Christmas with Nicole Sealey
- Credit: Archant
Real Housewife of Cheshire Nicole Sealey creates a fabulous festive wonderland in her Wilmslow home
Junior, the chug, and Glenn, a maltypoo, are dressed to the nines in matching dinner jackets. Nicole and Joe Sealey’s Wilmslow home is decorated to match, in a dazzle of silver and white, ready for Christmas.
“Nicole is massive on Christmas,” Joe says. “The whole house gets filled with décor and with people. We had 35 for Christmas Day one year, and I didn’t know three of them.”
Nicole made her debut on Real Housewives of Cheshire earlier this year, although the hugely successful businesswoman is in fact an import from Essex. She is currently filming her second series and has garnered an enthusiastic following, including more than 33,000 followers on Instagram.
The couple have similarly taken Cheshire to their hearts and love entertaining. “We always have a gift to open on Christmas Eve – pyjamas – which we change into and then chill out the rest of the evening,” Nicole says. “On Christmas Day we do a proper family breakfast and then do presents. Joe and I aren’t fussed about ‘big’ presents from each other. The best present he ever gave me was a set of foot rub vouchers, he had made himself.”
Nicole’s uses Knutsford-based The Christmas Decorators to hang her festive decorations each year, as, she says, “the service is fabulous and the staff are super professional.” The entrance to the house announces Christmas boldly, but with a restrained elegance – no scarlets and golds and trumpeting angels here. The hallway is a triumph, with garlands of green pouring down the glass balustrades, studded with silver baubles, ribbons and twinkling lights. The doorway to the kitchen is similarly garlanded, while a floor-to-ceiling tree takes pride of place on the first landing.
“We moved into this house six years ago,” she tells me, “when I decided that I didn’t want to commute up and down the country any more. Joe had moved up with our son Remi, when he was selected for the Manchester United youth team. They were renting at the time and we weren’t really looking, but I drove past this house, saw it was for sale and knew it could be just exactly what we needed.”
Nicole immediately arranged a viewing and bought the property that same weekend. She then immediately set about converting the property that was into the home that she wanted.
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“We kept the footprint, but then built around it and went up another floor. We built the pool as well, and extended the lounge and kitchen and added a utility, and went out at the front as well.”
“It was almost a total rebuild in the end,” Joe says. “When we took the roof off all the walls came down as they were wobbling so we had to rebuild them. I don’t think anything is original now except the garage.”
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Nicole undertook the project management of her home renovation herself, including sourcing the materials, personnel, furniture and lighting. It was a mammoth task, but not one we should be surprised by, after all, this is the woman who left school at 15 with no qualifications but by 19 had set up her first business, in railway personnel recruitment. Ten years later she walked away from her company, leaving it with her ex-business partner and father of her children. She then started again, with three clients and serious self-belief. She is now the CEO of three companies – NTS Premier Services, NTS Healthcare, and NTS property services, which have a multi-million-pound turnover. Joe (son of Manchester United goalkeeping legend Les Sealey), was a goalie for West Ham before injury cut short his career at the age of 21. He went on to establish himself as a sports agent, establishing his own company, One to One Management, which he sold in 2017. That this is a power couple cannot be denied.
Nicole’s work project managing the rebuild of her home and designing the bright, contemporary interiors, has resulted in precisely what she aimed for, though it’s not quite finished yet, she says.
“There are still some bits to do, like the sitting room, and I am going to rearrange the furniture in the kitchen area. We all spend so much time together in here I am going to move all the sofas down to the other end and put in a gorgeous dining table. I’ve found the one I want and it’s on its way.
“For most of the ground floor I wanted thick stone tiles,” she says. “I had them laid throughout the whole space, and then the kitchen units on top. This way, the kitchen can be redone without worrying about the floor. In the sitting room, I really wanted a poured resin floor. Usually they are only done for commercial spaces, with massive volume. I thought, surely when they do a huge space they must have some small amount left over that could do my sitting room, but I kept getting told no. I eventually found a company in Macclesfield and, after a bit of negotiation, got it done. In terms of décor, the idea was to keep it clean and simple with a little bit of an Art Deco feel. I wanted it to feel like a family home, but no clutter – I don’t like clutter. Every room is designed to have loads and loads of light, so every ground floor window is floor to ceiling.”
Perhaps the items she is most proud of is the glorious chandelier that hangs from the top floor right through to the ground floor.
“I knew exactly what kind of chandelier I wanted. I had seen them in other houses and found out where they were manufactured and went direct to get one made bespoke. It took the fitter a full week to hang it, as you have to put each crystal on separately, then lock it in place. I have enough crystals to allow it to drop all the way to the floor, which I will do now that Remi has grown up a bit and is no longer kicking a football all around the house,” she adds with a smile.
As a result of everything she learned during the build, and tapping into the feedback and questions she receives on social media, Nicole has set up her own website (nicolesealey.co.uk ) to retail home, pet, fashion and beauty products that she loves, though at this time this is still very much a work in progress - and when she will find the time between everything else I can’t imagine.
This Christmas Joe and Nicole are supporting families across the area who would otherwise struggle to celebrate, although their own Christmas may not be the same as the one when they had 35 to dinner: “That year someone asked if he could bring his dad, as he’d be by himself and then we picked up a couple of other waifs and strays. You can’t have people alone at Christmas, can you?” she says.
“We choose a local charity every year,” adds Joe. “This year it’s Rob and His Angels , which was set up by a Wilmslow man during lockdown, to help families affected by Covid. They are making up toy sacks for children and Nicole went out and bought loads of toys to contribute.”
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