I turned my home into gingerbread house, reveals TANITH CAREY

I turned my home into gingerbread house, reveals TANITH CAREY

  • Tanith Carey lives with husband Anthony and two daughters, Lily, 19 and Clio, 15
  • The family converted their Edwardian London terrace into a gingerbread house
  • Here, Tanith reveals her own how-to guide and where to buy the same products 

Dripping white icing, traditional boiled sweeties, lickable lollipops and perfectly browned gingerbread men.

I’ve got all the ingredients I need for a spectacular gingerbread house. Only this one isn’t a few inches in size — it’s how I am decorating my home this Christmas.

Madness? Perhaps. But throughout the darkest days of the pandemic, Christmas has shone like a sparkling beacon on the horizon.

Research shows more than half of families are hoping to make the smaller festive celebrations they have more special than ever.

Tanith Carey (pictured) lives with husband Anthony and two daughters, Lily, 19 and Clio, 15, and, this year, the family converted their Edwardian London terrace into a gingerbread house

And it seems one of the most on-trend ways to do that is via gingerbread. There are more than 1.4 million posts of gingerbread houses on Instagram this year, and gingerbread is now overtaking Christmas cake as Britain’s favourite bake, according to the Lakeland trends report.

I’m having a quiet Christmas with my husband Anthony and two daughters, Lily, 19 and Clio, 15. But I’d like to sprinkle some extra Christmas spirit over our celebrations.

Having seen some examples online of American houses decorated like gingerbread houses, I decided to give it a try — with a little help from theatre set designer Jack Valentine.

‘While people do love their sparkly lights, gingerbread is a lovely step back from some of the neon we are seeing so much of,’ he says.

Jack believes any home can be made a gingerbread house — and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Here’s how we did it in a day…

To make the windows ‘pop’ after dark, Tanith (pictured) taped lights round the edges as well as inside

CANDY CANES SET THE TONE

At a glance, my Edwardian London terrace doesn’t look like fairytale material. But it has features we can work with, like the front door and window pillars.

Jack suggests candy cane-style stripes with red gaffer tape. It’s just £6 online for 50m and should come off without the paint, but you might want to test it first.

We have to keep the lines the same distance apart. Cut a piece of card to the width you want, then use it as a guide.

For the gate, we use another gaffer tape already in a red and white stripe (£11.45 for 50m) and run it up each pole. Then we secure our own red-ribbon bows to the spikes with cable ties.

ICING YOU’LL WANT TO EAT

One of a gingerbread house’s iconic touches is plenty of icing to hold it together — and double up as snow. We used a glitter icicle fringe decoration (£5.99 for two metres), which we attached to the sills to look like dripping icing.

To make the windows pop after dark, we taped lights round the edges and also inside.

For the gate, Tanith used gaffer tape already in a red and white stripe (£11.45 for 50m) and run it up each pole

A DASH OF SOMETHING SWEET

The sweets on the original gingerbread houses are usually arranged in symmetrical lines.

I will need vintage sweets, lollipops, candy canes and gingerbread men.

A company on craft website Etsy called The Prop Factory handmakes giant versions of these out of recycled materials, including giant Humbugs and raspberry swirls, made out of a light wood, in sets of four (£22 each, etsy.com).

Jack points out you could make your own sweet decorations out of plastic-coated paper plates glued together and stuck to the wall using double sided exterior tape.

The two 100 cm candy canes I bought from The Prop Factory were £16 each, but you can also buy cheaper blow-up 88 cm versions for around £7.99 for five.

When it came to the upper storeys, we stuck red peppermint decal (or transfer) stickers, £8 for eight, on the windows.

SCRUMPTIOUS FINISHING TOUCHES

We covered our front bush with three blankets of fake snow (£9.99 for 5m), then inserted giant lollipops — under a pound each online — and wired more vintage sweets on top.

On the front wall, we stuck more swirly mint stickers, and candy canes to make a heart.

Even before the house was finished, children were stopping in their tracks. ‘Look mummy, it’s so bootiful,’ said one little boy, aged about three, as he stared from across the road.

One message in the neighbourhood WhatsApp group from a woman I’d never met before really made me smile. She said: ‘It’s the happiest most delicious house ever! What a gorgeous thing to do — just magical.’

All products available from propfactory.co.uk or amazon.co.uk

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