Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Bolt Hole.....

Phewww...we have just finished a very busy week at Wild thyme.

We have been most fortunate to be part of some wonderful celebrations over the past few months. We certainly have no complaints, as it has been busy. However, whenever I start to feel really stressed and overworked, I try to relax and and think about all of the amazing places I will visit when time and circumstances allow. Very often, I just want to get out of Dodge, slow right down and just hide away in a lovely place for a week.

In Britain, they call it a "bolt hole". I love the term. Because that's exactly what you want to do....bolt and hide.

A few years ago I stumbled upon Callakille Cottage on the west coast of Scotland, via the internet.

The cottage is 50 yards from the beach and located on one of Scotland's most scenic stretches of coast, with views across to the Isle of Skye.

The interior is extremely charming, stylishly appointed and romantic.

I love the branches and the Roberts radio on the window sill. Ahh yes, music quietly playing or maybe I'd be catching up with The Archers on BBC radio 4.

The deerskin hide, the dark laquered floors and the simple bedding and pillows make the room feel inviting, rather than dowdy.

I would easily de-stress in this room. It's bright and simple. I can just picture myself with a cup of tea, some toast, comfie "jammies" and a few Persephone books to lose myself in. Love it !

Callakille cottage belongs to online entrepreneur Rosie Brown. Rosie has great taste and has an incredible eye and talent for sourcing the best of Scotland's artists and artisans. And no, it's not all shortbread and tartan kilts !

Oh, by the way, this is the bag I would have with me at Callakille Cottage. I find it rather chic and classic. Great for town visits.

So practical AND stylish !

For those long, long walks when one gets thirsty. Very tasteful.

And, oh my, we can't forget our wellies. Much needed in Scotland.

I love the idea of deer antlers on the mantle. Very hip and gorgeous.

Oooh, this blanket looks divine. Check it out on Papa Stour.

I'm totally into hot water bottles. This one would be perfect for Callakille Cottage !

The Welcoming Committee! Sweet!

By the way, if anyone has stayed here or is planning to visit, we'd love to hear from you as we're are thinking of booking for 2010 sometime.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Wedding.....Regency style

I love this wedding. It has a Jane Austin meets Constance Spry meets modern bride attitude about it.

I find it so stylish, a bit dandyish, and very modern. It is most definitely a morning or early afternoon ceremony/reception. One can imagine a glorious breakfast or a long leisurely lunch, complete with champagne, savoury canapes and delicious cakes and pastries.

This is also a country wedding, perhaps in a small village somewhere in the West country or the shires. The ancient church with the golden stone benches are filled with such lovely local beauties as forget-me-nots, maidenhair ferns, fritallaries, bluebells and soloman's seal.

I imagine this bride has a career in fashion, loves classical literature, enjoys long welly walks and weekends in the country. It would seem fitting that she and her man probably motor around town and country in some jalopy. Because anything slick and shiny would be too showy and vain. Your wedding celebration should be the the same... a natural extention of both yours' and your fiance's personality and character.
Her hat is very Jane Austin and is a cheeky wink to riding hats of that period. For this lovely occasion, it has been filled with lily of the valley and primroses. Do you like the netting ? Very fetching, don't you think?

And....this charming satchel filled with primroses and lily of the valley.
Simply perfect.

Sweeping floral pews of clematis, Solomon's seal, fronds of maidenhair fern and bunches of primroses. Very Constance Spry....

See... you don't need fancy imported flowers to make a statement.

The lesson ? Make the best of what's available locally and in season.

Isn't this absolutely delightful ?

This nuptial celebration is a great example of how weddings don't always have to be formal evening affairs. You can have an equally sophisticated soiree without the long, late hours and your guests will still be thrilled.

Think Spring for this one.......

All images from Shane Connolly's book on Wedding Flowers

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Wedding....Renaissance

I love the idea of an Italianate garden room setting for a wedding. 

The criss cross ribboning through the arch is intended to mimic a beautiful Renaissance frescoe. The terra cotta pots of miniature orange trees along the table are so divine.

This would look rather splendid in any venue that had an orangery or an airy Italianate feel. The mirrored back wall reflects the decor so wonderfully and gives the impression of more than what's there.

The oranges and laurel leaf garland draping along the buffet table is a very beautiful detail. Simple, yet extremely elegant. And the pretty pedestal full to the brim with satsumas (with their leaves attached) is very chic indeed. 

I think this may be my favourite idea of all - lining the cermony aisle with pots of rosemary and white crocuses and covered with moss. Both can be removed and planted into the newlyweds' garden as a memento of such a fabulous day. Love it !

The bride's dress was very influential to the overall ideas for the wedding... its' stark silhouette, the ribbon details, and the longer sleeves are very much "renaissance" in style. 

As such, the bride could carry a bouquet that cradeled in her hands. Both hands "cupped" the flowers in order to emphasize her sleeves. How lovely.

The alternative to the cupped bouquet is this waist garland, leaving the brides' hands free. A most unusual idea. Yet it still reveals the gorgeous details of the sleeves, and very much keeps with the Renaissance theme of the wedding. I really, really like this idea.

What an inspired concept for a sophisticated, elegant wedding.

All images from Shane Connolly's book on Wedding Flowers

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Toast by Post......and email

I am such a big fan of  TOAST , a British based (Wales to be precise) fashion company. I first discovered them whilst living in London about 10 years ago and at the time they only had a catalogue. Now they have shops inside Selfridges, as well as a website. Their website used to be called which I thought was adorable. It was sooo British. But perhaps they felt most people wouldn't remember such a delightful phrase. So, now it's just

Anyway, their catalogues are superb. I used to have quite a collection of them until we decided to do some renovating. Then, very reluctantly, I took a deep, deep breath and purged many of my magazines (my obsession with magazines is quite disturbing) along with the gorgeous TOAST catalogues. Needless to say...I wish I hadn't !

Each season, they pick the most beautiful and evocative locations for their photo shoots. The first winter issue I received was shot in and around a very old alpine hut in the French Alps. The following summer issue was shot on some islands off the coast of Sweden. And yet another issue was photographed in Lapland and the following summer on some isolated part of Sardinia. 

The models are always so lovely. They wear the clothes beautifully.

They'll usually have only two models for the whole photo shoot and the layout of the catalogue is set up to reveal a bit of a story. Whether it's a hot, dry summer on the islands or a local circus act and its cast of characters, or the romantic warmth of an Alpine refuge.

And of course the clothes are really gorg.....Anyway, enough writing, here are some snippets from the most recent catalogue......

What a great outfit for a walk on a windy, coolish September day at the beach. I'm thinking.... west coast of Scotland, maybe somewhere along the coast of Maine, Nova Scotia...any other suggestions for lively walks on a beach ?

O.K....doesn't this look so comfy and fashionable at the same time ? I think it's all in the cinching at the waist and the lovely casual look of her hair. The boots are the best - loving the half calf length ! The cardi is quite lovely too.

I love this outfit ! Her chapeau...fabulous. The boots...the best. The scarf...cosy and still on trend. And the hot pink arm warmers...yes, it works ! The boyfriend ? Unfortunately, not so hot. 

The bold shot of orange is spot on. Again, the boots are fab, and the royal blue arm warmers...nice touch.

Well, what can I say ? She's gorgeous. It's a gorgeous colour and I say frame it and hang it in the living room.

This is such a pretty, sophisticated yet simple look. It's dressy and casual. I love the dangley look of the necklace. I think it gives the outfit an artsy vibe.

The jolt of yellow from the necklace against the royal blue is a very nice surprise. Do you agree ? 

I just think this is very sweet and I love that they have labeled the arm warmers as arm/leg warmers. I guess her arms and legs are of equal size ? A bit scary.....

Great look for those days when you just have to go into town !

Oh, and lastly, I love the name TOAST. It's gives such a cosy, easy going feeling. 

Friday, August 14, 2009

The New Bohemians

This photograph has always captured my imagination.

from House and Garden 2002

The rustic setting with it's rough hewn table and mismatched chairs are very charming. I love how they have used simple ivy vine to drape the mantel and table adding some drama to the room. Yet it still has an air of elegance about it.

The home belongs to concert pianists, The Labeque Sisters, Katia and Marielle. This is their Tuscan getaway. It totally captivates me. The story of the house comes from a back issue of House and Garden and the article started with.....

"The remains of a memorable Indo-Russian-Tuscan inspired dinner (and several bottles of burgundy) were scattered among the silver ware and flowers on the wooden table. The rain had stopped and the warm damp air from the enclosed garden was filled with the sweet scent of Olea fragrans and the sumptuous wisteria spreading its ancient tentacles over the seventeenth century loggia. Katia Labeque, beautiful in a richly embroidered ottoman gown, sat at her Steinway and began to play, softly at first, a sensual interpretation of a Chopin nocturne".

And on it went........I was transported to an idyllic place......

"Soon Katia moved from Brahms waltzes to Hungarian dances, and later with the support of Marco Postinghel on the bassoon and Guido Corti playing the French horn, she ventured into jazz".

The villa is outstanding. The sisters love to incorporate luxurious items into everyday living.

The table is set with 18th century pewter plates and 19th century silverware. The villa and its' furnishings were sourced or produced by famed antiques collector and interior decorator Axel Vervoordt.  By the way, I love the mandolin motif on the napkin. Don't you ?

As Katia says " I'm not interested in living in a museum where all the good silverware is stacked away and no one dares to drink from ancient glassware......One needs to be respectful of precious objects, but they must be enjoyed".

I love the beautiful mix of modern and antique in this room . The combination is superb. A contemporary sofa and chair by Axel Vervoordt complement an 18th century Venetian mirror and 18th century wine table. In the background an antique Venetian mirror front cabinet. The simple wooden stools and sisal carpeting complete the look.

What a gorgeous view. Oh, to have tea here in the morning or a lovely aperitif in the evening. Wouldn't you love to be a guest at this romantic, soulful house ?
Be still my beating heart......

If you are not familiar with the Labeque sisters, here's a quick intro. 

Update: I  know Madonna's attitude is a bit patronising, but what can I say ? She's being Madonna ! I highly recommend a visit to the Labeque sisters website as well as other You Tube concert videos (which are a bit longer). 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dining al fresco

Maria's email stated; "It's just a barbecue, so really, don't fuss. Just come on over. Can't wait to see you all. Hugs and kisses".

Maria and Lino are the most elegant hosts. Yes, it was a barbecue, but an ever so sophisticated one. 

Upon arrival, a visual feast... orchids floating in glass bowls, the most spectacular manzanita tree dripping with Georg Jensen votives, prosecco on ice, and the most delicious nibblies ever. Triple (who knew) brie cheese served on organic, rosemary, raisin and pecan toasts, drizzled with organic golden honey of the most delicious kind. Believe me, this was simply amazing. And just so we remembered it was "just a barbecue", tasty chicken wings were on offer with the yummiest blue cheese dressing. Followed by a ceasar salad like no other (each half of romaine was barbecued and served as is) with the other ingredients placed on top. Fabulous! Note to self: must get recipe. 

And yes, we had burgers..... Waygu burgers. I have to admit I didn't know what they were, but they were so incredibly wonderful. So much flavour...And the wine...oh my goodness...

Anyway, my point to all of this is that our dear friends love the summer months and the opportunity to dine outdoors, entertain, relax and unwind. They love to spoil their friends and when they do, they consider all aspects of the evening - flowers, decor, drink and food -- even if  "it's just a barbecue".

The long hot days of summer seem to encourage leisurely, decadent dining out of doors. Like most people I enjoy a good old barbecue, just throwing a couple of steaks and burgers onto the grill and swilling back some cold beers. But somehow it seems a bit lacking.

However.... there's nothing quite like dining al fresco in the most elegant manner. 

Wouldn't lunch here be divine? And look at that gorgeous bouquet of nasturtiums ! I wonder what's for lunch ?

It's so luxurious to set a table with the most lovely linens, delectable wines and pretty flowers.....

Oh.... to dine in a field or vineyard with those mountains in the distance.....

I love the hot, spicy colours of the linens and the painted walls. The succulents and cacti remind me of that intense heat of the south of France. Listen.....can you hear the ciccadas ? I'm looking forward to my afternoon siesta in one of the rooms upstairs....

Isn't this a wonderful display of heirloom tomatoes ? They are such a quintessential summer vegetable (fruit ?).

Even breakfast is sophisticated when dining al fresco ! Check out those tomatoes !

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer, wherever you are.

Photos: #1,2and 6 Ariella Chazar "Flowers for the Table"; #3,4,5 and 6 House and Garden magazine

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Flowers and Fashion

Isn't it wonderful how nature inspires us ? 
One of fashion's great visionaries, Junya Watanabe is known for his complex and innovative designs. His fascination for fabrics that are technologically advanced has led him to explore fashion through the science of fabric. Innovative construction, rich textures and forms have resulted in patterns that mimic ruffles that resemble flower petals.

He defined his 2000/01 collection as "chemical romantic". The dresses were an intricate mix of nature and technique, artisan and industry.

The honeycomb weave and the colour combination could easily have been inspired by this fabulous dahlia....

Oh, by the way, dahlias are coming into season. Be sure to pick up a playful bunch and be prepared to find inspiration. 

More on dahlias on my next post.....

The above images were taken from the publication "BLOOM" from May 2000.


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