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On Gardening Leave…


Garden Fakeover by Joanna Thornhill Fruit Crate

…probably not the biggest shocker there seeing as I’ve not posted in just over two years, but I thought I should pop up a little virtual sign in case anyone thought I’d vanished into the Internet abyss. I’ve actually been super busy with all my styling and writing work, as well as renovating the house and taking on a troubled little rescue dog, meaning there are precious few hours left in the day to pop out a tweet let alone craft an actual blog post. I do hope to be back here again someday, sooner or later, but I’d rather wait until I have the time to work on a proper reboot and go at it afresh than simply pop up random posts every six months or so.

I do, however, keep a News page as part of my main portfolio website, where I share, um, news (about what I’ve been working on, rather than anything important like world events) so do head over there for more pretty pictures. And I’m still on social media if you’d like to come hang out with me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Until we meet again…

{Image credit: Styling by me, photography by Rita Platts}


It’s All White: New Kitchen Goodies from Tesco

Tesco Direct Ceramic Bakewear Autumn Winter 2014 by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own

Happy New Year, one and all – I hope the start of 2015 sees you refreshed and raring to go, and not too sick of kale smoothies just yet. I FINALLY managed to finish off decorating my bedroom before the big day, so I’ll post up pics of that next week, but for now I’m just stopping in with a little new-goodies update. Like most of the population, I’m currently on a bit of a health kick to get over the excesses of Christmas, and as such – along with the obligatory kale smoothies – I’m trying to generally eat a healthier diet, cutting out processed foods and (as much as possible) sugar. I like to think of it as the 1940’s Housewife Diet and have actually been enjoying blitzing up my own soups, sauces and smoothies, rather than eating all the E-numbers and gunk that are in the packets and tins. So when Tesco Direct got in touch to see if I’d like to try out a few pieces from their recently launched Autumn/Winter 2014 ranges, it was a great opportunity to add to my ever-growing kitchen kit!

Tesco Direct Ceramic Bakewear Autumn Winter 2014 by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own2 Tesco Direct Ceramic Bakewear Autumn Winter 2014 by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own3

I’ve wanted a cow butter dish for years, and now we’re only using real butter rather than marg, it’s great to be able to keep this little fella out on the side, ensuring my butter’s always spreadable. And I’m hoping to try making a paleo inside-out loaf in this gorgeous ceramic loaf pan soon, though I’m equally tempted to just fill it with succulents for a pretty display. The ceramic bottle has been used to store my homemade almond milk when not in use to display blooms (cue further smug face), and we’ve also been making our own pesto from (what else?) kale, which keeps brilliantly in this little relish jar. I’m planning to make my own mayo too once our previous shop-bought number has run out, so my ceramic mayonnaise jar is currently waiting patiently for a fill-up.

Tesco Direct Ceramic Bakewear Autumn Winter 2014 by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own4

It’s possibly a little premature to be gathering up kitchen bits before we’ve even started work on our planned kitchen makeover, but with all the decs down, the house feels somewhat bare and empty (cue laughter from boyfriend at the many trinkets and baubles still cluttering every surface) and there is something so delightful about simple white ceramics. A visual palette-cleanser, if you will. Anyway, fear not, I won’t start boring you with my Kale Tales and it’ll be back to interiors-chat next week, though hopefully I’ll be able to share more shots of these new homeware additions in my new kitchen space before too long!

Credits: Super white porcelain cow butter dish, Ceramic loaf pan, Mayonnaise jar with spoon, Relish jar with spoon, Ceramic ramekin, Ceramic white measuring jug, Super white porcelain milk bottle, all Tesco Direct  

{Images: all Joanna Thornhill. Disclaimer: Tesco provided me these products free of charge in exchange for review, but product choices and opinions are all my own}

Working Girl: Setting up a (fantasy) Office Space

The Grounds of Alexandria coffee shop

With my Art Trail, book-flogging debut out of the way, it’s been a busy time at Stylist HQ of late – and with Christmas(-in-July – when us media folk have to put our festive hats on in order to file Crimbo features in time for the big day) just around the corner, I’ve been chasing my tail somewhat in order to get ready for all the press shows that are fast filling my diary.

Back in March, I cleared out my study at home as Men were coming to replace my super-leaky, mega-rotten back window. I thought I’d use it as an opportune moment to completely empty out the room and actually finish decorating it, having only really been camping in there up to this point. I assured the boyf that I MUST be back in there within the week, two at most, so we’d have to work extra-hard to get the space sorted to minimise my camping-in-a-corner-of-the-dining-room-using-chairs-as-in-trays hell.

Yes, needless to say, four months on I’m still shoved in a corner downstairs at my makeshift workstation. Between having no free time and various technical malfunctions (my actual computer, plus issues with all the furniture I’m painstakingly customising prior to moving back in) it’s all I can do not to daydream of sacking it all off and moving into a Proper Office Space. But on my own terms, obvs. I’m thinking some sort of former industrial unit with crittall windows and exposed brickwork, like the space above (OK, technically that’s a coffee shop, but you get my drift.) I’m lucky to live in London anyway so a quick dash on the tube to one of my favourite spots (I’m thinking Clerkenwell, though this one just down the road in the City looks pretty tasty from the outside, too) would be do-able. There’s no shortage of hot desks and communal studios dotted about the capital but there’s also plenty of serviced offices too – definitely something to think about in the future, even if for the time being it’s still just a bit of a fantasy. Of course, the extra space would allow me to take on some staff (an assistant, 24/7 IT support and a Chief Coffee Maker/Biscuit Provider would do for starters) and I could actually catch up with clients in my meeting area (which currently consists of a half-metre corner of said home-study, where I’ve plonked a footstool). Here’s how it might look:

Dream Office Workspace by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

A self-contained, freestanding unit would offer loads of flexibility within a large space, so this clever Shesk freestanding shelf and desk, soon to launch at Habitat, would be a great place to start (1). I do love a pegboard and a few of these large ones in light blue, £60 from Block (2) would provide the perfect versatile display without requiring holes-in-walls – great for a rented space. I often feel I’d benefit from horse blinkers at work to stop me getting distracted – having them built into my chair (ID Trim Cap chair, price on application, Vitra) certainly seems an appealing prospect. For flexibility in an open-plan space, these chunky drawers are ideal thanks to their industrial wheels, and cound happily house all my samples and swatches. House Doctor wooden side table, £495, Bodie and Fou (4).


Dream Office Workspace - Communal Areas by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

Looking at the wider space generally, a splash of colour to shelf brackets on an open-backed unit would work well to zone off an open-plan space, without feeling corporate. This example – believe it or not – is actually an Ikea hack (5). In-keeping with the industrial style yet with a touch of muted pastel to soften things up, this gorgeous Eikon basic ash lamp, £200 from Furnie (6), would look striking clustered together in a group or hung low over a meeting table, for which the Scrumpy, £645 from Loaf (9), would do a grand job of providing. A chill-out zone is a must, and I’m partial to a bit of button-back as so splendidly showcased on this Ritchie two-seat sofa, a mere £499 from (7). And if you’re going to have your own little hive of industry, why not realise that childhood dream and commission your very own name in lights from Goodwin & Goodwin (8)?!

Dream Office Workspace - Desktop Accessories by Joanna Thornhill for Stylist's Own blog

Desktop organisation is key and pretty things certainly help achieve that visual zen. Get your secretary (ahem) to manage your diary in style with this Letterpress filecard planner, £19.50, Present & Correct (10). A splash of neon livens up any scheme – and as these sunglasses-inducing-in-a-good-way pencils also moonlight as rulers, why not get one of each? Flourescent ruler pencils, £1.25 each, Future & Found (11). Then, to show you’ve really hit the big time, nothing says success quite like some gold desktop goodies (um, OK, they’re not real gold) in the form of a handy Pencil holder, £44 from Anthropologie (12) and snazzy Paper tray, £61 from Another Country (13). And yes, they might not be as practical as an actual filing cabinet, but I doubt unpaid invoices will ever look as good elsewhere as they would in these stunning Plisse archive folders by Hay Studio, £27 each at Really Well Made (14). Finally, a little lamp to light the way will help when burning the midnight oil, especially if it has little golden feet like the Arles, £96 from In-Spaces (15).

Right, so who fancies a job? Yeah? See you there at 9am sharp on Monday. The address is In My Mind, with salary payable in whimsical notions and dreams, sigh… *goes back to finishing off DIY in real-life study in the hopes of actually sharing some After shots soon*

{Images: Opening shot of The Grounds of Alexandria coffee shop, Sydney. All other images as per the companies’ credited. This post was supported by Flexi Offices but all products and images shown were entirely my own choice}

Trend Watch: Faux Knits

BHS AW13 Knits Lifestyle Shot, featured on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

Another lengthy gap from me I’m afraid – just raising my head above the parapet now that all my Christmas features are (tentatively) finally complete ready for your festive delight in a couple of months, to focus on a more on-season matter. As one of  a team of writers and bloggers contributing seasonal trend reports for Most Wanted’s High Street Hunter series, I’ve been scouring the interweb for a topic I felt was most timely. With both Wool Week (and Autumn) fast approaching, the knitted stuff is – as they say – so hot right now, and in more ways than one.

Whilst Wool Week’s most honourable focus is on championing us to use more wool in our homes, as well as supporting the British wool industry, another little trend has been peeking over its coat tails. A micro-trend, if you will. Faux Knits (working title: How Faux Can You Go – snigger) is Real Wool’s sassy little sister, celebrating abstract printed versions of knitted designs alongside woollen imprints in resin and porcelain, washed down with a bit of engineered chunky knit. Use her to inject both texture and humour into your homes this season, and all for under £80.

Faux Knits Shopping Round-up p1 featured on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

1. Lana pendant (resin), £50, BHS. 2. Knit Knit bedding in Ink, from £18-£80, Room39. 3. Cable knit letterpress coasters in grey, £14.06 for ten, RedBirdInk at Etsy. 4. Knitted effect deer head, £40, John Lewis. 5. Weave porcelain cup in mauve, £14. Clare Gage. 6. Knitted Room IV dark mural by Chae Young Kim, £50 per m2 (available as both a permanent and a removable stick-it-up wall covering and made to your custom size), Surface View.

Faux Knits Shopping Round-up p2 featured on Stylist's Own Blog by Joanna Thornhill

7. Chunky knit towels in smoke, from £3-25 each, John Lewis. 8. Lope purple knitted cushion (created from squares of ribbing for a knitted look), £45, Habitat. 9. Cable knit porcelain bowl, £26, Magpie Miller. 10. Purl baskets in overcast blue, £69 for three, 11. Red herringbone 3×5′ rug, £35, Urban Outfitters. 12. Cable knit storage boxes, £65 for three, Cox & Cox.

{Images: All taken from the websites credited above. Main top image features the Aviemore footstool, Lana pendant, Waffle knit cushion, Vintage cushion and throws from a selection, all at BHS. This post was created in collaboration with Most Wanted magazine, part of}

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}

Merry Christmas!

Meant to post this yesterday but somehow gift opening and food consumption got in the way – but in the spirit of Christmas, I belatedly wish you a wonderful festive season, wherever you may be xx