Shop indie this Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love but it’s also the perfect opportunity to spoil your loved one with a thoughtful gift. Whether it’s an item to wear, goodies to pamper with, something beautiful for the home, or a surprise weekend away, opting for something special from an independent shop will not only impress your loved one with its uniqueness, it also helps to keep our small business community thriving! Stylist Sally Meier has curated a lovely selection of items for both him and her to save you a little bit of work this February!

FOR HER

Pressed Flower Glass Frame Picture,  Botanique Workshop , from £9.50   Real flowers are pressed and sandwiched between glass to create these unique framed blooms and leaves. Different sizes are available.

Pressed Flower Glass Frame Picture, Botanique Workshop, from £9.50

Real flowers are pressed and sandwiched between glass to create these unique framed blooms and leaves. Different sizes are available.

Earl Grey Tea & Bergamot Dark Chocolate,  The Future Kept , £4.50    Crafted by Coco Chocolatier in Edinburgh, this bar is beautiful inside and out.  

Earl Grey Tea & Bergamot Dark Chocolate, The Future Kept, £4.50 

Crafted by Coco Chocolatier in Edinburgh, this bar is beautiful inside and out.  

Row Bracelets,  Bohemia , £28   The Row Bracelets have a simple and delicate gold plated chain with a row of semi-precious stones. Hand-crafted in India and available in four colours, these bracelets are a perfect present, with a canvas gift bag included. 

Row Bracelets, Bohemia, £28

The Row Bracelets have a simple and delicate gold plated chain with a row of semi-precious stones. Hand-crafted in India and available in four colours, these bracelets are a perfect present, with a canvas gift bag included. 

Jewellery Box in White Oak,  Tea and Kate , £99   A sleek, sculptural and entirely practical jewellery box for the lady who loves minimal.

Jewellery Box in White Oak, Tea and Kate, £99

A sleek, sculptural and entirely practical jewellery box for the lady who loves minimal.

Woburn Bouquet,  Abigail Ahern , £110   Buy flowers that will last forever like these super-realistic faux bouquets from Abigail Ahern. 

Woburn Bouquet, Abigail Ahern, £110

Buy flowers that will last forever like these super-realistic faux bouquets from Abigail Ahern. 

Green Fig Botanical Candle Co,  Midgley Green , from £14   These generously sized and practical soy wax candles will transport you to beneath a rambling fig tree in a sunny courtyard. 

Green Fig Botanical Candle Co, Midgley Green, from £14

These generously sized and practical soy wax candles will transport you to beneath a rambling fig tree in a sunny courtyard. 

Old Park Hall, Devon  - from £160 per night   This quintessential country pile on the Devon and Dorset border is so much more than a B&B. Beautifully decorated, amazing food from local producers and in-house treatment room to enjoy full relaxation. While you are there, visit or even book a cookery course at the local River Cottage!  

Old Park Hall, Devon - from £160 per night

This quintessential country pile on the Devon and Dorset border is so much more than a B&B. Beautifully decorated, amazing food from local producers and in-house treatment room to enjoy full relaxation. While you are there, visit or even book a cookery course at the local River Cottage!  

Moroccan Rose Bath Salts,  The Future Kept , £10   These luxurious bath salts are not only pure indulgance, but have healing properties too. Crystals of Himalayan pink salt are hand-crafted with dried petals of rose and scented with Moroccan rose essential oil. 

Moroccan Rose Bath Salts, The Future Kept, £10

These luxurious bath salts are not only pure indulgance, but have healing properties too. Crystals of Himalayan pink salt are hand-crafted with dried petals of rose and scented with Moroccan rose essential oil. 

Bouquet Man Card,  Botanique Workshop , £3.50   A pretty card that says it all. 

Bouquet Man Card, Botanique Workshop, £3.50

A pretty card that says it all. 

FOR HIM

Theo 'Slow Brewer' Coffee Brewer,  Oggetto , £52.95  Danish design brand Stelton's award winning Theo range is a perfect gift for lovers of slow brew filter coffee.

Theo 'Slow Brewer' Coffee Brewer, Oggetto, £52.95
Danish design brand Stelton's award winning Theo range is a perfect gift for lovers of slow brew filter coffee.

Juniper and Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar by Caro,  Caro Somerset , £6.50   Caro has partnered with award-winning chocolatiers, The Chocolate Society, to create chocolate bars inspired by the countryside. 

Juniper and Raspberry Dark Chocolate Bar by Caro, Caro Somerset, £6.50

Caro has partnered with award-winning chocolatiers, The Chocolate Society, to create chocolate bars inspired by the countryside. 

Y Studio Brass   mechanical pencil,  Tea and Kate , £90   This mechanical pencil is exquisitely crafted in brass and copper to provide the optimum weight, with a smooth and steady feel when writing or drawing.

Y Studio Brass mechanical pencil, Tea and Kate, £90

This mechanical pencil is exquisitely crafted in brass and copper to provide the optimum weight, with a smooth and steady feel when writing or drawing.

These Islands Book,  Midgley Green , £45   These Islands is a gorgeous book for any photographer, landscape lover, explorer or coffee drinker looking to be taken away from it all for a moment, or to inspire future trips in the British Isles. 

These Islands Book, Midgley Green, £45

These Islands is a gorgeous book for any photographer, landscape lover, explorer or coffee drinker looking to be taken away from it all for a moment, or to inspire future trips in the British Isles. 

Moebe Oak Frame,  Tea and Kate , from £25   Frame a photograph or a special memory in this stylish and simple frame. Available in different sizes and finishes. 

Moebe Oak Frame, Tea and Kate, from £25

Frame a photograph or a special memory in this stylish and simple frame. Available in different sizes and finishes. 

Liberty Print Bow Tie,  Botanique Workshop , £29   Made from Liberty print fabric, these bow ties are available in three different prints and will add style and colour to any dapper gent's outfit. You can also purchase a gift set of a matching bow tie and pocket square. 

Liberty Print Bow Tie, Botanique Workshop, £29

Made from Liberty print fabric, these bow ties are available in three different prints and will add style and colour to any dapper gent's outfit. You can also purchase a gift set of a matching bow tie and pocket square. 

Lens Champagne Saucer,  Caro Somerset , £14 each   These beautiful champagne saucers are the perfect gift combined with a bottle.

Lens Champagne Saucer, Caro Somerset, £14 each

These beautiful champagne saucers are the perfect gift combined with a bottle.

Caroline Gomez Destination Guide,  Tea and Kate , £18   A great gift, especially with an accompanying plane ticket tucked inside! The destination travel guide series explores cities from the inside, meets with fascinating people and takes time to see new places in a different way. 

Caroline Gomez Destination Guide, Tea and Kate, £18

A great gift, especially with an accompanying plane ticket tucked inside! The destination travel guide series explores cities from the inside, meets with fascinating people and takes time to see new places in a different way. 

'Cat Love' Greetings Card,  Wrap Magazine Shop , £2.50   A fun, simple and romantic card illustrated by Cari Vander Yacht.

'Cat Love' Greetings Card, Wrap Magazine Shop, £2.50

A fun, simple and romantic card illustrated by Cari Vander Yacht.

A gorgeous selection of goodies I'm sure you'll agree?! Forward this post on to drop major hints, or simply treat yourself - why not eh?! Happy Valentines Day all! x

Shop independent this Valentines Day - Gift Guide by 91 Magazine

Discover new talent at UAL shop

We love discovering new designers and makers through our research for 91 Magazine, and it's always exciting to see the talent that is emerging from our younger generation, whether that is from self taught artisans or those graduating from colleges and universities around the UK and beyond. University of Arts London (UAL) have recently set up shop in London's Holborn area to promote and sell the work of their alumni, calling the outlet 'not just a shop.' 

UAL Not Just A Shop 5 by Damian Griffths_1200.jpg
UAL Not Just A Shop 1 by Damian Griffths_1200.jpg

The six colleges that make up UAL, which includes Central St Martins and London College of Fashion, has educated many high achieving creatives from London Fashion Week designers to Turner Prize winners, so the calibre of the work stocked in the shop is sure to be high. The launch collection included  By AlexChatty FeetCrispin FinnJacqueline ColleyKangan AroraTatty DevineThe London RefineryWrap and Yuta Segawa.

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not just a shop_Products by UAL Alumni_photography by Yeshen Veneema_03_1200.jpg

The range showcases of mix of products from fashion and homeware to stationery and artwork - definitely worth a look if you are still in search of Christmas gifts! Any sales directly benefit the designers as they are wholesaling their products, and any profits made by the shop go back into funding the University's enterprise programme which supports the students with embarking on their professional career. 

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If you are in London do try and pop in - let's continue to support the value of independent business, nurture the creative community and help Britain's talent to thrive. 

Opening hours: Monday-Friday 11:00-15.00
Location: 272 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EY
Closest tubes: Holborn/Chancery Lane
For more information visit: notjustashop.arts.ac.uk / @notjustashopual

10 minimal Christmas decorating ideas

How are you feeling about the imminent arrival of the festive period? Excited? Indifferent? Anxious? For many, with so much to organise it can become an overwhelming, stressful time, which it definitely shouldn't be! Jessica Rose Williams shares her tips for having a more minimal Christmas in a bid to alleviate those frenzied feelings.... 

Minimal Christmas decorating

It’s easy to feel like we should be doing all the things at Christmas time. There’s the tree, the second tree, the food, the decorations, the stockings, the ornaments, the lights, the outside lights and we haven’t even got to the gifts yet. It goes on and on and it can be exhausting! 

There’s an antidote to this madness; did you ever consider how Christmas might be better with less? For me, a minimal Christmas holds endless benefits. It’s a liberating feeling to boycott all the madness and consequently we’re only left with the good stuff, the stuff that really adds value.

Christmas is the perfect time to embrace some simplicity so we can enjoy all the festivities instead of overloading ourselves and our homes with too much stuff and pressure to create the elusive ‘perfect Christmas’. There’s beauty in simplicity and Christmas is no exception.

If you can relate to the above, here are ten minimalist decorating ideas to consider this Christmas that are really simple and easy to achieve.

Minimal Christmas decor ideas
minimal Christmas decorating ideas

1. Think less is more - Never underestimate the power of a single statement item surrounded by space. Allow the few items you really love to stand out by resisting the temptation to surround them with other stuff. 

2. Fairy lights - Lights are the easiest way to create mood. Decorating the tree with fairy lights only can make a real statement but still create a calm and cosy mood without feeling stark and bare. 

simple Christmas decorating ideas

3. Stick to a neutral colour scheme - I opt for as much white as possible at Christmas. It’s my favourite colour to decorate with anyway and Christmas is the perfect time to run with that as much as possible. White also evokes a feeling of calm.

4. Embrace black - Don’t be afraid to use non traditional colours in your decorating. Black can add striking contrast and a dash of elegance. 

minimal Christmas decorations

5. Decorate with intention - Having more lights up than the neighbours will not make an ounce of difference to your Christmas. It’s easy to slip into feeling competitive, but decorating with things because we want to not because we think we should makes much more sense.

6. Learn to say no - It’s ok not to put up that old ornament you secretly despise - nothing horrendous will happen. Tune into your intuition and only use things you really love. 

7. Bring the outside in - Festive foliage creates a comforting natural mood. You don’t have to be a professional stylist to have a go at this either. Keeping things really simple and DIY looking can still have a dramatic effect. 

minimal Christmas decorating ideas
minimal Christmas decorating ideas

8. Candles - Using a variety of candles, ideally at different levels, will create a cosy ‘Christmas Carol’ like mood in an instant. 

9. Use natural textures - Material is the easiest way to add texture and cosiness to a room. I’m not sure you can beat that feeling of snuggling under a blanket with a warm drink on the sofa during those dark cold winter nights. 

minimal Christmas  - make your own cards

10. Focus on the moments

The true meaning of Christmas doesn’t lie in 'stuff'. It lies in whatever it takes to make your heart sing. For me, it’s getting cosy under a blanket and putting my favourite Christmas film on (White Christmas incase you were wondering) or sitting by a roaring fire with a friend and stuffing our faces with mince pies. 

You can find oodles more minimal Christmas inspiration on my Pinterest board

Thank you Hubsch InteriorsRose and Grey and North East Chandlery for kindly gifting the items featured. 

Wishing you the merriest of Christmases everyone! 

Thanks Jessica! We can't wait to do less this Christmas! Make sure to take a few quiet moments to enjoy Jessica's peaceful and calming Instagram feed too. 

Creative women in the north

Traditionally, London has been the go-to location for creatives in the UK. After all, there is an endless supply of inspiration found on the walls of the world-class galleries or echoing across the many music venues – not to mention the connections, buyers, journalists and influential folk that swarm the streets on a daily basis. However, with house prices booming and the cost of rent reaching eye-watering heights, makers are heading further north. Hannah Clugston chats to five business women taking their creativity that little bit closer to the North Pole.

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Karen Mabon, illustrator, Edinburgh

How did you find yourself living up north? I grew up in the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands and gradually moved south (I did my undergraduate degree in Edinburgh and then my masters in London). When I was in London I always felt a bit homesick and missed the space and time I felt were more readily available in the north. After a few years in London, I moved up to York and now I live in Edinburgh.

What are the advantages of running a creative business in the north of the country? I found anxiety over paying my bills in London was getting in the way of my creativity. My work is quite playful and fun and I find it hard to design anything when I feel stressed. I also feel more able to develop a personal aesthetic in Edinburgh. In London, I always felt very aware of trends and what was fashionable, but it's different in the north because trends take a little longer to reach us, so it's possible to be more selective in your inspiration and reference material. Of course London has so many wonderful and obvious advantages, but for me personally, access to the countryside and quality of life are more important.

Is there a strong creative community? It's definitely growing as people realise it is possible to live in the north and build a business here. I think you have to put a bit more effort into finding like-minded individuals, but when you do, they are brilliant. The community is so supportive here; there is a sense of comradery as opposed to competition. I met a few amazing designers last year through the design curator Dr Stacey Hunter who is doing a lot to promote contemporary design in Scotland and we have remained in touch, sharing tips and contacts and generally helping each other muddle through the creative industry, which can be a bit of a minefield.

Name one thing you love about living in the north... Summer nights stay light for longer!

www.karenmabon.com

Image: Kirsten Johnson Photography

Image: Kirsten Johnson Photography

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Nat Bond, skincare creator at Nathalie Bond Organics, Sheffield

How did you find yourself living up north? I ended up moving to Sheffield when I met my husband Andy. We dated and had our engagement long-distance for a year and then got married, at which point London or Sheffield were the options. Sheffield won. 

What are the advantages of running a creative business in the north of the country? The first thing that comes to mind is cost. In the north the overheads of running a business are smaller. But above all, I would say there is a growing hub of innovation and creativity bubbling up in the north and it's exciting to be a part of that.

Is there a strong creative community? There definitely is. We don't get the chance to network much because we have young kids, but I love meeting lots of interesting and creative people at trade shows. One of my best friends runs the Sheffield Creative Guild which is an amazing community representing all creative fields. It's nice to see vibrant new businesses springing up, but also see old businesses like scissor manufacturer Ernest Wright thriving because people appreciate the wonderful craftsmanship of their products.

Name one thing you love about living in the north... Nature. Sheffield is full of trees and we live minutes away from the Peak District National Park, which is stunning.

www.nathaliebond.com

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Sophie Lee, plant curator at Geo-Fleur, York

How did you find yourself living up north? My parents are from the north and I grew up here. I went to university in London, but it felt like the right thing to move back up here again.

What are the advantages of running a creative business in the north of the country? Everything! I ran my business in London for two years, but the main benefit to the north is cost; rent is 75% cheaper and the cost of living is 60% cheaper. The thing that really wins me over though, is that everyone is much friendlier. I'm currently searching for more craft markets and events. The London market scene is totally saturated, but there are only a select few up north, which my friend Sean Mort is changing with his Northern Craft Market - @northerncraft.

Is there a strong creative community? There is. Sean set up some community meet-ups for northern craft makers, which is great! As I live in a rural village on the edge of York, it is difficult to meet like-minded makers, but the more northern events I participate in, the more people I meet!

Name one thing you love about living in the North... Everything, the countryside, the space and the fresh air!

www.geo-fleur.com

Idaho Manchester
Idaho shop in Manchester

Amy Bartlett, shopkeeper and buyer at IDAHO, Manchester

How did you find yourself living up north? I grew up in Staffordshire but came to university in Manchester nine years ago to study Textiles. I studied Interior Styling on a summer course at Central St Martins and even though I really enjoyed my time in London, I remember feeling that people were too busy to acknowledge you. In Manchester, life tends to be a bit more relaxed and I’ve found it easy to be able to make contacts to develop my business.

What are the advantages of running a creative business in the north of the country? Despite the fact Manchester has always been a bustling, busy city, it is such a privilege to be part of a movement in the north where there are new start-ups emerging across the region. Altrincham is the perfect example of growth in the north and I’m very happy to be part of it.

Is there a strong creative community? With us being located next to Altrincham Market, it’s difficult to not feel inspired by our creative neighbourhood. We’ve had the chance to meet creatives in a variety of forms such as the skilled boys from Sugo Pasta Kitchen who never fail to deliver, the artists in the studios around the corner, the best coffee from our new neighbours at Common Ground and our other fellow indies such as Edit & Oak and Rose & Grey.

Name one thing you love about living in the north... Probably the accessibility of visiting neighbouring towns and cities. I love how we’re never too far from an exhibition or gig in Manchester or Liverpool, or from a walk in the Cheshire countryside. We’ve truly got it all on our doorstep!

www.idahoshop.co.uk

Image: Ohladedah Ltd

Image: Ohladedah Ltd

Image: Sian Hallam-Davies

Image: Sian Hallam-Davies

Marianne Slater, florist at Frances & Rose, Derbyshire

How did you find yourself living up north? I was born in Derbyshire in a little village outside of Bakewell. I also studied at Leeds College of Art – I’ve been a northerner through thick and thin!

What are the advantages of running a creative business in the north of the country? One advantage is the amazing community I have found here. I also find the incredible beauty of the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales gives my business some stunning backdrops and venues to work with. We are so lucky to live with so much green space and breathing in the fresh air of the Peak District hills means so much for my mind and soul. I work best here, I feel at home.

Is there a strong creative community? I find the community in the north so supportive. The network of like-minded creatives is amazing, not to mention the incredible female community that is booming right now. I have been lucky to be part of a number of different groups based in Sheffield, Derby and Chesterfield, as well as co-working and collaborating with some of the best in my industry. I know a lot of other creative business owners and feel lucky to be part of this network of talented individuals. I have made friends for life, all through my business!

Name one thing you love about living in the north... How friendly everyone is! I also love the countryside and the beauty all around me. As I source my flowers locally, the northern countryside offers opportunities for my business that I might not get in a built-up city. It’s also great for my wellbeing, I feel I can escape and find peace and quiet so easily!

www.francesandrose.co.uk

Thanks for the insight ladies and to Hannah for conducting the interviews. It's truly wonderful to see creativity and independent businesses thriving in all areas of our country and that we can all connect through the wonderful world wide web!

Teaching children the origins of food

It sometimes might not look or feel like it, but summer is in full swing here in the UK, as are the school holidays. It’s the perfect time to spend your free hours outdoors with the kids, (when the weather permits!) so, why not use this opportunity to teach them all about the origins of food?

It’s essential that our children value the importance of knowing about what we’re eating, where it comes from and the benefits of organically grown produce, as well as acquiring it locally or growing it themselves.

Veerle Evens shares a few tips on the best ways to introduce your children to the joys of growing your own, buying locally and learning about food in the most fulfilling way…

Buying Local
I can remember when I was six or seven, one of my primary school classmates was convinced chocolate milk came from brown cows.  Many kids today are growing up in cities and larger towns, where we do all our shopping in large commercial supermarkets. It’s very convenient, but it also means the younger generation aren’t discovering the origins of our food - picking strawberries, visiting the local farmer to pick up eggs and veggies, hearing the chickens in their coop and smelling the cows.

When I was growing up, I loved joining Mum’s weekly trip to the local farm shop. It was always a surprise to see what was available, depending on the season and how the weather / harvest had been. No strawberries in January here! It made me realise how hard the farmers work to put food on our plates, and that they deserve our local support. It’s so unnecessary for our food to travel thousands of miles before reaching our plates, adding to pollution and damaging of our environment. In order to cut that out, we need to accept that we can’t have every product we wish, on demand, all of the time.

Being close to the source makes this so much easier. Seeing the excitement of the local farmer about his new harvest makes you want to taste it! Of course, you may be thinking, 'I live in a city, visiting a farmer is not an option', but in fact, there are many great local farmers markets on every week all over the country, in cities, towns and villages. To find your local farmers market or farm shop, check out: www.farma.org.uk

If you are in the capital, here are a few of my regular haunts in the North / North East part of the city:
Alexandra Palace Farmers Market (every Sunday, 10 AM – 3 PM)
Parliament Hill Farmers Market (every Saturday, 10 AM – 2PM)
Broadway Market (every Saturday 9 AM – 5 PM)
Find more on the London Farmers Markets website.


Nurture & Harvest: Easy plants to grow
If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor space that can be used for growing plants (or even just a balcony), there are many vegetables and herbs that are easy to grow and maintain, and that the children can help you out with planting and nurturing. Your meals will taste even better after you’ve just been out to your growing space to gather the ingredients and the kids will be more likely to eat them as they’ve had a role in their growth. Plus, as you only pick what you need, there’s no waste (of food and money). Herbs are a great starting point for kids - bay, thyme, rosemary and mint are very hardy, and don’t need much attention. Just make sure you plant your mint in a separate pot away from others, as its roots take over the entire pot and will kill other plants!

Moving on to vegetables, an easy growing plant is chillies. Buy an organic chilli from a market or store, and keep some seeds to plant. Once they sprout and have grown a bit, they only like being watered every so often, so easy for kids to care for. You can let the soil dry out, and they love it. Just put them in a nice sunny spot in the windowsill or outside. Other easy growing vegetables are lettuce, salad leaves, potatoes, tomatoes, beans and peas.

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How to: Learn it local
Another fun way to combine learning about produce and spending time outdoors is to visit a pick your own farm, or join a local community garden or city farm that offers volunteering or educational programs. There are many community gardens around the country, where you can learn actively about growing your own vegetables, fruits and herbs. Most of them don’t have a minimum age, so the whole family can get involved with growing your own food.

For community gardens and farm gardens in and around London view this map of the city.

If you have caught the growing / gardening bug, The Royal Horticultural Society hosts the RHS Harvest Festival Show in London on the 3rd & 4th October 2017, with lots of information on growing, harvesting, using garden produce, competitions and tastings! More details here

Veerle has been working with stylist Lauren Becker on a project visiting community gardens around London, photographing the beautiful produce that grows there, then cooking up a dish from the harvested produce. They recently visited the Urban Growth project in Camden and cooked up a delicious recipe with fresh courgettes and nettles, which you will find in the first edition of Seek Inspire Create by 91 Magazine - our new free quarterly e-zine which is out very soon! To receive the e-zine, simply register your email here.

How to shoot flowers & plants like a pro

If you are wanting to up your photography game, then shooting flowers, plants and nature are one of the easiest and most accessible subjects to hone your skills. Plus, lets face it, they are enjoyable to photograph and great for filling your Instagram feed! I can't even begin to imagine the number of floral images that have been posted on the app since it began... gazillions surely! To get you started on the road to better images, photographer Eva Nemeth is sharing her top tips for shooting great botanical imagery, whether it's in your garden, the local park or even in your kitchen.... 

It’s first light, and my morning rituals are quite the same every day: I make coffee and go in the garden to see what’s blooming - keen to see if anything new has appeared since the day before. Or, I make coffee and check Instagram - to see what’s blooming and if anything new appeared since the day before. These are two areas of my life that inspire me immensely, so I’m going to share a little bit about how to combine the two successfully.

Nature and flowers are everywhere - there for us to enjoy and be inspired by. Just step out into your own garden, head down to your local florists, along a country lane or to a city garden, and there is an abundance of opportunities to practice your botanical photography. Even if you prefer to shoot indoors at home, there’s so much you can bring out of the flowers or plants that you bring in. 

The creativity we see on Instagram every day is endless and forever inspiring, and you don’t need fancy props to be creative. I’m lucky enough to be getting paid for photographing flowers and gardens, so below I’ve compiled a few of my top tips to help you improve your own images, perfect for prettifying your feed.

Plant, flower or vegetable?

When we visit a garden, most of us are drawn in by the flowers - beautiful climbing roses, blooming borders and wildflower meadows. But a garden is so much more than just flowers. It’s also vegetables, trees, textures, tools, pots and seeds. These are the details that I think give a garden its own personality, so look around and take advantage of all aspects of the space.

Time of day

Try to shoot in the morning or late in the day to avoid harsh sunshine. It’s absolutely ok to play with contrast in the bigger picture but when you get close, you’ll notice how white flowers for example lose their detail in the bright light. Golden hour (sunrise and sunset) is a great time, or take advantage of a misty morning for great atmospheric shots.  

Give me light

I never use anything other than natural light. Nature wouldn’t want it any other way, I’m sure! Bear this in mind when indoors too – try to place your plants or flowers near a window and turn off any artificial light sources.

The angle

Try shooting from an unusual angle. This often means you capture something that people wouldn’t normally see. I absolutely love lying in a summer meadow or at ground level with snowdrops (very carefully, of course!). 

Playing with colour

When it comes to colour, I always try to avoid anything too bold and have realised my preference is for softer colours. But this is totally personal. Nature is pretty good at the whole colour thing, but great creative with it – try using similar shades to make an ombre spectrum of blooms, or match your flowers to other props in your image, like beautiful old books, or a painted chair for example.

Props

I don’t use too many props, but if I do, I like to choose from my collection of terracotta pots (my addiction) and I love to collect packets of seeds and garden tools - especially old ones - anything that says garden. Oh yes, and garden books - you can find beautiful botanical books at flea markets, car boot sales and good old-fashioned book shops. Experiment with materials and tools such as linen, brown paper, twine and scissors – particularly when shooting cut flowers. My other favourite props are pretty doors and windows!

Floral flat lays

I don’t have a styling background but I believe my own style has developed over time. Flowers are perfect for styling any images whether it’s a shot of the book you’re currently reading, or alongside your morning cuppa. Flat lays are hugely popular on Instagram, plus they are lots of fun to style and shoot and can be done even in the smallest of spaces - all you need are a few different background options. I like using old wooden boards - rustic or painted white - stone and fabrics. You can gather a collection together or you even buy photo backgrounds these days from Capture by Lucy – vinyl backdrops of different surfaces – anything from 'peeling paint door' to 'scratched metal' to 'pink plaster'. Try lots of different compositions for your flat lays, and again remember natural light is best.

Playing with aperture

If you are shooting with an DSLR, then try to get the best lens you can afford. The great advantage of shooting with a prime lens is that it lets you work in low light conditions (ie. early morning/late evening when the light is best). If you shoot with a large aperture, for example f1.4, the lens will allow your subject to stand out nicely, while the rest of the image will have that nice soft, blurred background (shallow depth of field). You can achieve this on your camera phone by holding your finger on the screen where you want the main focus to be, although results from a DSLR are usually best. If you'd prefer to have all of your subject in focus, for example, in a landscape image, then use a bigger f-stop (ie. f32) and a tripod is essential here.

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Any rules?

One common photography “rule” is the ‘rule of thirds’. It’s a great rule to follow but it can be broken. Often when I shoot a floral portrait, I centre the flower for more impact. And of course stepping outside the norm lends itself to creativity and unusual compositions so feel free to bend the rules!

No matter what camera or lens you use, what flowers or plants you photograph, the most important thing is to enjoy it, love what you do. Share your photos with the world and you’ll find a wonderful community of people who love the same things as you do.  Below are ten of our favourite hashtags to find botanical inspiration over on Instagram, and of course use on your own floral photography: 

#moodforfloral / #justbefloral / #inspirewithblooms / #aflowerenthusiast / #myfloralmonth / #petalsandprops / #simplenaturefinds / #slowfloralstyle / #underthefloralspell / #thefloralseasons

Images and words by Eva Nemeth - find Eva on Instagram

Let your home inspire your wedding

New 91 contributor Caroline Elvin explains how interior trends are a great place to glean inspiration for your wedding decor. If you are getting married this year or next, read on to see how ideas are closer to home that you might have thought...

The intricacies involved with planning a wedding can sometimes seem a little overwhelming. As well as all the other planning involved in creating your perfect day, picking a theme and finding inspiration for your decor can be challenging.

In recent years, we’ve seen wedding themes align rather conveniently with the current trends in home decor. If you’re getting married and have found that picking a theme can be a little tricky, you may not have to look much further than your own home.

Here’s some current home decor trends that can be tweaked to create a striking theme for your wedding.

L: Photo by  Katharine Peachey  for 91 Magazine / R: via  Deer Pearl Flowers

L: Photo by Katharine Peachey for 91 Magazine / R: via Deer Pearl Flowers

Bringing The Outdoors In

With greenery being named Pantone’s Colour Of The Year 2017, it’s unsurprising that this theme has caught on. The idea of adding hints of green into your home is popular, with many choosing succulents and other plants to create the basis of their style.

Greenery has found its way into wedding palettes across the world. This look is all about the floristry, so pick a florist whose tastes match your own. Just as in the home, you can go all out or just use hints of this colour to create a stunning display. If you’re on a budget, the minimalist greenery look might be the one for you.

Get the look - To create this look for yourself, look for inspiration in West Elm, Zara Home & the home section of Urban Outfitters.

Rustic

The rustic theme has withstood the test of time and has proven a popular choice for interior savvy individuals year after year. Many houses lend themselves to this theme by providing beautiful open brick backdrops and sprawling wooden beams.

The popularity of the rustic theme as a wedding look is mainly down to the rise in barn and outdoor weddings. Similar to cottages and older houses, the barn lends itself to a modern rustic look. This theme also works well if you’re planning on creating your style from scratch as the materials you need - from jam jars to apple crates and wooden cake slabs - are widely available for a good price.

Get the look - To create this look for yourself, look for inspiration on eBay, Etsy & at your local farm shop.

L: via  Nyde  / R: via  100 Layer Cake

L: via Nyde / R: via 100 Layer Cake

 Scandinavian

The Scandinavian theme is perhaps one of the most popular home trends of the year. Clean lines and muted colours are accented with geometric prints and draped faux fur. Along with the Scandinavian lifestyle, this look has played a pivotal part in both high-street and high-end interior design.

This theme has been effectively added to many weddings in the last year. Statement lighting provides the basis of this look, whilst everything else looks simple and muted. This style works well for budget weddings as it doesn’t require too many table decorations to make a statement. Getting married in winter? A Scandinavian, cosy winter wedding - complete with throws for your guests to sit outside - is the ultimate in wedding chic.

Get the look - To create this look for yourself, look for inspiration on made.com, Oliver Bonas & Amara.

L: Photo by  Jemma Watts  for 91 Magazine / R: via  Want That Wedding

L: Photo by Jemma Watts for 91 Magazine / R: via Want That Wedding

Neutral Tones

Based on our love of Scandinavian simplicity, neutral tones have found their way into our homes. Rather than accent walls, many style their homes with white or pale grey walls and choose to accent them with the furniture and art they put in the room. With many people moving into newly built homes, this rise in neutral tones has only grown in the last year.

A great way to add a neutral feel to your wedding is by the underlying colours you use for your whole day. Think light grey bridesmaid dresses and a no-thrills cake. You may worry that basic looks like this may appear plain and uninspiring, but if you bring them altogether, you can create something very special.

Get the look - To create this look for yourself, look for inspiration on Rose and Grey, French Connection Home and H&M home.

L: Via  @thejungalow  instagram / R: via  Festival Brides

L: Via @thejungalow instagram / R: via Festival Brides

Boho

This is perhaps the only theme that is more popular for weddings than it is for homes. Boho is the ultimate in laid-back luxury and leaves your guests feeling relaxed and carefree in the process. Unlike the other decor styles, the boho home is identified by the colours within it. From tapestries on the walls to mosaics on the floors, a boho home is never short of pieces collected from all over the world.

Strangely enough, a boho wedding doesn’t have to be underpinned by a kaleidoscope of colours, but it does have to have a laid-back feel to it. To create a boho wedding, think flower crowns, colourful picnic blankets and naked cakes. The idea of a boho wedding is to ensure your guests feel at ease and relaxed and having fun with the food, colours and style is a great way to do this.

Get the look - To create this look for yourself, look for inspiration in Anthropologie, Graham & Green and Sass & Belle

Happy wedding planning brides-to-be! 

Summer creative retreats & workshops

A few years back your only option to take a creative course outside of formal education would have been taking a night class at your local college. (I remember taking one myself in Quark Express many moons ago!) These days, the opportunities to feed your creative soul alongside like-minded people are abundant, with all crafts and skills being catered for. Some are much more comprehensive than just a few hours after work, and in fact whisk you away for a few days in a beautiful location, to fully immerse yourself in the lifestyle and connect more deeply with your 'tribe'. We've rounded up a few workshops and retreats that we think you should definitely consider for this summer.... 

SISTERHOOD - Thursday 22nd June – Sunday 25th June 2017 / Fforest Camp, Cardigan, Wales

Hosted by Lou Archell of Little Green Shed, Sisterhood is a biannual retreat for women, allowing you to disconnect from the digital world and connect with your creativity, experience a slice of 'slow living', while spending time with other women you are guaranteed to gel with over delicious suppers and candlelight. 

This year's event, held in a beautiful setting on the Welsh coast, will allow you to truly escape the rat race, while simultaeously inspiring you for when you do return to daily life. Sessions include: Morning Yoga with Melanie Barnes, Wild Swimming with Flora Jamieson, Kokedama with Emma Rice and Fire side book club with 91's very own deputy editor Laura Pashby.

Pricing starts at £560, and includes 3 nights accommodation, all meals plus tea and coffee on tap, all workshops & sessions. To book visit: Sisterhood Camp

MODERN CRAFT / BOTANICAL WORKSHOPS FROM KIN - Sunday 16th July 2017 - 11:00am-5:00pm / The Forge, Bristol

Kin Workshops were conceived by two creatives from different vocations - Grace May, a florist and Rosie Harbottle, an illustrator - whose talents and skills compliment and combine perfectly to host workshops which explore more than one creative pursuit. The day, split into two halves focuses firstly on floral techniques, where Grace teaches how to construct a beautiful crown of flowers. In the afternoon, Rosie leads a painting workshop inspired by your botanical creation.   

Grace and Rosie also hosted a retreat in Marrakesh just last week, so this workshop is a chance to get a taster of what you might find at future retreats they might have in the pipeline. We imagine it will be a day full of Instagram photo ops! 

The day workshop costs £145 and includes a seasonal lunch served by The Forge, and all materials are included. To book visit: Kin Workshops

WOMEN WHO CREATE - CREATIVE BUSINESS WEEKENDFriday 9th June 2017 at 6:30pm - Sunday 11th June 2017 at 10:00pm / The Forge, Bristol

It appears fab Bristol venue The Forge has all the best events this summer! In June they will host a full weekend, run by Women Who Create - a community and platform for creative women.  The two days will be packed with creative inspiration, relaxation, confidence building, slow crafting and business/career motivation, and is aimed at women at any stage in their creative career. 

Covering a range of aspects involved in running a creative business, sessions include: stress and anxiety management, business clarity and creative visioning and even plant propagation and garden crafts - for when you just need to unwind. 

The ticket price includes a welcome drink and welcome pack, all sessions, lunch, snacks and tea and coffee. Full price is £260 but 91 readers can take advantage of a special discount to receive £30 off - Simply book here and use code 91VIP.

THE MAKELIGHT RETREAT - Friday 23rd June - Sunday 25th June 2017 / Talton Lodge, Warwickshire

Makelight duo, Emily Quinton and Stef Lewandowski extend their creative and business offering to a weekend spent in the English countryside near Stratford-upon-Avon. Focusing on three key areas, Creativity - Growth - Balance, attendees will learn and gather inspiration through workshops, talks and mentoring sessions.

You'll get to enjoy the great outdoors in the comfort of some cool teepees, yurts and a cosy barn, along with lots of country walks, chat, tasty food and relaxation. The cost for the weekend is £695 but 91 readers can get 20% off with the code 91magazine. Book your place here

We'd love to hear if you attend any of these events! If you do and would like to write about your experience on the 91 blog, please get in touch! 

Homeware with Heart: Makers 4 Refugees

Today sees the launch of Makers 4 Refugees, a wonderful project bringing together a global collective of makers creating work to raise money for refugee charity Help Refugees. Makers 4 Refugees founder Pip Wilcox, tells us about the project - and how we can all contribute...

How did the project come about Pip? 

I should begin by warning you that 2017 might be a tricky year for your bank balance. But for all the right reasons! Let me explain…

During a weekend in late December, an idea which had been percolating in my mind for weeks, finally took shape. I drew up a list of over 50 makers - makers whose work I admire, and I floated an idea to the group - we would each create work, the proceeds of the sales of which would go to the charity Help Refugees. The response was immediate and generous. Within days, I had a list of incredible artists and craftspeople in the UK, Europe, the US and Australia, all of whom wanted to take part. By the end of the week Makers 4 Refugees was born.

Credit: Sophie Heron

Credit: Sophie Heron

Credit: Julia Hodgson

Credit: Julia Hodgson

Tell us more...

Makers 4 Refugees is a simple project founded on a desire to make a difference through making. 2016 was a year in which the world witnessed more than its fair share of horror. There were days when I felt powerless and ineffectual, and profoundly aware of my privilege. During these times, making can seem like an insignificant and trivial activity, but it's what we makers can do. This project is a way for over 40 makers from around the globe to come together and give our making extra meaning and purpose, by raising funds to support some of those people currently living through such desperate times.

Credit: Luke Eastop

Credit: Luke Eastop

How does Makers 4 Refugees work?

Each of the makers involved has been invited to select a week from the 2017 calendar. During their week, each maker is releasing a piece or collection of work which they will be auctioning or selling, and the entire sales proceeds (less shipping and processing fees) will be donated to Help Refugees through the Makers 4 Refugees fundraising page.

To find out who is selling what, where and when, follow @makers4refugees on Instagram, that's where I'll be sharing images and details of the beautiful work up for grabs, as well as updating my own website during the year. If you’d like to check our fundraising progress at any point, the Makers 4 Refugees fundraising page will show a running total throughout the year.

Which makers are involved?

The stellar line-up of makers who have come together from around the world is extraordinary – and some of them rarely release their work directly to the public which adds to the thrill of having them on board! From the UK we have people like Luke Eastop, Sarah JerathTom Kemp, Juliet Macleod and Jono Smart (all ceramics, of course!); Julia Hodgson (textiles), Jo McAllister (jewellery), Luke Hope and Sophie Heron (woodenwares) and Flora Jamieson (contemporary stained glass). I couldn’t be happier to tell you that from Europe, the US and Australia are some of my all-time favourite pottery crushes including Jessica Coates, Diana Fayt, Nicolette Johnson and Maryam Riazi. It really is going to be the most delightful artisan feast! 

You can find the full (and amazing!) line-up on my website.

Credit: Maryam Riazi

Credit: Maryam Riazi

Credit: Pip Wilcox

Credit: Pip Wilcox

Is there anything else happening to raise money? 

Thanks to the enthusiasm of the making community, this fundraising project has started expanding in recent weeks to include several workshops run by skilled makers. We're currently finalising workshops on weaving, street photography, indoor photography and ceramics, with other exciting events in the pipeline. Details of each of these will be added to my website and posted on Instagram as and when they are confirmed.

When does it all kick off? 

Makers 4 Refugees starts today. I’m auctioning a collection of my work on Instagram - and I’m both excited and nervous about this! I’ve set myself a goal of raising £500 before passing the fundraising baton on to Lesley Bramwell of Essence + Alchemy (maker of gorgeous small batch botanical scented goods - and recently featured on the 91 blog) who is selling a special collection of beautiful candles during the following week.

It’s an extraordinary act of generosity from each of the makers who have said yes to my Makers 4 Refugees invitation. I know that this generosity will be more than matched by the people who will support this endeavour by buying and bidding on the work that’s donated. Without them we’ll fall at the first hurdle!

Credit: Pip Wilcox

Credit: Pip Wilcox

So, please do follow the project on Instagram, and take the opportunity to buy beautiful work, from an incredibly talented, and generous collective of makers.

Thank you Pip for sharing this inspiring project, we are so excited to follow along, and know our wallets will definitely be lighter over the coming months! :) 

Follow Makers 4 Refugees on: 

Instagram

 Facebook

and via Pip’s website

Seeking success

Today we have an inspiring guest post compiled by new contributor and photographer Maria Bell. Maria delves into the creative lives of six women, currently running their own businesses, to discover how they define 'success'. Over to you Maria...

There are endless things that motivate us creatives to do what we do but (consciously or not), the desire to ‘be successful’ is one that we undeniably all share.

Yet how much does that desire help to push us to be the best that we can be, and how much does it contribute to feelings of overwhelming pressure and late night spirals of self doubt? When there are so many different career options and ways to get there, what does ‘being successful’ even mean nowadays?

We spoke to six of the most inspiring creatives, small business owners and entrepreneurs to ask them what it means to them to ‘be successful’, how they got to where they are now and a little bit of advice for us to put success into a positive perspective.

…And make you realise we’re all in it together. 

Nik Southern, Florist - Grace and Thorn

What does ‘being successful’ mean to you?

Firstly, happiness in what I am doing. I was considered hugely successful in recruitment for 13 years but didn't feel it. Now that I have found what I love to do and am my own boss, I feel far more content and for me, feeling content and happy is what brings personal success.

How did you get to where you are now and how did you stay motivated?

Through a lot hard work, grit and determination. I want my business to excel in everything we do, to offer something innovative, new and fresh; I am a perfectionist, a control freak and I don't settle for mediocrity. But being a boss is hard, no matter how bad you are feeling or what you have going on, you have to put on your best game face and get on with it and be a good, strong, consistent and emphatic leader. So I make sure I have one day a weekend where I totally relax, walk the dogs and cook, catching up with some life admin which has gone out of the window since I started.

What advice would you give to others?

If you believe in yourself enough and work hard enough, you can do anything you want to. Be nice to people and passionate about what you do and never do things by half!

www.graceandthorn.com

Photo Credit: Tom Doran

Photo Credit: Tom Doran

Sophie Sellu, Designer, Maker, Wood Carver - Grain and Knot

What does ‘being successful’ mean to you?

 I really don’t think that you can measure success, it’s completely subjective but to me, being successful is giving myself the ability to work when I want and make items that are loved by many people. It isn't a measure of how much money that I make, but how many people I can meet and connect with along my journey. I also think that with the age of social media it’s so difficult to judge success. You can see every aspect of everyone’s curated life, the majority of which may not be true…

How did you get there & what were you motivated by?

I was motivated by the need to do something with my hands, to work for myself, to get out of the cycle of routine and I wanted to take creative control. Once I stopped worrying about financial security, I was able to work towards that without it being top of the list, but I have doubts every day. About my work life, creativity, social life. It’s one of those things that I can't get away from! I find that writing lists of my achievements is a way to keep on track and realise how far I have come.

 What advice would you give to others?

Give yourself a timeframe, and work out how much money is needed to give your venture a try.  If after that time you have not managed to get your feet on the ladder, or have spent too much money either move on or change aspects of it to make it work. Try and take time to switch off and don't let your venture take over your life! It’s so tricky to walk away and take time for yourself when you are trying to make something work, but it’s really important to enjoy the little things.

www.grainandknot.com

Victoria Harrison, Shop Owner - Toro Studio

What does ‘being successful’ mean to you?

Success isn't really a word that I feel very motivated by. I view this whole thing as a journey, I try to work my hardest, try to have fun and am continually overwhelmed by the support I receive along the way. I feel like success is so often measured by how much money we make and the pressure to make more, to be able to afford the unaffordable lifestyle, rather than make the most of the successes that come in forms and guises other than money.

How did you get to where you are now and what motivated you to get there?

I had no idea what I wanted to do for years and years, working in many different industries and countries throughout my twenties. Where I am now is made up of all of those experiences and influences. I am so lucky that the place I have chosen to live now is also the home to so many talented, young and creative business owners forming an invaluable support network and sounding platform - we are all doing amazing things and all rooting for each other.

What advice would you give?

Don't expect to know where you want to be. Don't be too hard on yourself and treat it as a journey, if you take another path it isn't a failure, you are growing and changing all the time so be flexible. No-one is judging you. Manage your expectations: don't expect to complete everything on your overflowing to-do list, pick a realistic number of things to achieve and don't spread yourself too thin. 

www.toro-studio.com

Photo credit: Dunja Opalko

Photo credit: Dunja Opalko

Ariana Ruth, Stylist & Managing Editor - In Clover magazine

What does ‘being successful’ mean to you?

I think that there are lots of different ways to measure success, sometimes people focus purely on money, the number of followers they have or getting a particular job title. Success comes in so many forms. To me success is being happy, loving what you do and by some miracle being able to make a living off of it. I'm not entirely there yet but getting closer all the time!

How did you get to where you are now and what motivated you to get there?

Undoubtedly my parents have been a huge influence on me. They're both such inspiring, creative people and have always encouraged me to do what I want and work in a creative field. I'm also a bit of a workaholic so the freelance lifestyle is perfect for me but I still have doubts about myself! I think because I've never doubted the actual path that I'm on, it's made me a lot more vigilant. I know that the only way forward is just to keep going, take on projects that challenge me and learn from the experience, be open to opportunities and collaborate with others.

What advice would you give?

Write out a list of goals and the steps on how to achieve them with deadlines. Sometimes when you're working on a goal it can be daunting, create mini goals for yourself. This can make a huge task a little less scary! If there is someone that you admire and want to work with - send them an email. I’ve gotten a lot of work from doing this, you’d be surprised how little people actually do this, your email will stand out.

www.readinclovermagazine.com

Photo credit: Issy Croker

Photo credit: Issy Croker

Alex Hely-Hutchinson, Chef -  Author of 26 Grains

What does ‘being successful’ mean to you?

The measure of success is different for everyone, but success comes in two forms for me. Firstly, I believe it’s doing what you love; for me that's cooking and being able to earn a living from it. Secondly, it's overcoming the challenges, big and small, every day. It's being able to conquer your doubt, doubt by others and recognising the accomplishments achieved alone and together.

What is real is that success is constant, every day you're achieving something. The thing is, the threshold of success moves with every achievement. If I said to myself two years ago that we would have the site, team and book that we do today, I wouldn't have believed you. Then when I'm here, I'm continually asked, where to next. Really, this is all I could have asked for and it's important to recognise that.

How did you get to where you are now and what motivated you to get there?

I think taking it slow, staying true to my goals rather than being influenced by the way the market is developing. And also, the kindness of many whether that be mentors, influencers or my family working on the stall.

 Could you give any advice to others that may be struggling to get to where they want to be?

As good as it is to look forward, it's important to look back and recognise what has been achieved in the past. Don't be proud, my experience of success or what I regard as success, has come from the efforts of many. Ask for help, work with people you admire and achieve something wonderful. Also sleep. Sleep is so important. I didn't sleep at the beginning because I thought that meant failure. Take time for yourself and you'll be a million times more efficient and productive with your working time.

www.26grains.com

Jenny Kiker, Artist - Living Pattern

What does ‘being successful’ mean for you personally?

I feel successful because I have established a comfortable home environment for myself and get to spend my days pursuing art while inspiring others.

How did you get to where you are now and how did you stay motivated?

When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was make art, that never went away, so motivation isn't a problem. Doing all the other things that come with running a business take self discipline but I am most motivated by my customer's reaction when they receive a beautifully packaged piece of art on their doorstep.

What advice would you give to others?

I would say be quick to take an endeavour and quick to exit an endeavour. I explored many, many artistic styles and creative products before Living Pattern came about. For example, I used to make art with metallics paints on lacquered wood before botanical watercolour became my signature style. Just keep exploring the things that interest you and you'll find what you're looking for!

www.livingpattern.net

3 e-courses for creatives

As a creative, it can be hard to stay inspired, to make connections with others, and to access the knowledge that you need in order to allow your online portfolio to blossom. Luckily, there are some fantastic opportunities available for learning online. E-courses are the perfect way to develop your abilities, pick up new skills, and meet communities of fellow creatives.

With an e-course you can learn at your own pace, in your own time, and on your own terms. You're able to access a selection of online and email resources, the expertise of the course leader and often also the creative input of your classmates. You should finish a course feeling energised and focussed. 

We at 91 have to confess to something of an e-course addiction: there's always something new to be learned, right? Here's our pick of some that we think you'll love...

Image by Sara Tasker ( @me_and_orla )

Image by Sara Tasker (@me_and_orla)

Image by Sara Tasker ( @me_and_orla )

Image by Sara Tasker (@me_and_orla)

The Insta- Retreat

This brand-new offering from 'Instagram Queen' Sara Tasker is a groundbreaking six week e-course for creatives that promises to unlock the secrets of Instagram success. Building on Sara's popular 'Instagram Tips' blog series, and her free e-book, 7 Days to a Better Instagram, The Insta- Retreat is what Sara describes as 'a whole brilliant box of magic tricks'. Here you'll find unique advice and ideas including the tried and tested techniques that Sara used to grow her impressive following on Instagram.

"In the last three years", says Sara,  "I've used Instagram to grow a 140k audience, launch a business, open doors to a world of opportunities and changed my entire life. I wanted to create a course that took people on the same journey I've travelled - to simplify that learning curve and take you from having a dream and a good eye for a picture, to having this amazing portfolio of your life and work that sells, engages and communicates for you. 

With the increase in shady tactics and fake follower counts, it feels more important than ever to be telling people how they can grow and flourish without cheating or selling out. There is so much you can do, once you understand the system. We're getting under the bonnet of Instagram, to really understand how it ticks."

The first Insta-Retreat class smashed Sara's upper limit and sold out in a day, and the waiting list for the next one is filling up fast. Get on the list or see more information at http://meandorla.co.uk/e-course/

Image by Xanthe Berkeley ( @xantheb )

Image by Xanthe Berkeley (@xantheb)

Image by Xanthe Berkeley ( @xantheb )

Image by Xanthe Berkeley (@xantheb)

Make Films

This jam-packed course from photographer and film-maker, Xanthe Berkeley teaches all the techniques you need for making short films to share online. It includes weekly video tutorials from Xanthe, whose encouraging and enthusiastic wisdom will leave you inspired, and raring to start filming.

With weekly prompts and inspiration, the ten week MAKE FILMS course looks at different shooting & editing techniques, and the various stories you can tell through making mini films for Instagram or to share online. 

MAKE FILMS is packed with tips and tricks, focusing on making a different type of film each week: from stop motions to time lapses, slow mo stories and video portraits to 'scenes from the weekend' films.  Each week will focus on a different prompt or a shooting/  editing technique, which you will practice while creating your film. There will be guidance for shooting, with tips and examples of what and how to shoot. The weekly prompts help to spark your creativity through experimentation and play.

You can see more information about Make Films, and Xanthe's other e-courses at http://learn.xantheberkeley.com.

Press the play button above to see some examples of Xanthe's work and if this leaves you feeling inspired to learn how to make some stop motions of your own, remember that Xanthe is teaching stop motion workshops at our West Elm Pop Up in a few weeks time. You can book a slot here.

Image by Kim Klassen ( @kimklassen )

Image by Kim Klassen (@kimklassen)

My Still Sunday

Lifestyle photographer and stylist Kim Klassen specialises in beautiful and soothing still life images. She drew on her vision for #mystillsunday - the successful hashtag that she hosts on Instagram - to create this course with which to share her inspiration and the processes that she uses in taking her gorgeous photographs.

"Almost by accident, and and over time" says Kim, " I discovered that still life photography had become my meditation.
It has, and it continues to, calm the chaos.  It fills my creative soul."

The My Still Sunday class focuses on taking time to be, to see, and to create beautiful still life photos. No matter what style you long to shoot, still life photography is an excellent way to learn and grow as a photographer. Stillness removes the rush, allowing more time to think about your process, the settings, and the light.

The course includes: tips, tricks and suggestions for making stills; personal reflections from Kim's creative journey; and thought-provoking photography prompts, combining inspiration with instruction on still life techniques.

My Still Sunday is focussed on taking and making tiny pockets of quiet to capture beautiful still moments. You can join today and get instant access to this sixteen week still life class at http://learn.kimklassen.com/my-still-sunday-self-study/.

Image by Kim Klassen (  @kimklassen  )

Image by Kim Klassen (@kimklassen)

How about you? Are you an e-course addict, or are you new to the concept of learning online? Are you tempted to give one of these courses a try? We'd love to know.

 

 

Stay Inspired

We’re firmly in the 'back to school' mindset here at 91 HQ - heads down and hard at work on our second issue, due out in November. As exciting as that is, the sheer volume of work (sometimes involving spreadsheets - argh!) can seriously dent our creative mojo...

So, we took a break from the desk and asked some of our favourite creatives what helps to keep them inspired, creative and motivated through the long to-do lists and late nights.

From hiking and Ella Fitzgerald to You Tube and cactus embroidered underwear - their answers are varied, eclectic, and pretty inspirational...

 

Kate Saunders, Blogger and Podcaster, A Playful Day

Photo: Kate Saunders

Photo: Kate Saunders

I live in one of the most mesmerising landscapes in the country- the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset. Whenever I can, I grab my camera and escape the cottage where I live and see where my feet take me. Sometimes I stay close to home, skirting around the fields and taking in the sheep, the harvest and the meadow of wild flowers. Sometimes I walk down to the bay and watch the waves roll in against the stones. Other times, I'll hike up across the cliffs. While reading, absorbing and learning from other Creatives has always been really helpful, without this total absence of any influence or digital stimulation, I find it hard to process all my ideas and dreams. Where I live gives me the cohesion I need to ground all those thoughts and potential projects. When I return home, I'm almost always ready to create!
 

Hayley Maker, co-owner of No Guts, No Glory, Exeter

Photo: Nathan and Hayley Maker

Photo: Nathan and Hayley Maker

            I'm inspired by so many things including...
Morning light falling on a new leaf that's slowly unfurling. The scent of seasonal change, walks by the sea (especially if they involve rock pools.) Other peoples homes and collections. Imagining life through my daughter's eyes, kaleidoscopes and sunbeams. Shutting things off and getting back to myself. Books and beautiful magazines that somehow magically synchronise with the day to day. Discovering a new illustrator. Flowers, and plants - in their curious forms. The coolness of clay. Inspiring talks and creative hubs, introducing something new to a friend that you know they will love... and... cactus embroidered underwear! 
 

Sally Coulthard, Designer and Author

Photo: 

Photo: 

When I first left university I worked in television for a few years.  It was great fun, often glamorous and decadent, but also really draining.  I never felt in control of my working day and I soon realised that, if I was going to be happy,  I needed to be in charge of my day and where my career was heading.  So, I quit TV and became an author.  It's been nearly 20 years now.  Writing is a great way to earn a living - it's endlessly creative, no two days are the same, and I'm always meeting new people and learning new things. The downside is that it can be a bit 'feast and famine' - one minute it's all quiet, the next there's too much to do - it's almost impossible to predict what the months ahead hold, so you have to be pretty flexible.  In those few moments when the craziness of it gets too much I have to remind myself how lucky I am to have so much freedom in what I do, and how brilliant it is that I can still work, live in the countryside and enjoy family life. That's my motivation.
 

Nicole Dodds, Baker, Afternoon Crumbs

Photo: Nicole Dodds

Photo: Nicole Dodds

Whether I’m decorating a never-ending number of biscuits, spending weeks making sugar flowers or layering a lot of cakes, I always need a little musical support. Turning up my favourite playlists (my Spotify ones are all named after sweet treats!) usually does the trick – I love listening to new tracks but a little bit of Ella Fitzgerald never fails to keep me calm and get me through. Sometimes, however, just remembering how great it is to see the expression on the recipient’s face is motivation enough.
 

Jen Carrington, Content Coach and Creative Mentor

Photo:  Sara Tasker
For me, I always feel the most motivated when I remember why I'm doing this and why I'm working so damn hard in my business. Staying focused on the life I'm building and why I believe in the work I do with my clients and how great it is to see them thrive throughout our time together, that keeps me going even when things may get a little overwhelming or tiring along the way. Oh, and if I really need to kick start inspiration, switching off for an afternoon and getting outside and living my life a little always does the trick!
 

Emma Block, Illustrator

Photo: Emma Block

Photo: Emma Block

I find that variety is what keeps work exciting. As well as working as a freelance illustrator I also teach watercolour and brush lettering and I do live illustration. I also run an Etsy shop. Doing something different every day keeps me inspired and interested.

Hazel Gibbens, Editor-in-Chief, Bedboat Magazine

Photo: Sara Giannitelli

Photo: Sara Giannitelli

The thing that keeps me inspired and motivated is being around people. Long chats with best friends about our futures, positive conversations with strangers about shared hobbies, and even watching YouTube blogs of creatives who I respect and who inspire me. People keep me going, and give me the reassurance that when I'm lost, drowning in deadlines, or feeling in a rut, that I'm not alone, and that I'm going to make it out the other side. 

Katherine Dorrington, Blogger, Foraged and Collected

Photo: Katherine Dorrington

Photo: Katherine Dorrington

I've been thinking a lot about inspiration lately. How it ebbs and flows at different points in our year and what to do when we are feeling creatively stagnant. We're just coming out of winter in Australia and the winter weather and reduced light has really affected my creativity. It's hard to stay inspired when you are working and it's dark by the time you get home. All I feel like is crawling into my pyjamas and watching Netflix. There have been points in the last few months where I've really challenged myself to overcome that feeling. The quickest way for me to find inspiration is to turn to the natural world; to get outside and photograph flowers, leaves, raindrops on bare branches, grasses in the wind. The act of picking up the camera and just shooting something works as an instant boost for me and reminds me how much I love to find beauty in simple things. 
 

 

Creating a perfect home studio

Today we hand over the blog reins to Michelle Evans, designer, illustrator and founder of stationery brand Roxwell Press. Like so many of us, Michelle runs her creative business from home, and knows the challenges this can present. Today she shares with us her top tips for making your home environment work for you creatively and professionally. Over to you Michelle...

Running a creative business from home is a great way to avoid the costly overheads of studio space. But it's easy to be distracted by housework instead of doing admin, or find it hard to wind down when there's always a bit more you could do to finish that design project. You need space to create, store your tools and products, but you want your home to feel relaxing and uncluttered. Here are a few tips to help you find that balance:

Define your creative space

Choose a space that doesn't need clearing away at the end of each day, so you can really make it your own. A desk, corner of a room or a separate room if that's possible, and if you need to work in a bedroom, have your desk facing away from the bed. I work on a mac in the corner of our spare room, and have created a little nook with inspiring books, pictures and objects that help put my mind into designing mode. The desk is fairly clear, which helps me focus while working but also makes it easy to transform the room into a welcoming place for guests, by putting away the keyboard and adding a little posy of flowers. 

Immerse yourself in inspiration  

Decorate your space so it inspires and excites you. Surround yourself with art books and objects, have a pin board with images you love and put it up by your desk. It's great to visualise your creative business, especially when it's operating within a domestic setting, so print out some pictures or collect images of how you want it to feel and look. In my painting studio at home, there's an area on my pin board for colours and fonts I love, inspiring people, a beautiful wallpaper swatch. Looking at this daily helps to spark creative thought and acts as a trigger that I'm now at work. 

Be organized

Where possible, hide things away in drawers and cupboards and keep different parts of your materials, products and files separate. I have a cupboard for all admin and postal items, such as envelopes and accounts files, and store packaging in a drawer under our spare room bed. In my painting studio is a chest for all things creative - keeping papers, painting and photography in separate drawers.

Things like printers are not particularly attractive around the home and can be hidden away if not used frequently. I have a wireless printer which is kept in the cupboard and plugged in when needed. Try to stick to the designated areas, it helps to always know where to find something, and stops your home feeling cluttered, particularly if you have to be inventive with where you store things.  Keeping your space as clear as possible gives the mind freedom to think and feel relaxed. It also helps the space still feel like a homely, calming environment. 

Your home as photography studio

Without a light filled studio space it may seem tricky to get good product shots at home. But you have the advantage of a ready made lifestyle setting, and blank background shots can easily be made with the help of painted boards. Daylight is perfect for creating a soft and natural looking lifestyle setting, so just create your scene in the area with the best light - in the Northern hemisphere it's in the south facing position of your home. Move furniture around if you need, setting up as near to the window as possible. I recently created a kitchen scene in my painting studio, making use of its sunny position and white walls.


To help give continuity to your brand style, you can paint some boards to match the colours of the walls you're using for lifestyle shots. I have a few different boards painted to match the walls, which I keep tucked away behind the fridge in the kitchen, so that I can easily bring them out for a flat lay shoot. It also means that if the light isn’t great, particularly in wintertime, you can take a board outside and get the best light available that day. 

Have a routine

This is perhaps the most important of all, as it helps to define your day. Create a daily routine as if you were going out to work in an office/design studio. I keep fairly standard hours, starting around 9:30am and finishing at 7pm. I find exercise first thing in the morning keeps me focussed throughout the day, so will start the morning with a short meditation followed by a walk, cycle ride or swim. Movement gets the brain moving and going outside feels like you've left the house to go to work. 

Take a proper break at lunchtime, make yourself a nice lunch and listen to the radio or read to take your mind off work for a while. It's also important to take a short breaks throughout the day to have a quick stretch or make a cuppa, and you'll find it helps productivity. 

At the end of the day, tidy your desk and leave your workspace looking neat. This little ritual signifies the end of the work day, and helps give that feeling that you're now in relax mode. You mentally draw a line under the day, and know that your work is done. It's especially important if your work space is within your living area, as it's hard for your mind to rest if it's looking at an untidy pile of papers. 

Thanks Michelle! So many great tips! See the results of Michelle's home photo shoots and browse her gorgeous stationery at Roxwell Press

91's pick of... styling courses

Styling, whether for the home, or for visual media, is the skill du jour, and yet to the uninitiated, it can feel quite as mysterious as if it were a magical art. Luckily, help is at hand. Here at 91, we've sought out the best of the styling courses, with talented teachers who will share their styling secrets and unravel the mysteries of creating beautifully styled images. Whether you'd like to treat yourself to a full day's workshop, or learn online from the comfort of your own home, we've picked a course for you...

IPhoneographer and Instagram coach, Sara Tasker of Me & Orla offers both short and full-day workshops on visual storytelling for Instagram. During the short workshop, Sara covers the following: iPhoneography and the secrets of beautiful smartphone pics; styling with meaning for visual storytelling, and developing your personal style for a beautiful Instagram feed. Full day workshops cover all of the above but at a slower pace. They include meeting by the fire, taking a photo walk in the Yorkshire hills, sharing and styling a lunch, not to mention a range of afternoon workshop sessions by talented Instagram folk : floristry, dressmaking, photo editing, baking, etc. Sara's emphasis is on styling and shooting as you go along: capturing the details, instead of setting time aside for an entirely artificial photoshoot. For more details, and to take Sara's brilliant free E-course, The Instaretreat, you need to sign up to the mailing list on her blog. You can see more of Sara's dreamy ethereal styling over on Instagram, where you'll find her as @me_and_orla.

Image by  Sara Tasker

Image by Sara Tasker

Emma Harris, founder of the blog A Quiet Style and the corresponding styling hashtag #aquietstyle, offers two different workshops in Styling & Composition for Visual Media: one aimed at anyone who would like to improve their images, and one aimed at florists and flower lovers.  Emma's workshops cover the following: what she uses to take her photos; the best way to edit on your phone for a consistent feed; guidelines for great composition; the rules of styling; how to style a visual story, and tips for growing your Instagram feed. Each session includes teaching, demonstrations and plenty of practical opportunities. These intimate workshops are held in a beautiful florist shop in Brighton, where there are props galore, and fresh flowers on hand to play with. You can find details of the workshops over on Emma's website, and see more of her beautiful distinctive styling over on Instagram, where you'll find her as @aquietstyle.

Image by  Emma Harris

Image by Emma Harris

Photographer Emily Quinton teaches photography and social media workshops at her light South London studio and also runs online courses that reach people all over the world. Her emphasis is on learning to take better photographs with whatever camera you have,: from a smartphone to a dSLR and everything in between. In addition to photography tips, Emily's courses and workshops also teach styling skills and composition tricks. You can find out more about Emily's range of courses by visiting her website , and see more of her gorgeous floral styling over on Instagram, where you'll find her as @emilyquinton.

Image by  Emily Quinton

Image by Emily Quinton

Finally, if you'd like to learn about styling with plants and natural items in the home, and discover how to make a Kokedama (a Japanese moss ball bonsai), there may still be time to snap up one of the final places on the Owl in the Ivy seasonal workshop hosted by Emma Rice and Lou Archell (founder of the popular styling hashtag #natureinthehome). You can find out more, and buy tickets here. You can also see more of Lou's lovely natural styling and Emma's love of wabi-sabi over on Instagram, where you'll find them as @littlegreenshed and @owl_emma.

Image by  Emma Rice

Image by Emma Rice

Top banner image  by Michelle Young / Styling by Charlotte Love

Creative Business : Some Wisdom

91 Magazine loves to discover and support exciting creative businesses. Whether you’re a creative business owner yourself, you have dreams of starting one, or you’re just intrigued to know what goes on behind the scenes, we’ve gathered together insights and advice from the owners of a range of successful creative businesses, from shops to design studios to blogs.

{top image: Clare Nicholson}

Image:  Rose & Grey

Here are just some of the kernels of wisdom that we’ve collected along the way…

Research saves you from making a lot of beginners’ mistakes. The School for Creative Startups showed me that I needed to begin with a clear business model, to work out what I was going to sell, and who was going to buy it.

- Bethan John, Decorator’s Notebook

From a creative perspective, it’s essential to have good quality imagery. A well photographed product can convey so much.

- Dee Puddy

Be true to your own style and don’t try to follow trends too much. Build up a good social media network… and give your brand personality.

-Clare Nicholson

I love the spontaneity of social media. It’s an instant way of letting your customers know what’s happening. It also adds personality to your business.

- Dee Puddy

I like the subtle approach of Twitter – it’s a good place to follow people of relevance to my work […] if tweets are seen by the right people, that can lead to magazine features and other opportunities.

- Kiran Ravilious

Don’t get downhearted when things go wrong, which they inevitably will, instead put your energy into what you can do to make it better. Have faith and passion for your business and constantly keep it moving.

-Lyndsey Goodger, Rose & Grey

Find the full interviews with these brilliant creative businesswomen in the following back issues of 91, available to read on Issuu.com:

Bethan John www.decoratorsnotebook.co.uk (interviewed in 91 issue 9)
Dee Puddy www.deepuddy.co.uk (interviewed in 91 issue 7)
Lyndsey Goodger www.roseandgrey.co.uk (interviewed in 91 issue 8)
Kiran Ravilious www.kiranravilious.com (interviewed in 91 issue 10)
Clare Nicholson www.clarenicholson.com (interviewed in 91 issue 11)