Monday 29 October 2012


While the build-up to the launch of Pippa Middleton's first book, Celebrate, attracted mixed publicity, many reviewers and commentators missed that the beautiful images were shot by leading lifestyle photographer David Loftus, who regularly shoots food and interiors for Vogue and other quality publications. Billed as a seasonal guide to simple and creative entertaining, Celebrate features easy-to-follow recipes and decorating ideas that will appeal to creative children and time-poor adults alike. Loftus' evocative shots ensure that every occasion is worth celebrating - even Halloween, which I have to admit I always try to stay clear of as I sadly lost my mother on that day many years ago, but find myself giving-in when young Trick or Treaters knock on the door...

Halloween Table
Photographed by David Loftus 2012

Wednesday 24 October 2012


I know, it's far too early to be thinking about Christmas! But I'm doing several Christmas Fairs shortly and I've spent the last few evenings making gift tags and Christmas cards, in preparation for the events. I have endless discussions with friends about if people still really send Christmas cards, but I have many friends who love to receive them and would be most affronted if I stopped sending cards or, heaven forbid, pinged off an eCard instead. So I'm going heavy on the gift tags, which are always popular, and being a bit more cautious with the cards this year, in terms of the numbers I'm producing. In any event, the kitchen table currently looks like a production line most of the time...

I sourced the 'Happy Christmas' stamp in the States last year and the font looks lovely hand-stamped onto simple luggage tags and plain white cards. I have a weakness for beautiful calligraphy and that's why this stamp fits the bill. Anything I stamp with it always sells well and I'm planning to embellish some stark white carrier bags with this one, too, to keep the theme going.


As luck would have it, a cabinet has just become free at The Old Flight House and I now have the perfect showcase for a good selection of costume jewellery to compliment the clothing and accessories I'm selling from my unit. So everything is under one roof, which is wonderful. I've divided the cabinet into four main stories - Diamante & Sparkle; Shimmering Pearls, Golden Delights and Finishing Touches, which all work well with the heirloom jewellery trend that is so strong for Autumn/Winter 2012. I'll move the items around and add more evening bags and perfume bottles as things sell and hopefully people will fall in love with the vintage pieces as much as I did...

Diamante & Sparkle

When you open the cabinet you are greeted with the heady aroma of Jean Patou's signature 1000 fragrance. There's hardly any of the rich floral perfume left in the collectable cut glass bottle from the 1970's, but it's almost as fresh and strong today as it was all those decades ago. The nose behind the fragrance is Jean Kerleo who created 1000 for Patou in 1972 and the chypre floral Sublime in 1992. Apparently 1000 took its name from the multitude of formulas that were tested before a final fragrance was agreed upon. The bottle would look lovely on a dressing table, displayed alongside show-stopping diamante jewellery and stretch lame evening gloves. 


If you adore Chanel, head to the Saatchi Gallery and catch The Little Black Jacket exhibition, which runs until 4th November 2012 (admission free). Featuring over 100 evocative black and white images shot by Chanel's creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, the show celebrates the universal appeal of the leading fashion house's iconic boucle jacket and the launch of the accompanying coffee-table book.

Model Saskia de Brauw wearing Chanel's Little Black Jacket,
shot by Karl Lagerfeld and styled by Carine Roitfeld
Copyright: Karl Lagerfeld/Chanel

The classic Chanel jacket is an integral part of the Parisian fashion house's DNA. It was originated and worn by Coco Chanel first as a revolutionary jersey cardigan jacket in the 1920's and later as a collarless boucle jacket following the fashion house's re-launch in 1953 - when the designer was 70 years old. Traditionally fashioned in fine black wool boucle edged in luxe braiding, the jacket has both evolved and stayed true to its original silhouette since Karl Lagerfeld became creative director almost thirty years ago. The innovative designer has sent the ubiquitous jacket down the runway in a host of contemporary fabrics such as denim, neoprene and hi-shine patent and also in a rainbow of colours, but it is the luxury black boucle version that remains the most coveted. As Coco Chanel said, 'Fashion passes, style remains', which is the reason why Chanel's timeless LBJ graces the wardrobes of so many discerning women (and men, if this portfolio of images is anything to go by!) and always sells well in ready-to-wear, couture and vintage collections.

Monday 8 October 2012


Visited Lord and Lady Heseltine's inspiring gardens and arboretum in Thenford, Northamptonshire, at the weekend and enjoyed a lovely walk around the grounds, followed by a welcome cup of tea in the great barn. With only four Open Days per year, this magnificent 70-acre estate is a true labour of love, featuring over 4,000 species of trees and shrubs sourced globally across the past three decades.

Glorious highlights from Thenford, including the Dame Elisabeth Frink raven

The Thenford estate would be a magical location for a fashion shoot; it's almost like stepping into Alice in Wonderland with its play on proportions, colours and textures, plus numerous secret doors and archways. Think of photographer Tim Walker's extravagant fairytale stories for British Vogue, and you'll get the picture.

Thenford House, built in 1765, plus details from the gardens

The Heseltine's have introduced a huge collection of statues, sculptures and quirky architectural features. Scattered amongst the many formal- and informal garden rooms, extensive arboretum, water features and lakes, plus the dedicated sculpture garden; the sculptures are both inspiring and, in some cases, thought provoking. Ranging from an imposing granite bust of Lenin, rescued from Latvia, to a black bronze-cast raven from Dame Elisabeth Frink's 1952 bird series, the sculptures are an integral part of the planting scheme. 

Monday 1 October 2012


I had a fun if somewhat blustery day at the Most Marvellous Vintage Market this weekend, where I set-up shop next to vintage-queen Cary Whitley of LoveVintage. Despite the wind threatening to blow away all our gorgeous hats and other lightweight treasures, it was a great day out, complete with live music ranging from the 1920's to modern day.

1930's evening bag plus vintage diamante & pearl earrings 

The theme of the Vintage Market was weddings - a subject close to my heart as I was previously Fashion & Beauty Editor of Brides and also edited Wedding Day. Vintage clothing and accessories have always played an important role in bridalwear - both directly or for inspiration, with many fashion-savvy brides opting to mix vintage and modern pieces for their wedding trousseau. Vintage haberdashery, diamante buckles and sparkling brooches are also useful components for customising and upstyling bridal accessories and gowns and for creating lovely embellishments for receptions and wedding stationery. Not surprisingly, sparkling diamante jewellery, shimmering strings of pearls, brocade satin evening bags and sleek leather clutches were all popular with brides-to-be and vintage lovers at the fair.