Being Creative

I recently opened a notebook in which I’d written on January 3rd of this year, a time when I’m usually brimming with ideas for the year ahead, filled with creativity and excitement and always setting intentions. I wrote that peri-menopause seemed to have slowed my brain and my creativity and my general enthusiasm for life and that normally in January my thoughts would be filled with plans, but this time I felt blank. But then I’d forced myself to write a few positive intentions for the year ahead and one of them was this: “Keep on writing and make it mean something. Make it connect and inspire and help people feel good/heard”.

I also wrote the following intention: “To accept this moment where it feels like I’ve plateaued, knowing that if I continue writing and creating and taking care of myself, a door will reveal itself and lead me to the next chapter of my life”. So I write. Almost every day. I have notebooks filled with nonsense, stream of consciousness rubbish, ideas, regrets, disappointments, wishes, memories. The act of putting pen to paper before I’ve checked emails or social media or messages allows me to release a bunch of stuff that seems to place itself firmly on my shoulders every morning when I wake up. And at times when I feel creatively blocked, it is itself an act of creativity. And occassionaly I write here, although not as often as I’d like.

Creativity means different things to different people. For some it means dipping a brush in paint and attempting to put on canvas what they see in their mind’s eye or they feel in their heart; for others it is expressed in the meal they cook for someone they love and how they present it on the plate; for others still creativity manifests in a haircut, the perfect flick of an eyeliner, or the way they style their clothes. Creativity is simply how we as humans strive to express ourselves, how we attempt to show the world who we really are. We all just want to be seen.

Being a creative person doesn’t only mean being a fine artist or a fashion designer or a master chef. I have a friend who claims not to be creative, yet she is passionate about dogs and knows everything about all different breeds and their characteristics. To me that is creativity. The desire to learn more about a subject is itself a creative pursuit. Being passionate or just interested in something is creative.

I express my creativity through my interiors and my writing because these are the tools I’ve always naturally gravitated towards since my youth. It doesn’t mean I’m the best at either of them, but I cannot help but do them. Writing allows me to say things that I can’t always express with the spoken word, it gives me time to formulate the thoughts that buzz in my head but don’t always come out as eloquently in conversation. And interiors are just a thing I always seems to be thinking about. I’m a constant faffer at home, in part because of my job as a shoot stylist where I’m arranging things for the camera until they look their best (or more likely I became a stylist because of my love of rearranging things). Things move around a lot, not just when I’m in the middle of a renovation as I currently am, but all the time. At times this restlessness is a sign that I need to slow down. The constant busy-ness is occasionally me avoiding dealing with some painful feelings or at times it is simply procrastination. But for the most part it’s a creative release and a creative expression.

Part of the reason I wrote my latest book (aptly named) Create: Inspiring homes that value creativity before consumption, is that I wanted to encourage people to be more creative at home instead of always buying something new. Our homes are the one place where we should be able to freely express ourselves, a place for experimentation and creativity, yet so many people lack the confidence to decorate their homes to reflect their personality. My advice is always to keep experimenting, make mistakes, change things, keep going until your confidence grows and your home reflects who you are today. And as the many homeowners in the book attest, this doesn’t have to mean buying more new stuff.

There are so many books on the subject of creativity, but the two I always come back to are Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, both of which I read for the first time in my early twenties when I had my daughter at age 23 and was bursting with creativity and excitement for the future. I keep them close at hand nowadays because the excitement isn’t always there anymore and the exercises within their pages often help me find my spark once again and remember who I am and what drives me. I also find that walking helps (with the occasional burst of hill running to boost the endorphins). It might sound silly, but going for a walk always, always sparks creativity. I don’t know what the science is behind it, all I know is I take my phone only so I can make notes of all the brilliant ideas I have that I will forget the moment I get home!

Do you consider yourself creative? If so, how? And if not, do you ever wonder if you have some latent creativity inside? I’d love to know x

Behind The Scenes, Interiors


I often find myself feeling envious when I hear that a designer I admire has a partner or member of the family in the building trade. Imagine having an idea (or ten) and having such easy access to someone you trust who can build it for you. It’s the absolute dream. We, on the other hand, had the nightmare version of this story: a builder who started out pretty good but ended up walking out on an unfinished job, wasting our precious time and our hard earned money. I’m sharing parts of our story here in case it helps you in any way with your own projects.

Finding tradespeople who are reliable, experienced and affordable is one of the worst parts of fixing up a house, a problem exacerbated by the skyrocketing costs of building materials and the fact that everyone and their cat seems to be renovating. Even though I’m an experienced set designer/interior stylist and of course interiors author, working on a house renovation that requires substantial building work isn’t something I’d had much experience with until last year. The only other house I’ve fixed up in a big way was the Los Angeles home I bought in 2005 and that only required cosmetic work with no major structural changes. And when I’m on set it’s always temporary – I design and build fake rooms in studios, not real ones. It’s all smoke and mirrors – not quite the same!

But then last year I bought another house with my partner and this one needed a lot of work. A 1950s bungalow near the sea that hadn’t been updated or properly cared for in decades, but – as they say – has good bones and is in a great location. (A few before photos here). It’s on a corner plot so it gets sun all day as it travels from back to side to front and I can see the sea from the driveway. It’s a great house. We didn’t live in it for the first few months, hoping to get a lot of the dirty work done first, but eventually we decided to move in last summer as we realised it would take longer to do the work and didn’t want to waste any more money renting a second place. We were only doing heavy building works on one side of the house so the other side could remain somewhat liveable, although not ideal.


We decided to knock through the walls between the kitchen and living room, remove the fireplace that would’ve been left in the middle of the opened up room (I love this idea but not for this house) and knock through the ceiling as well, so the living room has full height all the way to the roof. The entire kitchen needed re-doing as it was very old and barely functioning. I also designed a mezzanine over the kitchen looking down into the living area. It was quite a big job requiring a skilled team with good understanding of local building regulations, but apparently not a juicy enough job to snag any of the really great local builders I’d heard about who seem to only want whole house renovations.

We’d interviewed a lot of builders – some only did big projects, whole houses as I mentioned, others seemed unreliable or hesitant. It seemed impossible to even find builders who had any time – they were all busy so we weren’t exactly in the power position, something that would come back to bite us. Then we met a nice guy – a father and son team referred by a friend and they started the demo. But when it got to the build and talking about building regs, they didn’t seem as confident as we’d hoped and ultimately kept encouraging us to use an architect, something I felt we didn’t need with this project and I hadn’t factored into our budget at all. So we let them go after some of the demo was done as we really needed to have confidence in them as we didn’t know what we were doing! Next day I bumped into a builder who’d been working on a house on my road and it felt like serendipity (spoiler: it wasn’t and I have to really stop believing in ‘signs’). After looking at our place he took me to see his current project which wasn’t dissimilar to what we had planned. He was very busy but eventually said he’d work with us, starting in a month or so but that he’d have to fit us in around his other jobs. I felt a bit desperate so said fine, fine, of course. Like I said, he held the power from the get go!

He started out pretty good, in fact we really liked him. He also worked with his young son as his apprentice and they were relatives of someone on my street so it all felt good. Over the next couple of months they got a lot of the bigger work done – finished the demo, brought in the massive steel beam to hold up the mezzanine, had some good creative ideas about reusing materials that had been torn out of the old house, something that was important to me (so important that my books are mainly about this!) But as time went by they became less and less reliable. They’d say they were coming to fit a window, come for an hour and literally just hastily fit it but not do any of the finishing around it and have to go off to another job. Or they’d come for a couple of hours and then disappear. It started to feel like we were at the bottom of their priorities list and we were getting scraps of their time. Over the two months they worked with us, they never did a full day.

Eventually I wrote a big list that we emailed to him and asked him to commit to getting it done by a deadline that wasn’t outrageous, to which he agreed. I stuck the list on the fridge in full view but as the date loomed closer and closer his behaviour didn’t improve much. One day we had a big argument because I called him out – actually all I did was ask politely when he was coming back to finish the window install that they’d half done – and he literally threw his tools on the floor and came at me quite threateningly. I calmed him down, grabbed my phone and took him outside in full view of neighbours for safety and we hashed it all out. I said everything that had been on my mind and it was ugly. I’m not an argumentative person but I was pushed to the brink. But at the end he once again committed to the deadline. We shook hands and agreed we didn’t want to fall out and just wanted the job done as promised.

I should’ve let him go there and then. But we had some money tied up with him – although not all of it of course, we aren’t idiots – as we paid in instalments as parts of the job got done. We’d already decided we weren’t going to use him for the next big bit – finishing the mezzanine and the vaulted ceiling and I don’t think he was planning on doing it either even though he strung us along as though he would. But we wanted him to at least finish the loose ends of this first list and it seemed impossible that we would find someone to come and clean up his mess.

The day before the deadline, he wrote and said he wouldn’t be returning because we were putting too much pressure on him and he’d always said he’d have to fit us in around his other jobs and now we were being too demanding. He’d strung us along for another month since ‘listgate’ and probably never planned on getting it done. We’d obviously given him far too many chances, mainly because we felt held hostage and we really needed to get this done so we could have our house back. We agreed with him that we wouldn’t pay him the remainder as we’d have to get someone to finish his work, but it still ended up costing us more anyway because when we found a new builder he had to re-do a lot of the first guy’s shoddy work. SO much of what he’d done was done poorly, it kills me.

Our electrician – who we really liked and had done a great job re-wiring the entire house – put us in touch with the only builder he works with and he has been fantastic: Many years experience, quality work, works on one job at a time, rather than bouncing between multiple jobs, is willing to discuss and work through ideas with me, many of which aren’t always conventional. I only wish we’d met him months earlier. If you don’t have a lot of experience with this type of build, sometimes it’s only when you see it done well that you realise how bad things were. I’m not sure if this will resonate, but when we were going through this, I kept feeling like it was a form of an abusive relationship. While I’ve never been in a physically abusive relationship, I’ve been in a few where I’ve been let down repeatedly and because of my own self worth I kept giving the person another chance. You give another chance and another and another and they keep letting you down, but it’s only when you’re out of that relationship that you fully realise that you had another option – to leave/quit/fire, depending on the situation. Later, when you are treated well, or simply when the smoke has cleared, you look back and realise that none of it was ok. That’s how it was with this builder – we knew the way we were being treated wasn’t professional but we felt trapped and we couldn’t see an alternative.


I’ve learned a lot about myself and about how things work with a renovation and next time I will be armed with this knowledge and experience. With all trades we’ve used since – fence builders, plumbers etc – I’m much tougher. I ask a lot of questions, I put them on the spot and make them accountable, I only pay when the job is done, I ask them to explain what they’re doing and show me a plan of action and if they don’t follow through I call them on it. If they say they’ll show up and they don’t, they don’t get another chance. (I haven’t had to do this with our new builder thankfully as he’s been really professional). Bottom line, I have become their worst nightmare. Imagine, a woman who doesn’t take shit! They don’t like it, I can tell and they frequently look to my partner for answers, being that he’s a man and he must be in charge right? Sadly I’ve had to become a bit of a bitch because nice people really do get walked on. If you give ’em an inch…

It’s been a frustrating process, one that I don’t want to repeat and I’ve been trying to glean lessons that I can share with others. I’m not really sure there is a specific lesson to be taken because for us the entire process has been an education, but maybe for you my lovely reader, it might help to know that even designers get things wrong.



Since my early twenties I’ve been ambitious. Not necessarily in the “I had my first job when I was ten and started my own company at 16” sort of way, but more like the “I know there’s more to life than working for someone else in a job I hate” sort of way. I was lucky to have male and female role models within my family who had forged their own paths towards their version of success and I was also fortunate to live in America from age 17 to 35, where you’re encouraged to dream big and told that anything is possible with hard work. Ambition and success are celebrated over there. It’s only when I moved back to the UK in 2011 that it became apparent that ambition was a dirty word, particularly for women.

In recent years I’ve had conversations with colleagues on shoots where women in the industry are spoken about in harsh and unkind terms for being ambitious. Perhaps she’s a fellow stylist who’s gone on to be super successful, maybe she launched a product line or became an interior designer or a TV presenter. She wanted more and she made it happen. But the implication was often that she is selfish, not a nice person (god forbid), a ball breaker and she doesn’t care who she steps on along her ambitious path to success. The word ambitious was being used as an insult to women.

For me there is a lot to unpick here. Firstly, I used to feel really offended that the people I was engaging in these conversations with didn’t see me as ambitious (“oh no, you’re not like her, you’re too nice”) when I considered myself to be extremely career driven. Secondly, I was shocked and annoyed that ambition was so frowned upon in the UK. I wanted to be seen as ambitious because my time in America had made me feel that it was a positive thing! The word itself seems to mean different things in the UK compared to the US. For the most part, ambition in America is admired and a successful woman is lauded. Many Americans want to see people succeed, especially so-called regular people. Perhaps it signifies what might be possible for them as well, if they set their mind to it. In the UK on the other hand, we tend to sneer at women who are unashamedly career-driven.

Being a Brit in America during my formative career years, I loved the American attitude that anything was possible, quite different from the British tendency to play things down and not act too big for your boots. There is quite a lot of “who does she think she is?” in the UK if a woman dares to aspire to more and it has been a challenge to navigate. I guess I was quietly ambitious and that’s why my colleagues didn’t see me as being ambitious. On the inside I thought of little else aside from how to grow my business and reach new goals, and had done since I was about 22, but on the outside apparently it wasn’t obvious. For years I think I unconsciously played into the “don’t act too big for your boots” narrative – hence quietly ambitious – being careful not to big myself up too much, lest people think I was arrogant. My desire to be liked would often trounce my desire to speak proudly of my achievements or my lofty goals. It’s only in the past two or three years that I’ve felt more comfortable being less humble. I’m not sure if it comes with age or experience or some mysterious blend of the two, but it feels great to speak proudly of my achievements with little care about how I’m seen.

Something else to unpick is this: if it wasn’t obvious to my colleagues that I had (still have) a lot of ambition, does that mean people think what I’ve achieved just fell into my lap rather than through goal-setting, hard work and determination? Am I to play along with this other narrative that says we have to make it look easy? The message seems to be this: Ladies, you can have goals and ambitions but don’t talk about them too loudly and never without a self deprecating preamble. And if you achieve those goals, be sure to act like it’s no big deal.

Ambition has been on my mind lately as I struggle to formulate new goals for the year, something I rarely found difficult in the past. And what I’ve realised is that the life I am living today is the embodiment of many of my past ambitions. I seem to have reached a point in my life where I’ve actually achieved many of the goals I’ve set over the past two decades. It’s a strange feeling. It turns out it really is about the journey rather than the destination. It’s the ambition and drive to do more, create more, achieve more that gets me out of bed in the morning. Ambition itself is what makes me tick.

Not everyone will feel this way and that’s just fine. Everyone’s goals are different and many people claim not to have any great ambitions beyond a secure job and a safe, comfortable home, both worthy pursuits. Trying to be ambitious isn’t a goal in itself – that phrase may even be oxymoronic – you either are or you aren’t, I’m not sure you can try to be ambitious. And if you aren’t, then be ok with it. But if you, like me, are always seeking to reach your potential, don’t be quiet about it. Speak proudly of your goals and achievements. You may irritate some who think it’s crass or big-headed, but you might also inspire another to reach for her own dreams. I’m reclaiming the word ambitious and from now on I’ll take it as a compliment.

Read more about my ambition over the years here, here and here. And read about a few of my favourite unashamedly ambitious entrepreneurial women in my industry who set their sights on a goal and worked their arses off to reach it: Justina Blakeney Sophie Robinson, Leanne Ford (I actually don’t know for sure if she was/is ambitious but you have to have drive to reach this level of success with ‘imperfect’ interiors in a country, the US, where the polished home reigns supreme). Enjoy x

Creativity Before Consumption, Interiors


A year ago today we got the keys to this house and although some days it feels like we haven’t made much progress, looking back at photos and old posts is a great way to be reminded that we actually have. It’s been a chaotic year and it will continue to be in some ways as we work through the next parts of the renovation, but at least we have a kitchen and drum roll please…a kitchen island! Our bathroom may be a 1950s disaster with crumbling tile and an ancient loo, our windows may all be rotting and need replacing, we may not have a single wardrobe for clothes in the whole house, but we have a kitchen island with individual drawers for tea and cat food and pot lids and spices. It feels luxurious.

Our new builder worked tirelessly to finish the vaulted ceiling in the living room/kitchen and the mezzanine reading nook in time for Christmas, but sadly it didn’t happen. The mezzanine still needs a skylight and to have the ceiling finished so for now it is filled with junk as you can see below and the vaulted ceiling needs plastering as well as a few loose ends in terms of lighting and electrics. But he did manage to re-build the kitchen after we had to rip out the botch job left by the last team (who had ripped out the original, very old and not useable kitchen that came with the house). He also helped us realise the idea we’d had to turn some vintage chests of drawers into a mobile kitchen island.

We like to entertain and my partner is an excellent cook (I’m also pretty good but after 20+ years of cooking for a family I’ve happily handed the apron to him) so with Christmas looming it was important that we have a functioning kitchen to host family and a few friends over the holidays, after half a year of cooking on a 2 hob camping stove. We got there by the skin of our teeth. I draped some fairy lights up and decorated a little tree a few days before Christmas and we managed to host a number of dinners, albeit in a space that was half finished. The kitchen island became the space where we gathered and nibbled snacks, played card games and drank and laughed, just as I had hoped.

I knew I didn’t want a traditional island and had been looking for a vintage piece to repurpose, inspired in part by a couple of homes featured in my latest book Create (scroll to the end for the two images that stayed with me). I searched for a while for something similar but couldn’t find anything within the budget – which was admittedly a vague figure, but most of what I found would’ve cost the entire kitchen budget – but then we found 4 identical sets of drawers at Brocante, a local antiques shop. They weren’t the style I’d imagined or really wanted – 1960s formica topped drawers with aluminium handles sourced from a local military base – but I decided to be flexible in the name of getting the job done for a good price. It was my boyfriend’s suggestion and he’ll probably commemorate the day with a new tattoo, so unusual is it for me to listen to his ideas. On reflection they probably go better with the style of house we actually have – a 1950s bungalow – rather than the Georgian townhouse that I sometimes shop for in my mind! (Maybe that’ll be my next house…)

Our builder cut a solid, thick and very straight piece of birch ply the size of the footprint of all four drawers put together and added 6 heavy duty casters to this base since we always knew we wanted the island to be moveable. Screws were used to fix each drawer to the other internally, with minimal damage done to the units and that is it! (Look closely and you can see we need to add one or two screws where two of the drawers are not tight, but as with everything it’s a work in progress). Like a number of jobs our old builder did poorly, we had to do this one twice so I spent a few weeks with the dismantled drawers piled in what is currently my office until it could be re-built and also while we poured the concrete floors. Eventually we may cover the formica worktops with something else, perhaps butcher block or an off-cut of marble so we can do food prep directly on its surface, but for now it is fantastic!

We can fit absolutely loads in all the drawers, with only the heavier and larger cooking pots, crockery and glassware being stored elsewhere in the built in kitchen cupboards. And we have a tea drawer! I’ve always wanted a tea drawer, don’t ask me why. No there aren’t snazzy sliding shelves or special compartments for specific things in the way that there are in a purpose built island, but it works really well for us and it has soul and character as well as being practical.

Have a scroll through below and let me know what you think. The island sits roughly where the wall with the hatch and fireplace/fridge were in the first and second images.

The home of Misty Buckley from my latest book Create published by Ryland Peters & Small with photography by Catherine Gtratwicke
The home of Mannone & Remco Kemper-Boerama from my latest book Create published by Ryland Peters & Small with photography by Catherine Gtratwicke
Behind The Scenes


I used to start the year off with a list. Goals, intentions, dreams both big and small. I never think of them as resolutions as that word can have a negative connotation – aren’t resolutions just promises to yourself that you’ll likely break and then feel bad about? Somehow, intention setting feels different even if it is exactly the same. Putting the ideas that live in my mind onto the page usually helps to crystalise them and take them from thought to action. Scroll back far enough into the archives of this blog and you’ll probably find me waxing lyrical about the benefits of a list. And I definitely talk about my list and notebook writing practices here – it’s something that got me through the tedium and uncertainty of 2020’s lockdowns.

But this year I feel different. Not only has the list of goals and intentions not been written, I’m not sure it even exists in my mind. Have I run out of ideas? Sometimes it certainly feels that way and I have to assure myself (convince really) that with time more ideas will come. But no, it’s not that. Perhaps it’s that last year I actually achieved some of my long held goals and now that I can cross them off the list I’m not sure what to do? I wrote my fifth book, I bought a house by the sea and I achieved the financial freedom I had sought when I decided to leave London. Could it be that I’ve reached that mythical place of achieving my dreams and now… what next? I do think it’s partially that and how lucky am I. But no, there’s more. Because I’ve always been able to conjure up a new set of dreams. So what then?

I wrote on here earlier in 2021 about discovering that I was peri-menopausal and I signed off the post saying that I had decided to go on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). I did and it was transformative. Although the night sweats had been the least of my concerns, they ceased almost immediately. But it was the almost immediate disappearance of the emotional symptoms I described in that post that brought me back to life. For about six months I was feeling more like my old self, not 100% by any means, but dramatically improved to the point where I was able to handle a very busy and stressful year of living through house renovations while writing a new book and working on a lot of commercial shoots.

I’d been warned that it might take a while to find the combination that suited me – there are pills, patches, gels, sprays, the coil – but I got lucky and it worked straight away. Until about a month ago when things started to slide again. As in 2020 and 2021 when it was hard to unpick the roots of my feelings, I thought I was feeling bad again because we had builders in the house every day, all our stuff was piled up in a few rooms, we had no kitchen, then the builder quit and it was all really stressful while also both working from home and being on top of each other. Christmas was coming up and I really wanted to have a home that was at least liveable enough so that my kids could come and stay, but the reality was we were living in a building site with no end in sight. But when I took away those stresses (we found a new builder who got us in a good place for the holidays) I realised that the symptoms were still there – heart palpitations, complete lack of focus, exhaustion, forgetfulness, my periods all over the place (bleeding every other week), anxiety and very low mood and some new ones (acne and mouth ulcers – yay) and – coming back to the beginning of this post – no joy, no motivation, no excitement for life. And definitely no desire to write a list of any sort, let alone one with goals for the year ahead.

Today I had a doctor’s appointment to address these issues and see if perhaps the HRT dosage could be tweaked. The appointment went comically bad. And by that I mean so bad that if I didn’t laugh, I’d scream. I can’t even describe the conversation because it was so nonsensical that I left baffled by what just happened. I’ve heard many stories of women being spoken down to by doctors when it comes to menopause and I had experienced it last year in a more subtle way, but this! This was next level. His combined incompetence/arrogance (a dangerous duo) was shocking. He didn’t listen properly and so he kept getting things wrong. He went into total scare-mongering mode and spoke to me as though anything new I’ve read on the topic is probably wrong and HRT can cause cancer in some women. Oh and he referred to a woman’s genitals as “down below” as you might to a very young child. If a doctor can’t say the word vagina to a full grown woman who is there to talk about menopause then we’re in trouble! Luckily one of the benefits of getting older is that I’ve become quite comfortable with confrontation, so with steady eye contact I calmly and directly asked him why he was being rude and hostile, at which point he self-corrected and repeated the same information in what he deemed to be a less condescending manner. Still I was none the wiser. I can’t stand the idea that others might not have had the confidence to push for more answers and might have walked away feeling shamed.

It’s easy to settle for the narrative that has persisted for so long around menopause and peri-menopause: “it’s not that bad” (yes it is), “it will pass”, (eventually, but you may lose your mind/job/life/relationships in the process), “it’s a natural process” (So is childbirth but it can also be brutal, traumatic and life threatening). The fact that women are still having to fight to be listened to and believed and to get the help they deserve is so wrong yet so common. What I know about myself is that I always have a set of goals. Since I was a young woman I’ve been driven, focused and hard working and I always get up when I get knocked over (except when I did actually get knocked over by a bike and didn’t get up until the ambulance reached the hospital but that’s another story). Figuratively I always get up! So having a gaping hole where my motivation and drive used to be feels awful and I know it’s not the real me. As silly as this may sound, that’s how I know I’m not myself right now. Me not having a list of goals at the beginning of the year is a sure sign that something’s not right.

I’m writing this here, on what used to be a blog only about interiors, because I believe we can only help each other by being honest. So whatever your job or what people know you for don’t be afraid to share your story. Whether you’re a CEO or a teacher or a carer or a bus driver or a chef, if you’re a woman going through something similar, talk about it. We can learn from each other. And if you haven’t read my earlier piece on my experience with peri-menopause, you can find it here. Whether you have a set of goals or not, I’m sending you my best wishes for your health and happiness in the year ahead x

Creativity Before Consumption, Interiors


My fifth interiors book, CREATE (inspiring homes that value creativity before consumption) is now available to pre-order! Order your copy now to receive it through your post box on its launch day, November 8th. I am extremely proud of this book and can’t wait for you to see and read about all the inspiring homes we feature. As with all my previous books, this was a true labour of love. I always start with a concept, something upon which I’ve been ruminating for some time and that I feel passionately about and then I seek out people whose homes help me to illustrate the idea. As a friend pointed out, CREATE is my post-pandemic baby, a manifestation of all my pent up creativity of the last few years. For a quick look at what’s inside, click here.

Creativity before consumption is a concept I’ve touched on in my previous books, but has actually been a way of life for me since childhood. I was raised by a mum who had an antique clothing shop when I was little so shopping second hand has never seemed strange to me. I was also always creative, preferring to customise everything from my jeans (patches and embroidery) to my bedroom walls (large murals) to my hair (every colour imaginable) rather than have the same thing as other people. Self expression via creativity has always been essential to me and now I express it mainly through my homes and my work as a set designer and stylist. I also care deeply about the future of the planet and while I sometimes feel like it’s a losing battle (particularly when governments and large corporations are still doing little to lead the way) I still choose to do my part – no matter how small – to limit my contribution to its destruction. It may sound grand to think that by making different choices in the way we decorate our homes we can make a difference, but not doing anything isn’t an option.

In CREATE I share the stories of other creative people who have decorated their homes in ways that aim to do less harm to the planet – whether it’s by shopping second hand or by repurposing things rather than throwing them away – while also being expressions of their unique style. Throughout the book, the homes and details are captured beautifully by photographer Catherine Gratwicke, with whom I’ve worked on three of my five books. It is published by RPS. We really hope you enjoy CREATE!