Spring Flowers

I really love this time of year as the garden is finally awaking from winter ❄️and the flowers 🌺🌸are starting to come out.  We went for a wander round the garden 🐶🌳, just after it had rained and founds lots of delightful colours, the daffodils 🌻 are out in force and the rhododendrons 🌺and magnolias 🌸 are starting to appear 😊.  Also do follow the new High Beeches Garden instagram account for lots of photo updates @highbeechesgardensAlice xxx

Narcissus Bulbocodium

Narcissus Cyclamineus

Rhododendron

Rhododendron Oredoxa

Magnolia Sargentiana

  

Daffodils at Home

Time for a Snooze

A Year of Blogging!

Happy New Year!!  I hope you enjoyed many celebrations and are looking forward to 2017 😃.January 2017 is also a bit of a milestone, as it has been entire year since I started writing my blog on a weekly basis, which is very exciting - one WHOLE year, thank you all for keeping up so far 💕.2016 Best Nine have kindly shown me which of my Instagram posts were the most popular - have a look here -  and I thought it would be fun to have a look back at nine of my blog posts too, so here they are 😘Alice xxx

1. #ThatCoat Went Viral

 Alice Frances That Coat ZaraAn Epidemic #ThatCoatThere's this blue and white printed Zara coat everyone seems to be wearing...It all got very exciting when the Daily Mail picked up mine and Emily's @thatcoat instagram account exclusively dedicated to a certain Zara Coat, and we went from 200 to 5000 followers in one week.  We still haven't heard anything from Zara (I was hoping they might send me my very own #ThatCoat for Christmas) but I am very happy to tell you, it's currently in the sale online, and might well be your last chance to pick up this very special coat 😉.  If this is your first encounter with #ThatCoat, have a little read here.

 

2. An interview with Rosanna Lonsdale

 Banana Leaf Lamp Rosanna LonsdaleRosanna Lonsdale LampsI spoke with Rosanna Lonsdale about starting her business and how she hand makes her beautiful lamps.  She has since launched her website, do have a look here

3. A vintage dress and a Magnolia tree

 Murray Arbeid Dress Magnolia SargentianaMagnolia Sargentiana in a Murray Arbeid DressMy favourite tree and my favourite dress.  I put on a vintage dress by Murray Arbeid and climbed about in the Magnolia Sargentiana var robusta Chenault at High Beeches Garden. It was fun, the photos are even more fun, and there is a tiny bit of plant knowledge in there too. 

4. Photos by Benoit at the Barbican

 Benoit Grogan Avignon BarbicanBenoît Grogan-Avignon, PhotographerI visited Benoit, a portrait, editorial and event photographer, who takes the most beautiful photos.  We chatted about his journey into photography, and he took some photos of me at the Barbican. 

Limehouse Ceramics Elizabeth MacnealLimehouse CeramicsI visited Elizabeth Macneal of Limehouse Ceramics in her studio, we spoke about her making process and starting up her business.  She has the most idyllic studio at the end of her garden, I am really quite jealous. 

6. An Afternoon at the Viaduct

 The Viaduct Lucy Wang DressThe ViaductI put on a dress by Lucy Wang and we had a fun time taking photos in the Viaduct in Sussex.  Photographs by Sarah Bray 

7. A Visit to Sophie's Shop

 Sophie's Shop East GrinsteadSophie's Shop RevisitedI spent an afternoon with Sophie in her shop in East Grinstead trying on all sorts of vintage and new designer clothes, and came away with some very exciting finds. 

8. The Garden

 IMG_8884HydrangeaI took many photos of High Beeches Garden through the year, capturing the changing of the seasons.  For some early flowering plants and camellia inspiration have a look at The Plant Lesson, for a variety of April blooms A Walk in the Garden, wonderful Cherry Blossom, Riotous Rhododendrons, a naturalised Wildflower Meadow and fiery Autumn Colour.  Oh and don't miss the Flower Show for an overdose on camellias 😍.  If you want to learn more, definitely have a look at the High Beeches Garden blog written by Sarah Bray. 

9. An Adventure in the Scilly Isles

 Tresco Scilly Isles in a Kate Spade DressThe Scilly Isles in a Kate Spade DressAnd we visited Tresco in the Scilly Isles (maybe one of my all time favourite places), and took a few photos on the beach, in this delightful dress from Kate Spade.  Photographs taken by Emily Bray and Sarah Bray

A Little More Autumn

I really do like Autumn 🍂🍁.  There are just so many amazing colours 💚💛❤️ in the garden at this time of year and I really couldn't resist taking many many photos this weekend 📷.We went for a walk 👧, Pip 🐶 came too of course, and we found all sorts of shades - browns, reds, yellows, oranges, magenta, burgundy, purple - I love the cascade of leaves at the foot of trees, and the incredible variation in colour on just one tree.  The garden is looking really very beautiful right now, Autumn always reminds me how special a place it is.  All those trees carefully chosen and planted to create different vistas at different times of the year.  Almost like an ever changing work of art, each variety of tree takes it's turn to be the focal point of the painting throughout the year.  And Autumn always surprises me, just when you think winter is setting in, suddenly the garden has a last hurrah and is ablaze with all sorts of amazing colour. 💖🌳.Sunday was very exciting, not only was the sun out so the Acer Palmatum was looking quite wonderful 🌴❤️- a bright bright red - the garden was also photographed with a drone 🎥- the large spindly bug like creature took off and photographed the garden from above ⛲️, and also caught us on camera too 👧👦👧!I hope the wonderful colours, brighten up a rather chilly week 💕.Alice xxxPhotos taken at High Beeches Gardenimg_2238 img_2237img_2357img_2286 img_2342img_2292 img_2293img_2311img_2302 img_2297img_2305 img_2307img_2322img_2328 img_2370img_2445 img_2339img_2340    img_2341img_2358 img_2353img_2430img_2416 img_2417img_2422 img_2424img_2415 img_2425img_2241img_2567 img_2249img_2365 img_2373img_2394 img_2397img_2380img_2411 img_2412img_2386 img_2385img_2451img_2517img_2497img_2452img_2464img_2472img_2482img_2510img_2524  

Autumn at High Beeches Garden

Autumn is one of my favourite times of year.  I love that the garden produces brightly coloured flowers through the year, and then, when it starts to get a little colder in October, and it feels like it is time to pack up for the winter, it suddenly become ablaze  with brilliant colour. It starts slowly, a little orange here, a little red there, and then suddenly colour starts to appear everywhere.  I like the way the trees produce a multi coloured effect - the Red Oak is currently a wonderful combination of green, yellow and orange.  I love it when a tree has turned completely one colour - a red Acer next to a yellow betula lenta.  And it is always amazing to watch the changing tone of colour in one tree - the Acer turning from a deep purpley red one day, to a bright brilliant red the next, and finally to an fiery orange.  It is so difficult to pick a favourite - the magenta heart shape leaves of the Disanthus cercidifolia are definitely one, and the curling Cornus leaves in their variegated shades another.  The trees in their Autumn colour contrast so beautifully against the greens of the garden.  You've got to be quick though, the colours change so fast, and are gone before you know it.  I love that they change at different times - the Acers are well on their way, the Nyssas not quite started.  This week and next is the time to go and see the colour at High Beeches Garden which is looking absolutely splendid.So of course I put a dress on and we took some photos in the garden.  I appear to have not managed to smile at any point, but I really did enjoy the walk about the garden!Country Life recently wrote a piece about Autumn Colour at High Beeches Garden, which you can read here -  Country Life Article: sept-28-high-beeches Cover - sept-28-coverAlice xxxPhotos taken by Sarah BrayI am wearing a Jaeger dress, Elia B shoes and Patrick Mavros earrings img_7692img_7694img_7703img_7706img_7714img_7721img_7725img_7736img_7739img_7750img_7753 

Hydrangea

Hydrangeas 💐 are maybe one of my favourite flowers, and they are coming into flower right now at High Beeches Garden.  I like that whilst the rest of the garden is almost completely green, you turn a corner and are suddenly presented with all sorts of blues, purples and pinks.  And the most exciting thing about hydrangeas are their variation in colour.  The flowers on just one plant can be pink, purple blue and yellow, and when you stand back from the plant, it looks almost as though they have been painted on, by someone wishing for a tree with flowers in all their favourite colours.  When you get close the petals on each flowerhead are just so perfectly arranged.  Right now as they are  flowering, you get to the see the whole process from buds, to small flowers to complete flowerheads.The flower pigment variation is due to the presence of aluminium ions in the soil.  Hydrangeas are hyper-accumulating and they are able to take in the aluminium ions in the soil, which are either available or tied up depending on the soil pH.  An acidic soil (pH below 7) will usually produce blue and purples flowers, an alkaline soil (pH above 7) will produce pink and red flowers.   Changing the pH tends not to make a difference to the colour of the flower - the soil needs to contain aluminium ions.  Most hydrangeas are actually white, it is only some species, most notably Hydrangea Macrophylla that is affected by the aluminium ions.  And they can also be also bred to a certain colour.I really love this variation of colour in nature.  I think colours are never better than when they are completely natural, and I find it so exciting that this one plant produces all sorts of pinks, purples and blues.  So I took many photos, and I hope you enjoy them 😊.Alice xxxIMG_8816 IMG_8817 IMG_8884 IMG_8819 IMG_8820 IMG_8833 IMG_8834IMG_8842 IMG_8844 IMG_8846 IMG_8847 IMG_8849IMG_8857 IMG_8859 IMG_8860 IMG_8864 IMG_8865 IMG_8868 IMG_8870 IMG_8871 IMG_8874 IMG_8880 IMG_8881 IMG_8883IMG_8877

The Wildflower Meadow

This weekend we spent some time in the wildflower meadow 🌸🌺🌷🌾at High Beeches Garden.  The meadow has been there for at least 145 years, most likely longer and it is a natural acid wildflower meadow.  The natural 🌷🌾 part is important - it has been growing all by itself for all these years - the only help it has had is being cut once a year, and the hay removed 🌾.  Many wildflower meadows you see and hear about now have been purposely planted (rumour has it Prince Charles 👑 carefully cultivates his at Highgrove), but the one at High Beeches grows every year, without any help at all and is really quite magnificent.I love it most at this time of year, as it is completely covered in ox-eye daisies 🌼 - I always associate June with daisies 🌼 (my birthday is today - hurrah! and June and my birthday mean the daisies  are out.  But I actually know very little about the rest of the flowers 🌷 and grasses 🌾 that make up the meadow (there are 45 wildflowers and 12 grasses!) so we went on a little wildflower hunt through the meadow, Pip and Barney 🐶 came too.In between Pip and Barney 🐶digging holes where they weren't supposed (there was a stern telling off) we found a number of quite delightful flora 🌷🌻.  So I know the daisy 🌼 - the ox-eye daisy or leucanthemum vulgare is a larger version of the common daisy, and I can recognise the sunshine yellow of the buttercup 🌻.  I also recognised the purple of the clover 🍀 flower once it had been pointed out, and there are many lovely little purply orchids  🌷- dactylorhiza fuchsii .Other wildflowers we discovered were the knapweed centaurea 🌺(I have looked at these for years and have had no idea what they were) and the same goes for the little yellow, common birdsfoot trefoil lotus corbicula 💐 (I think quite a hard name for a very charming flower).But the yellow rattle rhianthus minor 🌱 is completely new to me, and so was the common twayblade listers ovata 🌾.  There really are all sorts, and it can be very easy to miss them - but we did spot the tiny lesser stichwort 🌸.I have to say we didn't even begin on grasses 🌾 (I have some vague grass knowledge from Pony Club - the times when it was raining and we sat inside and learnt about things our ponies were and weren't allowed to eat) - and grass is for another day.The meadow is changing all the time and is really very beautiful - do go and see the daisies 😍🌼!And if you want some more information have a look at High Beeches Garden blog.Alice xxxIMG_7448IMG_7426IMG_7370[1]IMG_7435IMG_7450IMG_7433IMG_7431IMG_7438IMG_7432IMG_7390[1]IMG_7436IMG_7444IMG_7440IMG_7451

The Bank Holiday

This bank holiday I was in the countryside and it was sunny ☺️.  We did countryside 🌳things such as walking to the pub and drinking pimms 🍹, eating lunch outside 🍴🍻, having tea outside ☕️🍰, going for another walk 🌲, losing the dog 🐶😳, finding the dog 🐶😃, having some more tea 🍰☕️.  It was a very good weekend.  On Monday I went to watch the polo 🐎at Guards Polo Club (thank you Alice and James 😃) and I wore my new Maruti ankle boots I am so pleased with 😘 (I found them in the Clapham Junction TK Maxx, last Thursday 😍).Alice xxxIMG_2550IMG_6640IMG_6963IMG_6972IMG_6999IMG_7080IMG_7022IMG_7020IMG_7026IMG_7030IMG_7044IMG_7064IMG_7070IMG_7053IMG_7074IMG_7052IMG_7082IMG_7083

A Riot of Rhododendrons

A quick interlude from my travels (there is lots more Spain to come!), but the rhododendrons are out and they are looking marvellous.High Beeches Garden has a huge array of Rhododendrons and what I love most is the contrast of colours - pinks, oranges,reds and yellows sit side by side - some with huge flowers, other absolutely tiny.Below are just some of the very many - they are all rhododendrons unless I have stated otherwise, and they are all in flower at the moment.Alice xxx Photo 15-05-2016-2Photo 15-05-2016-11 Photo 15-05-2016-6Photo 15-05-2016-8Photo 15-05-2016-10Photo 15-05-2016Pieris FormosaPhoto 15-05-2016-22Photo 15-05-2016-15Photo 15-05-2016-12Photo 15-05-2016-13  Photo 15-05-2016-17Photo 15-05-2016-19Photo 15-05-2016-20Photo 15-05-2016-23Davidia - The Handkerchief TreePhoto 15-05-2016-21

A Walk in the Garden

High Beeches Garden has just reopened after the winter, and we went for a walk round the garden to see what is in flower.  I am very good at mainly noticing Camellias 🌺 and Magnolias 🌸, somehow I always get drawn to them.  However, if you look past the flourishes of Camellia flowers there are rather a lot of other fun things to be found, in all sorts of colours.The Rhododendrons 🌺🌺are starting to flower and there are some magnificent ones - I always find it amazing the difference in size between these trees, there are absolutely tiny ones such as the Rhododendron racemosum, sitting right next to Rhododendron macabeanum, whose flowers I always think looks more like an animal than vegetable.I was particularly taken with the white star shaped flower on the Rhododendron quinquefolium ⭐️ and also the Grevillea 'Canberra Gem', which looks so pretty in flower, and seems so unexpected, the contrast of dark green and bright red ❤️💚.The cherry blossom 🌸🍒 is starting to appear and we found Prunus Sargentii, an excellent purply pink, and also the Montezuma Pine (such a good name) has cones on it 🌲😍.There is so much to see, and this is only the beginning - it will be in full bloom before too long 😊.If you want to read more about the garden in detail - the blog, written by Sarah Bray, has all sorts of details about the garden and the plants - High Beeches Garden blog.Alice xxxIMG_4715IMG_4735IMG_4645IMG_4627IMG_4658IMG_4701IMG_4709IMG_4697IMG_4718IMG_4726IMG_4738IMG_4686IMG_4746 

Spring Time

Pip 🐶 and I had a walk around High Beeches Garden 🌳this week - and it was so sunny, and beautiful and it really feels as if spring is finally here.We discovered many wonderful camellias 🌺 and some magnolias 🌸 - the purple flowers of Magnolia Lanarth are beginning to appear, however the lives of the flowers of many have been brutally cut short, by the nasty frost.Most excitingly - Camellia Lady Vansittart 🌺, my favourite Camellia in the garden, is just starting to flower.  It is the most magnificent tree as it has red AND white flowers, some just red, some just white, some white with red stripes and some pink with white tinges.  It really is the most delightful tree, and it is worth a visit to the garden to observe just this tree with it's many coloured flowers in all their magnificence.It was such a beautiful day ☀️ - I am so excited for more spring and sunshine.Alice xxxIMG_4044IMG_4052IMG_4056IMG_4070IMG_4079IMG_4081IMG_4090IMG_4102IMG_4105IMG_4107IMG_4116IMG_4115IMG_4144IMG_4150

February Flowers - The Plant Lesson

It was rather grey and cold  ❄️❄️☔️ today (I still am not enjoying the cold weather) but Pip 🐶 and I decided to venture out.February is a good time of year as, although it feels like the cold may never go away and it is dark and dreary and freezing, the flowers are beginning to appear 🌱🌸🌺🌼.I find it very reassuring that every year, despite the cold❄️, the trees 🌳 and plants 🌱 begin to flower 🌼, it is definitely the best sign that spring is on it's way - a dash of bright colour 🌻 amongst all the dark greens and browns.So Pip 🐶 and I went to investigate, and found much to look at.Daffodils 🌼are out in force, despite the cold, and we found some lovely little Narcissus cyclamineus with their heads bowed down.  I always think these little daffodils look a bit like tiny horses 🐎 with their ears back, suspiciously investigating something on the ground - they are rather sweet!  The narcissus bulbocodium are also dotted about, their little trumpet-like 📣 petals are always so delightful - they are definitely more bossy than the cyclamineus.There are crocuses (or croci) 🌷 just starting to open their petals - I love the lilac and orange combination, they are very non-fussed flowers, they just flower where and when they feel like it, without too much worry of what anyone might think - Pip and I came across a solo crocus growing in the middle of the path..The magnolias 💐 are still tentative, they haven't opened their furry buds up to the cold yet, I always think the many huge buds make them look like some prehistoric creature lying in wait 🐉.The faithful snowdrops 🌾are sprouting up everywhere, I love their plant name 'galanthus' from the Greek gála 'milk' 🍶 and ánthos 'flower' 🌼, it sounds rather like a character from Game of Thrones 🐲.We found a very brave cherry 🍒 , Prunus okame, which is a really warm pink against the cold greens.  I love 💕💞💘 cherry 🍒blossom 🌸 a very large amount.AND most excitingly, the Camellias 🌺 are emerging, and we came across many bright pinks 🌺 and pale pinks 🌸.I really like Camellias 🌺, they are one of my favourite flowers, I prefer the ones without the bright yellow stamens.  We came across a lovely Camellia japonica 'Australis' - a very good pink indeed, magenta, with beautifully arranged petals, I also love how the just emerging buds 🌷 look, so fairy tale esque.Camellias 🌺are part of the Theaceae family and they originate from the Eastern Himalayas, Japan and Malaysia - they are happiest growing by streams 🌊 or on rocky hillsides 🗻.  They have been cultivated in China and Japan for over 1000 years (a very long time) and were first cultivated for the oil 🏮 from their seeds, then for tea ☕️ (you can actually buy tea made from English Camellias at Tregothnan- made from Camellia sinensis - they sell it is Fortnums too, if your after some in a hurry) And then just because they are pretty to look at. There are around 200 species of them and they were named after the Jesuit ⛪️ botanist 🌿 Georg Joseph Kamel.  The petals 🌺 of the flowers are exquisitely arranged and the trees 🌿have wonderful dark green leathery leaves.  They are really very splendid.We had a quick plant lesson ✏️📚 over supper, so now everything is a little clearer...Alice xxAlso I'm now on Blog Lovin' 😊 - you can follow me here  👍IMG_2745IMG_2698IMG_2705IMG_2711IMG_2743IMG_2763IMG_2718IMG_2728IMG_2734IMG_2742IMG_2802IMG_2801

A Day in the Real Countryside and a Trip to Selfridges

So I have been asked what the word 'edgy' means from a confused reader (my father) - so I thought to make it clear to all I would give you the definition according to the internet:

edgy
adjective
 
1. tense, nervous, or irritable.
"he became edgy and defensive"
synonyms: tense, nervous, on edge, highly strung, anxious, apprehensive, uneasy, ill at ease, unsettled, unstable; 
 
2. informal
at the forefront of a trend; experimental or avant-garde.
"their songs combine good music and smart, edgy ideas"

 No. 2 is the important one.So the day before yesterday I went to the countryside 🌳🍃.  National Rail 🚂 also seem to think Wandsworth is not in London - I despair.    Anyway I spent the day with Pip and Barney - who are excellent companions, and really don't mind at all that I am unemployed.  We went for a walk in the sunshine ☀️ - it was a beautiful frosty day.  Pip is feeling quite over enthusiastic about life at the moment - (I would say 'edgy' definition No. 1 would apply to his current disposition) and I think the walk 🚶 did us all good - the only destruction that took place, whilst I was in charge, was the tearing apart of an out of print Hillier's Trees and Shrubs book 📗....  we think perhaps it's a teenage thing.The three of us also visited Granny 👵- and we spoke at length about Dolly Pentreath, the last woman to speak the cornish language apparently, and about my Great Grandmother, who was the youngest but one of her father's 15 children - can you imagine...  her mother had 6 daughters 👭👭👭.  She must have had real Mrs Bennett Syndrome...  Granny also thinks Barney is 'obstinate' which I think is very unfair - he just isn't.IMG_1640IMG_1536IMG_1560IMG_1571IMG_1548IMG_1551IMG_1538IMG_1574Yesterday I got on my bicycle and took myself over to Selfridges👗🎀👠.  I really like Selfridges, particularly floor 2 where all the good things are.  I like it because they have all the designers in one place, and because you are allowed to actually touch the clothes and even try them on.  You can roam to your hearts 💗 content, with only a few 'can I help yous' and see all the new collections in one place.  I never try things on (except shoes) and I really should.  I have a friend who was once convinced by an Alexander McQueen sales assistant that she must try a dress on - and it ripped 👗💔.  I mean, I just don't know what you do in that situation - it's not like TK Maxx where you tell sales assistant in the cloakroom that 'you really love it, but it's not for you' (whilst making sure the damaged item is well hidden) and then scarper from the shop at a fast pace and pray the next time you come back it's not the same person on duty.... (Ok I'm really not that bad, I do usually confess...)I really do love wandering about Selfridges - there is such an excitement about seeing so many beautiful designs 👗💘 in one place all so carefully displayed - I get really quite elated 😍 once I arrive on the second floor  (it's not quite how Holly Golightly 🚬 feels about Tiffany's, but I imagine a similar vibe).  I also like that they play upbeat almost club like music 🎶 - it's quite fun.  This time I found some real delights:IMG_1634IMG_1616My first discovery were some Simone Rocha dresses that looked like they were made out of candy floss (not sticky) and clouds.  I would probably only ever where such a thing if I happened to end up at a party in an Art Deco house in Palm Springs 🌴 - that would be great:IMG_1593I enjoyed these Dries Van Noten shorts immensely, and a fun necklace - I love overstated jewellery like this, the kind that your Barbie would wear - but actually you just wished it was in your size:IMG_1594IMG_1595Then a peak at these fantastic Alaia dresses - waisted dresses are the best, and look at the way they hang -  they do them in black too:IMG_1602IMG_1603A nice Pucci dress (I don't always get on with Pucci that well) but I do love a good pink and orange combo:IMG_1607I adore what Alessandro Michele is doing with Gucci - I really like the touch of the traditional, that green and red signature stripe with things like this - particularly the silver jacket 💙💙💙:IMG_1608IMG_1611Roksanda is great - because she does geometric patterns in bright colours, and because she makes skirts like below.  And this gem of  a shirt (I don't get on with buttons very well, so the use of shirt studs on a crisp white shirt, combined with the coloured stripes on the cuffs really is magical):IMG_1599IMG_1601IMG_1604And then Miu Miu.  I wish I had the opportunity and the resources to wear head-to-toe Miu Miu one day a week.  Just because.  It is always so different and so fun and I love the daring of the designs - such as these snakeskin and glitter shoes (these are not my thing) but they fact that they exist is just so good.  I loved the jewels, and I quite want the scent.  I think for Miu Miu I would become the consumer who buys the perfume or the sunglasses - just to own a touch of the magic.  An almost, but not really affordable, very own piece of Miu Miu 💘:IMG_1618IMG_1598IMG_1617IMG_1596I spotted a few other things - Givenchy sequin skirt ⭐️⭐️🌟 (so many twinkles), a superb dress by Toni Maticevski, Moncler ski jacket in bright orange, a beautiful blue suede Loewe handbag (I once saw someone in Milan with the Loewe Amazona bag in tan with magenta pink handles, and have never seen it since - it was so wonderful, and I really do want it) and the Chanel quilted bag in shiny bright pink and bright blue - YES Chanel.  Oh and the most hideous Christopher Kane duo - a full length red dress made of hearts and a jacket made of rubber (seriously?).IMG_1626IMG_1613IMG_1633 IMG_1636IMG_1629IMG_1606I had a quick whip around the shoes - I like the heels on these Sophia Webster shoes - I think excellent if you want a little bit of jazz to your wedding shoes:IMG_1620IMG_1621But really everything was looking quite beige, in colour and in attitude.  Except some silly Stella McCartney flatforms - I also got overexcited by the fur coat the lady in the background is wearing (probably should stop taking creepy sneaky photos of people I don't know) - fun fur coat though....IMG_1624It was a lovely excursion - perhaps I will go back soon and try some things on.Alice xxx

Do Be a Darling amongst the Cyclamen

The Darling

A recent trip to Amsterdam took me to 'De Negen Straatjes' or 'The Nine Streets', actually three streets, intersected by two canals, which are lined with charming independent boutiques.  The idea of the 'concept store' has really taken off in Amsterdam, and each clothing store is carefully curated like a gallery, but with the added bonus of the visitor being allowed to play with the items on display.My favourite was The Darling, a delightful shop on Runstraat 4.  Walking into The Darling made me feel as though I was entering the enviable walk-in-wardrobe of a good friend.  The clothes are beautifully displayed, the walls are covered in small prints and there are hydrangeas in vases.  Best of all, you can order a cupcake and cup of coffee and sit on their upstairs balcony, if you need need a break from browsing.The Darling sell a range of simple pieces in elegant fabrics - new, vintage and own brand items.  Their underwear particularly caught my eye, but the item I had to buy was the 'Darling' jumper.  I don't know if it was the connotation of the word 'darling' in English - it always seems to me slightly tongue in cheek, and makes me delightedly think of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, in which everyone she meets is 'Darling' - 'Step on it darling....'.I wanted to do a photo with the Cyclamen flowers, as they are looking wonderful at the moment in white and purple.  These perennial flowering plants are so dainty, and also strong.  This species, Cyclamen hederifolium is native to the UK and pushes it's way up through the soil during the Autumn.  The nose of the flower faces downwards, the five upright petals look almost like little wings and they have dark green, patterned ivy-esque leaves.  Coming across clusters of these little flowers at High Beeches garden, growing under the dark cedar tree (cedrus atlantica glauca) you might almost think you had wandered into an enchanted forest.  A perfect setting for a photograph with my new The Darling jumper <3.Alice xIMG_4190 The-DarlingIMG_4191         Top image:Photographed at High Beeches Garden sitting under the Cedrus atlantica Glauca tree among the Cyclamen flowers.Jumper: The Darling; Trousers: Zara; Shoes: Elia B; Unicorn clutch bag: The White Pepper; Ribbon: MacCulloch & Wallis.Photographer: Sarah Bray @SarahBray50Bottom images:Photographs of The Darling in Amsterdam, taken by Alice Bray 

Ox-Eye Daisy

IMG_5304The naturalised wildflower meadow at High Beeches Garden in Sussex boasts 46 species of wildflower and 13 species of grasses, my particular favourite is the ox-eye daisy which is in flower right now.The ox-eye daisy or leucanthemum vulgare, is a perennial (a plant that lives for longer than two years), and is the largest native daisy to Britain. It is a member of the Asteraceae family, from the Greek word ‘ἀστήρ’ meaning ‘star’, referring to the shape of the flower which appears as a star surrounded by rays. It can reach to 3 feet high, and when in full bloom the meadow becomes a sea of white, creating a really enchanting sight.Top: Topshop; Skirt: American Apparel; Shoes: Keds; Sunglasses: Accessorize.Photography: Sarah BrayPhotographed at High Beeches GardenPlant Life: 7 Great Gardens to see Wildflowers