Back to Petersham for inspiration and sourcing

Hi everyone.  I went back to Petersham Nurseries this week armed with my Nikon D5500 camera.  It was a sunny but cold day and I decided to take a walk along the Thames before lunch (Petersham Nurseries is a stone's throw from the river).  There was even someone launching a boat and taking a jaunt up the river, despite the cold.

Along the river bank I found some pretty delicate wild flowers

I branched off the towpath along the river into the woodlands of Petersham Lodge.  Signs of spring were everywhere:

The woods led to a pretty iron gate that separates the gardens of Petersham Lodge (which are private) from the woodlands. 

The Belted Galloways are back in the Petersham Meadows by Petersham. Dogs are banned during the grazing season, April to October.

I returned to the Nurseries and spent time before lunch taking photos in the cutting garden where there was a superb display of tulips.

There were so many beautiful flowers to photograph

And of course the highlight of my visits to Petersham is the shop. I love the way it is styled with plants, flowers, furniture, accessories etc.  And I am always tempted to buy something!

These two beautiful bowls of flowers greeted you as you enter the restaurant


If you’re working on your own home decorating project and looking for some inspiration, please get in touch and see how I can help. 

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Find inspiration for Christmas at Petersham Nurseries

Hi everyone. I guess you are all frantically preparing for Christmas - decorating your homes and trying to decide what gifts to buy and what food you will eat.  I got off to a late start this year so on Friday I decided I needed some inspiration. So I headed to my favourite mecca for inspiration and soul soothing, Petersham Nurseries.  For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, I'm a sucker for Petersham and I've done quite a few blog posts on it. They are usually highly visual posts i.e. few words and loads of images, because Petersham is all about visual stimulation.  I therefore have decided that what you all need is few words and loads of gorgeous photos to feast your eyes on.  Hopefully they will inspire you on how to decorate your homes and your Christmas trees and also what gifts to buy. If you are lucky enough to live in London or the surrounding area, jump in the car and head over to Petersham.  Take a tray of coffee and cake into one of the glasshouses or a tray of lunch depending when you arrive.  Here's my coffee and delicious apple cake. Don't you just love these vintage painted distressed metal tables & chairs?

I took my new Nikon DSLR camera this time and spent three hours practising my photographic skills. I hope you are impressed with some of them; I'm very much a beginner but I'm really enjoying the learning curve!

I hope you enjoyed that.  Now it's back to the grind of lists and shopping. Bring on the festivities! 

I'd love to get some feedback from you about how you prepare your homes for Christmas so please write to me and I promise to respond!

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Inspiring locals with my 'Colour in the Home' talk

Hi Everyone, I guess you are in the throws of starting to decorate your homes for Christmas and furiously buying presents. It's a lovely time of year; I love all that anticipation. 

Last week I gave a talk on 'Colour in the Home' at the local interiors shop where I work two days a week, Quirky Dovetail.   This is a lovely local interiors shop where I've been working (running the shop) part-time for the last three years.  We specialise in up-cycling old furniture and painting it in Farrow and Ball neutral paint colours as well as selling antique and vintage items and homewares.  The event at which I spoke was our annual Christmas shopping evening which is always well attended by regular clients, new clients and friends.  Given that I am an interior decorator and colour consultations are a crucial part of my services, and also I'm absolutely passionate about colour, I decided to give a half hour talk on how to use colour in the home.  The majority of our clients are afraid of colour so I wanted to show them how they could inject some colour into a neutral colour scheme.  Grey is definitely the trend currently and many people paint rooms grey, add grey flooring and furniture but then wonder why the room looks bland and insipid.  I hope I inspired them enough to introduce some colour; the feedback after my talk certainly gave that impression!

Given that Quirky Dovetail paint furniture in Farrow and Ball paint, I used the six Farrow and Ball neutral families as the basis for my talk.  There are so many colour brands and each paint chart has way too many colours but I like the fact that Farrow and Ball have created these six neutral families to make our lives easier when selecting a colour scheme. And Farrow and Ball paint is particularly lovely with such high levels of pigment and such depth of colour.

I know the word 'neutral' can sound really dully and boring, even a bit of a cop-out to some of you, however neutrals are easy to live with, elegant and un-demanding if they are used correctly.  It's all about how you put the neutral shades together as to whether the effect is sophisticated or insipid.

I prepared a board for each of the Farrow and Ball neutral families and I included some accent colours and also a couple of fabrics to create a sort of mood board so that the audience could imagine how these could work in a room.

For those of you are not familiar with the Farrow and Ball neutral families, they are:

Traditional Neutrals - Soft grey-green tones, sophisticated - Lime White, Old White, Slipper Satin, Off White. Suggested accents: Light Gray, Mouse's Back, Pigeon

Yellow-based Neutrals - Creamy undertones, prettiest group, country feel - White Tie, New White, String, Matchstick. Suggested accents: Cord, Cat's Paw, Tanner's Brown, Mouse's Back or for a country scheme try Cooking Apple Green, Cook's Blue and Rectory Red

Red-based Neutrals - Red undertones, warmest group - Pointing, Dimity, Joa's White, Oxford Stone. Suggested accents: London Stone, London Clay, Eating Room Red

Contemporary Neutrals - Lilac undertones, appear grey, add edge but retain warmth - Wimborne White, Strong White, Skimming Stone, Elephant's Breath. Suggested accents: Dovetail, Charleston Gray, Pelt

Easy Greys - Neither too warm nor too cool, delicate gauzy appearance - Wevet, Ammonite, Cornforth White, Purbeck Stone. Suggested accents: Mole's Breath, Railings, Stiffkey Blue

Architectural Cool - Cool with blue undertones, have architectural edge - Blackened, Dimpse, Pavilion Gray, Plummett Suggested accents: Down Pipe, Railings, Stiffkey Blue

Here are my boards of the six neutral families and accents:

I also created some separate colour schemes on smaller boards again with a complementing fabric and these were pinned to the reverse of the presentation board for viewing after my talk.

We had a full house for my talk and the evening was animated and sociable fuelled by plenty wine and food and lots of shopping!  Never the most flattering when you are being photographed talking animatedly and passionately and waving your arms around but here goes .......... !1

I would love to hear how you have introduced colour into your home and what paint brand and colours you have used. Or if you have any questions you would like to ask me, don't hesitate to get in contact.

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An invite to an exclusive blogger event

Hi everyone. I had the pleasure of being invited by India Jane to an exclusive blogger preview event today, Tuesday 1st December, at their flagship store in Kings Road, Chelsea, London.  For those of you not familiar with India Jane,  it's a family-owned home interiors business which was founded in 1992.  Their signature style embodies the understated elegance of updated classics and sleek lines of contemporary sophistication. They have ten stores in the UK but none abroad, at least not that I'm aware of. There were five of us (all ladies!) handpicked discerning bloggers of interiors!!  We were given a talk by their head of Marketing and PR, the very charming James Neil, on the key trends and latest products of India Jane while being offered bubbly and nibbles.  We were also offered 15% discount on everything we purchased and it was very much the embarrassment of the choice as to what to buy as it all looked so incredibly inviting, beautiful and luxurious.  And if that wasn't sufficient, they offered us a goodie bag when we left which I discovered this evening when I got home, contained a selection of gorgeous India Jane homewares.  I know Christmas hasn't come yet but I felt as if all my Christmases had come at once! 

I adore this time of year when the shops are dressed and styled to the hilt. Indian Jane is certainly no exception!  I'm no stranger to India Jane; I have a house full of their furniture, mirrors, soft furnishings, accessories and lighting (I have no less than five of their chandeliers in my home!). However I never tire of browsing one of their stores as they are styled within an inch of their lives but with the utmost taste.  Glitz and glamour but understated and refined. What more could you want?!

I took some photos on my iPhone but they aren't the greatest quality (says the gal who has just done a course in DSLR photography!) so do excuse the poor quality of some of the shots. I think I was overcome with the emotion of trying to decide what I could afford to buy when all I wanted to do was transport the entire shop to my home!

 India Jane is one of those shops, you have to buy something. I've never left empty handed! I'd love to hear about any interiors local shop that you frequent and the things they sell that you cannot live without. 

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Another inspiring day at Petersham Nurseries

Well, I'm not sure what season this really is as it's nearly as warm as late summer and we are already at the end of October. Talk about Indian Summer - it's last way beyond the end of September. This weather is unprecedented - warm (up to 20C) and no wind or rain. The trees are the most incredible colours, the best autumn colours in many years due to this late warmth. 

It was a stunning, sunny day up to 19C last week so I decided it was time for another pilgrimage to Petersham Nurseries which is one of the most inspiring places in London for me.  I get trigger happy with both my iPhone camera andmy compact Panasonic camera as there are so many beautiful things to photograph.  The shop displays are styled so well and the use of plants and flowers in the styling is superb.

And of course the food in the cafe is wonderful so my friend and I arrived in time for morning coffee and a huge slab of cake, browsed the gardens, glasshouses and shop for two hours and then returned to the cafe for a tray of lunch dishes to share. 

I've decided to devote most of this blog post to images, a veritable optical feast.  Most of the images speak for themselves.  I hope you derive as much pleasure and enjoyment from the images as I did seeing everything in person.  There's lots to learn about styling in the home from these images so take note!!

I'll start with a selection of photos of how they styled some of the public spaces - the cafe where you queue to get your food, the loos (!) and the glasshouses where you can take your food on trays to eat. 

Another group of images follows:

And the most mouth-watering photos I'll leave until last - the shop which is my favourite part of the whole Petersham experience. Check out the vintage chandeliers, they absolutely gorgeous.  It is so beautifully styled and full of items/objects that I covet. I never leave empty handed!

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Meet an inspirational Kiwi - Charlie McCormick

I had the great pleasure this week of meeting Charlie McCormick and his partner Ben Pentreath at Charlie's pop up shop next to Pentreath & Hall in Rugby Street, Bloomsbury, London.  Charlie is a very talented, fellow Kiwi who grows magnificent flowers at their home in Dorset,  is an excellent cook and has a superb eye for styling interiors. He also runs a supper club. Ben Pentreath, Charlie's partner, is a charming, well-known and highly talented architect and interior designer and he and another fellow Kiwi Bridie Hall, own the beautiful home products shop Pentreath & Hall.

I've been following both Ben and Charlie on Instagram for some time and am always inspired by their photos on Instagram and Ben's superb blog.  I own a copy of Ben's stunning book English Style which shows the best of English Style. 

Anyway, this blog post is about Charlie's pop up shop which is open for the month of October. I read about it online and just had to pay a visit. I really wanted to meet Charlie as he comes from the same part of NZ that I do, though he grew up on a farm north of Christchurch and I was a city girl, from Christchurch.  I was lucky enough to meet not only him but also Ben Pentreath on Monday so I felt very honoured.  And of course, Charlie and I did the requisite selfie!

The pop up shop from the outside is very inviting thanks to the vibrant colours, textures and Charlie's superb styling touches:

The inside has a stunning yellow dresser as the focal point laden with vintage items, Charlie's home baked cakes and a huge container of Charlie's homegrown vivid pink dahlias. There are several other containers of the beautiful dahlias dotted around the shop and in the window, a feature above the fireplace of stunning 19th century framed prints of pressed plants, rustic watering cans to die for and a huge basket of apples from Ben and Charlie's orchard just outside the door. I wanted everything in the shop but first I wanted to chat with Charlie.  He is very down-to-earth, laid back and friendly like all of us Kiwis (!!) and he is incredibly multi-talented.  I'm a massive foodie myself, as some of you may know from my tried & tested favourite recipes that I include on my blog so a note to self to book a place at one of his supper clubs so I can sample his renowned cooking.

I left the shop having purchased so many things that I wasn't sure if they would fit on my little Vespa moped. Note the dahlias squeezed in a bag on the right!!  Charlie kindly gifted me one of his homemade Afghan biscuits for the road, to remind me of home. It's a traditional Kiwi biscuit made with cocoa powder and cornflakes, topped with chocolate icing and then half a walnut.  I managed to demolish it a bit at a time at each traffic light where I had to wait!!

And my purchases, well, plenty of them and I am going back for more on Friday!  I bought two of the 19th century prints, four vintage containers and some dahlias.

If you are lucky enough to live in London do try and visit Charlie's pop up shop.  It's only there until the end of the month.

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Designer's Guild embraces Chelsea Flower Show

Every year during the Chelsea Flower Show I visit Designers Guild in the Kings Road, Chelsea as I love the way they embrace the Flower Show by having a florist pop-up shop in the internal courtyard.

This year the florist was Thoughtful Flowers  and I had the pleasure of meeting the owner Juliet Glaves in the shop. As you can see from the photos below, she creates natural and creative arrangements to enhance the beauty of the garden-grown flowers and some  harvested from hedgerows. I am actually doing a course on 3rd June Really Romantic Flowers at Perch Hill Farm with the wonderful duo Sarah Raven and Juliet Glaves. This should be a fantastic day and it includes lunch made with fresh produce from the garden at Perch Hill.

I love the way Juliet's flowers complement the beautiful surroundings of the Designers Guild showroom. The Designers Guild is  bit of a mecca for me as I always find inspiration especially on using colour and of course I usually end up buying one or two things! Below I've included a mix of images of Juliet's gorgeous flowers and Designers Guild items including fabric and wallpaper.  I hope the colours inspire you as much as they do me.

Seeking style inspiration?

If you’re working on your own home decorating project and looking for some inspiration, please get in touch and see how I can help.