It was the Amara Blog Awards 2016 and I was a bit over-excited because a) I'd just won 'Best Newcomer', and b) I was chatting to actual Sophie Robinson off of the telly. I was also rather drunk.
"I'd LOVE to do a bit of filming," I slurred at poor Sophie, who dodged my sloshing prosecco glass for the third time. "It jusht looks like so much FUN! How do I get into doing shome filming?"
Lovely Sophie smiled patiently. "You do Instagram Stories, right?," she asked. I spilled my drink down my skirt in affirmation. "Well, instead of always pointing the camera away from you, have you considered turning it round so you're facing it? That would be good practise."
"But my mouth looks sho WEIRD when I talk!" I replied, horrified. "Itsh jusht so CRINGE! I couldn't POSSHIBLY!"
Of course, once my hangover had subsided a couple of days later, I realised Sophie was right. What chance did I have of anyone ever asking me to make a film if I couldn't even bear to watch my own mouth? And so, bit by bit, Story by Story, I started experimenting with reversing the camera and getting used to seeing my face talking back to me, weird mouth and all. And the more I did it, the easier it got, and the less I noticed my mouth and other iffy facial features.
So when B&Q asked me a few weeks ago if I'd make a film for them about decorating your home for autumn I was 80% excited and only 10% terrified/worried my mouth would look weird (the final 10% went on thinking about chocolate).
Before I knew it, I was in a beautiful shoot location house in Clapham Old Town: a house sporting more than 50 subtle shades of grey; a house that immediately made me want to panel my sitting room and paint my study in F&B Downpipe top to bottom.
Also in the house was: a videographer called Phil, a camera man called Anthony (complete with massive camera which he was wearing about his person like some kind of necklace belonging to Lady GaGa), a hair and make-up artist called Charlotte, a runner called Eugene who immediately brought me a cup of tea (I'll be demanding only pink Jelly Babies on my rider next), a guy called Calvin who was making sure everything went the way it was supposed to go, and the super-stylish house's owner, plus her cute dog.
In the pretty bedroom at the top of the terraced house I got changed into the outfit I'd brought: Cove Cashmere's Star jumper (from The Alex Edit in case you're wondering), Seven for All Mankind jeans and my trusty French Sole pink-and-gold ballet pumps (which sadly don't seem to make an appearance in the video). Oh and my ridiculous pink pom-pom bobble hat (which always attracts every five-year-old girl in a mile-wide radius, for some reason) for the outside shots.
So then the filming fun began - and you can see the finished video (TOP), complete with lust-worthy flamingo wallpaper and the cutest little dressing table accessories you ever did see. And click HERE to read the article with my 8 tips on decorating your home for autumn.
But what actually happened behind the scenes? Read on for five hard truths I learned that day...
1) I have the wrong type of eye
"How would you like your make-up done?" asked Charlotte, the make-up artist. "What's your usual look?" And so I requested a nice flicky eyeliner, of the kind that is totally NOT my usual look, due to the fact that I can never get the flick to work properly on my eyelid. So Charlotte carefully, expertly, applied the flicky eyeliner. And then I looked at myself. My eyeliner was flicky. It was even. It was the same on each eye. But I just looked totally wrong.
"I guess I don't have the right kind of eye," I sighed. Charlotte tactfully suggested that perhaps some conventional eyeshadow might work better. And that's how I learned that my eyes are officially un-flick-friendly. I guess I always knew that winging it just wasn't my style.
2) Walking and talking simultaneously is hard
I thought I was a good multi-tasker. But it turns out that's only when I'm juggling eating cake and chatting at the same time. Memorising a two-page-long single-spaced script while walking up some steps, pointing to the correct cushion and keeping eye contact with the camera without falling over? That's not so easy. Take 16!
3) Conjuring autumn magic isn't easy
See that bit at the start of the video when I oh-so-casually chuck the autumn leaves in the air, allowing them to sink magically to the ground, slo-mo stylee? What you're watching there is take 23 - or possibly 24. Apparently chucking the leaves into a) the camera lens, b) the camera man's face, or c) the next door neighbour's garden wasn't quite the kind of autumn magic Phil had in mind.
4) You can love a wallpaper too much
That B&Q flamingo wallpaper featured in the film IS pretty fabulous. But there was a danger of me loving it TOO much. When tasked with giving it a light stroke to demonstrate the touchable, tactile nature of said paper, I got a little bit carried away. Cue much hilarity, a few takes where it was suggested I perhaps toned down my "affection" for the wallpaper, and a finished product where it's still pretty clear that I have a love for the wall covering that's perhaps just the wrong side of healthy.
5) Don't do DIY while wearing a Burberry trench
You'd think this would be obvious, but no - I insisted on wearing the most expensive coat I owned to hand-paint a table, and I'm useless at painting tables. So it comes as no surprise to me that this particular scene was removed from the final cut. But it's only a little bit on the sleeve, and it's a daily reminder of what fun it is to make a film. Thanks Sophie - me and my weird mouth owe you one!
This post was sponsored by B&Q, but as always, all opinions are my own. If I don't like something, I won't write (or make films) about it. If you're a brand looking to work with The Pink House, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org