Christmas Wreath tutorial

A few months ago, when Christmas seemed a long way off, Drake & Morgan asked me to get involved in their new magazine.  Rather than sending through what I already had, I decided to style a shoot!  I enjoy the pressure!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a wreath, so Sam from Violets & Velvet took the opportunity to show us all how to make one.  Photographed beautifully by Claire Claire Naylor Photography it looks easy, right??

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First soak you oasis ring, essential to ensure it lasts until twelfth night!
Start to add your foliage starting with the largest leaf first.

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Continue adding a mixture of foliage until the ring is completely full with no oasis showing.

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Start to add the pretty, again starting with the largest flowers first. Evenly place the flowers around the wreath.
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Add some fruits and fir cones at regular intervals around the wreath to make it festive!  Place wispy limonium around the whole wreath for a soft and whimsical feel.

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And there you go. A simple wreath, great for indoors or outdoors.

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I’ll let you know how I get on with mine!!

Christmas Tutorials – no skills required

It’s the 1st December, time to really start thinking about Christmas!

I can’t really class these as tutorials.  They are so easy and will add a bit of sparkle this Christmas.  No skills required, give them a go.

Glitter Glasses

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Add a bit of sparkle to your cocktail glasses or champagne flutes.

What you need
Glasses, edible glitter, egg yolk and a steady hand!

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How to
Dip the rim of your glass carefully into the egg white.  Not too far as you only want a subtle edge.

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Remove and let the excess drip off.

Dip the rim carefully into the edible glitter, we used a combination of gold and copper.

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Repeat, repeat, repeat ….

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Fill and enjoy!

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Copper Cans

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There isn’t much to this one either, although it might involve eating lots of beans!

What you need
Some tin cans and copper spray!

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No further explanation required!


Here’s something we prepared earlier!

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Candlelight, chairs & styling – Vintage Style Living
Furniture & other props- Vintage Style Hire
Glasses, Crockery & Cutlery – Drake & Morgan
Photographs – Claire Naylor Photography
Flowers – Violets & Velvet

Drake & Morgan – Styling your festive table

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Slightly delayed in writing this post as I was diverted from my desk yesterday by an email from Chatty Man!  Some tickets had come available and did I want them?  Oh yes!  So we rapidly made arrangements for the boys, felt it might not be appropriate just to leave them a note and Mr F and I were on the train to Waterloo!

So tune into Alan Carr Chatty Man on Friday night and see if you can spot us in the audience!  The line up was amazing – James Blunt, Bette Midler, Keith Lemon and Sam Smith.

Back to work!  Is anyone on the Drake & Morgan mailing list?  A Touch of Frost & The Hope of Snow: Here’s What’s On Our Wish List landed in our mailboxes this week?  Did you see the little feature ‘Fashion your festive table’?  We will elaborate!

There is nothing more enjoyable than being a little decadent at Christmas.  A time to go over the top, to be extravagant.  This doesn’t need to cost the earth and you don’t necessarily need to use the traditional colour palette of red and green associated with Christmas.

Taking inspiration from one element can be the kick start to your design.  Our colours were chosen to complement the Drake & Morgan Aubergine glass tumblers which we mixed with gleaming copper tones.  I would suggest choosing a colour theme of no more than two or three colours.

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Think about how you plan to cater.  If you like all the food in the centre of the table for guests to help themselves, a long centre display might not be the best option.  Instead go for small groupings with space for platters of food.

Stage ONE
Set out your table with essentials, such as place mats, cutlery and glassware.  This will enable you to work out how much room you have left for styling.

Stage TWO
Add t-lights and votives in groups along the table and use something to give areas a bit of height, I like to use vintage books.  I also prefer to use lots of different t-lights and votives, rather than all the same, using some for simple flower arrangements.

Fill some of the votives with flowers, herbs, foliage and berries – go out foraging!  Trail Ivy between your arrangement and down the length of the table.  Another simple addition is to add a sprig of rosemary, perhaps some seasonal berries into a pocket fold in the napkin.

I like my Christmas table to last, so will have a less formal table for family on Christmas day and add name and menu cards for a dinner party with friends.

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Styling elements
T-light holders, votives, books, domes, chairs Vintage Style Living
Aubergine Glasses, Cocktail Glasses, Cutlery & Plates Drake & Morgan
Flowers Violets & Velvet
Photographed by Claire Naylor Photography

As with all these shoots, there is quite a lot of planning and a lot more involved in the few images you see in print.  So to follow, there will be the tutorials – adding some sparkle to your party glasses and a how to make and amazing fresh Wreath for Christmas.

If you’d like to buy some of these gorgeous t-light holders and votives, head over to Vintage Style Living and check out our new website!  We are opening the barn every Wednesday until Christmas by appointment, so do get in touch if you’d like to visit.

Until next time!

Hammer Hill Barn  Stanbrook  Essex  CM6 2NH  07875 667642


Our lates film – Where The Magic Happens

Natasha Stanbridge and I decided to pull together a team of amazing creatives who we’ve worked with in the past or whose work we admired to collaborate on this short film.

We knew how we wanted the film to look aesthetically and spent the weeks prior to the shoot deciding who we could work with to bring our vision to life.  The film was inspired by cults, witches, travellers and magic. We put together mood boards for the stylist and the MUA inspired by 60′s and 70′s bohemia. Lots of furs, animal prints and feathers teamed with dark eyes and nude lips which were executed beautifully in the film by MUA Fern Worsley.

We wanted the shoot to have an eclectic feel, so the prop list was fairly extensive.  For the first scene I used lots of gorgeous new tea lights and domes from Vintage Style Living mixed with peweter dishes, rusty scales and goblets spillling with exotic fruits and deep purple and blue flowers.  A bureau filled with books, old clocks, an owl and a rat skull framed the table, a fur coat hung from a coat stand.


The models Kate and Catherine wore two amazing masks made by Curious Fair and I bought some feathers to weave into their hair.

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For the filming story board we didn’t think we should be too strict, as with any collaboration with creative people, everyone has such fantastic ideas which come together on the day.

We put together the scenes, a dramatic bar set up with mixologists Salts of the Earth who also brought their own props and bar paraphernalia to create a stunning bar along with the amazing BAR sign by Argent & Sable.

I love Ian’s close up shots of every detail, especially this delicious Rhubarb Cocktail!

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We painted the piano specifically for the shoot in a deep blue and draped it with festoon lighting.  Sam from Violets & Velvet produced a stunning display across the top.

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Lighting was very important to the finished product and we were fortunate enough to work with Dreamwave Events who rigged up some ambient lighting set ups in front of the camera as well as some set lighting behind the camera. I really wanted to take these home with me!

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Primarily we wanted to create a fashion film.  The clothes were sourced by stylist Christina Blythe, including a cool Paul Smith suit from Mark James of Leigh amongst Christina’s own fabulous collection.

When Natasha got the footage into the edit suite, she found a narrative and it evolved into more of a story.  The film depicts two girls and a striking guy, crafting spells, the outcome is ambiguous and for the viewer to decide.

We would like to thank film assistant Deniz Karpuz and Stedicam Operator Tim Russell.  Deniz did a fantastic job of our Behind the Scenes Film which we love.  Our patient models, Stefan, Catherine and Kate were perfect, I’m sure they hadn’t a clue what they had let themselves in for when they arrived at an old metal barn in the North Essex countryside.  Thanks to our photographers Nick Tucker and Ian Robinson who produced some stunning images and product shots of the day. I’ll blog about the work of each photographer and everyone involved individually in future posts.

So here it is.  Just a small click away HERE!

and do go over and meet everyone in the Behind the Scene film HERE!  I love a Behind the Scene film!

Stefan Pierre, MOT Models – @StefanPierre
Catherine Hitchins – @CatHitchins
Kate Cross

Stefan meets Anne!

A few months ago Natasha Stanbridge, the very talented film maker asked if I would join her in producing something a little bit different!  We’ve done a lot of wedding work together.  Firstly when she contacted me about hiring props for her own wedding. This led to our first wedding film together, seen here on Love My Dress, followed by two gorgeous real weddings that I styled for Julie & James and Emma & Mark.  Emma has since set up the ever so stylist Coco Wedding Venues.

So on the 7th May, after a month or so of planning, we gathered together at Hammer Hill Barn for the shoot.  Everyone that has organised a shoot knows that things don’t always run smoothly.  Everyone offers their time for free which is a big ask and when paid work clashes. everyone understands this has to take priority.  This happened to our first choice of male model.  He was so lovely, he found us a replacement – in walked Stefan!

Stefan found himself in our barn, nothing quite as glamorous as the sets he was used to for Aston Martin and Abercrombie & Fitch! He had seen the moodboard Natasha and I had prepared for the shoot and wanted to recreate one of the shots, so got on a train heading out of London.  The shot he had seen involved a sofa, a guitar and a field.  I could provide all three.

So there we were in the wheat, Stefan in nothing but black denim, lounging on Anne (my buttoned back yellow sofa!!) It was a very tough day.


You can find Stefan at MOT Models.  Do check out his Twitter @StefanPierre and Instagram @Stef_model.


These amazing photographs were taken by Nick Tucker.  I was thrilled he agreed to be part of our shoot and can’t wait to share images of the film.

To hire Anne or anything else to drape upon, visit Vintage Style Hire.

You and Your Wedding Magazine

One of the things I’ve most enjoyed since setting up Vintage Style Hire is writing my blog.  I’m no literary genius, but I like to ramble.  Sadly I’m not a blogger and we’ve been surprisingly busy these past months, so the blog has been neglected.

Between lots of weddings and events, bar styling & sourcing, photo shoots and films, we have been working on setting up the Vintage Style Living website.  We had a set back over Christmas when my web designer decided not to design my website!!  Two months work down the drain I had to muster up the energy and start again.  We are very nearly ready, we will start with a small selection and build up from there!

We’ve been featured in a few magazines lately, including You and Your Wedding.  This was a fantastic photo shoot at Le Manoir with the Pocketful of Dream girls.  Two amazingly talented wedding stylists, it was great to be part of it.  We also got to meet Raymond Blanc!



Maggie has taken over as the face of Vintage Style Hire with this image.  Marjorie has gone into retirement, although still available to hire for photo shoots!

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I’ll blog more details and images soon, but a shout out to the fabulous team:-

Designer & Stylists  Pocketful of Dreams
Venue  Le Manoir
Photographers  Nicola and Glen
Furniture  Vintage Style Hire that’s me!
Bridal Dress & Accessories  Kate Halfpenny
Groom’s Suit & Accessories  October House
Models  Souyma & Barry
Hair & Makeup Sarah Elizabeth for Claire Hanson
Floral Design  Euphoric Flowers
Cake & Sweet Treats  Cakes by Krishanthi
Paper Goods – Gemma Milly
Décor Items – Amara
Props – Farley Prop Hire
Brollies – Brollies Galore

In my next post, I’ll be introducing you to Gemma, who is invaluable and one of the few people I don’t mind bossing me around and Georgia who has just joined us to expand her portfolio as a stylist.  From what I’ve seen so far, she will be amazing too.

Enjoy your sunny weekend xx

Spring Fling – Wedding Magazine

Who has seen the latest Wedding Magazine?  I love this latest shoot Spring Fling.  ’A pastel palette will set the scene for a cool, country celebration brimming with seasonal blooms’.

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A selection of pastel chairs around the dining table, which included our painted Church Chairs, Windsors & Ercols.

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(please note, we do not have enough for wedding ceremonies and dining.  We are only planning a collection that will complement our upholstered furniture.)

We have a growing collection of pretty pastel tables, which as you can see look amazing with a selection of cakes.

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Something so simple, looks so effective!

When Cassy popped along to our barn to select products for the shoot, she spotted this pretty stool for sale.  I’m sure it will star in many more shoots!  We will have lots of furniture for you to buy through Vintage Style Living, the website is almost there!

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Gorgeous flowers by Euphoric Flowers.

Photo Shoot Location

As the rain subsides and tins of Tete a Tete fill the barn, I feel optimistic Spring is on it’s way! Will I be saying this at the end of the week when I’m still wearing my wellies!?

With enquiries for engagement shoots landing in my inbox, I thought I would write another post on shoots at the barn.


We have delivered van loads of props to many shoots.  These have to be planned with military precision.  You can only use what you have booked and from my experience this doesn’t allow for flexibility and spontaneity on the day.  We are of course more than happy to travel and last year had the pleasure of driving through the gates of Le Manoir.  No hope of me ever meeting Raymond Blanc any other way!

If your shoot doesn’t require a Michelin Star location or a stately home as a back drop, why not book Hammer Hill Barn?  With all the props to hand this is much easier and much more cost effective for you and certainly much easier for your stylist and photographer.

The view from the barn is stunning and nearby Thaxted offers lots of quirky spots such as the Windmill, Church and the Guildhall.  There are also many wooded areas I can take you to.  Take a look at our village website It’s actually a town, but very small, some say not dissimilar to Balamory!


From styled fashion shoots, engagement shoots, product shoots – we can provide as much or as little as you need.  A full day at the barn is just £250.

This includes assistance with choosing props for your day, visiting locations and hot and cold refreshments.  It doesn’t include lunch or any additional styling such as flowers, balloons, cakes etc., although these can be arranged at an additional cost.  We can also advise on booking photographers, makeup artists etc.  I will be onhand to help with prop selection, but if you require me to style the shoot, that comes under extras too!

Some of the shoots at our barn.

A Provence inspired shoot by French Made, photographed by Naomi Kenton
Featured on Style Me Pretty

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Our Mannequin shoot, photographed by Violet & Green Photography
Featured on Festival Brides

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An Engagement Shoot, photographed by X-Quisite

Behind the barn (yellow rapeseed unfortunately not to order!)



In the woods!

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Down the lane!


Whatever your requirements, give us a shout, we would love to see you at Hammer Hill Barn.


A little strange to write a post on figs, but I adore them.  To eat and to style!  On one of our shoots at the Barn, I offered to provide lunch. Just something simple which included the obligatory fig!  Never one to miss an opportunity when Charlotte Griffiths has a camera in her hand, I decided to style lunch!


When I was planning weddings, I always suggested to couples if they didn’t have any extra guests arriving in the evening, a simple cheeseboard served with cake would suffice and can always look spectacular.  ’Cheese’ cakes are now very popular at weddings, as are dressing sweet cakes with fruits.

Fig Cheese Cake - Louise Holgate

 Louise Holgate

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I hadn’t planned this, so I just added what I found at the barn – everyone has nests of quails eggs! It’s not perfection, but we ate well!


We have lots of tables for displaying your cheese board or cake at Vintage Style Hire and unusual things such as tins and boxes for crackers and bowls for chutney. We can also style it all for you – happy for you to skip the nests!

Water for Elephants

I was asked recently to send a proposal to style a shoot inspired by the film Water for Elephants.  The film stars Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. Watch the trailer HERE.

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I looked at scenes from the film and suggested props to style each scene.

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Chairs, desks, record player.

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Galvanised buckets and lanterns.

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Water Room

Hostess trollies, armchairs, standard lamps and accessories.


Pink Chair Close Vintage books soiree

Water Cases

We have just a few suitcases!

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If you have ideas to style your photo shoot, or perhaps a unique theme for your wedding, I would happily take a look at your pictures of inspiration. Maybe you have a Pinterest board or have sourced images from the internet – send them over and I’ll suggest some things!