Bien Fait - Smallish Magazine April 2016

I fell in love with Bien Fait’s wallpaper just before I started writing my first book Creative Family Home.  My store Olive Loves Alfie was the first UK store to stock their designs. Our selection has grown and visitors to our new store Olive Loves Alfie East in East Village Stratford can see The Wild and Mosaic on display. 

At home in Stoke Newington we papered two walls in our downstairs living space with their giant triangle design Mosaic. 

From ploughing through wallpaper book after wallpaper book it struck me that Mosaic was the only design for us. I have always been a purveyor of print and pattern. I spent five years as head of design at British iconic label Red or Dead footwear where I worked with illustrators to create unique Red or Dead prints. Olive my daughter had found her wings after auditioning for the London National Youth Circus - this wasn’t a fashion fad - she really did want to run away with the circus. And my partner Matthew is a theatre director with a love of abstract design.

You can read more about my favourite wallpaper designer company Bien Fait in the April issue of Smallish magazine.

A Master Class in Telling Your Own Story

Last week I was invited by Get Living London to host a masterclass in my new store Olive Loves Alfie East. The masterclass was part of their campaign to Make Yourself At Home. The landlords of East Village encourage residents to embrace their own style by allowing them to paint walls, hang pictures and generally make themselves at home. Having lived in over 30 rental flats and bedsits in my 30 years plus in London I raise a glass to the idea of ownership (even if it is just in spirit) of a space you are renting. 

The masterclass was made up of an intimate group of interior and style bloggers who travelled from as far away as Devon. I shared the floor with colour expert Karen Haller. We met left field where we would encourage anyone else to be. We both stood firmly in an authentic space that isn’t about being a follower of trends. It is about creating a home that resonates with your own story. 

It gave me lots of food for thought - I haven’t been able to stop scribbling notes down since. Quite apart from having to rationalise what it is that i do as a stylist it was a great opportunity to connect and to make new friendships. I am planning to run a series of workshops at Olive Loves Alfie East about my approach to interior styling.  

What became clear was that I love drawing out stories and encouraging people to work them into their own spaces. I have just launched an interior design service and can’t wait to get cracking on my first project in Margate this summer. I will be asking my client the same questions that I put to my bloggers. 

1. A place that inspires you - in other words your spiritual home. For many years mine was India and that was before I had even visited it. 

2. An object you cherish.

3. A favourite film, piece of music or painting

4. Your guilty pleasure

The answers will give you unique elements that will become part of our own styling tool kit.

If you would like to sign up to receive details of my workshops or interior design service email me

Thank you to Kate from Mad About The House, Ruth from Design Soda, Anna Maria from Anami Blog, Karen from Well I Guess This Is Growing Up, Lins from Boo and Maddie, Molly from Molly and the Princess and Natalie from Floral Republic.

Olive Loves Alfie SS16 Look Book

As a stylist and art director I spend much of my time putting together imagery for brands and editorials. There often aren’t enough hours in the day. All too often that means that images for my own store Olive Loves Alfie take a back seat and never get ticked off the ‘To Do’ list.  This season with the help of one of my favourite up-and-coming children’s fashion photographers Hannah Coates we set out to change that. 

We shot on location in our new store Olive Loves Alfie East and in the surrounding streets in East Village. Its an urban idyll that perches on the edge of the Olympic Park - where the concrete architecture, wildlife and trees meet to create an urban oasis.

The only prop in the shoot that isn’t for sale is our prized vintage Silver Cross pram. It is our alternative shop sign that sits on Victory Parade on sunny days.

Featuring SS16 kidswear from  Bang Bang, Bobo Choses, Molo, Salt Water, Stella McCartney,  and Wolf and Rita. Plants and terrariums from our growing selection that changes weekly.

For up to date info about the store, our collaborations, events and workshops follow us on instagram.

With thanks to our Sadie and Presley, Lillia, Sidonie, Fi and Sofia.

Photography Hannah Coates

Kids Grooming Mira Parmar using Neals Yard and Bumble & Bumble