Most people have guests stopping over for a few nights around the festive period. Whether you have an en-suite or a main bathroom, if you have been thinking of updating it for a while now, it is probably overdue an update before your guests arrive. Sometimes a good clean, a lick of paint and colour co-ordinated lotion and potion bottles can spruce up the whole room. Give it a go and see. However, if you have panels falling away from your bath, or the shower tray is broken, or your tiles are really, really dated, you know you need a new bathroom. Why not just get it done in time for Christmas?
A new bathroom with a fixed shower screen, a stone shower tray (which will not crack) and minimalistic, easy-clean sanitaryware will be almost heavenly to use around Christmas time; you can bathe the dog without worrying about scrubbing at mud stains for hours afterwards; the kids can splash as much water as they like without making your new Karndean floor slippery; and of course, at the end of a long day, you can have a relaxing soak in a lovely, new, clean bathroom.
You may be surprised to hear that around 75% of our customers during their kitchen design process will specifically mention Christmas as a reason for a certain feature, be it a bigger oven, more worktop space, or room for a large dining room table. It is only one day a year, but it is so important to us all that it is somewhere at the back of our minds when planning a kitchen, regardless of when exactly we are planning it.
If you’re starting to panic about oven space, worktop space, or room to sit everyone down for the biggest meal of the year, maybe it could be time to redesign your kitchen. We’re not saying you should plan your entire kitchen around Christmas, but it will definitely help if you redesign it with the big day in mind.
This is the perfect time to plant indoor bulbs to ensure they provide a fabulous display on the big day.
The golden rule is to make sure you get hold of ‘prepared’ or ‘treated’ bulbs which have been primed to flower quickly once you bring them inside and pot them up. You can force them yourself but that means starting in August/September and involves a lot more preparation.
- Hyacinths are lovely as indoor flowers. Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Blue Pearl’ is a rich, deep purple and white flowered, Hyacinthus orientalis ‘White Pearl’ is simply elegant.
- Narcissus ‘Paper White’ is the best indoor daffodil to grow for Christmas, it’s pure white and strongly scented.
- Amaryllis are very traditional for Christmas but look for a white one like, Hippeastrum ‘Christmas Gift’, which is a bit different from the usual bright red or striped ones.
CHOOSE A CONTAINER
You can use practically anything to plant the bulbs in, as long as it has drainage holes. Traditional terracotta pots always look lovely but there are really stylish zinc and galvanized steel pots and troughs available.
PREP THE SOIL
Use something quite heavy to plant the bulbs in. The peat that ready-potted hyacinths come in is often too light to hold the heavy flower up – especially when it gets a bit dry. Try a mix of half garden soil and half potting compost, this will be sturdy enough to hold up even the heaviest amaryllis stems.
Fill your container with the soil and compost mixture and place the bulbs so that their tips will just reach below the soil surface. Keep it all moist but not too wet, make sure the water is draining away properly.
INCLUDE A TOP DRESSING
Adding a layer of moss to cover the soil is an attractive way to dress the top of the pot. Look out for bags of moss in garden centres, or scout some out in a shady spot in the garden.
Hyacinth bulbs in particular can be irritating to the skin, so if you’re handling them it’s worth wearing gloves and tuck your sleeves into the gloves to protect your wrists.