April – Embracing Creativity and Inspiration

How did we get to the end of April so quickly. I know they say time flies when you’re having fun so that must explain how the month of April has gone by so fast. It’s been a busy month filled with a variety of things. As my eldest child is busily studying for their upcoming GCSEs, I took my youngest away on a city break to the beautiful city of Florence (Firenze). It’s a city that I last visited in 2002 and on this return trip it still brought so much joy. It was just so lovely wandering the streets again and seeing the sights. 

I am a little obsessed with a few buildings in the world and the Duomo in Florence - the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is one of them. I could literally just look at it all day long and watch the tiles and the marble facade in green, pink and white change colour as the sun rises and sets over the city. Making a visit to the top of the Campanile tower for views of the cathedral and all of the city is a must. And I highly recommend the uphill climb to Piazzale Michelangelo for the gorgeous views over all of Florence with the River Arno and the bridge Ponte Vecchio below. Many visitors make it up there to view the sunset which was something I did on my first visit. This time though as it was Easter weekend and there were throngs of people everywhere, we went and enjoyed the view a little earlier in the day. The 3 days passed quickly while eating lots of gelato and whiling away many an hour in the beautiful piazzas eating delicious plates of food. A little shopping at the Santo Spirito market, full of antiques and vintage finds and absorbing all the culture and Renaissance art at the Uffizi. 

I fell in love with Italy years ago in my youth when I watched E.M. Forster’s ‘Room with a View’ and even now I can still remember some of the scenes in Florence and the rousing music of Puccini’s ‘O Mio Bambino Caro’ - if you’ve watched the movie, you’ll know what I’m talking about I’m sure. Travelling the world is something that I absolutely love doing and after the pandemic, it is something I’m so grateful to be able to do again. Visiting a place with a different culture and architecture and cuisine never fails to delight me! And Italy itself will always have a very special place in my heart so I’m so excited to be returning to Italy again for a very special trip that I’ll tell you more about later this year. 

If you’ve been away or are planning a trip - do tell me! I love to live vicariously through other people’s adventures!

The month of April has seen the beginning of wedding season for me and I’ve had the joy of delivering cakes to Drapers Hall and Kimpton Fitzroy in London as well as Notley Abbey and North Mymms, while working with some wonderful wedding suppliers.

I’m also saying ‘yes’ to some different types of projects and I agreed to do a little modelling for Ruth Eaton. In the last few years, I’ve been so focused on weddings and recently I’ve been wanting to engage with my creativity, much like in the days where I used to do food styling and take photos of flatlays. I find opening my mind and my heart to these kinds of things just unleashes the creative within me and gets my brain working in different ways. Ruth had an idea for a shoot of me wearing her beautiful garments while baking and decorating cakes and the fabulous Hannah Argyle (incredible lifestyle and travel photographer and Instagram friend of mine) was taking the photos. Hannah herself is a wonderful stylist and I love working in a team - so we created a few scenes of which I’m sure you’ll see more of on our socials. I modelled a few dresses, all of which were so pretty yet comfortable - Ruth’s brand aligns with that feeling of slow, considered living. In this photo, I’m wearing Ruth’s Wood Nymph Dress. And may I say that all of Ruth’s garments have the most wonderful of names! I fell in love with the Adventuress’ Dress which probably doesn’t surprise you after expressing how much I love travel. I am now a proud owner of an Adventuress’ Dress and shall be wearing it at every opportunity, weather permitting. 

And for any of you needing a little fresh content for your business or brand, Hannah does offer personal branding imagery - I’ve been photographed by many people but I don’t think anyone has made me feel as at ease as Hannah. And I know you won’t believe me, but I used to be incredibly painfully camera shy. I’ve taught myself to overcome this reluctance to step in front of the camera as being visible is so important to my business. I wouldn’t say it’s easy being photographed now but it feels a lot more natural than it used to and if you are nervous about having your picture taken, Hannah might just be the right person for you with her gentle unassuming nature. 

This month I’m still reading: Big Magic - How to Live a Creative Life, and Let Go of Your Fear. I sometimes feel I’m a person of 2 halves, as there’s the scientist in me but there’s also the believer in magic. And as I get older, I feel like the philosophical hippie side of me is governing more so although I’m reading this book a little at a time - I am just loving it for those moments of enchantment and wisdom.

After being inspired by my day with Ruth, I have now bought myself a copy of How to French Country, a book by Sara Silm - her Instagram feed gives me a little escapism each day. I can imagine myself in one of Ruth’s dresses, wandering barefoot around a country home and baking some sort of comfort food. 

And after my trip to Florence, I’ve had a few people recommend Sarah Winman’s Still Life which is a story set in wartime Tuscany and is a story that centres around people brought together by love, war, art and the ghost of E.M. Forster! So yes - that’s on my list of reads for next month.

Something else I read is my Simple Things magazine and I look forward to its arrival each and every month with its gentle thump on my front door mat. From a personal point of view, I try each day to live my life with intent and purpose. I don’t always succeed but the intention is there and the pages of this magazine often bring me moments of calm. In the April issue, I read a delightful article by Tove Danovich about her adorable hens. Living in Kingston upon Thames by the railway line isn’t the ideal location for hen keeping, but one day, I would love to have my own chickens. And now I’m also hooked on Tove’s IG: @bestlittlehenhouse and her little crew with Peggy, Joan, Wanda, Emmylou, Loretta, Dolly & co. 

Of course, in addition to baking for my clients, I find it so relaxing to bake for my family. I’m planning on making Charlotte’s Chocolate & Coffee Tart as a little nod to my Italia trip. Charlotte is actually one of my brides and I’ll be making her wedding cake for her next month - she inspires me every day with her incredible food photography and the most delicious of recipes. I’ve tried so many of her recipes as she always make it look so tantalisingly good that I can’t resist trying it out for myself!

Things that I’ll be looking forward to next month: a short visit to Paris for a styled shoot (yes - I am incredibly excited about this. It’s long been on my wish list to take one of my cakes overseas and the inspiration behind this particular shoot is just perfect for me). To get me in the mood for my French break, I decided to indulge myself and watch a movie that I haven’t seen for a long time: A Good Year with Russell Crowe. And yes I know, it’s a little cliché at times but I thoroughly enjoyed the light-heartedness of the film and it most definitely has me excited for my Eurostar journey to Paris.

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