A trip to see this hairdressing pair is always a joy – particularly if, like us, you love dogs and interior design. This time, it’s an extra special visit as they fill their home with Christmas cheer. We’re swapping tea for mulled wine as we sit down and talk dogs, designer homes and dazzling Christmas decks…
FOR US, CHRISTMAS STARTS EARLY…
M: It’s the nature of what we do in hairdressing – or in retail altogether. A lot of our clients come in at the beginning of December for their Christmas appointment, so we’ve got to make sure we’re in full festive mode.
That overflows into our home life too. We put our decorations up at the end of November.
G: The Hairdressing Awards are always at the end of November, so after that, and before we delve into the December rush, we spend a bit of time getting Christmas on the road.
M: This year, the awards will be held virtually, which we’re gutted about as we have seven nominations. But, I’m sure it will still be a big glitzy event and we are beyond thrilled about the awards and the number of nominations we have this year.
It’s a fantastic boost after such an unusual year in the salons, so we’re incredibly proud of our teams for what they have achieved.
G: I’m hopeless with technology, so let’s hope we can tune in for it!
WE BOTH LOVE THE FESTIVE SEASON…
M: This year is going to be a little bit weird because we like to entertain. We normally have the guys from work round, we’ll have a girls night with all of our friends – and we have a few family gatherings. On the Sundays leading up to Christmas, we host a massive Christmas lunch for each of our families.
G: We end up having three Christmas Days, which is nice because a lot of the time we are actually away for Christmas. We normally fly to Spain on Christmas Eve, so we like to experience Christmas with our families before we go.
WHEN IT COMES TO DECORATING, WE TEND TO GO A LITTLE BIT OVER THE TOP…
G: We’ve got so many different rooms with different styles, it’s a good opportunity to have a bit of fun with it. We don’t like glitzy stuff – we go for a more traditional feel.
We went really modern one year and it just didn’t feel right. When we first moved to this house we had a 17ft Christmas tree in the hall.
M: It sounded like a good idea at the time, but when we had to decorate it, it was like Trafalgar Square! Step ladders weren’t even a help. I had to hang off the mezzanine floor and throw stuff on. It looked magnificent, but it was hard work.
We had family and friends coming over to see the tree – it was like the Fenwick window.
G: It drank a bucket of water every day. We put it up and within two days everything started to drop, so we were freaking out because it was still November, so we did some research and found out that we had to feed it with a bucket of water every day.
AND WE’VE NOT HELD BACK WITH THE DECORATIONS THIS YEAR…
G: We’ve got a great relationship with 5th Avenue Flowers. For years now, they’ve always done the flowers for the salon. Viv, who is a good friend of ours, has always helped us out.
M: But we like to do a lot of it ourselves. We really enjoy pulling it all together.
G: I like to go out in the garden as well, a little forage to see what I can find and put a festive spin on it. The garden has been a saviour for me in lockdown, because usually I’m out showing the dogs on weekends, so I needed a new hobby.
At Christmas, I like to bring the outdoors inside – the smells are just amazing. Berries, acorns, ivy, willow – I just pick it and arrange it on the mantelpiece or the top of the piano, and it just works.
M: You can’t beat the smell of fresh flowers and greenery at Christmas – that’s why a lot of people love a real tree, and we’re with them.
PUTTING THE TREE UP IS A BIG THING IN OUR HOUSE…
M: We always like to make a day of it. We’ll get up and see to the dogs, make sure the daily routine is done, then the Christmas music comes on, we pop open a bottle of champagne and off we go.
You’ve got to make it an enjoyable experience. One year, I think I was just a bit out of practice – or maybe I was hungover – but I decorated the tree and realised I hadn’t put the lights on first. It was chaos but I refused to take everything off and start again.
G: We had one year where we had loads of teddy bears everywhere – it looked amazing, but we got up the next morning and the dog had chewed all of the bears!
M: It happened this morning. We had two teddies sitting on the piano. When I came down this morning, Angel had ripped the heads off them. How very festive!
IT WILL JUST BE THE TWO OF US THIS YEAR, WHICH WILL BE VERY STRANGE…
G: I won’t be doing anything… I just look after the drinks! Michael does the food.
M: I’m the chef of the house.
G: I once did Christmas lunch for my family. It was a disaster. I dropped the vegetables in the dog bed, I put a duck in the oven but forgot to turn it on – it was still frozen after two hours, I had no gravy – all I had was hot water and one OXO stock cube – for 10 people!
I was so stressed out I thought, ‘If anybody says anything about this gravy I’ll scream’. Nobody spoke – there was no festive cheer around the table that day!
M: That was his last attempt at Christmas Day – he was mentally scarred. Me, on the other hand, I love cooking.I like having people round for supper, I find it really therapeutic. I always say, if I hadn’t been a hairdresser I’d have liked to be a chef.
I get quite creative with it. It has just been a natural progression for me, and a decline for Gary – he used to do half the cooking when we first met, but now he doesn’t do any of it – apart from when M&S steps in!
BOXING DAY IS PARTY TIME…
M: We usually have a bit of a soirée at the house with all of our friends. I usually make a big turkey curry or a chilli – a nice, hearty one-pot dish so everyone can help themselves. That usually goes into the early hours. It’s sad that we won’t be able to do that this year.
THE DOGS’ CHRISTMAS LOOKS LIKE…
G: We had to knock the present buying on the head, as there’s so many of them now – it’s a free-for-all.
M: Clients are always really shocked when they ask me what we’ve got for the dogs and I say nothing.
G: Michael goes mad and buys things like antlers and Santa hats. On Christmas Eve, we do the rounds of all the salons with our jumpers on and a couple of dogs dressed up. It’s become a bit of a Hooker & Young tradition.
M: It all sounds very camp, because it is!
G: If we go away for Christmas our dog nanny, Ashleigh, moves in for the week and enjoys it with her friends and family. If we are home for the festivities, we give her all of Christmas off and I do the dogs while Michael does the cooking.
OUR FURRY FAMILY OF FIFTEEN INCLUDES…
G: We’ve got three Great Danes, three Bulldogs, four Italian Bolognese, three Affenpinschers and two Miniature Dachshunds – I think that’s it!
M: We’ve said ‘no more’ for thirty years and we always end up with a new addition, but we’ll see what 2021 brings. No more puppies for now, it’s so hard to let them go.
Whenever we breed dogs, we just do it because we want to, not because it’s a business. It’s different with the Great Danes because Gary shows them, so he breeds them for competitions.
G: During lockdown, one of our Italian Bolognese, Shirey, had puppies – but only because we wanted to have one of her babies. We ended up with eight! But they’re all going to people we know.
ALL IN ALL, WE JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE CHRISTMAS FEELS AS FESTIVE AND AS NORMAL AS POSSIBLE THIS YEAR…
G: We all know it’s going to look a little bit different, but in the salons – and at home – we’re just trying to do everything we can to ensure we enjoy all that Christmas brings.
M: Our Christmas appointments are filling up, and the salon is just a great place to be when everyone is winding down and waiting for the party season.
G: We just hope that continues this year, which is why we’re well on our way with the festivities.
M: Merry Christmas!
How will you be spending Christmas this year? Tag us in your pictures on Instagram, @TheLuxeMagazine.