Earlier this week I wrote my blog post for the weekend. I thought it might be prudent to type it up in advance of the Amara Living Interior Blog Awards, which were on Thursday night. I was fully expecting not to win my category: Best Written Blog. I knew I would be as deflated as a blow-up unicorn after Pride Day and wouldn’t feel like doing it.
However, in my 50th year, it looks like the gods might be finally smiling on me as I picked up not one, but two Amara Awards. Honestly, just like buses, wait around for ages, then they all come at once!
The blog post I wrote isn’t particularly fitting to mark this occasion and it does need to be recognised. Not just because of me slogging my guts out over the last two years to make a go of it, but also to thank all of you wonderful people who bother to read it every Sunday. A big hello to all my new readers and subscribers too. Your support means the world to me.
So, instead I’ve put together all my favourite snippets and quotes from the last two years, mainly the funny ones, to give new readers and idea of why they are here and what to expect. But, also just to have a published record of why I might have won the awards. Hope you give you a giggle. By the way, did I tell you I’m award-winning?Lots of love, Jp xx
First Ever Blog Post
Well hello gorgeous people and welcome to my little website and my very first blog post! Hooray and hoorah! It’s finally here. I have battled with this wretched WordPress malarkey and I have triumphed! I now know what a widget is and what plug-ins I need! I can customise my menu using my dashboard and play about with my FooGallery. I’m so down with the kids. “Yo! Check my FooGallery, bitches!” – never too old to learn darling!
My name is Jp and I’ve always loved to write. I’ve always loved to create. However, I’ve never really been overly comfortable with writing about myself. Since I started my page on Instagram however, I’ve realised you really just have to get on with it and stop caring what everyone thinks, they’re going to think it anyway. All I can do is love what I love, write about what makes me tick, what makes me giggle, what makes me swoon. I believe in trying to always be kind, but without being dull. Life is way to short not to laugh a lot!
On Small Bathtubs
Do look into space saving baths. A lot of them come as small as 1.4m in length now. I’ve even seen one that is a meter long, although I think I’d struggle to get out and don’t fancy having to call out the fire brigade to winch me like a wet seal from the tub!
I’ve always loved formal topiary, it appeals to my sense of order. There truly is nothing better than a well-trimmed bush and I’m here to show you how. I have about 46 box balls in my garden and two box spirals. I love the look of the spirals, but I would never buy them again. They are so much work and I never get them quite right. I’ve been known to take all day on them: ain’t nobody got time for that! Anyhoo, watch the video – You’ll get to see me nattering on like an old fishwife while I show you how I trim my balls! What’s not to love?
I have an unnatural love of scented candles and diffusers! There, I’ve said it. Mr C, my hubby will be secretly pleased I’m finally coming out of the candle closet. More than anything else, a good candle needs to fill the room with heady fragrance. A scented candle that doesn’t really smell is about as depressing as finding out your date for the night has a micro-penis. Not for me thank you!
On Weatherboard Homes
It all started when I was a young teenager. Channel 4 (we only had four channels in the U.K then) started airing a new television production of Anne of Green Gables. It starred the forever fabulous Megan Followes as Anne and the late Jonathan Crombie as the dreamy Gilbert Blythe.
Both characters and actors had me in a spin. I think I was going through a phase of trying not to be gay. I remember finding the telephone number for Megan Followes agent and trekking to a phone box to see if I could speak to her and tell her how much much I loved her. I recorded the series on VHS tape and watched it over and over. I adored Anne, but Gilbert had my heart.
I dreamt of living on Prince Edward Island with him. Anne could live with us too if she so wished, but she’d have to have her own room, of course! In my dreams we had a large white wooden weatherboard house with a wrap-around verandah and a seat-swing. We would sit there, Gilbert and I, sipping lemonade whilst we watched the sun go down. After many years have since passed and many a building project has taken its toll, I have my very own weatherboard home and I have my Gilbert. We sip a little more than lemonade watching the sunset though!
My Discovery Of Gardening
In 1998 I happened to meet a very lovely young man known as Mr C. We had a whirlwind romance and moved in together within three months of meeting. We lived in Fulham, London, in a three-bed terraced property with a small garden. To say the garden was ugly would be an understatement. It was about five meters wide by ten meters deep and was laid to lawn with a concrete slab path running up the centre and leading to nowhere. That path offended every creative and artistic cell within my being and its days were numbered!
One afternoon, Mr C was going out with a friend. Just before he left he casually threw away a passing comment: “We might consider getting rid of that path at some point.” Well, I was like a moth to a flame, a gannet to a tasty morsel. I don’t think you could have counted ten seconds between Mr C shutting the front door behind him and me raising the first slab! And so began my discovery of the joys of gardening.
On New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve 2019. Key West. I’m on a overly-crowded balcony surrounded by hundreds of slightly sozzled party revellers bringing in the New Year in style. In front of me is a 6ft 4’ Geisha style drag queen by the name of Sushi. She’s actually about 5ft 10’ out of heels. Sushi is climbing into a giant red ruby slipper, which will be lowered from the balcony at the stroke of midnight. She’ll be waving with one hand and holding on for dear life with the other, hoping not to repeat the disaster of a previous year when she fell out. It wasn’t in the slightest bit funny, nope you didn’t see me laughing so hard I could barely breathe! This is how they do things in Margaritaville.
On Our First Home
We met in 1998 and yes I’m very aware that some of you reading this weren’t born then! Bragging is such a vulgar quality! Our eyes met and we fell in lurve just as my now husband was buying his new home in Fulham, London. It was less than three months before I gave up my rented flat in St. John’s Wood and moved in with him. Within days I was dreaming of the things I could do with paint!
The Garden Landscapers
A highly skilled and extraordinarily good looking hunk of a man did all the chainsaw work on the sleepers in order to create the sweeping curve on the steps that I so desperately wanted. In fact, we had five gorgeous young men working on the hard landscaping, including a Jordan, a Cameron, a Blake, a Brad and a Robbie. They were all hot as hell, it was like having our very own boy band in the garden each day. It rained most of the time and there were a few moments not dissimilar to Take That’s “Back for good” video, where they all have wet, skin hugging clothing on. Fabulous! Mr C and used to get a coffee and grab the tin of biscuits and just sit there watching, utterly transfixed.
On Moving House
Go to your alcoholic beverage area in your home. Choose your favourite wine, gin etc and make sure you have enough mixers too. Put the glasses you will need in the same box, wrapped in bubble wrap. Mark on the box on all four sides: “Emergency Alcohol”.
On Loo Roll Holders
A little note on the toilet paper holder: please make sure you buy one that actually holds it in place. There’s nothing more annoying than reaching for a sheet or two to find that the entire roll is now half way across the room. No one fancies clambering around on their hands and knees for the runaway roll like a demented Andrex puppy! While I’m there, why not make it a 21st century toilet-roll holder too? Buy one that has a little shelf for your phone? I’m not one for spending hours on the throne, but Mr C doesn’t give up anything easily and can be there for hours!
I’ve been called The Pumpkin King on more than one occasion. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but I do have a penchant for gourdgeous gourds of all varieties and I am one for styling up my home just a tad! In fact, I’m a huge fan of seasonal styling full stop, be it spring blossoms or Christmas trees. I’m pretty certain pumpkin season is my favourite though, followed very closely by Yuletide shenanigans.
I’m not a huge fan of the spooky Halloween kind of autumn styling. If you are then that’s totally fine and there’s nothing wrong with it at all, it just doesn’t dunk my biscuit, if you know what I mean? I’m much more of a harvest kinda guy. Smiley, happy, wholesome scenes. I’m all about the smiles!
I’ve really enjoyed Brad this Winter. That’s my Amaryllis, I named him Brad as the world and I were much in need of a Brad in their lives during Lockdown. He’s highly floriferous and is known for his very long stem and an oversized bloom!
On Painting Beautiful Old Furniture
Is it time dark wood made a return? I’m on a mission to make it the next big thing and save thousands of beautiful pre-loved furniture pieces from the tester pot crew!
I love Christmas. Who knew? My parents made each holiday season so special. Even though they were grown-ups they had managed to keep that child-like joy of dressing things up and making everything sparkle. The anticipation of the big day was palpable in our house and all of us joined in with the preparations. Nothing was too much, if it stood still we put tinsel and lights on it!
That over-excited exuberance and unadulterated joy has stayed with me into my adulthood and I have absolutely no time for any baa humbug grinch-like nonsense. In my house it’s go big or go home!
I’m still in shock at winning the awards. It’s going to take a while to sink in. Thank you all so much for your huge generosity of spirit and for bothering to click on that email every Sunday that arrives in your inbox. I’m truly grateful and remain always your pumpkin-faffing, tinsel-tossing, bush-trimming friend on the tinterweb.