Part One: Los Angeles
Not a week goes by without me receiving emails from aspiring stylists asking for advice. I’ve always done my best to reply to each one because I remember writing the same emails to stylists when I was starting out and they very rarely replied. But after years of writing the same message and occasionally not having time to reply at all, I thought I’d share some insight here as well. Every stylist will have a different story about how they made interior styling their career. There isn’t one fail-safe route and everyone’s circumstances will be different, so the only story I can offer is my own in the hope that you might glean some valuable information if you’re hoping to follow a similar path.
Like a lot of people, I long for my so-called dream home and all the money in the world with which to decorate it. But right now that’s not my reality and I suspect it isn’t the reality for many of you. If I’m honest I’m not sure I’d even know what to do with unlimited funds, I’m so used to making do and working with what I’ve got! It’s how I was raised and it has now become one of the key tenets upon which I’ve built my styling and writing careers.
Everyone is talking about it so of course I had to watch Marie Kondo‘s new Netflix show, Tidying Up. To stay in the loop. To see what the buzz was about. So I could formulate my own opinion. Because there’s nothing more ignorant than having an opinion about something without actually knowing anything about it. In the reality series Kondo, the queen of organisation and author of several best selling books on the subject, teaches people how to deal with varying levels of clutter and disorganisation in their homes. Even though I’m not a huge fan of this reality show format, I took the time to watch a couple of episodes. While my opinion on living a minimalist life is probably pretty obvious from the unstyled photo of my apartment above, I did in fact take something away from the show. Because it turns out Kondo isn’t actually trying to promote a minimalist lifestyle. She is just encouraging viewers to take control of their stuff, rather than letting it control them.
So I wrote another book. In between getting one child off to university, styling shoots to pay the bills, and getting the other child through a stressful exam period, I thought I’d add some more madness to my life. But you know I’d go mad without the madness 😉 It’s called Be Bold and it’s filled with, you guessed it, bold interiors.
Be Bold is for colour lovers, pattern clashers, and textile mix masters. Whether you are already bold with your interiors or you aspire to be more so, I hope it will be a welcome blast of inspiration in what can sometimes be a sea of muted neutrals. Featuring inspiring homes in London, Paris, Margate, The Netherlands and Madrid, this was a fun one to pull off in a rather short amount of time.
I spend a lot of time on Instagram these days, favouring its instant gratification over the more laborious task of writing a blog post. But every now and then I want to say more and I know most people just scroll at lightning speed, rarely reading what people say on Instagram. If you’re here reading this, then I know you’re a dedicated friend or follower!
I have an exciting event coming up in October with Living Etc magazine and Anthropologie, two interiors brands that have been in my life for many years in one way or another. You probably already know my connection with Anthropologie, but I wanted to tell you why this means so much to me. This has nothing to do with self-promotion. This is about dreaming big and knowing that sometimes when things seem like they’re not going ‘to plan’, there is a bigger and better plan you don’t yet know about.
According to an Instagram post I made last year, 2017 was to be the year of spoiling myself and not giving a f**k. See photo above for evidence. Flowers for me from me. Scrolling – more like wading, it took hours – through my photos of 2017, I think I did a pretty good job!
Sometimes I can be very bad at remembering things. As soon as I’m done with something – a book, a film, a work project, a holiday – I tend to move on and not think much about it again. I’m onto the next thing, always looking forward rather than backward. It’s a great way to move on from the bad stuff, but not so great if you want to remember the good stuff! So I thought it would be a useful exercise to review 2017 to refresh my memory.
2016 was the worst year of my life, having split up with my husband of seventeen years, so I knew it had to get better. And it did. A lot of fantastic things happened. Although I’m still not totally back on my feet, I’ve come a long way and 2017 was quite a year for Life Unstyled. The phrase “throw yourself into your work” comes to mind…