My favourite part of the lead-up to Christmas is putting the tree up. Or should I say trees plural because we have more than one! Our main tree is in the conservatory so we can see and appreciate it from the lounge (not quite enough room to fit it in the lounge). We have a very small table-top pink tree in the lounge which is officially my daughter’s but I also have a four foot one in the dining room. This is because I love seeing trees in front windows and the dining room is at the front of the house.
This summer, we had a bit of a shift around of rooms. The dining room and conservatory had both become dumping grounds and weren’t used so we cleared everything out, moved the dining table into the conservatory, and the dining room became my new office and I decided to do something a little special with the tree in the bay window, only decorating it with items relating to my writing journey and books.
MY WRITING JOURNEY
I spotted a light-up gonk in a garden centre with my name on so couldn’t resist adding that to the tree. I believe these are also available in branches of Clintons.
I bought some gorgeous book stack baubles from John Lewis several years ago and I have some gorgeous checked hearts which say ‘Love’ (shown) ‘Hugs’ and ‘Wish’ on them which are perfect for what I write about. There are several other heart-shaped baubles on my tree and a very special bauble which my amazing publisher Boldwood Books sent to all their authors this year. It’s handblown glass shipped from Israel, made by muslims and christians, and it sits alongside my ‘Make a Wish’ star because I made a wish to be a full-time author and Boldwood made that wish come true.
I have a Christmas lighthouse (note the wreath on the door) and another lighthouse and anchor which aren’t strictly Christmas ornaments but look great on the tree.
What seaside resort wouldn’t be complete without a seagull? Yes, I know it’s not Christmassy either but I had it made a few years back by the amazing Emma of ChilliPepperbyEmma who has an Etsy which you can find here and it was begging to go on the tree. Sadly, Emma has had to take the decision to temporarily close her shop knowing she couldn’t fulfil Christmas orders due to postal strikes but do check out her designs all year round as she does all the seasons/occasions and they’re amazing.
All You Need is Love features an orange VW campervan called Thor and I have another of Emma’s designs representing that as well as a gorgeous yellow embellished one from Accessorize. You can find it here. I’m going to put links in for any ornaments available at the time of writing this but they may have sold out by the time you read this. I also have a red campervan although I can’t remember where I bought that as it wasn’t this year.
The heart with the beach huts isn’t strictly a tree decoration either but, as you don’t tend to see many nautical Christmas decorations around, I thought it looked pretty. This comes from a gorgeous gift shop called Pedrington’s Portal on the way down to the seafront in Scarborough. It’s run by two sisters and all the items are hand-sewn or hand-crafted by them.
In All You Need is Love, main character Jemma’s mum runs a specialist teddy bear shop on Castle Street called Bear With Me. There are therefore lots of teddy bears on my tree. I started collecting Me to You tree ornaments when I was in my twenties and bought my first home. They released four designs each year and I’d buy the collection but there were soon understandably repetitions on the themes so I stopped collecting. Some of the collection are on the tree this year along with a couple of soft versions of the grey bear – one dressed as gift and another as a snowman.
The Forever Friends bears you can see peeking through the branches were from when I ran my own teddy bear shop, Bear’s Pad, between 2003-2005.
The felt bears – the brown one with the Christmas pudding on its tummy and the white one dressed as a snowman – came from a teddy bear craft fair and the brown material one with ‘hugs’ in its tummy came from a shop in Northallerton full of locally-made crafts. Isn’t it cute?
I love my angel bear tree topper which I’ve had for years. You see the black bear tangled in fairy lights? That came back from my honeymoon in Canada in 2005 and is perfect for my bookish tree because, in Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes, Carly spots a teddy bear called Tangled who has become tangled in fairy lights in Bear With Me, and buys it for her clumsy sister.
The Starfish Café series is set just outside Whitsborough Bay and has a strong connection to the RNLI. I have three three decorations from the RNLI shop – a blue RNLI bauble, a penguin in his life vest, and Finley bear in his full RNLI kit. The penguin is particularly relevant to the first story in the series – Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café – so I also have another penguin on my tree. I won’t tell you why it’s relevant as that would be a big story spoiler and you’ll just have to read the book to find out!
To represent The Starfish Café and The Chocolate Pot on Castle Street (featured in Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café), I have some lovely cake and drinks-related decorations. The mugs of hot chocolate both came from garden centres. The plate with a cake on was a gift from my bestie, author Sharon Booth and I love it so much as we do love a bit of cake when we meet up and, as Sharon knows, a Victoria sponge is my favourite. This definitely looks good enough to eat and would be available in either café. I have a gingerbread man, as featured in Starry Skies, and a piece of Christmas cake too.
To go with the titles, I have stars and snowflakes. The embellished ones are from Accessorise but they appear to have sold out online. And, of course, I have the embellished cupcake which could be sold in either cafe and in Carly’s Cupcakes.
I do need a seal to add to my collection of decorations for The Starfish Cafe so will need to keep my eye out for one of those.
I have more bears than anything else because I’ve been collecting bears for a lot of years, but hedgehogs aren’t far behind and I keep seeing new ones each year. I made some graphics last year showing off my hedgehog collection so far so I’m going to add those below.
I have felt hedgehogs from craft fairs or Etsy…
I have flat and round baubles. The sparkly round one was from M&S last year and I bought several of them so I could give some away when Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow was released this year. Do watch out on the Book and Tonic social media posts for stacks of fabulous competitions and giveaways as part of the #12DaysofHedgehogs…
I have several more realistic looking hedgehogs…
Some sparkly baubles…
I have some wooden ones. I particularly love the one on the right. It’s such a stunning picture and looks great on the tree…
I also have some more quirky looking hedgehogs, a couple of which have been gifts from friends. How crazy are those coloured ones?…
And it’s not just the tree that’s a hedgehog haven. I have several decorations not for the tree. The large sparkly one top left is another prize in the #12DaysofChristmas – although not that exact one, of course. I bought an extra one as a prize…
This year, I’ve had a few additions to the collection. The first one is from Accessorize too and the second is from Next. Duplicates of both are up for grabs as part of the #12DaysofChristmas.
The two flat wooden ones were from Etsy, the one with the stick was a gift from my friend and author Eliza J Scott and the lovely silver one in the circle was a gift made by a reader…
But it isn’t just hedgehogs that are relevant to Hedgehog Hollow. Robins are a particularly important part of the story and I have several robins on my tree including a gorgeous Wrendale bauble to match my hedgehog one. I also have the robin below the tree which I needlefelted myself as shown in my last blog post, and this gorgeous sign on my bookshelves.
Fizz and Darcie are huge fans of unicorns so there has to be a unicorn on my tree, and Jonathan (main character Samantha’s dad) has an obsession with pigs in blankets with Christmas dinner so I have a couple of those too and a gorgeous crocheted one a lovely reader made for me. Thank you, Hazel. And I have some butterflies too for the butterflies in the wildflower meadow.
For those who have read Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow, you’ll recognise the happy mistletoe from Jellycat, available here.
Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn isn’t out until 24th January but I had to get it on the tree now with these three amazing very different bees. Thank you to lovely author Jo Bartlett for the addition of the first one pictured.
And finally, the full tree and decorated shelves…
I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of my book-themed tree. I loved putting it together. Wishing you a fabulous Christmas.