The team and contributors behind 91 are genuinely what make the magazine and this blog work. I truly could not do it without them, so through this series of posts I want to share their work and get an insight into their lives. They are all are super-talented, interesting people that you should definitely be following.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our new deputy editor, Huma Qureshi, who will take the reins from Laura Pashby. We are sad to see Laura go as she has been a fabulous asset to our team over the past 3 years, but we are also thrilled to welcome Huma and I know she will bring a special something to the pages of 91. We also chat with two other 91 contributors, photographer Kym Grimshaw and writer & stylist Claire Holland.
Huma Qureshi – writer & 91 Magazine deputy editor
Huma is an experienced journalist, writing previously for The Guardian, The Observer, The Times, The Independent and more. Since having her three boys, she has focused her work on her blog Our Story Time, as well as running a writing e-course, and now, joining team 91. Connect with Huma over at @ourstorytime, and find out a little more about her below…
If you weren’t a writer and 91’s new deputy editor what would you be and why?
Hmm, good question! When I was a freelance journalist, I had a weekly radio slot on the BBC Asian Network and I absolutely loved it. I imagine that if I wasn’t doing what I am now, I’d have loved to have explored the broadcasting side of journalism and presenting as opposed to the editorial. I loved being live on air on the radio, chatting away, and the quick-fire interaction with listeners and other presenters. So I suppose if I wasn’t doing all this, perhaps I’d be in a studio with my voice drifting in through speakers somewhere!
Name 3 of your favourite instagrammers and why?
@brownkids I love how Roe & E, the couple who jointly run this account, have made their own version of what living with less means. I love their style and ethos and their emphasis on family. They make minimalism fun!
@todaywecooked Claire cooks the way I’d love to cook. Her daily dinner photos are simply delicious, inviting and inspiring and I love her behind-the-scenes on her Stories too, when her little boys usually help her cook in some way. I’m not a very good cook but I’ve learnt a lot through Claire!
@rajovilla Joya is a fine artist and her watercolours are exquisite; it is a dream of mine to one day own one – or if not an original, at the very least, one of her prints! I adore her feed for its soothing, sophisticated palette and the way she so beautifully blends her art with her Bengali heritage in such a romantic, historic way.
Top tip for aspiring writers?
Read the sort of writing you’d like to write yourself. It’s all very well telling you to jump straight in and just write, but that’s a lot harder than it sounds and I believe you have to have some idea of what you want to write before you start (although not every writer will agree). You have to work at being in that frame of mind in the first place and reading helps you reach that place. If you surround yourself with the words that inspire you, then you’ll be more motivated to write yourself. Also: check your grammar!
I haven’t shopped for ages because I’ve reached a lucky place where I love everything that I do have but when I do shop, I prefer to do so with small brands. There’s many I can think of but Tea And Kate has long been a favourite go-to store for gifts, homeware and art.
I love big white hydrangeas for their blossomy, romantic feel.
I love fiddle leaf fig trees for indoors and potted palms for outdoors. We stayed in a holiday home once which was filled with the most beautiful array of fiddle leaf figs and I immediately emailed the owner to find out what sort of plant it was and how easy it was to look after. He was delighted to share his advice and I take great care of the one we now have! We also have two small palm trees in our back garden and they remind me of far away places.
London. It has everything. I especially love our little corner in north London where we live, but I love it centrally too. London is home.
Kym Grimshaw – photographer
Kym is a food, lifestyle and travel photographer and she has also shot some beautiful interiors for us, such as the gorgeous feature on Albratross Cafe in the SS18 issue (Still some copies left!) Her Instagram feed literally makes you want to reach in and taste the food and experience the places she visits. Follow her at @kymgrimshaw and see more of her work here.
If you weren’t a photographer what would you be and why?
That’s a good question because I didn’t expect to be doing what I am today! I think I would still be doing something creative, I used to work in visual merchandising so perhaps I’d have gone down the stylist route if not photography.
Name 3 of your favourite instagrammers & why?
@luisabrimble – apart from being in awe of her work, Luisa’s generosity with knowledge knows no bounds. She has recently been sharing her studies and analysis of photography on stories and I find it fascinating.
@cannellevanille – an all-time favourite, her food photography seems so effortless and natural but I also love the way she captures delicate day to day moments.
@millykr – Milly is my go-to for travel tips or the best places to eat, I trust her recommendations will always be enjoyed.
Top tip for aspiring photographers?
There’s a quote I come back to again and again:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple of years, you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.” – Ira Glass
What is your Netflix obsession right now?
I’ve just started watching Russian Doll and I’m already hooked!
My local greengrocer, Reg The Veg. I love admiring the beautiful produce and the change of seasons.
A blush pink or peach dahlia, so beautiful.
My monstera, it’s not too fussy and easy to keep alive. Hoping it takes over the corner of my living room one day!
It has to be Bristol, home for 6 years now and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
Claire Holland – writer / stylist
Previously a photo editor for the Financial Times Magazine, mum of two, Claire, is now a freelance writer and stylist, as well penning her own lifestyle blog Paper Thin Moon from her home in the Sussex countryside. She has recently started selling her dad’s beautiful range of ceramics through her website, all styled to perfection by Claire. Follow her at @paperthinmoon
If you weren’t a stylist/writer what would you be and why?
When I was in my early twenties I seriously considered training as a psychotherapist, before life took me in a completely different direction. I’ve always been fascinated by how the human mind works and I like the idea of helping people, so I think I would be a therapist or a counsellor.
Name 3 of your favourite instagrammers & why?
@errer_ – because every single post is breathtakingly beautiful.
@mskathrynho – because I’m a little bit obsessed with her abstract seascapes, and she takes beautiful photographs, too.
@meganivygriffiths – I love her creativity and her sense of colour, and everything she makes I think, I wish I’d done that!
Top tip for aspiring writers?
Read a lot. The more you read (novels, reviews, essays, whatever), the better writer you will become.
What are you reading right now?
I normally have a novel and a non-fiction book on the go at any one time. At the moment the novel is Mrs Osmond by John Banville, which is taking me ages to finish as I have to keep re-reading his sentences because they’re so beautifully constructed. My current non-fiction read is Why Feminists Don’t Wear Pink And Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis that my husband bought me for Christmas. It’s made up of separate entries by the likes of Dolly Alderton, Helen Fielding and Emma Watson – perfect for dipping in and out of.
There are so many! I’m loving reste in Hastings, as well as Goods and From Victoria in Lewes, but the holy grail for me is, and always has been, the wonder that is Liberty.
This is also a tricky one. I’m in love with dahlias at the moment. I grew them in my garden last summer for the first time and I’m excited about trying some new varieties this year. I’ve also always had a thing for ranunculus and anemones, but I think I’d have to say the rose. I bought some new climbers a couple of years ago to train up the front of my house and when they’re all out in full bloom they’re so pretty, and the scent is amazing.
It has to be the Monstera.
I fell totally in love with Ghent when I visited last summer – it’s so pretty and steeped in history, but also young and vibrant and full of interesting little independent shops and restaurants. I also adore Florence and Venice for their sheer beauty, but right now the city that makes me happiest is Brighton. I left London to live in the East Sussex countryside a few years ago and I still miss it from time to time. So when I feel I need the creative buzz of a city, I head to Brighton.
Be sure to go give these creative ladies a follow! x