BOOKS

91 is reading.... Start up London

This book had me on the first page. The welcome note from the founders of Hoxton Mini Press inspire with their own story of starting up their publishing house with a Kickstarter campaign, and encourage readers with: 'Don't wait for certainty. Go out and learn as you do. Start up!'

Start Up London book review

Writer Christina Hopkinson and photographer Rick Pushinsky share the stories of 30 small businesses from across the capital making this an inspirational guide rather than a 'how to'. But to complement this, it does include a handy 'tips and advice' insert with some practical advice for entrepreneurs. 

I've picked out five of the businesses, all run by women, that I was thrilled to see featured in the book to highlight and give you some little snippets from their story.... 

Petalon - feature in Start Up London book

Petalon - flower delivery service run by Florence Kennedy

Florence's business delivers flowers around London by bike and when she first started she was getting up at 3:30am to go to the flower markets, and initially struggled with cash flow issues. Her next stumbling block turned out to be a blessing in disguise and business is now going from strength to strength: 

"A second crisis hit the business in 2016 in the shape of Brexit when Florence was pregnant with Clover. Overnight the cost of imported flowers rose dramatically. She was also wondering how she'd get to the market at dawn with a newborn. Then a cold call from a Dutch wholesale flower distributor came at just the right moment. He offered to deliver anything from his website at far lower costs. 'We went on his website and saw that a flower I'd paid £1.30 a stem for was selling for 90p. I really miss the market, but he saved my business.'"

Birdsong - featured in Start up London book

Birdsong - ethical fashion website run by Sophie Slater, Susanna Wen & Sarah Beckett

Birdsong is a clothing website selling products made by charities supporting women. The founders realised that many women's groups were making beautiful clothes but had nowhere to sell them at a fair price. Sophie and Sarah started the business in their early twenties and feel lucky that it is so easy to start your own business in the UK: 

"Along the way, they've discovered that London is a peculiarly fertile place to set up a business. Says Sarah, 'We sell a lot of our stuff in Berlin and talking to people there makes me realise how much easier it is to set up in the UK than elsewhere, in terms of bureaucracy. Here, £40 and half an hour is all it takes to register your own company. There's so much help for start-ups - we've been on both free and paid-for programs."

Riposte magazine - featured in Start Up London book

Riposte - independent magazine run by Danielle Pender

Similar to 91 Magazine, it was when Danielle could not find a women's magazine she wanted to read that she decided to start her own. She is a great example of someone who is not afraid to take risks and more often than not those risks pay off. With no journalism experience, she simply followed her nose along with creative director Shaz Madani, and now prints 10,000 copies of the magazine. 

"In November 2013, Riposte was launched with a striking cover that had no image, only text with the names of the women featured inside. Although having a cover so different from the norm made them nervous, it also made them excited and as novices they had nothing to lose. It turned out to be an inspired move, garnering them press coverage and visually emphasising their credentials as an alternative to mainstream women's magazines." 

Quill London - featured in Start Up London book

Quill London - stationery shop run by Lucy Edmonds

We featured Lucy's business way back in 2013 in the digital version of 91, and it's been lovely to see Quill flourish from an online store into a bricks and mortar destination for not only your stationery needs but a place to learn calligraphy. An advocate for a detailed business plan, Lucy had never envisaged calligraphy being part of her business but she explains why she went 'off plan'... 

"'I've always been able to spot trends just before they go mainstream. I wish I knew how, it's bizarre. I noticed on social media that calligraphy was becoming a big thing in the US but nobody was doing it over here.' At the same time, she noted the growing trend for one-day or evening workshops as consumers became increasingly interested in buying experiences and knowledge rather than 'stuff'. Melding the two, she decided to offer a one-off workshop to stationery customers taught by the calligrapher Imogen Owen. But demand was off the scale and the one-off soon became a regular offering, eventually leading to the lease of the Amwell Street shop, Lucy training to become a calligrapher herself and the commissioning of her book on modern calligraphy." 

London Terrariums - featured in Start Up London book

London Terrariums - plant shops and workshops run by Emma Sibley

Emma's business came from the desire for a garden while at university, leading to her experimenting with spider plants and kilner jars. Everyone's approach to starting up is different, and Emma is proof that a detailed business plan is not always necessary... 

"As her enthusiasm grew, so did the idea for a business, although becoming an entrepreneur had never been something she'd imagined for herself: 'I never thought I'd become this person - juggling an employee, premises and accounts.' Instead the whole process has been spontaneous and guided by circumstances. 'I've never written a business plan - it's been a hobby then turned into more than a hobby and now a job." 

What an inspiring bunch of ladies! And the book of course has many male entrepreneurs too, with businesses ranging from a London distillery to knife makers to sports nutrition. If you'd like to read more of these stories and the other 25 in the book then head over to Hoxton Mini Press (support indie publishers!) to order a copy and check out their full range of beautifully crafted books. 

The new wave of interiors books

Since I published my own interiors book The Shopkeepers Home back in 2015, I have noticed a gradual shift in interiors book publishing. What I've noticed is the books being published in 2017/2018 are less focused on purely providing inspiration and a nosy inside the homes of others but rather are honing in on the practicality of living. By this I mean: how to simplify your home, how to declutter, be more organised, how to live sustainably or more mindfully. I guess this is a response to a few factors - firstly, the internet and how easy is it to find visual inspiration online and secondly, the growing trend for mindfulness and living less frivolously. 

the new wave of interiors books

These books, rather than encouraging us to go out and spend, spend, spend on new things for our homes to replicate a style or aesthetic, they are instead teaching readers to streamline their belongings, to work with what you've got and, when you need to, how to shop consciously. We've looked at four books, published within the last year, which offer this kind of advice and guidance, to see what they are all about. 

This is Home - The Art of Simple Living by Natalie Walton

This is Home: the art of simple living - by Natalie Walton

The opening lines of Natalie Walton's This is Home almost exemplifies this new movement in interiors: 'This is a love story about the home. It celebrates what we have. And reminds us to nurture the space that helps make our lives possible.' Natalie has travelled far and wide to gather a selection of homes that have a strong sense of identity and authenticity; where the homeowners have created spaces that reflect them as people and nurture the family within. The book is split into three sections - Create, Live and Nurture - allowing the viewer to delve into the process of creating the space and how they live and enjoy it on a daily basis. It is not about big budgets, fancy furniture or flashy design, but about a simple approach to crafting a home with consideration and simplicity. 

{ Published by Hardie Grant - Order here }

Mad about the House by Kate Watson-Smyth

Mad About the House: How to decorate your home with style - by Kate Watson-Smyth

Kate's latest book, named after her award-winning blog, is a practical guide to understanding and implementing good interior design. Surprisingly, there are a very limited number of photographs of interiors within the pages, opting for a series of stylistic illustrations instead. Again, this highlights the change in how interiors books are structured and presented, with the emphasis being on useful knowledge and advice that readers can put into practice. The book starts off addressing how to find your style and examining the importance of colour, before going into detail about each room in the house, and how to execute things like getting lighting right and planning the perfect bathroom. Kate's fun and humourous style of writing and personal anecdotes keep the book light-hearted and engaging, making it less of an educational guide and more like learning from old friend who happens to hold all the style tips! 

{Published by Pavilion - Order here }

New Minimalism by Cary Telander Fortin + Kyle Louise Quilici

New Minimalism: Decluttering and Design for Sustainable Intentional Living - by Cary Telander Fortin & Kyle Louise Quilici

With a website of the same name, professional 'declutterers' Cary and Kyle's book shares their experience and knowledge in how to achieve that elusive minimal home with soul. They offer practical advice on how to change your mindset on the topic of decluttering and material goods, how to tackle it effectively and then how to put it back together beautifully. They promote the need for function and style and inform on how to shop with intention. It is very much a practical guide to making a change in how you live and includes recipes for natural cleaning products and 'take action' sections with tips on how to follow through on their advice. 

{Published by Sasquatch Books - Order here }

Remodelista: The Organized Home

Remodelista - The Organized Home: Simple, stylish storage ideas for all over the house - by Julie Carlson & Margot Guralnick

A small format book, Remodelista's latest tome again demonstrates the clear demand for interiors books that help us live more simply. Tips and tricks are delivered in bite-sized segments, making this an easy book to dip in and out of. Packed with storage solutions for anything from your hairdryer to your kitchen roll, as well as how to implement a plastic free pantry and an all-in-one laundry cupboard. The images alone are enough to have me itching to tidy and sort! It'll have your home impeccably organised in no time! 

{ Published by Artisan Books - Order here }

the new wave of interiors books

What do you think of this new angle on interiors books? Is this what you want from a home decor book these days or do you prefer pure interior eye candy? I'd would personally love to publish more books in the future, and would love to know what it is that readers are keen to gain when they purchase a book about interiors. Or perhaps you don't even bother buying these kinds of books anymore?! I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

91 is reading... Garden Style by Selina Lake

Selina Lake's books and styling work have been an inspiration to me from way back - at the very beginning of my blogging and publishing career. Her eye for interiors has always been delicate and feminine but with a contemporary edge that makes it fun and unexpected. Now Selina is adding gardening to her repertoire with her latest book (number 8!) Garden Style, and today we indulge in a little peek inside - a taster of this perfect springtime read....

 Photo: Caroline Rowland

Photo: Caroline Rowland

There are trillions of gardening books out there that are practical and functional in terms of how to grow, how to plant and how to design your outdoor space, but this has got to be one of the first on how to STYLE it. With our gardens becoming almost like an extra 'room' it's equally as important to add character to it, the same as you would in every other room in your home. 

Selina Lake Garden Style book review
Selina Lake Garden Style book review

In the book, Selina demonstrates how to create stylish seating areas as well as how to decorate your garden as a whole. With anything from quirky containers to clever lighting to vintage decorative details - perfect for adding interest to your outdoor area. It doesn't matter whether you have a tiny patio or a huge expansive space, there are tips and ideas to glean for all types of garden. 

Selina Lake Garden Style book review

There is a section on garden rooms, greenhouses and sheds which highlights some inspiring examples of the perfect garden retreat including the above one owned by 91 Magazine photographer Cathy Pyle. (we've been envious of this for a while so can see why Selina picked it!). She also shares lots of little projects throughout the book such as 'make your own seed packets' and 'floral stained napkins', plus there are style tips peppered throughout the pages. 

Selina Lake Garden Style book review
Selina Lake Garden Style book review

Not only is garden styling covered but Selina shares some of her favourite gardens to visit, flowers shows, garden centres and nurseries as well as favourite flowers, plants and veg to grow. The section on 'Bringing the Outdoors in' discusses ways of utilising your homegrown flowers and foliage within your home too. 

If you are planning to transform your outdoor space this year, then this is a must-read - you will be guaranteed inspiration to help you create the perfect little patch for summer long enjoyment! 

You can read some further reviews and see more from inside the book on the blogs of 91 friends Lobster and Swan and Little Green Shed. Selina will also be sharing her thoughts on it this week too, so pop to her new website for more. 

All images are copyright of Ryland Peters & Small unless otherwise stated. Garden Style by Selina Lake is published by Ryland Peters & Small. All photography by Rachel Whiting. Order your copy of the book here.

91 is reading... The Kinfolk Entrepreneur

There's nothing that gets my creative juices flowing and my determination peeking than reading other creative peoples' stories. Whether that's an indie maker just starting out on their journey or a powerhouse of a businessperson whose creative goals have surpassed themselves - it's all thought provoking and inspiring stuff that makes you remember where you've come from and where you want to be. 

The Kinfolk Entrepreneur - review

So when I heard of Kinfolk's latest book offering I was bursting to dive in and discover the collection of people they had curated and of course soak up the ever-enchanting photography that accompanies all that Kinfolk do. It is a chunky tome - 368 pages in fact - and I'll admit I haven't quite managed to get through it all yet - but split up into individual stories from over 40 entrepreneurs, it is easy to dip in and out and read snippets as and when. 

 Photo: Lasse Fløde

Photo: Lasse Fløde

There are passages and quotes that jumped out at me - such as the lyrics from a Talking Heads track that is significant to creative director Damir Doma - "Never for the money, always for love" - something which resonates deeply with me also. I left a relatively well paid job to pursue my passion for 91 Magazine, and yes, I'm much less well off financially, but I LOVE what I do, and the fulfilment from that is so much more important. Of course, if your passion can pay well then all the better, but it's clear from the people within this book that their businesses began with a dream, and the drive to make something special grow from nothing. 

 Photo Jacopo Moschin

Photo Jacopo Moschin

 Photo: Jacopo Moschin

Photo: Jacopo Moschin

Fashion designer Azéde Jean-Pierre comments "It's not a brand unless you create desire. People must want to buy into it," while graphic designer Pum Lefebure explains how starting out feels: "You have to create a vision of exactly what you want. Of course you don't know how the hell you're going to get there, but you dream. You figure it out." Not only do we have to follow our dream and discover how to make it happen, but we also have to remember why we are doing it - who is it for? Will people want it? Will they part with their hard earned cash to have a slice of your dream? 

 Photo: Jacopo Moschin

Photo: Jacopo Moschin

Instinctively, I was drawn to the story of Kevin Ma - publisher of Hype Beast - a print magazine and digital platform based in Hong Kong. His beginnings similar to my own - starting a blog via Blogger, making small amounts of money alongside another job, but Kevin's brand has exploded, now with 124 employees working for him. It's an awe-inspiring publishing success story, yet Kevin comes across as incredibly humble and realistic, pointing out that his success is probably just down to 'good timing' - and that he hit the blogging world just before digital media became hugely saturated. Perhaps, but I get the feeling it's mostly due to pure grit, determination and intense passion for what he does. 

 Photo: Jacopo Moschin

Photo: Jacopo Moschin

The Kinfolk Entrepreneur encompasses a wide range of people from designers and hoteliers to publishers and bakers to restauranteurs and retailers - sharing stories, advice, and more than anything - a love for what they create. I've never been one to read classic business books - they don't tend to induce excitement or enthusiasm - but Kinfolk has created something in this book that not only provides practical advice, but that provokes you to dream big, take that leap and find true meaning in work. 

The Kinfolk Entrepreneur by Nathan Williams (Artisan Books) publishes in the UK on the 17th October, retailing for £28.

Pre-order on Amazon now.

91 is reading... The Creative Shopkeeper

It's no secret that we love independent shops here at 91, (I even wrote a book about them!) so when The Creative Shopkeeper by Lucy Johnston arrived, we knew it was going to be right up our street. 

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While the book is a practical resource for shop owners, both existing and aspiring, it does not exclude those of us who simply have an interest in independent shops and creative retail design. For me, there is a strong resemblance in the retail world to the publishing world; as high street stores and mainstream magazines struggle, independent stores and magazines are rising up and offering something new and exciting to the high street and the newsstand. 

 Gekaapt in Amsterdam

Gekaapt in Amsterdam

 Lila B, San Francisco

Lila B, San Francisco

The book highlights 60 stores from around the world, and categorises them into chapters such as 'navigation and choice', 'edit and abundance' and 'staging and scenery'. Author Lucy offers interesting comment on the psychology of shopping and the shift in how we now experience the activity. Some of the stores in the book that particularly grabbed my attention were under the 'journey and discovery' section, and highlight how shopkeepers have to work harder to give the consumer more, creating an environment that harnesses those elements of journey and discovery. AG Hendy in Hastings on the British south coast and Le Comptoir General in Paris are two case studies which demonstrate how a store can become a destination in it's own right. 

  AG Hendy , Hastings / Photo: Alastair Hendy

AG Hendy, Hastings / Photo: Alastair Hendy

  Le Comptoir Général, Paris  / Photo: Walt Agency

Le Comptoir Général, Paris / Photo: Walt Agency

Whether you are working in retail, interested in design or simply enjoy discovering new shops wherever you go, this book is a great addition to your bookshelf. 

The Creative Shopkeeper by Lucy Johnston is published by Thames and Hudson and will be released on Friday 14th Sept, pre-order on Amazon now

91 is reading... Family London

The school summer holidays are just on the horizon, and for many parents it's time to start thinking about activites and outings to keep the kids entertained. It's often hard to spend time researching places to visit when you are busy working parents. But if you are based in the London area, or planning a trip to London with the kids this summer, then this little handbook will likely become your best friend!

Family London lists fun days out across the capital that both kids and adults will enjoy - from museums and galleries to outdoor adventures to the best eateries to take the kids. There's even a section to inspire even the moodiest of teenagers! 91 has picked five of our favourites to share with you, just a snippet of what the book has to offer.... 

Sky Garden

Dubbed the Walkie Talkie (and, for a period, the ‘Walkie Scorchie’ thanks to a since-rectified habit of heating the streets below on sunny days), 20 Fenchurch Street has recovered from its difficult birth to earn its place on the London skyline. How? With its innovative, vertiginous public oasis.

Free to enter (although tickets must be booked in advance online) and surprisingly child friendly (expect to see little tykes pushing the squishy log-shaped seats around), it’s a truly transcendent space with banked planters of eucalyptus, sage, towering palm trees and more sheltering hidden benches, a restaurant, a café and unmatched panoramas of the ever-changing cityscape – just as impressive in the evenings as on a clear summer’s day. Food and drink prices are suitably sky high, but there are few better places to spend an awestruck afternoon.

Philpot Lane, EC3M 8AF / 0333 772 0020 / www.skygarden.london / Monument or Cannon Street tube.

Bees Knees.jpg

The Bees Knees at Battersea Arts Centre

South-West London has its very own phoenix in the form of the Battersea Arts Centre. Partially burnt down in 2015, it is rising once more (with a rebuilt version of its Grand Hall) thanks to donations from a public campaign that raised more than £50,000. One innovation that survived the flames is this inspired, popular indoor play space of rolling hills covered in felt grass, scattered toys and cosy cushions. Cheap to enter and designed with toddlers in mind, it’s all the better for being hand painted and completely bespoke. It also has a café across the foyer – complete with hulking almond croissants – which adds the appealing proposition of a warm place for parents to cradle a well-earned cup of coffee.

Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN / 020 7223 2223 / www.bac.org.uk / Clapham Junction rail and Overground

Bear and Wolf

Macbook-tapping freelancers and harried childcarers somehow coexist at this lively Tufnell Park spot. Similar in format to Berlin’s chic kindercafés, it was a longtime passion project for local dad Matthew Neel and there are all manner of thoughtful touches for toddler-wranglers in particular (a buggy parking area, space-saving clamp-on high chairs, a bottomless cereal bowl on the kids menu) balanced with a pleasingly cool space. The biggest parental draw here, however, is the Cubroom: a huge, orderly play area crammed with toys, vehicles and books. There’s a pocket garden out back and the brunch-themed all day menu -  with everything-but-the-kitchen-sink breakfast rolls and shepherds pie for grown-ups and little ones – is dynamite.

153 Fortress Road, NW5 2HR / 020 3601 1900 / www.bearandwolfcafe.com / Tufnell Park tube

Coram's Field

There was a time when this Bloomsbury park and playground – unexpectedly positioned smack bang in the centre of London – was a hushed secret among in-the-know parents. Survey the queue of kids waiting for a turn on its popular zip-line in the school holidays and you will sensibly assume that word has got out. But Coram’s Fields (London’s first public children’s playground, on the site of a former eighteenth-century home for unwanted babies) is still very much one to have in your parental arsenal for any West End excursions.

(You may also be happy to hear of their after-school playscheme.) A giant sandpit, paddling pool, sprawling play space, small city farm and café are among the myriad delights. And, for extra peace of mind, no adult can enter the park without a child.

93 Guilford Street, WC1N 1DN / 020 7837 6138 / www.coramsfields.org / Russell Square tube

Biscuiteers

Any kid who gets a kick out of the icing-based peril on The Great British Bake Off will lap up a visit to one of Biscuiteers’ handsome boutiques in the suitably chic pockets of Notting Hill and Battersea. Firstly, there’s the shop and café area, with brimming shelves of hand baked and iced luxury biscuits in all manner of creative shapes and seasonal varieties (edible high heels, anyone?), as well as aproned staff primed to send coffees, cakes and even milkshakes your way. The real draw here is the drop-in decorating area, though. For £15 kids are let loose with a box of freshly baked biccies and piping bottles brimming with colourful icings to create their own gift box of goodies or, inevitably, something to devour on the way home.

194 Kensington Park Road, W11 2ES / 020 7727 8096 / www.biscuiteers.com / Ladbroke Grove tube / Alternative branch: Battersea SW11 1NG

Happy school holiday planning! 

Family London by Jimi Famurewa is published by Frances Lincoln, and is £9.99.

Order your copy now

91 is reading... Macramé

If you haven't noticed that macramé is the craft du jour, then you must have been under a rock for the past few months! The textile based craft was popular in the 1970s and is officially back and popping up everywhere. It seems to marry particularly well with our other favourite trend - houseplants - and one person who seems to know a lot about both is Fanny Zedenius, whose latest book Macramé: The Craft of Creative Knotting for your Home we are currently poring over and we itching to get our knots on!

Fanny is Swedish, so it's no surprise that her book is super stylish and proves exactly how macramé has been brought up to date for the modern crafter. When talking about discovering the craft, she says: 'This craft was different to all the others I had explored and moved on from - macramé was addictive in a whole new way.'

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She cites the act of knotting as being the most mediative of all crafts - although I imagine that is only the case once you have mastered the techniques! She also highlights the fact that it requires minimal tools and materials, making it an affordable way to create something beautiful for your home. 

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Pictured are a few of our favourite projects from the book - they truly add a touch of boho to your home, and we love how with a simple bit of dip dyeing you can give your piece a modern twist with a pop of colour. If you've been wanting to give macramé a try, then this book is well worth a look, great projects and comprehensive patterns to make learning as easy as possible.

Macrame by Fanny Zedenius is published on 15th June by Quadrille and is priced at £12.99. It is available to pre-order now.

Photography by Kim Lightbody

91 is reading... Flowers Every Day

There's no doubt about it- Spring is the season for flowers. In the lanes and hedgerows, in our gardens, on our mantels and even in our Instagram feeds, we at 91 are in love with all things floral.  With all the blooms that are available to us, we do sometimes find ourselves wishing that we had the know-how to recreate the beautiful floral creations that we see around us and online. 

This is why we were thrilled to receive an advance copy of Flowers Every Day: Inspired florals for homes, gifts and gatherings, the new book by hip London florist Florence Kennedy, in which she shares the secrets of how to create flower crowns, table arrangements, arches and bouquets.

Florence Kennedy is the founder of Petalon, a London-based, bicycle-powered flower delivery company. Her passion for flowers is intense and contagious, and her absence of classical floristry training results in a style that is creative and free, guided by instinct, feeling, and an impeccable artistic eye.

In Flowers Every Day, she teaches the reader how to create a series of floral projects inspired by her creative designs. The book begins with a section called The Basics, which covers sourcing flowers, tools and techniques, and vases. The remainder of the book is quartered by seasons, with several projects in each. For Spring, these include flower crowns, bud vases and a table meadow. For Summer, there are projects such as a flower chandelier, buttonholes and summer table flowers. For Autumn, highlights number bridal bouquets, a flower beam and a living staircase, and Winter features two variants of wreath and gift toppers, among others.

The book is photographed by India Hobson, a talented photographer with a practiced eye for floral beauty. Shot in a selection of characterful locations with an air of fading grandeur, India's images perfectly showcase Florence's designs.

All of the projects look beautiful and adaptable. We're thinking we might start with the bud vases, move on to the festival flower crowns, and then attempt the flower chandelier. In the meantime, Florence's instructions for creating a lovely bouquet to give as a gift are sure to be invaluable, time and again. 

If you share our passion for flowers, this book is definitely for you. Not only is it a delight to peruse with a cup of tea, it's also packed with practical tutorials. A must for anyone who wants to enjoy flowers every day.

Flowers Every Day by Florence Kennedy is published by Pavilion (£18.99) It's available for pre-order and will be in shops and online from 18th May.

All images in this post by Laura Pashby.

91 is reading... Capture Your Style

We make no secret of the fact that we at 91 Magazine are hooked on Instagram. It's one of our key sources of inspiration, a way in which we make connections and even discover potential content for the magazine. Each issue we showcase five of our favourite accounts in our Instagram Edit and, if you follow us on Instagram, you'll know that we're posting fresh content daily, from styled flatlays to behind the scenes snippets. We also host regular hashtag projects over on IG- remember that you can still tag your tea/coffee themed shots to #91magazine_myquietcuppa for a chance to have your image featured in the next print issue of the magazine.

So naturally, given our insta-obsession, we were fascinated to read Capture Your Style, the tell-all Instagram guide from Aimee Song (aka @songofstyle), a superstar US Instagrammer with 4.4 million followers and counting.

Capture Your Style promises to help you to'transform your Instagram images, Showcase your Life and Build the Ultimate Platform'. The book is divided into five sections that cover:

- The Ins & Outs of Instagram

- Capture your Style

-Become a Storyteller

-Find & Grow Your Audience

- Instagold

If you are an Instagram beginner, or are unsure about the details of how the platform works, in 'The Ins & Outs of Instagram', Aimee explains in clear, easy-to-understand steps how to get started, from choosing a username to using the camera on your smartphone. She walks the reader through the entire process, throwing in top tips along the way.

The section on 'Capturing your Style' is essential reading for anyone who posts outfit shots, selfies or even portraits. There are plenty of ideas on how to put together an outfit shot, with interesting insights into how to use backgrounds, juxtapositions and angles to best effect. 

'Become a Storyteller' covers Aimee's thoughts on how best to shoot food, travel, interiors and flatlays, with tips on how to balance your grid (for example, Aimee suggests thinking about your images in groups of twelve) and ideas for lighting and ways to ensure that your images are perfectly straight.

'Find & Grow Your Audience' covers practicalities such as commenting, hash tagging, mentions, and timing your images to best effect, whilst "Insta Gold' touches on the ways in which Instagram can be used to support and grow your business and career.

More experienced Instagrammers may find that some of the content is already familiar to them and that some advice is rather subjective. For example, Aimee states categorically that you should use a maximum of five hashtags per post, whereas we know that 91 contributor and Instagram Coach Sara Tasker advises that using anything up to the full quota of 30 can work well.

Nevertheless, if you're new to Instagram, or if you are a fashion blogger (or a fan of outfit shots!), then this book could prove invaluable. Indeed, anyone with an interest in Instagram will find plenty of inspiration within its pages.

Capture Your Style by Aimee Song is published by Abrams Image (£11.99)

All images in this post by Laura Pashby.

91 is reading.... Studio

If you are a creative person, then the chances are you have a creative space in some shape or form. Whether it's a corner of your spare room, a garden retreat, or a huge loft room studio, it's your space; a space to make, write, paint, design and it's likely you have expressed your creativity in the decor of the area you work in. A brand new book by Sally Coulthard delves in to the creative spaces of a wide range of makers, designers and crafters. Studio gives us a peek into their working lives and how they have chosen to build their surroundings in order to offer practicality as well as daily inspiration.

 Photo: Caroline Rowland

Photo: Caroline Rowland

I was lucky enough to be part of the team that helped put this book together. I worked alongside Sally to source the imagery for the book, and it was a joy to research and collate a beautiful collection of studio spaces from creative people whose work I admire or have discovered through the project. We, of course, love a studio tour here at 91, so it was a bit of a dream freelance job to work on alongside my work on the magazine! 

 Nathalie Lete's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

Nathalie Lete's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

 Catherine Derksema's studio - Photo: Rachel Kara

Catherine Derksema's studio - Photo: Rachel Kara

The first part of the book categorises different looks - bright, mono, natural, industrial and collected. Each section features case studies which have perfected these styles, such as Claire Basler's stunning painting studio in a French chateau, where she has brought the outdoors in to inspire her nature focussed work. Designer Natahalie Lete's studio (above top), featured in the 'collected' section, is a treasure trove of quirkiness, and is completely idiosyncratic of her fairytale inspired work. I loved exploring Australian textile designer Cath Derksema's industrial space (above) - her colourful work brings a happy, playful vibe to the warehouse's raw materials and large expanse. Each section also includes a 'Get the Look' spread, with some ideas for creating a similar space yourself. 

 Lise Meunier's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

Lise Meunier's studio - Photo: Joanna Maclennan

The book goes on to look at the various types of work that takes place in these creative studios - from ceramics and woodwork to fine art and illustration to blogging and photography. Sally talks a little bit about the considerations of each type of working environment before highlighting a collection of real studios spaces. She has gathered together some really notable creative people, from artist Lisa Congdon, to woodworker Ariele Alasko to ceramist Lise Meunier (above).

 Lisa Congdon's studio - Photo: Janis Nicolay

Lisa Congdon's studio - Photo: Janis Nicolay

 Sally Taylor's studio - Photo: Victoria Harley

Sally Taylor's studio - Photo: Victoria Harley

What is particuarly lovely about this book is the vast variation on types of studios featured. While I seem to have selected images which are all quite feminine and colourful here (!), the book does not ignore darker colour palettes, masculine spaces, and those that are less about style and more about the creative process. While you will find it in the Interiors section of your book shop, and it is indeed filled with images of interiors, I find it is much more than just an interiors book. It is about the people that inhabit these spaces, their creativity and the work that is produced within their walls. 

STUDIO: Creative Spaces for Creative People by Sally Coulthard is published by Jacqui Small LLP and is available for pre-order. Release date: 16th March 2017. 

91 is reading... Life Unstyled

Yes, of course we LOVE a bit of styling here at 91, but the homes that inspire us the most are the ones that are 'lived in', that have real personality, not ones that have been polished and preened within an inch of their lives for the purpose of a magazine shoot. No, we much prefer homes that are filled with creativity and imperfection, and we hope this is evident through what we choose to feature on our pages. 

That is why Emily Henson's latest book Life Unstyled really resonates with us. Emily demonstrates 'how to embrace imperfection and create a home you love'. Her ethos is so similar to our own; beautiful homes ooze personality and are rooted in reality - there are stacks of books and newspapers by the bed, there are kids toys sprouting from every orifice, and there are ALWAYS unfinished jobs, but that doesn't mean your home cannot be stylish, creative and inspiring. 

The first section of the book is compact, but eloquently explains Emily's theory of 'embracing imperfection'; focusing on working with what you've got, and how it's always a good idea to break the rules! She reminds us to use our creativity rather than just simply consuming. 

The main bulk of the book is then freed up to explore some of the fabulous homes Emily has discovered. Spaces that epitomise the Life Unstyled look. We find out more about the interesting people behind the interiors and Emily highlights particularly clever ideas to steal, and I especially liked her 'Every Home Should Have...' notes.

So if you've ever felt disillusioned by an interiors mag (not 91 of course!) or have just wanted the reassurance that everyone else does have clutter, then Life Unstyled will give you the belief that your home can be interior-book-worthy AND lived in! It's a book full of character and life and one we will be delving into regularly.

Life Unstyled by Emily Henson (Ryland Peters & Small, £19.99) Photography by Debi Treloar © Ryland Peters & Small

Order your copy now.

91 is reading... the book of Hygge

 Image by Laura Pashby

Image by Laura Pashby

Hygge, the Danish art of living well, is a concept that's become extremely popular in recent months. Described by author Louisa Thomsen Brits as 'a quality of presence and a feeling of togetherness... a feeling of being warm, safe, comforted and sheltered', hygge was part of our inspiration for the latest issue of 91, and it provided the theme for this issue's Instagram Edit.

With winter approaching, hygge has become a much-used (perhaps even over-used) word, but hygge is about much more than just coffee and candles, and this beautiful little book by Louisa Thomsen Brits provides an enticing explanation of the origins, traditions and truths of a fascinating philosophy. Half Danish, half English, Louisa Thomsen Brits is perfectly placed to communicate the language of hygge: 'as a Dane, hygge is bred in her bones. As an Englishwoman she can comfortably translate the concept and share its universality as an impetus common to us all. '

 Photo: Susan Bell

Photo: Susan Bell

The Book of Hygge is divided into six sections:

Belonging; Shelter; Comfort ; Wellbeing; Simplicity and Observance.

Each section is illustrated with stunning photographs by Susan Bell, taken mostly in the home of Louisa Thomsen Brits, or in her aunt's Danish apartments. These quiet images exude contentment and balance, with their elegant simplicity and their precise use of light.

 Photo: Susan Bell

Photo: Susan Bell

Intelligently written, and full of heart, The Book of Hygge combines theoretical explanation with personal anecdote and emotional resonance. To help us to understand the meaning of hygge, Louisa Thomsen Brits draws on historical and cultural examples, as well as on genuine instances from her own life and experience. We discover that hygge can be present in the smallest of gestures and the humblest of moments.

 Photo: Susan Bell

Photo: Susan Bell

This book's greatest power comes not in teaching the reader to create hygge (although it certainly does so), but in showing us how to recognise and appreciate that hyggelig experiences already exist in our  lives. Seeing this with clear eyes allows us to nurture hygge, and to welcome it into our everyday. The Book of Hygge is the perfect book to keep on your nightstand: to immerse yourself in its calming pages, reflecting on its message of comfort and appreciation before you drift off to sleep.

 Photo: Susan Bell

Photo: Susan Bell

If you'd like to hear more about hygge from Louisa Thomsen Brits, she is giving a talk about creating hygge in your home this Friday (18th November)  1-1.30pm, as part of our collaboration with West Elm. The talk is free, although Louisa will happily take donations to her chosen charity (the Clock Tower Sanctuary- a drop-in service for young homeless people) on the day. Register your interest here, to help us with numbers.

You'll also find Louisa over on Instagram.

Finally, if you don't have one already, remember that you can buy yourself a copy of the latest issue of 91 Magazine here.