I'll probably do a bi-monthly roundup depending on how many events I go to, but this first one covers March, April and May...
BLOGGER WORKSHOP AT ANNIE SLOAN HQ (March)
Back in March I ventured to Oxford, for a blogger workshop with the lovely Annie Sloan herself at her headquarters one sunny Saturday.
It was a fascinating day, and Annie is such a lovely lady - I could have listened to her for hours talk about colour and colour theory. Frustrated by what was (and wasn't) on the market, Annie developed Chalk Paint in 1990, which is pretty impressive, and there's really no end to how you can use her paints - from furniture to fabric dying (yes, really!) and everything inbetween. And no, it's not just Shabby Chic! Of course it can be if you want it to be, but there's absolutely no reason why you can't create a thoroughly contemporary look with her products too - it's all in the way you use them. And the bonus of course is that chalk paint requires no primer - perfect for people like me, that loathe the prep and just want to get to the fun bits!
I haven't yet had the chance to have a play with them, but I'll be pimping a chest of Ikea drawers soon for Baxters room and painting them (colour TBA!) and giving them soft sheen waxed finish, so I'll finally get to have a proper play with Annie's products.
Annie has also recently added wall paint, and coloured linen to her product range, and though I've not had a play with the wall paints, the fabrics are really stunning, and each one is a mix of two complementary colours based on her paint colours.
I was in such great company that day, and met a group of inspiring, supportive and friendly bloggers, which is one of the best parts of events like this, and among the reasons I try to get to them whenever possible.
BLACK REGAL PEACOCK LAUNCH AT SOHO HOUSE WITH BURLEIGH (April)
Okay, so I didn't actually go to this event, but I was invited and I really really wanted to go. I'm a huge fan of Burleigh ceramics and my favourite plates ever, are the Black Willow design, so I was gutted when I couldn't make it to this launch. The Regal Peacock pattern has been around since 1913 (woah!), but the black is a new colour way, giving it a contemporary twist. The collection is so stunning, and they were sweet enough to send me the cutest mini-mug from the goody bag, even though I couldn't attend.
JULIEN MACDONALD AT DEBENHAMS (April)
I had dinner at the über glam Sanderson Hotel with Julien Macdonald, and the Debenhams Home PR team, for a look at the new collection which was set against the pristine white walls of the penthouse suite. Lots of texture by way of sequins, beading and faux fur as you would expect from the incredibly and lovely Mr Macdonald, alongside lots of white, grey, taupe and metallics. The standout pieces for me were the stemmed votives and vintage inspired beaded table runners, both of which were also the star of the spectacular table setting in the even more glam Purple Bar where we dined. Lined with small glass vases and flowers of varying heights, layered over the aforementioned beaded table runners, and dotted with plenty of high and low level tea lights, it was breath-taking. So simple yet so effective, and definitely an idea to steal.
Oh and a little tip! I'm a self-confessed scented candle snob, and always find the more affordable ones are soapy and awful when lit, even if they initially smell nice before you light them. But I can confirm that the Julien Macdonald Black Vanilla candle, smells totally delicious and unlike so many other affordable scented candles, it fills the house with the most delicious scent. And the deco inspired black and gold packaging is so pretty too. Who knew?!
SWOON EDITIONS POP-UP (May)
I was already a fan of Swoon Editions beautiful collections, so when I was invited along to check out their pop-up which was at Oxo Tower Wharf for two weeks earlier in May, I couldn't resist. It was great to see some of this online retailers pieces in the flesh - especially the glam Ziggy cabinet.
Swoon Editions are definitely worth adding to the list for places to check out when looking not only for the classic pieces like sofas, chairs, side and coffee tables, but for something a bit different too (like THAT Ziggy cabinet!). A big YES to Swoon for offering up some more glam and brave pieces than what is often on offer in the UK market. Long may it last!
BATHROOM TRENDS AT CP HART
I had a guided tour of the amazing CP Hart showroom in Waterloo (part glam hotel lobby, part bathroom showroom for those who haven't been), focusing on the key trends picked up from the most recent ISH show (the leading bathroom tradeshow that takes place each year in Frankfurt). You can read about the trends in more detail here on the CP Hart site. Next week I'm sharing my favourite pieces from the showroom because there's just too much good stuff to share here in this 'brief' roundup!
I had a lovely lunch at Lima, a Peruvian restaurant in Covent Garden with the Sainsbury's team to see their high summer South American inspired capsule home collection. Consisting of colourful patterned snack bowls, glassware, cast iron cookware, and serving boards, all at ridiculously reasonable prices, it's a lovely colourful collection that would be spot on for casual entertaining and outdoor parties. And everyone should have a stash of Margarita glasses somewhere in their kitchen, right? And probably a clear cocktail shaker too...
The collection is in store now.
MARKS & SPENCER HOME AW17 (May)
Another fab event a few weeks ago was the AW17 press show for Marks & Spencer Home held in central London, followed by dinner at Alyn Williams at the Westbury. I was totally captivated by the new Manhattan collection, so much so that I kind of neglected to look at the others. Oops! So much glam goodness in the form of a velvet sofa, armchair and ottoman, a beautiful bar cabinet, stunning brass framed bamboo mirror, great cushions, and loads of other accessories.
I featured a few pieces in my Summer Dining Room post as part of the UK Home Blog Hop on Monday last week. Some pieces are available already, with more hitting the stores soon.
FAUX FLOWER WORKSHOP & RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW WITH OKA (May)
I've always wanted to go to the Chelsea Flower Show, so when I was invited by one of my favourite stores, Oka, to do just that I knew some serious precision childcare planning would need to be sorted as a matter of urgency.
We started at the Fulham Road flagship store in Chelsea, for a faux flower arranging workshop and afternoon tea.
Now, I'm going to admit that I was in two minds about this (the faux flower bit - I'm always good with afternoon tea, FYI), as I've never been a fan of fauxs, but as soon as I walked in and saw how incredibly realistic Oka's faux flowers are, I realised that my issue with fauxs, lies with faux plants, not faux flowers. For me, faux plants are for showrooms, restaurants, corporate settings, and photo shoots. Not for homes. BUT cut flowers on the other hand, and cut foliage is different, and this is why...
Quite simply, cut flowers and foliage are purely ornamental - their only job is to look pretty. Living plants however, not only bring life to a room, but they have air-purifying qualities, and they, you know, grow. I won't be converting to faux plants any time soon, but I'm officially a convert to high-quality faux blooms!
It was SO fun doing the flower arranging workshop. I think mine was the messiest and least formal looking arrangement, and I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing. I think it was because I'm drawn to the more casual looking, blousy flowers like Peonies and Hydrangeas. Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
After we finished our arrangements, we had a delicious floral inspired afternoon tea at the store (sorry, no pics - I was way too busy stuffing my face and chatting) with bubbles, before jumping into cabs to the Flower Show, where we headed straight to the Dorchester Pop-Up Bar for a quick cocktail before heading off to check out the displays. What a fab day!
More on the show itself soon...
Okay, I'm exhausted after writing this 'brief' round-up post, I tried to finish writing this on Friday, but it was half-term and what can I say? The kids had other plans...