Saturday, 16 August 2014

Feeling Festie

As I mentioned in my last post, the last few months have been pretty non stop.  My biggest and definitely most exciting news, is that we're having another baby.  A third, teeny, tiny little Cub to add to the pack.  I am beyond excited but did spend the first few months feeling very sorry for myself, lying on the kitchen floor, trying not to be sick.  Hence why the posting has been on the rather minimal side.

Port Eliot house and festival

I'm now feeling right as rain and have been gallivanting round the country doing wedding flowers and workshops at various festivals.  
The highlight was undoubtedly working with Anthropologie again at Port Eliot. - A small, artsy-crafty, literary festival held in the gardens of a beautiful private house in St Germans, Cornwall.  I was one of Anthro's five artists and led a series of pebble painting classes each evening - complete with my very own Sipsmith Gin bar. The festival itself was wonderful, nothing like I've ever been to before.   Very, very small, for all ages and days were filled with swimming in the river, workshops and talks rather than being glued to a music stage.  My highlights were listening to the Helmsley sisters and Suzy Menkes, being adorned with fresh flower crowns by the Flower Appreciation Society and learning how to make a silver starfish from a cuttle fish with jeweller Catherine Zoraida (fellow Anthropologie artist).

Rose 'Debbie Magee' in the walled garden

the walled garden

mid action in my pebble painting workshop in the Anthro tent

Fortnum & Mason pop up coffee shop

casting in cuttle fish

workshop schedule at Port Eliot

my wall in the Anthropologie tent at Port Eliot

Wilderness was last weekend and rather more handily located down the road.  Being pregnant it was slightly calmer than last summer and we spent a lot of time wandering around the food stalls with the Cubs.  The mac and cheese van being my clear winner; I had it for lunch three days running. On the sunday afternoon I held a flower crown making workshop in the Sanctuary area which was run by Wild Well Being. It was initially going to be held outside under a flower festooned, pagoda type structure but half an hour before we started, the biggest storm of all time decided to grace us with it's presence.  So inside we went to a nearby yurt. There were about 35 of us in total and using the vintage silk and velvet flowers that I'd sourced in LA, I taught them how to make the crowns.  I found it fascinating just how different each person's creation was despite using exactly the same the ingredients.

entrance to the Sanctuary

my workshop ingredients

my workshop

Early bird tickets for Wilderness 2015 are now on sale

Sunday, 10 August 2014

A bugs Life

I have a real thing about bugs.  Bugs and insects, all things creepy crawly.  Not in real life I admit but on china, walls, glass wear and fabrics - I can't get enough of them.  I found this post by Erica at Honestly WTF and had to share her genius new DIY.  My past few months have been off the scale busy and after today - I'm hosting a flower crown making workshop at Wilderness Festival - things are getting calmer again.  So this week I'm going to dedicate a whole day to insectifying my house.

"My collection of vintage china is growing at a concerning rate. I’m addicted to scouring flea markets for the finest porcelain and snatching up affordably priced mismatched sets online. But honestly, what is one to do with all those saucers, tea cups and dinner plates?! When I saw Melanie Roses' upcycled vintage plates in London last summer, I was instantly inspired to DIY my own. No ifs, ands or bugs. And now finally, after some trail and error, I’ve finally narrowed down the proper materials and mastered the right technique. Thank goodness for all those spare plates!"

You’ll need:

  • vintage plates
  • clear waterside decals
  • clear urethane coat or clear acrylic coat
  • scissors
  • small bowl
  • warm water
  • paper towels

Start by printing images onto the glossy side of the waterslide decal papers. Let to dry completely before spraying the sheets with a coat of urethane clear coat. Allow to dry completely and then cut the images out carefully, leaving as little white space as possible. Place onto the plates to determine positioning.

Place the decal in a bowl of warm water for about 15 seconds. When the decal separates from the liner, just by moving it between your thumb and finger, then it is ready to apply.

 Place the decal onto the plate, with the liner still attached. Gently slide the liner from beneath the decal using your thumb and index finger. Smooth out any folds or bubbles with your finger. Gently blot with a paper towel and allow to dry for at least an hour.

Note that I’ve added the decals to saucers and not dinner plates or tea cups. These decals are not food safe and should not be put into a dishwasher or hand washed. If you need to clean it, simply wet a paper towel or rag and spot clean.

Use as saucers for tea cups, jewellery trays, or even wall art!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Greek Wedding Extravaganza

We've just got back from the most magical wedding weekend in Greece.  Two of our best friends, barefoot on the beach with 200 friends.  The bride organises events for a living so it was always going to be beautifully done but this was something else...

Something about beautiful stationary on a beach...

Chaz and the lads

The beautiful bride

Indi with Matthew Williamson

Have you ever seen a more beautiful table setting?


HB and Eddie in the ceremony

me and knitwear genius, Alex Gore Brown

Look at that dress...

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Blackberry Arranging

I was very tempted to give myself another whole year to finish my latest book, Inspire.  The only reason being that it would have meant my all time favourite wild rubus (blackberries)- could've been included.
I didn't - and now every time I pass a blackberry bush I kick myself wishing my timing had been better.  I went to the flower market at Nine Elms this week and the first thing I fell upon was an enormous blue bucket, bursting with blackberry stems.  

I think there's something so magical about these shiny, jewel like berries.  I adore them in arrangements and they're pretty hardcore and long lasting too so are great in bouquets too - just remember to remove the spikes on the stems beforehand.

Buckets full at Covent Garden on Monday

 Classical urn arrangement

Dahlias and berries

Tomatoes, berries, beans and apples

Heavenly scented rose, sage and berries from the Real Flower Company

My hedgerow pickings before they turn into actual berries

Love this one

Proper blackberry vision from Franse vaas met bramen

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

My 'This is your Kingdom' Contribution

Sunday morning croissants and jam at Worton Organic Garden near Cassington.

I have a slight obsession with cafes. My dream is to one day open my own; a flower-shop-come-coffee-shop-come-gallery, all under one white-washed, rustic roof. I still can’t get over the fact that it took me a whole year to discover Worton. After moving from the South of France to Oxfordshire three years ago I was desperate to find somewhere special that I could escape to; somewhere beautiful with proper coffee and cakes. I made do with character-free coffee shops for months until one wet morning I found a postcard advertising Worton Organic Garden. I was there in a flash.
After getting very lost (it’s hidden down a long, bumpy track, almost in the middle of nowhere), I pulled up in front of a small, grey, wooden hut. Behind closed doors was the most delicious looking organic fruit and vegetables I’ve ever seen, eye-wateringly beautiful, home-grown flowers and steaming towers of freshly baked breads and croissants. And even better still to come was the cafe which sells, hands down, the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.
The weekly changing menu is full of organic, locally-grown, quite ‘girly’, Ottolenghi-style food and everything I’ve ever tried is absolutely delicious. We take ‘the Cubs’ on a Sunday morning. They pretend they’re still in France and order hot chocolates and croissants with Jostaberry jam while I work my way through as much of their patisserie section as time will allow. Sitting still and small boys don’t go hand in hand, but Worton is perfect for them as they’re free to run around the garden, talk to the chickens and throw sticks for the owners’, David and Annekes’, dogs. It’s upsettingly only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (if I could, I’d be there all day, every day) but it’s a relatively hidden gem that I cannot recommend highly enough.

For the whole article click here 

Friday, 27 June 2014

DIY Fresh Flower Light

I found this brilliant DIY project yesterday while I was planning how I'm going to decorate my area in the Anthropologie tent at Port Eliot in a few weeks time.  This slightly distracted me for about three hours and I wanted to share it in case you were feeling creative too this weekend.

The post is written by Brittni Mehlhoff, the editor and founder of the wondrous Paper & Stitch website. 

Here’s how you can make your own fresh flower pendant light…


Flower Breakdown:


Additional Materials:

  • Large wire basket with a hole at the top that your light kit will fit through
  • Light kit/pendant cord like this one from IKEA + lightbulb
  • Floral tape + Floral Wire (I used two gauges – one thin and one thick/ heavy duty)
  • Scissors + Wire cutters (optional – for the thicker gauge wire)


Before you get started, let’s talk about flower care… For dahlias: They are sensitive to dirty water, so if you’re keeping them in a vase or bucket for a prolonged period, just make sure to re-cut and replace the water daily. For mini-callas: These only need 1 to 1.5″ of water (too much water is actually not good for callas – it can make the stems turn mushy too quickly). For everything else: Cut at least 1″ off each stem and place in 3-4″ of room temperature water. Let everything hydrate for at least 3-4 hours before you start working with them.
Okay, now let’s get started… There are a lot of pictures below to walk you through this one, but the basics are pretty easy…

DIY // flower pendant light with

First things first, flip your basket over so the bottom is facing up. This is the framework for your pendant lampshade. Now you’re ready to begin. You’ll want to start with the greenery (like Green Pittisporum) as your base. Cut off descent size sprigs (6-10 inches) from a larger branch and begin attaching them to the wire basket with floral wire. You can also weave some of the pieces in and out of the basket for extra security. For heavy stems or branches, use the heavy gauge wire. Start weaving some of the other greenery into the frame at this time as well (like Viburnum berries). Once the basket has been decently covered with the greenery all the way around (you don’t have to fill in every hole because there are plenty of flowers still to add – this is just the start), start adding a few filler flowers, like wax flowers for example, to fill in some of the gaps. Secure with wire just as you did with the greenery. You can also add some sprigs of dusty miller around the base at this time.

Now that the lampshade is starting to fill out a little bit more, it’s time to start adding the really cool flowers, like mini calla lilies, dahlias, and purple veronica. Cut the stems fairly short (leave about 5-6 inches on the stem) and start weaving them into the shade, securing with wire as you go). Before securing flowers in certain spots, I would just kind of push the stem through the basket and then step back to see if it looked good. If you’re happy with it, secure it with wire, if not, move it to another spot and look at it from a distance before securing it with wire.
Once the bulk of the main flowers have been added, you can add some of the smaller fillers to round everything out. The thistle, berries, and scabiosa pods are perfect for this part. And you can cut the stems down to 5-6 inches before adding them, just like the others. Note: If you need to cover any additional areas but find you have run out of flowers, add additional greenery like dusty miller a couple of leaves at a time to fill in holes that have gone unnoticed (I wouldn’t recommend adding a whole stem at once – that’s a lot of leaves).
Once you’re happy with the arrangement, it’s time to add the light kit. As luck would have it, my light fit perfectly into the hole at the top of the wire basket. Then I screwed in the bottom piece of the light kit from underneath and it was perfectly secure. Add a lightbulb and you are ready to shine some light on your fresh flower masterpiece.

DIY flower pendant project

DIY flower pendant light (close up)

diy flower pendant light


And to answer the lighting question that you are probably wondering about it… Yes! It does light up. I had it on for about an hour and a half and it was completely fine. The wire basket that I used for the base was large enough that the flowers were not really disturbed by the heat. But just to be on the safe side, I wouldn’t leave this on when it’s unattended.
Here are a couple of photos of what it looks like with the light on…

flower pendant light with

diy flower lampshade

On the table…There were lots of petals and leaves left on the table when we finished up, so I decided to leave it just as it was (newspaper and all),  and add an old scarf as a table runner. I also had some extra dusty miller left over, so I cut the stems really short and added them to a low profile bowl with some water and added a few scabiosa pods for a super simple tables cape.

flower pendant light

dahlias + calla lilies pendant light DIY

fresh flower lampshade DIY

For more genius ideas have a look at