree is that it is much easier to find a spot to put it, it takes less decorations and is faster to decorate. It still looks amazing and gives us all the Christmas feels while I get to keep my sanity.
I did consider putting up a second tree, it seems to be very on trend to have more than one tree these days, but I just can’t face my big tree. Maybe I can talk hubby into another Balsam Hill tree ….

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What do you think? Isn’t she pretty with all those twinkling lights?

Photo 27-11-17, 12 41 50 pm I didn’t buy any new decorations this year, I would have loved to do a pink theme but to be honest, I think anything would look beautiful with those twinkling lights! I attached a big red satin ribbon bow instead of a star or angel. I thought the pop of colour was a pretty touch and seriously, who doesn’t love a bow!

Photo 27-11-17, 12 42 23 pm I used this Regency Dupioni quilted tree skirt around the base. It’s pretty and classic, and will last me for many years. It’s also from Balsam Hill, you can find it here.

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I went with traditional red and green wrapping paper. I don’t often use red in my home decor, it feels like Christmas to me, so I probably go overboard with red at this time of the year.

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I even pulled my red Kitchenaid out of the cupboard!

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Santa’s Mailbox and Merry Christmas Cushion | Hamptons Home

It creeps into my living room too!

Another thing that I like to sprinkle around at Christmas time is twinkling lights. They are just so pretty and elevate everything to the next level of beauty.

Photo 27-11-17, 12 50 30 pm I created a fun centrepiece on my dining table with some pretty blue baubles, a big wooden tray and some of these gorgeous LED fairy light ornaments, also from Balsam Hill. I love the way they sparkle at night and give the table an inviting warm glow. You can find them here.

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They come with individual battery packs and are also on a timer which is great because you don’t have to remember to turn them off.

So, the Little house is ready for Christmas and I’m pretty happy with how easy and stress-free it was this year. I didn’t go overboard, I would love to add some garlands to my staircase and maybe a beautiful collection of snow globes to my sideboard, but they will have to wait until next year.

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet? Do you go all out? Or are you content with a pretty tree?
I’d love to see your Christmas decor! Please tag me on SM or e-mail me.
Who wants me to share my favourites?

Hayley x

Hayley’s favourite things, 2016.

There is so many beautiful products available to us these days, we really are spoilt for choice.
Shopping for Christmas gifts can be daunting, confusing and downright frustrating.
Hopefully I can help you, I’ve put together my favourite things for Christmas, the things I will be buying my own family and friends, which remind me if you are my family or friends … look away now please!
These gifts are perfect for your Mum, Mother-in-law, Sisters, Sister-in-laws, Aunties, Neices, Best Friends or yourself!

These are all things I have personally used, I own and I highly recommend.

 I cannot tell you how much I love this. Smell is such a strong sense that has a big effect on your emotions. I love how certain scents bring back memories and the Circa Home wax warmer just makes me happy!
It is electric which means you don’t have to worry about a child or pet knocking it over. It’s also the best looking electric wax warmer I’ve seen, I love the pretty white hobnail design.

Electric Wax Warmer | Circa Home
Electric Wax Warmer | Circa Home

 Who doesn’t ‘need’ a great tote bag?
I use tote bags daily and often have more than one on the go. I am guilty of leaving some bags permanently packed ready for things we do weekly, like swimming lessons. I also have one I use every day with the overflow of my handbag, you know, my diary, drink bottles, kids toys, that stuff. These are my 2 favourite totes and I’m sure anyone in your life would be wrapped with one of these this Christmas.

Firstly, the ultimate beach and lifestyle tote, it is waterproof, super strong, lightweight and stands up on it’s own so you can access it easily. I love these bags so much I have 2, I leave one permanently packed for swimming lessons and use the other for boating and beach days. They are from Cabana Lifestyle.

Lahaina tote | Cabana Lifestyle
Lahaina tote | Cabana Lifestyle

And next, this is my daily tote and it pretty much goes everywhere with me. I am a Mum of 3 kids and a husband who can’t seem to look after his own wallet and phone. I always have everyone else’s stuff in there. Today I have a drink bottle, 2 Transformers, Orly’s hat, a packet of Tiny Teddies, a protein shake sachet and some paint sample charts, so random!
I love how you can choose a little icon, monogram it or choose a mixture of both. It truly is personalised and such a special gift. It’s from Little Makes Big.

Custom Tote | Little Makes Big
Custom Tote | Little Makes Big

One of my favourite things to receive is a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers.
Why not buy a fabulous vase and take it to your local florist, they will create a gorgeous bouquet for you, or simply pop in a bunch of market flowers. Long after the flowers have faded they will still have the vase to reuse again and again.
This is one of my favourites, the Teal Posy Vase from The Source Products.

Teal Posy Vase | The Source Products
Teal Posy Vase | The Source Products

In Australia a hat is pretty much an essential part of our lives. I have acquired a few over the years but this one is a recent addition. It is so fun and playful with the bright pom poms, and also stylish and classy when you remove the pom pom band to reveal a plain black grosgrain ribbon. I love it and think it would be a great gift!

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Straw Panama hat | Pink Deer

 One of my newest favourite things is this amazing Chasseur French Oven!
I have wanted one of these for years, I have to admit I really wanted one because they look great in your kitchen and add a perfect pop of colour, but I didn’t actually realise how fabulous they are to cook with. I have already used it to make Lemon and Thyme Chicken, French Onion soup and Pulled Beef for tacos, and that’s just last week! It is so versatile as it can be used on the stove, in the oven and under the grill. Mine is the 6.3L which is huge and great for a family of 5, and I chose the Imperial Blue colour (exclusive to Kitchen Warehouse) I would be thrilled to receive one of these for Christmas …. if I didn’t already own one!

Chasseur French Oven | Kitchen Warehouse
Chasseur French Oven | Kitchen Warehouse

 Did you find something you love, start dropping hints now! Or maybe you found the perfect gift for somebody special in your life?
If not, I’ll be sharing a few more of my favourite things before Christmas.

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x