I’ve always been obsessed with interiors. I’ve been rearranging my bedroom furniture for as long as I can remember. (Thanks Dad, for letting the nine-year-old me place my bunkbed at an angle in front of my bedroom window, effectively cutting off three quarters of the room, and blocking out most of the light. I thought it looked cool). When I was at high school one of my favourite woodwork projects was creating little wooden beds to furnish a shoebox bedroom, complete with tiny bedsheets fashioned from pink and white gingham. And when I was fourteen, despite having never been able to use a sewing machine, I managed to cobble together some cushions out of leftover curtain material. The result was a strange, scratchy cushion which you wouldn’t have wanted to snuggle up against, but I was delighted to have matching curtains and cushions.
So when I received an email from a journalist called Richard back in March last year, asking if I would be interested in having my home featured in a magazine, I jumped at the chance. As much as an eight-months-pregnant lady can jump. Which isn’t very much. After mulling it over, I decided that to get the whole house completely decorated and photo-shoot ready, whilst accompanied by a newborn and an angelic but EXTREMELY messy three year old, was slightly unrealistic. I asked Richard if there was any way that the feature could just concentrate on one room. When Jenson was two months old Richard responded to say that Ideal Home were interested in running a feature on his nursery, and a shoot with a photographer called Colin was organised for the following week.
To say I was excited was an understatement. Ideal Home has been my favourite magazine for EVER. (Ok, maybe not for ever. When I was a teenager, Bliss and Sugar held that accolade). When we were strapped for cash I even used to borrow it from our local library. I don’t have much time to read magazines these days but when I do, Ideal Home is always my first choice.
Shoot day rolled around and it started off excellently when Colin set up all of his camera gear, clapped his hands together and said, “Where’s the little guy then?”. Oh. I hadn’t realised they’d want Jenson in the pictures and had asked my mum-in-law to look after him for the afternoon. Cue a frantic phone call asking her to bring him back home asap. (I still feel bad about this – it was a scorching hot June day and the last thing she needed was to be running around after me).
Next issue…the outfit I’d chosen. I had been told to wear something colourful and thought I’d picked the perfect ensemble in a floaty frock and tan sandals, but Colin explained that they didn’t know when the feature would be published so I had to change into something that wasn’t overtly summery or wintery. (Thank goodness for Topshop maternity jeans).
Colin also got me to have a hunt around the house for a rug and some colourful books to make the bookshelves pop. (Thank goodness Lyra has a squillion books).
I also had to break up ALLTHEWHITE – there’s a lot of white paint in my abode – I tucked a grey blanket into Jenson’s cot, and propped up a couple of baskets under his cloud shelf. (Thank goodness for Sainsbury’s baskets).
The shoot took a couple of hours in total and my face was stiff from smiling by the end of the afternoon. Jenson was a good boy throughout and pretty much slept the whole time.
Over the course of the next few weeks Richard emailed over a load of questions about the nursery. You know me, I could talk about interiors ‘til the cows come home, so I really enjoyed this bit – it was so nice to look back on the whole process of the room makeover. And ten months later here I am with the finished article (if anyone’s interested, it’s the May issue). What an experience, and definitely one to tell the grandkids. Lyra’s little face lit up when I showed her the article!
And I don’t want to end on a unpleasant note but I can’t really talk about Ideal Home without mentioning the whole God-awful #backwardsbooks saga that Lauren went through at the start of the year, after her home was featured in the mag. It astounded me that people can be so cruel. The internet is a brilliant thing but there’s no denying that it has changed the landscape of bullying. Lauren handled herself with utmost dignity but how sad that she had to do so.
I said I didn’t want to finish this post on a downer so let’s end on a lighter note. If you fancy buying any of the bits from Jenson’s nursery then I’ve included a couple below, and if you have any suggestions of what I should do with the finished article then please pop them in the comments box. I’m really proud of being featured and don’t want my copy of the magazine to just languish in the loft, but at the same time I’m not sure about framing the article and displaying it on a wall. Does anyone know of any small businesses which make gorgeous paper keepsakes, perhaps?!