I sat musing yesterday about how I've
been keen for a long time to reclaim part of my blog back as somewhere
for me to share my more personal thoughts and experiences. I'll be honest, for a long
time, I had to shelve the idea of developing this aspect of
my blog, after I took on the task of writing a book (which in case you
didn't know was published this week and has gone straight in as a number
one best seller on Amazon!). But I've written my book now (a labour of love if ever there was such an undertaking), and I am so eager to follow the callings to start writing a little more from my heart on Love My Dress, so this is a little experiment. The other thing is, I would have loved to have shared this feature this morning, but then Mothers day and two little scamps had different ideas in mind, and so an evening post it became.
My scamps at softplay today – this was the first time Eska has ever been climbing!
Well, what a week! I think I'll look back on this week in years to come and wonder, 'did that really happen?' I published a book – my very own hard back beautiful book – on World Book Day no less!! I blogged about it all here and you can buy your own copy of Style Me Vintage: Weddings right here on Amazon (stock is being replenished swiftly so don't worry about any 'out of stock' notices). The book went straight in as a number one best seller on Amazon too, as well as being the top 3 best seller for my publishers this month – what an incredible achievement – that I'm in no way claiming as my own by the way – because there was a whole team of talented individuals I worked with on this project. Feeling proud, if not a little surreal. This weekend has provided an opportunity to reflect on the madness and wonderfulness of it all. It's been a crazy past 12 months if I'm honest!
Last year, we moved house from a small suburban start-up style home that my husband and I had lived in since 2003, to a much bigger country house in a beautiful rural location just two miles outside of Whitby. Having acquired one other dog, two children and a home-run business since we took on our first home, it had started to feel a little like things were bursting at the seams, and we desperately needed the extra space. Very luckily for us, the move ended up happening swiftly after we'd made the decision to put our house on the market – though this did mean us having to move two days before Christmas, which was rather chaotic!
Moving to the Whitby area, which means so very much to us both, is a dream we'd flirted with during many a lazy sunshine filled drive through the yorkshire moors during our early years of dating, and later, marriage – our young girls sat comfortably in their back seats observing the incredible views as they talked about what they wanted to do once we'd reached the beach.
I love being by the sea and coast, but there is something about this particular area I feel drawn to very deeply. I feel home here. This is where my heart is. I love dipping in and out of the glamorous London scene – being invited to designer parties and swanky do's at Harrods, but I like to also return to our simpler life in the country. It helps keep things balanced. It provides the peace I need to focus and do my job well.
Perhaps it's because I married in to a blood line that boasts hundreds of years of family history in this area that I feel so comfortable here; my Mother in Law has researched extensively in to our surname, Beeforth, and can trace it's history back forever in these parts – it's fascinating really. Not far from us is a patch of woodland called Beeforths Wood. Supposedly there were many Beeforths who settled on the moors and became tailors, which also fascinates me, because my husband graduated in Fashion and has learned to make beautiful clothes too.
So to be living here now, in this peaceful and serene part of the world that allows us to live the uncomplicated life we want to lead, with the most beautiful vista from our living room window (my office has the best view ever!) really does feel like a wonderful magical spell has been cast at times.
I love our house, though it's not your straight forward set up! I like to call it our topsy turvy house – we actually live upstairs and downstairs is an office, guest room, guest bathroom and play room for the children. Originally built as a holiday home, the stairs were then boarded over creating two separate living areas. This made the property difficult to market, but for us, it was absolutely perfect. It meant that we could create a comfortable living space upstairs, and keep our work and study space entirely separate downstairs. My commute to work now involves a 30 second walk down the steps at the side of our house, but if feels like I'm actually 'going to work' now – you know? And that's a really, really good thing for our family. It suits us. Before we moved house, the boundaries that marked the separation between work space and living space had become so blurred. It was becoming untenable really. And that's really not a great thing when you have a home-based business! If there's one crucial business lesson I've learned from working from home, it's that work must be undertaken in an area defined only for work. I can't stress enough how important I've come to discover that really is.
My eldest daughter making bead necklaces – she wants to sell them to all my blog followers 😉
So our beautiful topsy turvy house on the hill has a great space downstairs that my husband and I share as work space – complete with it's own little kitchenette and everything, which means endless cups of Yorkshire Tea for me whilst I'm blogging 😉 And this has presented an exciting opportunity for me to set up a new office space – the kind of beautiful, inspirational work space I have always dreamed of.
I've become a little obsessed by researching home
office spaces of late and love seeing how other people have set up their
home offices. I've wanted a new desk for ages but held off until we moved house. I finally found my perfect desk during a trip to Eskdale Antiques in our neighbouring village of Sleights (rhymes with heights) – a charming narrow, Victorian oak design with a little draw that kind of hangs a little once you pull it out, and with signs of wood-worm, though it has been treated. One look and it felt like it had been made for me. The helpful owner of Eskdale Antiques had the desk delivered to me on Monday and it has been a joy to walk down to my office and sit and work on and alongside it ever since.
The painting below is actually of me! It is a study by an old friend of me when I used to have dark hair.
I'm actually borrowing the chair you see here from my daughter, it's part of a lovely little antique school desk set that I found on eBay a month or so ago – a complete steal for about £60 for the desk and chair. That cushion below is by the wonderful Bluebellgray – a company who specialise in the creation of the prettiest textile fabrics and printed soft cushioning. The company was founded by this bride Fiona who featured on Love My Dress back in 2011 (her wedding is as gorgeous now as it was then!). The quality of Bluebellgray products is out of this world – I adore my little cushion…
I'm waiting for delivery of this beautiful new chair to sit and work on, ordered just this very evening (been searching for one like this for yonks and thanks to the power of Twitter, have found one – thank you Catherine Mead!
Next on my list is a huge book case (I really want a wooden antique one but am undecided on which era), a new paint colour for the walls – a lovely rug maybe (that or strip up the carpets and get to work on those floor boards) and then get the wall mounted stuff up on, er, the walls. I've a gorgeous antique mottled mirror that my husband brought for me – leaning against it is an illustration of my little Eska and I – a wedding gift from an artist friend. Below this are two original 1960's advertising campaign posters that I picked up from an antique store in Notting Hill for £10 each.
Yesterday provided an opportunity for me to pop out with my youngest in
tow, so we braved the rain and headed in to Whitby town – with two copies
of my book tucked safely into a lovely linen bag that had been given to
me by Kate from Vintage Style Hire (whose gorgeous props and designs
that you can hire for your own wedding day appear frequently throughout the book). First stop was the tiny but delightful Dotty About Vintage shop (160 Church Street), where I chatted with the owner for half an hour about my book (leaving her a copy), about business, about how lucky we are to live in this area. I'd already picked up a couple of items from the shop to put in my new office, including this pretty gold tray. I'm finding I'm drawn to items with green and gold of late – a nice reflection on my branding and colour scheme…
I also picked up the sweetest pair of knitted teddy bears for my girls – they were only £4.50 afterall!
I left the vintage shop yesterday with several other delightful discoveries, including this case (it's not a full size travel case, more like a work case?), and an Embassy wooden cigarette box, which I purchased purely because I liked the fact it said 'High Life' on the side. I thought the case would be a nice way of keeping some of my Vintage Vogue magazines safe. I have a small collection of these magazines that I'm slowly adding to over time. This week saw the addition of some original 60's and 70's editions, thanks to my lovely friend Polly Alexandre – a beautiful and thoughtful gift to celebrate the launch of my book – thank you Polly.
Next stop was The Whitby Book Shop – possibly my favourite book shop in
the world and one you must drop in to if ever you visit Whitby (88 Church Street). I left a copy of my book having asked if they would stock
it. The lady on the desk seemed to love it, so I'm hoping my next window
shopping visit might put a smile on my face 😉
The rain was being extremely stubborn by this point – thank goodness I had my woolly hat on and the buggy rain protector. I made my way over the bridge and on to a pretty little shop called Isobel May (40 Flowergate), where I picked up these two china pieces for just over £10. I thought they would look really sweet in my office and they remind me of my lovely Grandma Edna who had similar sweet little decorative pieces in her home. The jug was dated c.1900 and the little French butter dish was dated c.1920s.
My final visit was to The Stonehouse Emporium on (1 Skinner Street) where I picked up an original 1950's Vogue Magazine, a 3rd edition book published in 1953 about fly fishing (yes, I'm a fishing widow, anyone else??), and the most charming little 'first spelling' book, that my two year old Leanora has already used!
But by this point the wind was picking up so we headed home (dropping in swiftly to the bakery to collect cakes!) and stopping by Eskdale Antiques on our way back, where I found this beautiful little Victorian Oak cupboard which serves as the perfect resting place for our office printer and storage cupboard for stationery bits and bobs.
Next weekend, I hope to share a little more of my dream office adventure and what I'll have been up to over the next seven days. Hopefully my lovely new chair will have arrived and I may have tidied up the huge pile of books on the floor.
What have you been up to this weekend? I'd love to hear and maybe see some images of your own office (or dream offices – Pinterest anyone?!), if you care to leave a link in the comments box below.
Have a lovely Sunday evening everyone,