Gimme Five! 2015 Christmas ads

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Christmas has officially begun – John Lewis has released it’s latest Christmas ad!

As expected, it’s a tear jerker. It was produced in conjunction with Age UK and features a lonely old man on the moon and a little girl spying him through a telescope from earth… a story accompanied by a beautiful rendition of Oasis’ Half the World Away performed by Aurora.

We’ve made a playlist of our 5 favourite new 2015 Christmas ads… enjoy!

Christmas Countdown: John Lewis

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Selection of Christmas items from John Lewis

John Lewis has done it again – they’ve come up with yet another tear-jerker of a Christmas ad – it’s my favourite once more this year! They have a HUGE array of Christmas bits & bobs – it was hard to chose our favourites – but here’s what we’ve narrowed it down to…

  1. Tree Hessian-effect gift bag, large: £3.50
  2. Alessi nativity Christmas baubles, set of 5: £39.20
  3. Figgy pudding double oven glove: £15
  4. Carol singer tea-light lantern: £20
  5. Caspari holly sheep napkins, pack of 20: £3.75
  6. Kids Company happy Christmas tree bag: £8
  7. House by John Lewis ball in glass bauble, yellow: £4

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John Lewis Hamper

Selection of John Lewis Christmas hamper items

Christmas officially arrived chez H is for Home on the day this John Lewis hamper was delivered. It was full of the wonderful food & drink goodies that you buy yourself & loved ones as a festive treat! It seemed a bit naughty trying things in November, but it was all in the interest of research you’ll understand!

tall bottles of infused olive oils from a John Lewis Christmas hamper

We love dipping crusty fresh bread into good quality olive oil & balsamic vinegar. It makes a perfect relaxed pre-dinner snack or starter. These Italian virgin olive oils by Il Boschetto are infused with basil or chilli which will add an exciting twist to the dipping experience. They’re perfect for salad dressings and pasta sauces too.

chutney set from a John Lewis Christmas hamper

One of the little joys of Christmas is that you often have a table of goodies that you can grab something from each time you pass! The cheeseboard is probably our favourite – and these tangy Paxton & Whitefield chutneys give the flavours an extra lift. Really good with cold meats & pork pies as well.

mini mince pies from a John Lewis Christmas hamper

A Christmas hamper wouldn’t be complete without a mince pie. These cute little pies from Cottage Delight have a crunchy almond topping and are really scrummy.

jars of loose teas from a John Lewis Christmas hamper

There are lots of options with which to wash down the mince pies and a nice cup of tea is certainly one. It’s a mug of strong Yorkshire Tea throughout most of the year, but something a little more unusual or delicate for the festive period maybe. These teas from The Lawn fit the bill. One each of a classic English Breakfast Tea and a Rose Garden Fruit Tea with hibiscus, lemon grass, rosebuds & orange flowers.

spiced orange Edinburgh gin from a John Lewis Christmas hamper

Moving onto the strong stuff! This Spiced Orange Edinburgh Gin produced by the Spencerfield Spirit Co is quite exciting. We’re looking forward to trying this – the orange, cinnamon & spice flavours are perfect for Christmas. We think it’s going to be very drinkable on its own – served over ice, sipped & savoured. It will also be perfect mixed with soda for a longer, more refreshing drink. A splash with Champagne or Cava is also going to be delicious.

mulled wine kit from a John Lewis Christmas hamper

The classic mulled wine provides another chance to savour those festive season spices. These mulled wine pouches – again from Cottage Delight Speciality Foods – contain cassia, orange peel, allspice berries and cloves. You just heat a bottle of red wine with one of the pouches for delicious warming mulled wine – and another perfect drink to accompany those mince pies!

Port from a John Lewis Christmas hamper

We always treat ourselves to a bottle of port at Christmas – it’s one of our much-anticipated little indulgences. Snow outside, a winter walk, real fire, glass of port. Life doesn’t get much better than that! We gave it a taste test whilst photographing. It has passed quality control and has been put away until signs of the first snow.

sweets from a John Lewis Christmas hamper

There were sweets & chocolate too of course. We love the chocolate hippo packaging by Baro – and these cute little penguin cookies by Image are charming as well.

sweets from a John Lewis Christmas hamper

Some slightly more grown up confectionery too – chocolate covered pretzels by Hope & greenwood & Holdsworth’s Turkish Delight. Perfect, indulgent Christmas treats.

chocolate bar from a John Lewis Christmas hamper

Items can be bought individually so perfect choose your own selection of goodies – or hampers can be ordered ready made up. You can always rely on John Lewis for a bit of quality – and there’s lovely packaging throughout the range of hamper items –  important when it comes to treats or gifts. So it’s an early Merry Christmas wish from John Lewis and the folks here at H is for Home.

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Aqua desk lamp

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retro John Lewis goose neck aqua desk lamp with selection of vintage items

In our last post we highlighted some ‘vintage industrial’ pieces we’d bought at auction. If you’re trying to get that kind of look, then this retro aqua desk lamp is ideal. It’s retailed by John Lewis and having lived with it for a week or so now, we can highly recommend it.

detailed view of retro John Lewis goose neck aqua desk lamp showing old fashioned woven flex

For starters it looks great. Then, just as importantly, it functions well. The build quality is excellent – a really solid feel with good weight to it. The arm & fittings are a burnished, brass-like metal, the shade & base a very on-trend aqua blue. We also like the vintage-look, woven cord wiring.

retro John Lewis goose neck aqua desk lamp with selection of vintage items

The lamp head is adjustable and it’s perfect for all kinds of settings or uses – whether it be the home office, work desk or bedside table.

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Keep your kitchen stylish yet functional

John Lewis kitchen

Whether you’re building a new kitchen or looking to update and old one, settling on a design can be a challenge for many home-owners. As a potential space for entertaining, you want your kitchen to be stylish and comfortable, but you also want it to be functional when creating meals for your family. Don’t sacrifice style for functionality or vice versa. Create your dream kitchen by following these insider tips:

1) Cover your walls in cabinets

retro kitchen storage designed by Wayne Hemingway and available at John Lewis

Your kitchen’s number one most important feature is its cabinets – no appliance or piece of kitchen equipment can compete with them. That’s because in order to keep your kitchen looking organised and stylish, you need a place to store all of the pots, pans, utensils, gadgets and dry goods you’ve accumulated to keep your kitchen running smoothly and your family fed. As well as being practical, cabinets are a good way to hide your refrigerator, freezer, tumbler dryer, and other appliances so that they blend more seamlessly with your kitchen’s overall design. What’s trending in 2013 is to mix cabinet colours – a cream or grey shade for the upper cabinetry and darker woods for the lower cabinetry.

2) Add an island

modern kitchen with large, oval kitchen island

A kitchen island provides you with two very important features: more counter-top and cabinet space. Unlike other counter-top areas, an island provides you with uninterrupted space where you can do your mixing, chopping, beating, grating, etc. when preparing a meal. You can design the cabinetry portion of the island to suit your individual needs, adding a sink, overhead lighting or trash compost if it will be your main prep area, or bar stools and chairs if the island will function more as a table and informal space for socialising. Keep in mind that turned legs can give your island the look of furniture, and a bold colour choice can help punch up the kitchen’s overall design. If you’re short on funds or space, a wheel-based butcher’s trolley provides a similar function to an island for a lot less money, and can give your kitchen a nice contemporary feel.

3) Get creative with the storage

butcher's trolley on castors with wicker basket storage, drawers, under shelf and horizontal metal bar for hanging utensils or tea towel

Not everything needs to be hidden away in cupboards and drawers in order for your kitchen to look stylish and uncluttered. If you’ve got an exposed wall above your stove or sink, consider adding some hung storage to give your kitchen a more homey and inviting ambience. Instead of buying a pot to store your kitchen utensils, add a rack above your stove where you can hang your spoons, mixers, and spatulas upside down to free up some counter space and provide you with easy access to them while you cook. Likewise, pots and pans can be hung above your kitchen island to help save space, and the family wine rack can be incorporated right into the design of your new kitchen island. Rather than keeping your kitchen items shut behind dark panels, you may choose instead to add a glass window to some of your cabinetry to give your kitchen a more open feel. These creative storage ideas look especially great on a contemporary or country kitchen.

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