Style and the City: Paris

It’s turning into quite the travel Thursday but do not fear this is actually a (shhhh!) Fashion post. Read on for the full explanation!

This afternoon I’m hoping you can all help me to help a friend of Florence Finds out, Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams. Michelle is heading off to Paris very soon and recently asked the readers of her blog for tips on where to go, or what to see and do. Like all of us, she’s looking for those little known hideaways, cute shops, pretty patisseries and knock-out cool bars to sample a cocktail.

Moodboard by Pocketful of Dreams; Image credits:,,

Of course, that’s exactly what we’re about here at Florence Finds so I said I’d help her out by posting her shout out and Michelle is going to return the favour by covering her fabulous travails on her return. I can’t wait to hear all about it.

In the meantime, I was inspired to help Michelle with her packing and (after you have left your comments!) please head on over to Pocketful of Dreams and have a look at the Parisian city break solutions I dreamed up for her…

Au revoir!


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 🙂

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