Lately I’ve been reading about the so-called Imposter Syndrome which apparently strikes a lot of high achievers. Have you heard of it? Read this article from Forbes if you’re unsure. I’m pretty sure I’ve got this crazy self-doubter’s disease. (Not that I necessarily consider myself a high achiever. But hey maybe that’s the imposter syndrome/self-doubt speaking!) Despite working as a stylist for enough years to know what I’m doing, and having some quite high profile brands as clients, I still get that feeling of not really deserving it all, like somehow I’ve just duped everyone and I’m actually not that good after all. I often get nervous before shoots and worry that this time I’ll screw it up. This time I’ll be busted for being a fake and everyone will find out that I don’t really know what I’m doing.
Whether or not you care to admit it, the decisions you make about your home are often guided by trends. Maybe you’re not jumping on the bandwagon every time a new one comes along, but if you like to scroll through Pinterest or read interiors blogs, it becomes difficult to avoid being influenced. Most people have an interiors style they gravitate towards – rustic, traditional, scandi, bohemian, eclectic and so on – but even so, you are probably unconsciously tweaking it according to what you’re seeing in magazines, on blogs, in shops, in film and fashion.
One of the best things about my job as a stylist is that over the past few years I’ve been able to travel to so many countries and get a glimpse of different lives, different foods, different world views. Granted, I don’t always get to see much more than the hotel, hire car, shoot location, and airport, but it’s still a thrill.
Being that it’s the new year, I’ll let you in on a secret that might inspire you. I told you last time that I write down things I want to accomplish in the coming year. I don’t think of them as resolutions – there’s a stigma attached to resolutions, don’t you think? A resolution, like a rule, is crying out to be broken. I think of them instead as goals or intentions. Pretty common practice for the new year right? So for the last couple of years I definitely wrote down that I wanted to travel a lot for work. I think I even wrote down specific cities and countries. And I ended up going to most of them. I swear.
2016 is upon us and I’m revelling in the optimistic ‘I can do anything I put my mind to’ feeling that often consumes me at this time of year. I’ve spent the first few days of the year in a jet laggy fog after returning from a holiday in Los Angeles, but yesterday it was back to business and so the list writing has begun. I like to write things down. Lists, goals, ideas. It helps to make it more solid in my mind. Do you take time each year to think about what you want to achieve? I always do. I write it all out, usually on New Year’s Eve, and then tuck it away somewhere so I can pull it out the following year and see what I managed to turn into a reality.
I was recently asked to host two Christmas workshops in collaboration with my old employer Anthropologie. The first took place at the newest outpost for the members-only Soho House group, Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, which was really gorgeous, if a little muddy. The second was at Selfridges on Oxford Street in Central London. For both workshops I styled a decadent Christmas table, talking the guests through my ideas for a handmade but luxurious table setting; I offered creative ideas for gift wrapping; and I taught the guests how to make a star ornament similar to something you’d see in Anthropologie’s Christmas windows. These ladies (and one man) loved it!
I first met painter Kim West almost ten years ago when our then three year old sons were at the same nursery school in Los Angeles. Even though I’m now back in London, the miracle that is social media has meant that we’ve kept in touch and up to date on each other’s careers in recent years. It’s been thrilling to see the incredible things she’s been up to, including painting huge murals on walls around Los Angeles, many of which are now featured in commericals, photo shoots, and serve as backdrops for many a posing instagrammer. I was dying to catch up with her in person when I visited LA recently and I also thought she’d be a perfect candidate for a Secret Life Of Bags snoop. So on a roasting hot day in a gritty but rapidly gentrifying part of Los Angeles, Kim welcomed me into her plant-filled studio where we drank icy cold beers, reminicised about the past, and of course emptied out her handbag.