Monday, 30 April 2012

Brunch at Bills and a New Venture

Hey, how was your weekend? The rain stopped many from risking a trip to the shops meaning I was able to crack on with making topiary trees for a window display.

Sunday I popped in for a browse around the Reading Vintage Fair, held at Revolutions. The location was once home to an undercover market of independent traders, including a treasure trove called the Magpies Nest where I first lost my heart to vintage.

There were treasures to be found this weekend too and it was great to have a little rummage. Loved the stock from Frock and Roll who only recently opened their doors to the Reading public. Will definitely be checking them out again soon. Was also tempted by a couple of possible bridesmaids dresses in sweet sherbert shades and a cute beaded tapestry bag, but I refrained and decided to save my pennies for a spot of lunch.

With a snackette on the agenda, we headed over to Bills which is a small chain with a handful of restaurants in the south east, and luckily for me, one in Reading. I love this kind of place, it has a really nice atmosphere with soft low light (always a blessing), wooden tables and a combination of beautiful architectural details, exposed brickwork and industrial-style piping strung with raffia. Its the kind of place I could linger all day.

Between us we tucked into open sandwiches, potted mackerel and mini yorkshire puds, olives, dips, chips, a rather fine date and walnut cake and topped it off with tea served in an enamel pot. Yum.

The place was so full we sat upstairs where I spotted this amazing room with a great long table and comfy leather and sacking seats scattered around. It would be perfect for hen parties, workshops and meetings, which got me thinking...

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Bit of a do

Just a couple of quick snaps from a laid back affair at the Crooked Billet in Stoke Row.

It was just at the end of that warm spell we had in March when summer came early, remember that? The bride-to-be was worried we'd been spoilt with sunshine and that she'd miss out when her day came around.

She needn't have worried. There was barely a cloud in the sky. 

Friday, 27 April 2012

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Classic Wedding Flowers - Calla Lillies


The second in a new feature On Classic wedding flowers, this week I'm talking all things Calla lilies. Arum and Calla Lilies have become a modern classic. I've seen them grow in popularity since the 90's with their tubular flower heads and clean linear stems providing a perfect match for simpler gowns.

Theirs is a very understated beauty, that won't overshadow the finer details of your dress. What makes them so stunningly elegant is their simplicity, so stick to simple designs and try not to overcomplicate your bouquets and arrangements. 

If you're opting for Hand tied flowers, I would choose either a few of the larger fuller heads of Arum Lilies, or more of the tubular Calla Lily for a good bridal bouquet.

They also lend themselves to shower or cascade bouquets, where you could combine them with roses, and phaleanopsis orchids for a really wowee bouquet.

A great way to avoid blowing the budget is to give your bridemaids over the arm bouquets. A few Calla lilies, some choice foliage and grasses is perfect for simply elegant floral touches and because you only need 3-5 stems, they won't break the bank. 

As for gents, unless your chap is a statuesque rugby or basketball player, I'd recommend using the smaller Crystal Blush Calla for buttonholes as larger varieties can swamp all but the biggest lapels.

Callas can work right through the theme - they're elegant in tall vases, or stunningly simple tied or spiralled in low vases or fishbowls. I'm really liking the clean minimal style of having flowers within vases too.

And don't you just love the styling of this stairway. Groups of long stemmed bunches have been used in vases on plinths and arranged so that they criss cross. You'd want to use fairly sturdy glass vases or possibly even pinholders to have avoid topples as those leaning lilies could be top heavy.

A stunningly simple idea that could be adapted to decorate all manner of venue and table displays.  Next time, I'll be looking at Lilies and asking if they still have a place in modern weddings.

Images top to bottom from here, source unknown, here, here, here, here, here, via here, and here.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Purple Rain

I love the colour purple. Its strong, deep hues, a combination of reds and blues, are both rich and cool at the same time. One of the most requested colours for bridal flowers lately, I thought I'd give a quick run through some of the options available if you're thinking of using purple in your wedding.

Incredibly versatile, it can be soft and pretty with pinks, creams and lilacs but can also work with creams and vibrant sunny yellows, and I love it with orange (its opposite on the colour wheel) and lime green. Mix it with reds and you have a very seductive combination.

These above and the lilac flowers below are Eustoma, more commonly known as Lisianthus. Sometimes mistaken for a rose and also known as a chinese rose, its not related but you can see where the confusion arises. Like the rose it does have soft blousey petals but its perfect spiralling buds are all its own.

If you like natural country garden style flowers these below are Veronica. They work really well with Lisianthus, thistle and spray roses for a cottagey feel. They look sweet popping out of mixed spring bunches too and are relatively inexpensive and widely available pretty much all year round.

When you're choosing flowers, whether for a vase at home, a gift or a wedding it helps to think about the effect that different types of flowers have on your arrangement. Your florist will advise with this but its usually a good idea to have a combination of linear and rounded shapes.

Clematis below has a beautiful lightness to it. Its stems curve and climb and can lend a lovely rhythmical  movement to your arrangement so that it flows and looks natural.

Hydrangea in contrast are quite a weighty flower with large heads of lots of little flowers. As a general rule, its a good idea to keep your heavier focal flowers towards the base of arrangements and lighter smaller blooms towards the top. In vases, space and foliage help to balance out different shapes.  

This Hydrangea is a lovely variety with the most amazing variation of colours on one head. And no, this is not a trick of the light, these flowers actually have green, pink, lilac and blue tones on each tiny head. Amazing aren't they?

If you prefer cleaner lines there are still plenty of options out there if you're looking for purple flowers. Vanda orchids come in a few different shades of purple from the more commonplace vibrant pinky purple, to dusky browny purples that would work well in vintage themes, and this new variety which is a great strong "Cadbury's" purple. 

Tulips are perfect for classic, clean bouquets and do come in purple, although they look more pink here they are definitely more on the mauvey/magenta side of purple. As always I'd recommend sticking to using using them when they're in season as not only are they cheaper they're also much stronger and longer lasting.

So there it is purple - the colours of kings and queens and er, Prince - the tiny put him in your pocket prince of pop. Hence Purple Rain. And it has been raining quite a lot here, just not purple. That'd be worrying.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Simple Vases - mix it up

To create an informal feel for wedding tables, or just for a pretty arrangement at home, instead of one large vase of flowers use a mix of vases of assorted shapes and sizes.

Petite vases, even egg cups or votives, show off delicate stems and individual blooms.

For a stylish display, stick to one colour palette, but use groups of one type of flower in each vase.  You could add decorative details like lace to link the vases. Or for a cheaper alternative, try textured paper or doilies. Dress the table with coordinating accessories.

A combination of tall and shorter vases adds depth and interest to the table centres. A single colour theme for the vases and flowers keeps the display clean and modern. Simple. 

Photos from here, & here (If anyone knows where the middle one is from please do let me know so that I can give credit)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Where the wild things are

I have a tendency to like my flowers a little wild. Nothing too orderly or neat for me please, I prefer something a little more wild and free. Rustic and relaxed. Like me I suppose.

This little bouquet is a bit of a wild thing. I was inspired by these white and pinky/purple edged Ranunculus called Cappucino. The Astrantia, a great little flower that lasts really well and seems to be available pretty much year round, is a perfect companion.

Thistle, always looks a a bit wild too, so in it went. And a few magenta carnations. I know carnations, who'd have thought it.  Oh and I foraged a little Apple Blossom and honeysuckle. Ok it was from the garden. So more suburban than rustic.

Then all she needed was a little brown velvet binding and some pink pearl pins to keep everything in place. Pretty. But not for neat freaks.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Me Old China

 We have some new china in the shop. Well, new to us anyhow. Mostly a ramshackle bunch of hand- me-downs that have been sat in box, on a shelf for far too long. (I know how they feel - ha!)

They just needed a little dusting off and are now getting some much needed light in the window, and admiring glances from passers by. Wish I could say the same.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Peachy keen

I've never really thought of myself as a particularly girly girl, but being a florist has really taught me to appreciate the beauty of subtlety.

First there were dusky pinks, then blush and now, I am officially in love with peach. I love it with lime greens, (in fact I love pretty much anything with lime greens) its great with chocolate browns too, gives them a little pep.

This is a twist on a bouquet I made for a wedding fair recently. At the end of the day it was snaffled in exchange for a box of cupcakes before I even had the chance to photograph it!

I wanted to make something with a loose and wild feel. The original had Jasmine too.

Here I've used a combination of Ranunculus, the most dreamy flower, Astrantia, limey green Guelder Rose and Alchemila.

Oh and the rose you see below, is Vendella. I spoke about this in the last post. It looks more peachy here.

I have a new found fondness for ribbons too and bows. God I AM girly! I'm not sure what this one is, its not lace, its sort of cottony, is it crochet? Whatever, I thought it worked.


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