Emma Lavelle | Field and Nest
Hello. My name is Emma and I’m a writer and photographer based in rural West Yorkshire. I write about slow living, slow travel and sustainable style for various online and print publications, alongside photographing creatives, events and businesses. I also write the blog Field & Nest, where I discuss everything from living in the countryside to tracking down the perfect ethical knitwear brands.
The first thing that attracted the Yawn team to your work was your feed and surroundings in the country. You mention on your blog that moving out of the city changed your life drastically – how so and what motivated you to do this?
I’d been living in south Manchester’s suburbs since university and hated waking up to bleak views of grey skies and dull buildings. I escaped to the surrounding countryside every chance I got and wanted my weekends to be my everyday. I was writing and dreaming about slowing down my life, and felt like the perfect balance I was craving was tied to living in a more rural setting.
We chose a small town between Manchester and Leeds where we already had friends, there was a thriving creative scene and we were surrounded by hills. Since moving here, I’ve re-evaluated what is important in my life and make time for the things that matter to me. I prioritise things such as wild swimming, long dog walks and sitting around a roaring fire.
You capture your life through your written content, which we thoroughly enjoy turning to for some escapism. As a ‘writer who enjoys taking photos’, what special moments or details do you find inspire your work, and is it the same for your written work vs. photography?
I definitely have different sources of inspiration for my written and visual work. I’m an avid reader, mainly of novels but also of interesting articles in the fields I write about. There is no better way to improve and inspire your writing than to read as much as possible.
For my photography, I mainly seek inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest. Generally, I’m inspired by the world around me and have found endless inspiration in our countryside home. A simple stroll through the woods can spark an idea for something I want to write or shoot.
You have a section on your blog dedicated to timeless style, encouraging readers to embrace wardrobe staples that they can wear all year round. In your eyes, what details are most important when looking for a piece that remains flexible and a classic?
I think it’s important to discover your own style and not just copy others. I keep folders on Pinterest and Instagram for style inspiration, looking out for common threads in the images. When I find myself saving something over and over again (recently it’s cream jumpsuits) I know that this is something that would fit into my wardrobe.
When I buy a new garment, I stay clear of trends and look for simple pieces that I can dress up or down and can layer during the colder months. I always try to think of three occasions when I would wear a garment, and three things in my wardrobe that I could wear with it. A slow and timeless wardrobe works best when everything can be mixed and matched. I also stay clear of synthetic fabrics and gravitate towards fabrics such as linen and cotton that feel comfortable all year round.
Emma plays with her pup wearing new pyjama set in print 'Curl Up' £89.
Creating a ‘slow-wardrobe’ is just one of the fantastic areas of advice you provide across the blog, but you’ve also written a whole e-book on helping others to slow down. What would you say is your greatest piece of advice to help someone avoid burn out and the stresses of everyday life?
Think about the things in your life that are the most important to you. This could be your partner, your family, your friends - but you could also include hobbies and interests such as reading, a sport, or spending time outdoors. Always make time for these things and switch off your phone and laptop while you are enjoying them. Even if you have a stressful day at work, you can come home and pick up a book or cuddle your dog.
… and lastly, what’s been the best piece of advice given to you to help focus on your own well-being?
The best advice I ever had was being told that I should do what makes me happy rather than what makes me the most money. It took a long time for the words to sink in, but when I was made redundant those words were what I needed to hear to take a leap of faith and start freelancing. I now realise how miserable I was working in a job that I hated. I know not everyone can leave their jobs to pursue their dreams, but there’s a balance between working to live and living to work.
Now for a few quick fire questions:
Top of your autumn reading list?
I’m a big reader and have several books on pre-order this autumn. I’m especially looking forward to Erin Morgenstern and Alice Hoffman’s new books. I’ll also be re-reading my favourite autumnal book, The Secret History.
Favourite song to relax to?
Hey Moon by John Maus, Baby by Ariel Pink, Claire de Lune by Debussy, anything by Nick Drake.
Podcast or E-book?
Neither! I can’t get into podcasts and love nothing better than curling up with a ‘real’ book.
Pyjamas or nightshirts?
Pyjamas - especially on a cold winter’s night. Much more snuggly!
Night Cap or Night Cream?
Both. I love a glass of wine in the evening, sat outside in summer or snuggled up in front of the fire during winter. Then, before bed I always apply a rosehip facial oil. I like going to bed with soft, floral scented skin.
For slow-living advice and a further insight into country living visit http://www.fieldandnest.com/ or follow Emma’s feed on Instagram @fieldandnest.