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 



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