Yesterday we gathered at the beautiful  Houzz 2018 pop up, at 19 Greek Street in Soho. We were greeted with coffee and a warm welcome from Lou Archell, who had organised the wonderful Sisterhood Camp event to see out the end of a very long January.

Who wouldn’t want to beat the January blues learning about flower arranging and eating delicious food in a beautiful building. I love flowers and eating and it sounded like the perfect day.

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We sat at long tables and learned about Ikebana from the serene and talented florist, Erin Allison Clare.

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She told us about the background to Ichiban floristy, about consideration and balance. It is important to look at all aspects of a flower as well as considering incorporating dried plants. Look at the beautiful array of flowers we had to choose from.

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We started constructing our displays, using beautiful ceramics from Rebecca Proctor, a ceramicist based in Cornwall. You use florist tape to attach a floral pin holder and then fill a vessel with water.

The pastime of viewing plants and appreciating flowers throughout the four seasons was established in Japan early on by the aristocracy. We learned that ikebana pays attention to the overall line and form of all plant material used. We were told to consider each plant and think about minimalism and asymmetry.

Ikebana also pays attention to  the sacred relationship between humans and nature with the flower arrangement usually practiced in a silent and meditative state. Luckily we were allowed to talk.

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Ikebana pays attention to the overall line and form of all plant material used and emphasizes minimalism and asymmetry. Ikebana also reveres the sacred relationship between man and nature with the flower arrangement usually practiced in a silent and meditative state.

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You attach a floral frog to the base of the shallow vessel and fill it with water. Erin had brought along a couple of Hellabores plants, which were really beautiful. My inner gardener felt terrible cutting them up.

Here was my final arrangement and I was really proud of what I made.

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Whilst Lou and her team set up the room for lunch we went off to explore the Houzz pop up and as it was so sunny outside, I went for a wander around Soho.

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We came back to see the room set up for lunch and it looked rather lovely.

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We sat down at long tables in the cafe for a delicious lunch cooked by chef and food writer, Claire Thomson. She had created a beautiful three course menu using fresh, seasonal ingredients. I was amazed when I saw the size of the kitchen she cooked it in, it was tiny. It was great to hear about her new book – The Art of the Larder.  It was a real treat to eat such delicious food and Clare was really lovely. You can follow her on instagram at 5oclockapron.

I took a photo of the delicious starter and pudding. Plus my customised mocktail, thanks for the addition of the lemon and camomile, it makes all the difference when you can’t drink alcohol.

What was so great about Sisterhood event was meeting interesting and friendly women, I was really lucky to chat to the warm and inspiring Erin Trezise-Wallace, as well as the talented Ariana Ruth and her fascinating mother, Fiona. It was also lovely to meet Natalie Bourne who designs beautiful homes and gave me lots of brilliant parenting advice.

It was a great day, a beautiful space, interesting people and I really enjoyed learning about a new way of flowering arranging.

Thanks Lou and Sisterhood!

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After a stormy night in South London on Saturday night, so loud I was woken up in the middle of the night by the high winds.

In the morning I went out to explore the windswept garden.

Afterwards we went out searching for a really nice breakfast that our greasy spoon couldn’t supply.

We walked down the road to Brixton Village and along to Rosie’s Cafe, which is a long standing favourite, only to discover that it has shut down. We went further into the market and chose to have brunch at Wild Caper.

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We kicked off with some delicious cappucinos and moved on to the Wild Caper vegetarian breakfasts and delicious juices, I had one with strawberry, kiwi and apple and J’s was made with apple and ginger.

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Look at our delicious breakfast.

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Afterwards we went for a bit of an explore and made the most of final Autumn days.

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Wrapping up warm in my new Jigsaw ”Shona’ hat made in a Scottish mill and my lovely cosy coat.

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I love Christmas carols and there is nothing better in the run up to Christmas than going to a carol service in one of London’s beautiful churches, especially if it is candlelit.

It may feel a little early to be thinking about Christmas carol services, but the good carol concerts in London book up quickly.

Here are my top picks for the best places to sing Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly.

The Times and Sunday Times newspapers’ carol service at St Brides church on Fleet Street is on 28th November 2016 (6.15pm for 6.45pm start).

You can kick off the festive season at the famous, 300 year-old church of St Bride’s. The church, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, is steeped in history. It is set in the centre of London on Fleet Street it has a long association with journalists and newspapers.



The Marie Curie Carols in the City  is the perfect opportunity to start the Christmas season off in style.

It takes place on Tuesday 6th December 2016 at Southwark Cathedral and starts at 7.15pm. Tickets may be £40 but it is for an amazing charity.

It will feature carols by candlelight, performances by the  baritone and composer Roderick Williams and the chamber choir Canticum. There will also be seasonal readings by celebrity guests. It looks like a cracking festive night out.

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St Martin in the Fields is one of my favourite churches in London and there are lots of carol services taking place there over the festive season, here are a couple of carol services that look really good.

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Finally the festive season wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of London’s crowning glories, beautiful St Pauls cathedral. There are lots of  beautiful carol services in the run up and over the Christmas period. A great place to catch some Christmas carols in London in 2016.

You can find all of St Pauls’ Christmas carol services here. It is one of London’s most iconic buildings, another of Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpieces. It was built between 1675 and 1710, after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

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I hope you find somewhere to sing Deck the boughs or Little Town of Bethlehem.If you know of any carol services that should be in the list, please let me know.

Happy carol singing.

LB

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