May 18

2016

I went into London last week to visit my friend Silka Rittson-Thomas at her incredible flower studio in Mayfair. Silka is formally a private art advisor and curator, but she also happens to be my very chic neighbour in the Cotswolds – every time I see her she inspires me with her obvious embrace of personal style. I first had a look at her incredible vision for flowers when she opened a little pop-up flower shop – literally inside an old tuktuk (an automated rickshaw commonly used in India) – at the local Charlbury train station. I thought it was a brilliant idea, especially around Valentine’s Day or even just on weekends. Silka’s flower-filled tuktuk made it that much easier for women to pick up something to make the house prettier or for men to bring home something lovely for their wives. I was already impressed by Silka’s bountiful creativity, her motivation to take on a whole new endeavour in addition to the success of her art world career, and the charm with which she carried it off.

Then the next thing I knew Silka had a shop on Duke Street in London! I’d seen glimpses of what she was creating there – not only fresh flower arrangements but also incredible paper flowers ones as well. I had even sent some friends bouquets from her – I didn’t dare suggest what she send, knowing her ideas would be better than mine, so I just gave her a budget and let her do her thing. One friend who received them, Justine Picardie, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar, commented that they were the prettiest flowers that had ever entered her office!

So finally last week I made it to see Silka’s shop in person, and it is so much more than just the incredible flowers. She had a show on called TulipFever, including an unbelievably beautiful array of dutch tulips arranged by German artist Nicole Wermers, displayed in antique Royal Dutch delftware tuplières, all shown alongside vintage indigo fabrics and hand-printed neckerchiefs from Howe, a textile shop on Bourne Street (instagram: howe36bournestreet). The space itself was equally compelling…..basically it’s a small corridor and a staircase – that’s it! – but with colourful old tiles on the walls and new cabinets made to match the floral pattern of the old tiles. Every detail is considered and charming, and even the workshop studio around the corner is a place in which you just instantly feel you want to hang out. It was my first visit but certainly won’t be my last.

The TukTuk Flower Studio, 73 Duke Street, London, W1K 5NP

Tel. 0207 493 5813, Email: flowers@thetuktuk.net, Instagram: @thetuktukflowerstudio, Web: thetuktuk.net


Jan 21

2016

Life on the Farm: Winter Garden

F79A1023In January we give the garden a haircut. We cut back everything that has continued to be green until around Christmas time, we prune, we rake dead lives, and we pick out random rocks and twigs that have collected in the beds. It’s a very satisfying chore, in that the garden looks so organised and ordered when we are done, and it helps me get over the winter blues when there is very little alive apart from the Hellebore (which are much more noticeable when everything else has been tidied). This winter, I couldn’t believe how much was still alive or already blossoming in late December – we were mowing our lawn until just before Christmas! –  so I spent a morning with my camera documenting the late-in-the-year-garden-beauty for posterity. ..


Jun 18

2013

I ♥ Your Wedding Style: Rachel Chandler Guinness

While I’m on the subject of weddings, can we all just take a moment to be obsessed with Rachel Chandler Guinness? I first saw her about three years ago at a fashion show. It was Tara Subkoff’s second Imitation of Christ show after attempting to take back the label she founded, and all the cool girls were there – Chloe Sevigny, Jen Brill, Liz Goldwyn – but it was Rachel I noticed most. What caught my eye were her Belgian shoes...


Sep 21

2012

So far the thing I love most about England is how easy it is to clear my head when I need a break. Sure I get caught up in my emailing, or distracted by my kids, or overwhelmed by the prospect of starting from scratch on a new book just like I would in my life in New York. But here it is so easy to clear the decks and start again by walking the dog, going out on a ride, or collecting the chicken eggs. My favorite way, however, is to arrange flowers from our garden. I always get a twinge of anxiety when I start because its never obvious which flowers I am going to pick or how I am going to arrange them. Often one variety is in bloom, but there is not enough to make a whole bouquet with. So I have to figure something else that will look pretty with it. This is a challenge for me. For many years I have been a flower minimalist – I like a handful of all the same flower tightly and tidily arranged in a neat little uptight city-girl bouquet. But the country has made me relax. A little. My arrangements are looser and I have learned to mix and match when necessary. I have also come to like the uneasiness I feel as I figure out what I am going to do. I realize that subtle tension is a natural by-product of creativity. It makes the process more engaging and ultimately more satisfying.