How do you fancy a behind the scenes look at some of the details that made the Colour for Creatives event last Wednesday so fabulous?
You’ll probably know from reading previous posts that I approach each workshop like I would planning a party. Not a single detail goes unthought of. I just can’t help it.
Put it down to too many corporate training days in bad hotels or dimly lit conference rooms if you like. I prefer to think that it’s our family love of entertaining and making every single guest feel special that drives me.
Either way, my workshops are all about the experience. From the light, bright spaces we base ourselves in, to Maddie’s incredible food, the styling and flowers, right down to the tiny details – all of these add up to a positive learning environment and an unforgettable day. I don’t often go in detail behind the scenes (not for the want of trying), so kick back and enjoy!
The theme for the workshop was, as Katie, my photographer put it, Club Tropicana. I’m in the midst of pulling together a really special Majorcan retreat (details to follow) and I can’t shake this love for tropical foliage so the two sort of came together in a beachy/ tropical vibe.
Here’s the mood board (did you see it on instagram?).
Armed with my inspiration I tend to go into overdrive. The mood board inspires the props, the flowers, the styling – even the flavoured water and the after workshop cocktails!
Big impact when people arrive at the event is always important – remember the forsythia and wall of kokedamas at the New York workshop? Well this time we went with big, tropical leaves. The wonderful Atlas Flowers supplied them and I was shocked at how much impact I could create cost effectively. Ten days on the leaves are still looking incredible. Ah, if only I had my studio built!
We even had enough smaller palms to put one at each place setting which looked fabulous (if a little impractical).
Florally, I kept things really simple. I really feel like I’m finding my style for The Brand Stylist. Lots of green with the odd pop of colour. It’s different to my personal style at home (where we tend to go overboard on the blooms) but I love it.
Graham, from Zest Flowers at New Covent Garden Flower Market very generously supplied me with a couple of wraps of coral charm peonies which added a real punch of colour to the classroom. By keeping the arrangements simple and low, the look was modern and fresh without too much girlishness, which peonies often have a habit of looking.
I also used beautiful British grown lilies, supplied again by the fabulous Graham at Zest, and excitingly, grown by one of my clients (who I must blog about soon) Smith and Munson. These lilies looked amazing. I had high hopes of an overwhelm of scent too but sadly timing is everything and they weren’t quite open in time. They still looked fabulous and probably a bit more modern and edgy for not being open and blowsy, which is exactly what I wanted.
Usually I just add in props from things I have at home. Brixton East is so gorgeous that by the time I’ve added a little foliage and raided Andy’s props cupboard, it looks pretty amazing. But this time the lovely Nicola Wilkes from House Envy supplied me with some really special pieces that just helped the whole thing come together.
You’ve probably seen me talk before about how I always like to create an impactful display as people arrive. This time it wasn’t so much floral, but in the way of an incredible feathered JuJu hat that added texture and set the tone beautifully for what was to come.
I love that hat so much. In fact, it’s now hanging in our bedroom – much to the bemusement of my husband. I’m sure he’ll come round…
I always put up a few quotes on the wall and I love this one. A flower doesn’t think about competing. It just blooms. Good advice for life in general I think.
I probably wouldn’t have chosen orange chairs, but they do work and I really love that shell shaker thing which was just out the back at Brixton East!
Those palms really were incredible. A great lesson in less really being more. We just clamped them to the screws in the wall with bulldog clips which was fast and also kept things looking edgy and informal.
Food is always a big part of the workshops. I remember the first one we ever ran – a Flowerona workshop back in July 2014 and so many people told us they’d just expected curling sandwiches and desiccated sausage rolls. Not on my watch! Since day one we’ve worked with the very talented Maddie Hatton who shares my philosophy for fresh, wholesome and generous food, packed with flavour and as beautiful to look at as it is to eat.
I shared the mood board with Maddie and asked for a few tropical flavours thrown in with her own inspiration. This isn’t about creating a ‘themed day’ cruise-ship style 😉 Maddie is always inspired by the seasons so everything was fresh, beautiful and summery. The cauliflower couscous was so delicious, but I think my favourite thing was the baked ricotta – below.
The cakes at elevenses were delicious and so ‘on message’. I tried the lime and coconut cake which was gorgeous, and wished I could have found room for the orange, passionfruit and polenta cake. The granola bars are also always gorgeous.
Styling wise, we kept the tables simple and tropical. Palms, pineapples and coloured candles. It looked so fab!
And around the room there were little displays like this
I wanted to go to town a bit on the goody bags this time. So I screen printed a message onto some lovely calico bags. The colour is actually a bright hot pink/ red which looked amazing.
And inside, thanks to some very generous sponsors, the students were in for a real treat.
Drinks are of course, a big part of the day. Both for staying hydrated as we work but also marking a very celebratory end to an inspirational day, friendships made and ideas generated. This time I went for a strawberry and watermelon, a pineapple and mint and a lime and cucumber selection of flavoured water.
And the cocktails were amazing! A passione martini (passion fruit, pineapple, Martini Rosso and Vodka) and a Mojito. For the non drinkers we created an elderflower and apple mocktail which was just gorgeous.
I’ll be honest, I did go a little crazy over the flamingo drinks stirrers. Seriously, how cute are they?! I do love things mostly to be tasteful and understated but you’ve always got to have a little pop of colour in my mind, and these hot pink flamingos kept the tone fun and frivolous. Just what we needed at the end of a long day!
I had such a blast arranging all of this and am so, so grateful to the incredible companies who so generously donated props and goodies for the students. Thank you so much. Can’t wait for the next one!
Phography: Katie Spicer.