Hello, my name is Emily and I’m a workaholic. I haven’t styled a photo shoot for 21 hours.
That’s my life in a nutshell right now. Bloody hell, what a year it’s been so far! I know it’s a cliche but really, where has the time gone? How is it May already? Between styling back to back shoots, travelling and writing for my third interiors book, and selling my house in LA (yes I’m officially staying put in my hometown of London), it’s been pretty full on. I’m definitely not complaining – I love being a stylist and I doubly love being busy – but I haven’t stopped working since January. I think last Sunday was the first full one I’ve had off in months. Usually I’m at Columbia Road flower market filling my granny trolley for a shoot or making or painting props in the studio.
Back in January I was asked by Primark to help refresh their homeware campaigns with some new art direction and styling. I partnered up with KO Productions (The KO being my old school friend Katy Offley whose company produces all of Primark’s shoots) and photographer Adrian Briscoe at a location I chose in Maida Vale, West London. With the help of two of my very organized assistants, I created some room sets for Primark’s Bohemian influenced ‘Road To Morocco’ collection. We had a mad rush of a day shooting in a small-ish house already filled with lots of furniture as well as all the bits I’d hired and brought in. But in the end we created some images that the client was thrilled with and that I felt proud of.
I’m curious. How do these photos make you feel? Does the unstyled clutter and chaos make you uncomfortable or does it make you feel a teensy bit good? Are you itching to tidy these rooms or are you thinking about your own less than perfect homes (the stuff you don’t share on social media), and maybe you’re feeling a bit comforted? If you’ve followed this blog for long enough you’ll know how I feel about showing the more natural and real side of our homes. When I started this blog in 2010 I didn’t call it Life Unstyled for nothing. I’m a big fan of a spice rack that isn’t alphabetised and a bookshelf where the books can easily be picked up and read, rather than styled to death and totally untouchable.
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.