Monday, 25 April 2016

Attending a floral workshop and becoming even more obsessed with flowers (if thats possible?)

As a stylist, a big part of my job is propping shoots with flowers and plants. Although I have never had any form of training, I have always loved working with flowers and am secretly a frustrated florist at heart. This was confirmed after my first ever floral workshop in November at Kirstie Allsops Handmade Fair, when my friend Lynsey and I attended a Christmas wreath making workshop with the Fab - U - Lous Kitten Grayson.

You can imagine my excitement then, when I was invited by fellow blogger Old Fashioned Susie, to attend a floral workshop she had organised with amazing florists Frog, based in Manchester's uber trendy Northern Quarter. Now when  I say florists, Frog are much more  than that. They actually brand themselves as Floral Artistry, which is exactly what they do, creating amazing floral designs for private customers, events and fashion and bridal photo shoots. We couldn't have been in better, more experienced and professional hands.

Frog is run by David, a wonderful, charming and quite eccentric French man, and I know he won't mind me saying that! Along with his team, we were warmly greeted into his showroom and introduced to Susie, who was going to take us through our paces. Before I go on to tell you about the workshop, I must tell you that the showroom is no ordinary florist shopfront. Inside it is dark and seductive, accessorised with Abigail Ahern Lamps and vintage mannequin heads, animal skulls spilling with flowers and stuffed parrots dangling from industrial lights. As I said no ordinary florist.

After all the bloggers had introduced ourselves to each other, David & Susie, led us downstairs to the workshop space. The workshop had all the atmosphere and ambience of a creative studio where magic happens. A light bright space filled with buckets of fresh flowers, fairy lights trimming the walls & Ibizan chill out music playing.

Each one of us had been supplied with an apron, scissors and florists tape as well as fuel to help us along with our work in the form of Champagne and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. As we chatted and sipped our bubbles, getting acquainted with one another, Susie, our tutor for the day, explained she was going to teach us how to make a hand tied spring bouquet and foliage garland.

Susie was an excellent teacher, showing us the techniques required to achieve an effortlessly looking hand tied bouquet and letting us into tricks of the trade to keep flowers fresher for longer. Some of the pictures I took of her are a little blurred as she moved quickly threading and twisting the flowers to achieve a bouquet that not only looked good from all sides and above, but from inside the vase as well, with symmetrically arranged stems. 
There was such a wide selection of flowers to choose from and we were allowed to choose as many different types as we wanted, no restrictions at all!

This was Susie's finished bouquet then it was our turn! 
Work in progress! 

After the bouquets were all finished, much harder work than Susie made it look, I might add, we were taken through the steps of how to achieve a professional looking foliage garland, which could be applied to various seasons, Christmas etc or turned into a simple headdress.

The workshop ran for three hours and I can't recommend it enough. Susie said they run regular workshops for all types of occasions and events, from bridal flowers, to workshops for hen parties and birthdays. It's such a lovely way to spend an afternoon or evening, meet new people and learn a new skill and you come away with the most beautiful memento of your day! 
Full details of future courses can be found here or ring and speak to one of the lovely Frog staff members for further details.
Here's the bouquet & garland I made and I couldn't have been happier with it.
Thank you again to Old Fashioned Susie and Frog Flowers for such a wonderful, inspiring afternoon.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Eternal Style

I am very lucky to work with some incredibly creative, stylish and forward thinking young people and one thing many of us share, apart from a love of interiors, is a love of clothes.

Although I am a mother of two children, one of who is older than some of the people I work with, this holds no boundaries when we talk about clothes, our latest purchases or our current style crushes and why should it? Well it shouldn't, but for many years it did. It was a widely held belief by many, particularly advertising moguls, that after a certain age, fashion wouldn't or shouldn't be on a woman's radar. Luckily that belief is slowly becoming redundant and many forward thinking companies are using models and celebrities of varying ages to head their campaigns.
Joni Mitchell heads the campaign for Yves St Laurent

I remember thinking when I was in my 20's that I would never dress like some of the marginally older people I knew! Not for me would be the elasticated waist trouser or drip dry dress and thankfully as I have arrived at that age, those days are long gone and our role models are style setters such as Caroline De Maigret, Kate Moss, Carine Roitfeld and Isabel Marant. Not surprisingly, most of my style crushes are French, they know a thing or two about ageing stylishly and gracefully non?
La Moss

Isabel Marant

Carine Roitfeld

Caroline De Maigret

Some brilliant blogs that I follow are written by women who love fashion and have a fantastic style of their own. They share their secrets and knowledge of fashion through their blogs and although they have reached the mid point age shall we say, they are not afraid to rock a leather skinny jean, a faux leopard print coat or the latest highly sought after trainer.

They are not alone, as the generation that was brought up by Margaret Thatcher to believe we could be anything we choose to be, listened to music made by Patti Smith and Debbie Harry and raved all night in fields in secret locations, we were never going to be told what is age appropriate to wear by the men in suits?

When ever I'm stuck in a style rut and wondering if something is just a little inappropriate to wear at my age, I look to pinterest and see what my style icons are wearing. Pinterest is a great way of collating ideas and looks for those moments when you have a style wobble and lets face it we all do, from time to time, what ever our age?

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Tibor Reich Mid 20th Century Designer Exhibition Manchester

As an interior design student, I became fascinated with the work of some of the best known mid 20th Century designers, Charles & Ray Eames and Robin & Lucienne Day amongst others. One designer who had escaped my attention was textile designer Tibor Reich, whose centenary exhibition is now showing at The Whitworth Gallery Manchester.
When I visited the exhibition, last week, I was amazed at how prolific and talented a designer Reich was but also how relatively unknown he was? As a Hungarian immigrant, Reich set up his mill in Stratford Upon Avon and began to introduce colour into the homes of post war Britain. Inspired by the colours of his National costume, his designs were produced in yellows, greens and even pink, which was a huge departure from the greys and browns, British homes had previously been decorated in.

As an avid photographer and artist, examples of this work are also on display, he was inspired by shapes and accents of nature. The influence for his most famous carpet design came from a photograph he had taken of the cracks in the dried earth and he went on to design for various important projects including the QE2, Concorde and The festival of Britain.

The exhibition includes textiles and examples of furniture upholstered in his fabrics, short films and photographs as well as personal tools of his trade and pottery he designed initially for his own home, but which became so popular it was later produced by Denby.
If you appreciate any form of mid 20th century design, this is a fantastic exhibition and insight into a truly talented designer.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Colour Trend - Mint Green

Following on from my previous blog, another ice cream sorbet colour that has been trending lately is mint green. Similar to the Pantone colours of the year, it's also a perfect companion to grey and takes it from a cool sophisticated colour choice to something brighter, fresher and very contemporary. The perfect colour to welcome spring in?

Again I've done a little snoop around what the retailers have got for our homes in this colour.

  1. Scallop mint duvet set - Urban Outfitters
  2. Block print Cushion - H&M
  3. Quatro Cushion -Aura
  4. Rug - H&M
  5. Eglo Vintage style light - Dusk Lights
  6. Chelsea lounge chair - Wayfair 
  7. Dip dye basket - Ollie Ella
  8. Orbit Side Table - Red Candy
  9. Oak topped wire basket table - Ferm Living

I'd love to know what you think of this colour and if you could imagine using it in your own homes?

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Pantone Colours 2016 Rose Quartz and Serenity- Home Edit

Pantone released their colours for 2016 back in the new year and the biggest surprise was that there were two of them!
 Rose Quartz and Serenity

Sitting in perfect harmony the pretty pastel tones, at first glance, appeared very feminine, but as the colours start appearing around the High Street and online and the weather starts showing signs of Spring, I'm drawn to their optimistic qualities. I think a little pink throw here and a sky blue cushion there, would lift any interior and they both act as a lovely accent colour to the current favourite neutral, grey.

Here's my edit of what the retailers have to offer. 

  1. Tribeca Loft Pottery - Marks & Spencer
  2. Bedding - Loaf
  3. Anglepoise in Dusty Blue - Anglepoise
  4. Lulworth Blue - Farrow & Ball
  5. Pink Ground - Farrow & Ball
  6. Pink Cushion - Asda 
  7. Brera Linen Cushion - Designers Guild
  8. Berlin Sofa - Loaf
  9. Soft Pink Throw - H&M Home
  10. Pink Morroccan Pouffe - Etsy
So what do you think of the new colours? Do you think they're mood lifters or leave you feeling like you've had a sugar overload?

Friday, 19 February 2016

Trend - Black & White Stripes

The Scandinavians and the Dutch have taught us that black & white always looks cool and contemporary in our homes.
From this simple palette another trend is emerging, the use of black & white stripes are being seen, not only on our clothes but also in our homes.

Elle Decoration showcased this trend in their January issue in a bold, Memphis design group type of way, which is great if you want your home to be a big statement, but for me personally I prefer a more subtle way of using stripes.
I've put together a design board of some of the High Street products that have caught my eye recently that I could imagine using easily to fit within any existing scheme.

product list
  1. Ike crockery -Habitat
  2. Nautial light shade - Lite craft
  3. Striped pottery bowls - Future & Found
  4. Cushion - Ikea
  5. Dhurrie rug - Rug Vista
  6. Adidas Gazelle trainers - Office
  7. BTC table lamp - Heals
  8. Laundry basket - House Envy
  9. Loom throw - Tine K

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Farrow & Ball New Colours 2016

Tomorrow Farrow & Ball reveal their new colours for 2016, drum roll please!
As an interiors freak and colour addict it's always an exciting time and although interestingly Farrow & Ball are not really renowned for their strong colours, of which there are few, it's the intrinsic changes, the subtleties in the tones that gets me excited. As soon as you think you're more than happy with your wevet paintwork, they get you lusting after drop cloth, yes another brilliantly inspired name, a drop cloth being the traditional name for a decorators dust sheet!

Farrow & Ball choose their colours to harmonise with their existing palette and are masters at giving us shades that work equally well within traditional or contemporary interiors. Just a sneak peak of some of the new shades. For a new colour card and inspirational brochure, with suggestions for complimentary palettes, order online.
Drop Cloth
A perfect neutral neither too yellow nor too grey

The softest pink with a large drop of grey, sophisticated femininity 

Shadow White
A new lighter neutral
Salon Drab
I predict brown is going to be a big trend this year, don't ask me why, just a feeling?

Yeabridge Green
A fresh green found in an 18th Century Georgian Farmhouse in Yeabridge Somerset.

named after the word for a traditional romany caravan, the colour was used in the intricate patterning on the vehicles