The pen is mightier. Always.

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A couple of years ago, I had the immense privilege of meeting a designer who was starting a new adventure of building her own stationery brand. Now, her brand is stocked all over the country, including Liberty of London. What an achievement! Imagine my delight, then, when that designer, Rebecca Cahill, owner of Betty Etiquette, got in touch with an invitation to one of her calligraphy classes.

Modern calligraphy has seen a burgeoning following, after the style found its way across the Atlantic and onto our home shores. Which is great, given how pretty it is and easy to grasp the basics! Rebecca’s class was held at Second Home, 68 Hanbury Street, a light and airy creative co-working space. It was so much fun reconnecting with Rebecca (who is expecting a little one!) and meeting the other apprentice calligraphers. Rebecca’s style of calligraphy is a little different to the joined-up writing, flowy styles you might have seen on Instagram – it’s the Betty Etiquette house-style, which feels more contemporary and unique to the brand. I really enjoyed how interactive the session was, and how her class taught the basics of classic pointed-pen modern calligraphy, which we were then encouraged to personalise to our own taste and natural handwriting.

If you are still stuck for a Christmas gift idea, pop on by the Betty Etiquette website and get in touch for a workshop voucher or some of her fun and colourful stationery.

 

Images: Courage & Dash

*This is not a sponsored post or an ad; whilst I was invited to the class at no charge, all views and opinions expressed are my own.*

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Calligraphy and Cake in Cambridge

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I’ve been daydreaming all week about swapping my Excel spreadsheets for life as a photographer, styling and shooting events and gorgeous products. Not sure where this urge has suddenly come from, but I suspect my time at NOVI with Immie Owen at Quill’s latest modern calligraphy class might have something to do with it.

For those of you who don’t know Immie, she’s a fab self-taught calligrapher who teaches regular classes all over the country. She was so fun+funny and super welcoming! I had actually already done a workshop in August and was only popping by her Cambridge class on Saturday to take photos for the blog (too focused on learning to write my name during my session…) but Immie encouraged me to stay and practise if I wanted. What better way than to spend my morning with a bunch of friendly people in a beautiful venue being fed pain au chocolat whilst learning a new skill?

Meanwhile, the husband spent his two hours supervising an administrative law tutorial not too far away (exciting, I know…), before we met up and spent the rest of our afternoon wandering around the beautiful city. Maybe I will have a city guide here at some point!

Pop over to Quill London or Immie Owen’s websites for more information and do let me know if you go for a workshop.
Images: Courage & Dash

Chelsea Flower Show Series: Scarlet & Violet at Anthropologie King’s Road

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When we found out that Scarlet & Violet (S&V) was going to be at Anthropologie (for which our love will require a whole other post, some other time…) on the King’s Road, our eyes brightened and our hearts leapt with joy. It just sounded the most sensible idea: Anthropologie with all it’s beautifully curated wares surrounded by S&V’s country blooms? Yes, please!

In tribute to the Chelsea Flower Show, Anthropologie has teamed up with the much-loved S&V to turn its King’s Road gallery into a traditional florist. The store will be filled with creations specially made by Victoria Brotherson, S&V founder and owner.

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S&V started life in Chamberlayne Road (also known as London’s Hippest Street), back in 2006. Victoria’s plan was to run a small workshop, manageable by one person. She had planned to give herself the chance to step back from the pressures of work. Funnily enough, life had its own plans for Vic, and 10 years later, the business has 7 full time florists, a driver and Vic’s sister, Emma, otherwise known as the office mastermind.

S&V is no stranger to fame – the company has enjoyed the enviable task of being wedding florist to Kate Moss and Lily Allen, among other celebrities. You can see why. Vic’s style artfully combines the elegance and charm of an English country garden. She also draws inspiration from the vintage aesthetic, and bases her signature designs on the dreamy combination of both. Seasonal foliage and blooms such as peonies (everyone’s summer favourite!), roses and lavender perfectly match antique pitchers, planters and retro-charity shop finds that she readily incorporates into her work. Her designs are beautiful, romantic and inventive, from traditional creations to ones with eclectic dashes of colour.

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The Anthropologie store has been transformed into a country flower market from now until 31st May, which we think is absolutely delightful. “We were inspired by the collecting, storing, and over-saturation of texture, colour and shape,” Vic said. “We have set it up in a very similar way to Kensal Rise as it works well.”

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“Look out for scent, layering of tone and texture and amazing peonies!!” she exclaims. Fitting in with the flower market theme, we asked which ones Vic would recommend. “I havent travelled extensively, will do in retirement,” she confesses. “We swear by  New Covent Garden Market.” We couldn’t agree more.

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Join Scarlet & Violet tomorrow, Wednesday, 21st May, where Vic will be doing a talk and workshop at Anthropologie, Kings Road. You can get tips on choosing flowers, and learn how to group them. You can also learn how to make hand-tied posies within a modest budget, and how to use different containers as vases, from a marmalade pot to a pickling jar. See you there!

The Event

Scarlet & Violet pops up at Anthropologie, Kings road from May 17th – May 31st

Workshop: Wednesday 21st May, 6-8 p.m.

At: Anthropologie, 131-141 King’s Road, London, SW3 4PW

Cost: £40

For more information or to RSVP, contact: community@anthropologie.eu

Images courtesy of Anthropologie EU and Scarlet & Violet

Chelsea Flower Show Series: The Cut Flower Project at West Elm London

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Photos by Emily Quinton

I love flowers. I don’t know many people that don’t, but I REALLY love them. As in, they make my insides turn to treacle, make my heart trill like a canary, kind of thing. Something about the colours and the shapes of cut flowers in whatever container just beams intrinsic pretty. And we love pretty!

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Which is why this week, I am in the Best Mood Ever – not just because the sun is out, but because it’s the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the harbinger of Summer! Plenty of events and beautiful blooms everywhere. Tomorrow, West Elm London joins in the festivities by turning their store into a floral delight with help of The Cut Flower Project. What a great idea! We kick off the Flower Show feature with the lovely Saima Ishaq of The Cut Flower Project and her journey through floristry.

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The Cut Flower Project is based in South London, and was founded by the energetic and creative Saima. After years of working in the media industry, Saima discovered that her passions lay with floral arrangements, and left to learn the art of floristry.

“I practised and practised,” Saima recalls, “I enrolled on a college course, attended many flower workshops, watched online tutorials.” She documented the hours of hard work and her progress on Instagram.

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The effort clearly paid off, because The Cut Flower Project is growing (like a weed!). “Friends and family began asking me to do their wedding flowers, and the Southwark Arts Forum invited me to host a workshop at the Bermondsey Street Festival.” The Cut Flower Project also recently hosted workshops for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day at Boxpark, Shoreditch.

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Top photo courtesy of Emily Quinton; bottom two images by Saima Ishaq (The Cut Flower Project)

The success is clearly spurring Saima on to greater things. “There’s so much I want to learn,” Saima enthuses. Besides being booked up for various weddings this summer, The Cut Flower Project is busy preparing for their first pop-up store at West Elm London. Inspired by the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014, West Elm have asked Saima to take over their London store with her flowers,  from 20th to 24th May – a challenge which she is grasping with both hands.

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The Event 

The Cut Flower Project will be at West Elm all day from 20th to 24th May, selling pre-arranged bouquets. There will be a focus area by the front of the store, with Saima’s beautiful creations dotted around the rest of the store
(sigh, sounds great already!).

What’s even better, on Saturday, 24th May, between 12pm and 5pm, The Cut Flower Project will be hosting a flower workshop. You can either buy a vase/pot/vessel from the store and create an arrangement or create an arrangement in a repurposed food tin. How fun does that sound? SO FUN. We can’t wait!

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West Elm London is at 209 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7PN, UK 

Details of workshop, 24th May

Tickets are £25 (covers flowers, tools, tins, etc.)

Ticket-holders can drop-in anytime between 12pm and 5pm

Purchase tickets from: https://thecutflowerproject-westelm-flowerworkshop-may2014.eventbrite.co.uk/

Visit the Facebook event page: ‪bit.ly/cutflrprjct

Hashtags: #WEflowershop #westelmevents #TCFPflowershop

All photos by Emily Quinton, courtesy of West Elm London and The Cut Flower Project