For our first At Home With feature we were delighted to chat with the very lovely Cara Sutherland, whose Instagram account @CaraSuthers and blog Within These Walls we have swooned and cackled over for several years now. She's got a dreamy Cotswold home, killer dress sense and seriously great hair, but it's her hilarious captions, honest portrayals of life's ups and downs, and abject refusal to take herself too seriously that captured our hearts and our minds.
The Sutherlands are about to up sticks and move to the Home Counties, so stay tuned to her Insta-feed to keep up with her adventures. In the meantime, take a look at what magic she has created in her current Gloucestershire nest, and find out a little more about her shopping habits, her ethical choices, and HOW she keeps that house so spotlessly tidy... Warning: you're not going to like the answer!
Cara surveys the scene with her MISTARI shopper
- So where are you at with your big move?
In limbo, currently! We have sold our house but because we are relocating to Surrey/Berkshire it seems so hard to find the right house as we don't know much about the area!
- What aspects of your current Cotswolds home do you want to recreate in your new home, and how will you do this?
I am a big fan of natural materials and lots of texture. I fell in love with the exposed beams in this house but I think the next house will be a stark contrast in terms of style. I still plan on using simple materials like stone and concrete. I guess it really depends on what house we end up buying.
Change it up! The MASIZI Jumbo Shopper makes an ideal laundry basket in Cara's boudoir, and doubles up as a great weekender bag or supermarket trug
- Do you have a mental checklist when you shop for things for the home?
Absolutely! I always try to pick items that work in more than one location (because I am a changer upper and move things around constantly) I fall in love with so many different styles so I have to ask myself ‘is this really me?’ Before dashing off to the checkout!
Photo Credit: @CaraSuthers
- What do you need to buy for the new house and do you know where you're sourcing these items from?
This might seem like madness but I want a complete fresh start. I want to replace nearly everything. This move feels really symbolic, like a new chapter and I think the idea of having new items makes that more exciting. (When I say new, I mean new to me. I often buy vintage, second hand or items to upcycle)
BULI natural bike basket
- Favourite places to shop for homewares? Any recent discoveries?
I really love Trouva which is a website that sells from lots of independents. Instagram is the best place to find amazing independent stores too! In terms of high street Oliver Bonas and H&M rarely get it wrong for me.
'Mess' Embroidered Basket - Photo Credit: @CaraSuthers
- Whose interiors style inspires you?
She's a crazy plant lady like us! Photo Credit: @CaraSuthers
- HOW do you keep your house so clean and tidy?! Any storage or decluttering tips?
I won’t win any friends with this answer I am sure but I am really regimented. I tidy the entire house before bed and then clean it before breakfast each day. I clean more than the house needs, in fact, as cleaning has some weird emotional connection for me. I feel at ease when I can smell cleaning products and the washing machine's final spin is in the background. Tidy house, tidy mind.
Photo Credit: https://withinthesewallsblog.com/
- As someone who influences people's shopping habits and has a big following, what do you think your responsibilities are?
I am not a fan of the term 'influencer' as I feel like it has a manipulative undertone. I prefer to see myself as someone who just shows you what I love and how I style it. If that's something that people want to replicate then that's amazing! It is such a tricky subject as I would never want people to feel like they have to buy things.
- We loved your story post the other day about not comparing your reality to someone else's controlled online content. How do you manage to keep it real in the Insta-world?
It was only about three years ago that I would scroll instagram and feel so utterly inferior all the time. I do still have days like that and it makes me feel so uneasy that people would feel like that by what I share. There is lots that's less than perfect in my life. I don’t share these things but I do try to show people that my life isn’t as rosy as the images portray. Ultimately I am just myself online and I hope that comes across!
Photo Credit: @CaraSuthers
- It's difficult to make sustainable consumer choices all the time - especially when you have children and life is hectic. Are there any things you try to do to reduce your impact on the environment?
I think this is one area where Instagram has absolutely helped. The basket bag trend isn’t going away, and guess what? Basket bag handles don't break and spill your shopping over the floor like plastic bags do! I have a large basket bag in my car and one hung on my door so that whenever I am going anywhere I can just grab it and go.
Follow Cara on Instagram here