Monday, 20 April 2015

Rustic Prairie Wedding Styling ~ Rose & Grey Jam Jar Vases

Spring is often the start of the wedding season and as my niece is getting married this year wedding styling has been the topic of conversation for quite a few months.
Sara & her beau are getting married in a barn and want a rustic wedding which is often termed "Prairie Style" and when online retailer Rose & Grey asked me if I would like to take part in their bloggers styling challenge, using three of their vintage inspired jam jar vases, the first idea that sprang to mind, was prairie style wedding flowers.

This trend features lots of natural textures, fitting with a rustic country setting and vintage props such as wooden crates, old typewriters, blackboards and of course jam jar vases.

So with lots of natural materials in hand, such as sack cloth, vintage lace and jute string, I set about creating three different looks to decorate the wedding tables.
These are the finished results, all different but all within the same rustic theme.
In a new blog post I'll talk through how to create each one, in case any of you are involved with styling a wedding or would like to create something similar for your own summer party? They are quick, easy and so cheap to make and use hardly any flowers so cut the cost of this big part of the wedding expense enormously.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Renting an Apartment for a short break in a city

Travelling for a short break to a city can often be as expensive as a weeks holiday in a 5 star hotel but staying in a serviced apartment, especially if travelling as a family with children, can often be a cost effective way. Being able to cook and eat in your accommodation can bring the cost of your trip down enormously and it's also a great way to really get the feel of a city and live like a local for a few days.

A company we have used before, who have some of the most amazing accommodation on their books, is OneFineStay. They have a wide range of styles and budgets send you regular updates of new properties they have acquired if you register with them.

This property in Shoreditch London, which was formerly a factory building, can be rented for a minimum of 3 nights and is in a great part of the city.

I love the interior which is a homely mix of flea market finds, lots of textures and the warm patina of the exposed brick. I'd never want to leave.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Denim Dungarees Dressed up or down

I've not worn dungarees since Dexy's sang "Come on Eileen" but after wearing my denim jumpsuit bought from mango last summer, almost non stop since, I am very tempted to try the dungaree trend for a second time. I know the saying goes, if you wore it the first time around, don't do it again, but I'm loving some of the images on Pinterest of the more grown up, dressed up dungaree.

The last two images show how the trend can be made to look slightly more luxe with the addition of a feminine lace shirt or worn in a softer fabric such as soft baby cord or velvet.

What do you think, love or loath dungarees?

Monday, 13 April 2015

Going Green ~ House Plants Trend

Its not escaped any of our attention that we are having a love affair with house plants again. What started as small cacti and succulents is now making way to great big 70's style house plants and hanging macrame baskets spilling with spider plants and trailing greenery, not seen since the 1970's!

Etsy have macrame baskets for sale made by some clever people but if you fancy having a go yourself Anthropologie in Guildford are running a workshop this Saturday 18/4/15 with interior stylist and author Emily Henson. By the way check out Emily's inspirational blog Life Unstyled.

Chunky Knitted Wool Trend Continues

This week I'm just about to start styling the A/W 15 trend led, press shots for a large online retailer. The trend they are calling Cool Wool is a continuation of one we have seen for the past few seasons, lots of chunky knits and textural yarns, but one we still want to surround and cocoon ourselves in come the winter months.

A fascinating blog that I subscribe to and recommend to anybody interested in the science of trend forecasting is Eclectic Trends written by Barcelona based Gudy Herder. For anybody on Instagram Gudy also has a lovely IG feed and runs a weekly competition #itsamoodyday that showcases some beautiful dark and moody shots from IG users, anyway I digress.

Eclectic Trends calls this trend Handsome Heirloom and there is a brilliant video to accompany it which really focuses on textures, which as well as wool, combine, jute, natural fibres, leather and hand crafted materials such as clay and pottery.
Take a look and let me know what you think. Is it a trend you think you'll be buying into?

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Mario Testino In Your Face Photography Exhibition

While we were in Berlin a few weeks ago, we visited the Mario Testino exhibition "In Your face" which is the first time this body of work has exhibited in Europe.

The exhibition shows a range of Testino's images from commissioned work, many will recognise from magazines such as vogue, to other unseen work from the photographers private collection to more provocative pieces.

The most fascinating part of the exhibition for me was seeing the work in such large format and viewing, up close, just how fabulous and flawless some of our best known celebrities really are. Kate Moss features many times throughout the exhibition and my favourite portrait of all the prints was one of her taken against a bank of mirrors, showing every angle of her, as well as Testino, captured taking the picture. All though it was undoubtly posed it looks like a private moment between the two friends.As we know Mario Testino was the photographer Kate Moss chose to take her intimate wedding photographs.
There are a few other photography exhibitions I would like to see, which are currently showing in the UK. One is by the celebrated war photographer Lee Miller which focuses on womens fashion during the 2nd world war. Fashion on The Ration is showing at the Imperial War Museum London. Lee Miller was an exceptional photographer and she constantly managed to capture intimate and insightful moments during her work throughout the war,work that had rarely been done by a woman photographer before. Her life was almost more interesting than anything she could photograph though, which makes so fascinating. She started her career as a Vogue model, then became the muse for surrealist artist Man Ray before becoming a surrealist photographer herself and then finally becoming a US war correspondent, famously becoming the first person to reach Hitlers hide out in Berchtesgaden. There is the photograph of her sitting in Hitlers bath tub which many are familiar with.

"Only in England" currently exhibiting at The Walker Gallery Liverpool, features the work of Tony Ray Jones & Martin Parr and captures ordinary folk indulging in traditional English customs. Many of the images reflect on the humorous yet melancholy pursuits of past times, such as beauty pageants and British Seaside holidays and were taken from 1970 onwards. Sadly Tony Ray Jones died at the age of 31 but this exhibition reflects on his talent and documentary style photography which has inspired so many other photographers since.

Friday, 27 March 2015

A guide to a short break in Berlin-Part One

We've recently been for a few days to Berlin, our first trip there since 1991, just after the wall toppled, and wow what changes there have been! Also buoyed up by the fact that somebody has just messaged me on Instagram, to tell me that they are in Paris and visiting a bar that I blogged about, on my recommendation, I thought I'd post a short blog about our mini break, in the hope that it might be interesting & useful to somebody else!

The city has always been vibrant and exciting and a magnet to creative types and that is still very much the way it remains. Although many of the areas have been gentrified since our last visit, such as AlexanderPlatz and Potsdamer Platz, there are still lots of areas that remain full of small galleries, independant shops and clubs.

I can highly recommend our lovely small boutique hotel, which was ideally located in SavignyPlatz Charlottenberg and right next to a U Bahn station, for easy access around the city. Its located on one of the oldest squares or Platz in Berlin and surrounded by cafes, bars and restaurants so no need to go far out of your way in the evening, its all here.

On our first morning, to get our bearings, we walked along one of the main thoroughfares Kurfurstendamm, which is lined with all the large department stores, cinemas and global High Street names. Not the most exciting part of Berlin but the old heart of the West and a good place to start. Back when we were first there, in the 1990's it was the location for the only department store KADeWe. This still remains but has had a serious revamp and now rivals any high class department store in any major city. The food hall on the upper floor, is well worthy of a visit and the cakes and coffees are amazing.
We then made our way to Schloss Charlottenburg, the palace of Kaiser Wilhelm. The area is rich with Art Nouveau buildings and there is a lovely park next to the palace. Our intention was then to walk along to the Brucke Museum, which houses the collection of paintings formed by the Brucke group of artists from Dresden that later went on to inform Expressionism. It was also the art that inspired David Bowie whilst living in Berlin and  with Mr B being a huge Bowie fan, more of which in a later post, influenced our planned visit. Unfortunately, as with all the best laid plans, which often go wrong, this wasn't to be. After stopping for a coffee and checking the opening hours, we learned that the museum was closed until Easter. However from the look of the 1930's modernist building and the collection of art it houses, its certainly worthy of a visit next time.

Schloss Charlottenberg

Brucke Museum

One of my favourite areas of Berlin that we visited was Hackescher Markt, which is full of independent shops, cool cafe bars and graffiti everywhere, which in Berlin is a major art form and not frowned upon as you you would expect. You can actually take part in an organised graffiti tour and part of this tour involves a visit to Cafe Cinema which has a courtyard full of graffiti. Its also a really cool cafe for a spot of lunch or a drink.

The area is also home to Clarchens Ballhaus which is a dance hall built in 1912, still open every night for live music, food and ballroom dancing. Our hotel barman told us its a really cool atmosphere where people of all ages dress up in feather boas and finery and dance the night away together.
I'm going to break down some of the other things we did into separate blogs as they deserve a special mention but in a nutshell, Berlin is an amazing city with a creative energy which you can feel as you walk around the streets. There are so many different areas and it is so vast that it would take weeks, if not months, to explore properly. The main sights are so historic and really give you a sense of how much this city has changed and evolved over the last 25 years.