Creative Spotlight is back!

Laura Butler-Madden arranging flowers.

When I first started the blog back in 2010 I had a series called Creative Spotlight, where a featured Q&As with creatives that I admire. I was lucky enough to interview people ranging from Pearl Lowe to Jessica Zoob, but as property development work took over, I didn’t have time to continue the series.

I am so thrilled to be launching it again now and have been um-ing and ah-ing about how to kick it off , until an idea struck me, I would start with myself.

Up until now, I haven’t really shared much personal information on the blog, but going forward I’m planning to include a lot more lifestyle content about all the things I love, aside from homes and interiors, so thought this would be a good place to start.

Plus it’s only fair that I should answer my own questions before grilling other people! Well it’s not really a grilling, more a  relatively gentle questionnaire loosely based on Proust’s famous one. The French essayist and novelist believed that in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature…so here goes…

Laura Butler-Madden arranging flowers.

How did you get into your current profession? I sort of fell into it by accident. I worked for much of my 20s in PR, mainly as a publicist with celebrity clients. It was super fun, but also super exhausting and by the time I was in my late 20s I was looking for a change. That feeling coincided with some problems with my parents’ property development business in Mallorca, so it made sense for me to up sticks and move over there. A really steep learning curve, but it was when I discovered that property and interiors were my true passion.

Was that what you always wanted to do? It wasn’t at all actually – it had never occured to me that it would be something I would enjoy or be any good at. I grew up surrounded by people working in media and PR, so that was the obvious choice for me too. I began my career as a Broadcast Assistant on the BBC News (in charge of subtitles!), then progressed to Newsround, where I spent many happy years before briefly testing ‘grown up’ news and then moving to PR. Property, design and interiors was never on my agenda, but was a very happy accident!

Which talent would you most like to have? It’s more of an attribute than a talent (but as they are my questions, I can break the rules a bit!). I would love to be a little bit more patient. I am generally quite an excitable, busy person and like to do things at quite a pace. Sometimes this is a good thing, but other times I think it creates unnecessary stress. Being a little slower, calmer and more patient would be a good talent to have. I am working on it and have definitely improved over the years, but there is a little way still to go!

Laura Butler-Madden arranging flowers at home.

What do you consider your greatest achievement? This is a hard question to answer – why is it so much easier to highlight other people’s achievements, rather than our own?! Answering honestly, I would say that it has probably been creating a really good work/life balance, and that has come out of being able to do what I love for a living. Back in my 20s when I was exhausted by my career in PR, I dreamed of working for myself and creating a business that I could run from home. Something that would also work well with a family. We are so lucky – both Patrick and I now have that balance, but it has taken a lot of hard work (and risks) to get here.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? Lots of things make me immensely happy! My husband, our dogs, our home, family, friends, Dorset, countryside, London, Albert Bridge at night, Battersea Park, Sloane Square at Christmas, our garden, flowers, beautiful design, sushi and marmite on toast. The list could go on and on…I’m clearly easy to please!

What is your greatest extravagance? Fresh flowers at home. I just adore flowers – everything about them from growing them, to arranging them and then just standing back and appreciating them. Until I can grow enough to fill the house (which could be a while), I have to buy them in! I set myself a weekly budget (which I do go over from time to time!), but they make me so happy. I would say that is definitely my greatest extravagance.

Laura Butler-Madden arranging flowers.

Which living person do you most admire? I have a mini design crush on talented designer and architect, Ben Pentreath. He has such a different style from my own and creates effortless looking, traditional interiors. His cosy rooms just make me want to light the fire, grab a novel and move in! If you haven’t seen his blog or Instagram, then you should check that out. He takes the most stunning photos of the Dorset countryside and has a garden that is to die for. On a separate note, two of my dearest school friends have children currently fighting cancer. The prognosis for both is thankfully extremely positive, but they have been going through so much this year, juggling hospitals and treatment with school runs and life in general. I have so much admiration for them both.

Who or what is your greatest inspiration? This is such a hard question that I never know how to answer in interviews. I think it comes from everywhere really! From nature, from our travels, from Instgram, from life. I take in ideas and inspiration from all over and store them away until the right opportunity arises.

When and where were you happiest? I feel that happiness is ongoing and not something that can be linked to a particular moment in time. I try to appreciate all the good in every day – take pleasure in the small things. I think that happiness can become a regular habit, rather than something saved for special occasions.

Laura Butler-Madden arranging flowers.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would be a little less hasty and a little more patient.

Describe yourself in three words. Hasty, Loving, Loyal.

What is your most treasured possession? Our dogs!

Laura Butler-Madden arranging flowers.

What’s your favourite way to spend the weekend? If we’re in Dorset I love just being at home with family and friends. A lovely brunch, a long walk with the dogs followed by a lazy afternoon and either a lovely supper at home or going to one of our favourite restaurants for supper, Summer Lodge or Babington House. If we’re in London for the weekend then it’s not that dissimilar! Brunch at one of our favourite restaurants – recent favourites include Milk in Balham or Grangers in Notting Hill, a long walk in the park followed by a spot of shopping. In the evening we would either be meeting friends for supper or staying in and ordering sushi from Deliveroo.

What is your favourite space in your home and why? Another tricky question as I love so many of the spaces for very different reasons. As we’re coming into Autumn now though I would say the kitchen (or the Great Hall as it’s been nicknamed!). We have the log burner and our lovely cosy Loaf Crumpet sofas, which are perfect to snuggle up on on a cold afternoon.

And finally, what are you most excited about in the future? I am so excited to be finally able to spend more time working on the blog. For years it has really taken a back seat to our property developing, but now it will be the main focus of my time and energy. I am looking forward to bringing you lots of fresh content – from room tours and interiors advice to more lifestyle and travel features, as well as interviews and home tours with other creatives that I admire. I am also really excited/hopeful about starting a family soon. I think that’s enough to be getting on with for now!

Laura Butler-Madden arranging flowers at home.

Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden

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2 Comments

  1. Rachel September 7, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    I love this. And being new to your blog, it’s so nice to read/know more about you. And I can’t wait for more posts x

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