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    > Festive Inspiration for the Holidays with ACHICA

    Festive Inspiration for the Holidays with ACHICA

    Festive holidays

    Oh baby, it’s cold outside and it’s so cold it might snow any day now. It’s OK though because there’s only 24 sleepy nights before the biggest night of the year (according to my girls.) Thanks to a blogger breakfast event organized by online luxury retailer ACHICA, I was lucky to jump on the holiday bandwagon early on, sipping breakfast tea and munching on tiny croissants. If you don’t know ACHICA (I didn’t), it’s a members-only online retailer that offers deals for big brands at deep discounts. I signed up (it’s free) and I’m now looking to do my Christmas shopping with them. Right now Achica has a presence in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Poland but not in the US. There were some cool ideas at this holiday breakfast that I’d like to share.

    Photo gallery – click to enlarge:

    Holiday Wreaths & Decorations

    Did you know that the first tinsels were sheets of silver alloy hammered until paper thin and cut into narrow strips in the early 1600s? This I learned from one of the vendors at the event, Festive Productions. That company is the only UK-based company that manufactures holiday decorations and tinsel for the likes of  House of Fraser (a Macy’s type department store in the UK) or Tesco. Started in Wales in a villages that goes by the unpronounceable name of Cwmbran, Festive Productions offers a product catalog as big as a phonebook. It’s fair enough to say that they cater to a large range of tastes – the pure PVC and the Scandinavian Christmas crowd.

    Since tinsel is traditionally made out of PVC, I discussed with them the future of eco-friendly tinsel and apparently, they’re working on it. It’s not there yet but soon. After that I picked from a gorgeous selection of decorations and tied them to a wreath to make my own holiday wreath. It’s now in my house but I’m plotting to hang it outside if I find a good nail.

    Dried Winter Fruit Garland

    I just love the idea that you can string dried winter fruit and spices into a festive garland or wreath for your house. Not only does it smell delicious – ah, citrus and cinnamon smells – but it adds a wonderful “winter nature” touch to the home. Provided by Konesar, the dried slices of oranges, lime and apple, the cinnamon sticks and dried baby pumpkins were all pre-drilled with holes and home-decoration grade (meaning, unsafe to eat but very durable). We had tons of fun stringing the dried fruit and with the help of Konesar’s Malathi Armitt, finding patterns to repeat over the length of our thread. Look for the picture where I string a whole dried orange in the photo gallery – that’s how it’s done!

    Holiday Cards

    Obviously there’s no holidays without cards and Five Dollar Shake offered bloggers to make their own card with glitter reindeer, tiny crystals and ribbon bows. While making my silver reindeer card for my girls, I browsed their catalog and absolutely fell in love with their vintage black & white photograph cards adorned with color crystals. The contrast was awesome.

    Other ideas

    As we left the event, we received a fantastic goodie bag with:

    • A folding umbrella with an impressionist painting design by Galleria  (UK website, US website) – perfect replacement for my recently-broken umbrella
    • A lovely bird-design mug by PiP Studio – for elegant tea time
    • A diffuser and candle by The Country Candle Company – my brother’s already asked for the same one for his home
    • A printed silk scarf by The Quintessential – stolen and appropriated by my 7-year old as soon as I got home because she loves soft things and wears it after bathtime around her neck
    • A jar of licorice sweets by Chorley & Baker – for the licorice lovers out there

    I realize some of these products might not be available in the US or other parts of the world but I hope this list can inspire you to find gift ideas for the season.

    Happy holidays to all!

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