Welcome back to SIGNATURE STYLE, the monthly blog that I’ve been a part of with Cindy and Kim for over 2 years now. And what a wonderful time it’s been! I’m so grateful to Cindy for instigating and kindly asking myself and Kim to join in with her and to you, the reader for finding me through them both 🙏🏻 But I feel a little sad at my keyboard right now because, gorgeous readers, this is my final one 😢. Life has gotten pretty busy off the page and my IG grid. My home is full again with our young adult children who are back to save a few $$$. And my hubby and I have finally decided to spend the next 12 months preparing our family home of 22 years for sale to follow our marriage long dream of a sea change. It seems fitting that we will be doing it with both our girls here, a kind of “final hurrah” as they say. I’m excited and sad at the same time. But my aim is to be fully present in all it requires of me. I’m sure a lot of you have “been there/doing that” so I know you’ll understand. So let’s go out with a ho ho ho 😉 as I indulge on what I’ve learnt from all this style blogging and apply it to the Holidays by talking about ESTABLISHING YOUR OWN HOLIDAY SIGNATURE STYLE! … and it’s not all about clothes 🙏🏻
Let’s start with how and when you decorate! Remember, HOW YOU DECORATE your home and table is completely up to you! It should speak volumes of who you are, so why not think of it as a SIGNATURE STYLE? Mine has always been a traditional one. Lots of either Red and Green! Or Gold and White. Sometimes both! And that hasn’t really changed in 25 years! But now my life is changing, and I’m looking at it and all I have with fresh eyes. So this year I’ve finally decided to cull those 25 years of decorations into how I see myself now. So it was OUT with all the tacky cheaper decor, a paring down in the number that I display and a more natural approach. Miss 19 actually noticed and said it looks more modern 😳, not bad for a traditional theme ! Oooh.. and I always decorate in the last weekend of November so it can be enjoyed longer.
This year I’m leaning towards exposing a lot more greenery. I’ve removed all the decorations that hide the front door wreath and added a simple bow. I’ve selected primarily gold, red and natural ornaments to my 23 yo green tree. All the white decor you’ll see in a table setting below has been bagged and saved for another year. I’ve culled some cheaper looking decorations, the tinsel and some corny cushions. Every time I put a decoration up, I’m asking is this still who I am? and who I want to be,? So a lot has been donated. I have more changes I’d like to make to existing garlands, but have decided to take the pressure off myself and leave that until I take them down. My Holiday SIGNATURE STYLE is a simpler one….
Which goes for table settings too! Although I get out of it this year, with 4 sister-in-laws we tend to share it around. Plus, I started hosting Christmas in July, which excuses me most Decembers. Although, I really don’t mind. I actually love it! I think the greatest pressure is having a place for everyone to sit. I’m lucky my table sits 14 comfortably before I extend it with trestles at either end. So that’s not a problem. And since I’m a collector, I have enough crockery, cutlery and glassware (it’s going to be really hard to cull this!) But I do find having a simple white dinner set allows you alternate it with any other setting to increase the number. And I mix up the glasses and cutlery this way too. When I do host though, table setting always starts about 5 days before any event. And a tip for any size table, especially large ones, buying fabric my the metre is the most cost efficient way of creating a tablecloth. Most of mine are made this way, even the white damask. Then once this choice is decided, the crockery is selected, then napkins, and finally the day before, fresh flowers are bought and displayed. I prefer low posies and find old jam jars the best vases for this. Although I did use my collection of small ginger jars one year.
Now…. WHAT TO WEAR 🤔 Last year’s HOLIDAY STYLE blog shared many an option from the extravagant to the not so dressy events. I think in hindsight the most important thing in what you do choose to wear to any of the celebrations you may have, is to feel comfortable and appropriately dressed.
My tips for that are:
1. Establish a “go to” outfit for various occasions. It takes the wondering out of “what to wear”! You may have regular events you attend at this time of the year. I don’t, but I already have a couple of dresses, shoes and accessories ready for anything from Summer Cocktails to Wedding to Fancy New Years Eve Party 😂 I have had them for a while now and they’ve been worn quite a few times…and now they are clean and ready for the next outing . I love that! And the teal silk is still available here. And I have passed that stage where I care anymore if people have seen it before, it’s how I feel in what I wear that counts!
2. In fact, I love the idea of wearing something you’ve road tested or worn before. I’m all about comfort. This is especially important for shoes! It allows you to feel completely at ease. And believe it or not, the shoes above are actually comfortable! ( Although I usually keep a pair of sneakers on hand to change into if dancing is involved 😉) Like the ones below. I’m thinking of wearing one of the three outfits below on Christmas Day. It’s always a daytime casual affair with the family, and there’s always too much running around for anything else! So sneakers or sandals are a great option here in Australia. Number 2 is the current favourite (which is why I’ve repeated the photo 😉), but what I’ll decide to go with on the day is weather dependent..
3. Go with something relatively loose fitting around the tummy, and if belted, one that has an elastic waistband or room to adjust. All the dresses you can see above are like this. It allows me to enjoy myself without feeling restricted in anyway. I bloat quite easily, which is why I prefer dresses over seperates.
4. Throw away the idea of having to wear something new! But if you do decide to, choose wisely. If your budget is lean, and let’s face it, that’s what we are hearing worldwide, why not consider secondhand? You know how I love a bit of that 😍 And if your budget is wide open, why not rewear one of the many garments you have, and think about donating what you would usually spend to a charity of your choice. It is the season of giving after all 😉
5. Make what you wear mean something. Personally, I will also try and wear my “signature jewels”…these are pieces that have either been handed down to me, or given to me by someone that I love. I find it nice to have them close at any time, but especially at this time of the year when I’m thinking more and more about loved ones that have now passed over. Trust me, when you dress like this, you will always feel good!
Now, let’s look at WHAT TO BRING OR MAKE to holiday occasions. I’ll leave the wine selection to you as I don’t drink…in fact, it’s now been 20 years since my last 😳. Although I will say, my husband has sourced a “house wine”, not because he commissioned it, but because it coincidentally is also the name of our home ! (Keep this idea/tip in mind when sourcing a gift someone else…or print off a home made label and stick it on an existing bottle).
Alternatively, it’s never too late to establish a SIGNATURE HOLIDAY DISH! You may not know this about me, as the blog is usually full of clothing ideas, but I really love to cook! In fact, my gorgeous late Mother-in-law even mentioned how good I was at it in her 80th Birthday Speech 🙏🏻 and I fully catered my own Dad’s 80th Birthday Lunch for 20 at my house pre Covid. I love entertaining! (More on tables settings in a moment). Now, I use to be “the one that bakes”, and my repertoire of fancy cakes is endless. I love a layered cake 😉 My addiction to making them started when I had children, and to this day, I still make them every year for them. In fact, when Miss 23 (the Coeliac Vegan) turned 23 on Dec 1, I made her a vegan gluten free layered ice cream cake! Another Signature Moment 😉 And without fail, I will make either mine pies or a fruit cake at Christmas, and this year it’s not layered but it is 10 cm high!
Over the last 9 years I’m happy to say I’ve ditched the signature sugar dish (except on birthdays and holidays 😋) and am now always asked to bring one, two or three of my mouth watering SALADS 🙏🏻. In fact, during one pre-Christmas supermarket visit, an inquisitive shopper looked in my trolley and asked me if I was feeding rabbits…to which I replied, No! Vegans 😂 yup! It’s my own daughter who really inspired me to make the switch. And last Christmas I found these three salads in my local free Woolworths Magazine and made them!
In the video of last Christmas on the deck, I reused some casual Pottery Barn plates, my Mother-in law’s napkins, wedding crystal, market found cutlery and Xmas decorations I selected from my 25 yo collection. I think that if you hold onto what you love, you can always make it work in different ways. The recipes for the salads are here:
And yes, my sister-in-law has already asked me to bring 3 salads to Christmas this year! Woohoo! It’s my new Signature! I’m currently searching for more inspiration and once again my free local Woolworths Magazine has this:
Life is full of moments you can leave your signature style on, and the holidays is one, but it doesn’t have to be the only one! And while I feel so lucky to have left my SS in print on this blog I encourage you to stamp yours on anything and in anyway that makes YOU feel good. I’ll continue to do so over on INSTAGRAM, where instead of writing, I’ll attempt to share a once a month Vlog (instead of Blog) on a topic that seems relevant to my own SIGNATURE STYLE. So if you fancy listening to what my thoughts are, you can follow and join me on IG at @sarahlondonstyle .