A huge warm crackling-pinecone fire of a WELCOME if you're coming here on the big UK Home Blog Hop (#ukhomebloghop) from the interior blogging guru that is Kimberly from Swoon Worthy. As a newbie blogger for whom Kimberly's outstanding blog has been a massive inspiration since The Pink House launched in February, when she asked me to participate in this Christmas blog hop it was a big, no-brainer YES.
What's The Pink House then? I hear you newcomers cry. Well...here, we're all about fabulous family living - despite the kids. Before the small Pink House Dwellers came along it was just me and the Pink House Husband hanging out, traveling to exotic places, staying in gorgeous hotels and drinking in beautiful bars. Now we're at the babysitter's mercy the parties etc are far less frequent, but that doesn't mean I've given up on fabulousness. Instead our home - The Pink House - has had to pick up the slack. And my blog - The Pink House - is all about sharing the interior inspo I've picked up along the way. While having a laugh, obvs.
Scroll to the bottom of this post for the full list of brilliant bloggers taking part in the Blog Hop, and the day they are posting. If it's Christmas inspo you're after, you've come to the right place.
An equally warm, firey welcome if you ended up on this post by any other means (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, or Googling "pink as fuck"). Do pour yourself a large Bailey's and come on in to The Pink House's crazy, be-unicorned Christmas world...
As a child, I had my crafty moments, encouraged by a mother for whom a shoebox presented a myriad of mouse house creation opportunities; a supply of sellotape was higher up the essentials list than bread, milk or non-awful shoes; and Christmas cards and decorations were things that were made lovingly by hand Every. Single. Year. I've lost count of the number of perfectly good sheets of paper that were shredded in the service of creating 'snowflakes'.
However, since becoming an adult, with all the mortgage-paying, kid-sustaining and alcohol-drinking that requires, crafting/DIY has slipped below 'clean behind the loo' on my to-do list. When Apartment Therapy posed the question: "What's your proudest DIY?" as as part of their recent home tour of The Pink House I could only answer: "I once watched my husband construct some Ikea shelves. And I hand-made him a cup of tea."
But I hadn't counted on Christmas. Or, to be more specific, my first Christmas as a blogger. Since around October this year, I've been beset on all sides by brands, businesses and publications asking for my Christmas crafting and styling tips. Now, due to aforementioned mortgage and kid-related issues, the craftier side of Christmas was never really going to happen, blog or no blog. However, I realised I was going to have to pull out all the stops to ensure The Pink House sounded and looked as professional as possible during the festive season.
So for Marks & Spencer I piled on the pink and offered up my top tip: “Be playful – try decorating existing items in your home. I have two papier mâché animal heads which I adorn with Santa hats and tinsel crowns, much to my kids’ delight.” The Evening Standard was treated to my words of wisdom on the subject of 'more-is-more decor'. And when I was sent a festive stag head from The French Bedroom Company to decorate for a feature, having severed one antler in a second of stupidity, I spent the rest of the morning administering deer first aid, before smothering the poor creature in tinsel and colour-coded pink and gold baubles for his close-up. You can see the results above. And yes; Pink House Husband hates it.
Then of course Kimberly contacted me about this blog hop. Yay! I thought. How cool! Swiftly followed by: Oh shit!
Essentially I suddenly experienced that pre-party 'what the hell am I going to wear' moment, except for my house instead of myself, and on an epic, Christmassy, thousands-of-people-are-going-to-see-my-home kind of scale. The pressure was fully on to be pink and sparkly and stylish and everything. Problem was: a) most of my Christmas decorations pre-date the baby Jesus, and b) those blasted kids again.
OK, so I did have a 'here's one I made earlier' Christmas set-up, involving the dining room chandelier and a load of Paperchase baubles that went up four years ago and never came down, but I knew that wasn't going to cut it. Here's a pic of it anyway for those of you who've never seen it (if you have, feel free to look away now)...
As an experienced journalist/blagger (you read correctly: BLAGGER, not blogger), the answer to a) came pretty quickly: press loans! So I fired off emails to some of my decor faves: Rockett St George, Oliver Bonas and Paperchase. Sadly, upon post publication, the Paperchase decorations had yet to arrive at The Pink House (although they will certainly feature on my @pinkhouseliving Instagram over the next couple of weeks never you fear - especially the awesome cheerleading alligator decoration; every house should have one), but I've done my best with the rest. Here are a few snaps of my house, all lit up like a, erm...
Speaking of Christmas trees, it's a tradition in both mine and Pink House Husband's families that we have a real Christmas tree every year, and this was no exception (I also got this little black number - above - last year; you can guess PHH's reaction). So we took the kids to the local dead tree depot and, after only 20 minutes of arguing and whinging (don't you just LOVE these annual traditions), a suitable fir was selected. It was when we got it home the real trouble started.
"Can we decorate the tree now, Mama," asked the 6yo Pink House Dweller. Ah. Houston - we have a problem.
"Er, sorry my love but I'm afraid not. Mama has to decorate it all by herself. It has to be tasteful you see. And pink. That's the theme. For my work, you know..." The look my child then gave me was one of deep and piercing blame and sadness. But I knew better than to give in to such emotional blackmail. "Never mind, eh! Why don't you go and watch some Power Rangers instead? Fancy a biscuit?"
In fact, despite my first-rate parenting skills, I didn't get a chance to decorate the tree that evening after all (fish fingers to burn; husband to argue with; crap to clear up), so when I went to bed, the scented branches remained bare. I lay next to Pink House Husband, doing what all loving wives do after they've pushed out two kids and started up their own business: Instagram. As I scrolled through, one image leapt out at me: a picture posted by @theunmumsymum of a badly photographed, haphazardly be-baubled Christmas tree, in a beige living room.
Not your standard Insta-fare. Intrigued, I read on:
"This is my attempt to reassure you that you are not failing at Christmassy parenting just because you haven't hand-sewn an advent calendar out of sheep wool flown in from Nazareth. The Unnecessary Pressure of Christmas - link in bio #newblogpost"
Somewhere, I could feel a chord being struck. I clicked link in bio. I skim read for a bit. Then I got to THIS:
"I'm bewildered by some of the Christmas-themed conversations I've seen online lately and the final straw came when I stumbled across an entire thread dedicated to mums debating which Christmas theme to go for this year. What do you mean which theme? I read on and discovered that one mum is having a 'monochrome Christmas' because it looks classier. Another is accessorising in pastels this year because the bright colours clash with her sofa and the third isn’t sure yet what to go for but ‘crikey’ isn’t it hard work coming up with the decorative theme every year?!
I wanted to scream at my computer, “CHRISTMAS! THE FUCKING THEME IS CHRISTMAS!”
Forget chord striking; it was like Rudolph's bells had smacked me across face. WHAT WAS I THINKING! Yes, I had a blog called The Pink House and I wanted to show it off to its best advantage and I like pink and I like gold and I like things to be done nicely and I want the other bloggers to be impressed with me and I want to do right by the brands whose stuff I have borrowed and I don't like the combination of red and green and so I was going with a pink and gold theme BUT! BUT WHAT ABOUT CHRISTMAS! What about my CHILDREN! I was being a TOTAL DICK!
Then and there I swore to myself (and to the Pink House Husband, but he had his headphones on listening to Have I Got News For You on his laptop) that I would STOP with this blogger Christmas nonsense and let the kids decorate the tree. Hell, how bad could it be?
Quite bad, as it turned out. The 3yo wanted to hang every decoration in the house on a single branch, while the 6yo made a beeline for the nastiest, reddest decorations that I'd forgotten to hide. But after I'd dispatched the 3yo to Uncle iPad (don't judge - there's only so much Christmas-themed Christmas I can take) and introduced the 'no red' and 'no hideous decorations' rules to the 6yo, we were up and running. Want to see the results? Sure you do!
OK, I confess that when the kids went to bed I might have redistributed the decorations a touch, but essentially it was all the 6yo's own work. Apart from the when I told him what to put where. And when I insisted on affixing the tiny, sparkly birds ("they're just so FRAGILE my sweet"). But he's totally learned that red and green is empirically a bad colour combination, and even suggested some better ones of his own ("how about orange and green Mama? Yellow and green?"). And I did let him put those unfortunate 'crafty' triangle paper decorations that he'd made at school on the tree.
Because, you know, CHRISTMAS!
Next up in the Blog Hop is none other than (I'm coming over all emosh) blogger extraordinaire Candy Pop - click HERE for her post. Can't wait to see what she's going to conjure up for Christmas...
LIST OF ALL THE #UKHOMEBLOGHOP BLOGGERS, INCLUDING LINKS AND POSTING DAYS (POSTS GO LIVE AT 11AM ON THE DAY OF POSTING)
Monday 5th December
Tuesday 6th December
Wednesday 7th December
Thursday 8th December
Friday 9th December