The following post was written by Chloe Spillett, winner of 2017’s #StyledByMe competition:
The 10th of July marks a year since my life took an unexpected and most welcomed turn. In the months leading up to this date I had lovingly designed and created a fun, exciting and colourful playroom for my two daughters, Esme and Heidi. Little did I know just how much joy that room would bring, not only to them but also to me.
Not long after starting the playroom makeover I discovered – via Instagram – Anglian Home Improvements had launched its #StyledByMe competition, and it was being judged by none other than Sophie Robinson.
I’m just going to put this out there: Sophie Robinson rocks my interiors world! She works pattern like no other, and as if that’s not reason enough to love her, we have a mutual passion for oversized earrings and bold colour. I decided to take a leap of faith and enter the playroom. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose.
My friends and family have always said lovely things about my home and creations; but, I suppose as much as I value their opinion, there has always been a part of me that doubted myself. After all, I have wonderful friends and family who always offer support and encouragement, even when it isn’t really deserved. I’ve cooked them some pretty awful dinners and they’ve eaten them, half smiling.
For years I’ve fantasized about forging some sort of career out of interiors, but I’ve swiftly pulled my head back from the clouds and snapped myself back into reality. There was a part of me that really wanted to put myself out there, even if it was just to gauge response from an unbiased audience, and #StyledByMe presented the perfect opportunity to do just that.
It was so easy to enter, all I needed to do was post a picture of a room I had created and styled using the competition hashtag and tag both Sophie Robinson and Anglian Home Improvements. Also (probably) worth a mention is the top prize of £1,000 and regional prizes of £500. Too good to be true right?!
So I did it. I entered the playroom. I’d put myself out there. My skeptical-natured self was half anticipating the social media trolls to commence hurling virtual eggs and tomatoes at me…but they never came. Instead, within an hour or so of posting I had received the only compliment I’d ever needed…Sophie (THE Sophie) had “liked” my post! Honestly that would’ve been all the reassurance I’d ever needed. I was made up! Little did I know what was to come next…
As the competition drew to a close, I couldn’t help but scroll through the various #StyledByMe posts. There were hundreds upon hundreds of phenomenal entries from interior stylists through to complete amateurs, just like me. I didn’t really stand a chance, did I?
A few days later I had a message from a friend telling me that Sophie had announced the shortlisted entries via her Instagram stories…I’d only been SHORTLISTED! That was it; my mind was absolutely blown and as you can imagine, come results day I was like a cat on hot bricks.
And then…that moment that I vividly remember because it definitely played in slo-mo. I glanced at my phone to see I’d been tagged in a post by Anglian Home Improvements…could this be? It couldn’t…could it? Do I allow myself to imagine for just a moment I might have been selected for the regional pri…holy moly I’ve hit the jackpot! I’ve only gone and won the national prize!
Yes, there were tears…and not just one or two. I was ugly crying…proper ugly crying. And I’m not even sorry, because it meant SO much to me and I will remember that moment forever.
Now you may be thinking, “this gal is seriously dramatic,” and yes you’d probably be right, but for me this victory was worth so much more than the (very generous) £1,000 prize. It was about finding self-confidence and belief that I was good enough. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever believe I could win something like this; a mother to two small children, working as a teacher, a complete amateur designer. It was such an amazing feeling. I am good enough!
From that day on, I’ve felt a new sense of determination that, one way or another, I will make something of myself doing what I truly love.
I’ve taken on some fantastic opportunities since winning the competition, and doors continue to be opened to me, each one enabling me to get one step closer to my goal. I’ve now handed in my notice from a job that I must add, I adore, but interiors has always been my passion and I’m so excited to see what’s next for me.
And now it’s YOUR turn. Nearly a year on and the competition is relaunched. So if like me, you’re toying with the idea of placing an entry and putting yourself out there, then I urge you to do it! There really is nothing to lose and absolutely everything to be gained. You just might find yourself ugly crying too a couple of months from here, and for all the right reasons!
Chloe Spillett is the winner of Anglian’s 2017 #StyledByMe competition and the author of home interiors blog Chloe Gets Creative. Click here to read more about how you can submit your home design pictures to this year’s #StyledByMe.