Perfect for the weekend – Friday Flowers

On Wednesday I attended a press launch of online fashion and interiors retailer Isme. At their launch they had this cute ‘flower stall’ run by a freelance Florist named Gemma Hickman of FlutterBy Flowers. Just look at this pretty little bouquet Gemma made for me. I adore the combination of pale greens and musky pinks coming alive with a bright colour injection of shocking pink Sweet Williams. I also like all the foliage Gemma used, especially the Panicum Fountain Grass, giving it a soft misty look. Now I have my flowers, perfect and ready for the weekend.

Bouquet created by Flutterby Flowers by Gemma Hickman

Bouquet created by FlutterBy Flowers by Gemma Hickman

I was so excited to bring my bouquet home as I already knew exactly in which vase I would arrange them.

Bouquet in my Pewter urn on my dresser

Bouquet in my Pewter urn on my dresser

Flowers Close-up

Flowers Close-up

I fell in love with the Astrantia (major rosita) which I have never come across before and the pale pink of the Astilbe (Europa) was also new to me.

Astilbe (Europa) Astrantia (major rosita) Roses (upper secret antique pink) Sweet Williams (English sweet Williams)

Astilbe (Europa)
Astrantia (major rosita)
Roses (upper secret antique pink)
Sweet Williams (English sweet Williams)

 

Main flower shots styled and photographed by Theoda Solms Iles.

Collage shot of four flower types, by Gemma Hickman of FlutterBy Flowers

Outdoor Living, Create a Room Outside

Contemporary, Country or Tropical, regardless what your garden trend of choice is this summer, the one thing that they all have in common, is to create a fabulous living area outside. The kind of space that can almost be seen as a second living room. Ideal and easily done if you have doors opening up into the garden or onto the patio. Just add great outdoor lounge furniture and dress them up in the latest colours. But if you have a balcony or small living area this can also be achieved by choosing the right small pieces to suit your space. And even if you have no garden at all, pack a picnic as often as the weather allows and create your own special outdoor room with the added bonus of a different location every time.

Here are a few pretty pictures to inspire you with great pieces of furniture that allows you to buy into the summer dream.

A ROOM OUTSIDE. Create your own outdoor living room with stylish wooden furniture in a contemporary washed colour, complete with upholstered cushions. Dahlia armchair, £349, two seater sofa, £599, all  Marks and Spencer.

Dahlia range, Marks and Spencer

Dahlia range, Marks and Spencer

 

CASUAL DINING. Mix and match your chairs, dinnerware, glasses and accessories for an informal and relaxed feel. House Outdoor Chair, £99, Vernet Reclaimed teak 8 Seater Table, £1500, Ermu Arc En Ciel Outdoor Chairs, £85, all John Lewis.

House Outdoor Chair £99 Vernet Reclaimed teak 8 Seater Table £1500 Ermu Arc En Ciel Outdoor Chairs £85

House Chairs, Vernet Reclaimed Teak Table, all John Lewis

 

CALM AND ROMANTIC. Sun loungers under apple trees, need I say more? Corner off a forgotten corner in your garden with a mosquito net to create a private corner suitable for rest and relaxation. Applaro sun lounger, £95, Hallo sun lounger pad, £35, Lappon net, £30, all Ikea. 

Applaro sun loungers, Ikea

Applaro sun loungers, Ikea

 

BALCONY BLISS. Make the most of small spaces by choosing the right pieces to suit. This cute bistro table and chair set is ideal, perfect for morning croissants and evening cocktails. Bistro set, £60, Wilko.

Bistro set, Wilko

Bistro set, Wilko

 

DINE IN STYLE. If melamine and acrylic dinnerware is not your thing, then go full out and dress your table with a pretty tablecloth, napkins, stemware and crockery, all in the latest blues and greens. Two-colour flute,  £2.99, Tiles tableware from £7.99, Table cloth from £7.99, all Zara Home.

Dressed table, Zara Home

Dressed table, Zara Home

 

SURPRISE YOURSELF. Have fun with an unusual piece like this swing-seat. It’s impossible to resist and will create a great focal point in an otherwise dull corner or the garden. This will soon become your new hideaway. Brown hanging chair, £340, Debenhams.

Hanging chair, Debenhams

Hanging chair, Debenhams

 

STYLISH OUTDOOR LIVING. These weatherproof woven faux rattan pieces have been around a little while now, but it is clear to see why they are so desirable. With very little effort they create an instant outdoor room with a wow-factor to match. Provence set, £549, Wilko.

Provence lounge set, Wilko

Provence lounge set, Wilko

 

SET THE SCENE. We all aspire to have plenty picnics, go on, its much earlier than you think. All you need is a fully stocked hamper, picnic blanket, possibly a cushion and a great scenic spot you can change every week. Hamper, £48.50, Bottle holder, £15, all Marks and Spencer.

Outdooor accessories, Marks and Spencer

Outdooor accessories, Marks and Spencer

 

BLOW THE BUDGET. The ultimate in outdoor living has to be a custom build room perfect for entertaining. Make sure to install the right lighting to create a fabulous moody atmosphere in the evenings. Wall spotlights and free standing lanterns, all John Cullen Lighting.

Lighting, John Cullen Lighting.  Garden design, Randle Siddeley

Lighting, John Cullen Lighting.
Garden design, Randle Siddeley

 

 

All images supplied by companies mentioned and credited.

Blooming Marvellous – Friday Flowers

As the week is drawing to a close and so is The Chelsea Flower Show, (arguably the most prestigious horticultural show in the world), it would be scandalous not to show you the marvellous flowers that was out on display in the Grand Pavillion. Feast your eyes on these beauties,  I had a tough job editing my photos, not to bore or overload you in the process. Here are some of the thousands of blooms out on display.

Peonies

Peonies

Clematis

Clematis

Daffodils

Daffodils

Delphiniums

Delphiniums

Hyacinths

Hyacinths

Irises

Irises

Lupins

Lupins

I can safely report, there is not a single blemish on any petals or leaves, truly remarkable. I Hope this has provided inspiration for us all to grow more lovely cut flowers to adorn our gardens and living spaces. In my eyes flowers are natures little pick-me-up tonics for us all to enjoy.

Photos by Theoda Solms Iles

The Chelsea Flower Show, it’s in the detail.

The Chelsea Flower Show is held within the garden grounds of the Royal Hospital and when you arrive the main gardens and grand pavilions are obvious and clear to see. There are so many gardens, shopping stalls and displays to see over a vast area, that it is very easy to miss the Artisan gardens. I always keep them for last as I find them absolutely mesmerising, almost like I have stepped into a magical woodland and came across these small beauties, hidden between the wood and moss. These gardens are small and finely detailed and each telling a great story.

Here are a few of my favourite Artisan gardens:

The Topiarist garden at West Green House, designer Marylyn Abbott

The Topiarist garden at West Green House, designer Marylyn Abbott

Arita designer, Shuko Noda

Arita, designer Shuko Noda

Togenkyo A Paradise on Earth designer, Kazuyuki Ishihara

Togenkyo A Paradise on Earth, designer Kazuyuki Ishihara

Tour de Yorkshire designer Alistair W Baldwin

Tour de Yorkshire, designer Alistair W Baldwin

Inside the Grand Pavillion your senses get overloaded with masses of colourful blooms at their best. The scent of fresh flowers and soil gets mixed with heady floral scents as you pass various stands like hyacinths, strawberries or roses. These display stands showcase the best of the best, here, you will not find anything less than perfect. I am again amazed at how wonderful the planting is, how great the installations of the flowers are and of course I just love looking at the flower groupings together, they take my breath away.
Here are a few pictures to show:

Multiclolour flowers

Multiclolour flowers

Roses

Roses

Innovative Flower Use by Royal lemington Spa

Innovative Flower Use by Royal Lemington Spa

For my South African friends, here is the Kirstenbosch display. It has just been announced that they won a Silver-Gilt Flora medal. Note the mosaic effect was made from the crown of Protea stems, used  to form the picture of Madiba’s face.  The display showed 4 different areas and it was beautifully done, very stylish indeed and drew plenty admirers.

Kirstenbosch Madiba Mosaic

Kirstenbosch Madiba Mosaic

Kirstenbosch display

Kirstenbosch display

Even if you can’t get to the Chelsea Flower Show but are still in London, it is worth going to Kings Road and soak up the atmosphere. You will see ladies dressing in floral prints, trendy men wearing pastel Bermuda shorts, the street cafe’s are overflowing and the buzz of the show takes over and is totally contagious. As Kings Road is also known for its excellent retail, the shops don’t hold back either but grab this opportunity to get in the spirit of the flower show.  They create the most fabulous flower displays outside the storefronts with real flowers, they are amazing to see, so creative and inspiring.

Here are a few of my favourites:

LK Bennett, paint tubes pouring out flowers

LK Bennett, paint tubes pouring out flowers

J Crew did a vertical planting wall encouraging happy bees

J Crew did a vertical planting wall encouraging happy bees

Links of London made a bow of peonies

Links of London made a bow of peonies

Rag & Bone made a rainbow arch

Rag & Bone made a rainbow arch

Tiffany doing Roman numerals

Tiffany & Co doing Roman numerals

All photos by Theoda Solms Iles

Top Show Gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show ’14

The Chelsea Flower Show always rates top of any garden or flower lovers agenda and today I was lucky enough to be there on press day. Attending is prestigious enough, but being able to attend on press day is extra exciting as you get to wander around in a not-nearly-as-full show as it would be on the following public days. You also get to rub shoulders and get up really close to the designers and some celebrities.
This year did not disappoint, the gardens was spectacular. Planting seems to be quite loose and natural looking, using a lot of greens and foliage to create interesting areas. Key colours still seem to be blues and purple (a trend for a few years now). Nearly all the gardens had clear modern layouts with straight and angular pathways or divisions, opposed to winding country-style ones. Looking at these temporary gardens, it is easy to forget that they are not permanent structures, but temporary works of art, here only for one week.
Here are a few of the large Show Gardens that caught my eye:

The M&G garden designed by Clive West

The M&G garden designed by Clive West

The M&G garden designed by Clive West - detail

The M&G garden designed by Clive West – detail

The BrandAlley Renaissance Garden designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes

The BrandAlley Renaissance Garden designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes

The BrandAlley Renaissance Garden designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes, detail

The BrandAlley Renaissance Garden designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes, detail

The Telegraph Garden designed by del Buono Gazerwits

The Telegraph Garden designed by del Buono Gazerwits

The Telegraph Garden designed by del Buono Gazerwits, detail

The Telegraph Garden designed by del Buono Gazerwits, detail

Laurent-Perrier garden designed by Luciano Giubbilei

Laurent-Perrier garden designed by Luciano Giubbilei

Laurent-Perrier garden designed by Luciano Giubbilei, detail

Laurent-Perrier garden designed by Luciano Giubbilei, detail

Homebase garden designed by Adam Frost

Homebase garden designed by Adam Frost

Homebase garden designed by Adam Frost, detail

Homebase garden designed by Adam Frost, detail

Now, for a case of serious celebrity spotting, here are just a few well-know faces I have passed in the course of today.

Twiggy, model and icon

Twiggy, model and icon

Jerry Hall, model

Jerry Hall, model

Alan Titchmarsh, MBE, gardener, presenter, author

Alan Titchmarsh, MBE, gardener, presenter, author

Rowan Atkinson, actor

Rowan Atkinson, CBE, actor, screenwriter

Jennifer Saunders, actress, screenwriter

Jennifer Saunders, actress, screenwriter

Rob Brydon, actor, presenter

Rob Brydon, actor, presenter

Ben Fogle, presenter, adventurer, author

Ben Fogle, presenter, adventurer, author

Cerys Matthews, singer, presenter, author

Cerys Matthews, singer, presenter, author

All photos by Theoda Solms Iles

View and opinions are my own.

Cow Parsley & Lilac – Friday Flowers

Get out outside quickly, the month of May is the time of year that I find England to be at her most beautiful. The trees are filling up with fresh lime-green leaves, the cow parsley is standing waist-high, meadows are overflowing with wild flowers and you can practically hear the grass growing. So having no flowers in your home, really, is no excuse. This weekend I’ll be having friends around and after a busy week there was not much time left for faffing about with pretty displays of floral arrangements, so I went bold and basic. Just fill large containers with a few stems of cows parsley and other vessels or jugs with lilac, ta-dah, flowers done.

Cow Parsley & White Lilac

Cow Parsley & White Lilac

Photos and Styling by Theoda Solms Iles

Plum & Ashby, Stylish With Quirky Additions

I came across this lovely new homeware line about a year ago with the launch and have followed them enthusiastically ever since. Plum and Ashby are a lifestyle brand with a traditional general store look about them. They divide their specialist homeware lines up in areas of: Spun & Woven, Leather Goods, 4-Legged Friends and Apothecary. Their style can be described as elegant modern-country and with a strong heritage influence. They also pride themselves on the fact that a lot of their products are British made by local craftsman and suppliers.

Now, it’s no surprise that I am a huge dog-lover, so naturally this range appealed to me hugely. But even it you’re not, I’m sure you will be won over by the simple elegance of their product design and presentation, and of course be charmed by Bertie, the un-official mascot and pet to the brand.

Pots, Deckchair & Tote bag

Pots, Deckchair & Tote bag

Bertie On Wheels Cushion

Bertie On Wheels Cushion

All The Breeds Apron

All The Breeds Apron

Mugs

Mugs

Bertie Pull-along

Bertie Pull-along

Wash and make-up bags, Body wash, Candle, Soap

Wash and make-up bags, Body wash, Candle, Soap

More about Bertie.
He is a one-year old Wire-haired Fox Terrier, owned by Vicky White (Founder). He is known to: “loves having his tummy rubbed, chasing leaves in the stream at home, barking at pesky London pigeons and taking afternoon naps.”

Deckchair, £79, Flowerpot, £45, Tote-bag, £39

Bertie on wheels cushion, £25

All The Breeds Apron, £25

Mugs, £9.50, each

Bertie on wheels pull-along, £59

Wash bag, £20, Make-up bag, £15, Soap, £6.50, Body wash, £19,

Pepsi investigating the presence of Bertie

Pepsi and Bertie

My Pepsi-dog investigating the presence of my Bertie-cushion, which I’ve had for about six months now, but Pepsi still finds him to be an interesting little friend.

Main product Photos supplied by Plum & Ashby

Pepsi & Bertie-cushion Photos by Theoda Solms Iles

A Colourful Lineup – Friday Flowers

This week was a rather busy week and I felt like I need a little pick-me-up from my ‘Friday Flowers’, so I decided to make use of the brightest spring blooms and create a line of colour to decorate my very thin mantelpiece. I used cute bud vases in an array of colours and fill them with stems of lime green Viburnum, violet Anemone and purple Muscari. The vases, as much as the flowers, are part of this show. A colourful lineup to cheer up the day.

A Colourful Collection

A Colourful Collection

Photos and Styling by Theoda Solms Iles

Pretty Pastels

Pastels are perfect right now and so on trend for spring and summer. Think sorbet ice-cream colours in pretty pinks, soft yellows with a zesty tone, mint greens and powder blues. These sherbet colours make you smile and  bring a feeling of instant happiness, you just can’t help to be sucked into their uplifting beauty and get inspired by an item or two. Whether it’s small little accessories like glasses or coasters, something larger or functional like a sofa or storage, there is something for everyone with this colour-led trend.

Riviera Kitchen Diner by George

Riviera Kitchen Diner by George

Riviera Kitchen: Floral tea towels 3pk, £4. Kitchen hook sign, £7. Coloured canisters, £3 each. Green soda jug, £5. Casserole dish, £8. Glass clip jar, £1.50. Breville toaster, £34.96. All George.com


1. Coasters: Set of 4 Lobster, Set of 4 Seabream, £18 per set, Thornback & Peel
2. Twin Tone pendant lamp, £65, Rume
3. Viola low back chair, from £699, Darlings of Chelsea
4. Spring Pastel Pantone mugs, £10 each, Berry Red

 


5. Primrose Chair £59, Primrose Table £64, Oliver Bonas
6. Coloured glass bottles, £20 each, Not On The High Street
7. Coral cushion, £70, Amy Sia
8. Decorative storage suitcases, from £30 – £70, Oliver Bonas

 


9. Polka wine glasses set, £28.95, Annabel James
10. Geo Pastel cushion, £40, Graduate Collection
11. Tubby 2-seater sofa in turquoise, from £399, Made
12. Wooden furniture knobs, £11 each, Not On The High Street

Feature by Theoda Solms Iles

Main image supplied by George.com
Other images supplied by individual companies as credited.

Lily of the Valley

The Lily Of The Valley is a truly special flower. It is a flowering woodland bulb and it’s quite unique to see them growing wildly these days. The scent is exquisite, a sweet heady bouquet, and have been the inspiration for many a perfume house, Penhaligon’s, Guerlain, Fragonard and Crabtree & Evelyn, to name but a few. The Lily Of The Valley also has ancient references to religion and symbolism and can be seen in many an old masterpiece painting. It is also said to represent luck and so it is tradition in France, on the 1st of May, to hand out little sprigs of the flower to loved ones, wishing them luck. Therefore it is also a popular flower to be included in bridal bouquets, even with royal brides like Grace Kelly and the Duchess of Cambridge, both having it in their wedding bouquets.

Lily Of The Valley

Lily Of The Valley on my dressing table

Lily Of The Valley

Lily Of The Valley on my bookshelf

I love the delicacy of the flowers, tiny little perfectly formed bells gently bowing their heads, the smooth green leaves and the sweet heavenly scent. A truly timeless and classic flower. I put my Lily Of The Valley in a small silver Epurn vase. I had it first displayed on my bookshelf, but then later I realised I’m missing out on them and that I should have them close by. So now they are standing on my dressing table so that I can be reminded of their beauty, being the first and last thing I see.

Photos & Styling by Theoda Solms Iles