Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog
Design, Interiors & Lifestyle Blog

Goodwill Belgium Christmas decorations at home in London.

It’s now the end of November and I can sense the Christmas frenzy on social media.

Can you believe I was already decorating a Christmas tree in September when I was transported to the magical land of Christmas baubles, that is Goodwill.

I was in Antwerp, at Goodwill’s HQ, with a group of European bloggers and influencers.

We were invited to see the creative process that went into the making of their Christmas decorations, get a sneak peek of their new collections and experience a workshop in tree decorating.

In this post, I thought I’d show you how I’ve styled some of my Goodwill Christmas decor at home . Goodwill has been operating for nearly 32 years and was founded by Jean Paul Meus, a charismatic gentleman with a heart for philanthropy. Goodwill Belgium pink ribbon Check out this beautiful bauble, specially made by Goodwill in collaboration with Pink Ribbon Belgium to raise funds to fight against Breast Cancer. Goodwill apparently produces a collection of 4000 new items per year, and roughly 600 items are from the drawing table of their in house designer Darren Mackay (above). Darren also puts all the stunning displays up in the showroom with his partner designer Leslie.

Feast your eyes on Darren’s tattoos. They are all based on his illustrations and inspirations for the Christmas decorations that he designs. There were a few interesting take home points that I learned at the Christmas tree decorating workshop.

Frst, you should wrap the lights around the tree before decorating. Then,place a few shiny baubles inside of the tree, close to the trunk. These baubles will bounce the light outwards.

The next step is to make the tree look fuller by adding foliage decor before using the baubles.

Finally, the tip that has changed the way I decorate, is to wind the bauble’s loop around the tree branches rather than the conventional hanging.

It has made decorating faster and the baubles surprisingly stay on securely too. It was interesting to hear about the work that went into the making of the decorations. Goodwill not only make baubles,they also make the most intricate of dolls for Christmas decor. They would travel far and wide, so as to source the best materials for their collection.

We had a tour around the workshop lead by Goodwill Belgium’s CEO Johan Van Maercke. He told us that silver, gold and white Christmas decorations were very on trend.

Patterned fabrics such as tartan and the use of faux flowers would also becoming popular this season. Some of new themes that Goodwill have embraced this year were the colourful opulence of Marie Antoinette, the pretty and stylish side of Paris, the cute creatures of the woodlands and the whimsical land of flamingos and giraffes. Goodwill Christmas decorations are sold worldwide at most of the major stores. You will find them at Selfridges, Harrods and Fortnum and Mason in London.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the post. Have you started decorating yet?

I’ll be back soon with more festive cheer. Have a lovely day all.

(All styling and photography are by Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell. The photo of Darren Mac Kay was provided by Goodwill. This is a sponsored collaboration with Goodwill Belgium. All views are my own).

lifestyle trends Lifestyle trends of the future with Lisa White of WGSN.

Last week, I was invited to an Interiors trend forecast talk by Sainsbury’s Home on ” Lifestyles of the Future” given by Lisa White, the head of Lifestyle and Interiors at WGSN.

I thought I’d do a little Summary here of her thoughts on future lifestyle trends.

Being connected

Research on Millennials have apparently found that there is a tendency to anxiety and depression. With the latter in mind, future trends will be looking at ways to help people stay more connected.

Co-space living or working are a few such solutions.

The use of assistive technologies have also become a popular way of keeping people connected in their homes.

I liked hearing about the innovative idea of a thermal bubble that could follow and regulate the temperature around an individual to within their comfort zone, whilst sharing a space with others.

Being Flexible

As space becomes scarce with urbanisation, the newer generations will become more flexible and embrace micro living solutions.

Lisa mentioned that there is already a movement towards smaller space living in the U.S, and even now in the UK, old office spaces are becoming reimagined as living areas.

The ‘try before you buy’ lifestyle trends are also another emerging area.

Being True

Consumers are now becoming more discerning and environmentally aware. There is a trend towards sustainability. Some examples being,no packaging shopping, to using apps to scan food for their green credentials.

Being Well

The concept of The Safe Home, introducing the home comforts and feelings of safety of home into public spaces.

There was also the idea of the Natural Home, harnessing the power of good microbes within the fabric of the home.

Finally, other interesting areas include the spiritual home by using crystals, and the Emotional home using dappled light to elicit a sense of well being.

It was so interesting to hear about the lifestyle trends of the future. I would definitely be looking out for this in future interiors products and concepts.

My favourite places to visit and instagram in Tokyo, Japan.

I’ve been meaning to write about my Tokyo trip, but somehow hadn’t got round to it. So finally, here it is.

Five years ago, before I started blogging, I had read a lot about édition Paumes, a Japanese publication that showcased colourful homes all over the world.  I knew I had to search out their Tokyo shop called Galerie Doux Dimanche .

I was so pleased to find it, and bought two books, full of colourful interiors inspiration.

This is Takadanobaba, in the Shinjuku neighbourhood. I shot the colourful image from the train station on our way to Toshima. Tokyo instagram places Talking about Toshima, this is the place to visit if you or your kids love Pokémon.

There is a Pokémon Mega centre at the Sunshine City shopping centre, where you will find all sorts of Pokémon merchandise. In fact, Pokémon is so much part of Japanese culture, that you wouldn’t need to travel far to see them. There were Gatcha toy vending machines all over Tokyo, to satisfy your Manga, Kawaii or Pokémon craze. Here’s a giant sign board at Toshima for the Sega centre and Cat café.

Cat cafés were common in Tokyo and may be worth a visit if you like cats. If you are a foodie or are looking for Japanese technology goods, then you’ll have to visit Nakano broadway.
This was the best fresh mango pudding that I had ever tasted, and it was from Ginza Cozy Corner at Nakano. Another not to miss treat, is this 8 layer ice cream from Daily Chico, in the basement area of Nakano Broadway.

Here are the flavours of the 8 layers – Strawberry, coffee, milk, chocolate, banana, vanilla, bubble gum and matcha.
Tokyo is a city that doesn’t sleep, and especially so in the bustling streets of Shibuya, the place to visit for good food and nightlife.

We ate at Genki Sushi, where you can order your dishes via a computer screen at your table, and within minutes, your sushi would be delivered to you via a conveyor belt. If you fancy something quirky and eccentric, then you’ll have to try the Kawaii Monster café in the Harajuku district.  This is the beautiful Ueno Park temple in Tokyo.  The monochrome lanterns found outside the temple, were scribed with the names of people who have donated towards the temple’s build and upkeep.

Behind the temple was this fun Swan boating lake.

Instagram Tokyo

My kids really enjoyed their time on this pink swan boat.

Before you leave Tokyo, you’ll have to try this delicious Totoro cream puff from Shirohige’s cream puff factory. They come with vanilla, rose, matcha or peach flavoured creams.

After Tokyo, we set off for Fuji. This is a snap Mount Fuji across from Lake Kawaguchiko.

If you fancy reading more about Japan, then do check out my post on Kyoto.

Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my favourite experiences and Instagram spots in Tokyo. Wishing you a wonderful week.

( All photography are copyright of Geraldine Tan, editor of Little Big Bell)

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