Recommended: Wilderness Festival

Florence Finds, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams

Today the very lovely and stylish Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams is taking over the blog with her review of Wilderness Festival. If you happen to be a festival aficionado or just like to see how other people get their groove on, then you’re in the right place as this particular one looks EPIC…

I seem to be the only 30-something in the land never to have attended a music festival. Madness I know, particularly given the fact that I plan events for a living. But all that has now changed and last weekend I popped my festival cherry with the one dubbed ‘Poshstock’ otherwise known as Wilderness Festival.

Held in a tranquil lakeside setting in the Oxfordshire countryside, this festival, I imagine, is the antithesis to all other festivals. Magnificent curiosities abound and you would never find yourself short of something to do at Wilderness, from the sumptuous wood-fired hot tubs lining a lake filled with brave swimmers, to the gourmet banquets and food trucks galore and the plethora of workshops, talks, activities and live music taking place across the weekend. It’s a culture-seekers delight, a little too try hard at times, but a lot of fun nonetheless.

My attendance at the festival was a totally last minute affair, I was gifted the tickets just last Monday by clients of mine as a thank-you for planning their own festival wedding, and by Thursday we had packed up the car and headed South. This spontaneous adventure meant we were attending with a totally open-mind and lack of preconception about what was in store. It also meant we’d well and truly missed the boat when it came to trying any of the fantastic activities in offer, everything from the yoga sessions, to the hot tubs to the gourmet banquets was fully booked and despite asking at the elusive ‘info tent’ on arrival the only way we could get in was to keep calling back 10-minutes after each thing was due to start to see if there’d been any no shows, needless to say we opted out of that kind of to-ing and fro-ing.

It was slightly disappointing to not be able to try these things out and I think we’d have had a very different and more rounded experience had we been able to sample a little more, but we still had a great time and saw a lot. Here’s some of my highlights and observations about the festival for those thinking of going next year…..


Perhaps something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime is wild swimming, the lake was pretty much always full of swimmers in the daytime, with many taking their pew along the lakeside to catch some rays (whilst the sun was out that is). It was reminiscent of childhood summer holidays in the alps and you couldn’t help but to feel adventurous and carefree even if not partaking in the swimming yourself.

Although we didn’t manage to enjoy the hot tubs at Wilderness we have seen these in action having booked the very same ones for our clients festival wedding earlier in August. By Bathing under the Sky, these beauties are divine and pure luxury, the staff are superbly attentive and really what better way to spoil yourself than in a hot tub in a beautiful forest, champers in hand?


Wilderness is without a doubt a foodies delight and we were spoilt for choice when it came down to dining. From the breakfast trucks in the camping area we enjoyed toast, bacon rolls, tea and freshly brewed coffee. For a slightly more relaxing breakfast we headed to the Sanctuary to a lovely little pop-up restaurant (name eludes me) with red and white checked tablecloths enjoying Huevas Rancheros and a chilled coconut water, delish.

There was such a vast selection of food trucks serving a multitude of foods: burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, curry, smoothies, ice-cream, fish and chips, paella, duck, lobster rolls, tacos, you name it you probably could have found it. For lunch I opted for a freedom Gyoza box from Rainbo which included a chicken and miso Gyoza with fresh slaw and edamame beans…..delicious, healthy and colourful. We also tried the wood-fired pizzas from Pizza Tabun which were so delicious we ended up back there again the next day. The food at Moro looked delicious too.

Drinks-wise there were a few bars onsite serving the standard spirit and mixer, priced around £5, we sampled a glass or two of the wine also but soon gave up as it was revolting AND warm. We were also a little disappointed by HIX as it looked fantastic and I’d heard great things, they had a cute outdoor chill-out section under a canopy with vintage furniture that looked so inviting, so we thought we’d enjoy a bottle of champagne and watch the afternoon unfold in front of us from the comfort of their lounge. Unfortunately though they didn’t offer ice buckets or any facility to chill it for us once purchased so we gave up and headed back to the Laurent Perrier Champagne Orangery for the second time since we’d arrived. This place was a little slice of refinement in the otherwise madness of the festival. I enjoy getting down and dirty at an event but sometimes you just want a cold drink and a comfortable seat.

Another favourite was the Zubrowka Bison grass vodka pop-up, a welcome respite from the rain on Friday evening with delicious cocktails, plus some pretty cool styling. Moro provided us with delicious white vermouth cocktails, refreshing and zingy.


I could have sat for hours people-watching, everyone made such an effort with their outfits, even the kids with their face paints and funny tails. The festival themed each day with Altered States Friday, Disco Renaissance Saturday and the Cosmos on Sunday. And so ensued an explosion of glitter, sequins, spandex and feathers, with a few masks thrown in for good measure. Personally with little time to prepare it was a case of whatever we could get our hands on so I dug deep into my closet and picked out a few outfits, diy-ing a disco cape from some party decor I had knocking about my studio and buying a glittery cat mask online. Although we could have just turned up and headed to the various vintage and dressing up emporiums (so many) and found some outlandish outfits to wear.

I had a wander round a few and ogled the shiny delights on offer: Secret Emporium was like a party within the party and where I had my face painted by In Your Dreams, Rosa Bloom had some divine feathery and sequinned capes, Violets Box had a fab selection of outfits too.

It was clear this festival was a fashionista’s paradise and we saw so many fashion bloggers and fashion media strutting their stuff with plenty of street-style photographers snapping the action too. My only advice when it comes to dressing is to take lots of layers and flat shoes only, I ended up wearing mainly cut-off denim shorts with bodies and a variety of cover-ups, my anorak quite a lot as the rain was so sporadic and my hunter wellies.


As a wedding and event planner I am always looking at how brands style and market themselves at events so for me it was like an being in an aladdin’s cave of inspiration. Colourful bunting as far as the eye could see and cute little styled spaces to interact with.

Some of my favourites included the Mulberry craft tent (annoyingly booked up all weekend so I didn’t actually get inside) and the Accessorize tent which had a cool wishing tree with colour-dipped feathers. I also saw lots of fashionable ladies walking around the site with their gold Mulberry balloons and branded picnic hampers, only to find out later that Cara Delevingne had been there to host a private picnic – my invite had clearly got lost in the post.

And as mentioned above the Zubrowka space with its forest-inspired teepee and 3-D paper art installation hanging from the ceiling was definitely one of my favourites and the most thought through design-wise, it looked like a mystical magical space that had literally grown amongst the woodland.

The Laurent-Perrier tent also looked beautiful with a gorgeous string installation over the bar – but I had already spied this on pictures from a previous year so was surprised they’d not done something fresh.

Oh how I’d love to design one of these spaces one day….brands take note.


The music side of things, I felt, was quite average, and this comes from someone with hardly a passing interest in current music. It did seem that this element really took a back seat to everything else going on and I rarely saw the stages fill up with the kind of crowds we’ve all seen at the likes of Glastonbury et al. We watched a couple of sets on the main stage but couldn’t even tell you who.

For us the highlights were the late night revelry acts in Pandemonium, an amphitheatre in the valley which came alive at night. We had such a blast dancing our masked faces off to Horse Meat Disco, Greg Wilson and Futureboogie, the sound and lighting was immense topped off by a theatrical acrobatic performance by The Box. The Styx stage was another cool highlight, held on a carousel, as was the burning of the effigy which we watched from Pandemonium. Finally the hidden gem we found was the Artful Badger tent, a tiny space with fabulous music.


And now for the more practical elements which is where I feel Wilderness fell a little short of the mark and I guess this is the events organiser in me that has little tolerance for poor organisation.

With your ticket you also get access to general camping which allows you to pitch a tent in the main campsite. It has a few different sections including a Quiet Camp for those who actually want to sleep, a Family camp for those with kiddies and the free-for-all general area. There are food trucks close-by this area, plenty of toilets, showers etc and also the big green lockers should you wish to keep things secure (which are actually tiny and just fit your phone and wallet in them ), but definitely worth paying £25 for a weekend pass as you can also charge your phone in them.

This is where my experience was marred slightly with an unfortunate incident occurring on the Friday morning when we were abruptly awoken by a team of security guards telling us to move our tent as we’d pitched in a fire lane, along with about 100 other tents. Annoyingly when we’d arrived Thursday evening, after our 5-hour drive it was pretty dark, there were no maps and limited signage to direct you where to go. The campsites seemed pretty full and and were spilling out into the area we ended up camping in. We checked with the stewards and security manning these areas and we’re told it was fine to camp there so felt pretty irate when told we had to move the next day, particularly as the campsites were full to bursting by this point. Several hours later we’d managed to pack up, repitch the tent and unpack again but it left a pretty sour taste in the mouth. We actually ended up in the Quiet Camp which was anything but, the stewards tried to keep noise levels to a minimum but failed miserably resulting in quite a few sleepless nights.

Overall the camping facilities seemed to be badly organised and we heard many people complaining about it over the weekend, it seemed they had not anticipated the capacity with some reporting 30,000 people this year compared to 15,000 last year. If I attend again then I’ll definitely be glamping or staying offsite.


This was the part I was dreading the most but I needn’t have been concerned, there was an abundance of toilet areas both in the main arena and across the campsite and I never once had to use my own loo-roll as they never ran out. The queues were pretty much non-existent apart from key points in the day, mainly mornings and early evening as everyone started to get a little inebriated but even then I never queued for longer than 5 minutes.

The showers were clean and HOT, but annoyingly were only working one out of the four times we tried to use them on both the Friday and Saturday. I imagine we were probably cleaner than most festival goers having showered and washed whilst there, but still, if you promise hot showers at least make sure they are working!!


Again another element that needs improving, finding your way around is difficult and no-one knows what’s going on when you ask them. You don’t get any kind of map when you arrive and have to pay £8 for a programme containing one which then doesn’t tell you the various food trucks on offer so for me was a waste of time.

It would have been much better with large maps dotted around the site or at least having something online that you can print yourself and /or work things out before you get there.

Despite all the above it was an incredible first festival experience and even though I was terribly sleep-deprived and had to pack up our tent in the midst of a hurricane I look back now with only fond memories of my experience. Roll on next year, who’s with me?

Michelle x

You can find Michelle at, an experienced events organiser planning individual and spectacular weddings and parties for clients across the UK and Europe.

Style Saver: Re-working the LBD

Good morning readers! Today I’m excited to introduce a new regular contributor to Florence Finds, Michelle. Lots of you will know Michelle already, either as the founder and creative force behind Pocketful of Dreams, the event design house she co-runs,  or as my one-time partner in Dream Find Do. Michelle has already guest posted from time to time here, so it was natural for me to take things one step further and ask her to contribute regularly. This lady has style by the bucketload and we have similar taste, so I know you’re all going to love what she has lined up. Michelle will be our new lifestyle contributor, so you’ll be hearing from her every couple of weeks or so on a variety of topics, all of which will – in true Florence Finds fashion – add a little style to your life. I hope you’ll all give her a warm welcome and enjoy her posts! – Rebecca x

Florence Finds, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams

Hello Find-ettes, I am beyond excited to be writing for Florence Finds and hope you enjoy my musings on all things lifestyle. I’ll be sharing all sorts of finds, from fashion items I’m currently coveting through to seasonal updates for your home. There may be a moodboard or two thrown in for good measure as well!!

Today I’m sharing a little style conundrum I’ve been facing recently and that’s how to take the little black dress from drab to dazzling. With a number of events coming up including two awards dinners and two Christmas parties, all with a ‘cocktail-wear’ dress code, I have that “nothing to wear” feeling.

Given that these are work events I’m loathe to spend money on new dresses but have plenty of LBD’s hanging in my wardrobe that rarely get worn as I’m a colour lover nowadays. So I’ve been thinking about how I can make the LBD work harder by adding some carefully chosen accessories for a hint of colour and punch.

Here’s my picks to style up the little black dress…..

Black Dress, Little Black Dress, Black Dress Ideas, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams, Florence Finds

I could see this outfit working just as well with a leather biker jacket for a night on the town, but as cocktail wear there’s a few subtle edgy pieces to give it that hint of sass.

1. J Crew Citron Stone Necklace £150 2.  Coast Leather Box Bag £65 3. Senso Perspex Heels £40 from Coggles

Black Dress, Little Black Dress, Black Dress Ideas, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams, Florence Finds

Classic with a twist
Cobalt blue is such a striking colour and I love how it works with black, this lace sleeved top would be a great way to change up a black cocktail dress worn over or underneath with just the sleeves and neckline peeking through. The addition of a leopard print clutch would stop it feeling too matchy-matchy and provide a funky twist on a classic style.

1. Ted baker lace sleeve top £99.00  2. Nelly Earings £22.95 3. Dune Leopard Clutch £69.00  4.  Coast Celita Ankle Strap £80

Black Dress, Little Black Dress, Black Dress Ideas, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams, Florence Finds

This is possibly my favourite look of all three, it’s simple and sophisticated with plenty of punchy colour. I’ve chosen two shades that work great together an ochre yellow and a deep red, with hints of gold, I feel these moodier and warmer colours work really well with black. It’s unexpected yet striking.

1. ASOS collar necklace £30.00 2.Ochre Asymmetric clutch £109.50 3. Ted Baker Neevo pumps £112

Let me know which one is your favourite and do share your own style ideas for funking up the little black dress.

Michelle xx

Follow on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest

Home Updates: The Pocketful of Dreams Creative Studio

Good morning readers! Now the weather has cooled down just a touch I’m feeling more productive and thinking about my home again so I was super excited when Michelle (remember her advice on Getting Organised for the New Year during #JanuaryJoy?) sent her office renovation in to share. I don’t think I have ever seen anything so pretty as those gold polka dots! 

At the beginning of the year I vowed to do two things: get organised and clear out the clutter. I went full guns blazing into my #projectorganise and have since found I have a renewed love for my home.

My studio is an attic room at home and was my first victim with a much-needed update. Several (I’m talking about 10 here folks) bin bags, a few clever storage solutions and some pretty new decor pieces later it’s finally starting to feel more like ‘me’. A space where I enjoy spending long days, working away on design concepts for my clients whilst the sun streams through my overhead window.

I also love the fact that as it is a true blank canvas with the crisp white walls and neutral carpet I can pretty much update it whenever I want with some really simple additions. Here’s what I’ve been adding lately:


Ikea is my trusty go-to for relatively cheap office furniture, they always have something that will do the job whilst not breaking the bank. Plus it always works for me having a clean base to work with. So I purchased a new desk that allowed me a choice of tops and legs. I opted for a white gloss finish top and the most basic of their trestle legs range as they just look much nicer than the poles they offer. As they come in a standard grey metal I thought I’d add a little POD magic to them and first sprayed them white, then sprayed the ends in a hot pink for a dipped look.

To add a further splash of colour I have edged the desk with a turquoise blue washi tape and really love how these accents now start to define the space.

Those little blue pots adorning my desk are actually candle-holders but I prefer them to having huge pen pots on my desk and means I can get more in them. The John Lewis lamp that was kindly donated to me adds the perfect task lighting whilst still looking stylish.


I am constantly gathering inspiration and like to have oodles of it surrounding me whilst I’m working on particular projects so I’ve kept my purse-friendly corkboard (previously a hideous red with pine frame) and simply given it a lick of pale grey paint so it blends into the space better. For the things I don’t want to stick pins into (like photographs) I use my Rockett St George magnetic memo board or rip up a piece of washi tape and use the wall behind my desk instead.


As a wedding planner my events kit is constantly growing and contains all manner of tools from scissors, hammers and screwdrivers to little packets of pins, pegs and sticky dots. I have to be prepared and I also have to have things to hand quickly to ensure a seamless set-up.

Recently my kit had grown a little out of control so I began looking for a tool belt that would double up as both office storage as well as to use at events. And wouldn’t you just know it, I stumbled across this lovely little pink canvas storage from H&M homewares (only available online or in London currently).

That’s where I got the perfectly cute aqua bow-tie hooks from as well, they did do a hot pink version but I found it a little too harsh for this space so have yet to use them. I have lined a few of the hooks up along one wall to store both my kit and other items like my trusty alphabet bags canvas bags.


The final piece of the puzzle and the element that makes me squeal every time I enter the studio is my gold polka dot wall. This is actually a party backdrop I came up with for a client event that’s translated so well into an interiors feature too. The high-gloss polka dots are low-tac stickers so they don’t damage walls and can be easily removed. If you fancy bagging something similar yourself head over to our Etsy Party Boutique as we’re now offering polka dot wall kits to buy.

So there you have it, a few relatively simple and inexpensive updates to my home studio space that I feel have really transformed it. What do you think folks, do you have any ideas to share for clever storage solutions or easy ways to add a little colour to an otherwise blank space?

Michelle xx

Michelle is one half of a creative-duo of event planners, specialising in creative and wow-factor weddings at Pocketful of Dreams. You can find her on twitter, instagram and pinterest.

#JanuaryJoy – Have a Clear Out

Today, Michelle is here to talk about her ‘get organised’ plans for 2013. She has got a handy guide to how she tackled her wardrobe clear out that I think you’ll all find useful. I know I always find my wardrobe daunting. ‘Will I wear it again?’ and ‘It feels to wasteful to throw things away…’ but if you’re to have a streamlined wardrobe being ruthless is essential. Take it away Michelle!

Image Credit

I’ll admit that when it comes to clothing I hate to throw anything away, yep my name is Michelle and I’m a hoarder. The problem became so out of hand when I had filled the entire wardrobe spaces across two bedrooms (3 double hanging spaces, and 15 drawers, yikes!) along with several more suitcases bursting at their seams in the attic space too. This came to light when my partner moved into my home and was genuinely horrified at the amount of ‘stuff’ I had that just did not see the light of day.

His continual nagging reasoning eventually resonated, I finally got that there’s no point keeping clothing that didn’t fit or was even remotely stylish anymore. It was time for a clear-out. Now along with my fear of letting go of anything in case I one day need it again, I also loathe waste and would rather sell my clothes on than just bin them. So when I have had a clear-out before I’ve simply moved the items from wardrobe to bin-liners in the vain hope I’ll miraculously find an extra 3-million hours to list everything on ebay and make enough money to treat myself to next seasons must-haves. #neverhappens. I simply end up with more clutter catching dust in the attic.

It was time to be radical, to let go and think with my head not my heart so I set aside a full day to have a proper clearout. I got rid of all those old clothes filling up my wardrobes and I made sure the things I use as part of my daily getting-ready routine were easy to locate and had a dedicated space.

The original day I set aside to do it actually turned into two but it’s time well spent in my eyes and boy am I glad I did it now. Over one month in and my bedroom is still exactly as it was when I finished the clear-out, totally zen and totally organised. The time it takes me to get ready each day has halved (yes that’s right HALF the time – just goes to show how long I spent ‘looking’ for stuff) and I’ve started to enjoy getting dressed again, co-ordinating my outfits and actually wearing more than a handful of core items.

So in the interests of sharing here’s my tips for having your own clear-out:

Put some loud music on – it will keep you going at a quick pace rather than getting distracted by all the things you’re unearthing
Start with a clean slate – pull out everything and pile it onto the bed, start with clothes, then move onto shoes, accessories and lastly your make-up/beauty items
Create three piles:

  1. The things you both LOVE and make you feel GREAT – these are the keepers
  2. The things you LOVE and want to keep but they need repairing or altering – you have to get these done right away or they’ll sit in your wardrobe for another 12-months
  3. The things that you’re not 100% sure about, items that don’t fit or have really seen better days – these have to go so get the bin bags ready!

Now be strict and keep only those items you really LOVE and WOULD/COULD wear. There’s no point keeping something you love but the fit being awkward, or the colour doesn’t really suit you, or you’re just waiting for something to go with it. If you have an excuse why you’ve not worn it then bin it. Keep in mind at all times, how those clothes make you feel, because really who wants to wear anything that doesn’t make you feel 100% great?

  • Decide which wardrobe and drawer space is best for each type of clothing, from hanging to drawers and shelving. Put items you need daily access to, like work clothes, in the main hanging spaces and those worn less often in drawers or on shelves.
  • When hanging your clothes back in the wardrobe try colour-coding them so they are easy to find when you’re pairing outfits together. I hang from light to dark shades with all my tops, shirts, blouses etc in the top hanging space and bulkier jackets, cardigans etc at the bottom. My trousers and skirts have a small wardrobe all of their own, jeans get folded up and put on shelves and everything else goes in the drawers
  • I know it’s a pain but try to iron your clothes too before they get put away, they will get slightly creased again but I find it’s easy enough to run a hot hairdryer over slightly creased clothes (or just hang them in the bathroom while you shower) than it is to get the iron and ironing board out every day. Also take the time to put them all the right way around on the hanger, you wouldn’t buy from a shop that had creased, inside out clothing on display would you? You want to feel good when getting dressed, it’s all about creating an enjoyable experience.

  • Utilise drawer dividers for things like jewellery and underwear, Ikea do some really cheap ones and they really do help to keep things neat and tidy
  • Anything that isn’t going to be worn for months (ie really seasonal items) should be packed away into suitcases for storing
  • Keep shoes in their boxes if you can as it maintains them for much longer. To help you find what’s lurking inside each box take a snapshot of each pair and stick it to the side of the box (I just used my phone to do it then printed on the home computer and stuck them on with tape, I would have preferred a polaroid but I don’t have one).

  • If you have a dressing table don’t be tempted to fill the surface with ‘stuff’ it may look pretty but I guarantee it will look chaotic after a week of rushed getting ready, instead try to keep everything in drawers. Keep only the items you use on a daily basis on your table and have them organised in pretty pots (mine are Cox and Cox candle votives) and use a nice tray for any flat items (like blusher and bronzer) that won’t go in a pot. Create separate compartments in the drawer space using plastic pots so you can group things like hairgrips, bobbles, nail products etc (mine are old business card holders reused)
  • Skincare products I find are better in the bathroom as they are part of my washing/showering routine

I quickly realised last year that I can’t continue the way I had been doing and a certain level of strict organisation was needed for my sanity. So I’ve started #ProjectOrganise and will be blogging, tweeting and instagramming about my progress over the course of 2013.

Please do join in, there’s nothing better than knowing we’re all in it together, if you have any time-management tips, or little aspects you also feel the need to tackle then drop us a comment and we’ll make sure it’s considered in a future post.

When our time is so precious it’s little steps like this that make all the difference. Every. Second. Counts and no-one wants to waste time hunting under the bed for their mascara every morning.

Pocketful of Dreams

{Pocketful of Dreams are creative event designers, passionate about creating breathtaking experiences. They design, style and deliver unique weddings and events tailored to your own personal story.}

Blogging Laid Bare #5: Photoshop tutorials – What’s in the Tool Box?

For the last couple of months, the Blogging Laid Bare series has covered several different topics that bloggers may find useful, whether you’re just starting out or want to make your existing blog a bit snazzier, slicker or generally all round fabulous. In the past I have done a Photoshop templates tutorial for bloggers wanting to present their pictures in a smarter way or for use in mood boards, but if that left you a bit scared faced with tackling photoshop, then this week’s post is especially for you, or anyone who isn’t sure they’re using photoshop software correctly.

Continuing the collaboration, this week’s Blogging Laid Bare post is over at Pocketful of Dreams where Michelle has put together a basic (although I’d argue it’s pretty flipping comprehensive – well done Michelle!) guide to Photoshop tools, and what they do.

Just click the image to go straight to the post on Pocketful of Dreams.

Other blog posts in the ‘Blogging Laid Bare‘ series:

I hope you find is useful and as always, let us know if there’s something else you would like to see covered, we’ve got a lot up our sleeves for this series 😉


PS Come back at 2pm for this afternoon’s post as usual!

Party Inspiration: Fine and Dandy

Today is Pete’s 30th Birthday (Happy birthday Pete! I know you’re reading!) We’ve got a packed weekend of celebrations lined up, dinner alone tonight, family over the weekend and tomorrow we’re having a drinks party.

Planning a party is never easy but I wanted it to be special because it’s a 30th. We thought about a fancy dress theme initially but thought it was a big commitment for guests to make. I really do think dressing up lends a real sense of fun to a party and brings people out of themselves. When I was hunting for some masculine invitations on Etsy I came across some invitations to a Moustache Bash and alighted on our theme.

Invitation Design (with details blanked out) Cardtopia Designs on

Now, I consider myself creative, but I’m not anywhere near on the level of my friend Michelle, the planner and designer extraordinaire behind Pocketful of Dreams, so I decided to drop her a line and see if she had any ideas. I know there must be a few of you who have faced or will face the same conundrum, how to do a stylish and unique man’s birthday party, without it looking like an explosion in a blue balloon factory? So here is Michelle to save us all from the planning doldrums – I was blown away by her ideas!

Image Credits 1. via Hire The Stache 2. Sarah Rhoads Photographers via Style Me Pretty
3. & 7. Jesi Haack Weddings via Hostess Blog 4. Antique apothecary jars 5. Moustache art print via collageOrama on Etsy 6. magnifying glass at Anthropologie
8. via Tweed Run 9. Pharmacy Print via Fine Art America

When Rebecca recently asked if I could provide some inspiration for her husband’s 30th Birthday Bash I was absolutely delighted to get my teeth stuck into a more masculine party style.

I wanted to come up with something stylish and tasteful, with a gentlemanly vibe, yet still full of fun. The backdrop for this birthday bash is actually a former police station, full of exposed brickwork, copper detailing and sumptuous tan leather recliners, so I began to think about a design concept in fitting with the surroundings. Of course being at a former ‘nick’ my thoughts immediately turned to a certain detective character to be my party muse.

The character in question is our very own British treasure, Sherlock Holmes, who has bounced back onto our TV screens of late. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective is brilliantly eccentric – a trait which lends itself so very well to an eclectic and refined party design. Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take on almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve difficult cases. He can often be found donning a dapper tweed suit, surrounded by olde worlde antiquities, habitually smoking a pipe and of course carrying the ubiquitous magnifying glass.

And so the Fine and Dandy inspiration was born, with a manly colour palette of amber and tan, tobacco and black, this style is full on masculine refinement.

Here are a few ideas on how you can take the inspiration to celebration:

  • Anything scientific would make wonderfully eclectic decor, think science lab supplies such as test-tubes and magnifying glasses, mixed in with old medicine bottles and ancient chemistry and anatomy books.
  • Turn huge apothecary jars into terrarium displays filled with moss, airplants and succulents for a more manly take on floral displays.
  • As Holmes is known as the master of disguise, provide your guests with a whole host of props they can don to turn themselves into detectives for the night. Fill your dressing up box with moustaches on sticks, various vintage hats, antique style pistols, waking canes, smoking pipes and a few tweed jackets.
  • Use pages of the financial times as your photobooth backdrop and spraypaint moustaches, pipes and monocles to the paper using stencils found online
  • Create a cake or dessert table, filled with a mis-matched selection of cakes and treats, maybe even a moustache cake like this one!
  • Provide a unique police-record ID guestbook for your guests to leave a fingerprint along with their greetings for the birthday boy.
  • Give your guests a crime to solve, with little clues hidden all around your venue. Provide each one with a mini notebook and yellow pencil so they can write down their clues and try to solve the case.
  • You could hang magnifying glasses from the ceiling for a eye-catching and unusual display, these can be picked up for around £1 each like these ones here
  • Reference alchemy by making signature cocktails available for your guests in fitting with your concept: The Watson, Elementary, and 221b Baker Street. For manly cocktails think simple, high-quality ingredients like rum, brandy and whisky, mixed with coke, ginger beer or soda.

So there you have the ultimate gentleman’s party, refined and sophisticated, with a cheeky twist of fun.

Michelle x

I hope some of you out there found this interesting and even gained some inspiration for it for the men in your life. If you are planning a party that you would like a little help with, please do get in contact with Michelle – she’s one of the most creative people I’ve worked with in the Wedding Industry and I can highly recommend her, aside from being fun to be around!

I’m getting excited…


PS Happy Birthday to Victoria too 🙂 x

Christmas Inspiration #3 – Table Decor by Pocketful of Dreams

Welcome back this afternoon folks and I hope you’re all basking in a smug glow of cool factor after reading this morning’s music post by Penny B.

This afternoon however, you might want to put on your favourite Christmas mix tape and get festive as my lovely friend Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams is popping by to help you bring some serious festive style to your Christmas table.

Decorating the table for festive food is one of my favourite decor projects and I try to do something different every year so I can’t wait to share what Michelle has in store for you. Michelle burst onto the planning scene about a year ago now and I really rate her creativity so if you’re looking for help with any kind of event, please do look her up (details at the bottom of this post.) Thanks Michelle, it’s an honour to have you!

Christmas Table decor by Pocketful of Dreams
Image Credit: Style files

As a creative event planner this time of year is really my favourite. Everywhere looks so pretty and inviting with the twinkly lights, a warm glow, festive sounds and general feelings of merriment. It’s like little glitter fairies have been allowed to play all across the land, what could be cooler?

This feeling of celebration, decadence and abundance is essentially what most people wish to capture for their Christmas feast, with an invitingly beautiful table all expertly laid out with fresh flower centrepieces, unique place settings and the most beautiful chinaware.

But in reality, with lots of people squashed round a table that’s too small, borrowed chairs of varying styles and heights (come on, own up who does the bring a spare chair thing?) and a mountain of food that could probably feed twice the amount of people, the practicalities of dishing up the Christmas dinner can often overtake the stylish dreams of even the most creative host.

Image Credit: All the Beautiful Christmas

So here’s my tips on how to create a super-stylish, yet totally-real table this Christmas:

The Planning

  • If space is a real issue for you then consider serving the food in a separate serving area rather than all those dishes jostling for space on the dining table, let each guest grab a plate and help themselves, it keeps them busy and adds to the feeling of feasting.
  • Before you even start to dress the table, think about who will sit where, note where the chair legs fall and if you really need to sit someone in that spot, make sure it’s a man. As the host always make sure your chair is within easy access of the kitchen for gravy top-ups and checking on the Christmas pud.
  • Last year we had 14 for Christmas dinner so we used two dining tables, improvising by bringing the garden table indoors, once it had a tablecloth and various pieces of decor added no-one was any the wiser and it gave us plenty of room to spread out. If space is an issue in your dining area or kitchen consider moving into another area, can you extend the tables into a hallway or living room for example?
  • If you’re stuck for space on the tabletop then a fancy tablecloth will provide some much needed impact, think bold colours in keeping with your decor, or maybe add in a vibrant table runner to give another dimension to the table, striped and checked ones work really well.
  • If you want to make your table interactive then why not turn your tablecloth into a guestbook? Let everyone doodle away on the cloth, maybe sign their names with the date and a sweet message, then have someone stitch over the doodles for a permanent reminder. You could get this out year after year and look back on all the messages.
  • The essentials you’ll need for the table in addition to all the cutlery, crockery and glassware: A tablecloth, a table protector or heatproof mats, napkins and napkin rings, place mats, place cards, decor items such as candelabras or votives, centrepieces and don’t forget those Christmas crackers.

Christmas Table decor by Pocketful of Dreams
Image Credits: Angel at Table, Tabitha Emma, Stipje, & Real Simple.

The Place Settings

  • There are so many ideas for making the place settings interesting, I always use a charger plate in a contrasting colour as my base and plain white chinaware on top.
  • You can make the napkin into a bow-tie shape for a fancy touch, or make your own napkin rings from ribbon and twine, adorning them with natural elements like ferns and cinnamon sticks, perfect for adding a little festive charm, not to mention a wonderful scent to the table
  • I love the idea above of having a peppermint candy cane or a christmas ornament as your place setting, adding a handstamped or handwritten manilla tag (like the ones you get in the post-office) is a really quick and simple way of making these into place settings, and they double up as gifts to take home too
  • Or if you prefer something a little quirkier why not give everyone a snowglobe, a miniature christmas tree or a cute little figurine as your place setting gift instead. If I got the little man adorned in glitter below left, well I think I may just love you forever.
  • Again if space is a real issue on your table, why not create a place setting that can hang over the back of the chairs, Christmas ornaments and bows are perfect.

Christmas Table decor by Pocketful of Dreams
Image Credits: Sitting in a Tree, Martha Stewart, Home Klondike & House to Home.


  • A festive decoration for the centre of your table will always add that little extra something to the proceedings and there are so many ideas for Christmas centrepieces that you dont have to restrict yourself to just florals.
  • A vintage cake stand filled with sparkly Christmas ornaments is a quick fix if you’re pressed for time, or fill beautiful enamelware to the brim with moss, holly branches and ferns and a few pillar candles, if they’re scented then even better.
  • Bowls of fresh fruit, like those red apples below, make an interesting display, simply add a co-ordinating ribbon and plenty of berries
  • Paperwhites are also perfect at this time of year, I actually love these so much, and once flowered are really fragrant and beautiful
  • Although you can’t beat a bunch of seasonal fresh flowers adorning the table at Christmas. Crisp white and luscious red flowers look wonderful in simple containers, or you could try single arrangements of cedar branches, spider mums and eucalyptus in contemporary milk glass vessels.

Image credits: 1. Blossom Floristla, Real Living, Mochatini & Sjarmerendejul.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed my festive decorating tips and I’d love to hear what you have planned for your table this year.

Michelle x

Please do leave Michelle a comment if you’ve enjoyed her post and share your Christmas plans…


PS Find Michele online at or on Twitter @PocketfulDreams. The blog is well worth adding to your reader 🙂

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...