Publicity, fakes and a Christmas freebie

This week the blog has featured in a list of ‘blogs to read’ in Elle Decoration, Mexico. I was pretty surprised given that…well…it’s Elle Decoration Mexico….but pleased to be asked.

DECO FORMAFANTASMA, interiors

ELLEDECO-11-BLOGSNow to flowers.

I got these. Nice huh?

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Here’s a closer look.

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What you hopefully haven’t noticed straight away is that they are……….fake.

I’ve never been a fan or seen much point in fake flowers until I visited my friends house and couldn’t believe how she always had such a nice display of hydrangea, a bit like these. She revealed that they weren’t real and told me she’d bought them from a specialist shop in NYC and so when she was back there again recently she kindly popped along and bought me a set.

It hasn’t stopped me buying fresh flowers as well, but these are so cool. You could even have them on something normally too warm, like above a radiator in the winter.

Then lastly I’ve been contacted by the nice people at Country Living Magazine about plans for their Christmas Fair.

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It’s weird to be writing this as I sit with the sun streaming through the kitchen window but they’ve given me two free tickets which I will give to the first person who drops me a email claiming them. You can find out all the details here  www.countrylivingfair.com and they also have an early bird two for one offer if you book before 7th September. Either enter the code: CLEB15X into the discount code box when buying online or call: 0844 848 0150 and quote: CLEB15X. I’ve been before and I enjoyed it, so do go along if you fancy it and you are in the UK. 

UPDATE: thanks to everyone who contacted me about the tickets, these have now gone.

Hampton Court Flower Show

Last weekend I went to Hampton Court Flower Show with my parents. It’s not too far from here but feels like you are well and truly out of the city. It was glorious summer day with everyone in straw hats and rocking the linen trousers. And plenty of chances to eat ice cream or sip Pimms. Basically a classic English day out.

In theory it’s all about the show gardens. Here are a few…

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This one has Winnie the Pooh on the bridge and was designed to celebrate his 90th anniversary.

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However, it also has a large number of exhibition areas. There’s an extraordinary marquee filled with every rose on planet earth (at least it seems so).

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And another hall with a variety of growers, many of whom specialise in one plant type. It was in there that I spotted this gorgeous orchid from a French company which my parents kindly bought me.

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And there was pretty of other impressive displays as well. These guys were HUGE.

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And then are the things that inspired me a bit. I came away thinking I could use pots more, especially to isolate plants that suffer from slugs like hostas.

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And to try using decorative supports.

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Or converting unexpected items.

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I really liked these supports for beans, probably because I am struggling to grow my own this year. My dad felt pretty confident that these wouldn’t be too hard to make at home (but he quite good at that kind of thing).

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The main thing I noticed was the planting style. I’ve always thought the trick to an attractive garden was the group types of plants together in drifts and that’s kind of what I have been shooting for – although that may not be that obvious to the casual observer.

However, I noticed that plants were being placed in a more random mixed in style, certainly with limited planting but not with one type altogether in a group and the another.

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And I thought it was kind of lovely, and something I could give a go.

Spring has sprung

And there has been some sun.

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And in response the garden is starting to get it’s act together. I planted hundreds (and that’s not an exaggeration) of bulbs last year, most of which I imagine have been feasted on by the local wildlife. Those that have made it through seem to be stirring.

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And all inspired by this I invested in a bunch of flowers for the house too. It always feels extravagant to do this but I love them every time I look at them, which must make it worth the expense.

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Green fingers

The garden wasn’t the first priority but some plants did go in last year and some more have been added bit by bit. They have started to grow and spread and fill in the gaps. The result being that the garden is starting to look less like a grassy bowling alley and more like… well… a garden.

The lavender in particular has flourished and is just about to bloom.

I planted some herbs in an old sink.

And some sweet peas against a security grill which used to be fitted over one the windows.

The area at the back of the garden by the studio had been the most neglected. We just didn’t have enough plants to cover this area straight away. It’s also terrible soil as it is full of bricks and broken glass, the result of the bottom of the garden being used as an informal tip for many decades.

However a large central bed has now gone in, although it still looks rather barren.

Just a few of the bricks you have to dig out every time you put a plant in.

The side beds at the back have vegetables in them. Onions, beans, parsnips and some very vigorous looking potatoes.

Again rubble had to be removed.

Potatoes looking healthy on the right hand side of shot.

There’s also now an enormous compost heap next to the studio with a neat little fence made from off-cuts.

I think the studio is looking really pretty now as plants start to grow up around it. I love working out here.

Lastly something that is more a work in progress. There’s a patch of grey concrete halfway down the lawn which is probably the base from an old shed or greenhouse. Removing it would be a be a bigger job than you might think.

The solution has been to paint it white and surround it with some more lavender. The plants need time to grow and the white needs to wear a little plus that shovel needs to find a new home, but overall I think it’s an improvement.

There are quite a few more plants about to come into bloom and I am still slowly adding more so hopefully by the end of the summer it should be starting to look quite complete.

Channeling my inner little old lady

This project has given Klaus much amusement as it’s so twee and apparently doesn’t fit with my image but I have been trying out a bit of embroidery for the first time. I bought some plain coasters from Zara in the sale and just started out.

To make it easier you can mark on the pattern or just doodle onto the material with a fabric pencil. I did have a starter book so I could work out some different stitches, but all the ones I have used are really easy.

I’ve done  three and have one to finish. Since they are a bit slapdash they take no time at all, just an evening in front of the TV.

And here they are doing their thing with more flowers but this time the real thing.

In the back here you can see a new candle stick holder. It’s quite a clever one I bought in Stockholm which has the matches stored inside.

Once the matches are slotted in you can still strike a match on the side of the box. I think it’s pretty neat. A kind of matches version of those mugs you can get with a slot to put your biscuit in.

There’s no doubt these coasters are pretty cheesy but I’ve quite enjoyed working on them and it’s a very easy way to add a bit of interest to a cheap / bland piece of fabric.

I have an idea for a set of napkins and placemats with the faces of our most recent Prime Ministers on them, one on each. I haven’t started yet but I have collected some images so we’ll see if it works out.