December is one of my favourite times of year because I love the festive buzz that’s in the air; London is alive with twinkling lights and beautiful store windows. Even when I was a child I remember the excitement I felt in the lead up to decorating our tree. We would head down to the local tree farm and then spend the afternoon decorating the tree together – I loved it. So I was delighted when Sofa.com invited me to their Chelsea showroom in London to bring some Bright.Bazaar festivities to their HQ – all to be filmed in a super fun stop motion video.
I decided to decorate the tree with a traditional red and white theme but with a bow tie brights twist as a nod to my love of the bow tie. My talented friend Perri made the super-sized bow tie topper (if you love craft you should check out Perri’s book), which was the perfect finishing touch that completed the bow tie theme. Amongst the smattering of candy cane bow ties I worked in several handmade paper star garlands which were ethically produced using block print techniques by communities of women in the Kathmandu Valleys of Nepal; I love their understated yet ever so festive style. The hand painted detailing on these papier mache baubles gave the tree a unique and cosy charm. With the core decorations on the tree I was able to stand back and then fill any gaps with hanging bells for a final festive touch. And don’t get me started on the candy cane and bow tie stripe gift boxes – it was love at first sight! What do you think of my bow tie brights theme, folks? I’d love to hear what festive decorating themes you have chosen this year?
// Photography by Will Taylor | Video by NutFilms
First of all I hope all my friends and readers in North America had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration yesterday; it was so fun to see all your festivities via Instagram over here in London. If you are taking time to relax this weekend or looking towards Christmas and holiday celebrations then today’s Bright.Bakes recipe should be ideal. This is such a busy time of year so I always cheat when I make these delicious and oh-so-festive mini mince pies by using ready-made pastry and mincemeat (Shhh! Don’t tell my mum!). Here’s how to make quick and easy mini mince pies:
1. Preheat oven to 180°C/400°F/Gas 6 and have a cupcake tin greased and ready.
2. If you like to make your own pastry then you could use this shortcrust pastry recipe, otherwise a 500g pack of readymade shortcrust pastry can be used to save time.
3. Use a cookie cutter to make discs to fit the rounds of your cupcake tin and then use the trimmings to cut out star shapes to top each mini mince pie.
4. Place the pastry discs into the cupcake tin and then spoon in 1 tsp. of mincemeat in each and top with star shape. Finally, brush each star topper with a little cold water.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Once cooled, sprinkle with caster sugar.
I get just as much enjoyment from styling and photographing my Bright.Bakes series as I do actually baking the recipes for the posts. In fact, I felt so inspired after shooting these mini Christmas mince pies that I decided to use two of the pictures for my Christmas cards this year. I discovered that Minted have some really cool designs by independent artists that they let you upload your own pictures to and customise the text. Plus, get this, some of Minted’s holiday card designs come with fancy pants gold foil detailing! Don’t you think that the subtle and stylish gold foil type in my card design works perfectly with the festive food shot? I love how they came out! What are your favourite festive bakes, friends? Do you ever send personalised cards like this? I’d love to hear your seasonal ideas. Have a wonderful weekend and if you make these mini mince pies, please do tag Bright.Bazaar on Instagram as I would be so thrilled to see them!
// Photography by Will Taylor
Goodness me, I’m juggling madly this week, folks! After an amazing weekend in Norway ahead of speaking at Fargerike’s Colour of the Year conference on Monday, I didn’t land back into London until midnight and then after a few hours of shut eye I was on set for a festive styling shoot with Sofa.com all day yesterday. Today I’m out in town all day at spring/summer 14 press shows to preview what will be in stores next season in order to complete freelance work for magazine clients. Then on Thursday I have the press breakfast for the Bright.Bazaar book, plus I have to file my pages for the next issue of The Simple Things by the end of the week. Phew, very busy but all great fun! Basically, please forgive me for this quick update post but Mr. Bazaar is well and truly snowed under; I didn’t want you guys to think I wasn’t itching to drop in and say ‘hello’ with a quick blog. Here are a few sneak peek snaps from yesterday’s festive shoot; it was a long day but I had a lot of fun – stay tuned for the full reveal of the shoot in the next week or so. On the theme of festivities, check back on Friday as I have a fantastic Bright.Bakes post with a twist coming up… Hugs to you all!
// Photography by Will Taylor