THE GUESTS, THEY NEVER CAME

I'm obsessed with this artificial greenery. Hey monstera!

Disclaimer: I am not a big fan of the holidays. I am not filled with holiday cheer in the days leading up to Christmas or in the weird space between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. To be honest, I haven’t looked forward to Christmas since my parents decided we were old enough for them to stop pretending that Santa was real, which was quickly followed by them thinking we were old enough to stop getting Christmas presents.

And that, that was followed by “you’re old enough to cook and do dishes now”, which basically meant my sisters and cousins and I spent a considerable amount of time between the kitchen and dining room, while our folks sat and waited to be served.

I thought things would change a little once I got married. I thought we’d make up our own traditions and be the posh people who had champagne breakfasts and took cute pics in matching pyjamas, had guests over and served them stuffed turkey with cranberry sauce – and had more champagne.

Then I got knocked up before we’d had time to do those things. With babies come nannies, and with holidays go nannies. Let me tell you, nothing fills me with as much dread as being nanny-less for more than a few hours. I love my baby, deeply, I truly do, but I also love having help with her. I’m a strong, dependent mom, and I’m proud of it.

Now the other day, in anticipation of lazy days during the Christmas period, I did my balcony. In my mind, everyone would be shutting down for Christmas so everything would move slower and I’d have more time to spend there, sipping drinks and catching up with friends.

Let’s be honest: I haven’t sat there more than seven times, and only once with a friend. Turns out you don’t get a lot of time to chill when you have to run after a toddler (and work, and be a friend, sister, wife, KYM). But the few chances I’ve had to actually spend time on my balcony, I’ve really liked how it turned out. I love everything from the black and white walls to the artificial greenery to the mix of metal, glass and natural textures.

I need to hang out here more often…for real. Wacha my nanny comes back. Maybe I’ll even replace that dead branch over there.

Here’s a glimpse of some of my favourite pieces, as styled in anticipation of chilling and having guests over and after making more trips to TACC than I care to count.

The candles

I’ve never been one to say no to a good candle, and finding this baby during the annual TACC Xmas sale was another opportunity to exercise my complete lack of restraint when it comes to scented candles. I know I have more candles than I need, but that won’t stop me from buying more. That’s why I picked two. If I can’t keep them for myself, I know they make wonderful gifts. And they look great paired with other candles.

This candle looks good, it smells good (sandalwood and something heavenly), it deserves to be here

Then there’s this thing about sales that makes you buy stuff you wouldn’t normally buy – and stuff you’d buy but don’t actually need. That’s how I ended up with these black candle holders (I fell for the shape, and the black) and LED tea lights, which I used to replace the vanilla scented ones I had. Those used to end up mostly in Gong’s mouth, and I’m trying very much to keep her alive and well.

Of the two shelves I have up, this is definitely my fave

The LED tea lights came in a pack of six (I think), so I had to find ways to use more of them.

I don’t mind if Gong plays with these LED tea lights. They were cheap, and at least she can’t burn her little fingers.

The fairy lights

Speaking of sales and buying stuff you wouldn’t normally buy, I am now the owner of fairy lights. I’ve always associated them with little girls, and big girls who are into that boho-chic aesthetic. I’m neither. I’m just a big girl who saw something shiny and thought it’d look good in her daughter’s room, then changed her mind upon realising that said daughter probably wouldn’t care. Plus they look really cute in the evening.

One day, if Gong wants the fairy lights, she will have them. Maybe.

The artificial monstera plant

I’ve been wanting to be a plant-mom for a long time. One who doesn’t kill her babies. But I know that real plants require more love and attention than I’m willing to commit to, so God bless the hands that gave us artificial plants that give you all the green you crave, with none of the work. I had two of these, but I actually ended up styling a client’s home with…pause…I now have home styling clients! Anyway, I ended up styling her space with one of my plants because I couldn’t find another one of the same height, and I am committed to my cause. Guess I’ll be going back to TACC to pick another three.

All the greenery of plants, without the actual work. Such a win! The pink tiles, not so much *barf* Oh and that worn piece of furniture is an oldie I bought on the roadside years ago. It had baskets for extra bathroom storage, and has been used for everything including styling the dining area and helping painters reach my ceiling.

The textured dish

So this is not how this had been styled initially, but to be honest I was too tired to think of anything to do with it once I started taking pictures. I was fresh off an hour spent feeding Gong, and another hour spent trying to get her to take a nap. I ended up napping as well, then waking up in a panic upon realising that I needed to make dinner while she slept because take-out for four twice a day is unsustainable.

My perfect little imperfect dish with a candle that wasn’t supposed to be there

Anyway my favourite things about it are the texture, and the imperfect round shape. I’m leaning a lot towards natural textures and décor with an earthy, minimalist vibe, and I can’t wait to redo my living and dining areas to reflect this. Question is, will the black walls survive?

The gold mirrors

I’d dreamt about these mirrors for a while, fantasizing about how the gold edge would look against my black walls. But when I took them home I realised they wouldn’t work where I’d planned to install them, because the light coming in from the window would create shadows and make them quite useless. I mean, what good is a mirror if you can’t look at yourself in it right? So I decided to be that extra – and perhaps slightly immodest – babe with mirrors on the balcony, because they would make for cute pictures. Hey sexy 😉

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the vainest of them all…can you see the dead leaves in the background? Yeah…should’ve taken those out

The rugs

What better way to cover up the ugly AF, pink tiles on the balcony, than with rugs? And what better way to bring texture and warmth to the space than by layering a soft, hand-woven rug over something that feels a bit more…natural? I’m not sure whether this is sisal or jute, but I ended up buying three of them to cover as much of the floor as possible.

My initial option was to get a custom-made sisal rug, but it was going to cost me more than double the price of the three smaller rugs combined, so I was really happy to find these. Been debating whether to buy two more because there’s some space between them under the black and white rug that leaves a small depression underfoot, just to smoothen it out, but a part of me feels like I shouldn’t because nobody can see the space anyway. What to do?

I’m seriously thinking of getting a jute rug for my dining area now

Bonus: the vase

I bought this with the intention of filling it with flowers and putting it on the balcony. Then I was too lazy to actually go out and buy the flowers, so instead of letting it sit idle, I decided to put some fruit in it. Now I have a fresh centrepiece on my dining table, and an easy to grab snack, all in one. Not bad, eh?

Turn a wide-neck vase into a fruit bowl, then use it for flowers when you feel like it

Next year I’m getting a Christmas tree, just so I can have fun styling it and taking pictures. I want understated glam, like the trees at Yaya. Champagne and matching outfits will not be optional.

Also, I’d planned to share a mother’s guide to surviving the holidays without a nanny, but this post needs to end here before it becomes a dissertation. I’ll share that next. I promise.

In the meantime, happy-what’s-left-of-your-holidays, and if you’ve been having guests over or plan to do so, give them something to talk about when they see your space. Fill them with envy; let them see how good you’re living. We’re leaving modesty in 2018.

4 Comments
  1. Hey Shiro,

    There are some beautiful vase on your balcony that have artificial greenery. They have a marble/black/gold effect going on. Where did you purchase those from?
    Please keep doing what you do best because we are inspired.

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