Fun fact: I hated having guests over when I was younger. Hated it. My folks used to love hosting parties and having random people over for polite fun times that were not always polite. I remember seeing our guests’ cars parked in the estate in the early mornings and I could tell from the number of cars how lit the party was.
Then I learned how to drive and I would occasionally be asked to go “pick something from somewhere.” This “something” often turned out to be a car abandoned after a night out, and “somewhere” a friend or relative’s house, or the club. I didn’t judge them, I became like them: a responsible adult who is not afraid to have fun and make use of children to run errands the morning after.
Anyway, remember how Kobi said she had an eye? I think I also had an eye. Only, mine saw different things. It saw guests walking in and told my brain to prepare for a house in disarray (especially if they had kids – the OCD manifested young), and told my stomach to be prepared to eat a little less.
I remember my dad had this one friend who used to love dropping in on Sunday afternoons. He always seemed to be “in the area”. If I recall correctly, he had two sons. They might have been girls, but my memory says they were boys so let’s work with that. So anyway this man loved to be in our area on Sunday afternoons, with his two boys. Those boys had way too much energy for me, they tore up the house playing, and they ate our food.
Yes, I said what I said. They ate our food, and it upset me. You see I was distinguished in gluttony from a young age, excellence and all that. But I knew not to reveal the extent of my greed when visiting other people’s homes. It was reserved for our home. Still is. But those kids obviously hadn’t been taught that, and they’d rock up and dish our food. All of it.
What hurt me most was that my mom was the original throw-down queen, and these people were getting in the way of me receiving this blessing in its entirety. The woman even made ice-cream in the house, and Sunday’s were treat day. She’d make fries and burgers and sausages and upside down pineapple cake for dessert, and these guys would just show up unannounced and eat our food, and in the good dishes too, because they were wageni. We ate from the regular dishes. The ones stored in the kitchen, not the ones displayed in the wall unit.
So I grew up knowing this: that guests will show up when you least expect them, and when they do, you better show them that you’re living good through your food and general state of your house.
Maybe this explains my commitment to a clutter-free space; why I will not go to bed before arranging the throw pillows, folding the throw and straightening the tassels on the rug. It also explains why I treat myself like a welcome guest in my home every day, meaning I’ll use champagne glass to drink juice if I feel like it.
Which is why I’m partnering with TACC this holiday season (anything after November 15th is holiday season) to help you get your space right just in time to host your family, chama, and friends. You can also leave your slightly ajar to ensure that neighbour you don’t get along with gets a glimpse, so she knows you’re living good.
Where to start? I thought you’d never ask! Here are some of my top picks from this year’s TACC annual Xmas Sale, which I fully intend to bring into my home if the coins add up and allow me to shop between 24th November and 15th December:
- Decorative vases
My challenge to me is to turn a vase into a multi-use piece depending on my mood and need. Since I’m trying to learn to be content with less, I’d like to make sure I can use the stuff for more than one purpose. This means I’ll use a vase for flowers, and when I feel like it, the same vase will hold sweets, foliage or knick-knacks.
If you know me, you know I can never say no to a good candle, especially if it smells good, looks good and comes in a cute, reusable package. This one ticks all the right boxes.
- Faux plants in pretty planters
I’m a murderer, a plant killer, a flora destroyer. I have killed more than one succulent, and I don’t think I should be entrusted with caring for real plants. So because I insist that every space needs a little greenery to bring more life into it, I’m turning to faux plants. They might not bring “real life” into the room, but they’ll bring the green. I can bring the life.
I have a love affair with mirrors, but one that has been more about crushing from a distance than shacking up with them. I’d love to bring some decorative mirrors into my space, make the relationship “wall official”. So I’m on the hunt for something clean, something that looks expensive without being expensive. It it comes with a minimalist, gold border, I’m taking it.
- Glass dome and fairy lights
I saw these and thought of Gong’s room. Then I also thought to myself: “momma could use some fairy lights too”. So I’m hoping I can snatch this up and use it to decorate my balcony. If the coins stack up, I’ll get two and put one in Gong’s room.
- Storage jars
Can one ever really have enough storage jars? If you think your pantry is already sorted, then grab some to organize your counter, bed or bath. Use them for your snacks, cotton wool pads, cosmetics, brushes, or if you feel really inspired, create your own terrarium (plants in a jar, usually succulents). Don’t say I never taught you anything.
- Cocktail table and chairs
I’m blessed to have a relatively spacious kitchen, but you know what would make it really amazing? A functional yet pretty island with seating. I’d like to be able to have breakfast there and feel like I’m in a quaint café, or to have company while cooking. I hate missing the hot stories because my friends are in the living room while I cook, so having this set would make me so happy. Question is; will I swallow my fridge to make space for this? Imagine I’m willing to if it’s an option. You’ll find me measuring my floor to try and squeeze this in.
I have a confession: I had my curtains and sheers made about four years ago, and they look real cute in pictures and videos. In real life though (meaning without two filters and cleverly thought out angles), the sheers need to go. They’re old and ripped and begging to be released. And you know they’re crying loudly when even your nanny tells you “Heh, Mama Gong, hizi curtains zimeraruka, zinaleta aibu sasa.”
- Soap and hand lotion dispensers
You know what’s great for the environment? Reusable containers. I’m being influenced majorly by all this talk on sustainability and climate action and my little sister being a climate warrior, so I’m looking to buy fewer single-use plastics, and these little babies hit two good spots: reusable and pretty enough to make your guests notice that you care about your bathroom.
Top tip: instead of using these just for hand wash or hand lotion, why not pour your shower gels, shampoos and conditioners in here, and label them? Or your dishwashing liquid? You’re welcome.
- Fresh towels
I love me a warm, fresh towel in white. Makes me feel like I’m living luxe, and it brings me a little closer to being able to ignore the beige death that is my bathroom. For real, white towels make you look posh, because you know how much care goes into them. Must. Stock. Up.
- Toilet brush
Since we’re still in the bathroom, how about you get you a nice-looking toilet brush? I like the simplicity of this, so it’s going to replace those two nasty-looking commercially branded brushes I currently have. Just because it does a dirty job doesn’t mean it can’t look good doing it.
So those are my picks, what are yours? When are we going shopping? How will you style your picks? So many questions, so many possibilities, so little time!