No:1 When my Heart Eventually Caught up with my Head
Hi, my name’s Jenna Ridley and I am an Interior Designer ...
...and you don’t know how long it has taken me to be able to say that!
Indulge me just this once, if you may, as I wanted my first blog post to be a personal introduction. My blog posts won’t always be so personal, I promise. They will in the main focus on all things interiors with perhaps a sprinkling of business and life thrown in. But I wanted to let you know how I got here…
It all began decades ago …with a passion... but that passion quickly turned into a distant, unattainable dream. After many years and much soul-searching that dream is becoming my daily reality.
You see as a girl, my passion was making my room look cosy, organised, beautiful. I would be forever creating any number of projects to adorn my room and the rest of the house with or helping my Dad do DIY. I was a mean wallpaperer by the age of 8. At age 11, I was allowed to redecorate my bedroom and redecorate did I! I loved sifting through the huge wallpaper books; I loved the smell; the feel; and selecting matching borders, bedding and curtains (and when I say matching, I mean all-from-the-same-range matching!!!)
Professional suicide, I know, but here’s the “matchy matchy” bedroom in question…taken probably 25 years ago on a disposable camera in the days when you had to go and get camera films developed!!! This is my youngest sister and she will kill me for using this photo, but it’s the only one I have of the matching wallpapers, border and duvet cover combo! I was clearly 25 years ahead of the trends as Neo-Mint is very current for 2020!
But whilst being creative, I was also very academic and with a burning need to keep bettering myself. I have never been competitive against others, but very competitive against myself, always striving to do more, and achieve higher grades or do more extra-curricular sports. So when we were having “those career chats” around the age of 15, after watching far too much Ally McBeal which had not long been on the screens (which for any younger readers was a version of Suits (which I also adore - clearly a sucker for a totally unrealistic legal drama)), my passion took a back seat and my head told me to take the long career path to become a lawyer (in corporate tax, no less, at an international law firm).
And you know what? I loved the buzz, I loved the banter with colleagues, I loved the sense of achievement, I loved dressing up every day and, as ashamed as I am to admit it, I loved the prestige of telling people I was a lawyer...but over many many years I realised I didn’t actually LOVE the law. In fact I fell completely out of love with it.
After training in both the UK and Paris and practising as a qualified lawyer for a few years, I joined my husband, the amazing Mr R, in Switzerland after he had been there a few months and continued working for my UK firm remotely whilst pregnant with our beautiful baby girl. But during maternity leave, I realised I didn't want to go back to work (which also meant a relocation back to the UK), so I resigned. Baba number 2, our wonderful son, followed a short while later. And I love being a Mummy more than anything; a role I always thought I would cherish but not to this extent. I surprised myself with how willing I was to give up on my career. I was a very happy stay-at-home Mum to our children for 3.5 years. I was then asked to do some part-time legal work for a couple years, but by September 2017 my head had eventually caught up with my heart. I realised that if I was going to be away from my children I wanted it to be doing something I loved with all my heart. I also wanted to show them that Mummy had fire in her belly and that you can pursue your dreams no matter what your age.
It took me a while to figure things out and I spent some quality time with my son in his final year before Kindergarten. Then the day before my 36th birthday, I impulsively signed up to an online interiors course. The course was with the Interior Designer’s Business School run by the INCREDIBLE Jo Chrobak, to whom I will be eternally indebted. I set up my business: Jenna Ridley Interiors on 1 January 2019 and the rest is history.
So this is me, Jenna Ridley, Interior Designer, very pleased to meet you. I hope this is the start of a wonderful friendship…
10 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ME :
1. I am probably addicted to tomato juice.
2. I appeared on TV when I was a child for a whole 17 seconds.
3. I married my devilishly handsome childhood sweetheart and this year marks 20 wonderful years together.
4. My greatest unexpected joy in life was becoming a Mummy; unexpected because I didn’t expect to love it so much.
5. My children can speak a language I don’t fully understand.
6. My favourite colour in the whole world is nude pink, my favourite metallic is gold and my favourite stone is marble (but always diamonds to wear!).
7. I used to eat A LOT of meat, and now I don’t.
8. I speak very loudly when I’m passionate about something (especially with my sisters).
9. My sisters, Dad and I all shared the same initials before marriage (and my Mum would have done too, but for the fact she has no middle name).
10. My all-time favourite film is The Bodyguard.
PS: I promised myself I would start my blog in 2020, so here I am. I wrote the first draft of this post on 31 January whilst crying into my overly milked tea that that a few short hours later the UK would waive adieu to the EU; a tragedy I couldn’t even begin to articulate. Fast forward a few months to April where I picked up the blog again and here we are facing an even bigger tragedy in the form of Corona Virus. Sending everyone love, light and strength in these trying times.