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How to: Dine in style for under £10

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Interior Trends: Enduring or Fads?

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Introducing Paula Beades Bespoke

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How to: Revamp an old chair

Category: Interior Styling

How to: Dine in style for under £10

On September 3rd, 2014 by .

As we move into September, there seems to be lots of talk about an Indian Summer. So, I took full advantage of the hot weather today and styled our brand new garden furniture set for under £10! The 6 seater Keter Montana set is from Homebase and although it looks like rattan, is actually Polypropylene (hard-wearing plastic) which means it’s virtually maintenance free.  It’s also GREAT with sticky little fingers as you can just power wash it without the worry of damage.  I know I’m really going on about the finish, but I love it!  Our old set was wooden and quite frankly, I was getting a little tired of treating it year on year.

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Here’s how I dressed it, for under £10…my runner is an off cut of fabric from a shoot, the flowers from my garden are placed in a little glass tumbler (£5) and my plant is sat in a small galvanized bucket ( 50p thrifty find).  My water bottle was also a charity shop find (£1) and the paper doily’s’ were 20p! Finally, the small ceramic tealight holders are from a supermarket and the vase with roses was £2. So, who says you can’t throw together a table setting for those unexpected guests!

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A single leaf steam looks so pretty on a white plate, especially if you are dining Al Fresco in a garden setting. Neutral accessories will make your flowers and food really stand out.

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Interior Trends: Enduring or Fads?

On August 28th, 2014 by .

I am excited to share with you our Interior Trends talk from this years May Design Series, featuring myself, Heart Home Magazine and Kate Watson-Smyth. Make yourself a coffee, grab a pen and take note as you find out what’s hot and what’s not…!


How to: make a small flower arrangement

On June 17th, 2014 by .

This feature is a step-by-step on how to make a small flower arrangement.  I created the following display for Fathers Day, using flowers from our garden, and thought it might be useful to explain the thought process of how I put flowers together.

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Things to think about…

– Colour
Don’t be afraid of colour, use the same rules for flower arranging as you would for interiors to a) create a palette that you like and b) one that would work in your home.  For a rule of thumb, opt for one strong colour, a few mid tones and lighter hues for highlighting. For single colour displays, a simple formula is to stick to three types of flower, this avoids an overly busy design.  Even with single colour displays, I would still recommend a splash of green foliage for contrast.

– Height
Keep the flowers to a similar height.  You will need to vary the stem height slightly to create depth, but no more than an inch above the top of the vase.  The only time I would suggest using something higher would be the introduction of a tall feature, such thin grass stems.

– Pruning
Remove the leaves from all stems in the water, what you are aiming for are clean and modern lines, not bushy and dirty stems.  I would also thin out the leaves around the flower head to simplify the display.

– Arranging
Make sure you have an even spread of colour with a good mix of dark, mid and light tones.  The same applies with shape and size; avoid placing the fuller flowers next to one another, instead, group small and large together to create an even balance.

– Choosing your vase
Base your decision on the type of flower and reflect this in your vase; i.e for a small and pretty arrangement, I would choose a delicate tumbler like the one I used below.  For tall simple stems, such as Arum lilies, a tall cylinder vase would work well. Oriental displays look great when wrapped around the inside of a goldfish bowl, and all hydrangeas look fab in enamel or galvanized jugs.  A good place to look for inspiration is Pinterest as they have some beautiful flower images.

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To create my display, I used a pretty tumbler from John Lewis, I loved them so much I bought six as they are perfect for little displays such as these. My finished arrangement sat on our white dining table, but I wanted to show you what happens when you move the flowers to a different location; with colour.  The pale grey backdrop compliments the soft pinks and purples whilst the mustard base makes all the colours pop, just something to think about when you are deciding where to place yours.

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Top tips for creating the perfect display
- Think about the colour of your flowers and whether the combination works
– Decide on your vase before you begin and make sure it compliments the style of flower
– Leave no more than 1 inch of stalk to sit above the top of the vase
– Know when to stop adding flowers, do not let the stalks get cramped
– Cold water prolongs the life of flowers
– If the flowers are from the market then re-cut the stem at an angle to allow more water in

If you are a designer of any sort then you will enjoy the following video. Ken Marten, Senior flower designer at McQueens, shows us how he interprets a brief for Mulberry.  I find it fascinating to watch a designers journey from concept to a finished product.