Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Be careful what you wish for...

I always look forward to the first few days of January as soon as the hussle of Christmas is over. If I'm not working, I have that mixed feeling of "make the most of it" and "oh god I should be working!" (Click here to be reminded of my never-ending fears of freelance life). I try my best to enjoy it and much like the rest of the planet, in early January I take some time to think about goals and dreams for the new year.

Every year I write them down and keep them in a box and each year I read what I wrote the year before. Sometimes when I come to writing it all down I get a bit overwhelmed. I'm always talking about dreaming big, not being afraid to aim high and all that, but when it comes to my own dreams, sometimes I get scared. "How dare I aspire to such big ideas?" "Who do I think I am?" "That's never going to happen". And all kinds of other negative, unhelpful thoughts, otherwise known as self-doubt.

This year I already know what I'm doing work-wise - at least for the first few months - and for that I'm grateful. I'll be continuing to work with Anthropologie Europe, consulting on the visual side of some new European store openings. I've also got a couple of shoots planned for IKEA and I have a new book coming out in February called Bohemian Modern (more on that soon). All really exciting, if a little nerve-wracking. But I still like to dream up other things - what else would I like to happen? Where do I want to travel to? What experiences do I want to have with my family?

This time last year one of the things I wrote down was that I wanted to travel a lot for work. I ended up travelling more in 2014 than any other year in my life, with at least 15 trips for my book, for Anthropologie, and with family, including Philadelphia, New York, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Marrakech, Ghent, Prague....I also wrote that I wanted go to Paris. Somehow I had gone my whole life without visiting the so-called 'City of Lights' and I felt it was time to rectify that. I ended up getting the contract with Anthropologie in March 2014 and went to Paris at least 4 or 5 times for them and also once for my anniversary. Madness, right? The phrase "Be careful what you wish for" has never felt so real...

Let's not get too excited though. I also wished for buckets of money and a flatter stomach. I guess I'll just pop those on my 2015 wish list...

I wish you all the best for 2015 and I hope you manage to make a few of your dreams come true. Thanks for your continued support over the years and for making me come back and write time and again.

Above are a few snaps from some of my travels in 2014: A rooftop bar in Paris, me walking on water in Nice, lush plants at the Anthropologie head office in Philadelphia, Parisian graffiti (everything's cooler in French), halloween in Brooklyn (baby, nerd, Wednesday), and Christmas in Nice.

(And here's what I was talking about at this time in 2013 and 2014).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Designer Amy Sia

Back in October I had the pleasure of styling the look-book for London-based, Australian designer Amy Sia. Amy is a really talented designer who hand-paints beautiful abstract designs in watercolour, scans them into her computer and manipulates them in photoshop. The result is a vibrant blur of colour and a cool blend of hand-made and digitally altered pattern. She puts her prints on everything from iPhone covers to scarves to bedding. For this shoot I styled Amy's pillow collection, a mad riot of colour that was in stark contrast to the rough and worn finishes of the chosen location.

(Shoot photography by Jon Day)

And some behind the scenes tidbits from the very cool location in South London. My daughter Ella was my assistant for the day and clearly had a bit too much fun...

 And a rare shot of me, having a moment with the Queen. We used a small version of this same print in Amy's shoot last year, so we decided to leave her out this time around.

 And chilling in the jungle room.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Q&A with Abigail Ahern

If you're visiting from Abigail Ahern's blog, then hi. hello. how's it going?
If you're not, then you should head over there for a little Q&A on me that she featured last week.
She's one of my favourite designers - the undisputed queen of dark and moody interiors - and I frequently pop into her shop in Islington. Apparently she likes my book which is a huge compliment, since she's written a couple herself. It's a weird thing when you discover that someone you admire admires you too. Who knew I could be someone's "current obsession"?

I'm off to New York tomorrow for a long awaited family holiday. Follow along on Instagram or Twitter if you want to see me stuffing my face with huge New York pizza slices and doing lots of shopping.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Locked In My Room

Since I've been non-blogging for so long I thought I'd better explain myself. The ugly truth is that I've been locked in my room writing a book and it aint pretty. If anyone ever told you book writing was glamorous (do they say that?) they are lying. Book writing is painful. It involves many hours of staring at a blank screen and thinking of ways to procrastinate: suddenly cleaning the scale off the bathroom taps seems like something I should really be doing; or maybe it's time to darn my socks; or colour code and alphabetise my wardrobe (anoraks, belts, cardigans...).

 Too. Much. Thinking.

 Dear God, I'm going to slash my laptop with my scissors if someone doesn't write this for me.

Maybe it's time for a drink...This can wait right?

This is where I'll be for the next month, so I doubt I'll be blogging much. I will, however, be over on Instagram and Twitter because after all, aren't they the ultimate form of mindless procrastination?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Goats In Trees

Since I last wrote I've been a very busy girl. I've managed to rent out my house in LA again (see the last post), I've helped Anthropologie open another UK store in the lovely city of Bath, and I've been to Morocco to shoot three more houses for my next book. I thought since I can't yet show you any of the houses we photographed, I'd post some of my favourite snapshots from the trip. I've never been anywhere like Morocco before and it was pretty mind-blowing. 
An incredible view in the beautiful but very windy port town of Essaouira.

  My book's photographer, Katya de Grunwald, looking stunning in the crazy warren-like streets of Marrakech, as we tried not to get lost.

 The kitchen of the little house we stayed in.

Rugs! Piles and piles and piles of them.

 After dinner all the ladies gathered along this wall in the town square of Essaouira, while children played and the wind blew in from the sea.

My pretty friend. I befriend cats wherever I go. 
 Katya shielding her lens from the glare of the sun on a rooftop. 

And the best thing ever. Goats in trees! 
At the beginning of the drive to the airport I saw camels on the beach - it was stunning - and I didn't ask the cab driver to pull over so I could take a photo. I regretted it the whole way, so when Katya spotted goats in trees, we asked the cabbie to pull a quick u-turn and we jumped out. An old man, who probably waits there all day for gullible tourists like me, thrust a kid in my arms and asked for money. She was lovely and cuddly and immediately started to eat my shirt. But the goats in trees was something else! The deal is they just can't get enough of the Argan berries that grow in Morocco (you know that Argan oil that's now a big craze in beauty products?) and you know a goat isn't afraid of heights, so up they go to get the berries! It was one of those moments when I was aware of being really lucky to see something so weird and wonderful. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rent My House!

As many of my regular readers will know, three years ago we left LA for London. We moved out of this adorable house in the very cool Los Angeles neighbourbood of Highland Park and headed to the rainy but amazing capital city where I grew up. We held onto the house in case of emergency (i.e. if we could no longer bear the cold of the UK) and have been renting it out ever since. Well the time has come to find new tenants, so I thought I'd share it here in case anyone fancied a cute cottage in northeast LA with it's own separate studio - music room, art room, sewing room, whatever - painted hardwood floors, and a huge three tiered backyard with raised vegetable beds, grapevines, apricot and apple trees, and various patios for sunning and entertaining. It has a sweet vintage style throughout and it's on a lovely street. Available June 5th. Rent available upon request.

If you know anyone who is looking, send me an email at emihenson{at}gmail.com. Serious enquiries only please! Or click over to my listing on Craigslist.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Behind The Scenes: Denmark

I've been having such a fun few weeks. Working full time for Anthropologie and working on my second book is no easy feat, but I have nothing but gratitude. I've worked enough crappy jobs in the past 15 years, so I know when to be grateful and not complain. And this is definitely one of those times. I'm busy, I'm tired, my house is messy, my dog is not getting walked as much as she would like, and my children ate ramen from the corner shop twice last week for dinner (they love it), but it's all good. Life is really good.

Last week I was in Denmark for the first time to shoot two gorgeous homes for the next book. These images are from one of them, owned by an incredibly stylish (check out the shoe/socks combo above!) designer and artist who was so welcoming, kind, and loads of fun. She also had the coolest mohawk - think chic punk.

Both of the houses we visited had these round wooden coat hooks - they seem to be a Scandinavian thing. I found some at Muuto.

I love this little gold/silver stool set against the kilim rugs.

After the first night of shooting, just as we sat down to a late dinner,  I had a frantic call from my teenage daughter asking me to send a selfie ASAP! Luckily I had a photographer with me so no need for the selfie. See below. Apparently I am going to be the subject of an Andy Warhol style painting for a school project...

The super stylish homeowner gave me the sweetest parting gift. One of the unusual things she used to sell at her shop are used ballet slippers from the Royal Danish Ballet. I gushed over them and told her how I used to dream of wearing pointes as a little girl (little did I know how painful they are!) I also had a barbie with tiny pink rubber ballet shoes that tied around the ankle and I loved them so much. Now I have my very own pair. In satin, not rubber. And yes, the whole family - including the dog - has now tried them on. 

Next weekend I'm off to Morocco for the next book shoot. I'm treating it like a holiday since it may be the only bit of sun I see this year. I plan on working very hard during the day and laying in as much sunshine as possible after that. Be sure to follow me on my travels with Instagram and/or Twitter.