When it comes to the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2016, there are three stories I could tell:
- The story of The Pink House's journey from launch in February to winning Best Newcomer in October
- The story of the big Amara awards night at The Ham Yard hotel and all the cool people we met and drinks we drunk
- The story behind my Pink As Fuck t-shirt
I decided to ask the Pink House Husband for his advice. After all, as he has pointed out on numerous occasions since the ceremony, it was 'his' post ('The Pink House Husband's Styling Challenge') that Sophie Robinson mentioned as being 'a particular favourite with the judges'. Which basically makes the award, and all decisions pertaining to the telling of its story, his. Apparently.
So I ask his opinion on which story I should tell. He is watching TV in our hotel room in Martinhal, Portugal. PHH is not brilliant at multitasking.
PHH (distractedly):"Um. Probably not the t-shirt story. It's going to create less benefit."
The adverts come on.
Me: "Please can you put it on mute. And turn away from the shiny pictures."
Finally, PHH does as requested. At a glacial pace, he shifts his gaze from the silent telly and on to me. I can see him thinking.
PHH: "Actually no. The t-shirt story's the most interesting of the three. So the opposite of what I just said."
Me (tapping away on laptop in bed): "I'm quoting you verbatim, you realise."
PHH (stern face): "Really? No; don't do that. I was watching David Attenborough." Pause. "You have to mention David Attenborough."
I promise him I will; PHH loves David Attenborough more than anything, except soup. And here, as advised, is...
The story behind my 'Pink As Fuck' t-shirt
Part 1: The Discovery
It all started with a picture, to which my friend, the interior designer Jessica Buckley, alerted me on Pinterest. Here's the picture:
This, my friends, is a shot of W magazine fashion editor Giovanna Battaglia, as snapped on the streets of Manhattan during New York Fashion Week. And when I saw this picture I knew one thing: I NEEDED that t-shirt.
An hour of Googling and I'd located the t-shirt's source (thanks Coveteur): a soon-to-open tiny and completely pink Italian restaurant in Manhattan called Pietro Nolita. I had also discovered Pietro Nolita's owners were friends with said high-profile (Insta following: 569k and counting) fashion editor, hence her wearing their t-shirt.
Part 2: The Quest
So on 20 September I did what any self-respecting blogger would do in this situation: I sent Pietro Nolita a pleading personal message on Instagram.
To @pietronolita from @pinkhouseliving:
"I am very fucking serious about pink. So serious that I inaugurated a company called The Pink House. My blog is now up for a prestigious award in London. There is literally nothing I'd love more in the world (including my kids) than to wear your fucking epic Pink As Fuck t-shirt to the blog awards ceremony. I can guarantee LOADS of coverage. I can pay you however many (dollar sign tongue emoji) you want. Or send you a flamingo. Or both. Pretty in pink please. Love Emily (pink heart emoji; blowing kiss emoji; dancing girls emoji)."
To my delight, @pietronolita got straight back to me:
"Haaha you sweet! We sell size small t-shirt for 45 dollars cash only at the store...so if you have friend that wants to pick it up, let me know...we are opening the doors in two weeks for dinner and we are busy as fuck! Heheh"
I tried to bargain a bit more, offering more cash in exchange for them posting the t-shirt to me, but the good people at Pietro Nolita weren't budging; they are busy as fuck after all. But there was no way I could justify a trip to NY just to pick up the t-shirt. Or could I? COULD I?!!!!!
Pink House Husband said there wasn't a snowball's chance.
After a short sulk I had another idea: perhaps my friend and blogger at Toddling Round New York (an amazing blog about moving from London to NY with small children) Alexandra Da Cunha could pick it up for me! Never mind that she'd recently had her third child and I had no idea what sort of schlepp I would be requiring of her. I sent her a Facebook message (this is an excerpt - the full message was rather long and grovelling):
"I need to ask you a huge blogger-to-blogger favour. Warning: this is extremely random! [I tell her the whole t-shirt/Amara awards story]. And I wondered - and I know this is a huge favour - whether you might be able to go and get it for me? And then post it to me? OBVS would transfer the money straight back to your account, plus tip..."
Part 3: The Bargain
Now, Alex is a very smart girl who used to work in PR. And her blog was shortlisted in the Mumsnet 'Best Writer' category at the time (my vote was one of the many that got it there). So of course she replied as follows:
"Happy to help, I can see why you want to wear it! It's not too far from us; J [Alex's baby] and I can go pick it up. And instead of a tip, I'd be tickled pink (ho ho) if you could share my shortlisted link on your FB and Instagram feeds and encourage them to vote for me too!"
Of course I agreed immediately - apart from anything I truly believed her blog should win. And so we made the necessary arrangements with the restaurant for the pick up, and over the next few days I shared her shortlisted link on The Pink House's social media.
Part 4: The Conquest
The big pink pick up date was set for 11am-ish (US time) on 22 September. Alex washed her hair specially (no mean feat with three small ones; I was honoured). All afternoon I obsessively checked my phone for updates. Then this popped up on my FB Messenger, captioned: "ha ha look what I just picked up in Chinatown on the way...":
It was Alex outside actual Pietro Nolita, wearing a pair of pink sunglasses. She'd made it!
I'd asked if she could snap a few shots while she was there. And like the good blogger (and friend) she is, she obliged and the following pics appeared on my phone screen:
In fact, since discovering Pietro Nolita I'd developed such a passion for the place that I'd written a blog post on it, which I published the day before Alex picked up the t-shirt. You can read it here.
Alex swiftly posted the precious pink cargo, and a week-and-a-half and not a small amount of dollars later (there was an additional customs charge to be paid at the Post Office) the t-shirt arrived at The Pink House, along with those Chinatown pink sunglasses and a couple of Pietro Nolita stickers. Best. Day. Ever.
My mum popped round that afternoon and I showed her what I was planning to wear. She looked horrified:
"Emily! No! You can't!"
The t-shirt was PERFECT.
Part 5: The Styling
However, my job wasn't done yet: I couldn't go to the Amara awards in JUST the t-shirt. Especially as the posh invite said "cocktail dresses". But what the fuck should I wear it with? I turned, as seemed natural, back to original Pink As Fuck wearer and fashion stylist Giovanna Battaglia. A few minutes on Google and I'd ascertained that her gorgeous red-and-pink stripy skirt she'd worn with the t-shirt was from Gucci and cost upwards of a grand.
So I went straight on ASOS.com and ordered a job lot of mid-length statement skirts, many of which involved tulle.
The skirts arrived and I tried them on. Each one looked truly hideous and seemed to double the size of my bottom. And then I remembered why I never wear skirts like that: they look shit on me.
I posted them all back and opened my wardrobe. There she was: my faux leather gold TopShop mini skirt. Add a pair of Valentino Rockstud flats (always flats) and my Hill & Friends neon pink bag and I was good to go as a slightly slutty 80s Barbie (would legwarmers be too much? I decided they would, but it was a close one). Shame the awards weren't for another week. I put my jeans back on.
Part 6: Showtime!
Finally Amara awards day arrived. I promised myself I would be cool about the back of my t-shirt and not point it out to anyone at the ceremony. The main thing I DEFINITELY wasn't going to do AT ALL - should I be fortunate enough to win - was point out to Sophie Robinson and the entire audience that I had a sweary word written on my back.
Then I won. And then this happened...
Despite my spectacular stay-cool fail (as usual) we had a great night! Thanks so much Amara, Alex and Pietro Nolita - you're all fabulous as fuck.