Autumn Styling

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Last weekend I went on an Autumn styling workshop, taught by food photographer and stylist Carole Poirot at The Forge in Bristol. One of my favourite things about the workshop was the space it was held in – The Forge is one of those spaces that is designed with such thought. Every detail has been aesthetically considered, from the shelving in the kitchen, to the artfully distressed brick wall, to the plant arrangement in the bathrooms. It was so inspiring to spend time there.

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Another amazing thing about the workshop was all the incredible props Carole bought with her – items ranging from an old skittle from a skittle alley, to vintage medicine jars, to feathers, to intricate gold spoons were spread out on a table, ready for us to play with. My prop collection at home consists of a few chipped plates, some torn pieces of linen and a couple of spoons given to me by my Grandma, so this was another level of prop euphoria.

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Carole has such an eye for arranging all manner of different things together, and encouraged us to think carefully about balance when we were making our arrangements. We all picked out different objects from the array, and set about creating vignettes and flat lays with them. It felt so wonderfully self-indulgent to spend the day faffing around – arranging worn gold cutlery, scratched from years of use, alongside purple-hued hydrangeas and wooden boards. It really made me think more about the deliberate aesthetic decisions we have the opportunity to make everyday – and the simple pleasure that can come from a well balanced arrangement of carefully chosen objects. I went home after the workshop and spent a good couple of hours rearranging the objects in my room…

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A Retreat in the Cotswolds

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I have been feeling guilty for a while about not having posted on this blog since, ahem, July. I was feeling in need of a bit of shaking up and inspiration, so last weekend, I went to a photography retreat in the Cotswolds. The retreat (yes, there was meditation in a teepee) was run by Emily Quinton, who has set up Makelight, a community of digital creatives and photographers.

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The weekend was exactly what I needed on many levels, both personally and professionally, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the fact that it came right when I needed it. I was feeling a bit emotional when I arrived for several reasons, and the healing effect of being sequestered away in the countryside with a lovely bunch of women was incredible. There was mindfulness walking, arranging apples and linen on wooden boards in photography workshops (with the incredible Catherine Frawley), and beautiful flowers that almost moved me to tears (and I’m not usually one to get emotional over floristry) by Jody Page. There was laughing, and wine. I slept like a log for 10 hours a night.

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One of the talks that had the most impact on me was given by Kate from A Playful Day, who spoke about the blogging process – giving stories the time they need to evolve, and allowing yourself time to develop them. When they’re ready, they happen. Some burst from you, something you need to write straightaway, others take more time. I felt so much relief to hear this, as I always have this kind of imaginary template in my head of when things need to happen. But no-one’s going to notice if a blog post takes a bit longer, are they? The story will come when it’s supposed to. And come it has.

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