Only a few weeks to go before the days start getting longer again. I can't wait - apart from Christmas, I'm not a fan of dark mornings and evenings.
Winter flowers included 28 candelabras for an event at Middle Temple Hall celebrating Shakespeare (which chimed in nicely with the #floristfilms hashtag: 28 Candelabras Later). It's where the first recorded performance of Twelfth Night took place in 1602, so it was a real privilege to do the flowers for this event. The flowers were not so much flowers, as trailing ivy, which hopefully created an ethereal, Midsummer Night's Dream feel to the hall.
There were scented arrangements of pine, spruce (aka blue pine), eucalyptus, stocks, and lavender, along with pussy willow, alstromeria, silver brunia, silver kochia, and white hypericum for Neal's Yard Remedies in Sevenoaks.
The scent of the foliage, herbs, and flowers nicely complimented the Christmassy smells of cinnamon, clove and mandarin that filled the shop. Pussy willow has an irresistible, tactile quality, and it lasts for weeks and weeks, which is wonderful for a shop display.
Oh, and there was white, glittery skimmia. The glitter was barely noticeable in the arrangements, but it was all over my workspace and buckets and took weeks to finally clear!
There were satsumas for Father Christmas.
And on Boxing Day, after eating leftover Quorn roast (I used Nigella's ginger-glazed ham recipe), I used my leftover flowers to try to create some modern ikebana arrangements. Ikebana is not the most obvious style for Christmas flowers, but one of my lovely Canadian cousins sent me Keiko's Ikebana book to challenge my Western-wild floristry style, and I thought I'd give it a go. I failed my natural line arrangement practical at college, along with the rest of my class - this Japanese style of floristry did not come naturally to any of us (we scraped passes on our resits though!). A lovely tutor from my diploma course, Neil Bain, encouraged me to share my efforts on Twitter - and his generous response to my photos was reassuring.
The bowl arrangement is not-quite moribana (which means "piled on") and the vase arrangement is not-quite nageire (which means "thrown in"). It looks deceptively simple in the book, but it is such a challenge if it's not your natural style. But hey - it's good to be challenged sometimes.
Now there's just over a month until Easter, I can think about clearing out my Easter leftovers with some spring ikebana.
I'll finish with some gratuitous Christmas baking photos...even though it's completely the wrong weather and time of year for eggnog cupcakes and mince pies! It was the first time I'd made eggnog from scratch, and like many homemade things, it was time-consuming but worth the effort. You also get to drink the leftover eggnog, which is a nice bonus.