Happy House Candy Christmas

Day Twenty Four

All ready for Christmas dinner... if I could only find the knives and forks!

All ready for Christmas dinner... if I could only find the knives and forks!

We're off. I'm on my third glass of champagne already so it's in everyone's best interests if we keep this one short and sweet.

Forget the House Candy anyway, it's all about these two now.

George and Charlie icing the edible place settings

George and Charlie icing the edible place settings

The boys are getting big and this could be the last one where we need Santa's help so I'm determined to soak up every magical moment. 

We had a plan B if the kitchen wasn't ready for our Christmas dinner but I'm so pleased we didn't need it. I can't think of a better way to christen this space than with a big old family Christmas. 

Have a fab time celebrating everyone. I'm clocking off to spend time with the fam. Hope you do too. Thanks for all your well wishes support and advice about the extension. I love it, of course I do, but it's only a house. It's what we fill it with that counts ;-)

Happy Christmas, 

Claire x



Adding the aaaahhhs, the Ooh La Las and the Ay Ups

Day Twenty Three

The finished kitchen (again)

The finished kitchen (again)

It's Christmas Eve Eve for goodness sake, how did that happen?

Today behind the advent door ('cos just to remind you that was the point of this daily blog throughout December thing) it's been a hive of activity much like at your place I suspect.

Wrapping, food shopping, sending the husband out last minute gift shopping because one pile is bigger than the other, more wrapping, more food shopping, because can you even call it Christmas dinner if you haven't got After Eights? It's all go in the hope that tomorrow we can actually start enjoying this thing that we laughably call a holiday.

Admittedly the usual Christmas Eve Eve frenzy has taken longer than normal because:

a) I have a bit of a panto hangover which I didn't know was a thing until my friend taught me a lesson in panto-ing involving handbag sized bottles of prosecco and straws.

b) I keep having to pause to look at my bloody gorgeous new kitchen.

Am I showing off too much? Sorry. Well actually no, I'm not sorry. It's been blood sweat and tears in the making has this kitchen of ours and if I sound a bit smug then that's because I am. I LOVE it and all the dreaming, mood boarding, planning, saving, splurging, sourcing, scouring and scrubbing has been totally worth it. 

Yesterday I was excited to show you my new Distinctive Chesterfields Northbank sofa:

The fully accesorised Northbank Sofa by www.distinctivechesterfields.com

The fully accesorised Northbank Sofa by www.distinctivechesterfields.com

...But as I was rushing to get out for the panto, I didn't have time to tell you about the accessories. The patterned cushions and yellow throw are all from B&Q whose home accessories range was full of gorgeous surprises when I popped in for lightbulbs the other day. The large star-shaped metallic silver cushion is by Suburban Salon from Hilary and Flo. It's one of those show stoppers that just makes everything look cooler.

There's one more surprise I can't show you yet because I'm afraid to unwrap it until I get a proper floor down. It's a navy blue velvet version of this, The Paris chair, with a matching footstool, also from Distinctive Chesterfields.

It's these finishing touches that are adding all the oohs and the ahhs and in this case the ooh la las to my new living kitchen. And that's all very well, but undoubtedly it's the "Ay-Up"s I'm looking forward to most. I'm hosting two family gatherings in the space of three days and this party kitchen is about to find out what a Big Fat Yorkshire Christmas looks like.  

Let the fun begin!

Panto dames finding everything bloody hilarious (including Snapchat filters) with the help of handbag prosecco. Henceforth the only way to panto.

Panto dames finding everything bloody hilarious (including Snapchat filters) with the help of handbag prosecco. Henceforth the only way to panto.

Claire x

The sofa's arrived and all I'm missing is a Magic Carpet

Day 22

It's panto time and I'm well up for it because like the good Fairy Godmother he is, House Candy Andy has finished the kitchen in time for Christmas. Not only that but I waved my own magic wand and got my new sofa delivered in time for the grand finale too. Check out my Instagram stories for a view of the furnished room, all ready except for the floor.


This is The Northbank sofa in herringbone grey from a local store called Distinctive Chesterfields  and of course I fell for the whole fairy story that came with it. Distinctive Chesterfields is a family firm who hand make beautiful sofas, armchairs and footstools just up the road from me in Honley, near Huddersfield.

You choose the sofa style and fabric, pay your deposit and hey presto, a team of tiny elves work day and night to hand stitch your individual piece of upholstery using finest cloth spun by Rumplestiltskin himself in a faraway chamber of the giant's castle... 

Well Okay so I'm a bit sketchy on the details, but suffice to say, it's handmade near home and it will live happily ever after in my new kitchen extension.

Part two coming up after the interval!

Claire xx

All of the kitchen feels

Day 21

I've been a bad, bad, blogger. Tonight I had a bit of a kitchen warming party for a few of my closest friends who were eager to see the new space I've been banging on about and.... oops! I didn't take pictures.


Here's my youngest son Charlie, putting some mince pies out and, other than a panoramic view on my Instagram stories, I'm afraid that's your lot. But look, all is not lost because I hadn't had chance to dress it properly so the pretty photos can wait. Instead, I'd really like to tell you in words, not pictures (which I promise will come over Christmas) how the new kitchen feels.

Weeeelllllll......   It's brand spanking new and somehow it feels like it's always been here. I've dreamt out this space so often, it feels weirdly familiar. It's definitely a space for laughing, chatting, eating, drinking and dancing like nobody is watching. (Although they probably are watching because those glass doors are flipping massive and it's lit up like Las Vegas, inside and out). It feels vast, yet toasty warm with this great big island pulling everyone together. It feels luxurious, but not precious and - fittingly since the kitchen itself is from Magnet - it feels like this is the rightful hub of the home where we are all instinctively drawn. A welcoming place where my little family and our increasingly bigger lives all meet in the middle. 

And when your kitchen feels like that, it really doesn't matter what it looks like, does it? Sorry if you were looking forward to photos but the sofa arrives tomorrow and then you'll be sick of my snaps, I promise!

Claire x


Let there be light

Apologies if your electrics have been down in the last 24 hours. I'm concerned the power surge caused by the big lights switch on in the new extension may have blown the National Grid. 

The electrician came today (at 6.30am btw) and as a result, we now have light and power. It's cost me a small fortune in lightbulbs, let me tell you. There are ceiling lights, wall lights, external wall lights, Christmas lights. And after 10 weeks of darkness on that side of the house, I can't pretend that I'm not enjoying switching them all on.

In a less frivolous/more carbon neutral move, I've utilised some more vintage lights that I picked up from the flea market. These pretty twinkly brass wall chandeliers are really a bit small for the massive dark panelled wall in the living area of the new kitchen extension. But they looked so pretty against the dark paint that I had to ignore the builder's advice and use them anyway. If I come across bigger ones someday then they may move, but for now, I just love the vintage glamour they bring to the room. 

Re-wired vintage glass wall lights

Re-wired vintage glass wall lights

I have to keep reminding myself that only a few months ago, this room was just a dead outdoor space between the house and the crumbling old outbuilding. So I think it deserves a bit of Christmas bling, don't you?

Thank you so much for your input in the dark/light kitchen shelves debate. It's all cool, we have Christmas to mull it over, because Des the dancing decorator has declared (no more d's, promise) that he hasn't time to paint it dark now anyway... BUT ... if I do decide it has to change, he will oblige in the New Year when he's back to sort out the entrance hall. So please do keep your votes coming. I'll let you know the consensus at the end of the week.

In the meantime, I have a houseful coming tomorrow night and now that there are light bulbs in this here extension, you can't half see the muck :(

NOW I get why you need dimmer switches. 

Claire x

I need your help with an alcove altercation

Day Nineteen

The worktop arrived today and although the lovely grained white granite received a unanimous thumbs-up, it also split the camp on the issue of what colour to pain the newly shelved alcoves.

My new white worktops and the dark or light alcove dilemma

My new white worktops and the dark or light alcove dilemma

House Candy Andy (HCA) is stamping his feet demanding they be painted the dark shade of the cabinets and the feature panelled wall. He thinks this will complete the welsh dresser look.

Des the Decorator (DTD) thinks dark would be overkill and the contrasting light paint colour of the walls, doors and woodwork would be a more sophisticated option.

I know, I know, it's MY kitchen, I'm supposed to be the interior expert around here, what do I think? The trouble is my brain has turned to mush. I mean, seriously, I stood still in Sainsbury's for a full 5 minutes yesterday, a box of Cadburys Heros in one hand and a box of Lindor truffles in the other. Sophisticated or popular, sophisticated or popular? I just couldn't find it in me to make the call and had to put them both down. I kid you not. I couldn't choose a bloody box of chocolates, can I be trusted with paint? 

So, HCA and DTD had the brilliant idea of asking you guys.

"Get it on the blog!" they hollered, nearly wetting their overalls at the preposterous idea that My House Candy may offer a serious solution to an actual workman's quibble. 

"Brilliant idea." I agreed. I mean, you guys have never let me down before, have you?

So PLEASE let me know what you think, either here or on my Instagram or Facebook pages. I would love to see a #Andy for dark shelves and a #Des for light. Here's another look at the room from head on. 

shelves x2.JPG

Any other pearls of decorating wisdom here would also be gratefully received.

Over to you!

Claire xx


The No-brainer BOGOF Bar Stools

Day Eighteen

Jeez, bar stools are expensive aren't they? I need four and hadn't planned on this being a big budget allocation. Doh! I trawled the internet but every modern rustic style I liked cost upwards of £100. Then I stumbled upon these from Next that also cost £100, but for a PAIR.

Hudson Bar stools £99, per pair www.next.co.uk

Hudson Bar stools £99, per pair www.next.co.uk

In House Candy Maths that means they are buy one get one free or BOGOF - always a welcome turn of phrase at this time of year. 

I'll let you know if they are actually a bargain, or whether I should have saved harder when they arrive on Friday. It will be House Candy Andy's last day at work and I'm anticipating me and him perching on a pair of these for a well-earned beer before he clocks off for Christmas. That's if he hasn't told me to BOGOF of course. Also a strong possibility.

Claire x

The annual Christmas Card Conundrum, solved

Day Seventeen

Is anyone bothering with cards this year? There seems to be a general loathing of them. The joy of spreading Christmas cheer via the post box appears to have turned into a chore we could do without. I bought mine in November with the aim of being super organised. Needless to say they are still in the box. At this stage of the game I thought it wise to invest in Nickie Kelly's festive poster instead. Does it still count as a greeting if I send you a screenshot?

A bit of friendly festive filth £7.50 by www.nickiekelly.com

A bit of friendly festive filth £7.50 by www.nickiekelly.com

Displaying Christmas cards is always a bit of a pain tho isn't it? I do love getting them and if there's a letter or photo inside then that's extra nice, but please don't be offended if I don't blue-tack them to my new walls. Poor Des the singing/dancing decorator would never forgive me. Here he is tending to his covings again. What do you think to the dark panelled wall that happened yesterday? I can't get a lot done because I keep having to break off to go and look at it in a different light.

Panelled wall colour matched to Magnet's Newbury Midnight kitchen. Railings by Farrow and Ball is similar.  

Panelled wall colour matched to Magnet's Newbury Midnight kitchen. Railings by Farrow and Ball is similar.  

Hope all your final prep is in place. There's still a whopping great to-do list here but I'm looking forward to opening the doors of The Love Cafe for the first time on Thursday when my mates are coming round for mulled wine. I'm sure the kitchen will look great, but there's a good chance I'll be looking something like this:

Bad Santa print now £6.99 www.nickiekelly.com

Bad Santa print now £6.99 www.nickiekelly.com

Thank you for all your comments and messages throughout the advent posts. Here goes for the final push.

Claire x

The special love cafe where amazing things will happen!

Day Sixteen

Phew! I haven't stopped all day and I suspect the same goes for you. Mums at Christmas ... we are just something else aren't we? How we multitask, how we rise to the challenges set by Santa who promises SO much and delivers ...  Hmmm, about that.

In between finishing off the shopping and breaking the back of the wrapping I went to pick up my framing. I took all the posters that were in my old kitchen to be re-framed. Excessive you might think, but not if you consider I'd picked them all up from second-hand shops and either the frames were falling to bits or I'd just shoved them into the nearest match shop bought frame with their dog-eared edges still perfectly intact, it kind of needed to happen.

The framer is one of those masters of his craft. He can match a mount at ten paces this guy. What could have been a terribly lengthy process of deciding on which mounts and frames went with which pictures, actually took about half an hour. The actual framing itself must have taken him hours, but his time and expertise has certainly paid off.

Here's my soon-to-be-gallery wall unwrapped and laid out on the light flooded floor of The Special Love Cafe, where Amazing Things will Happen...

Love Cafe.JPG

I KNOW!!!!!!

That is the message it spelt out when I laid it all out on the floor! And so despite my sore feet and my paper cut hands, now I do believe in Santa, I do, I do, I do. 

Claire xx



Time to fluff the tail feathers

Day Fifteen

It's Mad Friday (one of them anyway) which feels like the perfect day to mount a blush velvet swan head wearing a pink glitter crown on the living room wall. Natch.

Swan head wall decoration from www.outhereinteriors.com

Swan head wall decoration from www.outhereinteriors.com

Swans are my Christmas theme this year, I like a theme, do you? All that looking graceful on top and paddling like a mad thing below surface - we've covered that already haven't we? But also there's the ugly duckling emerging into the beautiful swan message that they represent. And with all the progress that's happened this week in the kitchen extension that's exactly how it feels.

There's actually a bit of a party atmosphere on site at the moment. Christmas FM is on constant. The tin of Quality Street has been cracked open and Des the Decorator is pelting out Fairytale of New York from up on his painting platform.

The Bells are ringing out for Cornforth White

The Bells are ringing out for Cornforth White

Once everybody clocked off tonight I even cracked open the Prosecco and assumed the position of leaning on the island unit, glass in hand. It feels like a party kitchen already and I feel sure it's going to see some happy family memories being made over the coming years. Plenty of feathers fluffed and no doubt a good few spat as well. 

Swan head from www.outthereinteriors.com

Enjoy your parties, people. 

Claire x