Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Art of Living

This is the first in a series of blog posts about the 'Art of Living.' 
Each post will be a visual feast, a celebration of all things inspiring, beautiful, exciting, quirky and fun.  All the things that we are passionate about. Here we will embrace people, places, travel, music, photography, film, nature, books and more!

Spring Brings...Flowers and Afternoon Tea

This is the time of year when things blossom.  Life feels a bit more gentle.  People and encounters seem more open and easy.  Our bodies shed the winter layers and we feel more inclined to be outdoors and active.  It's about new things, new beginnings, new life....

The picking and giving of flowers

For those lucky enough to have their own patch of garden and can actually cultivate their own flowers, they can directly feel the joy of being able to gather up beautiful stems to fill vases at home.  Others, like myself,  have to call on a florist for our own bunches of flowers...or hope that we are presented with a bunch now and then!  There's one very special florist called Kate Langdale round the corner from us.  She does the most beautiful bouquets...and I'm usually lucky enough to receive a posy for Mother's Day.

I've also just discovered Scilly Flowers - flowers by post from the Isles of Scilly.  They do Scented Narcissi, which are truly bright and beautiful. Last orders for Mothers's Day TODAY - by 12 noon!

Crocus is also a great place for flower deliveries as they do generous bouquets but also plants as gifts if you're keen to give something more lasting.  I can't resist poring over their gardening collection...and dream up what will be in the flower beds of my future garden.

Floral prints

We both have a passion for floral print and pattern and this shows in the boutique in the spring / summer 2011 clothing collections:

There's also some lovely floral prints in the spring decor collections:

A perfect place to see spring flowers

Kew Gardens is a magical spot in West London and the Crocus Carpet is a bright jewel-like sight to behold.  The crocuses are over now but there's cherry blossoms just bursting through and the bluebells that will be putting on a show soon too. I'm going to try and time another visit to see the the blue carpets that are my favourite spring show!

Time for Tea

I don't need an excuse to indulge in a Cream Tea.  We've sampled quite a few in London and Brighton and various spots in fact, wherever we go we manage to sniff out a scone and all the must-have accompaniments, including clotted cream (Cornish preferably).  This Mothering Sunday we shall seek out some Tea Rooms in the Sussex Downs.  I've heard Steyning Tea Rooms are lovely - I shall report back to you what we discover.  For those in London, there's plenty of Afternoon Tea options, ranging from little tea shops to grand hotels.

High Tea of Highgate is a sweet little Tea Shop in Highgate Village serving up Afternoon Tea in the traditional style. Cream Tea (with the Tea quite rightly being Loose Leaf Tea) all served up in pretty vintage crockery - delightful!

Bake-a-Boo is another spot in North London. With a wide range of cakes and treats and the all important scones.  They do gluten-free too.  There's a special Afternoon Tea for Mother's Day with the traditional tiered cake stand full of dainty yumminess!

For something a bit more regal and the opportunity to take in some Art at the Marylebone Gallery, The Wallace Restaurant has a lovely setting for Afternoon Tea in a courtyard.
And lastly, for an Alice in Wonderland inspired dining experience the Mad Hatters Afternoon Tea at Suka at the Sanderson looks amazing. 

Enjoy the spring and all it brings!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wednesday Woo Wishes

The joy of spring is in the air and the sisters households have been busy.  There have been birthday parties,  lots of work behind the scenes of the shop, new stock arriving and parcels now being delivered across the world!

We are very passionate about all the collections we stock in the boutique and this is expressed in our series of posts about The Story Behind Our Collections.  We do squeal with delight when new stock arrives and get excited again when we have the chance to beautifully wrap the parcels oursleves and send them on their way  for customers to enjoy.  We often say ' Oh, what a lovely order, I'd love to receive that parcel'!  So we thought we'd take the opportunity to pick some of our favourite pieces, the things that make us smile, the things that we would love to receive!

Carla loves...

My Favourite Place Pillow by Lucky Boy Sunday.  This beautiful cushion is made of baby alpaca and it is very soft and just the right size to hug. I would have to put this on my favourite chair, just where it catches the morning light, and relax with my mug of tea....on Sunday of course!
Fabric Cakes in a Box by Maileg.  This is the kind of thing I would give my daughter but secretly desire for myself.  A patisserie box of fabric cakes with beautiful detail. They would, of course, end up in various places round the house adding charm wherever they lay.
Sophia (S) has become fascinated with family members and how we are all connected.  This Family Tree Poster by Belle & Boo is a beautiful way to display the family as a tree, with spaces for photos hanging from the branches.
When we discovered the Renaissance Life jewellery we loved how heavy and solid the pieces are. They are so amazing to hold and you honestly feel a certain allure when you wear them. This Year 1952 Secret Heart has a drawer to keep something safe inside. I would keep a piece of paper with a secret wish ....although S would say 'Tell me, tell me mummy, whisper it to me...'
Edition Paumes books from Japan are, quite frankly, a visual treat.  Full of inspiring pictures, the title 'The Parents Love-Chiselled Gifts for Their Tiny Ones' is about the wonderful gifts creative parents have made for their children. It's very magical and heartwarming.
Love Mae wall stickers are not only designed for children. They are wall art, interior decoration AND fun to play with.  The Dress-Up Dolls set is a man and a woman (boyfriend and girlfriend for sure) with a selection of rather enviable clothes, hairstyles and a pet cat. Really very cool.

    Bekka loves...

    The Rice Dk boxes are covered in fabric with the most beautiful embroidery. Stunning.  But there's more...when you open the ribbon tie and look inside there's a lovely contrasting fabric surprise. These are treasure boxes for Mamas.  I would keep all my collectables in here and enjoy the pleasure each time I open it.
    My son loves to gaze at pictures of his girl cousins and these Cherry Photo Frames by Rice DK would be the perfect way to display the rosy-cheeked faces of his four favourite girls. And they'd add a bit of pretty to his bedroom too!
    I could pore over Paumes books for hours, dreaming of creative interiors.  The title Finland Family Style allows me to peep into Nordic homes and admire the individual style. They are child-friendly homes too...even more inspiring!
    This Rice DK Velvet Clutch Bag I have very recently been lucky enough to hold. It's one of those things that you want to hold to your chest and adore. There's velvet, crochet, floral prints, gingham, sequins and gold trim - now that's a fancy bird! 
    The colour of this hop hop hop locket is a shade of green I am always drawn to. The enamel finish and gold chain really works with this colour. So fresh and vibrant.  A colour to wear and feel full of vitality.
    More of my favourite colours are on this candle-holder. It is beautifully hand-painted as what you'd expect from Rice DK and has a really pleasing round shape. An object that would definitely always make me smile.

    Enjoy browsing the Sisters Guild Boutique here

    Tuesday, 29 March 2011

    The Story Behind Our Collections: Belle & Boo

    Belle & Boo is a collection we fell completely in love with and knew we had to have in the Sisters Guild Boutique from the very beginning.  It is British design that we feel so proud to house.  Our passion for Belle & Boo grows each time a new illustration is created and when we see new things appearing that are adorned with Belle, Boo and friends, we are full of excitement.

    There is something that is both familiar and utterly enchanting in the illustrations of Mandy Sutcliffe.  For Carla and I the images take us back to our childhood days in the Somerset countryside, where our home backed onto meadows and woodland and we spent all our time all seasons!

    Belle & Boo expresses a childhood that is full of imagination, a place where you can escape into stories, absorb yourself in nature and play with creatures and friends.  Since becoming mothers the collection of Belle & Boo has even more resonance for us as we seek to bring beauty and wonder into our home for our children.  We know that there is a growing following that share this love for Belle & Boo and all the art prints, cushions, clothing, wall stickers...and now a quilt (oh yes!) that make our home space charming and enchanting.

    Behind Belle & Boo is someone who must have quite a magical imagination, someone who can easily be taken back to a childhood time full of wonder and daydreams. That person is Mandy Sutcliffe.  Mandy has based Belle & Boo on elements of herself as a child and has been influenced by the work of children's storybook illustrators she grew up with, including Milly Molly Mandy, E. H. Shephard and Cicely Mary Barker.  Mandy studied illustration at Leeds Metropolitan University and part of her study involved a trip to France.  It was in the Parisian parks that Mandy’s love for illustrating children truly blossomed as she spent time drawing the beautiful French children.

    The style and gestures of the children Mandy draws are so beautiful.  Belle and her rabbit Boo are depicted in friendship and discovery:

    Other girls called Mia and Evie, play and explore:

    And boys in gentle reveries:

    The Belle & Boo collection is full of celebration, parties, picnics, play and adventure:

    With Mandy's work you get a feeling that the illustrations should be accompanied by a poem or a story.
    There are some scenes that I look at and get lost in, creating my own dialogue or daydream. There's a sense of romance in the collection, especially with the illustrations Lost, Found, Let's Hug and Meet me at Mike's.  This is another reason why we were so drawn to the Belle & Boo collection - there's a girlhood romance in the some of the images that conjours up memories of a boys hand first held, or walking in the woods and feeling a flutter of all the possibilities that lie before you.

    It is not a surprise to discover that Mandy has had three books published, one of which she wrote as well as illustrated : Evie’s Seaside Lullaby and Goodnight Me, Goodnight You published by Orchard Books and Night Ride To Nanna’s published by Walker Books.  AND there is to be a Belle & Boo book.  We are so excited to know that we will be able to read and share a Belle & Boo story with our children and immerse ourselves in Mandy's beautiful illustrations even more.

    For Carla & I, the magical memories that stay with us from childhood are from the storybooks, the pictures, prints and patterns that surrounded us. There are favourite things that have been preserved and carried with us from our childhood homes to our adult ones.  With Belle & Boo we feel that it will be the same.  These will be the pieces that will be adored and handed-down.  The objects our own childen will treasure and keep when they make their adult homes. They are the things that will carry memories and reminders of a place and time in childhood.

    Enjoy browsing the Belle & Boo collection and the wonder Mandy Sutcliffe has created

    This is part of our series of blog posts that reveal the story behind the collections and why we chose them for the Sisters Guild Boutique.  Read about The Story Behind ilovegorgeous here

    Sign up to the newsletter to receive 10% off your first order and hear about about future offers.

    Monday, 28 March 2011

    Monday Makery - Chandelier of colours

    I'm a huge fan of decorating rooms and tables as part of celebrations. I have a huge collection of bunting which I love to pull out whenever the occasion arrives. A table will proudly house my favourite cake stands piled high with sandwiches and delicious cakes and slices of scrummies. Colourful plates and napkins add more colour and this chandelier made with seam binding is a beautiful touch to add colour simply by itself or amidst the bunting. Hang the chandelier above the table and adapt it according to occasion. Use sticky tape to temporarily fix paper cut butterflies or flowers to some of the strands to make it more fun, though simply with just a few alternating colours its a colourful elegant crown. For a bigger impact you could make two or three and hang them the length of the table. We hung ours above the table for Oona's birthday tea party and hopefully it'll be hung again for mothers day too.Though I'm quite reluctant to take it down as it adds such beautiful colour above our kitchen table.

     You'll need:
    • scissors
    • seam binding
    • a wire coat hanger
    • sticky tape 


    Here's how:
    1. Take your wire coat hanger and unwind the twisted hook. Pull open the hanger and bend and shape it into a hoop. I used a metal tray to stretch and curve it round. The shape doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. I don't have the patience to get it perfect with no bumps and it doesn't show. 
    2. Using a strong piece of sticky tape to fix the ends so they slightly overlap.
    3. Cut your seam binding into double the length you desire the drop to be.
    4. Take a length of one of the cuts and tie it at the midpoint of the binding into a knot.
    5. Repeat, alternating the colours as go.
    6. To hang: take four equal lengths of the binding and tie, with equal distnace between them, knot together at the top and hang. 

    There are more inspring things to make in our ideas and inspiration pages. This idea was inspired from here.

    Friday, 25 March 2011

    An A-Z of Sisters Guild - D

      discover /dih-skuhv-ə/ verb trans (discovered, discovering) 1 to find (something) by searching or by chance. 2 to be the first to see, find, get knowledge of, or know about (something). 3 to realize or find out (a fact). archaic to make known; reveal; disclose. 
    C: What do you think the word discover means?
    S: It means going to other countries and seeing how the animals live......... and when you find me on a chair getting the treats from the high cupboard. 

    see also: 

    Wednesday, 23 March 2011

    Wednesday: Wooing Mama!

    Mama needs some wooing, not just for Mother's Day but always.
    Here are some gifts for Mum, Mummy, Mother, Mama.
    Mama loves...

    Beautiful gifts for Mama to make her feel adored.  Jewellery by hop hop hop and Renaissance Life has so much charm - necklaces and bracelets to make Mama gasp with delight. Mama loves pretty....

    Hand-painted metal candle holders by Rice DK £21.50
    Mini nuage bracelet in powder pink by hop hop hop £39
    Fabric photo frame by Rice DK £6.50
    Year 1983 Swedish Russian Doll Necklace by Renaissance Life £119
    Mini Mcghee Blanket with Vintage Bag £56
    Fabric Flower Embroidered Box £44.50
    My Favourite Spot in Spring Cushion by Belle & Boo £42

    Home is surely the domain of Mama, a sanctuary, an expression of herself and her family.
    Home is a place to make your nest, a place to gather friends and entertain, a place to surround yourself with favourite things that inspire and bring joy. Some gifts for a home-loving Mama...

    Bureaux a la maison (home offices), book by PAUMES £20.40
    Children's Rooms Paris, book by PAUMES £20.40
    Ava's Tea Party mounted print by Belle & Boo £61.50
    Tea Time Wall Sticker by Love Mae £55.00
    Favourite Place Pillow by Lucky Boy Sunday £43
    Leila Lou Linen Vintage-Inspired Dolls £18.50 each
    Embroidered Napkins by Rice DK £5.30 each

    We all have a creative side, or at least a desire to make. These are things for a mama who love to make, whether that's baking, knitting, sewing or other absorbing crafts.

    Heart-Shaped Cookie Cutters £3
    Melamine Mixing Bowls with Lids - set of 4 by Rice DK £34

    A colourful piece, especially by our favourite homeware designers Rice DK, really does make us smile and sing.  A cushion to entice you to your armchair, a blanket to spread out, sprawl and read upon, a candelabra to make a enchanting centerpiece, clothes hangers that add even more colour to your wardrobe space, a bright and happy purse....and a velvet bird that is actually a clutch bag, in Turquoise, divine!  Mama loves colour...

    There's so many things that Mama loves...
    Pass this on with a hint to those that need to know!

    Sign up to the newsletter to receive 10% off your first order and hear about about future offers.

    Tuesday, 22 March 2011

    The Story Behind Our Collections

    Sisters Guild was born from inspiration given to us by our children and admiration for all the creators we have brought together in our boutique. A place of creativity and beauty whereby you are invited to discover along with us what we believe to be the classics of the new blossoming generation. With pieces to spark the imagination through enchanting creations, colour and shape for children and home. 
     We would like to introduce you to the designers and their collections. The reason we have so lovingly selected those we house. Above all it is the story of how we came to be.

     Fabulous, British and Feminine
    Famed for their use of unique printed textiles and their signature flattering cut the wonderful designs of ilovegorgeous are playful and exquisite. These are clothes made to flow with a childs movement. Clothes for those with a love of fabric and detail: splashes of net, exquisite with sari fabric, retro with ric-rac. Classic, traditional, flattering silhouettes are made interesting with their trim or embroidery where a piece of silver vintage 70’s trim may be paired with white cheesecloth to make a funky sundress. They also use cotton voile, sheer viscose chiffon, nets and lace to produce their pretty delicate and feminine collections.
    There is also a perfectly pretty knitwear range of classic cardi’s and fine jumpers….cotton for summer, cashmere for winter.
    These are the designs you’ll see on the wonderfully dressed Notting Hillbilly girls. The clothing is girlie yet quirky, feminine and with a hint of vintage style. Each piece is a creation designed to make children feel gorgeous.

    ilovegorgeous began in 2006 following an inspirational trip to India. A marriage was made between the two designers, Lucy Enfield and Sophie Worthington, and their love of hand blocked prints, silks and cottons and pretty trims. Fulfilling a dream to create clothing the two of them began by selling their designs out of their Notting Hill kitchen to friends. Though with the likes of Sam Taylor-Wood, Claudia Schiffer and Stella Tennant buying bundles of your clothing designs whilst sipping tea I guess with friends like these adoring your designs you get an inkling that it wouldn’t take much more to impress others too.
    Having decided to take on the adventure a step further in 2007, Selfridges snapped up two thirds of their first collection and with other boutiques following in hot pursuit ilovegorgeous was fast becoming widely available to all of those who didn’t get an invite to their kitchen!

    With my first daughter being born the same year (following an inspirational trip to an island in the Indian Ocean) my marriage had just begun and a new love of all things petite, feminine, fresh, delicate and down-right gorgeous had started. It wasn’t long before I fell head over heels with the ilovegorgeous collections. My discovery of the collection came just in time too. I was growing bored of the small variety of clothing for girls. There was a lot of pink but not much in the way of truly feminine pieces. There were bright colours with brash modern designs that disunited the girls with their most base of characteristics, I found it hard to find pieces that would wrap my daughter in the soft hues and delicate fabrics I wished for her.

    Girls fashion is quite often the dictate of predictable stereotyped colours and cuts. I found that the clothing designs offered an array of pink in stiff fabrics and unflattering cuts with dedications to their love and adoration of daddy and fairies sprinkled upon them. Whilst of course pink comes in beautiful shades and whilst I agree that almost every girl I have ever met and known loves pink, and my goodness how much we love daddy and fairies. It is an inherent characteristic already heard loud and clear by our actions. Girls will always love their daddies, that’s what we do, we will believe in fairies but above all let us be girls and express it in our own indivdual way.

    Girls are by nature beautiful creatures with whimsical dreams, charming grace and allured by fairytale magic, who love to skip and dance whose clothes should celebrate their femininity. Girls like the theatre of getting dressed, the transformation that can be felt through wearing particular colours or styles. The designers and founders of ilovegorgeous Sophie and Lucy understand that femininity is more than a colour. Femininity is about movement and grace.  We are rainbows of colour: we are petrol blue, we are mauve, we are emerald, we are sugar pink and rose, we are turquoise and gold and all those hues in between.

    With ethereal chiffon and shirred bodices for ease of fit, sleeves are fluted or fluttery, straps are satin, dresses are adorned with delicate piping, hems are embellished with golden ric-rac, deep contrasting pockets all fuse together to create playful, pretty clothing that are a wonderful way for little girls to express themselves. They are symbols of their blossoming youth. A time of blissful innocence, fun and whimsical dreams.

    Lucy and Sophie have been friends since they were 16 so when it comes to the two of them getting their beautifully creative minds together they are in sync. With six children between them they know what it takes to please a childs aesthetics and still be able to withstand the rigour of what a child will put her clothing through. Through a shared life and its experiences and through an understanding not just of fashion but of a childs femininity and flair, born from a passion to create beautiful clothing, these two have got it perfected.

    My daughter Sophia has a love for clothes. Since she has been able to talk or pull on her own skirt she has enjoyed dressing herself and putting together her own style. I love that she has this connection to the way she feels and the way she dresses. Her wardrobe is very much her own, her own collections of wonderful pieces that allow her to express herself. She will frolic in the park wearing a Marie Antoinette dress with wellies or layer two skirts together and match with a delicate cardigan. I can see that she puts a lot of thought into it and by letting her decide what to wear she has a sense of freedom in who she is and she has an appreciation of fabric and tone. I want my girls to embrace their femininity. To celebrate it. To escape into it and enjoy all that it means to be a girl. I shall be sure to save some pieces too perhaps one day they will pass them onto their own girls. Sure to be classics of their generation and heirlooms celebrating femininity and youth.

     Thank heaven for little girls and thank heaven for ilovegorgeous.

    Ilovegorgeous can count among its customer base fashion leaders such as Stella McCartney, Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, Stella Tennant, Sam Taylor-Wood, Elle Macpherson and Thandie Newton as well as many stylish mums who want their kids to look and feel Gorgeous.

    You can view the collection here and be sure not to miss out on any offers too by signing up for our newsletters here.

    Monday, 21 March 2011

    Monday Makery - Glovelies

    A pair of gloves don't always make it through the winter together. Even if they do manage to survive the winter in a pair and have not been forgotton on a bus or dropped in the park, some have become rather tatty and holey. These loveable woolly creatures are born from those lonely, outgrown and tatty gloves. They make such quirky fun and fabulous creatures and are easy to create. Fill them with stuffing and add a face by sewing on buttons, felt, ric-rac and scraps of fabric. Little ones will love to create these rather odd looking cuddlies and the best part is the creatures look all the better for imperfection.

    • Old gloves
    • Stuffing
    • Needle - a needle used for wool is best as they're larger and less sharp
    • Thread
    • Buttons, beads, ric-rac, ribbons, felt, pom poms -whatever you can find

    Here's how:
    1. Once you've decided what shape you'd like your creature to take (you can use the fingers as antenaes, ears or turn the glove the other way and use the fingers as legs or tentacles) Fold in the thumb and fingers that are not needed and stitch across the openings.
    2. Stuff the glove to give your creature its shape choosing to fill the ears (fingers) or leave them empty so they are 'floppy'.
    3. Sew the last seam together so that the opening for the hand is closed.
    4. Finish off the creature by giving it button eyes and noses, add sequins for sparkle and ric-rac smiles. Sew a bow on an ear for a girly touch, fold down one of the ears and fix it with a stitch for a playful pup.

    * You can use glue rather than sewing if you prefer. There are some good fabric glues available in department stores and craft shops.

    Sunday, 20 March 2011

    Colour picks

    The Sisters Guild Boutique is full of different hues of...

    Mini Oiseau Bracelet by hop hop hop, 46
    Hand painted metal candle holder by Rice DK £21.50
    Bow Collar Top by Hucklebones £36
    Aden & Anais Brilliant Blue Star Swaddling Wrap £12.95
    LUCKY Sweatshirt by Dandy Star £35
    Blue Bunny Cradle by Maileg £17.50
    Flap Ear Rattle by Lucky Boy Sunday £32

    Save the Whale T-Shirt by Dandy Star, £20
    Favourite Place Pillow by Lucky Boy Sunday, £43
    Peacock Coin Purse by Rice DK, £11.50
    Hand painted Candelabra with birds by Rice DK, £44
    Hand painted yellow metal candle holder by Rice DK, £21.50

    Velvet Peacock Tea Cosy by Rice DK £38
    Large Velvet Floor Cushion in Dove Print by Rice DK £69.50
    Acrylic Memo Board by Rice DK £27
    Dragonfly T-Shirt by Dandy Star £20
    My Paper Boat, Mounted Print by Belle & Boo £32.80
    Hand painted metal candle holder by Rice DK £21.50

    Fabric Covered Box by Rice DK £44.50
    Sad Joe Pillow by Lucky Boy Sunday £50
    Felt House with Girl & Cat by En Gry & Sif £36.50

    Miss White by Lucky Boy Sunday £37
    Red Poplin Shirt by Little Duckling £34.50

    Sign up to the newsletter  - receive 10% off your first order and hear about about future offers.