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Forestry Commission – picking that perfect tree and Christmas activities

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So as a follower of my blog you will know I am a firm believer in the great outdoors and a great supporter of the Forestry Commission, I can guarantee over the Christmas holidays we will be visiting Haldon Forest our local site to have some adventures and to walk off the copious amounts of food consumed in the name of fun!

Now choosing your Christmas tree is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the festive season, but other than the size, what are the things to consider when buying your tree?

Well Forestry Commission England have come up with a handy guide to tell you how to pick the best Christmas Tree for you!

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Each tree species can be a little bit different in size, scent and needle retention so it’s difficult to know which one is perfect for you, below is a handy guide on three of the most popular trees:

Norway spruce

The Norway spruce is the traditional Christmas tree – it’s known for:

  • A wonderful shape and an abundance of branches – great for hanging lots of decorations!
  • A lovely ‘Christmassy’ scent that’s perfect at this time of year
  •  Being a little sharp and spikey to touch 

Who does it suit?

With a long lasting scent and a traditional shape, Norway spruce are perfect for those who appreciate the classic look and smell of Christmas.

Tips

It’s best to buy your Norway Spruce nearer to Christmas as it can lose its needles quite quickly once brought indoors. To help your spruce retain its needles for longer, keep it away from the radiator and ensure it’s watered every day.

Nordmann fir

The Nordmann fir is the most popular Christmas tree in Europe – it’s known for:

  • Having soft foliage and an even shape – making it a joy to decorate!
  • Glossy, dark green needles that have a whitish/light blue underside
  • Strong branches, which are great for hanging those big glass decorations

Who does it suit?

With its big needles which are lovely and soft, Nordmann fir are perfect for those with young children.

Tips

Our top quality Nordmann fir can be quite a wide tree, so you will need reasonable space to show it off to its best. For a 6ft tall tree allow approximately 5ft space.

Lodgepole pine

The Lodgepole pine looks best in a big space with high ceilings – it’s known for:

  • It’s bushy appearance and luscious long green needles
  • Branches that point upwards
  • That wonderful pine scent
  • It’s great needle retention, which makes it a long lasting tree

Who does it suit?

With the best needle retention of them all, Lodgepole pines are perfect for those who like to decorate their tree and little earlier and don’t want Christmas to end.

Tips

The long needles on Lodgepole pines draw attention to any decorations. More is definitely more with this tree!

Real v’s fake

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Being experts in trees, woodland and sustainable forestry, Forestry Commission England’s real Christmas trees are so good, even Santa has given his stamp of approval. But why buy real?

Real trees use 10 times fewer materials and five times less energy than artificial trees. And they are completely biodegradable.

Forestry Commission England only sell trees that are grown in the UK in a well-managed way and more trees are planted each year than harvested. This year, you can even plant your own!

Every tree sold will come with a free baby sapling, allowing you to plant and grow you own real Christmas tree for the future.

It will also come with a certificate of authenticity to guarantee the trees quality, which will be signed by Santa himself.

There is also so much more to offer than just buying a tree. Many of the Forestry Commission sales centres offer a whole Christmas experience including a Santa’s grotto and a whole range of activities for both little and big kids to get into the festive spirit!

Listed below are details of the Christmas , purchase a 100% Santa approved Christmas tree online or check out top tree tips on keeping your tree fresh and healthy over the festive holidays visit www.forestry.gov.uk/christmas

Listed below are the Christmas tree sale centres throughout England.

Christmas tree sale centres:
Forest
1.       Haldon Forest
2.       Sherwood Pines
3.       Birches Valley, Cannock Chase
4.       Delamere Forest
5.       Moors Valley
6.       Alice Holt
7.       Queen Elizabeth Country Park
8.       New Park
9.       Bedgebury Pinetum
10.     Wendover Woods
11.     Hamsterley Forest
12.     Whinlatter Forest
13.     Rothbury Forest
14.     Dalby Forest
15.     Guisborough Forest

There’s loads going on at sites across the country this December including
Christmas tree sales at selected sites, self-led trails, selfie stations and
some sites even have Christmas markets and Santa’s grottos.  Please check here
to see what’s on offer locally:

http://www.forestry.gov.uk/christmas (tree sales sites)
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/christmas-trails (self-led trails sites)
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/BEEH-AEEH6C (Christmas craft ideas)

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So visit one of your local Forestry Commission sites, enjoy the great outdoors, find your perfect tree and have fun.

#Weloveforests

 

 

 

 

 

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Snapfish – Create something beautiful for Christmas

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Here I am again talking about finding something that little bit different to give as a Christmas present and you cannot make anything more personal than using your lovely photos and memories to give as gorgeous bespoke Christmas gifts to friends and family.

I have worked with Snapfish previously and the choices for truly meaningful gifts gives you the option to create something perfect and unexpected.

So from calendars (I have a tradition of giving my parents a calendar with different photos of H every Christmas) through to cushions, mugs, ornaments, photo canvases, personalised phone cases, magnets, keyrings the list goes on and on, you really will find something that you like.

I created a gorgeous photo panel, it is so unusual and means so much to me as it is a photo of H when I was personally going through a difficult time and a day out that we had in the summer which lifted my spirits no end, it reminds me so much of the joy of having a child and how simple things can mean the most to people.

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Now enough of me, have you thought about making personalised Christmas cards?  This seems to be something that is becoming a bit of a trend now, we would have loved to have done some this year but needed all members of the family to be about to do it otherwise it would have looked a little odd so it is definitely something we will plan next year.

Snapfish have come up with a handy guide on how to shoot the perfect or maybe not so perfect personalised Christmas card.

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8 Creative Tips to Shoot the Perfect Christmas Family Photo

1) Get an extra pair of hands. Rounding up the troops for a family shoot is tricky enough without the added stress of positioning the camera, setting the timer and then sprinting back into position. Grab a friend or neighbour to play director, you can always return the favour to spread some Christmas cheer!

2) Lighting, crucial to any photoshoot, it’s the trickiest of elements to get right. Natural light is your best friend, so if you’re indoor, set up near a window to take full advantage of the winter sunshine.

3) Look the part! Matching accessories will add a touch of festive fun and help take your shots to the next level; think Santa hats, woolly reindeer jumpers, or even matching Christmas mugs!

captureProduct: Colourful Mugs, only £8.99, Snapfish.co.uk

4) Prop it up. Christmas is all about fun, so why not jazz things up with a few Christmassy props? Your family photoshoot doesn’t need to rely on the house being transformed into Santa’s Grotto or a Winter Wonderland – a few tinsel touches or the odd sprig of mistletoe will do the trick.

5) Pets complete your family! So whilst your puppy may be hell bent on getting his teeth around the fairy lights, including them in will be well worth the hassle when you see the finished result. (See Tip 6 for how to do this!)

6) Rewards (also known as bribery!) are the easiest way to keep pets and children interested! Guarantee their full attention throughout the photo shoot by keeping a suitable stash of treats to hand. (But keep them in separate bags… Health and Safety!)

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Product: Photo Cushions, from £19.99, Snapfish.co.uk

7) Tell a Story. Snapping people when they least expect it often results in the best photographs. So tell a funny joke or encourage them to, and be ready to capture candid, relaxed moments instead of saying ‘cheese’ and hoping for a few stiff grins.

8) Keep it fun! Your family shoot doesn’t have to be a solemn occasion. Get everyone involved in the planning process and encourage them to contribute their ideas to make for a happy, relaxed atmosphere and a truly memorable shot.

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Product: Photo Placemats, from £8.99, Snapfish.co.uk

So give it a go check out the http://www.snapfish.co.uk  and create something beautiful and memorable this year, let your creative juices run wild!  Even better post some pictures on my blog of the wonderful creations you have made I would be very interested to see. 🙂
Disclaimer – I was given some Snapfish product to review but all opinions are my own