Yvonne Coomber | An Artists Stay in Devon

A few weeks back a group of utterly charming and talented women gathered together at artists Yvonne Coomber’s invitation. A very generous ‘artist in residence’ stay, we gathered at Pip Farm in Totnes, Devon. The farm had been filled with Yvonne’s work, each wall adorned with her joyful, happy paintings. Each window sill, ledge, infact most flat surfaces where filled with vases of flowers. You couldn’t walk into a more happier space.

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Yvonne’s trademark paint splattered boots.

Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat

Bex from @botanical_tales  led a miniature dried flower wreath making workshop. Which was so fun and bonding and thankfully Bex fixed mine as my wreath making skills are pretty shocking!

We had a wander through Totnes and visited Yvonne’s shop!

Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat
Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat

Then incredibly, Yvonne, generously invited us (all!) into her home for afternoon tea, with free reign to explore and photograph her house and garden. I absolutely loved this part of our experience, Yvonne’s home is like her paintings, eclectic and full of joy! And so much cake and how much tea cosy envy do you have? (I’ve already asked where the tea cosy was from and it’s a one off wedding gift made by a friend. I’m a bit gutted too.)

Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat
Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat
Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat
Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat

Yvonne’s studio, the last stop of our day in around Totnes was to see where Yvonne worked. Her studio is in a valley surrounded by fields and nature, exactly what you see in her paintings. She paints outside in the elements and the day’s weather affects the painting, wind, heat or even quiet stillness. It was very special to be invited into someone’s work space, see their tools, their half finished work and hear their story. Yvonne’s journey to becoming an artist wasn’t a straightforward path but it was inspiring and humbling to hear it in her own words.

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Yvonne Coomber Artist in Devon Retreat

Below is a list of everyone involved in the retreat, Yvonne as well as all the guests and those who looked after us. Do have a look through you’ll find some beautiful people and accounts to follow.

Yvonne @yvonnecoomber

Julia @humphreyandgrace 

Janne @jannelford 

Bex @botanical_tales 

Miranda @mirandasnotebook

Lulu @acupfullofdreams 

Tamsyn @tamsynmorgans 

DÖrte @lewesmap

Elizabeth  @blowyinthewind 

Catherine  @catherine_frawley 

Katie @ceramicmagpie 

Georgie  @georgiestclair 

Kyla @kylamagrathinteriors   

Jeannett  @pippiandmeceramics 

Georgie @acitygirlatheart

Djamila @djamilasfreshfeasts

Marta  @marta.matson

I can’t thank Yvonne enough for having me, I’m stunned I got to experience these few days. I left feeling inspired, hopeful and so lucky having been part of such a beautiful group of people. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: I was very kindly invited to this event, but under no obligation to share. However as a photographer the whole experience was a visual treat and I can’t help but share the images. I hope you like them! All thoughts and images my own.

Amsterdam | 48 Hours

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Amsterdam in April, there was still blossom in the trees and tulips starting to fill bicycles and flower beds and boxes. We were celebrating both our wedding anniversary and 48 hours child free, we clocked up 60,000 steps, ate pancakes, the best ever apple pie, walked up and down nearly every canal, crossed all the bridges, visited the Botanical Gardens, peered into various hotels, found the plant and globe house and sat watching sunrise by the pool atop of Soho House Amsterdam. Here are our favourite images from our trip and our recommendations….

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WINKEL 43   I’d read about the apple pie being epic and we weren’t disappointed. It’s huge, with generous chunks of apple, layered high with copious amounts of cinnamon. The crust is brick thick and delicious. If you are going to eat a slab of pie this big you might as well accept the offer of cream too.

WINKEL 43

I’d read about the apple pie being epic and we weren’t disappointed. It’s huge, with generous chunks of apple, layered high with copious amounts of cinnamon. The crust is brick thick and delicious. If you are going to eat a slab of pie this big you might as well accept the offer of cream too.

DE WELDAAD   Just a few doors down from Winkel 43 is De Weldaad a stunning interiors shop which is just prop heaven. I found some lovely little ceramics that just fit in my carry on. Loved this find.

DE WELDAAD

Just a few doors down from Winkel 43 is De Weldaad a stunning interiors shop which is just prop heaven. I found some lovely little ceramics that just fit in my carry on. Loved this find.

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WILDERNIS   Plants, coffee and cake… what’s not to love. The interiors of Wildernis, is far more lovely than I’ve seen on Instagram. It’s filled with beautiful ceramics, plant books, gift ideas and of course plants - I wish there had been some way to transport most of this shop home.

WILDERNIS

Plants, coffee and cake… what’s not to love. The interiors of Wildernis, is far more lovely than I’ve seen on Instagram. It’s filled with beautiful ceramics, plant books, gift ideas and of course plants - I wish there had been some way to transport most of this shop home.

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SOHO HOUSE AMSTERDAM   We stayed at Soho House Amsterdam. As with all their houses, it’s more than a home away from home, no need to pack toiletries or hair straightners, the bedroom was delightful, the sheets and pillows as always so luxurious and waiting for you is the nespresso coffee machine and House Cookies in the cookie tin.  This site opened last year in the 1930s Bungehuis building, a huge art deco site, that until Soho House took it over, was inhabited by squatters. (I was told they have moved next door) The art deco touches are evident throughout, the members area is relaxing and stylish. The roof has fantastic views plenty of seating areas and a pool if you fancy doing some lengths! Cecconis is on the ground floor, if you don’t want to venture too far, I can recommended the Aubergine parmigiana!  *Our stay here was gifted as part of some work I did for Soho House last year.

SOHO HOUSE AMSTERDAM

We stayed at Soho House Amsterdam. As with all their houses, it’s more than a home away from home, no need to pack toiletries or hair straightners, the bedroom was delightful, the sheets and pillows as always so luxurious and waiting for you is the nespresso coffee machine and House Cookies in the cookie tin.

This site opened last year in the 1930s Bungehuis building, a huge art deco site, that until Soho House took it over, was inhabited by squatters. (I was told they have moved next door) The art deco touches are evident throughout, the members area is relaxing and stylish. The roof has fantastic views plenty of seating areas and a pool if you fancy doing some lengths! Cecconis is on the ground floor, if you don’t want to venture too far, I can recommended the Aubergine parmigiana!

*Our stay here was gifted as part of some work I did for Soho House last year.

street scenes

street scenes

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PULITZER   25 Canal houses have been woven together to create this unique collection of guest rooms, inner courtyard gardens, meeting rooms, cafe, restaurant and event space. We had a little peek and look around it is indeed lovely, you can feel the history and the past lives the houses have had.

PULITZER

25 Canal houses have been woven together to create this unique collection of guest rooms, inner courtyard gardens, meeting rooms, cafe, restaurant and event space. We had a little peek and look around it is indeed lovely, you can feel the history and the past lives the houses have had.

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The Dutch House with Globes and Plants!  This one pops up on Instagram all the time. Apparently the plants and globes have been here for 20 years, I couldn’t find out why or who owns it but I’m so glad it’s here. If you are looking for it, it’s on the way to the Botanical Gardens near Cafe t’ Hooischip.

The Dutch House with Globes and Plants!

This one pops up on Instagram all the time. Apparently the plants and globes have been here for 20 years, I couldn’t find out why or who owns it but I’m so glad it’s here. If you are looking for it, it’s on the way to the Botanical Gardens near Cafe t’ Hooischip.

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street scenes

street scenes

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HORTUS BOTANICUS   About a 30 min walk from our hotel, we spent a couple of hours at the botanical gardens, it’s fairly small so it was easy to fit into our limited time in Amsterdam. The orangery style green house is gorgeous and the gardens were just coming into bloom when we visited. The more traditional style green house is the hot house, exceptionally hot and filled with tropical plants and flowers.  ENTRANCE 9.75 EURO  Other   THE PANCAKE BAKERY   Huge sweet and savoury pancakes served in an old converted warehouse, we were advised to get their at 9am (we got there at 915am and there was a queue already) when we left the queue was so long! The interiors is bare brick walls, and as many dark wood tables they could fit in, it’s very dark so unless you fancy squeezing through the queue of hungry people to get outside to find some light, I’d suggest you enjoy your pancake and take pictures of other things. Good quality ingredients, interesting, extensive menu, quite expensive.   PLUK   A cafe and interiors shop, there were some very pretty ceramics and gift ideas in this lovely curated shop, we couldn’t stay to eat as the little restaurant was completely full but worth popping in if you are passing.

HORTUS BOTANICUS

About a 30 min walk from our hotel, we spent a couple of hours at the botanical gardens, it’s fairly small so it was easy to fit into our limited time in Amsterdam. The orangery style green house is gorgeous and the gardens were just coming into bloom when we visited. The more traditional style green house is the hot house, exceptionally hot and filled with tropical plants and flowers.

ENTRANCE 9.75 EURO

Other

THE PANCAKE BAKERY

Huge sweet and savoury pancakes served in an old converted warehouse, we were advised to get their at 9am (we got there at 915am and there was a queue already) when we left the queue was so long! The interiors is bare brick walls, and as many dark wood tables they could fit in, it’s very dark so unless you fancy squeezing through the queue of hungry people to get outside to find some light, I’d suggest you enjoy your pancake and take pictures of other things. Good quality ingredients, interesting, extensive menu, quite expensive.

PLUK

A cafe and interiors shop, there were some very pretty ceramics and gift ideas in this lovely curated shop, we couldn’t stay to eat as the little restaurant was completely full but worth popping in if you are passing.

Nomadic | A Woodland Dining Experience

On Saturday I was hired to photograph an outdoor event in Buckinghamshire, a private wood is host to Nomadic’s unique dining experience. Guests experience an immersive foraged feast surrounded by nature with dinner cooked by a talented chef. Each event differs, depending on the time of year, the chef and the weather. The chef creating Saturday’s feast was Chris Hruskova, a Danish michelin starred chef who now runs a bakery in London. It was a joy to photograph, something I just love shooting observationally, capturing events as they happen and this event gave me so much to capture. Thanks for having me Noah!

Disclosure, I was hired to photograph the event, I was not asked or paid to blog about the event. All thoughts my own I just wanted to share something I enjoyed here.

Venice | A Photo Essay

My recent visit to Venice was an incredible 48 hours out of reality just me, my good friend Julia and our cameras. We were up at 5am seeking the perfect Venetian sunrise, followed by coffee at my favourite coffee shop in Venice (Bar da Gino’s Cale Nova Sant Agnese) we explored, drank more coffee, visited the island of Burano and were in bed by 9pm! Photographing for pleasure was so, so good for the soul. These are my favourites from our trip.

Daylesford Farm | A Foraging Day

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This post was originally featured on 91 Magazine, posting it here with some more imagery from the day

Daylesford farm began its organic journey 35 years ago. Now, one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK, its 2350 acres in the Cotswolds is also home to a beautiful farm shop, restaurant, café, a spa, cottages and a cookery school.

There’s a huge amount of social interest at the moment in slow living and home cooking with edible flowers (according to my online world), which seemingly has never been more popular. Elderflower season is starting and Instagram and Pinterest are full of images of foraged finds being turned into cordial, cakes and more. So it was hugely inspiring to spend the day at Daylesford on the Wild Food & Foraging Course to find out more about the plants and flowers that we pass by everyday that can be added to make simple meals more interesting and visually more stunning.

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Tim (pictured above) is Daylesford’s resident forager and we were lucky enough on this day to have Garry Eveleigh AKA The Wild Cook join us adding his expertise in what can be eaten in the woodlands of the Daylesford estate.

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We spent a good two hours walking through the woods, fields and by the lake, stopping along the way to collect or avoid certain plants, taste what was being picked. This included wood sorrel, ground ivy, yellow celandine and pretty purple honesty flowers. At the time I visited, wild garlic was in abundance and we all collected huge bunches of it, some to be used when we returned to the school but plenty to take home with us too.

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Back at the school we snacked on Anzac biscuits from the farm shop and drank Bloody Marys with wild Horseradish that the chef had prepared before making our own Foragers Butter. (find the recipe at the end of this post)

With our baskets of plants and flowers we made our own salads; creating salad dressings and choosing from an array of vinegars, mustards and oils from the larder to suit our own palettes. Added to our salads, chef served venison carpaccio and raw asparagus in a simple dressing.

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Nettles were used to make a nettle ice cream, which was served with forced rhubarb. There was a huge amount of knowledge being shared and lots of tasting and simple recipes being whipped up, like homemade mayonnaise, to show us how quick and easy it is and also how much better it tastes than shop bought.

The whole day was a wonderful experience, a great introduction into foraging and simple ways you can implement it into a busy life. When lunch was over we all had a browse in the farm shop, I bought the cider vinegar and those Anzac biscuits and there may have been a few other things that made it into my basket too!

Three interesting things I discovered:

1. Washing stinging nettles will take out the sting

2. Buttercups are poisonous(!)

3. Raw asparagus in a simple dressing are delicious.

Making your own butter

- 900ml of cream will make around 400g of butter

  • Beat the cream with an electric whisk until it peaks and starts to clump and then white liquid starts to appear. The cream has now separated into curds of butter and buttermilk. It takes about 10 minutes. Strain the curds out of the buttermilk

  • In a bowl of very cold water drop in the curds to draw out any further milk. Squeeze the butter together to form a ball and then add your foraged flowers and a little salt (if you want a salted butter). Work the butter so your added ingredients are evenly distributed. Roll the butter into a sausage shape and wrap tightly in cling film.

The butter will keep for a week in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer.

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Mr Foggs House of Botanicals | Tipsy Afternoon Tea

Mr Foggs Tipsy Tea

I was invited to spend an afternoon in Mr Foggs House of Botanical’s it’s a pleasure to step inside, it’s thoughtfully curated with props nodding to Mr Foggs 80 day trip as well as being filled with plants and foliage, from prints on the wall, ceiling installations to floral wallpaper upstairs. Whilst I could have spent my day enjoying the surroundings I was actually here to enjoy afternoon tea. But not any afternoon tea this one involves choosing from a selection of elaborate sounding cocktails and them being served in a china teapot and teacup! No earl grey here!

After getting over my shock and delight at what my teapot contained we were presented with our tier of edible delights. Sandwiches on the bottom of mini buns with a selection of hams, cheese and salad and a soft white bread triangle (crust less of course) filled with smoked salmon and kimchi.

The middle tier contained lemon and coffee macarons, pan au chocolat, mini croissant and blueberry muffins. The final tier contained mini donuts in thick blankets of sugar cinnamon!

Afternoon Tea runs every Saturday from 130pm to 330pm. The service was impeccable, friendly, fun and welcoming with our servers dressed in the spirit of Victoriana. As an experience I highly recommend a visit. Yes I’ve had daintier teas with absolutely exquisite treats but what this tea lacks slightly in finesse it more than makes up for in atmosphere, delightfulness and it’s set in an absolutely stunning location.

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I was invited very kindly by Mr Foggs to sample afternoon tea, so this experience was gifted but all words and thoughts are my own.

I was invited very kindly by Mr Foggs to sample afternoon tea, so this experience was gifted but all words and thoughts are my own.

Matcha & Beyond | A New Opening in Chelsea

I was invited to visit  Matcha & Beyond  on the Kings Road earlier this week. The newly opened cafe specialises, as the name suggests, in all things Matcha. I wrote back to the PR saying, I very much dislike Matcha the two occasions I’ve had a Matcha Latte I couldn’t manage more than a sip. A reaction I thought was similar to trying Marmite for the first time (you love or hate it).  The lovely PR insisted that Olivia, the founder and creator of Matcha & Beyond would change my mind by showing me and letting me taste good quality matcha that has been treated well and used in the right way. I know there are lot of great properties in matcha, so I was happy to let her try and convince me.  Matcha & Beyond is on the Kings Road between Chelsea Old Town Hall and The Ivy Chelsea Garden, it was nicely busy when I arrived in the morning, the café is cute, has great floor tiles, the back wall is a living garden with neon writing declaring it’s a ‘Matcha Made In Heaven’. All the details are delightful, the counter has a sea of green products on offer from, green velvet cake, matcha and vanilla marble cake, matcha and white chocolate cookies, matcha energy balls to matcha chia pudding. And of course there’s a full menu of breakfast and lunch options that don’t feature matcha; Salads and bowls with sides of smoked salmon, avocado, kimchi and hallumi.  But my main focus was the Matcha Coffee section, Matchamericano, Matcha Cortado, Flat Green and the Matcha Latte, I went with the spiced Matcha Latte made with oat milk. I took a tentative sip and it was delightful! Subtle, smooth with a just a hint of that earthy taste. I finished my mug in no time. And after talking to Olivia who is a nutritional therapist, I was thoroughly sold on the idea of Matcha being a useful nutritional tool in my daily quest for better health. The caveat, as I guess with most things, is that is has to be good quality and prepared in the right way with the best tools - like the beautiful looking traditional matcha whisk, that they use and also sell in the shop.  If you don’t want to invest in a trip to Japan or the time to learn how to make your own superb matcha latte I strongly recommend you head to Matcha & Beyond and try a cup of Olivia’s matcha coffee and definitely pick up a treat to go with it.  Disclaimer: I was invited to visit Matcha & Beyond, but not asked to share my visit on the blog. I really enjoyed having my mind completely changed about something I thought I would never try again and I do want to support small businesses and their owners following their dreams and passions and I feel Olivia’s Matcha endeavours are worth sharing.  I’d love to know your thoughts on Matcha – love or hate it?   Matcha & Beyond  191 Kings Road, Chelsea, SW3 5ED

I was invited to visit Matcha & Beyond on the Kings Road earlier this week. The newly opened cafe specialises, as the name suggests, in all things Matcha. I wrote back to the PR saying, I very much dislike Matcha the two occasions I’ve had a Matcha Latte I couldn’t manage more than a sip. A reaction I thought was similar to trying Marmite for the first time (you love or hate it).

The lovely PR insisted that Olivia, the founder and creator of Matcha & Beyond would change my mind by showing me and letting me taste good quality matcha that has been treated well and used in the right way. I know there are lot of great properties in matcha, so I was happy to let her try and convince me.

Matcha & Beyond is on the Kings Road between Chelsea Old Town Hall and The Ivy Chelsea Garden, it was nicely busy when I arrived in the morning, the café is cute, has great floor tiles, the back wall is a living garden with neon writing declaring it’s a ‘Matcha Made In Heaven’. All the details are delightful, the counter has a sea of green products on offer from, green velvet cake, matcha and vanilla marble cake, matcha and white chocolate cookies, matcha energy balls to matcha chia pudding. And of course there’s a full menu of breakfast and lunch options that don’t feature matcha; Salads and bowls with sides of smoked salmon, avocado, kimchi and hallumi.

But my main focus was the Matcha Coffee section, Matchamericano, Matcha Cortado, Flat Green and the Matcha Latte, I went with the spiced Matcha Latte made with oat milk. I took a tentative sip and it was delightful! Subtle, smooth with a just a hint of that earthy taste. I finished my mug in no time. And after talking to Olivia who is a nutritional therapist, I was thoroughly sold on the idea of Matcha being a useful nutritional tool in my daily quest for better health. The caveat, as I guess with most things, is that is has to be good quality and prepared in the right way with the best tools - like the beautiful looking traditional matcha whisk, that they use and also sell in the shop.

If you don’t want to invest in a trip to Japan or the time to learn how to make your own superb matcha latte I strongly recommend you head to Matcha & Beyond and try a cup of Olivia’s matcha coffee and definitely pick up a treat to go with it.

Disclaimer: I was invited to visit Matcha & Beyond, but not asked to share my visit on the blog. I really enjoyed having my mind completely changed about something I thought I would never try again and I do want to support small businesses and their owners following their dreams and passions and I feel Olivia’s Matcha endeavours are worth sharing.

I’d love to know your thoughts on Matcha – love or hate it?

Matcha & Beyond 191 Kings Road, Chelsea, SW3 5ED

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RECIPE Aubergine Curry

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Aubergine Curry

I made this simple but ever so tasty and nutritious curry that will see you through the dark days and cold nights, for the Laura Ashley blog. Usually made with Coconut Milk, swap it out with a plant based alternative; I used Innocent’s Coconut drink. Yes it will mean the sauce is a little thinner after reduction but you get that same, creamy indulgent tasting coconut sauce but with far less calories and fat. Perfect for January/February intentions without feeling like you are missing out.

You can find the recipe over on the Laura Ashley blog or below  

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Serves 2  1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped (add more or reduce depending on the amount of heat you can take)  1 green chilli, sliced for garnish (optional)  2 garlic cloves  1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and chopped  1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger  1 tbsp. ground turmeric  5-6 baby aubergines cut in half or 1 large chopped  1-2 tbsp. olive oil  2 shallots, finely chopped  1 tsp. palm sugar  1 tsp. fish sauce  300 ml Coconut drink or canned Coconut Milk  200 ml vegetable stock  Bunch of coriander to garnish  Method  1. In a blender add the chilli, garlic cloves, lemon grass and ginger, pulse to make a paste, set aside  2. Rub the aubergine with the turmeric, heat half the oil in a frying pan, then add the aubergine, brown both sides then set aside.  3. In a wok or deep pan add the rest of the oil then cook the shallots for a few minutes, add the paste, palm sugar cook for another minute or two, then add the aubergines, the fish sauce, coconut drink and vegetable stock  4. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes. The sauce should reduce but you don’t want the aubergine to go completely mushy.  5. Serve with rice, garnish with the coriander and the extra chilli if you want it!

Serves 2

1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped (add more or reduce depending on the amount of heat you can take)

1 green chilli, sliced for garnish (optional)

2 garlic cloves

1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and chopped

1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger

1 tbsp. ground turmeric

5-6 baby aubergines cut in half or 1 large chopped

1-2 tbsp. olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 tsp. palm sugar

1 tsp. fish sauce

300 ml Coconut drink or canned Coconut Milk

200 ml vegetable stock

Bunch of coriander to garnish

Method

1. In a blender add the chilli, garlic cloves, lemon grass and ginger, pulse to make a paste, set aside

2. Rub the aubergine with the turmeric, heat half the oil in a frying pan, then add the aubergine, brown both sides then set aside.

3. In a wok or deep pan add the rest of the oil then cook the shallots for a few minutes, add the paste, palm sugar cook for another minute or two, then add the aubergines, the fish sauce, coconut drink and vegetable stock

4. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes. The sauce should reduce but you don’t want the aubergine to go completely mushy.

5. Serve with rice, garnish with the coriander and the extra chilli if you want it!

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CLIENT | Wild Things Flowers

Wild Things Flowers are a boutique florist in Mayfair, not only do they provide exquisite floral arrangements they are always striving to achieve effortless, modern, with bohemian whimsy - it is such a pleasure to work with Louise who just has this natural ability to create the most incredible, luxurious bouquets and floral installations.

Below is a collection of favourites from various shoots over the last few years