Spot the difference between tongue-in-cheek chic and naff knick-knacks. And who gives a f*ck about flying ducks?!


Me, actually. I’ve always quite fancied some jolly flying ducks gliding along my hallway. Or maybe some fuchsia flamingos taking flight up the stairway.; as flamingos and other exotic birds are popular guests on lots of brilliant bright wallpapers and fabulous fabrics and it seems are currently considered more de rigueur than your run of the mill mallard or everyday puddle duck, sorry Jemima! Juxtaposition is the key to making ornithological ornaments look more ‘vintage kitsch’ than ‘retro wreckage’. These ceramic curios need to be carefully juxtaposed to your otherwise minimalist and tastefully styled hallway. Therein lies the problem. Sadly, I have no such hallway (it’s still half covered in tattered beige backing paper or peeling candy-stripe wallpaper) or indeed much minimalism in my house, which often feels as if it’s overflowing with an abundance of terrible tatt. And with this crucial element of contrast missing it’s pretty much impossible to inject some irony into your interiors by artfully displaying some more tasteful tatt.

My mostly non-minimalist hallway…a work in progress!

In the year BC* something I used to have a flashing Virgin Mary figurine on the toilet cistern somewhat inspired by my Granny’s sacred heart Jesus statue (sorry Granny-she would have been horrified by my blasphemous bric-à-brac I’m sure), which I thought was the height of tongue-in-cheek chic. Indeed, on my last visit to see my sister I noticed she had a plastic dinosaur perched perkily on the basin in her bijou Parisian apartment, which surely confers bona fide cosmopolitan trendy tatt status! However, again I realise this works to subtly bring a bit humour into one’s daily toilette because it’s the only bit of jolly Jurassic junk in their home and you don’t have the rest of the dinosaur family facing you from the floor (or indeed the whole of the animal kingdom rendered in bright and spiky plastic generally spilling out from any spare spaces) as they trip you up or puncture your feet, which I tend to find brings out mumbled expletives rather than a sardonic smile.

Whilst most of our current ‘tatt’ is child related I do have to put my hand up to claim a few items. In a nod to, or an attempt to display some awareness of, current interior design fashion I do have this gorgeously gaudy gold pineapple bottle stop. This was a thoughtful house warming gift with extra brownie points going to my friend for being doubly ironic in the trendy tatt element and in full well knowing we rarely have an unfinished bottle requiring said appliance (and if we did, obviously DH would insist on using the vacuum pump and stopper-when exactly did we become such wine wankers?)

Magic magnetic moments!

I confess a particular penchant for magnets. This isn’t a dirty little secret; I’m pretty open about it and have always had them loudly and proudly on show. Imagine my horror when we lived in a flat where the fridge was in a cupboard-why?! I immediately had to buy a magnet board (from IKEA obvs). I can’t pass these off as tongue-in-cheek chic, they’re firmly in the naff knick-knacks category…although maybe I could pull this off if I had a more Pinterest-able fridge to display them on. Oh, say for example a gorgeous retro refrigerator from Big Chill  possibly in ‘pink lemonade’, not that I’ve spent that much time browsing Pinterest porn.  Back to my extremely uncool love of magnets: They remind me of happy holidays, fantastic friends and special events as well as being very useful to pin up the bin collection dates in plain sight! My favourite magnet, seriously tough choice (angsting over this major life decision) is probably (hedging my bets here) one from Austria of a couple in traditional Alpine outfits kissing; it was from my husband, then boyfriend, for our first anniversary and it’s the best anniversary present he’s given me (hmm, possibly only anniversary present if you don’t count the card he gave me after we’d been together for 6 months complete with the heartfelt message “congratulations, you’ve passed the 6 month review”)-sentimental schmuck!

Oh I’ve totally lost the thread now, if there ever really was one. Suffice to say I’ll have to forgo the flying ducks for now and make do with the plastic bath ducks (along with rest of the plastic fantastic bath brigade). But one day, when the hallway is empty of buggies, bikes and myriad of ‘essential’ family accoutrements maybe I’ll get a few flying puddle ducks or the odd pigeon-toed parrot for a laugh!

*BC before children

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