Fertility expert Emma Cannon has been helping women conceive for over 20 years using a mix of acupuncture, Western medicine, good nutrition and lifestyle advice. “More and more of my patients were getting pregnant and I gained a reputation as ‘the Baby-Maker,” she explains. “I absolutely love this area of work – helping couples improve their health in order to conceive is very rewarding. Author of three books including The Baby-Making Bible, You & Your Bump and Total Fertility, she also runs a specialised clinic The Fertility Rooms in London’s Sloane Square – do make an appointment if you are in the ‘baby zone’ and are looking for advice.
As part of her holistic approach to health, Emma has recently launched a range of teas called Cycles of Life. “I was frustrated about the amount of coffee people were drinking and I wanted to help them find a suitable alternative. My range is mostly herbal infusions so they are without caffeine, although I do have a beautiful green tea which does contain caffeine (not suitable during pregnancy) I wanted to source really high quality herbal infusions that were free from heavy metals and pesticides. A lot of the commercial teas actually contain high levels of heavy metals which can over load the system and which most people are beginning to want to eliminate from their diet as much as possible.”
The range, which is going to be expanded has been designed to support the advice Emma offers in her books and clinic. Nourish Blood for instance supports Emma’s notion about how important it is to nourish blood, while Warm Womb helps warm the body and encourage good blood flow for conception.
Based in London with her husband Roger, an interiors photographer, daughters Lily (18) and Violet (12) and her dog Maddison, Emma’s home is as welcoming and calm as she is. We are thrilled she has opened its doors to let us see it…
How would you describe your home?
I’d say it was rustic, ethnic , warm and inviting. I love rescuing old things and hate perfection as it is so dull. My style is eclectic. There are French, English and Swedish antiques thrown together with Indian and Moroccan fabrics and rugs as well as a few modern pieces for good measure. It’s pretty organic and I never go out in search of something. If I see something I love I buy it and find a home for it.
Where do you shop for your interior finds?
Arundel where my mum lives, France where we have a place, Josephine Ryan, Morocco. I buy cushions from everywhere; The Cross, The Conran Shop, Designers Guild, Liberty…Johnny Vaughan was asked what the difference was between men and women and he said “scatter cushions” – it always makes me laugh.
Did you have to do much to the house when you bought it?
We have done everything, but bit by bit as we’ve been able to afford it. We have decorated it all, but the only work we have done is knocking through the kitchen and dining room to make an open plan kitchen and living area and also the summer house in the garden where I write.
What inspired the decor of the house?
I always think that he house is the backdrop to the furniture and the characters within it – those things come with you when you go but the house remains. So with that in mind the actually decoration is always very neutral. My Grandmother is my biggest style icon she was very stylish and loved antiques. She also painted all her walls in French grey which I have also always done. Apart from that I am inspired by life and making a beautiful space we can actually live in and not a museum piece. I hate ‘done’ houses.
I wanted the kitchen to be practical and functional, old and new. I love my pantry, it’s one of the things that made me love the house. I like filling jars with beans and seeds and having a well stocked larder. I think that I have a bit of ‘need to know we could survive’ if anything bad happened! My friends Kate Adams and Nic, who is a chef at Nopi came and helped me clear it out and organise it. I then brought lots of new jars from Divertimenti to store everything in and now it looks a lot better.
The abstract artwork to the left of the fire place is by a wonderful artist Antoinette Wysocki, who is represented by my friend Roberta Moore. She has such a good eye and represents some great artists. Art is a great investment as you can own it your whole life. The flower pictures are painted by my friend Laura Wallace who was also a patient of mine. There is a story behind one of the paintings in that she was trying to conceive her third child and I told her to go and do something that she loved again. She said she loved painting and had let it go since having her first two children. So she enrolled in a course and conceived her third child half-way through painting the picture. I believe that sometimes we are ready to conceive when we fill our hearts with love and passion and not when we try and force things with our will.
The rug here is Moroccan. I brought it from my lovely friend Sam who owns The Cross in Notting Hill. I also have a pile of very brightly coloured pashmina shawls in apple green, Indian pink and yellow, which I bought from Victoria Durrer-Gasse who co-owns La Galeria Elefante in Ibiza.
The mirror is above the fireplace is my favourite piece in the house and again my darling mummy brought it for me; it is from a shop in Arundel called Antiquities. The ottoman I brought from a shop in Arundel called Swaffers and the chairs are from Sigmar on the Kings Road.
This is a warm and easy room that reflects the way we live, which is why there is a table full of rustic finds from our travels. My grandmother worked in Broadmoor in the 1950’s and 60’s and all the inmates sat around these long tables to eat their meals. In the 1970’s when plastic was all the rage they got rid of the wooden tables and the inmates sat around smaller tables. This table is from Broadmoor and spent many years in our garage at home as a work bench until I liberated it in the 1990s. We like to think it has retained some of the nutty energy from its early days.
My mum brought the corner cupboard for me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly 9 years ago. She wanted to cheer me up and she certainly did that. It is so beautiful and imperfect. I think that is how I tried to view my illness at the time. Cancer makes you feel so ugly and imperfect but it is possible to be beautiful and imperfect at the same time. Many of the best people I know are flawed and I think we have been fed a lie about perfection. I tell my girls all the time that perfection is not something to aspire to.
The image on the wall is Vishnu. I brought it from the Rug Company when I finished my Chemotherapy. It says ‘Immutable, unchangeable, eternal’. It kind of spoke to me at the time. People talk about these things changing you but I am still the same person, just a stronger, more empathetic version. There is a part of each of us, our soul that is eternal that lives on once the body is past. I really believe that.
Vishnu wallhanging by Matthew Williamson, available on request, The Rug Company
This is my retreat. It is very important to retreat from life especially if you do the job I do. I wanted a hideaway with lots of light and comfort. The reclaimed wood wall was my friend Nigel Richardson’s idea. He has a company called idesign. He really gets me and I love working with him. He found it in a reclamation yard and persuaded me to lay it the wrong way – it’s genius.
I had some of the cushions made and the others are from my travels, some are Ethiopian and others Moroccan. It’s not surprising I sneeze all the time with all these old fabrics all over the place! I wouldn’t change a thing though.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about Emma’s teas. You can also buy them here.
IMAGES: Roger Cannon and Jo Thorne