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So This is Christmas {2012}

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It’s not often you decorate your house for Christmas twice in one year, but then it’s not every year you find yourself gracing the front cover of an interiors rag, showing folk how to create your festive look. Having set up for faux-Christmas way back in August, there was just enough time that passed between then and the real thing to get the excitement levels raised, ready for (re)decorating this December.

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I kept a few elements from the Rich Brights look that appeared in my photoshoot last month, but mixed it in with some trusted family favourite baubles (some harking back from my Mother’s childhood in the 1960’s). As this is my first Christmas with a garden, we invested in a potted Nordic Fir which will go to live outside in January and can hopefully be wheeled out for many Christmases to come. Having lugged it home, I then realised that none of my garden pots fitted it properly, but rather cunningly tied a vintage hessian sack round it (fastened with some leftover multicoloured pompom trim from Clothkits to make things extra classy, like). One day I’ll invest in a lovely classic willow tree skirt, like this one from Rowan & Wren, but for now this more than does the job. As our tree is on the opposite side of the room to the window, I wanted to add a sparkle of festivity to the front of the house without investing in further decorations. Cue a slightly ramshackle but hopefully-a-little-bit-charming display of mismatched hanging baubles at either side window, topped off with a twine-outline tree in the main pane, all held in place with some good ol’ festive washi tape. Having finally purchased a retro dining table and chairs (more on that in Jan) for the dining room, I was also able to set up my sophisticated mini-tree from M&S (which I promptly loaded up with yet more kitschy mini-baubles, obvs).

JThornhill Christmas ECard 2012

Here’s to a very merry Christmas, dear readers. I’m off to get that cheeseboard started…


Merry Christmas!


Signing off for Christmas now with a few festive snaps from around the house. As a stylist/homes journo, a huge amount of my year seems to be taken up with Christmas features and shoots, more often than not focusing on a particular festive theme. So when it comes to Real Christmas, I love nothing more than gathering up my favourite all-time decs – a mixture of family heirlooms that predate me to the selection of ‘new’ favourites, of which I always add a few extra to each year, all flung together in a somewhat kitsch explosion that inevitably seeps its way beyond the tree and on to mantlepieces, existing dead twig arrangements, kitchen cupboards, windowsills…


New to the fold this year include my fantastic flying flock reindeers and ‘Joy’ from Johnny Egg, and my freshly-beloved ceramic origami penguin from Paperchase (who’s soooo staying out on display post Crimbo). I’ve even (shhh – don’t tell the Style Police) incorporated a bit of tinsel into non-tree-based displays – but it’s actually vintage tinsel, so that makes it alright, innit.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, thanks for reading!

{Image credits: copyright me, created in Instagram}

Stylish Blogger Award

The lovely Rona at Flowerona recently nominated me for a Stylish Blogger Award – though strictly speaking, it’s less an award as such and more a virtual high five travelling round the blogosphere – which, really, is better than actually winning something as this way we are all winners, hurrah! Rona is a trained florist and blogs about all things flower related – as I often feature flowers in shoots, it’s great to be able to tap into the fountain of knowledge she has going on over there. Anyway rule number one of accepting the award is to thank the person who gave it to you (thanks Rona!) Then share seven facts about yourself, and finally pass that buck on to 5 other fab bloggers out there. So here goes!

1. I can’t walk past a charity shop/junk market/skip without sticking my nose in to search for vintage treasures (or ‘old tat’, as the boyf calls it). For me, there’s something about the thrill of the hunt that, when you do find that one amazing piece, makes it better than anything money could buy. Quite an alarming number of items in my possession have been rescued from bins, including this foxy lady tray, which I stole from the council tip when recycling some broken metal poles – there she was, moments from her impending demise in the metal crusher, dreaming of a bin-bandit like me to come and take her to live Up London. Or so I imagine the thoughts of an inanimate object to be

2. I was out propping for a shoot once when I came across the above teacup – it wasn’t what I was looking for at all, but somehow it ended up in my bag and even into the shoot after all. It is now my favourite teacup of all time, to the point where I always feel a little remorseful when I drink out of anything else. I use this shot quite a lot in by promotional imagery – the chair featured was also customised by my own fair hand, and is now my desk chair, so I can often be found in my little patchwork seat, supping from said cup, and it all just feels very ‘me’

3. I work from home in my teeny-tiny one-bed-no-study flat, which can be a challenge – I hate mess, but struggle to keep on top of paperwork when I’m busy (aka 99% of the time). Consequently, the desk area of the living room is commonly referred to as The Hole. Here it is during a rare moment of non-mess (must share a little before-and-after of the makeover I did on this baby in another post)

4. I worried, before I made the leap into working in interiors, that turning my favourite pastime into a career might backfire and that I’d end up disillusioned with the whole thing should it all go awry. As it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong – even now, after the end of the most exhausting week, I still relax by pouring over design blogs and books to get my fix. I have, however, been banned from reading interiors magazines directly before going to sleep, as my brain now automatically fires up into ‘work’ mode as I scan the credits and make a thousand mental notes

5. I’m something of a Mac geek, and often find myself glancing adoringly at my desktop mac (the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought) like a proud Mother watching her firstborn at the school carol concert. I cannot understand why anyone would want to use a PC by choice and get a little irate if I’m freelancing somewhere that I have to use one (sorry Bill). Same for smart phones – my little iPhone never ceases to amaze me as to how a mere device can genuinely make my working day SOO much easier, and the way it all syncs up with the Mothership (yup, that’s what I call my desktop…) is enough to bring a little tear to my nerdy eye

6. The boyf and I often dream of the day when we are grown-up and responsible enough to be puppy parents – he likes the idea of a big slobbery dog, but I’d be more than happy with a clone of my niece’s adorably hapless little dog, Freddy. Every time we see him, his boundless energy and insanely cute little face just melt my heart. Sign, one day…

7. I surprise myself by saying this, but having recently worked on a couple of magazine features relating to the impending Royal Wedding, I find myself wanting to get out the bunting and throw myself a little street party on April 29th – I may even hang my vintage union jack out the window. Maybe it’s because Kate and Wills are around my age, maybe it’s just me accepting that I seem to be developing a slight girl crush on the glossy Ms Middleton, but either way I think it’s high time the world took a little glance in our direction and saw how bloody great we are.

That’s enough of my ramblings – I’d like to do something a little different with passing this on and award it to the following very talented fellow UK stylists:

Selina Lake

Rebecca Newport

Pippa Jameson

Louise Rastall

and finally Marie Nicholls from Whole Lotta Lovely

{image credits:

1 Flowerona

2/4/6/7 Styling/photography by me,

3/5 Styling by me, photography by Max Attenborough,

8 Pearly Crown Jewels pearl on canvas, by Ann Carrington

Other stylist blog pics from their respective websites/blogs}

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Somehow it appears to be Christmas eve already, and after a madly busy few months it’s nice to be tucked up at the in-laws, with the heating on what appears to be about a 45c constant heat and an ever-flowing supply of mince pies and red wine. I’m thinking about many plans for the blog in 2011 (namely, errr, writing it) but as I’m on Cornish Internet for the next few days the posts sadly won’t be flowing anytime soon.  I’m guessing I’ve left it a bit late to start researching and posting my own little blog Crimbo Gift Guide too, non?!

Despite (over)work madness we did manage to explore the Narnia-esque wonderland that fell all over London town (and everywhere else) last Saturday. Our street is none too shabby under normal circumstances anyway, but we couldn’t help feeling somewhat smug when the view from our living room transformed into this:

After venturing down the steps and exploring the now-white green running through the centre of the street, we stumbled to the park at the top of the road, wondering how on earth we could actually still be in London and not in some form of country village circa 1820.

Our Smallest Ever Christmas Tree has also finally been dec’d, after sitting sadly in his pot, naked, for a whole week before we had time to dress him. As much of my life during May-September involves dressing trees for photoshoots, usually in a co-ordinated and sophisticated fashion, when it comes to my own little section of foliage, tasteful restraint goes out of the window in place of what I affectionately refer to as a more ‘eclectic’ approach (read: small child in candystore of pretty shiny things without a parent to restrain).

New additions to my bauble family this year include these lovely little vintage-style silver numbers from Aspen and Brown, plus three of these folky handpainted bird numbers by Nkuku, along with my battered vintage handmade silver bells, this year used as a tree topper.

On an unrelated note, I’ve been working in a magazine office recently and found this tin in the bin yesterday. I smugly took it home, natch, and it has since occurred to me what a large number of things in my possession have been removed from bins and subsequently adopted by me. Hmmm, Eco Goddess or tightwad womble? Something to ponder…

Coming of Age

Cripes, another few weeks gone and I seem to have spent it mainly shooting yet more Christmas (now rapidly being replaced with shoots for Spring/Summer 2011, gulp), sourcing fancy cutlery, styling some yachts for a boat show and subsequently discovering that it’s possible to get seasick even if you’re stationery in a marina and, umm, turning 30. Much bigger gulp.

The boyf got me this amazing print as a main pressie featuring one of my favourite ever quotes (thanks, Mr Morris), by the intriguingly named letterpress studio A Two Pipe Problem (which is unfortunately still resting in its plastic packet on top of the sofa until I’ve got time to track down a frame for it), plus these amazing hydrangeas (my all-time favourite bloom) and even a Cath Kidston iPhone cover which literally makes me happy every time I look at it.

It’s not just me coming of age, however. I also picked up this rather natty tin of Heinz tomato soup (top) whilst out propping in Fortnum & Mason (the only time I can afford to shop in their food hall, sigh…) – to celebrate the centenary of the iconic British brand. The limited edition can is currently only for sale instore but will be available throughout most UK supermarkets from October, but if you can’t wait that long, get the down there – and don’t worry about taking the platinum card, you’ll get change out of a mere pound coin from this little beauty. Hmmm, turning 30 vs turning 100 – maybe it ain’t so bad after all…

Anyhoo more ‘proper’ posts to follow soon, plus some reviews fresh outta the London Design Festival – keep an eye on my ‘Things to do in London’ links bar which I’ll be updating with my top picks for the week!

Hipstamatic! (I never can get enough)*

I may be a little late to the party with this one, but am freakin’ loving the Hipstamatic iPhone app and thought I’d share (as something tells me a LOT of my future blog posts are going to be snapped on this baby). I won’t go all geek on you, but basically, it turns your iPhone into a dinky retro camera, complete with (virtual) slide-y bits, to turn the blah into dreamy/funky/downright vintage-tastic-looking pics. There are hundreds of different effects to be created by mixing and matching different lenses/films/flash heads and filters, providing quite literally hours of fun, along with prompting whiney requests from the boyf to ‘seriously, put it down now. How many photos of sofa cushions can you really need?’ Well the answer, I have to say, is lots, particularly when it makes my vintage furnishing fabrics look like I actually did snap them in 1975. Which was actually before I was born, so that really is mighty impressive. Behold my simple snaps, looking splendiferous through the Hipstamatic’s eyes…

Top and above: floral fabulousness in my vintage enamel jug and Ken Eardley vase

Some of my rather extensive collection of soft furnishings, including (among with mostly vintage fabrics) a couple of prized pieces from Michelle Mason (pouffe) and Snowden Flood (Battersea Power Station cushion cover)

And finally, just for fun, a few out-and-about snaps during our gloriously sunny London weekend – and as us Brit’s know, there ain’t too many of them. Some things never change…

{image credits: all me}

*for some reason, every time I think of the word Hipstamatic, in my head it is sung to the tune of 80’s Jackson-style croonsters Five Star’s hit single, System Addict. It’ll be stuck in your head now, too, I’ll wager. No? Just me then? Errr…