It's a funny old world - we spend our entire lives going out and working to keep a roof of fair proportion over our heads. All year we tidy and keep it modern and up to date and yet at Christmas we love nothing more than to indulge in old traditions and lap up crackling log fires and scenes of all things Dickensian . . . the button backed high winged arm chairs sat by the fire place. Long imagined famiy Christmas's spent around a massive oak table, groaning under the weight of all that food and drink come to mind and we revel in the misty eyed romance of it all. But we can in fact replicate the beauty of the furniture and furnishings. Who's to say we can't buy just one or two very pretty little pieces of oak or walnut furniture. The secret is to mix and match without any of it jarring the senses. I know someone who kept much of her grandmothers old furiture - most of which looked tired and past its best when in the small dark and cramped semi. But now it's installed in my friend's much larger, airy and modern house, every piece has taken on a new identify. It looks right - loved and welcome. Having the right sort of accessories and soft furnishings makes all the difference.