Monthly Archives

August 2016

How to Create a Botanical Table Theme

Posted in Gather by
How to style a Botanical Table Theme

We are still feeling inspired by our current favourite interior design book Botanical Style by Selina Lake. So when it came to setting the table for an Italian dinner party we had we knew we wanted a botanical table theme. We host frequently so mixing up the styles is fun way of adding a new dimension to each event.

For our botanical table theme we started by heading to our local garden centre to by some gorgeous green houseplants. We picked up a sword fern, a couple of maidenhair ferns and a couple of mind-your-own-business.  You can read more about these plants here. We find that using plants can be a great alternative to cut flowers for creating the perfect table centre. More often than not it works out cheaper than buying cut flowers, and you get the added bonus of new plants to keep, or to give to your guests at the end of the eventing for presents.

We placed the plants a mixture of rustic containers that we had collected over the years and mixed these in with some green glass lantern and some vintage glass bottles.  We also made some tea light holders in some washed out glass yoghurt pots with a bit of garden twine tied around the rim, economical and very effective.

We’d managed to borrow some collapsible tables to create a big enough dinner table to confirmable sit eight people.  These tables are not the most attractive so to hide them we used a crisp white tablecloth. We broke this up with a natural coloured table runner and similar coloured napkins to keep the theme grounded.  To continue the green from the plants we uses some green water glasses (purchased from ikea for 50p each). And Rich designed the menus and place names using a green palm leave motif.

Botanical Table Theme was perfect for our evenings festivities. We had a wonderful time!

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How to style a Botanical Table ThemeBotanical table theme with ferns
17th August 2016

Top Five | Birthday Bonanza

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Top Five

It’s been Calum’s birthday this week! A perfect excuse for parties, presents and cake! What else has been in our top five this week you ask? Let’s have a look:


Crosley Record PlayerFor Calum’s birthday present Rich got him this Crosley Crusier Turntable. Calum has hankering for a while so what better excuse than a birthday. We have a selection of Vinyl already and be looking to increase our collection now!


Hettie the Pirate DogTo be honest Hettie would probably make the Top Five every week. She is such a gorgeous dog in temperament as well as looks but that wasn’t the reason for this entry! This week whilst Rich has been taking her out on walks he’s discovered the joy of Monocle Magazines podcasts. If you are not familiar with them go have a look!


Chapel Down English WineOur Lovely friends Nikki & Mike recently went to Chapel Down winery in Kent, they were telling us all about it and it is definitely on our list of places to visit now! In the mean time they very generously brought back a couple of bottle of english wine for us to sample, we can’t wait


Papier Birthday Card designed by Smudge InkBirthdays obviously need birthday cards, Rich was very excited when he discovered here you can personalise your own cards and invites. Seeing as we both love golden retrievers Rich thought this Smudge Ink design was perfect. They also work with a couple of our favourite studios, 1canoe2 and Small Adventure, as well as many others. I am sure well be using them again in the future.


Victoria Sponge Birthday CakeWe have a card, and a present. Only one thing left for a perfect birthday – Cake!! For a change Rich headed into the kitchen to create this pimped up Victoria sponge cake. With all that fruit it must be very healthy and good for you no?

15th August 2016

Sunday Catch Up

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We don’t know about you but we think there is nothing better than a lazy Sunday morning catching up with the news and our favourite blogs. We are therefore going to start a Sunday catch up post linking back to what we have been blogging about that week and a selection of our favourite posts from other bloggers.

From Orchard Blog

  • Read our review of Botanical Style by Selina Lake, a gorgeous interior design book with lots of inspiration read here
  • We tried our hands at mixing Negronis for our cocktail of the week feature. read here
  • Feeling inspired by our love of Alderney and the beach we collated a design scheme for a beach house living room read here

From Elsewhere

  • Over at Lobster & Swan, Jeska shared her take on creating a garden retreat, a gorgeous hideaway at the end of the garden read here
  • Inspired by the new Swallows & Amazon Film, Sara from Me and Orla went on an adventure and for an old fashioned picnic read here
  • Will from Bright.Bazaar has been reviewing The New Shingled House, a book that is definitely now on our wish list read here

We hope you enjoy these links and have a very happy Sunday!

Rich & Calum

14th August 2016

Design Inspiration | Beach House Style

Posted in Dwell by

Inspired by our recent post on Alderney, we’ve been thinking a lot about beach house style.  Our perfect beach house would be a laid back retreat just a couple of stems about from gorgeous golden sand between our toes.  Feeling inspired by this beach house state of mind we collected  the best in sandy tones and laid-back style to create a scheme for a living room that will remind us of Alderney.  Details of our finds are below, what do you think?
Living room scheme with a beach theme

Beach House Style | Where to buy:

fig.1 Wilton Layered White Mirror One World Trading
fig.2 Visit Alderney Print Orchard Market on Etsy
fig.3 Alderney Landmarks Print Orchard Market on Etsy
fig.4 Two Seated Izzy Sofa
fig.5 Safavieh Gold & Ivory Rug
fig.6 Sahara Coffee Table Swoon Editions
fig.7 Diamond Cushion West Elm
fig.8 Frehel Table Lamp John Lewis
fig.9 Beehive Blanket Tartan Blanket Company
fig.10 Salcombe Lantern Lights4Fun
fig.11 Beside the Seaside by Jane Struthers
fig.12 Anchor Vase John Lewis
fig.13 Sunny Day Dulux
fig.14 Sandy Steps Dulux
fig.15 Pearl Grey Dulux

12th August 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Negroni

Negroni Cocktail

For this week’s cocktail of the week, we took inspiration from a recent Italian themed dinner party we had.  There are a plethora of Italian cocktails that we could have tried, but the Negroni was the one cocktail neither of us had sampled before and thought it would be giving it a try, especially as it used up some of the red Vermouth we have!

The Negroni has a link to Italian nobility through Count Camilo Negroni.  It was reportedly first mixed in Florence in 1919 where the Count asked his bartender to boost his favourite cocktail the Americano.  His bartender, Fosco Scarselli, replaced the soda water in the Americano with gin and gave it an orange garnish to distinguish it as a different drink.  Given that the family started producing a ready made version of the drink in 1919, it is possible that this story is a little bit of a corporate myth.  On the other hand, if it is true, it is a good start to how most cocktails are made, by experimentation.

For this week’s cocktail, you will need:

  • 1 measure of gin
  • 1 measure of sweet red vermouth
  • 1 measure of Campari
  • Ice
  • One orange for garnish

To make the cocktail, take a tumbler or old fashioned style glass and add the ice.  Pour in the gin, red vermouth and Campari over the ice.  Stir the mix and add the orange for the garnish and there you have the cocktail of the week, the Negroni.

The cocktail has a very dry, bitter taste and probably needed more ice than we added.  However, as Orsen Wells stated when he came across the drink “The bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin is bad for you. They balance each other”, we will take that as a sign that we made it correctly.

Negroni - 3 Negroni - 4Negroni Cocktail

Negroni Cocktail
11th August 2016

Book Review | Botanical Style by Selina Lake

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Book Review Botanical Style by Selina Lake

We spend a lot of time planning home decor, it doesn’t matter if it was our rented flat or for our ideal future home.  It is one of our passions and, in part the reason behind this blog. As well as almost single handily keeping the magazine industry going and a healthy pinterest/instagram addiction, we do love a good interiors book to scour through and find ideas that we can us.  We also like to have a stack of beautiful books on the coffee table to delve into every so often.  It is the little things in life that makes us happy!  With that in mind it brings us to todays posts, a brief review of Botanical Style by Selina Lake, our latest interiors book purchase and a goldmine of stunning inspiration.

Selina Lake is a freelance interior & lifestyle stylist (that might be Rich’s dream job!) and Botanical Style is her seventh book. We first heard of the book when Selina did a book signing at Anthropologie in Guildford, being local to us we picked up the event on social media. We were’t able to make it along but our interest was peaked and we wanted to buy a copy!

Botanical style can mean many things to many people, and to this end the book is operated in to five separate styles: Vintage Botanicals, Boho Botanicals, Industrial Botanicals, Tropical Botanicals and Natural Botanicals. Different chapters will appeal to different people. Rich loves the vintage and natural chapters, Calum like the tropical style and we both love the industrial industrial.  As well as explaining the styles in depth there are also individual style tips and little make projects. Reading the book we were itching to get out to the local garden centre to add to our already healthy supply of houseplants!

The key to a good interiors book is plenty of great photos to illustrate the ideas, the photographer, Rachel Whiting, does a great job at bringing the style to life. We’ve already spent hours pouring over every gorgeous image for inspiration, and I am sure this is a book we will return back to time and time again.

There is so much inspiration packed into this book, from romantic summer houses to tropical glamour.  For anyone with green fingers (or wishes they did) we thoroughly recommend this book, it has made us very happy!

You can buy Botanical Style by Selina Lake here

Follow Selina’s Blog here


Book Review of Botanical Style by Selina Lake Book Review of Botanical Style by Selina Lake Read more…

10th August 2016

Top Five | London Adventures

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Top Five

Next week is Calum’s birthday so at the weekend we headed into London for a day for adventures.  It was great fun but very tiring but seeing as the Olympics also kicked off so we can get some R&R whilst watching all the obscure sports possible. Three day eventing anyone?


Top Five | Busy Bee

Continuing our love of all things apian we enjoying all the bees visiting the echinops in the garden. Great to watch the busy bees getting on with their lives and Rich managed to take this cool picture of a little guy collecting the nectar. Well done bee!


 Swingers Crazy Golf London

One of Calum’s birthday treats was a trip to Swingers in London (Don’t worry it is nothing untoward simply crazy golf.) Located in The City, this basement venue has two nine hole crazy golf course, a couple of bars and several food options. You can book in advance or they hold hold their spaces back for walk-ups. Beer, pizza and crazy golf. We loved it!


Shakespeare's Globe

As part of Calum’s birthday celebrations we headed to Shakespeare’s Globe to see The Taming of a Shrew. It was a great production but the play’s misogynistic storyline didn’t sit with our liberal outlook.  The Globe is a magical place to watch Shakespeare and the £5 standing tickets make it an absolute steal!


Greenhouse Harvest

Much excitement from the Greenhouse. The tomatoes, peppers, chilli’s, cucumber and aubergines are all coming on very well. The Veg patch has been a constant battle with slugs and snails, but we are having more success in here! We’ll be harvesting soon.


Olympic Breakfast

On Sunday morning we decided to have a proper breakfast and enjoy it whilst catching up with all the Olympic action we had missed. One of our favourite breakfasts is a continental spread, perfect for enjoying over a couple of hours on a lazy Sunday morning.

8th August 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Basil & Lime Cooler

Basil & Lime Cooler

When we returned from France in June, we brought back a basil plant.  There is something different about the way it is grown in France that gives it a stronger flavour.  It has been sitting on the window sill since we returned getting used for the odd meal and we thought we should try to use it as the base flavour in our cocktails.  We came across a Basil & Lime cooler on The Italian Dish blog whilst doing some research for an Italian themed meal and thought would be great to use the basil and the Cointreau we picked up on holiday.

Our basil usually ends up in the ratatouille rather than a cocktail, but being the adventurous type we are, we were up for the experience.  As an ingredient, it has been around for 5,000 years and is known in some parts of the world as the ‘king of herbs’ or the ‘royal herb’.  The world basil comes from the Greek word basileus.  It has slightly odd cultural and fictional associations including being carried in passage to the after life or smelling too much can cause scorpions to breed in the brain and in some parts of Mexico, it is used to draw fortune.  For the record, we now have two basil plants!

For this weeks cocktail, you will need;

  • 10 small to medium basil leaves
  • 1 Lime
  • 2 measures of tequila
  • 1 measure of Cointreau
  • 1 tablespoon of simple syrup
  • 4 measures of club soda
  • Ice

To make the cocktail, slice the lime in half and take one half and slice it into quarters. Add the lime and the basil to a cocktail shaker, use a muddle to extract the juices.  Add some ice to the cocktail shaker, along with the remaining ingredients and give it a quick shake.  Too much and you will loose the bubbles from the club soda.  Stain the mix in to a glass filled with ice, garnish using the remaining lime and there you have this weeks cocktail, a Basil & Lime Cooler.

The cocktail is certainly one to keep in mind.  The flavour of the basil comes through well and compliments the other ingredients perfectly. We are now thinking what other cocktails can we create or improve with basil!

Basil & Lime CoolerBasil & Lime Cooler

Basil & Lime Cooler
4th August 2016

How to Style an Al Fresco Bar

Posted in Gather by
How to Style an Al Fresco Bar

During the summer we love nothing more than hosting garden parties, and what do parties need? A bar of course! Last year we created a bar from pallets for our Tiki Bar, read more about out Tiki Party here. This year we are using an old potting beach to create a rustic bar for a series of summer parties we are having. Here our our key tips for an al fresco bar:

How to Style an Al Fresco Bar

Read more…

3rd August 2016

Top Five | Non Stop Action

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Top Five

Both Rich and Calum have been working non stop this week, 5am morning calls, and 11pm e-mails have been keeping us both on our toes. On top of this we hosted, not one but two parties this weekend. Although we’re busy, we are enjoying ourselves. Lets take a look at this weeks to five:


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Working from home can have it’s drawbacks, especially when working long days. So to stop Rich getting cabin fever we headed out for a Mexican dinner and then onto the cinema to watch the latest Star Trek movie. It is a enjoyable film, we were happy geeks!


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As we mentioned above we had a busy weekend with two parties. We love hosting, which was one of the reasons we we started this blog. We hosted an Italian inspired dinner party on Saturday night with friends and a BBQ on Sunday lunchtime with family. Stay tuned for more about these parties on the blog.


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For Christmas Calum gave Rich as subscription to 25 Beautiful Homes. We are now hooked and it is our ambition to have our home featured one day. We just need to find a house first. We viewed two more potential properties on Saturday, alas still no joy!


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Supermarket homewares can vary massively in quality. But we feel that Sainsburys have really got their combination of good design and value for money spot on. We regularly pick up various bits and pieces for around the house. We found this botanic inspired cushion on offer the other day and we couldn’t resit, £7 well spent!


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Hettie, the one eyed pirate dog, has become very fond of us during our stay at Rich’s folks. She will sit at our feet when we are working from home, and has taken to sleeping at the foot of our bed. The feeling is mutual, we love the old girl very dearly.

1st August 2016