Food and Flowers: a perfect match!

Meeting Deborah from The Red Beetle Travelling Food was so much fun Today! I really admire her determination. Every time I have the pleasure to meet her, she turns up with bags full of ideas, enthusiasm and a beautiful smile. I genuinely invite you to try the Red Beetle's products as they are just outstanding, simply delicious. Deborah is now preparing the Christmas Boxes, you definitely don't want to miss these! 

From her Website. the Company's philosophy is to bring the most genuine, locally grown, authentic Italian food products to your table. She travels around Italy to establish a personal connection with her suppliers, to ensure that each and every ingredient is the most loved and cared for. 

So we met at Ottolenghi in Islington (place that I adore as food and location are lovely) and set up a photoshoot. Again, the autumnal look for me is a must! I never tire of this Season and its colour, it's simply poetic and inspirational. On this occasion I chose some Dahlias, Carnations, Amaranthus Caudatus and a lot of Eucalyptus for a natural and wondrous look.

Back to School!

It has been a very exciting first day at McQueen's School and I was definitely looking forward to it. Since I first stepped into the building I could breathe a creative and inspiring environment where people were very focused on their work but still smiling and enjoying what they were doing. From contracts, to events, to the actual shop, everything was vibrant and full of energy!

The classroom was very airy and bright; at the end of it a superb selection of flowers standing out from a huge black board. More colourful flowers were against a white wall too and the result was a blissful and enchanting atmosphere everyone could fit perfectly in.

I was given an apron, a pair of scissors and a few more tools. After a good introduction and a tour of the building (wonderland is nothing compared to it!!) we started with the "hard work". The Teachers were absolutely amazing, very efficient and lovely. I could feel myself at ease since the beginning as there was a very good balance of work and pleasure. Everyone was enjoying it and you could definitely tell. We focused on the hand-tied bouquets and I really had good fun. I left the School with a big big smile on my face and the "looking forward mood" to the next time!

Learning never exhausts the mind

Pretty excited to get to start McQueens' School on Monday for 4 weeks of great fun! I was looking forward to it since the moment I booked the course few months ago.

Updates and pictures will follow, enthusiasm is already ON! 

http://www.mcqueens.co.uk/school/

...because we never stop learning! Ah the quote is by Sir Leo da Vinci of course (it's his Bday too!)

The New York Botanical Garden

Have a peep into the fabulous New York Botanical Garden! Founded in 1891 the NYBG is a peaceful and natural oasis in the Bronx. The place is so incredibly big that they even provide you with a tram service to take you around. I actually used it twice just to make sure I didn't miss anything! I felt like Alice visiting an exciting and surprising Wonderland, every corner, every spot, every garden was love at first sight. Indeed I fell in love with the Conservatory for example  but what really stole my heart were the Thain Family Forest and The Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. When I wandered in the Forest I could breathe the history of that place, I walked "along Native American hunting trails, and passed under trees dating back to the American Revolution". The time stops when you are there, you hear the sound of silence and its immensity. The Rose Garden is another story. More than 650 varieties of roses: a jubilation of colours and perfumes and beauty. Take a look at David Austin's Princess Alexandra of Kent. A real dream. They say that summertime is the best moment to enjoy it...can you imagine that?!

 

 http://www.nybg.org

"...visible only to those who know where to look"

If you had the possibility to spend some time in one of the most beautiful Countries, which actually happens to be your Country, would you not? Of course you would, that’s why I took the chance to enjoy a short break where the sun shines, Spring is not just a word in the dictionary and places recall beauty and tranquility. Italy, my first Love! I’m writing this post while still here and have quite a few days to go, yet it feels like I have filled a bag full of images, senses, memories and wonders already.

Villa Barbarigo - a 16th-century rural mansion in Valsanzibio/Padova - with its remarkable gardens, the impressive statues as well as the many fountains and a lovely labirinth was a very good start indeed.  

Al Tezzon Restaurant and its glorious food then welcomed us by spoiling the senses with an epic gastro-experience that is always hard to forget. Lovely service, exceptional food, good memories: what a place!

When your first day at home is so brilliant that nothing could compare to it, then leave it with Venice, it’ll definitely do the job! It is impossibile not to fall in love with every corner of this place, each little alley speaks a beautiful language you cannot ignore. Venice inspires and seduces, it gives memories you will never forget. Breathe pleasure and elegance, enjoy the historical buildings, the busy squares, the reflections on the canals, the vibrant colours and don’t forget to smile! Enjoy the oddity where the bus is a ferry, the taxi is a posh motor boat and touristy cars are very expensive gondolas.

After a day like that, only one place could restore the balance of a stunning sight.  A place I particularly love for its beauty and sweet memories it recalls whenever I think of it. The Botanical Garden of Padova, created in 1545, is the oldest existing university botanical garden in the World and part of the Unesco Heritage. Every step you take is a reverie of surprises where you can enjoy a silent walk or listen to the sound of water, where ancient and modern coexist and …where I can even find my name among the medicinal plants! Wandering around, enjoying the historic trees like a huge magnolia or the oldest plant of the garden, a palm planted in 1585 and famous thanks to Goethe’s essays  it’s an experience that cannot be missed. Water lilies are still my favourite there like hellebores and tulips of course. Vivid and bright yet delicate flowers that inspired so many people in the past.

I would like to end this post with a small part of a sonnet I found at Villa Barbarigo. It’s  a lovely ode to Nature and its magnificence “visible only to those who know where to look”

 

"Curioso viator che in questa parte

Giungi e credi mirar vaghezze rare

Quanto di bel, quanto di buon qui appare

Tutto deesi a Natura e nulla ad Arte"

Pleasure and delight: Flowers, Art and Music

Flowers but not only, what a bright and lovely Easter!

Having decided to stay in London during this Bank Holiday, we opted for something a bit less traditional a lot more colourful and different. If you love flowers and you feel the need to fill your eyes with beauty, Columbia Road Flower Market is the perfect place for you. Let me say that fortunately this street market is open on Sundays only, otherwise I could easily spend every morning slowly wandering around and carefully choose what flowers to pick each time. Anyway, despite the early showers, the stalls were there, proud and delighted to show beautiful spring flowers just for everyone's pleasure. Because of the time of the year, I thought I would easily walk undisturbed from stall to stall without queuing or zigzagging among a hundred people as I usually do, well I was obviously wrong. Thumbs UP to Columbia Road Flower Market, Thumbs down to Easter Lunch: the place was as crowded as usual!

After a walk up and down the road I was gifted with some lovely and vibrant flowers: mixed coloured anemones, hyacinths and white ranunculus… only for my enjoyment. What a lush!

Flowers were obviously part of this Bank holiday but not the only ones.

As Samuel Johnson used to say "Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last", therefore who are we to ignore this desire of fulfilment and satisfaction? Ah! We obviously took the opportunity to see something new (and great) by visiting one of London's architectural gems: Two Temple Place. A beautiful Victorian building of late nineteenth-century owned by William Waldorf Astor, the richest man in the world at the time and used as his office. This extraordinary place not only is a jewel in Central London but is also home of a lovely temporary exhibition, "Beyond Beauty. Transforming the Body in Ancient Egypt". We tried to focus on the stunning collection but kept a close eye on the building with the promise to go back for the guide tour on 21th April.  Time is never enough when you find yourself in a such remarkable places where your eyes are wide open with surprise and amazement.

Would you ask for more? Well if you can, why not!

Therefore last but not least: Music! Can you imagine your life without it? Nope, I can't so there is nothing better than a concert to end your evening with. Kodaline at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith! What a gig! The Irish band was simply amazing, very good music, great vibes and lovely company of course.

Oh Spring!

Spring is the time of plans and projects. Tolstoy

 

Nothing is more gratifying than a lovely chat in front of an almond latte on a beautiful sunny day when everything seems to be possible and achievable. Talking about your future plans, all those nice things that are waiting for you and are just a step away, new collaborations, exciting projects, lovely people. Flowers, flowers and more flowers in London,

What a great thing when you feel that this happiness is just the beginning!

A Valentine's Pop-Up Shop

Fresh flowers from Holland have arrived , everything is ready for a new adventure with our pop-up shop in South West London. Not just roses but colourful tulips, ranunculus, lovely anemones. and much more.

Even though the house is full of flowers I decided to go to the Flower Market just in case enough is not enough. Well you know, sometimes "less is NOT more" and I want to enjoy as many colours as possible for the next few days, so there we are! Even if I am already thinking to a brand new and “interesting” design for the next time, watch this space!

Photos by Vincenzo De Santis

New Opportunities

Few days to Valentine’s and to the setting up of a new pop-up space in London: how exciting that is! I cannot stop drawing pictures in my mind of how the window display will be, thinking about the interiors and promotion of the place. Although challenging I am simply looking forward to start playing with flowers and colours. Wandering around the Flower Market looking for inspiration, spending some quality time by filling up my eyes with beauty, choosing to surprise…I will never get tired of this. This time of the year will not be just red roses but a selection of vibrant and delicate colours according to the season. Hundreds of flowers will warm up a lovely space along with some great prints and antique furniture, could I ask for more?

 Fill your days with Poetry.

 

Picture by Vincenzo De Santis

www.vincenzodesantis.it