10 commandments to live by when saving for a house

10 commandments to live by when saving for a house

I thought I'd write a bit about mine and Neil's story saving for our place and the cuts we had to make (and still have to) to acquire a big enough deposit to buy in the Brighton/Hove area whilst keeping maintenance costs of the property in mind. 

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Coffee with Maxine Brady: How to become an interior stylist

How to become an interior stylist

I'm really excited to share with you an exclusive interview with my newest girl crush, Maxine Brady. 

I met Maxine over a coffee at the beautiful Flour Pot bakery in Brighton a little while ago, and we must have talked long over my lunch hour around all things home, life, decoration and styling. 

Maxine's cute little pooch Teddy joined us for the coffee too and he well and truly stole my heart as I asked questions galore about how Maxine has become one of the the most sought after interior stylists down here in the sunny south. 

Listen up all you budding stylists out there (including me), below Maxine has shared her best tips and advice for anyone looking for a career in the sector. 

Maxine Brady: How to become an interior stylist

Maxine Brady, Interior Stylist + Blogger at We Love Home

Tell my readers a little bit about you, your blog and your interior styling experience?

I'm an Interiors Stylist for magazines and TV and so I have packed my blog full of insider tips, tricks and home-related know-how from restoring sash windows, to finding the right accessories on a budget. 

I'm in the middle of doing up my first house in Hanover, Brighton so I like to talk about these makeover projects too. All my family are from Brighton, and although I lived in London for many years (and go back for work) I wanted to settle down in my home town. I share my home with my photographer boyfriend, Jonathan, my dog Teddy and Buster, a grumpy cat. 

How to become an interior stylist

How did you first fall into interior styling? 

I started out as a junior on a magazine back in the 1990s after I finished my journalism studies. I assisted freelance stylists as part of my job and I loved it - all the fabrics and props. This was way before the days of the internet, so everything we did was by phone or fax. 

Then one day I cornered the style editor on Elle magazine in the office lift and begged her to give me a chance - and she gave me my first break (thank you Susan Ward-Davies) to look after the the interior shopping pages for her. 

After 3 years, I was asked to join House Beautiful - my fav interior title ever - working in their Style team. 

After five very happy years, I took the leap to go freelance - and I've not looked back - shooting in Cape Town, Sydney and New York. It's all been very random and chaotic as a career path. I've written more about my journey from magazine stylist to freelance blogger on my blog if you want to

have a read

How to become an interior stylist

What sort of clients have you styled for? 

House of Fraser, Debenhams, The White Company, B&Q, Harveys, Furniture Village, Tesco, Multi-York, Grand Designs, Ideal Home, Style at Home, Country Homes & Interiors, House Beautiful...as well as for TV shows like This Morning. 

For budding interior stylists, what advice would you give for them to land their first paid shoot?

If you want to become an interior stylist, expect to do a lot of unpaid work and lots of assisting first. 

Working your way up from assistant to stylist is a long career path - and usually involves work experience on a magazine or with another stylist. There are numerous skills you need to pick up from art direction, lighting, production to pr contacts - all these you will learn on your way up. 

The best thing to do, is start doing your own test shoots and then upload them to facebook, twitter and blog - you'll learn as you go and will make mistakes as you go along and clients can see what you are capable of. 

How to become an interior stylist

Do you think interior stylists need any specific education requirements to have a successful career in the sector? 

I did english and politics degree followed by a masters in journalism. I think this has helped my writing skills and I have a nose for a good story. But I did get in a lot of debt with all that study. Most of what I have learnt is from chatting to people in the world of interiors - and reading lots of magazines and books. 

At the end of the day, you have to have a creative, with an artistic eye, killer organisational skills, loads of journalism, a flexible style and a thick skin - you don't always get these things at uni. So, the short answer is no ;-) 

What's the most fun part of your job? 

When I'm on set, working with a great photographer, and producing beautiful images which make me so happy. 

You know, when you have really nailed a shoot - and produced beautiful shots from literary a couple of boxes of props and a bunch of flowers. 

And the not so fun? 

Packing up at the end of a shoot, late into the night and driving home in thick traffic. I've also had to hoover up glitter and pine needles off a driveway before at a location while people stepped over me - that wasn't so fun. 

How can my readers support you/follow your work? 

Well there is

the blog

- which has more advice on how to be an interior stylist as well as tips on how to style your home, makeovers and shopping trends - there is also links to my portfolio work on there too. 


facebook page

is where I post up all my latest shoots so you can see what work I have produced.


for snaps when I am on a shoot. And then


if you want to see what I'm working on and finally


if you fancy a natter.

Thanks to the wonderful Maxine <3

If you enjoyed this post, and fancy some home styling tips to fluff up your inbox, head right here.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

Cottage kitchens. They’re adorable.

More and more home owners are opting for modern looks in their kitchens. Glossy white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, marble finished floors. But after flicking through my countless period homes magazines archives, I realised something…

If you go for a cottage theme in your kitchen it will never date.

And not only that, if your kitchen is super small, you should make a statement of it with cottage style. Give it cottage character.

Good things come in small packages after all, and I've always thought, your kitchen doesn't need ridiculous amounts of space to be on trend. 

If you've seen my kitchen before you’ll see it has cottage appeal with the oak worktops and modern farmhouse accessories to give it some cottage character in a 1930s home.

I thought I'd pull together some ideas to give your kitchen (big or small) some country chic.

I hope you like the ideas...

11 ways to create a cottage look kitchen

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

1. Store all of your fruit, veg, bread + laundry bits inside wicker baskets

Seriously, I have a ridiculous amount of love for everything wicker. I've said it once and I'll say it again and again. This versatile material is so easy to find in high street stores or charity shops. It gives texture and warmth to rooms in need of cosy-ing up (can a kitchen be cosy?) and it's a great way to bring the outdoors indoors.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

2. Mix and match your tea cups like you have a porcelain addiction

Something I'm slowly but surely collecting (and salvaging from any charity shop in sight) are tea cups. You know, the ornate floral kind with very sweet gold rims and matching saucers? I found 4 for 50p in a second hand shop near me, and as I'm collecting all different types, I'm getting so much enjoyment out of my collection.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

3. Opt for open shelves and welcome the cluttered look

I've seen DIYs on pinterest showing you how to remove parts of your existing kitchen cupboards to open up your kitchen and get a shelving look. Stacking gorgeous plates, pots and pans on open shelving is a great way to give your kitchen a cottage vibe. If you're brave you could use a cute vintage floral wallpaper to sit behind the shelves. So cottagey!

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

4. Paint existing cupboards or walls in muted tones from Farrow + Ball

I know I'm not the only one who loves Farrow + Ball, but really, they are THE paint choice of all choices if you want to channel the country/cottage vibe. Our kitchen has Farrow + Ball's Bone on some of the woodwork and it brings in a touch of English heritage. Their paints are all mixed with traditional, period decor in mind making it extremely difficult to get it wrong.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

5. Rugs can sit in the kitchen too!

Kitchen rugs are all over pinterest at the mo. Rugs are fantastic genius little things that can totally change the space you're decorating. For a cottage kitchen look, I would opt for a half round crochet rug (bonus points if it's crocheted with plastic style, durable material for high traffic and a lot of cooking spillages) to sit near the sink to keep your tootsies cosy as you wash up. It's the little things!

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

6. Mismatched old wooden chairs are a must

...and if you can fit one in, get your hands on a rocking chair too. Adorn these bad boys with multi coloured crochet blankets for ultimate cottage chic.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

7. Ditch bevelled tiling and opt for artisan crooked edges

Subway tiles are so on trend, but the straight edges never really appealed to me when I was choosing tiles for our kitchen. I knew I wanted the sought after white tile/black grout look but I also wanted a hand made touch that was less clinical. I opted for non-straight edge white tiles on black grout which some might say was a brave decision. We don't have clean edges, but I love them. Crooked = character-filled in my book. There are so many beautiful cottage look tiles out there, like THESE, THESE, or THESE.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

8. If it's not being stored in a wicker basket, store it in a Kilner jar!

These beauties are from Silver Mushroom. I love them as they're a little different from the clear traditional jars. Homebase have a great selection of clear jar storage in their Kitchen section too, but for a different spin, try all white.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

9. If you need mod cons, go for copper

Every kitchen needs a kettle, cocktail shaker and a microwave right? Sometimes stainless steel are the only option and that doesn't sit easy in a cottage kitchen. Where ever you can, opt for copper or antique gold / brass appliances.

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

10. Get yourself a quintessentially English radio, like, now

No cottage kitchen is complete without a vintage style radio. Pure have a fabulous range of digital radios. This one above is inspired by a fine Sanderson fabric / wallpaper. Possibly the cutest collaboration ever between Sanderson + Pure, wouldn't you agree? The Chelsea radio has been born, and looks none other than perfect whilst you butter your toast in your cosy cottage kitchen. Lots of affordable cottage-like radios like this one (love Emma Bridgewater!)

11 things to add to your kitchen for a cottage feel

11. Grow your own herbs or daffodils + introduce some green

The beauty of cottage kitchens is how they have an outdoorsy feel without losing warmth from materials like wood, crochet and copper. How is this achieved? By adding filling your worktops and window sills with plants. A herb garden is a must in any kitchen. Plant in a long timber pot and you've nailed the look!

Want to see inside my home? Follow my Instagram where I share photos + interior styling inspiration!

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, please give it a like or a share. Or pop on over and say hey on Instagram. Let’s chat!

Fifi xx

Images all thanks to:

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