I know it may be a bit controversial but I LOVE rainy summer days! Yesterday we packed our rain jackets, took the car and drove to Holkham to walk along the deserted beach in the drizzle. Our favourite Norfolk walk is most definitely along this stunning beach. Strolling along the sand dunes to the colourful beachhuts of Wells beach is nothing short of magical. We usually walk through the enchanted pinewoods on our way back and finish with a drink at the Victoria Pub. A must-visit beach if you find yourself along the stunning North Norfolk coat and great for doggies too!
A very hot day a couple of weeks ago I photographed Becca & Bobby's wedding in East London. A lovely day filled with lots of love and laughter- here are some of my favourite moments.
Yesterday morning I woke up early and cycled to Hackney Wick in the sunshine through Victoria Park. I met up with Angela, a very good friend of mine and also the founder of Botany, a special shop on Chatsworth Road offering a hand-picked selection of beautiful plants, homewares and natural beauty products. Emily who also works at Botany joined us, as well as a bunch of other flower lovers for a walk to look at the various wonderful wild flowers Hackney Wick and the surrounding area has to offer.
Strolling along the canal to the shop we encountered everything from wild oregano, salvia, poppies and blackberries. Once at the shop, Emily had gathered the most gorgeous flowers from the flower market for our very own attempt at bouquet making, inspired by our wild flower walk.
*Botany offers a variety of plant and flower-related workshops- you can book them here.
I never realised just how incredibly easy it is to make shortbread, which is in fact quite dangerous as this will now possibly become a cupboard staple. I love the addition of the lavender, fresh mint and lemon here- it makes for the perfect summer biscuit.
- 350g softened butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 4 tablespoons icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lavender
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 325g plain flour
- 65g cornflour
Cream together the butter, caster sugar and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the lavender, mint and lemon zest. Combine the flour, cornflour; mix into the butter and sugar mixture. Divide dough into two balls, wrap in clingfilm and flatten to about 2.5cm thick. Refrigerate until firm, about an hour or so.
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 6mm in thickness. Cut into shapes with scone or biscuit cutters. For some reason the dough kept on sticking to the rolling pin so I just ended up making small balls in my hand flattening them out, piercing them with a fork in the end.
Bake for 18- 20 minutes just until biscuits begin to brown at the edges. Cool for a few minutes on the baking trays then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with sugar if you fancy.
*I found this recipe on all recipes.co.uk and adapted it slightly
The perfect summer drink, rhubarb cordial tastes amazing mixed with cold water and icecubes, with sparkling wine or as a midsummer cocktail. So simple to make and a perfect present to give away, I tap mine into smaller bottles complete with handmade labels. All you need is plenty of rhubarb, sugar, lemon and water and you’re ready to go. And it's such a pretty colour!
This recipe makes about three litres of finished cordial (can easily be halved if you don’t have a kilo of rhubarb)
· 1 kg rhubarb washed and chopped into smallish pieces
· 1,5 litre water
· 400 grams of sugar
· The juice from one lemon
Simmer the rhubarb pieces with the water for 15 min, don’t stir. Drain and throw away the rhubarb (I just used a normal sieve).
Pour back the rhubarb juice in the pan and add the sugar and lemon juice. Heat it to boiling point, making sure the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from the heat, let cool and pour into clean bottles.
You can freeze the cordial in plastic containers for extra longevity. As this rhubarb cordial is a bit more subtle in taste than other cordials, use a bit more than normal when mixing with water but this is of course just a question of taste. Enjoy!
Escaping the sweltering heat of London (35 degrees!), we stayed in Norfolk instead of going back to Hackney as planned this week. The garden needs attention (see jungle above) as well as other bits and pieces that needs sorting in the cottage, we are in fact keen to start renting it out as soon as possible. We went to the garden centre, ate all of our meals outside, I picked elderflower and rhubarb and made lots of cordial and Otto and I have been going for late evening walks just as the sun sets, inhaling the heady scents of honeysuckle, rose and lavender.
I first came across Alessandra Genualdo's beautiful work on Instagram and instantly feel in love. Her intricate playful paintings of ladies in amazing outfits, dogs and plants always make me smile and I was so happy to find out that Alessandra lives very close to me and that we even walk our dogs in the same park.
This week I went to visit Alessandra and Kira, her beautiful English Setter, in Ale's light-filled studion in Hackney Wick and chatted about dogs (mainly!), the importance of reading and our creative processes. Originally from Puglia, Southern Italy, Alessandra did a MA i illustration at Camberwell College of Art and now works as a freelance illustrator and tutor. Working with gouache painting and coloured pencil on paper she takes inspiration from everything from botanical illustration to fashion collections (recent collaborations include work with Erdem & Gucci). The female figure plays a predominate part in Ale's illustrations and the ladies and girls that she paints manage to be mysterious, innocent, fashionable and melancholic- all at the same time. For more inspiring work check out Alessandra's website, if you ask nicely she might even take on a private commission.
Last week I had the pleasure to do a shoot with lovely Sarah, the founder, head and creative director of SZ Blockprints. I always love a good colourful pattern and these beautiful block printed pieces are all handprinted using traditional methods in Jaipur, India. SZ Blockprints offers a lovely selection of both homewares and gorgeous clothing (can I have all the kaftans please?) and the baby blankets are so cute. Otto came to the shoot and agrees that they can be used for doggies too! Also look out for Sarah's collaboration with US fashion giant J.Crew to be released this month.
You can easily spend hours getting lost in the cobbled alleyways of Lewes and getting fit by walking up and down its' many hilly streets. Lewes also has an incredibly high number of independent shops and it is such a pleasure seeing this small community thrive with creativity and enthusiasm.
With a love for organic skincare, A.S Apothecary is a small batch distillery making natural scents, creams, aromatic waters and balms from flowers, bark, leaves, roots and blossom. They distil flowers and plants in small batches handpicked in Sussex, Cyprus and Scotland. The calming flagship store houses all of their beautifully packaged products as well as a serene treatment room offering signature facials.
On my way from A.S Apothecary I encountered all kinds of beautiful greenery and quaint Lewes scenes.
Located on the High Street and well worth a visit is well-curated and beautifully pared back Freight Store. With a selection of household items, interiors and a small selection of clothing, Freight is run by mother-and-daughter team Adele and Helen who work with small scale manufacturers and craftsmen thought out the UK.
After several coffees at Flint Owl (see previous post) I walked down the the hill to the Needle Makers, an enchanting old factory building who now houses a selection of independent shops as well as a café. Here I met with Victoria who runs and owns the lovely store From Victoria.
In this beautiful light-filled space, ceramists Victoria Turner offers a selection of gorgeous plants, pots, homeware and her own intricate ceramics. From Victoria also houses pieces from artisans around the world with a focus on quality craftsmanship.
I spent the last two days in Lewes in East Sussex visting my dear friends Victoria and Dennis. Only an hour and a bits' train ride from London, Lewes is a beautiful little town dotted with great antique and independent shops, cute little alleyways, historic architecture, pastel-coloured houses, all surrounded by green rolling hills. Walking around exploring is always one of my favourite things and here are some of the highlights of my trip (in two posts as I took far too many pictures).
You can easily spend most of a day walking up and down the hills of Lewes and exploring all the great antique shops, there are lots! However, there are also plenty of independent shops that are well worth a visit. Here are some of my favourite spots.
Closet & Botts
Housed in an former pharmacy, Closet & Botts is run by friends Harriet and Chloe and offers a charming mix of flea market finds, clothing and homeware. An inspiring setting, the shop looks out on it's very own walled garden and is beautifully and thoughtfully curated.
Lewes is full of Victorian houses with very pretty gardens and the most beautiful spring flowers, the May air heavy with the scent of wisteria and lilacs.
As I was hopping in and out of shops trying to avoid the rain, I returned to the Flint Owl several times for breakfast, coffee and lunch. A real treat!
Flint Owl Bakery
A bakery and calming café complete with a beautiful garden, the Flint Owl offers delicious fresh bread, pastries, cakes, salads and of course tasty coffee too. Definitely my most favourite Lewes food spot, I was very tempted to try all of its impressive bread selection as well as gorgeous cakes.
We've had the Norfolk cottage for just under a year now and we are still making progress with it. Every weekend we are up there's a new project to undertake, however the sense of freedom and the quiet up here is for me the ultimate luxury. Below is a little film about the cottage, creativity and the importance of windows and natural light in collaboration with #aeg_uk
A while ago I met up with the lovely people from AEG in our Norfolk country cottage. We talked about how windows and natural light impacts mood and creativity as I showed them around our little house. Now you can win the below limited-edition print of my country house view and an AEG WX7 window cleaner. To compete: Take a picture of a windowless wall in your home and tell why you’d like to give it more life. Don’t forget to tag the post with #myviewbyAEG. Three lucky winners will be chosen on the 15th of May and will be contacted through a DM. Good Luck! #aeg_uk
I went to visit Ren in her Hackney studio yesterday, a short walk from my flat in fact. It's always such a privilege to see how other creatives work and Ren's beautiful textiles caught my eye sometime back and I was curious to find out more about her creative process. Working with linen, Ren block prints functional and contemporary pieces for the home as well as a line of minimalist clothing. Inspired by abstract art, unusual object and architecture Ren carefully sources her linen from a flax mill in Lithuania when her grandmother worked for nearly 40 years. As we chatted about printing, Southern Italy and the wonders of Naples, our dogs Otis & Otto were happily playing on the floor- a morning very well spent.
We've had the most magical time in Puglia, I can highly recommend going. Beautiful architecture, serene nature, lovely people, great weather and of course amazing food! We flew in to Bari and spent lovely days in a villa we rented not far from Arbelobello. Other highlights included going to the food market in Locorotondo, exploring the local ceramics in Grottaglie and relaxing at the beautiful Masseria Torre Coccaro. Wandering the deserted streets of Unesco World Heritage site Matera was pretty special too. Can't wait to return to this magical part of the world.
I've spent most of this week working on a project in South West London, styling the beautiful home of South African interior designer Taryn Driemeyer. Taryn lives here with her partner Paul and their adorable cockapoo Holly - it was lovely to get the opportunity to spend some time in this peaceful part of town. Taryn has done such a great job with this house, the muted colour schemes and contemporary designs work perfectly together.
*All flower arrangments by me, beautiful antique rug courtesy of @broomhill_antique_rugs
I'm a firm believer in having plants and flowers at home, not only because it makes your house more beautiful but mainly because it makes your soul happier. I try to always have at least a bunch of something green in our livingroom, even if it's just a branch from our Norfolk garden. There are plenty of great flower shops in London, one of the most beautiful I've come across is the Urban Flower Company in Crouch End which I visited last week. Their creative and slightly wild approach to flower arranging is refreshing, fun and results is some truly innovate and super gorgeous bouquets. Well worth a visit, you can find the Urban Flower Company at 47 Park Road, N8 8TE
We spent a four nights in Malta and went for a dreamy afternoon walk in the medieval former capital Mdina, also known as the silent city. An ancient walled town, the stunning architecture and quite narrow streets was nothing short of a magical experience. Travelling anywhere in the off-peak season is key for me, and something I can highly recommend to anyone who (like me) suffers from crowd aversion and tacky tourist merchandise phobia. There's nothing quite like an deserted street and the sound of silence to relax your mind and soothe even the most stressed-out city dweller.
Earlier this week I had the pleasure to visit talented maker Corrie Williamson in her Lower Clapton home in East London. I first met Corrie when I worked at Botany and she later bought one of my eduards accessories bags but it was only quite recently I was introduced to her beautiful work.
Working with wood, industrial materials (corian and perspex) as well as precious metals, Corrie makes both bold statement jewellery as well as beautiful hanging mobiles. Influenced by Bauhaus aesthetics, her work features geometric patterns and bold minimalist shapes- I'm completely smitten. I'm in fact now the proud owner of the mobile which is hanging above the piano in the pictures and can't wait to hang it in our Norfolk cottage.
Spring is (kind of) in the air and a sure sign is the arrival of all the newborn lambs in the farm close to our Norfolk cottage. Yesterday was lambing day and we took the chance to go and visit these adorable creatures and admire them up close. Also, there's something truly magical about the light in old barns- the way it seeps through all the cracks and gaps of the old ceilings and walls. Being surrounded by cute baby animals and biblical light, I was truly in my element!
Spending the weekend in the cottage in Norfolk is always such a pleasure, even though it was a very grey, wet and cold one. We are finally getting a bit more furniture in the livingroom, slowly making it into the cosy nest we want it to be. Today we went for a long walk with Otto who got covered in mud but seemed very happy nevertheless. We met some lovely horses on our way, but didn't spot any humans- I think most people decided to stay in today, far away from the wind and damp.
After an hour and a half in the mud we decided to turn back, light lots of candles, make coffee and give the puppy and much-needed bath.