12 Sites to see over the Christmas Period in Northern Ireland

Hi there!

This is the first entry in my 12 days of Christmas Countdown for Christmas at Rose Cottage!  I have pulled together a list of events we hope to attend this month and thought I would share them.   Please note, a lot of the events require tickets so check first on the links I have provided:

  1. Rock around the Christmas Tree

Thursday 13th December 4-7pm, Market Square Lisburn.  The Market Square will be transformed into a massive family friendly dance party with amazing outdoor lighting, disco balls, Christmas characters and lively tunes from DJ Andy Baird.

2. St Georges Twilight Market

Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th Dec 4-11pm, St Georges Market Belfast.  Sample local food, drink and craft stalls.  There will also be live entertainment and cookery demonstrations.

3. Santa’s Magical Kingdom at the Argory

6th-16th Dec at The Argory Dungannon, there will be festive tales from Mrs Claus, lots of elves and Santa himself.

4. Santa and the Gruffalo’s Grotto

2nd-21st Dec in Colin Glen, Belfast.  There will be story telling and a visit to Santa’s Grotto.

5. Belfast Christmas Markets

17th-22nd Dec in front of the City Hall in Belfast.  This is my favourite Christmas event, with an outdoor food court, live music and lots of craft stalls.

6.Belfast Community Gospel Choir Concert

16th Dec 7.30-10.30pm in the Waterfront Hall, Belfast.  Tickets range from £22-25.

7. Enchanted Winter Gardens

7th-17th Dec 4-9pm, Antrim Castle Gardens.

8. Christmas Market and Fun Day

2nd Dec 12-5pm at Belfast Castle.  There will be a Christmas Choir, santa and face painting.

9. Yuletide Market

Saturday 8th – Sunday 9th Dec in Rowallene Garden, Saintfield.  Craft fair, food and drinks, a local choir and vintage carousel.

10. Christmas at the Museum

The Polar Express comes to the Ulster Museum Belfast on Saturday 15th Dec .

11. Christmas Rooftop Cinema

Monday 10th Dec 7-10pm, The Perch Belfast are showing The Grinch.

Monday 17th Dec 7-10pm, The Perch Belfast are showing Elf on their outdoor roof top.

12. Santa Paws

On Sunday 2nd and Sunday 9th Dec 12-4pm, the Dirty Onion Belfast are holding a festive afternoon of live music, doggy fair and a photo of your dog with Santa!

I’ve tried to include something for everyone in here! Please let me know if there are any others I can add to my list!

Happy Christmas!



Setting up the table for Christmas at Rose Cottage

Hello there!

So with Christmas Day fast approaching, this week has seen me set up the table to enjoy dinner on at Rose Cottage.  Being the self-labelled queen of faffing, there is nothing more I love than making up the table and rearranging it 152 times!  I have collaborated with Ferguson Flowers on this post, who have supplied me with the most stunning centre piece you ever did see!  My whole table setting was planned around this statement flower arrangement which has created the most beautiful focal point.

To create my Christmas table firstly I roped in a few friends to help me paint placemats onto the top.  (I will maybe do a blog post on the details of how I done this if there’s any interest…let me know!)  Initially I had hoped to write onto the placements with a chalk pen who would be sitting where, but ran out of room!  I think the black really sets off the flowers and plates, and is a nice contrast against the white table.


Next I placed one large Emma Bridgewater black toast dinner plate onto each place setting and a smaller side plate on top.  The napkin was then put on top of this.  The cutlery placed to one side along with 2 wine glasses.  I tied some gold sprayed eucalyptus  along with beaded hearts onto the back of the chairs and a fur throw onto the bench.

Lastly (and most importantly!!) the beautiful floral centre piece was placed in the centre on top of a gold runner.  This arrangement is full of eucalyptus, which is my absolute favourite, along with large cream roses and a fast selection of seasonal greenery.


I think you’d agree these flowers are simply stunning and really make the table display special? The staff at Ferguson Flowers are amazingly talented and so helpful! It is a leading online delivery store, with over 40 years experience in the florist industry. They deliver flowers throughout Northern Ireland, and your still in time to order for Christmas!  They can be contacted via the following –

Website here

Instagram here

Facebook here

Phone 02890 240111

Or you could pop into their beautiful store found on 45 Belmont Road Belfast.  Their shop has stunning wreaths, arrangements, bouquets and gift ideas available already made up to purchase; or they can make them up bespoke.

I would love to hear how you will be styling your Christmas table!

Hope you enjoy reading, as much as I enjoy writing!



Wrapping up Christmas as Rose Cottage

Hello there!

We are into week 3 of the run up to Christmas at Rose Cottage, which sees us wrapping up the gifts and placing them under the tree.  I love being creative with gift wrapping, trying to think of new cost effective ideas to make them look that extra bit special! Wrapping presents like these shown can be so simple to do and will sit beautifully below your tree.  I have been sharing these ideas this week over on insta stories and the response has been totally overwhelming…Seems my followers love gift wrapping as much as me!

The first gift wrapping idea I’d like to share is using brown paper bags.  These can be bought in packs of 6 from the pound shop for £1 – making them super cost effective! I have added a few extras to each bag to give them a real Christmassy feel.

On the first bag, I have folded down the top and placed a white paper doily over with a little peg to keep it in place.  I have also stamped onto the doily who the gift is to.


The second bag also has the top folded down.  I have punched a hole in the top right hand corner, poked a berry pick through and bent it down at the back to hold it in place. The bag was then stamped with ‘Merry & Bright’.


The third bag has a tree shape on the front which was created with a cotton bud dipped in white paint and dotted on.  I then added 2 little tree baubles onto the handle at the top.


I punched 2 holes in the top of the forth bag between the handles and threaded a ribbon through.  A label was then added with who the gift is from.




The second gift wrapping idea is using brown paper.  The again is so cheap to buy and can be bought in rolls found in any of the pound or discount stores.

The first brown paper wrapped present has a little car drawn onto the side with a sharpie pen.  I’ve then tied a tree onto the top with some red and white twine.


The second has a paper doily tied onto the present and then stamped with who the present is from and to.


The third has a tree shape put onto the front using some ribbon.  The ribbon is bent back and forward, then attached to the present using a glue gun.  I then put some cord around the gift and 2 little baubles.



The third gift wrapping idea is using a small crate from Ikea which can be purchased here.  I have put a piece of tissue paper in to line the bottom of the crate and then my goodies on top.  Bigger items to be put at the back and smaller at the front.  If you find some of your smaller items are getting lost in the crate, then scrumple up some tissue paper and set the item on top of it.  I have then wrapped the whole crate with some cellophane by first setting it on top of the roll.  Pull the sides up to measure how much you need.  Once you have cut it to size, gather up the ends and use some string to hold together.  Then tidy up the sides, like you would a present, by using some cello tape to keep it in place.  I’ve then added a ribbon tied into a bow and a stag Christmas tree decoration on top.

I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration and I would love to hear if you have any money saving gift wrapping ideas!

Hope you enjoy reading, as much as I enjoy writing!



Putting up the Christmas Tree at Rose Cottage

Hello there!

We are in week 2 of the preparations for Christmas at Rose Cottage and hope you’ve been enjoying the run up so far! On Wednesday we put the tree up and showed this in a time lapse video over on insta stories….if only it went up that quickly in real life!!

We have an artificial tree here at Rose Cottage; Just like I talked about in the wreath tutorial (which you can find here), I like how you can manipulate the branches better and can perfect the overall look in comparison to a real tree. I love this tree as it has different styles of branches and a light dusting of snow.

So now to share some tips with you…

Starting with the assembly of the tree. Put on one tier of your branches at a time, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Every branch on your tree must be touched and fluffed out one at a time. This will help to give your tree a fuller look. Bend the branches up at the ends from the inside out, then point in all different directions to look like a palm leaf. We really recommend you spend time on this step as it’s the most important and will affect the overall look of the finished tree.

Moving onto the lights. A lot of people hate this step, as it can be really time consuming and hard to get right! To make it easier for yourself, turn your lights on when putting them onto the tree. This will help you to see exactly where they are going and if there are any gaps needing filled. Again start from the bottom and work your way up. Go up one side of the branch and down the other, weaving in and out. We would recommend using 100 lights per foot of the tree, eg a 7 ft tree will need 700 lights. Put your lights the whole way around your tree; The lights at the back will bounce off the walls and back into the room. When you finish a roll of lights, run the wire down the centre of the tree to the bottom and then to the plug socket. This will create a neater appearance, rather than wires poking out mid tree! Place a string of flashing lights up and down the centre of your tree to draw the eye in and create depth.

Next put on your ribbon. Wrap your ribbon, one roll at a time from the top of the tree to the bottom. We have used 2 different types – tartan and hessian, just like on the wreath, to tie in with our Christmas theme. Twist the ribbon as you go round, pushing some bits in and pulling others out at intervals. Wrap some hessian ribbon around the bottom of the tree to hide your wires.

Now for your decorations and baubles. Separate your baubles into small, medium and large. Put the larger ones at the bottom and smaller ones as you go up to the top. The more plain baubles are to be used as fillers and put in towards the centre on your tree. Baubles should not be touching the branches below, instead hanging mid air. At this stage you may need to rearrange some branches as you go along. Don’t put all your decorations on at once, put a few on a time, stand back to have a good look, then put some more on until happy. If your bauble string is a bit long, wrap it around the branch a few times to make shorter.

And lastly the focal point at the top of your tree.  We love the illusion of an explosion coming out of the top, so have used some berries and pinecones on sticks poking from the top and sides of the star.  We also added some of these berries on sticks peaking out from various branches around the tree.


And here it is finished!


We hope you find these tips helpful in perfecting your own tree and if you have any others we would love to hear them!

Hope you enjoy reading, as much as I enjoy writing!



Create your own artificial Christmas wreath

Hello there!

We are beginning the ‘Christmas at Rose Cottage’ run up with a simple DIY wreath. I kicked it off over on instagram this week by creating a rustic, traditional style wreath on an insta live! But incase you missed it, I have written a step by step guide below.  This wreath would be perfect for your fireplace or hung on a front door! The majority of the materials can be found in most local high street stores at this time of year but I’ll let you know where I picked mine up.

So first, here is the list of things you will need and where to find it:

50cm artificial wreath –

Ribbon –—assorted/5052089202399

Bells –

Cherries on sticks – Poundland

Pinecones – Scavenged and sprayed with snow spray

Cinnamon sticks –

Baubles on wire –

Florist Wire –

**Please shop about for these products and check out the pound shops and local garden centres to get the best value for money!**

So now for how to put all these together to create the wreath of dreams!

Firstly, and what I feel the most important step to creating this wreath is to ensure you pull out and separate the sections – poke the branches in all different directions as this will create a fuller , more 3D look.  This photo below is a before and after:

The second step is creating the focal point of the wreath.  You will need at least 2 different types of ribbon.  I chose tartan and hessian to tie in with the traditional style I hope to create in Rose Cottage this Christmas.  I would recommend using a wired ribbon as it will help the loops sit better.  You are going to make 2 rosettes – one large and one small.  Start by taking one roll of ribbon (around 2 metres in length) and creating a loop.  Bend a piece of florist wire around this loop and point the 2 wires in opposite directions. Continue to create more loops on top, slightly moving around with each loop in a clockwise direction. Once you have used all the ribbon – twist the wire together over all the loops and secure.


Then do the same with the other ribbon, ensuring one rosette is bigger than the other. (To do this, make the loops bigger on the rosette you would like at the back).


Next secure both of these rosettes together and to the wreath using florist wire.


Tie together 3 bells using some string and then attach to the rosette – pulling string around the back of the whole wreath.


Insert 3 berries on sticks around your rosette – these can be attached using florist wire at the back of the wreath.

Then you can add the rest of the accessories evenly around the wreath. (I have wrapped some florist wire around the pinecones as shown in the photos).

And that is your completed wreath!  You can substitute any of the ribbons and accessories to suit your own theme – I also think this would be beautiful in silver and white.


If you have any questions at all, please get in touch! When you create your wreath, I’d love to see it, so please use the hashtag christmasatrosecottage2017 over on Instagram.

Hope you enjoy reading, as much as I enjoy writing!