Mistle-toes

Babies. We love them. We want to squish them. We usually can’t wait to give them back to their parents.

Christmas is a time when the little ones take centre stage, and here at Pines & Needles we LOVE to encourage the cuteness!

First Christmases are such a big deal. They’re also a honeypot for the new parent who wants to buy anything and everything to celebrate – from baubles and gift bags to rompers and socks, baby’s first Christmas will never be forgotten.

We all know too well that babies won’t remember the day, but as parents we love to treat our pride and joy to a first Christmas that the family will always remember.

Christmas is so magical, and as adults we love to remind ourselves about the excitement we used to feel as a child, although here at Pines and Needles we’re always excited about Christmas!

We’ve bottled a little bit of that excitement and we’re sharing it with you in the form of some super advice on making the big day a success!

THE OUTFIT

Realistically, it’s probably already hanging up in their wardrobe, crying out to be worn! There’s nothing like a beautiful dress or a cute suit on the big day, but remember a change of outfit will probably be needed – all the more reason to buy another one!

TRADITIONS

Having children around will make you feel so much more nostalgic. Always remember family is family, arguments will happen, but at the end of the evening you’ll all be laughing at Auntie Jo’s inability to handle her alcohol!

PRESENTS

In October you’ll promise that you won’t spend any of your hard earned money on the little one. After all, they can’t even open the presents without A LOT of help. By November you’ll have already amassed enough goodies to fill Santa’s grotto, so maybe just live with it. You may not have any money to spend on anyone else, or each other, but just look at that chubby face in its reindeer hat!

TREE

Christmas trees are our speciality, of course. But with little people roaming around where you put the tree is always going to be a tricky choice. From not wanting them to pull it down, to where in fact you have room due to the large volume of baby ‘stuff’ that inevitably fills up the house, it’s a difficult decision to make. We can help. Putting your tree somewhere you can always see it is a great idea, it means that if your little one crawls anywhere near it you’ll be there to make sure it doesn’t fall.  We advise that you always keep your tree on the floor for stability, but if you don’t have enough room you can always go for something smaller. Remember, it doesn’t have to fit the whole room to be beautiful!

 

Our Stores are Popping Up Soon!

With the release of the John Lewis advert and the Starbucks ‘red cups’ today, we thought it was a great time to let you know that our stores are on the way!

Just for good measure, incase you haven’t seen it – meet Buster the Boxer!

Moving on, (and please forgive the analogy) Christmas can feel a little bit like Brexit. Or after this week, the dreaded President Elect Trump, but we’re keeping it festive and not talking about that! On one side you have people who are completely opposed to the idea of Christmas before the thick of December, while on the other you have faithful fans of the festivities who think Christmas can’t come soon enough. Even in November.

Those who shudder are ridiculed as Scrooges, those who embrace Christmas are considered loons. No one wins. Hence Brexit.

We like to think our Pop Up Stores – 30 of them across London and the South East – give people the chance to take Christmas at their own pace. Our log cabins, many situated in the Royal parks, are a yuletide refuge. You may not want to buy your trees just yet (unless you’re tasked with sorting the office Christmas party) but we’ve got all manner of goodies on offer to get you in the festive spirit.

Lights, decorations, table runners, gift wrap – we’ve got the lot.

So make sure you pay us a visit, wherever you are. It’s great fun for all the family and will get you away from the hustle and bustle of the High Street. We’d all vote for that!

 

Start the festive season with a bang!

Bonfire night starts the countdown to Christmas, and we couldn’t be more excited! So we’ve rounded up our favourite spots to catch some beautiful fireworks and start the festive season with a bang!

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NORTH LONDON

Alexandra Place – Friday 4th November

Harrow – Saturday 5th November

Finchley – Saturday 5th November

SOUTH LONDON

Battersea – Saturday 5th November

Southwalk – Saturday 5th November

EAST LONDON

Newham – Saturday 5th November

Guy Fawkes at the Royal Gunpowder Mills – Sunday 6th November

Victoria Park – GreatFire of London Fireworks – Sunday 6th November

WEST LONDON

Richmond – Sunday 6th November

Bonfire Night @ The Roof Gardens – Saturday 5th November

THE REST OF THE UK!

Edinburgh – Saturday 5th November

Sparks in the Park, Cardiff – Saturday 5th November

Heaton Park, Manchester – Saturday 5th November

Legoland – Saturday 5th November

Light up your November!

Christmas lights are the soul of the festive season. From the Oxford Street turn on to local lights they symbolise the start of Christmas for many people. Here at Pines & Needles we provide the trees for a few of the best Christmas Lights in the UK, including Kew Gardens! Looking for somewhere new to see lights this year? Try these London based places, for the ultimate magical evening!

Regent Street – 17th November

Oxford Street – Sunday 6th November

Covent Garden – Tuesday 15th november

The Strand – 10th November

Winter Lights @ Kew – December 6th

Christmas @ KEW – 23rd November

Carnaby Street – 10th November

‘Tis the season to be married

It’s not that we’re turning our noses up at a summer wedding, after all there’s nothing more enjoyable than sipping a cup of Pimm’s on the lawn as the sun beats down. It’s just that if you’re looking for true romance, nothing beats a winter wedding with faux fur stolls, blanket-on-the-knee carriage rides and crimson roses stealing the show.

From little Christmas touches through to a fully fledged festive theme there’s a Christmas to suit every couple.

Every year we create a host of decoration themes that fit in with both the hottest trends of the year and the classic themes of the past, either of which would translate perfectly into your wedding plans. This year’s hotties range anywhere from Highland Fling right across to Nordic Enchantment, enabling you to find a colour palette that suits your big day.

Here at Pines and Needles we can even provide you with a Christmas tree at any time of year, just in case you’re planning your Christmas wedding in the middle of July (no judgements here, we start planning as soon as we’re back in the office in January!).

There are so many other ways to bring Christmas into your nuptials without taking it all the way to Lapland, so we’ve come up with some top tips to ensure you’re Wedding is perfect.

Decorations

Christmas decorations are a great way to incorporate the magic into your special day! Create a theme, or enlist the help of one of ours. You don’t want your wedding to end up as a mash up of blue and white Jack Frost thrown together with traditional red and gold!

Christmas Decorations Tree Delivery

This year, we highly recommend our Highland Fling selection. There’s just something about mixing Christmas crimson with tartan and heritage that makes the Scottish theme perfect for weddings.

Crackers

The perfect table entertainment for little ones, and big ones! Everything from Tom Smith’s luxury crackers to Robin Reed’s Champagne Frost will keep your guests entertained from wedding breakfast to midnight dancing!

Christmas Tree

A tree decorated in your colour scheme is a fabulous addition to your wedding decor and can transform any room into a Christmas hideaway in an instant!

Decorated Christmas Tree Delivery

A Nordmann Fir is the perfect indoor tree, especially for those venues that are anti-needles! They are full and fabulous and will last for weeks after the wedding as a perfect reminder of your big day!

A Norway Spruce is the epitome of Christmas, with a scent to match! The needles will shed quicker, making it the perfect tree if you’re leaving it behind. They also work really well outside!

Christmas Cocktails

 

Never mind your usual Prosecco or Mojito, break the boundaries and try a White Christmas cocktail! The change in tradition will leave a part of the wedding that will always be remembered, and the guests will be drinking them right up to the big day (Christmas Day that is!)

Planning a Christmas Wedding would be a dream to us at Pines & Needles. We love everything about Christmas (obviously) and combining the decorations, the food and the sprit alongside that of a wedding is nothing short of perfection. Check out our Pinterest board for more ideas!

Catwalk Style for your Tree

The biggest lesson we learnt from fashion week this year, aside from the fabulous trends, was the instant pick up of these on the high street. It was an almost instantaneous reaction, and the biggest S/S17 trends turned into street-style straight away.

This is something we’re used to in the Pines and Needles offices. Everyone from our delivery drivers to our decoration team and tree managers in Scotland have to work and react in an instant, be it decorating an on-trend tree, picking the perfect time to chop your fir down or even the perfect time to deliver it to your door – we’re at the cutting edge and time is never on our side.

Our designers and the army of experts we work with all answer to a similar timeline to those involved in London Fashion Week. Christmas trends are just as big in our industry as the change of seasons is, however we only have one month a year to display all of our hard work. We started planning Christmas 2016 back in February!!

Mixing Christmas with fashion is the ideal blend, the opulence and glamour creates the perfect crossover. With seasoned professionals like Gisela Graham on board, we make sure your tree will always look runway ready.

Fashion week once again bought a few new trends and a few adaptions to old ones. It was only natural that at Pines and Needles we’re one step ahead of the game with our decorations, and, of course, they fit perfectly with the trends displayed in London last week.

Novelty Factor

christmas decorations classic

Tea-light holder £24.95 | Elf Tea-light £12.95 | Gold Candle£3.50

Cut it Out

christmas decorations hearts

Crystal Heart £3.99 | Tom Smith crackers £65 | Hearts £12.95

Texture

Christmas decorations peacock

Peacock Feather Bauble £3.95 | Peacock Feather Wreath £49.95  

Micro Florals 

Christmas decorations winter

Rose Bauble £3.50 | Winter crackers £19.95 | White Roses £14.95

Picking a trend for your house/office/room is the most exciting thing! This year, one of our favourites is Royal Peacock. This theme combines a few of our favourite Fashion Week trends. like ‘cut outs’ and ‘textures’ as well as the novelty factor of course! Royal Peacock means that you will stand out from the crowd, with the beautiful rich berry tones and fabulous teals, it’s perfect for a home that demands something deliciously different and totally on trend.

If you’re after something a little bit more classic, like your old trusty Mulberry handbag, you’ll be pleased to know  our ‘Santa’s coming’ selection fulfils just that need. Teaming bright colours, popular Christmas characters and good old fashioned Christmas cheer this theme is perfect for those who love following trends, but also appreciate classic style.

From matt colours to glitter finishes, here at Pines and Needles we have everything you need for your perfect Christmas. Be it family orientated and perfectly messy, or bang on trend and beautifully stylish. We cater for everyone’s dream Christmas.

August Bank Holiday

It all depends on which camp you sit in – do you approach the last and longest weekend of August with sadness because of September’s back-to-work vibe, or do you embrace it knowing that the kids who’ve been under your feet for the best part of seven weeks will soon return to school?

Whatever you’re feeling, sitting at home is not an option. Bank Holiday Weekends are rare and precious treats and there’s all manner of things to do up and down the country, whether you’re single, married, with kids or retired.

British bank holidays are public holidays and have been recognised since 1871. The name Bank Holiday comes from the time when banks were shut and so no trading could take place. For the millennials amongst you, there wasn’t even internet banking then!

And while there are eight permanent bank and public holidays in England, Wales and Scotland, we should all be envious of Northern Ireland which treats their workers to 10.

So what to do? If uniform shopping isn’t on your radar, and nor should it be, here’s a quick guide to some Bank Holiday fun.

TimeOut, as ever, should be your first port of call for London happenings. It’s guide – http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/top-10-things-to-do-this-august-bank-holiday – is a whistle-stop tour of the capital, packed with treats for everyone and every budget.

From the Notting Hill Carnival to the Southbank Festival of Love, they’ve got it covered.

Of course, if you’re outside the Big Smoke, then why not show your support at the Bog Snorkelling Championships in Wales (http://www.green-events.co.uk/events.html?page=2&id=57) or head across to the North West and take your choice between Manchester Pride’s Big Weekend or the Bolton Food and Drink Festival (http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/august-bank-holiday-2016-manchester-11757023).
So it doesn’t matter whether you’re celebrating or commiserating, make this a Bank Holiday to remember!

Wimbledon Food Festival

Eat, drink, sleep, repeat; eat, drink, sleep, repeat…

Christmas has a funny habit of enlarging the waistband, with many of us unable to walk four paces without stopping to nibble on a bit of cheese, or plunder a pork pie, or wash breakfast down with a champagne cocktail.

The invites flood in, the buffets get bigger and the temptation to ‘make yourself comfy’ can mean December’s a write off, pretty much from day one.

But while we’ve all had enough by January the 1st, food and drink is so central to the whole festivities that come August and we’re already salivating at the prospect of mum’s Christmas pud.

One way to get yourselves in the foodie mindset is to check out the fabulous Wimbledon Park Food Festival which runs from August 27 to 29.

There’ll be crepes, wood-fired pizzas, gourmet burgers and barbecues, chutneys, jams, cakes and fudge, cheese, beers, cider and prosecco – a simply phenomenal rainbow of produce from some of the best producers in the country.

Wimbledon Park is like a second home to us and hosts one of our brilliant Pop Up store locations each year. The park is one of the most adored in London and has acres of space for little ones to roam, and big ones for that matter, plus one of the biggest lakes in south London.

While the countdown to Christmas has yet to begin in earnest, there’s something wonderful about gathering ideas for how to wow your guests when the festivities begin.

 

Prosecco here we come!

http://www.fantasticbritishfoodfestivals.com/wimbledon-park-food-festival.html

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https://www.facebook.com/fantasticbritishfoodfests

#GiftATree

Christmas is all about giving, right? But Christmas can also be about stress – what to cook, what to wear, what to buy…

Here at Pines and Needles we’re always on the lookout for ways to make your lives easier at arguably the most frantic time of the year. If we can remove even one of those worry lines that tend to amass on Christmas Eve then we’ll consider it a job done.

That’s why we’ve introduced a new service where you can gift a tree to someone else – a sibling, a friend, a colleague, a business, or a neighbour who you think really needs it. It’s like sending flowers but A MILLION TIMES BETTER.

Just think how amazing it would be to get a giant package landing on your doorstep, sent from a well-wishing friend or family member, which then is the centrepiece of your entire Christmas celebrations.

No-one’s going to turn their nose up at a Christmas tree, or stick it in the loft and re-gift it next year, or bring it out for the annual mother-in-law visit and then put it away again. They’re going to whoop with delight, unpack all the decorations immediately and get creative. They’re going to get all teary-eyed as they realise that you’ve been thinking of them at Christmas time and it will be the one gift that truly sums up the meaning at this time of year.

It ticks so many boxes – eco-friendly, family-friendly, original – so why not play at being Santa this year and gift a tree to your nearest and dearest.

There are two ways you can gift a tree: simply forward one of our E-Vouchers to the recipient, or set up the surprise delivery yourself. Whatever you choose, we will guide you through the process so it has maximum impact.

Olympics

It feels like we’ve already been subjected to a summer of sport, yet the biggest event is about to begin – the Olympic Games.

Despite fears over the Zika virus, thousands of athletes will descend on Rio de Janeiro for a festival of fitness between August 5th and 21st.

One event which sadly won’t be on the big stage is arguably the most exciting of all – Christmas tree throwing!

Yes, it’s a sport, and countries all over the world have their own championships to decide who is the most fearless fir flinger of all.

The Germans are the pioneers when it comes to Christmas tree throwing. In 2016, probably the most experienced Christmas tree thrower, Frank Schwender, will have the chance to win the tournament for the unprecedented 4th year in a row. Last year, he took the crown with a total distance of 22.45m.

Each thrower carries his own tree and there are three different throwing categories: ‘Hammerwurf’(hammer-style), ‘Weitwurf’ (javelin-style) and ‘Hochwurf’ (highjump-style).

After all three challenges are taken, each thrower’s distances are added up to find out the the winner. At the end of the tournament, a big bonfire is built out of the Christmas trees.

The Irish follow hot on the heels of the Germans and last year held their fourth annual championship in Ennis with nearly 250 participants.  The UK Christmas tree throwers seem to be the rookies in this battle with only one championship so far, which took place in Keele and was won by ex-marine Owen Davies with a combined score of 15,4m.

But you never know. Come Tokyo in 2020, we could see an altogether different sport grab the public imagination. And if Rio’s plan to plant 24 million trees to offset carbon emissions comes true, it could be the most eco-friendly sport out there!