The spare room glam-over with no spare cash

One thing I love about my house is the enormous attic space. It was where the maids slept in the 1880s, the soldiers hid in the 1940s and the politician's *insert imagination* in the swinging sixties. In this millennium it has mostly been a dumping ground.

But not any more.


This week I needed the spare room to look special because my friend was coming to stay.  Not that I need to impress my friend. Xena stays regularly and takes me as she finds me. On this occasion she found me stressy and a bit shrivelled, but that's another story.

No, I wanted the attic guest space to look swish, because apart from having somewhere nice to sleep and a mate to laugh with, this was otherwise going to be a shit week for Xena.

Xena's mum, the one that used to let us have parties in the cellar, the one who'd let us scribble the names of boys we fancied on the bedroom walls, the one who always had long, blonde hippy hair when the other mums had short tight perms.... Xena's mum has Alzheimers. This week we've had the heartbreaking task of finding her a specialist care home at only 66.  

In the grand scheme of things, interior design doesn't matter. But when life sucks, I like to think it can at least be a tonic. I figured that if making my attic guest room all pretty and glamorous could, in some small way, lift the pain for Xena this week then it was totally worth a try.

Now I have lots of plans for this room, involving beautiful new wallpaper by Common Room and a stack of new bedding by The White Company. But I had neither the time, nor the funds to employ a full on makeover in time for my guest's arrival. Instead I needed to get creative with a vintage glam update that is pretty and cosy enough to detract from any crumby decorating choices that I'm stuck with for now.

If you've got a spare room to get guest ready, but no spare cash for a modern makeover, piling on the vintage glamour is a great way to get that boutique hotel feel on a budget.

I raided the rest of the house of accessories to glam-up the attic bedroom for the week and employed some simple vintage styling tricks:  

1) Layering

Layering is the key to cool vintage styling. I decided on a blush pink and gold theme and threw together all the rugs, throws and cushions I had around the house that fell within this colour palette. if you like this look try and mix different textures for maximum impact. Silk and faux fur are a match made in vintage style heaven.

The shaggy pink rug was a second hand market find for about £8 but the Rug Seller has a similar one here.

As I live in a lofty Victorian house we have a lot of throws about the place to snuggle up in on the sofa. I borrowed a few of them for this room including two from TK Maxx - One of the best places (apart from second hand shops) to pick up low cost luxe accessories. This grey bobble knit throw for example has £70 off the RRP.

Grey bobble Paoletti throw £39.99  TK Maxx

Grey bobble Paoletti throw £39.99 TK Maxx

Whilst this cheap and cheerful yellow throw can't fail to brighten up a boring spare room:

Yellow and white throw £16.99  TK Maxx

Yellow and white throw £16.99 TK Maxx

2) Frames

I have a ridiculous collection of redundant gilt edge picture frames lying about the house but I can't tell you how many times they've come in handy. Propped up on a bare wall they are great for "framing" focal points, such as the pink anglepoise lamp from Marks and Spencer.


I've also used one to hang a sparkly vintage cape on, just because it's got all that shizz going on and these magnolia walls needed all the help they could get. 

3) Fairy lights

So the rest of your house is painted all edgy and dark and the guest bedroom is a nondescript neutral with patches of match pot samples in the corner behind the door. Same. Too late to do anything about it now, the Christmas guests are on their way, so my advice is dim the lights.  

Fairy lights set a magical tone

Fairy lights set a magical tone

I suggest borrowing lamps from other rooms if it's just for a short stay/ short term fix, but if you need extras just use Christmas tree lights around a large house plant or display them in a big vase, glass bowl or bird cage. I also wrapped a set of Christmas ivy lights round the bed and the touch of green really lifted things, don't you think?

4) Storage

When it's not hosting house guests, this room is hosting boxes. I'm a loving collector more than a ruthless de-clutterer, which (roughly translated) means I keep too much shit. This shit can be beautifully disguised in gorgeous vintage trunks. Buy 'em, fill 'em stack 'em. In my opinion they are the cheapest, chicest storage solution out there.

Vintage trunks make great guest room storage

Vintage trunks make great guest room storage

5) Mirrors

I've said it before, but it's worth repeating... I love using mirrors to dress a room. Not because I like looking at myself. Quite the opposite in fact. I love they way they bounce light about and the instant glam that comes from that shiny mirrored surface. Mix old and new mirrors for full effect. I'll be looking out for more vintage dome mirrors at second hand fairs, great for a cool porthole effect above a bed.

This star mirror from Cox and Cox is a stylists dream. It's been rocking up my lounge wall above the sofa but I moved it up into the attic for my friend's visit just to give the room a little touch of luxury. You can literally put it anywhere and it looks super cool.

Brass star mirror £80 by  Cox and Cox

Brass star mirror £80 by Cox and Cox

Also, you know how I'm into subliminal messages right? Well my mate can't deal with kindness at the best of times and at this point it might just break her. This little star was my way of telling her how I felt about the way she is dealing with this situation.

So what do you think of my vintage glam attic guest room? I'd love to know your thoughts, please get in touch in the comments section, or find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Xena has returned home now and I'm supposed to be putting a lot of this stuff back in the rooms they came from but you know what... I might just have a night up her on my own first. Here's the bath that I had installed in my attic 10 years ago when I first converted it and I have never so much as dipped a toe in! A quiet soak in here is literally all I want for Christmas.

My totally impractical, secret attic bathroom

My totally impractical, secret attic bathroom

Finally, I'm sorry this post has been late in coming. I've kind of been a bit pre-occupied this week... and just so you know, next week is not looking good either. Hope you are all way more organised than me and enjoying getting into the Christmas spirit. I'm going for the winging it all the way approach. Prossecco time yet?

Claire xx












Festive Beasts and Where to Find Them

It's the office party at House Candy HQ and what a bunch of party animals we are. 

OK, truth be told it's just me and a load of animal shaped paraphernalia with ribbons round our necks, but hey, I've been to worse Christmas do's (and the obligatory mannequin challenge is going to be a breeze). 

Here's how the idea for a wilder take on trimming up came about.

Nothing I found in the pile of Christmas decorations stored up in the loft filled me with any joy this year. I took one look at all the tasteful gold baubles, the pretty, frosted white tea light holders, the au-naturel garlands bearing faux mistletoe and any festive spirit that had been there, suddenly drained away.

2016 does not feel like the year for sticking with the norm where Christmas is concerned. As Grazia so perfectly put it this week, it started with the death of David Bowie and went down hill from there. It's been a car crash on a global scale, so no wonder it needs help getting into party mode.  For me, that help has arrived in the unexpected form of a fat little penguin from TK Maxx. Mr Popper here got me thinking...

My Party Popper £8 TK Maxx

My Party Popper £8 TK Maxx

My place has turned into quite the ornamental zoo this year. No trip to the second hand market has been complete without an animal themed trophy of some sort, be it a vintage brass heron or a yellow ceramic deer head. These fellas have lifted the tone of my interior to new levels and it occurred to me that they could easily do the same thing with Christmas. 

I'm not alone in my thinking that it's the animals having all the fun this year. John Lewis clearly got the brief and its seasonal squad of trampoline-ing wildlife has captured the nation's heart.

My four legged friends (2 in some cases) can't do party tricks, but my God do they know how to rock a festive ribbon. Let me introduce them to you:

My House Candy Party Animals

1. The Horny Host

Find me at the Baaa?

Find me at the Baaa?

2). Babycham

3). The Grumpy Git Who Loves You Really

4) The Unlikely Pairing

5). Seasonal Stalkers

6). Feathered friends

"Have you seen what she's wearing?"

"Have you seen what she's wearing?"

If Christmas Party at the Zoo feels like a totally appropriate theme for your mad house, but you haven't hoarded quite as many animal themed ornaments as me over the last 12 months, worry not. Here's a roundup of some totally gift appropriate festive beasts and where to find them in time for party season. (Just don't forget the ribbon). 

1) Monkey bottle holder

2. Flamingo Wall Hanging

3. Felt tiger head

£69  Uburnara

4. Swan Vase

5. Beagle Bust

£60 Abigail Ahern at  Debenhams

£60 Abigail Ahern at Debenhams

So there, no reason for any of us to feel alone this Christmas and please, PLEASE don't keep your festive fun to yourself. Let me see what fantastic beasts are residing at your place. Share them with me on Twitter or Instagram @myhousecandy using the hashtag #housecandyparty or post a pic on my Facebook page to come and join the party.  

Have fun all!

Claire xx 



The Candy Files: Gilty as charged

What's hot, what's not and what's what at my place. This week:

House Candy = Gilt Edge

It's not just a seasonal thing, I generally love a gold trim. But recently the obsession has hit new heights as stuff with gold edges has leapt out at me from market stalls, junk shops and charity stores, inevitably finding its way into my home. 

My very gorgeous friend is coming to stay for a week soon and sadly it's under not so happy circumstances. I wanted to give her a bedroom to sleep in that will be a lovely retreat to come back to after a tough day. Without oodles to spend on a full re-decoration, I found my growing collection of gilt edge picture frames and today's new junk shop find - the £5 gilt framed dome mirror above the bed - work a treat in giving this tired attic space a new girly and glamorous update. 

I'll detail the full makeover soon, but here's how it's shaping up so far, gilt edge dome mirror newly in place (like 1 minute ago as it happens).

Fine and Candy = Gilty Pleasures

And then there are those shiny, new purchases that you know are totally seasonal. That your head says: "Yawn, another metallic festive impulse buy... These are going to look crap post Christmas"... and your heart says: "Sod it, buy them now and wear them with everything. It's fairy season." 

Gold metallic ankle boots £75  Top Shop

Gold metallic ankle boots £75 Top Shop

Candy Pandy = Guilt Ridden

Please tell me you're doing it too? You're online Christmas shopping for everyone else and suddenly the offer of all offers pops up on the leather skirt you wanted in October, AND those tuxedo trousers you fancied yourself in (although on what occasion you'd wear them you're not quite sure) and you go... wwweeelllll, they're classics .... I'll order them both and see what fits/suits me and I'll send back the other. And then they arrive and oh they fit, in fact they looks amazing. It's butter soft leather, it's the perfect edgy cut and it will save the house candy husband ALL the stress if you keep them both and call them your very special Christmas presents. And then suddenly there's an extra £200 on the credit card and you're wondering if the kid really needs an ipad mini after all.

Victor leather skirt Now £115  Plumo

Victor leather skirt Now £115 Plumo

Black Friday is coming to get you people. Shop nice.

Have you got any gilty secrets you'd like to share? Drop me a line in the comments section. I promise I won't tell Santa.

Claire x

Why I'm switching on the Marks and Spencer lights

I know its Big Switch On Week and we're all about seeing z-list celebrities give Christmas the green light. (And the red, yellow, blue, pink, purple and orange light etc.) But illuminations-wise, we really need to fast forward to January when half the bulbs have blown in those tacky flashing bells, but your new Marks and Spencer designer-look chandelier casts a million watts of class.

When BHS went into receivership this year, it left a void for staggeringly good value designer look lighting. It was Marks and Spencer I turned to to fill that gap and purchased three super stylish lights, all of which could easily be mistaken for high end brands.

This Sputnik inspired Dexter lamp caused the biggest stir on Instagram and, if I'm in the mood, I'll still let a visitor or two think it's designer.

Dexter  copper sputnik light £179 Marks and Spencer

Dexter copper sputnik light £179 Marks and Spencer

Now BHS is back with an online only offering and once again some achingly good copy cat classics. But Marks and Spencer's Spring Summer '17 homewares launch shows they are not about to be knocked off their new found lighting pedestal.

Since I haven't been asked to switch on my local Christmas lights this year (or any year for that matter) I'm consoling myself with the thought of flicking the switch on any of these faves come their release date early next year. 

Stella 4 light chandelier £125 Marks and Spencer SS17

Stella 4 light chandelier £125 Marks and Spencer SS17

Loft leaning tripod lamp £95 Marks and Spencer SS17

Loft leaning tripod lamp £95 Marks and Spencer SS17

Conran Corin 6 light candleabra £199 Marks and Spencer SS17

Conran Corin 6 light candleabra £199 Marks and Spencer SS17

Mila Chandelier £299 Marks and Spencer SS17

Mila Chandelier £299 Marks and Spencer SS17

Conran Corin table lamp £89 marks and Spencer SS17

Conran Corin table lamp £89 marks and Spencer SS17

Recently, I was lucky enough to take a peak at the full range of Spring Summer 17 homewares from Marks and Spencer and discovered a whole load of fashion led, luxed up house candy.

On-trend furniture detailing such as marble table tops and brass legs featured heavily, demonstrating how the brand has once again found form. Recent fashion collaborations have helped resurrect its pole position in our hearts as well as on our high street, and if the new homewares collection is anything to go by, Marks and Spencer appears to have flicked that interior style light ON for 2017.

Hope you're all joining in the Christmas countdown? Would you believe the boys and I found ourselves inadvertently swept up in a santa parade with a bunch of fully grown elves whilst going about our regular town centre business on Saturday? Turns out Hygge is not that big in Lapland. For these fellas, winter is just one big party.

Claire x

Next Stop Christmas

Bonfire night is so last week. I like it, don't get me wrong. I love the sparklers and the parkin and it's genuinely not until the 50th banger has gone off in my neighbourhood, sending my Lhasa Apso into yet another yapping fit, that I start looking forward to the end of bonfire night and the automatic igniting of Christmas.

But that touch paper is now lit. My thoughts have turned to locating the perfect Nordic Spruce and I do not want to see another whizzy, bangy (and please not squeely) firework until New Year.

As you may well have predicted, decorating the house for Christmas is a big deal at House Candy HQ and I'm always on the lookout for new ideas to bring the JOY.

Noel letters £60

Noel letters £60

My letter box is already heaving with the bulge of Christmas catalogues and I am eager to take a peak at what decorative treats Christmas 2016 has in store. Today's offering came from Next and it got my festive feels off to a flier. 

Every year Next delivers one or two pieces that could easily be mistaken for designer. As I thumbed through the Christmas fashion today, I couldn't help folding corners of pages bearing such high end copycats as red velvet platform ankle boots and quilted animal print handbags. Luxe winter boho was also temptingly well represented with a multi-printed tie neck dress that looks straight off the runway. It would be very easy to get distracted, but let us just focus on the homewares shall we?

Next is always one of my go-tos for a quick, on trend update that won't break the bank. This Christmas they've got all interior trend angles covered ... and then sprinkled them with glitter. Here are my favourite festive picks so far:

1) No brainer neon

Red led heart light £35

Red led heart light £35

White LED Love sign £50  Next

White LED Love sign £50 Next

Well LED lights actually but at £35 and £50 respectively, these are the perfect entry level light up signage. Agree?

2) Infinity and beyond lights

Infinity arrow light £55  Next

Infinity arrow light £55 Next

These infinity lights will be a sell out, I am sure of it. Personally I'd prefer to splash £55 on this beauty that can be used all year round than invest in the life size LED nodding reindeer that my kids are swaying towards, but hey, apparently they are the experts in this department. 

3) Gold trees

Gold tree £100  Next

Gold tree £100 Next

Gold is the new black where Christmas trees are concerned. Okay so it looks a bit like a real one in January after a month of central heating abuse, but teamed with these coloured berry LED fairy lights in an oh-so-trendy dark painted room and you've got one achingly hip bauble hanger.

Coloured berry lights £28  Next

Coloured berry lights £28 Next

4) Festive furs

Present stocking £12  Next

Present stocking £12 Next

Now I'm not one for a festive cushion. I do not have a Christmas table cloth, nor a saucy santa pinny to cook my turkey in (sigh). However, I'm strangely drawn to this blush pink faux fur velvet stocking with gold effect sequin trim. Santa come hither...

5) Christmas bunting (I know, Christmas bunting FFS!)

I almost couldn't include this on the basis of it epitomising the very category of Christmas decoration that by rights should be banned ...  and yet...

Christmas bunting £12  Next

Christmas bunting £12 Next

Pretty innit? Like it's been written with a sparkler.

So that's the seal broken. I've placed my first Xmas mail order and any minute now I'll have popped my first mince pie and choked on the stench of a cheap cinnamon infused candle. 

What catalogues have got you excited for Christmas? Do you go all out to deck the halls or does the idea of trimming up fill you with dread? Like it or not, Christmas is coming and your letter box will not let you forget it! Let me know your thoughts in the comments section, I'll crack open the mulled wine in anticipation.

Claire x





Archive by Alexa returns for Christmas

This is not a pea coat...

Templar Coat  £99 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

Templar Coat £99 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

 It's a navy blue wool mix pea coat with contrast black velvet collar and brass button detail. 

This is not a blue blouse...

The Lovell Blouse  £35 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

The Lovell Blouse £35 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

It's a powder blue, high frill collar cotton blouse with a preppy hint of suggestion.

This is not a shirt dress...

Portland dress  £45 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

Portland dress £45 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

it's a .... Oh okay, you get the drift. The second round of Archive by Alexa has dropped at Marks and Spencer and I'm Christmas advert-style excited about it. 

I know, I'm not a fashion blogger and I'm not going to pretend I know anything about the cut of the fabric on the halter neck polka dot number or any of the other pieces in this winter capsule collection for that matter. All I know is this: It's nice, affordable clobber, handpicked by Alexa Chung. That's ALEXA CHUNG btw - and she ploughed through a hundred years of Marks and Spencer designs to pick her favourites so that we could love them all over again. And I do.

I went OTT on the summer launch, but with Christmas coming it's a situation I really need to avoid this time around. Instead I want to pick just the one hero piece for prosperity and in case you're interested, I'm going for a Luxe Tux; for two reasons:

1) I wanted to introduce the term Luxe Tux. Catchy huh?

2) It's velvet (heart eyes).

Clarenden Tux £75 Archive by Alexa at Marks and Spencer

I warned you I couldn't do fashion speak. Homewares on the other hand I can talk in detail about. In fact I'm crazily excited right now because tomorrow I am visiting Marks and Spencer HQ in London to preview the Spring/Summer 17 Homewares offering. More on that amazing, pinch-myself situation later.

In the meantime, I just want to put it out there that an Archive by Alexa Homewares range would be magical. And, oh! what a coincidence, here I am living so very near Leeds and so perfectly placed to dig through the Marks and Spencer archives and help hunt out vintage house candy.  

Alexa, if you're reading, I am not an interiors blogger... I'm a vintage obsessed, self proclaimed trend spotter ... and I'm you're freakin' biggest fan!

Grab it while you can fashion fiends. Just save me a Luxe Tux will you?

Claire x

That time I was a mannequin in the new Anthropolgie store

I'm Kim Katrall - the Bloomingdales mannequin in the 1987 movie of the same name - and I'm rubbing my eyes having magically come to life in the bedding department of um, Anthropologie, Leeds. 

Zonda bedding £48 - £168  Anthropologie

Zonda bedding £48 - £168 Anthropologie

If you've seen the film, the chances are you've had the dream too? It's the one where you (the shop dummy) magically turn into human form when the shop closes at night. You have until morning to play house in those impossibly good store-styled room sets. In the case of Anthropologie, this includes my dream boho-glam eclectic living space, my ultimate Christmas table setting and a dressing room to die for. 

There are no shop assistants to tell you off for wrapping yourself up in the hand embroidered Indian bed spreads. No customers groaning when you take 10 items into the changing room. It's just you, the shop and your warped imagination.

Just me? Well look, I've waited nearly 30 years for this dream, I'm not stopping now. Here's what happens when I visit Anthropologie Leeds and go to sleep hugging my new velvet swan print lampshades:

1) Dressing up. 

There is no better shop than Anthropologie to live out my modern day flapper girl fantasies.

1920s inspired Melia evening dress £148  Anthropologie

1920s inspired Melia evening dress £148 Anthropologie

I try on at least 20 evening gowns, channeling Lady Mary meets Lady Gaga and settle on this black number with pleated lace detail. I drape 7 chunky necklaces around my neck all at once and pose in ALL of the feathered headbands. I document it all on Stories.

2) I celebrate Christmas

The Christmas table with ALL the Anthropologie trimmings

The Christmas table with ALL the Anthropologie trimmings

No actual food required at this table, washing up messes with my perfect mannequin nails. I clink gilded rim goblets with my glamorous (invisible) friends. We pull a few super swanky crackers and hand out pressies that look far too good to unwrap. Although I feel one of them and think it might be a brass fox bottle opener, so I peak.. and it is! JOY. 

Brass fox bottle opener £14  Anthropologie

Brass fox bottle opener £14 Anthropologie

3) Doodle 

Stationery goals people! I'm salivating whilst stroking leather bound journals that hold the secret to happiness.

Happiness planner £28  Anthropologie

Happiness planner £28 Anthropologie

I'm caressing pencil cases more beautiful than any handbag I've ever owned. I am pouring over calligraphy pens and sign writing manuals. I am hoping that in my next dream I turn into a double nib Le Stylo felt tip pen in pastel. I stir uncomfortably, but I'm so not ready to wake up.

Pastel pens £6  Anthropologie

Pastel pens £6 Anthropologie

4) Cushion fluffing

Have you seen that Anthropologie sofa situation on the top floor?

Anthropologie homewares, Victoria Gate Leeds.

Anthropologie homewares, Victoria Gate Leeds.

I need some time to work out why the green and grey patterned Dhurrie sofa goes with brightly coloured ikat print chairs, pink mongolian fur cushions and papier mache wall mounted zebra heads? This shizz can only work in dreams, right? And only in Anthropologie dreams for that matter.

Damn, the anxiety of it wakes me and I am back at home, in bed, still hugging my lampshades.

I'm slightly shaken but I'm OK. No one is hurt, I haven't stolen anything and I know exactly which dress I want for the Christmas party. Only the best dreams give you clarity, right?

You can try my Mannequin fantasy out if you wish, but I'd probably recommend a visit to the new Anthropologie store in Victoria Gate Leeds instead. Here you will find a fantastical lifestyle dream world all of your own. My tip? just be careful how much of it you bring home.

The velvet swan patterned lampshades that may well have made me lose my marbles. £74  Anthropologie

The velvet swan patterned lampshades that may well have made me lose my marbles. £74 Anthropologie

Happy half term all. I'm over at the seaside again doing scary cliff top walks and chips with too much salt and vinegar. It's making me realise that when you love house candy as much as me, (enough to send you slightly bonkers even), it's very, VERY good for you to get away from it all and realise that cushions and lampshades and stuff... they're not the dream; they just decorate the dream. Those dudes at Anthropologie get that too. They sell this book that may just help to cleanse my sinful shopaholic soul.

£12.99  Anthropologie

Have you been to the new Victoria Gate shopping centre yet? Leeds just gets better doesn't it? Let me know what you think below.

Claire x






Set In Stone : The Candy Files, wedding anniversary special!

What's hot, what's not and what's what at my place. This week...

House Candy = Stoneware

Denby's  best selling  Natural Canvas  stoneware. 

Denby's best selling Natural Canvas stoneware. 

I'm getting all nostalgic today because it's my wedding anniversary and 16 years since I said "I do."

These two little words have a lot to answer for when I think of all the trouble they've got me and the House Candy husband into over the years. For example:

Him: "Do you want to tell me about this stuff on the visa bill?..."

Me: (Lying) "I do".

Me: "Do you want another baby, even though the other one doesn't sleep?"

Him: (Drunk) "I do".

Both: "Do you want to buy that big, old house that we can't afford to furnish?"

One louder than the other: "I do".

I don't actually remember the happy event of going hand in hand around a department store picking things for our wedding list, but at some point, someone older and wiser than me said, "What you really need is a classic Denby dinner set that you can add to throughout your married life."

And I - being all about the autumn theme and spotting one with a leaf on the bottom, said "I do".

The Energy dish by  Denby  that fulfilled my Autumn theme criteria!

The Energy dish by Denby that fulfilled my Autumn theme criteria!

So 16 years today I became the proud owner of an 'Energy' dinner service by Denby. And whilst I'm saving all the ins and outs of why Denby still rocks for a rainier day, I wanted to use today, my wedding anniversary, to say thank you to this particular stoneware for putting up with:

  • 16 years of sub-standard meals
  • The rigours of two clumsy little boys
  • The extra large size mugs that fuelled endless 5am appointments with my insomniac eldest son. 

Now that we've been married long enough for our dinner service to go out of production, I wouldn't mind starting up a new collection. With its mellow chevron detail and misty autumn day hues, the latest Natural Canvas range is still a perfect fit with my theme. 

Do I want another cuppa? "I do". 

Natural Canvas  mugs by Denby

Natural Canvas mugs by Denby


Fine and Candy = The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses £11.99  HMV

The Stone Roses £11.99 HMV

The secret to a happy marriage is admitting when you are wrong  and husband, I hold my hands up and say I was foolish to insist we throw out all the vinyl back when we waved goodbye to your beloved 5 storey Panasonic sound system.

The Stone Roses is the soundtrack to our life together and now that I've fallen out of love with soul-less CDs and banished mobile phones for playing music, I'm slowly having to replace all the vinyl I took on secret trips to the charity shop. This album is one very apologetic anniversary present.

Happily, my love for the new Crosleys turntable in the kitchen is easing the financial pain I'm going through in HMV as I re-buy all our old songs on vinyl. For the Stone Roses fans out there, THIS piece of equipment wants to be adored.

Crosleys record player £160  Urban OUtfitters

Crosleys record player £160 Urban OUtfitters

Candy Pandy = Precious Stones

Despite 16 years of love and devotion, I appear to be missing the precious stones that are traditionally given to mark this milestone. 

Vivienne Westwood gold Topaz ear bling

Vivienne Westwood gold Topaz ear bling

Depending on which website you look at, my loyal lobes should be rocking Golden Topaz today. And what a pity, because just LOOK what fortunes they bestow upon their wearer:

"Topaz conjures up thoughts of opulence and luxury, influence and generosity, vibrancy and strength. To possess one brings true love and fidelity, friendship, and a gentle nature, bestowing the gifts of courage and wisdom, and success in all endeavors. Its energy, harnessed from the sun, transcends both time and space, and is one of the most loving, beneficial crystals one can gift."

Happy Anniversary anyway my love. Here's to many more years together (because dammit I've come this far I may as well hold out for an Emerald).

Claire x




Welcome to Leeds, John Lewis

It's happening. John Lewis is set to officially open its doors to the lovely people of Leeds tomorrow, 20th October 2016 and we're all a little bit giddy about it.

Artist impression of John Lewis in the new  Victoria Gate  shopping complex, Leeds

Artist impression of John Lewis in the new Victoria Gate shopping complex, Leeds

So giddy in fact, that at 6pm last night, a few thousand of us formed a very sophisticated, middle class queue at the foot of the impressive new Victoria Gate shopping complex for an exclusive card holder preview evening.

At 6.05pm, we elbowed each other out of the way to get to the free fizz and canapes and, fuelled with bubbles and bitesize salmon en croute, we lapped up 4 floors of the kind of fabulousness John Lewis is famous for.

Regular readers might not have me down as a John Lewis girl. This is not the place to pick up a neon pink sideboard, I'll give you that. But there is a sensible side to me you know? With John Lewis, I know I'm going to get great quality and value for money. And I know I speak on behalf of my fellow Yorkshire folk when I say, we're bang up for that.

John Lewis is somewhere I head to for products I know are going to live up to their hype. And thanks to its unbeatable list of design collaborators, it is now, more than ever, on my go-to list for affordable, on trend house candy.

Here's a few of my favourite John Lewis homewares available on line and at the shiny new Victoria Gate store in Leeds:

1. Content by Conran coffee and side table set

Black enamel coffee table and 2 side tables £599  John Lewis

Black enamel coffee table and 2 side tables £599 John Lewis

2. Brushed Brass Flos IC Lights

Flos IC wall lights £260  John Lewis

Flos IC wall lights £260 John Lewis

3. West Elm Bar Cart

Brass bar cart £339  John Lewis

Brass bar cart £339 John Lewis

3. Joules Tableware

Joules dog plates and mugs from £9.95  John Lewis

Joules dog plates and mugs from £9.95 John Lewis

On Air light box £75  John Lewis

On Air light box £75 John Lewis

So I know you're all desperate to know what classic homeware items made it back to House Candy HQ?

Flamingo snow globe £15  John Lewis

Flamingo snow globe £15 John Lewis

Never knowingly Undersold, that's me. 

Welcome to West Yorkshire John Lewis, it's about time too. Doors open Thursday 20th October. Happy shopping all,

Claire x





Julius Sieze Her - Grab the designer dining chair that nails ALL the trends

Whoever said money can't buy class hasn't seen the Julius dining chair, designed in Portugal and available exclusively from Open Plan Living 

I don't feature designer furniture much on My House Candy, mainly because I can't afford it. But I do recognise that there are some designer items, Iike a classic Chanel tweed jacket for example, that have a game changing air of luxury about them. And they throw common sense out of the window. 

Pink velvet, gold framed Julius chair from Open Plan Living

Pink velvet, gold framed Julius chair from Open Plan Living

Now this stunning gold framed dining chair, upholstered in finest blush pink velvet, costs twice as much as my dining table, so I can't just go waving an excitable Visa card at it can I?

Let's take a good hard look at the budget.

My fashion friends go by the cost per wear rule. Well, if I own this chair for the next 40 years and sit on it every evening, it costs me just 0.12p per day. *Note to enquire about instalments*

But there's extra value for money in this chair which you are forgiven for having overlooked. See, this chair nails five must have interior trends in one canny, pretty-in-pink package. That's FIVE for the price of one people, count 'em:

1) Pink - the perfect shade of sorbet pink to satisfy all of my cravings

2) Gold - the new brass and forever my favourite precious metal (See wedding ring for details) 

3) Velvet - Go on admit it, it's got its plush little paws into you too?

4) Glamorous Gatsby - He had me at hello. No, actually before then when I first encountered the dashing self made millionaire in the F Scott Fitzgerald novel and decided glamorous 1920s Long Island is where my heart belongs. These days high glamour art deco-dence is a major interiors crush that shows no signs of slowing.

5) Miami - The South Beach vibe that's predicted to be big for 2017; fun, retro, kitsch, Ken and Barbie.... I'm almost there, I just need a couple more flamingos. 

So there you go. Not only is she extremely beautiful, but the Julius chair is also a hard working little doll, who definitely deserves a seat at my table.

Julius chair looking lovely from all angles

Julius chair looking lovely from all angles

In all seriousness, I've been googling deco style metal framed dining chairs for a while now and vintage ones rarely come up for sale in Britain. If they do, they are likely to need a professional upholstery job, so this is not an item you are ever going to get on the super cheap. 

Beautiful Julius has given a thrift lover like me a taste of the finer things in life and that's the thing about designer goods isn't it?  You see, all these junk shop finds, painted up-cycles, high street copycats that I covet - they have all helped give my home its lovely, down to Earth personality. But this chair has made me realise it could do with an out and out star of the show too.

Open Plan Living is an innovative brand, bringing cutting edge Portugese design to the UK. Its unique portfolio of products can be made to order in bespoke size, colour and fabric preferences, making it a favourite with interior designers whose clients demand something a little more exclusive than you can find on the high street.

However, this is a name for the likes of you and I to keep in our little black books too. Within their range of furniture and accessories, there are some prize pieces that compare favourably in price with well known furniture brands and have the extra benefit of being handmade to exceptional quality standards.

Some people buy diamonds and pearls to feel like a Princess. Personally, I'd go all out for the throne.

Julius Chair £1,863.00 Open Plan Living

Julius Chair £1,863.00 Open Plan Living

What do you think? Have you got a piece of furniture that has lives up to its designer price tag? Let me know below, it will seriously help me justify this to the House Candy Benevolent Fund.

Claire x