Interior design 101: your home should reflect who you are. And it makes sense, right? The phrase 'I feel at home there' springs from the notion that the place where you live should be a comfortable fit; the soft furnishings version of your personality.
This was all very well when I was a student, living alone in my rooms. Despite the draconian blu-tac ban, I managed to construct a wall of gymnastics posters, pictures of Ewan McGregor and photos of me and my similarly inane friends drunkenly lying around in the quad/river/nude. It might not have been to anyone else's taste, but that didn't matter: I was the only one living there, and I felt perfectly at home.
Fast forward *cough* years, and the home decor situation isn't quite so straightforward. Turns out I'm not the only one who a) lives in The Pink House, or b) gives a shit what it looks like. The small Pink House Dwellers don't count, because they still need someone to clean their teeth/explain what 'Monday' means. But Pink House Husband has Opinions, a Personality, and helps pay the Mortgage, all of which must, apparently, be factored in to the interior decision-making process.
Given that the PHH's idea of fun involves rugby, soup and David Attenborough, and my perfect day includes cushion shopping, champagne and and David Guetta, finding home decor to suit us both was never going to be an easy task.
Luckily, there is one particular area where my and the PHH's passions coincide. In fact, that area is actually a continent: it's called Africa.
Once upon a time, before financial services became an f word, the Pink House Husband worked in the City. He ran a credit card company, talked knowledgeably with banks and did lots of very clever things on Excel spreadsheets. But one day David Attenborough came to him in a dream.
"Pink House Husband!" boomed David (this was the early Noughties, but Attenborough can see the future, including the creation of certain rose-tinted interiors blogs). "Forget these credit cards, for they are unworthy of your attention. Instead, save ye the wondrous, beauteous creatures who doth live upon the land and in the sea [this is word-for-word from the dream, apparently].
"Take ye to the plains of Africa, where ye shall involve thyself in a supply chain project benefiting green maize farmers, then haste ye to Namibia with Raleigh International to save the deserts with ye gap year kids. Lo, ye shall endure a booze ban but hey - that's good for thy waistline."
Obviously, when Atty visits you in a dream you are compelled to act. Plus, I spent my own gap year with Raleigh in Zimbabwe building game viewing platforms, boozing (pre ban) and bungee jumping, so I assured PHH he would have a great time.
And reader, he did. Not only did he come back two stone lighter (the booze ban effect - Atty the fortune teller strikes again) with a job offer from The Carbon Trust, he had also fallen in love with Africa, a passion that's stayed with him ever since.
Pre-kids, we explored other areas of this remarkable continent together, with highlights being road trips around Malawi and South Africa. We lazed on lovely beaches, drank some (OK - lots of) amazing wine, kayaked to a picture-perfect island we called home for three days, slept in the jungle, hung out with some penguins, and ate cheese fondue overlooking warm blue waters.
We returned from our most recent South African travels with dreams of relocating to Cape Town, a huge hand-carved wooden mobile teeming with exotic birds and fish, and an addiction to Diemersfontein Pinotage (the closest wine gets to chocolate; I strongly urge you to try this stuff). Basically, for us, Africa is shorthand for when it was just the two of us enjoying the good life, before the kids came along and fucked it up. I mean, enriched it out of all recognition. Obviously.
Which is why, when it comes to decorating the Pink House, if an item has an African connection, chances are PHH is going to approve. I've already tasted success with the papier mache zebra and rhino heads; the wooden fish mirror we brought home from Malawi fits perfectly in the bathroom; and I can even get away with a framed fuzzy photo of me doing the aforementioned bungee jump, as this photo was taken in Africa.
So when I first clapped eyes on hot new South African interiors brand Halsted's vibrant, joyful designs, as endorsed by the one-and-only Kit Kemp (find Halsted in Firmdale's Ham Yard and Covent Garden Hotel), I knew they'd be welcome at the Pink House any time. And I knew I'd found a solution to my home-as-two-people's-personality conundrum. Because now, thanks to the beautiful, richly-hued Bird Crossing cushion on our green velvet sofa (see pic, top), the fun and fabulous Bird Fynbos table cloth in the dining room (see above), and the colour-fest that is the stunning Leopard Lights cushion in the playroom (product pic below), our home feels like home for both of us.
Oh and I've got my eye on the fabulous Qalakabusha Ottoman, below - that orange would look amazing against the F&B Stiffkey Blue in our playroom (and the monkey design is apt, given that I already have two of them).
The Pink House's regular guests will be aware of my love of vibrant, unusual wallpaper - with Cole & Son being one of my absolute faves (visit our Instagram to see the incredible Cole & Son Prism wallpaper in our hallway here). So Halsted's announcement this week that their sister brand, the well-established (and similarly wonderful) Ardmore Ceramics, is collaborating with none other than Cole & Son to create a range of wallpapers, has made me happy as a hippo. Here, finally, is a range I know I'm going to adore, but which reflects the Pink House Husband's personality and passions too. This calls for a celebratory bottle of Pinotage...
Disclaimer: this post was sponsored by Halsted Design, but rest assured - The Pink House won't write about anything we don't genuinely love. Watch this space for details of the Halsted X Cole & Son range as it's unveiled, and visit Halsted's website for their online shop, plus more info on this exciting brand.