Chelsea Flower Show Inspiration
I had the rare treat of being offered a ticket to the Chelsea Flower Show last Friday. My good friend from Kiki and bow was working with Potting Up Ltd and she gave me the opportunity to come along. It's crazy to think that I had never been to this wonderful show before and I was so excited on the train up to London.
Once I arrived, I followed the tide of people from the tube station to the gates. I could feel that everyone around me had that buzz of anticipation. Once through the gates, I was nearly overwhelmed by the expanse and variety of the sights along with the mass of people milling around. It was actually hard to get my bearings at first and decide how best to see it all. I decided to get a show guide and then started my mission. It is incredible what they had managed to do in such small spaces and many of the structures were awesome in the true sense of the word. I particularly liked the slate platforms in the Brewin Dolphin Garden and the breathtaking waterfalls in The Hidden Beauty of Kranji by Esmond Landscape and Uniseal.
The Great Chelsea Garden Challenge was designed to show a more natural space within the realms of your urban front garden along with the usual off road parking slot. The brief behind the challenge fascinated me because there are so many front gardens that have been covered with Tarmac and left soulless and sad with the obligatory set of bins on show. The mixed paving and gravel textures alongside the natural planting was relaxed, organic and gentle. I took away some really clever ideas for my own garden.
The Telegraph garden was also amazing with its paths and waterways and stunning block planting with tonal uniformity. The plant choices varied in texture and form but had a informal natural feel that contrasted with the modern edges and shapes framing the planting. I could have easily sat for a long time in the sunken seating area here and enjoyed the water passing by.
There were so many beautiful flowers and plants on display and I came home buzzing with new ideas for Nicole Phillips England designs. I wanted to stop and paint everywhere but I would have probably been moved along. Instead I have lots of photographs and plenty to think about for the coming year.
Nicole Phillips (Jelbert)
Easter Egg Decoration Ideas And Egg Blowing!
For the blowing bit, make sure the egg is clean then put the egg to your lips and blow hard through the larger hole until you have all the egg yoke in the bowl below.
This time I tried out a new technique using gold leaf. First I painted the eggs in a solid colour then I coated them with PVA glue and carefully applied gold leaf transfer onto the egg. Once it is dry use a large darning needle to thread your ribbon through the egg and tie a knot at the bottom and create a loop at the top. It's now ready to hang on your Spring tree.
Getting ready for The Spirit of Christmas 2014
We have been hard at work making preparing and getting ourselves all geared up for this years' Spirit of Christmas Fair. My teenage daughter has been working on making lots of gorgeous decorations and it looks like her studying GCSE textiles has come in very useful! Look out at the fair for her sweet little material Christmas trees!
I have made a few one-off special editions including beautiful material wreaths made with my fabric to add a Christmas touch. I have also added a range of very beautiful fabric stockings for those who deserve something a little bit special to pop gifts into.
In half term I went into the woods with my boys to collect twigs and branches for my show display. It ended up being a lovely walk in the countryside, running off steam and having a few stick sword fights along the way. At home I sprayed the twigs silver and gold and arranged them in a large old glass vase for the display. With twinkling Christmas lights and all the decorations it should look just the ticket.
At the last minute just a few days before the show I decided to have a trestle table made for the stand - this meant it was all hands to the deck! We visited the reclamation centre to buy some old wooden floorboards, sanded and varnished them. I am going to show off my fab Holly design table runners on it so come along and tell me what you think!
The day of the setup started with horrendous downpours but Richard and I headed up to London with our van loaded to the gunnels with our gorgeous stock and endless props. We arrived at Olympia to the usual hustle and bustle with everyone running around to park up and unload. I was pleased to see how near my stand was to the Crush restaurant as it’s always useful for grabbing a restorative juice during the day.
It was lovely to see some familiar faces from the other stands with many becoming good friends - a quick hug later then it was onto the business in hand. We set to work on the walls with my daring new colour scheme from Little Green. We used a colour called Leather and it’s a very bright pink so you wont miss me.
I can’t wait for the doors to open on Tuesday this week (4th November 2014) and don’t forget to drop by and see me on stand B 89.
Summer photo shoot
Autumn is most certainly here with plenty of leaves underfoot and the light fading all too quickly, but not before I reminisce with you about one stunning day this summer that we spent on the beach getting lifestyle shots ready for next year.
With the help of a couple of good friends, gorgeous afternoon light and a healthy collection of my cushions and deck chairs, we spent a wonderful few hours on West Wittering beach putting together some imagery for Summer 2015. The talented Jenny was behind the camera while Nicola and I did the styling and set up. My fantastic machinist Trisha had put together a marvelous one-off large sun umbrella using a mixture of my fabrics which looked really effective. We even used my Fish on a Line oil cloth to make a brilliant wind brake.
We had lots of fun staging the picnic shots, although the wine did tend to keep wandering off camera! See if you can spy a friendly Labrador swimming in the background and me standing precariously on the brake water while hammering in the umbrella.
I hope you enjoy this sneak preview of what’s to come next summer.
Love Nicole x
Autumn / Winter Pop up Boutique at The Leconfield Restaurant in Petworth
Reflecting on the Summer 2014
It has been ages since I've blogged and with the definite dip in temperature this week, I have realised our whirlwind of a summer is finally now over. So here’s a little overview of what I've been up to.
My summer started with The Spirit of Summer in Olympia which was a beautiful show full of tempting buys. I tried out a fabulous new colour for my stand, Juniper Ash from Little Green, my favourite paint company, which made my products pop out and gave a nod to my love all things nautical.
I then had the Hampton Court Flower Show to look forward to before the children's school holidays began. We had a glorious week of hot sun and I was very grateful for my mother’s helping hands at the stand. Our B&B’s landlady might not have been so happy about the amount of plants that kept filling up our bathtub each day!
The children’s summer holidays began and although they seemed to stretch endlessly before us, just as suddenly it seemed they were over. Lots of gorgeous sunny days spent at the seaside, picnics in the garden and even a camping trip to Devon and then suddenly it was back to work with the arrival of August and the Chili Fiesta at West Dean. We had a blustery day or two but the Chili spirit went on with lots of dancing and tasting of spicy foods. My Chili Jam tea towel went down a treat.
September came and went with the return to school and the Indian Summer keeping the weather stunning and spirits high. Then it was time for Grow, Cook, Eat at West Dean and we had a mixed batch of weather, ending on a sunny note on Sunday, when it really felt like the last day of summer.
It is time to book the chimney sweep as my thoughts turn to winter and snuggling up on the sofa. The blackberries are picked and in the freezer and my supply of cooking apples are endless, so I think the time has come for long Sunday lunches and Blackberry and Apple crumbles. Just because the nights are drawing in doesn’t mean I won’t be getting out and about, so keep your eyes peeled for more news about where you can find us.
We had a lovely photo shoot in the woods last week. There was lots of cake, cushions and bluebells. All my children were rustled up to be models and my gorgeous friend's daughter Amber was star of the show in her special strawberry dress. My boys modelled one-off linen and cotton Fish on the Line shorts that were so divine I wish we were making children's clothes. Who knows what the future holds... In the meantime I wanted to show you how gorgeous all my botanical cushions looked surrounded by bluebells.
Don't forget you can buy all of these fabrics by the metre for your own projects.
Twitter competition - 12 Tweets of Christmas
We've decided to celebrate Christmas by creating a competition called the 12 Tweets of Christmas. Running for the next 12 days from today in the lead up to the last posting day on the 18th, we will be tweeting each of our lovely Christmas products. Each tweet will have the hash tag #npe12tweets in it. All you need to do is re-tweet any of our 12 tweets and you could win 4 of our exclusive Christmas tea towels. On the final day (13th) we will look to see who re-tweeted one or more messages and then enter them into a prize draw.
Keep an eye out on our twitter @nicolephillipse for the messages. Good luck.
Meet Mary Berry at Grow Cook Eat at West Dean 5th and 6th October
Following on from the baking theme of my new tea towels, we are delighted to announce that we will be at the Grow Cook Eat event on the 5th and 6th of October at West Dean. Our new baking range will be on sale at our stand along with all our favourites such as Rhubarb and Custard and Apple and Blackberry Crumble. Come and see us!