Aimee Horton

Glazed Over

Aug
07

I love to shop.  I am exceptionally good at it.  I caught the bug early, from a young age my pocket money was burning a hole in the pocket of my St Michael dungarees and since then, I’ve flourished.  Fast Forward was replaced with fast fashion and I’m not talking £2 bargain t-shirts, I’m talking the speed I can swipe a debit card.  But recently, I’ve glazed over.  Looking back over the past couple of months / bank statements it’s been all white.  And more often than not, animal shaped.  In no way a conscious decision, I have spent my time wearing, writing on and pouring my tea from the stuff.  I’ve developed a penchant for porcelain.

 

Now I love tea and whilst a strong Earl in a novelty mug suited me just fine, when you move in with a boy things change.  What no one tells you is that this equates to visitors.  Family visitors.  Mums and nanna’s AKA tea aficionados.  And as someone with very little ammunition in her domestic armoury, what could I do to prove my homely prowess?  I could serve a good cup of tea that’s what and no Day of the Dead pink skull mug will do.  So I did what every homemaker does, I bought a milk jug.

When I moved in, the boy white mugs matched the boy white plates so the cuppa and HobNobs had certain uniformity.  But the 4 pint of semi skimmed slung on the worktop?  Lord no.  Clearly we needed a milk jug and that was my new found domestic domain.  A chance encounter in Marks and Spencer answered all Cow Creamer callings and at an unbelievable £5, I proudly mooved him in.  The tail is a handle; the mouth is a spout and the compliments continual.  It was at this point I was lulled into a false sense of tea set security.  I thought I had it covered, until three people came for tea and the standard plopping of a teabag on the side of the sink shattered my domestic dreams.  I needed a teapot.  I looked, I scoured, I sought and what followed was one hard house decision.  Did I want an elephant teapot or a camel teapot?  Both (obviously) but I settled on the camel.  I wasn’t planning on a menagerie of tea apparatus but you can’t help who you fall in love with.  OK, so my beloved wasn’t as enamoured as I and did get the hump (boom boom!) but for £14.74 (and now an even better £9.99 in the sale) no one can really begrudge the little fella gracing their kitchen.

Now the man flat habitat of the twenty-something male is LCD, hi def and remote controlled.  A gloss black, polished walnut and Bordeaux leather backdrop doesn’t really lend itself to hearts and flowers.  This is lucky, because I’m more leopard print and camel teapots, which by the way, go superbly with a black polished satin tile.  But there was one undeniably girly touch that did manage to sneak in and quietly settle on the hardwood coffee table.  A small beacon of femininity nestling next to a slate coaster is a Ceramic Notepad in – wait for it – the shape of a heart.  Complete with a dry wipe marker that handily slides into the back of the design, everything from love notes, shopping lists and phallic doodles can adorn the porcelain.  And say you hypothetically wrote something inappropriate for say, his mum’s eyes, one swipe of the sleeve sorts it.  Write on, wipe off, done.  Clever.

It is amazing what this cohabiting lark does to you.  I’d honestly never given two hoots about anything remotely homey.  As long as the wardrobe was big enough to hide the bags and the sofa was comfy enough for the necessary dropping from shopping, I was a-ok.  Then suddenly I’m getting excited about kitchen gubbins.  But I haven’t spent the last 27 years honing these skills to ignore the habits of days past, so when cermic jewellery caught my eye, who was I to resist?  Delicate, luxurious and handcrafted, a Nymphenburg Sign Amulet is perfectly sized to be worn around the neck or the wrist.  Made from fine glazed porcelain and sterling silver, the rather small charm is a touch expensive at €79 (a little over £62) and if I hadn’t found mine in the sale at an independent jewellery store, I fear my jewellery box would have remained Nymphenburg free.  But for the bargain price of £12, I could do little to resist.  So I bought the little Libra pendant, slipped it on a delicate silver chain and wear it as a necklace.

So from nowhere came a most unexpected porcelain passion but at least I can say I am happily left with a camel in the kitchen, a heart on the table and a sign around my neck.

Prints Charming

Jul
10

Recently, I’ve moved house. More accurately, I’ve moved into a house where a boy was already living. He asked me to go and share his space and as terrifying as that thought was, I did it. Of course sacrifices had to be made, the mess, the floordrobe and the shoes littering the doorway had to go. Or so he told me. So we agreed, he’d build me wardrobes (yep, plural, that’s right) I would try to be tidier and everything would be hunky dory. Trouble was, so he thought and our friends said, it was still his space.

Yes my five car loads of clothes, holdall of jewellery and box of shoes had arrived but they were hidden by the sleek white gloss wardrobe doors that matched his sleek white gloss wardrobe doors. Look closely and you might see a lonely nail varnish peeking behind a bottle of Bud in the black (not pink) Smeg fridge but otherwise, I was a girl living in a man flat, albeit a very stylish, he-really-should-be-a-designer man flat. Within a month of ‘adjusting’ (or so we’ve termed it) he said it was now my home too and to make it our home, we should do so, together. He said it didn’t feel right that everything I was living with he’d chosen.

Now in all honestly, I was pretty content living in a high ceilinged minimalist space as it was refreshing change to the cosy beamed cottage I’d grown up in. But my girlfriends seemed disappointed that I’d not been intent on girlying it up, covering the place in hearts and putting my stamp on it. Not my style I’m afraid, in either sense. It was his flat, it was stunning and a hefty slap of Laura Ashley would not only ruin the entire aesthetic, it would also obliterate every painstaking weekend he’d spent painting, tiling, installing and building. Aaaaand possibly our relationship. However, it was his wish to make the space ours, and the more I thought about it, making a home together sounded fun. So, starting with the bedroom, I was assigned mission one, finding some wallpaper we both liked.

Now I’ve never been an interiors demon. Until 3 months ago, I’d never even heard of the concept of putting anything in your bottom drawer other than pyjamas, never mind sticking a few tea towels in there.  You would certainly never find me cooing over a cushion. It was Elle on my coffee table, Elle Decoration under the wonky leg. Each of my hard earned pennies was spent on what I wear, not homeware. So when moving in with a boy and hearing the immortal words, “let’s make this our home” the domestic switch that for the last 27 years I had sworn I was born without, was flicked. A woman possessed I trawled the internet for unusual prints, decorative designs and tactile textures to decorate a wall, not myself.

I sent him email after email; of course you can have skeletons in a bedroom, no I don’t just like it because it’s leopard print and how could you possibly not like jelly and cake? Despite my thinking we were similar in the interior taste stakes, when it came to wallpaper we were worlds apart. Or so I thought. On one of my internet trawls I came across Andrew Martin’s Colonial ‘Quilted Leather’ wallpaper. It ticked all of my wallpaper wants, it was distinctive, it wasn’t pretty, girly, or God forbid, hearts and flowers. It encompassed all of the cosiness and warmth of a comfy leather Chesterfield with a punch of cool. For him it wasn’t the skulls that I had fleetingly set my heart on, it wasn’t overtly girlish, it was ‘us’.

Knowing diddly squat about wallpaper I can only repeat what I was told about the hanging. Not the cheapest of designs granted, it is (I’m told) wider than most (I knew there was a reason I had an affinity with it) so goes much further. Despite buying two rolls, due to some clever maths and expert DIYing, one roll covered the bedroom wall. The paper is thick, reassuringly thick, soaking up the paste like thirsty parchment, which apparently is a good thing. The colour did transfer to fingers whilst it was being put up so it might not be the best of friends with a fabric headboard. Overall, it got a big thumbs up and suits the bedroom, our bedroom, perfectly.