We are thrilled to be joined this month by the lovely Emma Lavelle of Field+Nest. Emma is a writer and content manager who, like many of us, has a ‘portfolio’ working life where she combines working for herself with working for others. As well as treating us to her stunning photographs with their trademark elements of nature, exquisite detailing and her gorgeous auburn tresses, Emma writes on interiors, travel and slow living. But her life hasn’t always been like this. Emma experienced the burnout that many people feel when they are pushing themselves too much at work. What’s so inspiring about her story is how she turned this around, from being a stressed-out, under-appreciated employee to being an empowered, creative woman who has managed to construct a life that provides balance and pleasure as well as job satisfaction. She may very well, in fact, be living the dream.
Want to know how she did it, and her thoughts on who inspires her and how she finds time for the small stuff? Read on.
1. Can you tell us what you do and how you came to be doing it?
I have many hats. Some days I’m the Creative Content & Partnerships Manager at Rose & Grey, styling shoots, buying collections, posting on social media & writing content. Other days, I work for myself, writing content for websites and stories for independent magazines. In the evenings, I’m a blogger, working on my own site, Field + Nest. The long story of how I ended up where I am can be read here but the short version is that I used to work in the fashion industry and became very disillusioned with how disposable everything was in fast fashion – both the garments themselves and the attitude towards the staff from those managing the businesses. I decided to try pursuing my first love of writing and found myself in a position where I only had to work part-time. Falling into interiors was a happy accident that I haven’t looked back from.
2. If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass on to your younger self, what would it be?
You love to write, so be a writer. It isn’t just a hobby, your blog isn’t just a frivolous pastime. Your primary school teachers said you should be a writer, so don’t quit English at college – study hard and continue to pursue creative writing.
3. What is it about slow living and the simple life that you find appealing?
Back when I worked in fashion, everything was so fast-paced and I barely had any time for myself. I was working late, working through my lunch hour, commuting for hours each day – eventually I crashed and burned. Taking a step back from the rat race and deciding to only work for someone else part-time has vastly improved my quality of life. I take pleasure in the little moments, things that I didn’t even used to notice. Everything from food to travel to style can be slowed down, made more sustainable and enjoyed more.
4. How can we counter the pulls of content-sharing and curating images of our lives with the need for being in the moment?
We need to take breaks and occasionally step back from Instagram and other forms of online content sharing. What is the point in presenting a picture-perfect life if you aren’t getting the chance to actually live it? Limit your online time each day and don’t forget to put down your phone and camera and actually live in the moment.
5. Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by the wonderful women I have met through Instagram. Women who have their own creative businesses, who have raised wonderful families, who take beautiful photographs, who juggle many creative pursuits and who have shunned the idea of a ‘normal’ life to do what truly makes them happy. Lou Archell, Sara Tasker, Abi Dare, Kym Grimshaw, Siobhan Watts, Freya Dowson and Elizabeth Curtis all immediately spring to mind.
6. What are your essential homeware items/ things you couldn’t do without?
It’s funny, I’m currently in between houses as we renovate our new home in the countryside and most of my belongings are in storage. It’s made me realise what I really ‘need’. The things that I find myself carting around between the homes of friends and family that we are currently staying with are: a notebook, my laptop, my camera, a comfortable linen jumpsuit, my MOA green balm and facial oil, and my dog, Evie.
7. What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
Sitting in my garden, surrounded by flowers and vegetables that I have grown, writing my second novel.
8. What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
Wild camping in Scotland. On the second night, we pitched our tent in the middle of nowhere beside a small stream. As we huddled around a camp fire, two otters swam past just a few feet away. In the night, I woke up to the sound of something large shuffling around outside our tent – we woke in the morning to find hoof prints circling around us.
Thanks so much for joining us Emma, it has been a delight!