Archive | Stylist’s Home RSS for this section

Merry Christmas 2014: My Festive Home

My living room for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

And we’re nearly there! One of the perils/benefits of being self-employed is you get to, to an extent, choose your own hours, but sadly for me I still seem to have deadlines coming out of my ears and am only just unshackling from my desk now for a few days. So there won’t be a sprawling two-week break for me, and the Office Party is going to mainly consist of me opening a glass of Rioja and polishing off a Shepherd’s Pie at teatime. Still, all of these things are made all the more lovely by having all my favourite Christmas decs set up around me (and with a roaring fire on, of course!) I love that I get to Christmas-decorate vicariously when I work on festive shoots earlier in the year and it’s always fun honing down a theme, but when it comes to my own home, personally I love nothing more than putting tasteful co-ordinating colour schemes  aside, and simply showering the house with all my favourite festive trinkets. Classy it may not be, but so many of my little treasures hold special memories for me – especially the baubles from my own childhood Christmas Past – and as I (inevitably) add new ones to the mix each year, it’s always a real pleasure to get them hung up (however many shoot-trees I may have decorated a few months back!)

Toast bauble for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

Star decoration by Toast for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

So up top is a snapshot of my festive living room (‘scuse the dodgy lighting), complete with our little wonky potted tree, which we’ve managed to keep alive in the garden for a WHOLE YEAR (cue proud face), and these are a few of my new additions for 2014. The cute little wooden bells and delicate ceramic star above are both from Toast, won in a competition a few months back (I *might* have been so excited about it all that these have actually been out on display since October)

Kiln Arts glass snowflake  for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

Eileen Kai Hing Kwan decoration for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

I always like to support the local designers in my adopted-hometown of Walthamstow through, um, shopping for pretty things for myself, so at a recent E17 Designer’s Christmas fair I couldn’t resist topping up my stocks with this pretty glass snowflake from Steve of Kiln Arts, plus this fab screenprinted ‘bauble’ from illustrator Eileen Kai Hing Kwan (do check out her drawings – they’re amazing!)

REfound Objects mini bottle for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

And also, a big thank-you to one of my favourite websites, REfound Objects, for Christmas-gifting me this gorgeous teeny-tiny bottle! I’ve popped in a couple of equally tiny dried poppy heads from the garden in it. Pretty safe to say this WON’T be relocated to the loft on Jan 5th.

Toast crackers for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

As our tree lives in a pot in the garden for 11 1/2 months of the year, I strategically planted it in a plastic one rather than terracotta, for ease of dragging it through the house, so it’s not the prettiest of bases. Next year I’m hoping to make a proper tree skirt for it, but in haste for 2014 I’ve just wrapped the base in some giftwrap samples I had from Caroline Gardner. These beautiful crackers, also from my Toast win, are too lovely to pop so are surrounding its little bottom, instead.

Twig decor for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

Candle corner for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

As my tree is a little on the teeny side, I usually pick up some twigs in the run-up to Christmas, to display in vases and hang my mini-baubles off – these were procured from Epping Forest. And general festive trinkets gradually clutter up the sides, too, like this amazing pate tin I picked up in Finland last year when I was shooting my book (in August!), repurposed into a festive tealight holder.

Joy by Johnny Egg for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

I’ve also got several fab Christmas display pieces by flocking master Johnny Egg – I love the way their colours pop against my dark walls.

Lime Lace snowglobe for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

I’ve always had a thing about festive snowglobes, so this little cutie from gorgeous, eclectic interiors website Lime Lace is now pride of place on my mantle.

Sasha Tugolukova plate for Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

And finally, it’s not really Christmas decor, but I wanted to give a shout-out to my stunning plate from Sasha Tugolukova. I had planned to actually use it as a plate, but as soon as I saw it I decided it was waaaay too gorgeous for that, so I think it’s going to live here on the mantlepiece indefinitely now. Part of her Mask collection, its intricate design is comprised of pencil illustrations brought together to form this complex, multi-faceted design. I can’t stop staring at it.

Fireplace at Christmas 2014 - Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Blog

So there we have it. I think it’s finally time for me to stick the Out of Office on and get on with it all, but first, a big thanks to everyone who’s read my ramblings this year and supported my debut book, Home for Now. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and I’ll see you in 2015!

Joanna Thornhill Christmas Card 2014 with text

{Images: all Joanna Thornhill. Possibly a bit late for this year, but if you like my DIY festive cones in the picture above, the instructions on how to make them, which I wrote for Wayfair’s blog, are here}


Make It! Forage your own Festive Wreath

Make It Foraged Festive Wreath Wreathmaking DIY by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

Are you feeling festive yet? I must confess that, as I have to deal with Christmas decorating for a large chunk of my Summer due to all those long-lead print deadlines, it generally takes me a while to summon up the willpower to actually decorate at home for the holiday season. However, a couple of weeks back, website-crush The Chromologist asked me to share a few of my own personal festive traditions, and since then it’s kinda got me back in the mood. I’ve always enjoyed getting my Christmas craft on, and last year, as we finally had our very own front door (and had painted it in the rather dreamy Summer Medley 1 by Dulux), I decided to have a go at making a door wreath for the first time. Turns out it’s pretty easy, and though it’s not exactly what you’d call “posh”, I rather like its wonky charms. And the best bit? It cost me precisely zero pennies to produce, thanks to a bit of thrifty foraging. I like the idea of this becoming a little annual tradition, so this year I thought I’d share the process for anyone out there with barren doors looking for a little wreath-shaped inspiration. Here’s how I made mine:

You Will Need Wreathmaking DIY by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

You Will Need:

– Some foliage – ivy is a tough old boot and can usually be found pretty much anywhere, so I tend to use this as my base material. I used a few different varieties mixed together, for variation

– Any other evergreen foliage lurking in your garden/the park

– Additional goodies to add interest to your wreath – I picked some dried hydrangeas, lavender, thyme, rosemary and a few other miscellaneous dried flowers from the garden, adding in some acorns, pine cones and cinnamon sticks, then got over-excited and spray-painted a few leaves and twigs, too

– Some thin wire – enough to form into around a 30cm circular shape (my wire was pretty thin, so I doubled it up)

– String or twine, and scissors

– Christmas music on the radio, a cuppa and a chocolate brownie (optional)

1. Forage for Foliage Wreathmaking DIY by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

1. Gather all your goodies together on a tabletop, and don’t be too stingy: I thought I’d massively over-propped for my wreath but ended up using pretty much every large scrap of the above in its construction.

2. Create a wire ring Wreathmaking DIY by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

2. Form your wire circle – I just went freehand with this, creating a loose circular shape around the size of a large dinner plate. Twist the wire together at the end to close – if your wire is quite thin, like mine was, you might prefer to double it up for extra strength.

3. Weave a base layer Wreathmaking DIY by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

3. Start to add a single layer of ivy all around your wire. Tie it into place at one end with a bit of string, then gently weave it through the wire the whole way round, tying again at the end. I used a few shorter pieces to make up this initial circle. It actually looks quite sweet just as it is at this point, but if you’re anything like me, by this stage you’ll have got the taste for it and be frantically darting around your house looking for more stuff you can shove in it.

4. Build up that base Wreathmaking DIY by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

4. Build it up – continue bulking your base out by weaving the ivy in and out. Try to ensure it’s nicely tangled in amongst itself for added strength. Work to one side, ensuring the ‘front’ looks lovely and luscious and the back, which will go against your door, is relatively flat. Keep holding it back against a clear wall to check your handiwork, until you’re happy with its final shape.

5. Pimp It Up Wreathmaking DIY by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

5. The best – and most addictive – bit: pimping it up! Slowly work your way round, adding in your various accoutrements, either poking or tying them in. Once you’re happy with your arrangement and everything is secured down, tie a length of twine around the top to attach to your door – mine handily hangs off my little pine cone door knocker, but if you don’t have a ready-made hanging spot, you could run a length of twine or ribbon all the way up and over to the inside of your door if there’s something to secure it on there, or alternatively good ol’ 3M sell removable hooks suitable for holding your wreath to your door, if you don’t want to cause any damage.

Finished door wreath DIY by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

And there you have it! One rather charming little wreath, if I do say so myself, made all the more special by the fact it’s constructed from garden cuttings. In my experience, this should stay looking pretty good for at least a couple of weeks, so now’s the perfect time to make it before the big day.

In other crafting news, I recently made these cute Christmas tree cones, below, for a blog post commissioned by Wayfair UK – I’d had the idea in my head since last year, so this was the perfect excuse to try them out. They were super-easy to make and look great lining a mantlepiece or shelving unit – click here for the full how-to.

Christmas Snow Trees Joanna Thornhill

I’ll be back again pre-Crimbo to share a look at the rest of my festive decor, then I should FINALLY be ready to do another room reveal on my just-about-finished bedroom! To whet your appetite, here’s a sneak-peek of it on my Instagram feed.

Until then – Happy Foraging!

{Images: all Joanna Thornhill}

Kitchen/Diner Dreaming: My Makeover Plans

Foxgrove Road Kitchen

High time I popped back over now my Christmas shoot bonanza has (I think!) drawn to a close (July-Sep are usually completely swamped with festive image production, leaving me very confused at this time of year as in my head it feels like approximately February). Between that and focusing attention on enjoying (and maintaining) the garden throughout the last of the warm weather, we’ve been neglecting the interior of our house for quite some time now.

Line Kay Kitchen

Now, like many interiors folk on the Interweb, I must confess to finding myself presenting a somewhat curated version of my home – I definitely think it’s good to share a few comedy look-how-disgusting-my-living-room-is-right-now shots when things get REALLY bad (usually directly after a busy shoot which involved crafting) and I also think it can be a bit soulless to only show perfectly styled vignettes without a bit of real life sneaking in around the edges sometimes, but on the whole I do tend to avoid snapping the rooms I’m not so keen on (i.e. half the house still).

Alison Allen Kitchen

However, as the nights are drawing in and hanging out in the garden becomes distinctly less appealing, my nesting instinct has been reawakened and I’m determined to finally finish off the half-done bathroom, study and bedroom this side of Christmas, so that in January we can fully focus on the biggie: our proposed kitchen/dining room side return extension! When we moved into this house, I had anticipated it being something of a stop-gap before moving on to something bigger and better, and was planning on doing a Home-for-Now-style makeover on the two rooms – paint the dining room, change the handles on the kitchen cupboards, remove all the top cupboard doors to give a more open look, make a curtain to cover the washing machine – you get the gist. However, as property prices in our area have gone up by over a third since we bought in 2012 (!) it soon became apparent we weren’t going to be heading further up that ladder anytime soon. And the current kitchen just doesn’t work for us. At all. No, not these gorgeous ones above (they were just to lure you in) – this is mine, plus the dining room:

Dining Room Before Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own Kitchen Before Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

You might not think it looks too bad in these pics (and I appreciate things could be much worse and I am incredibly lucky to have a functioning kitchen in a home of my own at all) but trust me, in Real Life, it leaves a lot to be desired. Apart from the lengthy list of things wrong with it (rising damp, leaking door, bodge-job window, every appliance not working properly, stupidly configured cupboards, a crumbly bit of wall currently held together with some gaffa tape and a paper plate, etc etc) it’s just too goddam small for our needs (we’re big fans of cooking – and eating – and unsurprisingly I have a rather hefty collection of food tins, kilner jars and general kitchenalia) and we’ve already given over half the dining room to additional kitchen supplies. I’m totally an advocate of making do where you can, but the time has come to move onwards and outwards in this space. So I very much hope to be back with you in the new year with posts showing building progress (scheduled to start early Spring depending on the weather).

Kitchen Dining Moodboard Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

1. Blue Bird fabric by Mark Hearld at The Natural Curtain Company. 2. Stellar Blue fabric by St Jude’s at The Natural Curtain Company. 3. British Army lights, Trainspotters. 4. Kitchen in the New York townhouse of Ali Cayne (lust!) as seen at My Design Chic. 5. The living room of Holly Tucker, CEO of, as featured in LivingEtc magazine, February 2013 (I’m hoping my dining room chimneybreast will scrub up like this!) 6. Arcadian brick tile in Porcelain, Winchester Tiles. 7. Epoque Old London tile (for floor), Original Style. 8. Traditional copper mixer tap, Taps UK

We’re currently waiting for proper plans to be finalised before we can go and actually start designing the space properly, so above is a mini inspiration board of vaguely what I want to achieve. I’m keeping my current eBay score dining table and chairs, and the 1950’s kitchen unit in the corner (to be given some sort of makeover) but pretty much everything else is out. The plan is to make the space semi-open plan, turning the dining room window into a second open walkway into the new kitchen space, install some grey units (going for a mix of solid, glass-fronted and simple shelving), remove the plaster from the chimneybreast in the dining room and open it up, add some industrial-style lighting, then decorate throughout to tie the two rooms together. Cannot. Wait!

Epoque Old London floor tiles

As we’re still not at unit-choosing stage, my initial thoughts have turned to floor tiles and fabrics. I recently fell in love with these gorgeous encaustic-style tiles from Original Style, called – appropriately – Old London, and am using these as my initial starting point for the space. The encaustic-style tiles I installed in my bathroom are still pretty much my favourite thing in the house, and I find that by adding pattern to floors whilst keeping the walls neutral, I’m free to fill up shelving with a whole range of trinkets and accessories without fear of a clash.

Fabrics by The Natural Curtain Company by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

I’m also keen to introduce some patterned window blinds and curtains (to go across the new door) – it might seem like I’m getting somewhat ahead of myself here, but I think it’s important to hone in on any main patterns you want to introduce to a space first, then decide on any plain elements to tie it all together. In a rather timely manner, The Natural Curtain Company got in touch to ask me to check out their made to measure curtains range (I can actually sew myself but as it took me almost two years to finish off my bedroom blinds I might outsource this time!) I was aware that they stock a range of stylish, simple linens which I’m quite tempted by, but was also pleasantly surprised to see them stocking fabrics from Emily Burningham, Ian Mankin and – one of my favourite design labels – St Jude’s, too. Looking at everything together, I’m tempted to include the two designs shown in my moodboard (perhaps one in ready-made curtains plus a blind for the door/window, then the second design by-the-metre to create a curtain over the washing machine?)

Anyway, expect to hear from me again A LOT about all of this – and if I’ve not FINALLY posted up finished pics of the upstairs rooms by New Year’s Eve, come and give me a poke, OK?!

{Images: Top image – the kitchen of photographer Malcolm Menzies, as seen at Light Locations. Second image – the kitchen of photographer Line Kays, as seen at What Kenny Hearts. Third image – the kitchen of Alison Allen, as seen at Design*Sponge. Tiled flooring lifestyle shot via Original Style. All other images taken by me. This post was produced in collaboration with The Natural Curtain Company, but everything shown/mentioned and all my general witterings were entirely my choice}

Dwell for a Moment: New High Street Buys

Dwell press image1

It’s a sad truth that (in my limited experience), when doing up an old house, pretty much all the budget seems to go on the boring stuff (grout, MDF, ummm windows that don’t allow rain to drip onto your computer when it’s stormy) and the pot is fairly empty when it comes to getting anything pretty. Now, I’m rather lucky in that I do manage to get the odd freebie here and there due to my line of work, be it props leftover from a shoot or goodie bag gifts from a press show, so I can’t exactly complain about a lack of trinkets and baubles (I can actually hear the boyf laughing in my head at the mere thought). But point being, despite the above, it’s somewhat rare for me to go into a shop and just buy stuff for my house which I don’t really need, just cos I kinda like it. With over half the space still to renovate and a LOT more money to be chucked at it, frankly it feels somewhat frivolous. So when Dwell offered me some gift vouchers recently to try out some of their products at home, all entirely my choice, it was a lovely excuse to do just that.

Dwell press image2

I’ve featured Dwell products in editorial photoshoots on various occasions and they’re often amongst the top of my recommendations for friends who are setting up a new home and are after design-led pieces on a low budget. The chairs in the picture up top are a perfect case in point – contemporary with a mid-century lilt, they’re the perfect balance of giving a nod to classic Eames styling, yet different enough not to be considered a replica. Were I in need of chairs, these would be pretty high on the wish list, but right now I’m not, so here’s what I spent my vouchers on instead:

Dwell buys at home by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog pt1

Top: Cake stand with dome – I’ve always wanted one of these (and I’m sure it’ll come in handy as a shoot prop on occasion, too) so now seemed like the perfect time to buy. As I don’t exactly need encouragement to buy cake, however, I’m thinking that once the bedroom’s decorated I’ll move it up there to display something-or-other instead. For now, it’s popped on top of my tall dining room cabinet (excuse the actual cabinet, he’s waiting for a makeover) and is housing – what else? – a, um, small vintage ceramic gorilla.

Bottom: I’m a big neon fan (more so since living near the amazing God’s Own Junkyard) but, as much as one day I’d love to commission my own bespoke neon artwork, I think it’s fair to say it won’t be happening anytime soon. So this fab fairground-style arrow light (which sadly seems to have gone out of stock, but here’s a link to the general lighting section in case it comes back) was a very happy compromise. It’s currently sitting on a little side table in the corner of my study. I’d been looking for a light to go in that corner for a while and this one has the added bonus of kicking out a fair bit of heat, too (well that’s not such a bonus right now in the height of Summer, but in a few months I’m sure I’ll be cosying up round this like it’s a log fire in an alpine cabin). I was planning to hang it on the wall but I’ve since noticed a large crack appearing and am now too scared to, so let’s just pretend I intended it to stay here all along.

Dwell buys at home by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog pt2

Top: Magazine bag – this is also in the study (which I will do a proper reveal of soon once I’ve fixed up a blind and finishing-touched it). I’m actually using it to store all the lookbooks, press releases and general post I get sent in, as a sort of holding pen before I then look through them properly and file them away, in an attempt to improve upon my current filing system for such items, which consists of piling them on any available surface until I get overrun and have to stop work for several hours to have a cull.

Bottom: Giant bottle vase – this lovely creature is actually doing a rather special job in the bedroom, hiding a rather unfortunate missing bit of fireplace, which I had to stuff with bubblewrap and cover with a black cloth to minimise the uglyness/draughts. This pretty much hides the whole thing, unless you look *really* hard, and also gives me an excuse to store a Miss Havisham collection of dried (AKA dead) flowers once more, after having to throw loads away in the house move (due to them disintegrating on contact with humans/air).

So there we have it! Some lovely reinvigorated corners. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to pull back and show you the rest of the rooms too, sigh…

{Images: top two images courtesy of Dwell. All other images taken by me.}

The Great Garden Fakeover: (final) Grand Reveal!

Garden Fakeover feature by Joanna Thornhill p25, Heart Home July14 You might have noticed my makeover posts of late have very much been focused on my garden, rather than anything actually going on inside. The interior’s something I’ve been beavering away with, honest, but as anything to do with renovating a Victorian property (especially when someone – OK, me – insisted on painstakingly stripping 100+ years of woodwork paint just to get a slightly neater finish) seems to take forever, the garden has very much become my ‘happy place’ now the weather’s on our side. Garden Fakeover feature by Joanna Thornhill p30-31, Heart Home July14 As I’ve mentioned previously, the garden was utterly barren when we moved in, so it’s by far the biggest transformation we’ve made to our house and as I know bugger all about gardening, am really rather proud of it all. When I was setting it all up, I had a hunch others might be interested in seeing some of the ‘makeover’ tricks I’ve used to transform the space, so I set about shooting it at the end of last Summer before it all faded away again, ably photographed by the wonderful Rita Platts, whom I worked with during my Home for Now shoot extravaganzas. Finally, after the best part of a year’s wait, the images we created are in this month’s Heart Home magazine! Garden Fakeover feature by Joanna Thornhill p32-33, Heart Home July14 I’m really pleased with how the feature turned out, and hope it inspires both renters and inexperienced gardeners to have a go at transforming their own space into something special with a few outside-the-box tricks. Above (and the first one below) are a few layout pages from the feature, but do take a look at the full article over at Heart Home (it’s in the July 2014 issue currently on their homepage, but from early August onwards you’ll still be able to access it via their past issues section – page 25 onwards). Garden Fakeover feature by Joanna Thornhill p38-39, Heart Home July14 Of course, come the dawn of spring this year and six months after this shoot, it certainly wasn’t looking like this – you might recall a few months ago, I shared a few ‘real reveal‘ shots of it post-winter in rather a sorry state. Since then, I’ve been trying to restore it to its former glory and more so, with the addition of some new plants and seeds. Clever online gardening site Plant Me Now helped me on the way with this, so I thought it only fair to reveal how it’s really looking today, now it’s in full bloom! And here’s a quick reminder too of how truly awful it was when we started in the Summer of 2012: Garden Makeover Before & After by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own - back Garden Makeover Before & After by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own - decking Garden Makeover Before & After by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own - seating area Garden Makeover Before & After by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own - decking detail Not bad, huh? Garden Makeover New Plants by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own pic one Here’s a few close-ups of my Plant Me Now babies – I was pleasantly surprised to find pretty much everything’s survived my black thumb thus far, and most things are currently flowering beautifully. The lupins have actually finished now, as have the foxgloves (though it looks like a few new shoots are appearing on the latter – anyone know if I can expect the same for the lupins?!) and I’ve also grown some sweet pea from seed which still haven’t actually flowered for some reason, but otherwise seem to be happily growing so hopefully they’ll pop out soon, and the dahlia’s are also just starting to appear – I’m hoping they will see me through to the Autumn. Garden Makeover New Plants by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own pic two Garden Makeover New Plants by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own pic three Next on the list is to try and be clever and start planning for next two season’s soon: I’m thinking of filling in some of the pots with some winter bedding plants once the Summer seasonals have died off (most likely involving some Pansies and Violas though I’m also loving the look of their pretty Myosotis flowers and Sedum plant), as well as planting out some spring bulbs (am desperate to try some alliums), so hopefully it’ll be less of a mess come Spring 2015 than it was earlier this year. Right, best go and get back in it – it’s Pimms O’Clock, after all… {Images: Heart Home layout pages: photography Rita Platts, styling and text Joanna Thornhill. All subsequent photography, Joanna Thornhill.}

Garden Mini-Makeover Part Two: Plant Me Now

Plant detail, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

So as mentioned in my last post, I’ve been slowly tackling the garden over the past couple of months, in-between book shenanigans and driving rain. As we didn’t get the garden set up last year until rather late in the season, along with some perennial plants here and there, we mainly just filled in the gaps with cheap seasonals, so come March when we finally stuck our heads out the back door, it was all looking somewhat barren:

Grubby Garden Before shot, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Just as thoughts turned to restocking supplies, I had a rather timely email from a clever company, Plant Me Now, who sell an array of seeds, bulbs and plug plants (little tiddlers ready for going straight into your soil) along with various gardening supplies – a one-stop gardening shop, if you will, asking if I’d like to test out their service. I’ve always been slightly confused about what to plant in my garden due to its slightly unusual set-up (as it’s wholly concrete – we put down the fake grass and borders last year – everything is grown in pots rather than planted into the (non-existent) ground soil). However, I’m lucky that my garden is south facing and gets the sun all day (on the occasions when it actually shines) so I’ve always had high hopes that she might become a little tropical oasis, spilling over with flora and fauna if I treat her right. Together with their in-house expert, the very helpful Tim, I discussed my grand plans for a wild meadow-style space brimming with pretty country flowers, in the hope that my vision could be translated into my, um, small patch of concrete in  Walthamstow. Luckily, it turns out a lot of my favourite garden flowers were deemed suitable for my setting, so I’m hoping that in a month or so everything will be overflowing with some of this (and if you have a south-facing balcony or small garden and an abundance of pots, these should all work for you, too:)

Ready plants from Plant Me Now, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Ready perennial plants (provided as a 7cm plug plant, already overwintered (grown the previous year) and ready to plant for flowering that season)

{1. Delphinium dalsante; 2. Echinacea double scoop cranberry; 3. Huecherella sweet tea; 4. Phlox cloud of perfume; 5. Penstemon electric blue}

Starter plants from Plant Me Now, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Starter plants (provided as a 5cm plug plant and also overwintered)

{6. Achillea red velvet; 7. Foxglove digitalis dalmation cream; 8. Euphorbia humpty dumpty; 9. Gardilia mesa bicolour; 10. Lupin gallery pink; 11. Monardo marshall’s delight; 12. Rudbeckia goldstrum; 13. Salvia nemorosa caradonna}

Bulbs and seeds from Plant Me Now, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Bulbs (can be removed at the end of the season and replanted the following year) and seeds (lasting one season)

{14. Dahlia collerette; 15. Dahlia maniac; 16. Dahlia nick sr; 17. Sweet Pea singing the blues; Sweet Pea old spice mixed}

Preparing to plant, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

So as to avoid last year’s mild disaster of not labelling anything and now having no idea what half the living things actually are, I was determined to be meticulous with my plant organisation. Initially, I cut up the green pots they were all sent in, so each was sat in its own individual labelled container, so to speak.

Plant Me Now label detail, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Then we worked our way around the garden, deciding which pots to place what in and resting each on top until its turn came to be planted (stopping for a bit of tea and cake halfway through, natch).

Coffee and cake in the garden as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

And finally, I worked my way around, replacing the printed-pot labels with my own hand written ones, scrawled in biro on some bits of bamboo leftover from our fence (in an ideal world, I’d have done this a little more elegantly, but the effects of the earlier coffee and cake had started to wear off by that point and I was getting keen to finish up.) They do the job, nonetheless!

Bamboo plant label, as seen on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

I dearly hope to be able to come back to you in a month or so with pictures of my overflowing garden, but for now I’m sitting back and letting Mother Nature do her thing…

{Images: all taken by Joanna Thornhill, except for the flowering plant photographs, which were taken from Plant Me Now’s website.}

{Disclaimer: Plant Me Now supplied me with all my lovely foliage in exchange for a blog post, but the items picked are all my own personal selection}


Garden Mini-Makeover Part One: Tesco Home

Tesco products garden detail as blogged on Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill

I thought it high time I talked about something other than my book – the rest of my house has been as neglected as the blog over the past year as I struggled to fit in writing and shooting it along with other work. Luckily, I’m now managing to sneak in some baby-steps towards getting things slightly more ship-shape. My office makeover is currently underway (what was meant to be a two-week job yet is now entering its third month) and I can’t wait to share it once it’s done (mainly as the entire house is in chaos with displacement and I can’t file any paperwork at the moment, which makes me VERY twitchy). And the garden, which was looking so lovely at the end of last Summer, has been left somewhat worse-for-wear after a Winter’s neglect. I’ll come back to share what’s been going on out there later this week, but for now I’m just showing a ‘nice’ bit.

Tesco products garden items as blogged on Stylist's Own by Joanna Thornhill

Y’see, my PR chums at Tesco, having just launched a new Home catalogue, got in touch to see if I’d like to try out a few items from their latest trends range, to see how I could get them to work at home and fit in with my own style. As the house is still in redecorating chaos, I thought testing some outdoor bits would make sense. Especially as I’d been meaning to get a parasol as our little south-facing garden can get really rather uncomfortably hot on sunny days (no, I don’t expect any sympathy for that particular problem…) and who can say no to a bright pink raffia parasol?! So this is how the ‘nice corner’ is currently looking, and I am very much enjoying my newly-sheltered dining spot (not to mention, taking these photos provided an ideal opportunity to purchase and scoff a Battenberg). The catalogue is in stores now so do check it out when you’re next doing a groceries run. More on the remainder of the space to follow!

{Image credits: photography by Joanna Thornhill. Tesco items featured are the Hula parasol, £20, Bright stripe drinks bucket, £15, Round glass lantern in flamingo, £10, Multi brights picnic jug with tumblers, £12 and Dip dye cereal bowls, £12.50 for four, all from their Sherbet Crush range. The table and chairs are my own little vintage numbers.}

{Disclosure: Tesco provided me with these items in exchange for this post, but the choice of items was my own, and I am most happy with them all!}