Helen's story

Hello let me introduce myself and tell you why I’m 'The Heartful Home’ and what has driven me to create a stall full of beautiful hand painted furniture, pretty bunting and wreaths, vintage and antiques all inspired by French brocante, rustic farmhouse and country living style. 

My beginnings are in Art and design, following an Art Foundation Course at Shrewsbury College I then studied Graphic Design at Newcastle upon Tyne. My first job was in a design studio in Edinburgh offered to me following a work placement and here I worked on an instore magazine for a supermarket, designing page layouts, sourcing illustrators, photographers and props, and art directing the photography. I had some great experiences living in Edinburgh and returned to Newport after getting married. The next seven years I worked for two graphic design agencies and a publisher’s where I designed an award winning QPR football programme and wine labels for Halfpenny Green among other things, even modelling for a clothes catalogue or two!

When I had my children, I made the decision to be at home for their early years and returned to work part time when my youngest started school. I worked for Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in the museums and gift shops, it was a lovely job and it felt like going on a day trip everyday not to work at all. This is where I fell in love with retail doing displays and window dressing but also working with the public, making sure everyone had a lovely day out without hiccup. And now, here I am, you’ll know my face from my 13 years as Assistant Manager at Sue Ryder charity shop in Newport. A job I love as every day is different with wonderful volunteers and customers, we’re really a small community built around the shop committed to raising funds. Being in charity you learn about waste, recycling and the importance of making ethical choices on a daily basis and its something that I bring to all aspects of my life. But all along I’ve harboured a secret passion! For upcycling, crafting and antiques!! I love beautiful floral fabrics and embroidery, kitchen-alia, old pieces of furniture and everything that looks like it has a story to tell. I particularly enjoy painting old furniture, the piece I’m most proud of being a welsh dresser which I had to scrape layers of wax off before I could go near it with a paintbrush. I retained some of the natural wood which I oiled to bring out the grain and it has pride of place in the hall for everyone to see when they enter my home. I’m always changing my displays on it depending on the season and enjoy putting my photos on my Instagram page. Like a lot of people finding myself with time on my hands over lockdown I turned to restoring and painting furniture, I made bunting, Christmas stockings, wreaths, you name it, all using vintage and second hand fabrics I’d collected and rediscovering how important creativity is in my life. Having this time to take stock and return to my roots fired me up with the enthusiasm to take that step to having my own shop at last. So, I feel very fortunate that after waiting a short time I’m about to live my dream of owning my own market booth ‘The Heartful Home’ selling everything that I love and have lovingly created to make a house a home.