Midweek Musings: Back on the job

houzz-lifebylotte Last week marked the official end to my maternity leave, as I started a new part-time position at Houzz UK as staff editor. It's pretty much the dream position for me actually, because I get to work with one of my close friends and also get to work for one of the most exciting digital companies in the interiors field today. Plus it's part time, as I said, so I still get to be a mummy who lunches the rest of the time (not going to give that up in any hurry).

It was a shock though, setting my alarm, putting on something other than pyjama bottoms and battling through the commuters like the old days. I had forgotten just how busy London is at that time, and I'm not going to lie, I felt OLD. It made me genuinely want to run away to the country and open a cattery or something.

Once I got to the office however, things improved. I'd missed the buzz of working with a big team, and a company with the investment to actually make things happen. I'd also missed lunches from EAT. Ha. I'll be writing features as well as managing some of the professional contributors who submit articles for the site and am really looking forward to getting stuck in. It'll be especially nice to be back on the journalism side of the fence after spending the last two and a half years doing commercial work.

Other than that, this week has been quite quiet as both Daph and I have had a cold so we've been in hibernation. Babies with colds are not fun. We did however, take Daph to be weighed finally at the health clinic - first time since November - and were somewhat alarmed to be told she now weighs a whopping 15lb 5. It's official, she's a porker. She's now on the 50th percentile! (I've banged on about this loads but she was on the 2nd when she was born). The health visitor was a bit snooty and said we had to keep an eye on her - at one point she stared past my shoulder and said sadly 'this is what happens with formula babies you see' and I had to resist the urge to bop her on the nose.


I won't be putting Daph on a diet any time soon (everyone says as soon as she starts crawling the weight will drop off) - in fact we're going to start properly weaning her TOMORROW as her high chair and dining table are arriving. More on them in another post - but I'm so excited to finally be getting a big table that we can actually use for the kitchen, and I'm hoping we can do more mature mealtimes with all of us sitting around the table talking about our days together.

As for weaning - we've already given her a taste of baby rice and she loved it - but my god what a mess it makes. Shall have to hide my OCD self in a cupboard or something...

Getting into the Christmas spirit with Houzz

heals-christmas-lifebylotte Last week, the lovely folk at Houzz invited me and some other bloggers along to a Christmas crafting morning at Heal's new Westbourne Grove store. It was the first 'work' event I've been to since having Daphne and it was lovely (if a little strange - my small-talk skills certainly need brushing up again!) stepping back into my old shoes for a morning.


First up, we got to do some Christmas crafting. HA. I cannot craft. I don't have an artistic bone in my body - I still remember my Art teacher writing 'Charlotte needs to think beyond the glue and scissors stage' on my school report. I was about 15... (not really). I don't exactly know what she meant, but I guess I was more of a fan of the actual cutting things out and sticking them to other things bit without worrying what the finished product looked like. But you know, life's about the journey not the destination right? I'm sure Paulo Coelho said something like that anyway.

I digress. This time I was more confident as leading the crafting element of the morning was my good friend and all-round interiors expert Vicky Harrison, who also just so happens to be the editor of Houzz UK. She told us we were going to make honeycomb paper ball decorations and had a lot of faith in me.


Well, let's just say that I lived up to my Art teacher's critique. My ball was shamefully the only one there that was so wonky that it looked completely drunk. If honeycomb Christmas balls could get drunk. But it was still incredibly therapeutic sticking and cutting again after all these years. If you'd like to have a go at making them yourself, there's a nifty step-by-step on Vicky's blog.

Next up, we were challenged to style up some Christmas place settings - one super luxe and formal, the other more relaxed and rustic. Sadly, as I live in a tiny flat and never eat at the kitchen table (it's the size of a postage stamp), Christmas place settings aren't something I've given much thought to. But inspired by my fellow bloggers - who were all incredibly creative - I decided to watch what they were doing and, er, sort of copy them.

I'm no stylist but I REALLY enjoyed this bit - here are my two settings:



Not too shabby huh?! If you feel so inclined, you can even vote for mine here.

Finally, all the bloggers sat down and had a chat through some design dilemmas with the stylists from Heal's. It was a really lovely morning, with plenty of mince pies on offer, and I left feeling thoroughly Christmassy. And wishing I had a proper kitchen table - but fingers crossed for 2016 on that front!

NB: Heal's Westbourne Grove, in the iconic Queen's building, is fab but only sells lighting and a few accessories, so don't rock up expecting to be able to do your Christmas shopping there too like I did.

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Shops you should know about: A Rum Fellow

Unique-Chairs-by-A-Rum-Fellow-18-600x600 Another shop this week for all you interiors fans that you might not have heard of but that you should!

A Rum Fellow is one of those unique brands that's impossible to pigeon-hole. I can't even remember where I first came across them - most likely it was on social media - but it was when I saw them exhibiting at Clerkenwell Design Week last year that I first became properly enchanted.

They describe themselves as 'celebrating heritage craft techniques in the creation of kaleidoscopic statement pieces. We create extraordinary pieces of furniture and home accessories designed to captivate the room'. I couldn't have put it better myself. Check out some of their wares...

a rum fellow - lifebylotte

a rum fellow - lifebylotte 2

a rum fellow - lifebylotte3

They sell a wonderfully eclectic mix of pieces, from textiles, cushions, rugs and throws to furniture and lighting. Colour is the name of the game - plenty of bold, bright hues and tons of geometric loveliness. I mean, how ridiculously gorgeous is this cushion?


They also have a really strong art offering. In fact, the first thing I fell in love with of theirs was the quirky Rabbit Faunascape (below). I love everything about this: especially the fact that it's painted onto plywood. Just completely original and captivating.

a rum fellow - rabbit faunascape - lifebylotte

If you've seen the piece on my flat on Houzz, you'll also know that I picked their Runge's Colour Sphere print as the giveaway. This print sits perfectly above my desk and everyone always notices it - I love the use of colours and the fact it helps define my workspace. It's one of my favourite pieces of art in my flat.

Another fab thing about A Rum Fellow? They are family-run. I LOVE a family-run business - it makes all the difference to see the passion and care that goes into sourcing products, and when you buy something, you really do get a bit of a warm glow. Check them out, and keep your credit card handy!

Have a nose round my home on Houzz

houzz lifebylotte I'm very excited today to be able to share with you the feature on my flat on international decorating goliath Houzz. The lovely team at Houzz sent a fab interiors photographer (Chris Snook - check him out) round a few weeks ago to shoot my humble abode to feature as part of their new series visiting interiors bloggers at home. I then had a chat with one of their writers to talk more about my blog, as well as the story behind the bits and pieces in my home.


It's funny, seeing the finished pics, as I had never realised quite how girly my taste had become! And quite how dependent on grey and pink... what can I say, the two work together so well! It's been really lovely to have these professional shots done, especially as when my flat was last shot for The Guardian, it looked quite different.


My home really is an amalgamation of lots of different bits and pieces gathered throughout the years - many of which were handed down to me from relatives, resulting in a rather eclectic mix. But I quite like the fact that pretty much everything I own has a story behind it, rather than it all being bought at once to fit a particular design 'scheme'.


The Houzz team also asked me to pick out a prize for the best comment left on the feature. They wanted me to choose something inspired by or featured in my flat - so I went with this fab poster from A Rum Fellow (below). It takes pride of place above my desk in the living room, and always gets tons of compliments.


So what are you waiting for? Get over there, have a good nose round and leave a comment (be kind please, have I mentioned at all lately that I'm heavily pregnant and emotional?!)!

Can't wait to hear what you think!