Merry Christmas from JP’s Life and Loves

Five more sleeps till Santa hopefully comes down my chimney! Who’s ready? Very much hoping a vacuum or a security system isn’t in his sack this year, ouch! What a crazy year it’s been! 2021 has been a year that we certainly will all remember, although some of us may want to forget it as quickly as possible. It’s not all been bad though. One of the things that has come out of it for me is the lesson to treasure every moment. None of us ever know what is around the corner. Wishing away time never makes sense in my book. Finding a little slice of joy in every day is so important. I know it’s hard though. I thought I’d give a little round up of what 2021 meant to us, both in real life and on JP’s Life and Loves. I’ve also listed some exciting plans for the year ahead.

Our 2021

Our year began with a continuation of the property search, which started when we sold our home back in September 2020. We moved into a small rented house in Emsworth, Hampshire, while we waited for the perfect home. If you’re interested in why we moved and how the first lockdown changed our lives forever, then click here.

We saw so many properties and were under offer on two before the Christmas lockdown. The first one would not have been right at all, even though it would have helped our budget enormously. The second was a pretty period home with expansive views of the harbour, but it needed total renovation and was grade II listed. After much consideration, we decided it was too much to take on, particularly with the deckhouse renovations starting at the same time. We pulled out of that purchase just after Christmas.

A month or so later, we thought we’d found the right one again. It would be a house that we would transform into a New England style weatherboard home. However, we ended up being gazumped (when someone steals a sale from you after contracts have been agreed) on the day of exchange of contracts. We were back to square one by February and also just about to start the renovations at our holiday home @theharbourdeckhouse

The Victorian House

In late February we went to view a Victorian Gothic house, slightly further out of the village than we wanted to be. It had the best architectural bones of all the houses we had seen, incredible stained glass windows, original marble fireplaces, huge ceilings and the all important perfect place for a Christmas tree! It also boasted a large walled garden and faced west south west, so perfect for a gardener like me.

The house needed a lot of work, but essentially didn’t need to be extended or transformed into something else. The work would mainly consist of moving door openings, changing room roles, replacing a conservatory, redecorating and then fitting a new kitchen and bathrooms. The garden would require a complete overhaul and re-design too.

We completed on the purchase of the house in June of 2021 when we were about three quarters of the way through the renovations at the deckhouse. We moved from our rental property on the same day that the new balcony was being added to the deckhouse. It was an incredibly stressful time. So much so that we didn’t actually move in to our new home until the very end of July.

The Deckhouse and a Summer of DIY

The race was on to get everything ready at our holiday home to be able to rent it out to our first guests who were arriving on 2nd August. We just about managed it! The plan was that I would run the place and be everything from chambermaid, cleaner, marketing team and finance director. It was so much more work than I could have possibly imagined and now that we are closed for Christmas, I can’t tell you how much we need the break!

Other than the day to day running of the deckhouse, the summer was supposed to be spent recuperating. However, there was a huge amount of work that needed to be done immediately at our new home. One of the downsides of working with brands on Instagram (there are many upsides and believe me, I’m grateful) is that they have deadlines. So, more often than not, work needs to be done in your home when they want it, rather than when you can fit it in. The living room, the main guest bedroom and the entrance hall all needed to be redecorated asap. On the other hand though, having those deadlines does give you the impetus to get the job done faster than you usually would.

Unfortunately, we were let down by our builders. So, the structural work that needed to be done before redecorating didn’t happen. This means that in 2022 a lot of the decorating I did will have to be redone once those works are finally carried out. What can you do?

Awards for JP’s Life and Loves

During all of this, Mr C still managed a very full time job and I still wrote a blog post almost every Sunday and posted practically every day on Instagram. My reward came in September when I won Best Written Blog and the Blogger’s Choice Award at the Amara Living Interior Blog Awards 2021. It was truly the highlight of my year and actually made me very emotional. I had never won anything in my life other than the egg and spoon race at school.

As 2021 draws to a close with as much uncertainty as 2020 did, I for one am seriously hoping that the new year will bring some clarity. Hopefully, the world can get a grip on coronavirus and we can all start to hope and dream and live our lives they way we want to again. I’m excited about the new year as we plan to get as much done as we possibly can at the Victorian house. The idea is that by 2023 we can just enjoy living in the house and garden, without having to constantly think about jobs that need doing. Life is short, right?

Plans for Next Year

Plans for next year include:

  1. Creating a French door entrance to the living room from the entrance hall and blocking up the old door.
  2. Blocking up a door to the dining room and then a new entrance into what will become a large kitchen/diner. This will create a view from the front door, through the kitchen to the garden beyond.
  3. Building a new kitchen in the room that is currently off the dining room.
  4. Re-designing and re-building the conservatory.
  5. Turning the current kitchen into a study at the end, plus a downstairs toilet/boot room and a utility/prep area.
  6. Creating a new doorway from the master bedroom to a smaller bedroom next to it.
  7. Turning that smaller bedroom into an en suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe.
  8. Renovating the two guest bathrooms.
  9. Replacing all the gutters and sanding and repainting all the barge boards, soffits and facias.
  10. Re-designing the garden, adding a summerhouse, deck area and flower borders and trees. I’m secretly hoping for another splash pool!
  11. Panelling the staircase, redecorating and adding a stair runner.
  12. Insulating the loft spaces and then adding weatherboards on the ceilings instead of plastering.
  13. Give the front drive some curb appeal – plans to be revealed!

So, as you can see, there is quite a lot to do! Will we get it all done? Who knows? But, we are certainly going to try! I think 2022 just might end up being busier than 2021. That leaves me with one last thing to say. Thank you all for being so incredibly supportive, for clicking that link every Sunday and bothering to read my musings and interior and garden shenanigans. You are all the absolute best! Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a healthy and hopeful new year. Love Jp xxx

JP Clark signature


  1. Vickey Young
    December 20, 2021 / 8:23 am

    Love todays blog JP and thank you for taking the time to write it for us all. I can’t wait to see what you do next year with your “to do” list and really do hope you get to achieve it all but stay sane and enjoy life along the way, dreaded Covid permitting!
    So, have a lovely Christmas, enjoy the rest, and may I wish you and Mr C all the very best for the New Year. Xx
    Love Vickey
    aka Flossey56

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:22 pm

      Ah Vickey, thank you so much and sorry for the late reply! You are very kind. There’s a lot to do this year, but I’m going to try and make it all fun. Xx

  2. Irene
    December 20, 2021 / 8:44 am

    Your blogs are inspiring and I wish you every success for 2022 May it be all you wish for. Have a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2022. xx

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:21 pm

      You are so kind Irene, thank you and a happy new year!

  3. Anne
    December 20, 2021 / 8:47 am

    Lovely article and really looking forward to seeing your renovation journey unfold. Happy Christmas to yourself and Mr C.

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:21 pm

      Happy very belated Christmas and a very happy new year to you and yours. Xx

  4. kelly
    December 20, 2021 / 9:03 am

    I really love they way you write your blog posts, it’s like your reading a fascinating story out loud. Anyway let’s hope 2022 brings lots of hope and positivity to us all. Have an amazing Christmas and New Year JP, you deserve it. Xxx

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:20 pm

      Kelly thank you so so much my darling. Xx

  5. Lynda
    December 20, 2021 / 9:48 am

    My goodness what a lot of work you have done and still to do! Hats off you, amazing transformations and look forward to following the progress. Hope you have a lovely relaxing Christmas with lots of Bailey’s and Fizz.

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:19 pm

      Thank you so so much and sorry for the late reply. Xx

  6. Caroline Bayly
    December 20, 2021 / 9:58 am

    Have a relaxing Christmas JP and hubby you have kept me amused and amazed throughout the year you haven’t stopped and it’s all good 😍

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:19 pm

      Late replying, but happy to new year to you and thank you for your support. Xx

  7. Marion Cole
    December 20, 2021 / 10:02 am

    You’ve achieved a miracle JP. Enjoy this Christmas in the VDH – have a wonderful time, you deserve a rest. Much love,
    Marion and David

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:18 pm

      Happy new year to you and David. Xxx

  8. Marion Cole
    December 20, 2021 / 10:03 am

    You’ve achieved a miracle JP. Enjoy a relaxed Christmas in the VDH – you deserve a rest. Much love,
    Marion and David

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:18 pm

      Marion I miss you so much darling. Thank you for continuing to follow my journey when most did not. Xx

  9. Susan
    December 20, 2021 / 10:54 am

    Just wanted to wish you both happy Xmas and happy new year. Always enjoy your blogs and insta. Much fun and inspo. So thank you x

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:17 pm

      Thank you Susan, sorry I’m a bit late in replying, but I wish you the best of health and happiness for 2022.

  10. Chriss
    December 20, 2021 / 1:50 pm

    Aloha JP!
    Your summary blog for the last couple of years during the pandemic is very enlightening and best of all inspiring. Sometimes Instagram accounts come off as fantasy land and days of wine and roses…you have always tried to keep real, and of course fun even during your own personal struggles. It is after all what each person makes of the good and the bad situations in their life isn’t it?!?!? You my friend have a wonderful attitude you make poop 💩 into compost 🌱in the garden of life! Sounds corny, but that’s how I think of you my lovely!!!
    I can’t wait to follow along with the sequels of your stories and blogs in the coming months and years. Happy New Year!!! 😘👍🏼

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:16 pm

      Chriss, you are the sweetest person and I am so grateful to have someone such as you being so supportive. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Xx

  11. December 20, 2021 / 2:37 pm

    Dear JP,
    I can’t tell you how much pleasure your blog (and IG posts) have brought me, even from the days of My Gay Best Friend…Your relentless positivity is a real inspiration, along with your sweet spirit and sense of fun that comes out in every photo and post. Your design genius and practical advice is a real plus, too. My husband pours over your design posts as he renovates a 1920’s property in town. I was so delighted with your richly-deserved award and recognition. This 2021 recap left me needing a strong cup of tea – what a whirlwind! I can’t wait to follow along with that ambitious list for the coming year. I wish you and Mr. C a joyous, healthy and happy Christmas and New Year!

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:14 pm

      Mary you are so incredibly lovely. Thank you and thank you for being so supportive of the work I do. Xx

  12. Judith Last
    December 21, 2021 / 10:07 am

    We can see through to the garden from the front door; such a small thing, but so uplifting every time you come into the house. All too easy to underestimate the impact of something so simple.

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:12 pm

      You are exactly right! Xxx

  13. Frances
    December 22, 2021 / 3:36 pm

    Happy Christmas to you and your hubby. Your Instagram account has kept me laughing and sane throughout the year. Thank you.

    • JP Clark
      January 9, 2022 / 4:11 pm

      You are so lovely, thank you xx

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