One question I get asked a lot is “What’s your house like?” People always assume, as a stylist, that my place must be amazing. And there was a time when it was pretty cool (my old house in LA was quite wild – colourful, eclectic, cluttered with interesting stuff. Have a quick look here to see it when it was in Anthology magazine – it was bonkers! And so different from my style now). But since we moved back to London in 2011 we’ve been renting and you know how hard it can be to make a rented place your own? Especially in the UK where it’s tricky to convince your landlord to let you hang a picture, let alone paint a wall. Combine that with a general busy-ness that’s prevented me from really putting in the time, and the result was a not very exciting home.
Every time I release a new book, my publisher sends me a box of copies – six to be precise – and I treat them like gold. I usually keep a couple for myself and give the others to very close friends and family. However, with Life Unstyled – my third book – so many of my family and friends came to the launch at Anthropologie and bought their own copy that I’m left with a few spares. So rather than leave them on my (messy) bookshelves below to gather dust, I’m giving one away. To you, my lovely readers!So leave me a comment below and tell me why you need Life Unstyled on your bookshelf. Why do you think it’s the book for you, how will it change your world and inspire you? I’ll choose from the comments and get a copy to the winner in time for Christmas. Good luck!
The winner will be chosen on Wednesday December 7th so get on it people! Don’t forget to tell me where in the world you live!
I’m no Picasso or Matisse, but I do have to sketch out ideas sometimes to help a client visualise what’s in my head for a shoot. I was always artistic in school, focusing on right brain studies like art, pottery and languages as soon as I had a choice. But I was never a fine artist, unlike my brother Duncan who went to art school in New York and seems to be able to dabble in all media, but can still draw a beautifully realistic body if he has to.
My drawings are more child-like, cartoony almost, but they get the point across. I’m determined to improve my skills over the next few months as there are things I want to create, and ways I want to grow my business, that will rely on me expressing myself through drawing and design. It’s a challenge, but one I’m hoping I can rise to.
In the meantime however, the cartoonish sketches do the job. Here are a few I did for one of my clients, Primark, when planning for a homewares shoot earlier this year. After receiving their brief, I went on the hunt for a suitable location. Once confirmed, I planned each shot, deciding where in the location house it would take place, what furniture I would hire, and what product would be represented in each shot. Then I did some little doodles to present to the client, so we could all be on the same page.
Sometimes things change on the day – maybe the spot I chose to shoot doesn’t work light-wise or the photographer has a better suggestion – it’s really important to be flexible and roll with it. It is a collaboration after all, and the end goal is to make the client happy by creating the best imagery possible to sell their products. This particular shoot went pretty much according to my plan, although the location was tight and quite dark and presented various challenges. We made it work and got there in the end.
I hope you have a great weekend filled with rest, relaxation, and maybe a little sketching?
So my book came out. Did you notice? Life Unstyled in all it’s pretty printed glory is out there in bookshops, and judging by all the photos I’m being tagged in on Instagram, also in a lot of people’s homes. If you follow me on any of my social media channels, you’ll know because I’ve been talking about it ad nauseum. Trying not to be a bore about it, but then again, I worked my bum off and I’m going to talk about it for a bit! I’ve had my advance copy for a while and it’s already made its way into my styling kit, above.
The past couple of weeks have been exciting, with Life Unstyled getting lots of great press: a lovely piece in Stylist magazine; a brilliant three page article in the UK’s Metro newspaper (Life Unstyled Metro); a nice excerpt in Period Living magazine (Life Unstyled Period Living October 2016-2); a six page spread in Psychologies magazine, to name a few.
There was also a great blog tour, with some of my favourite UK bloggers reviewing the book. Here are links, in case you missed them. Makes for some good weekend reading:
The most exciting thing about seeing the press for this book is that this isn’t just a book about an interiors trend, like Modern Rustic and Bohemian Modern were. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I loved writing those books! But Life Unstyled is more about a lifestyle choice and it’s an idea I’ve been chirping on about for years, right here on this blog, starting back in about 2009. So to see in print words I wrote and ideas I came up with, is so exciting! And for people to be responding to it in the way I had hoped – saying it brings them relief to look at the images in the book, rather than making them feel bad about their less than perfect homes – well that is just bloody brilliant! That’s all I wanted. If you’ve already received your copy, tag me in a photo on Instagram – I’d love to know what’s your favourite page.
Next week I’ll share pictures from this week’s book launch and workshop at Anthropologie. It was a huge success and I had such a blast. And I’ll also be offering a giveaway of a signed copy from my personal and very prized stash of Life Unstyled. Tomorrow (yes, a Saturday post) I’m sharing how I turn my sketches into a shoot. xoxo
2016 has been a really weird year for me. Full of contradictions. My personal life has been rubbish. Worst year ever, as I mentioned in my last post. Let’s leave it at that. But my work life has been booming. (Except for June when I didn’t have a single shoot and I was thinking about a career change – dentistry perhaps?) Aside from that scary little quiet time, I’ve been so busy with making/writing the new book and styling freelance for old and new clients that I’ve barely had time to think. It’s turned out to be a life-saver in dealing with the difficult personal issues – if I’d had too much time to mull things over, I would have been even more of a mess! (That quiet time in June wasn’t too pretty).
You could argue that your personal life always affects your interiors, and you’d be right I guess. Your style goes through many stages in your adult life – college dorm rooms, your first flat shared with friends, first flat with a partner, the arrival of babies, then toddlers, then teenagers, mid-life crisis (hey, it’s a valid life stage!), retirement….
Your home has to tick a lot of different boxes during these stages. But what I’m talking about are the occasions when, seemingly out of nowhere, your interiors style does a 180 degree turn. One minute you like one thing, the next you can’t stand it. This is what’s happened to me and I have to say, it’s very weird because I barely recognize myself anymore! I’ve had a lot of change in my personal life this year and things have been quite unsettled (this is me being euphemistic). Now that the dust has settled, what has manifested is a complete change in the way I want my home to look and feel.