Vintage & Modern Wedding Décor

I have been waiting patiently to share this post with you. This is a special edition featuring some lovely details that I styled for Marry Me—their new range for weddings and event décor is full of charming pieces. The theme: a countryside Paris journey with minimal travel elements. I decided on a romantic and vintage theme that had a cosy tea time vibe and ladylike style. 

View the inspiration below, and see how I merged playful hues of pink, blush, green, and teal colours together and transformed them into a retro version of adult contemporary elegance. 

I used a modern Parisian setting with an outdoor concept for this tablescape, allowing every detail to shine through even down to the party favours. My surprise element was painting this Eiffel Tower cardboard cut-out, and designing a large floral arrangement centrepiece. I used a matte colour to paint all sides and created a gradated 3-dimensional sculptural table piece. 

Giving The Theme Character: 
Speaking of little swag bags, for this I included farmhouse vintage boxes filled with mixed savoury nuts and others were filled with sweet treats.  Another idea is to add themed candies—as you can see I used French lollipops and stored them in mason jars with eucalyptus leaves. This way the table is filled with edible little details that are conversation starters, yet everything still goes along with the ambience and colour story. The favour boxes emulated the vintage theme I used; they were illustrated with mason jars, flower images and lace elements. 

3 Ways To Add Minimal Accents In Minutes: 
Show your guests that you have the chops for hosting the party that you're throwing. Don't worry if your space is small. If you don't have a large budget, the perfect way to add decorations that don't look overdone is to use the following: 

  1. Fact: Balloons do not have to be symmetrical! There are times when it works best symmetrically but they certainly do not have to be. As previously discussed in this post, get creative with balloon styling. An alternative to the traditional: Do this by adding odd numbers of balloons on one side instead of decorating the space filled with bunches of balloons. You have seen in the past that I've used balloons many ways, including using them in clusters and creating art doodles. Go for it!  

  1. Create a garland: Using hanging garlands and buntings are wonderful ways to add to your décor but this doesn't mean that it has to reach across the entire space from wall to wall. Try using a garland on the table as a centrepiece or as I did here, as a focal point above the tablescape. By sectioning off smaller areas of a wall or backspace, you can create a much more intimate environment for guests, which makes it that much more special and inviting. I also added areas of our table with birch wood under the wisteria garland. Grab more garland inspiration in this DIY. 

  1. Handmade napkins: It's all about gold: After you choose which metals you want to use in your theme, don't be afraid to use both rose gold and gold colours. I made napkin rings by using burlap lace ribbon, then I used metal tags as the finishing touch, which resembled a luggage tag (remember, the blended and somewhat abstract theme was ... Vintage. Travel. Paris.) 

Now that I have given you plenty of ideas to chew on, I do hope that you are inspired by this post.

What do you think of this party theme and tablescape? 

The goods: Wedding Collection: Shop special occasion and wedding inspiration here. Some items in this post were provided by Marry Me. All opinions and content are honestly expressed and my own. 

*I will see you next week as I am travelling for business and then on a weekend holiday. I will catch up on your lovely blogs soon and will share more styling tips and bits of inspiration via Instagram.


Foodie Tales and Summer Sides

Confession: I made a mess of things in the kitchen but in a good way! This time we’re getting down with mushrooms and it’s all about the stuffing. I used Colman's Mustard Prepared to bake these stuffed mushrooms, which can be a great additional side dish to any dinner party or outdoor gathering.

The prepared version of this mustard works well for grilling options, including burgers or hot dogs if that's your thing. However, when this mustard is cooked, it offers an even deeper taste and pungency to love. It has a nice bite that is satisfying and shakes you up enough to let you know that the flavour is there, even as a condiment. It's quite easy to use and add in dishes because it's prepared for you.
Although this is an entertaining-friendly finger food, I can't promise that you won't be a hot mess after eating or that you won’t shed a tear or two in the process—at least they will be foodie tears of joy! There's nothing like a good palate kicking to get the conversation going, or rather have your summer gathering bursting with tangy goodness as a starter course.

Make guests satisfied with extra hors d’oeuvres! I mean, filling bellies with happiness? Well, isn't that what matters in the end?

25-30 Cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons Colman's Mustard Prepared
115g (4 oz.) fresh crab meat
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 ¼ teaspoon olive oil
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons dried chives, plus extra for garnish, chopped
25g (1/4 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning or Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground paprika
25g (1/2 cup) Japanese panko
3 tablespoons Gruyere cheese, shredded thin

For Prepping: Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or use a non-stick baking tray. Use a dry paper towel to clean mushrooms by gently wiping away dirt and loose pieces. (I also use a lightly damp paper towel with the dry paper towels for the pieces that need more wiping). Chop the stems off of mushrooms and dice them, set aside on a cutting board.
  1. Preheat oven to Bake at 350F/180C/Gas Mark #4. In a shallow container, pour in the olive oil. Dip the bottom of each cleaned mushroom into the olive oil, then place the mushrooms on the prepared baking tray. 
  2. In a small pan on medium heat, sauté butter, garlic, scallions, and stems of mushrooms until scallions are slightly opaque and the stems are softened. Add the cracked black pepper and kosher salt. Stir gently. Remove the pan from heat to cool. 
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add in the crab meat, Colman's Mustard Prepared, Parmesan cheese, paprika, chives, Old Bay seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir with a wooden spoon until blended. Add in the cooked mushroom stems and scallion mixture. Stir gently until mixed evenly. 
  4. Use a melon scooper or a rounded spoon to fill the caps of each mushroom with the crab mixture, creating a large dome or ice cream scoop shape. In the same container used for the olive oil, add in the Japanese panko and swirl it around to allow the panko to soak up the leftover oil in the container. One by one, carefully roll the tops of the mushrooms in the panko.
  5. Next, place the mushrooms back on the baking tray, evenly dispersed. Add pinches of shredded Gruyere on tops of the mushrooms. Place in the oven and bake for 23-28 minutes, or until the top of mushroom filling is golden brown. Serve with an extra dollop of Colman's Mustard Prepared on the side and garnish with chives. 
*Note: If you don't have Panko, then you can use dried bread crumbs, use (56 g (½ cup).

The goods: This post is sponsored by Colman's Mustard. As always, all opinions and content are honestly expressed and my own. #HotMessAround #Ad Original recipe by Madison. FASHION TALES BLOG


The Wedding Sessions: Part Two

I am starting right off with some inspiration for you in this second edition of summer weddings and DIY décor. Check out the three sections below with a focus on styling tips and DIY accents. 
Core Décor: Centrepieces & Accents
Raise your hands if you love champagne? Right, I mean, bubbles in any form that is! Whether you fancy sipping on a glass of prosecco or merely blowing basic bubbles with these incredibly charming miniature bottles of champagne (seen below), I’ve got your back!

For any special occasion, especially if you don't have a limitless budget (yes, very few of us actually do), the addition of smaller scale items can make your celebration unique. Choose pieces that can be easily customised, which can add those "je ne sais quoi" details to love in your overall décor. And, if you already love miniatures as I do, then there are plentiful options for your choosing.
These miniature champagne bubbles are the perfect way to get your guests talking, plus they’re adorable for everyone to join in on the fun! I created a small "Bubble Bar," an area of the festivities to indulge in all things bubbly—add actual champagne as a bonus or dress up old bottles with personalised labelling to upgrade commercial bottles into custom takeaways. Guests can grab one of the minis before heading outside to partake in the perfect send off.

*These mini clothespins were great details for hanging the photos. I have also used these to create a photo tower or place cards. 

Lights, Camera, Environment!
Concept: Gather together some glass vases and mason jar lighting for late-afternoon and evening celebrations. Since this particular styling was focussed on travelling and retro styling, I used photos with string lights and various sets for the outdoors. Make sure that if you hang lights outside that they are indeed outdoor-friendly.

From vintage-style string lights to LED bulb sets, lights in any form can certainly help set the mood and tone of your occasion. I have said it before and I will say it again, invest in mason jars in different sizes. I just picked up some beautiful vintage mason jars in blue and amber over the weekend for an upcoming event.

I used a collection of two different LED sets because one of them were vintage styled lights, and I wanted the result to be both contemporary and retro (you will see more about that soon). It's always very exciting to see your vision come together and there will be more shared on the mason jars in the future.
For an inviting ambience and more rustic tabletop, I used both faux and natural wood pieces, including these wooden votive holders.

Party Invites & Devilish Details

I absolutely adore wax sealed letters, in fact, my family sends all of their party invites and Christmas cards with a family wax seal. The apple does not fall too far from the tree because I also love to send certain invites with a wax seal albeit for very special dinner parties. I only have a handful of seals but two that I like generally use is a heart seal, and this fleur-de-lys seal, you saw a glimpse of this here. Wax seals work perfectly for various occasions, not to mention what doesn't look great for engagements with gold wax. However, this doesn't only apply for wedding invites, try using a wax seal the next time you host a party or better yet, go on and send your parents some snail mail! 

Below is a handful of invites that I loved. From chalkboard inspired pieces to R.S.V.Ps with romantic opulence, there really is something out there for everyone. This bride and groom both adore lace details and traditional scripting, so I was inspired to incorporate some of those with colour options in the mood board that I presented to them.   

What do you think of these ideas? Would you have an outdoor wedding or indoor wedding?

For this countryside wedding, I used Jack Daniel's boxes to create a unique centrepiece. I actually used two of these because we used a long wooden dining table. It was a random concept that I had, initially, I was using the box to carry over items for the shoot, then I thought, why not actually use the box? I did and I really liked how everything turned out in the end.

I hope you were inspired! Stay tuned for more inspiration in the next volume as I continue to share some behind the scenes snippets.

The goods: Some items in this post features pieces provided by Oriental Trading. All content and opinions expressed are my own.


Colman's: No Messing About

My love for food runs deep, as you already know, and my adoration for quality mustard goes even further. Colman's of Norwich is an English mustard that my family has been long-time fans of. From memories of my father's mustard whiskey baked fish that he used to prepare (an unconventional German and Irish concoction from his childhood) to all-time classic bratwurst, there was always a mustard-infused meal of the season. This time I wanted to do a couple of different things to share new mustard recipes.

Colman's mustard is not for the faint of heart, however, if you love to eat wasabi with your sushi, then you will fancy this type of heat. There's a different calibre of spice when it comes to mustard, it's a premier quality mustard. And, although not entirely blow your top off heat or I can't feel my face heat, in my opinion, this is another grade of spice that only a mustard or sushi lover can appreciate.

I am bringing unique alternatives for all to enjoy! Don't worry, we'll have some great BBQ party favourites to be inspired by as well; for now, just sit back and enjoy the starter course.

This dressing marries a hint of sweetness with that good ole fashioned mustard bite, and can be tossed in your salads, drizzled over grilled veggies, prawns, and more! It's light with a nasal kick to love. That's right! "Hello, summer!" 

Using Colman’s Mustard Powder, I've put together a honey-mustard dressing dip à la vinaigrette that is versatile for both meat and veggie options. It’s an easy way to add a dash of heat to food. Then, I made crispy baked tofu—a nice pairing with fresh carrots and celery, and veggie crisps. This was my first time using Colman’s Mustard Powder, and I loved it! Simple, bold, and full of flavour.

Crispy Baked Tofu:
1 package 400g-425g (14oz-15oz) extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tapioca starch or corn starch
2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon red dried chilli flakes (optional)
fresh coriander or fresh parsley sprigs to garnish
toasted sesame seeds to garnish
pinch of kosher salt

Honey Mustard Sauce:
4 tablespoons Colman's Mustard Powder
4 tablespoons cold water
5 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons raw organic honey
1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari
¼ teaspoon sesame oil

1.         For the Mustard Sauce: Whisk together the 4 tablespoons cold water, and 4 tablespoons Colman's Mustard Powder in a small bowl until blended (you can even use a large mug to do this). Let it sit for 7-10 minutes.
2.         Next, add in the rest of the ingredients: raw organic honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sour cream. Whisk until well-blended. Place cling film or clear wrapping on top of the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Take out of the refrigerator and stir with a spoon. Serve chilled.
3.         For the Baked Tofu: Preheat oven to 400F/200C/ Gas Mark 6. Take out the tofu and drain by using the palm of your hand to carefully get the excess water out. Next, slice the block of tofu (lengthwise) in half, then cut into long thick pieces (about 1" or 2-3 cm thick).  
4.         Place the tofu on a plate or a shallow container that is lined with multiple paper towels (or a clean kitchen cloth). Cover the first layer of tofu with the paper towels or kitchen cloth, then add the remaining tofu, layering it with the towels or kitchen cloth again. Place a weight (such as a glass plate or flat lid) on the stack of tofu to gently but firmly drain the tofu fully.  
5.         Place the drained tofu on a cutting board, then evenly slice the pieces of tofu into small rectangular blocks. In a medium bowl, blend together the tablespoon soy sauce, fresh cracked black pepper, red dried chilli flakes, and olive oil. 
6.         Next, add the tofu pieces to the bowl and carefully coat the tofu with the soy mixture. Next, drizzle 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch over the tofu, then use a silicone spatula to lightly toss together until evenly distributed and blended. In a foil lined baking tray, use tongs to evenly place tofu on the tray. Bake tofu for 25-27 minutes or until tofu is golden brown and crisp on the outside, turning the tofu about every 10-12 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot and sprinkle tofu with a pinch of salt. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, and fresh coriander or parsley sprigs.

What do you like mustard on? Have you tried Colman's Mustard?
The goods: This post is sponsored by Colman's Mustard. As always, all opinions and content are honestly expressed and my own. #HotMessAround #Ad Original recipe by Madison. FASHION TALES BLOG.


DIY Tales of Geodes

For months, I’ve pondered about the perfect craft to use these geode slices that I had—from jewellery to home décor. There are loads of options that definitely exist. My decision was to create something that I could use long after the project was finished as well as a handmade piece of art that would be suitable for gifting. Surprise, surprise ... entertaining came to mind! 
There has been plenty of crafts that I’ve made for friends, and they thought I bought it at a shop during my travels. That's the best compliment, isn't it? Iyou box and wrap your creations well, then it makes every bit of difference. It's all about the execution process.
If you love a charming yet simple do-it-yourself craft, this one is for you!  Now, I am here to show you how to make agate napkin rings. 

Regarding jewellery, geodes or agate slices have never really left the industry, although it has possibly taken a back seat in the past. Recently, there seems to be resurgence in all things geode—from pendants to jewellery boxes. Faux geode pieces are fine for this DIY but use whatever works best for you in this project 

I happen to have a small lot of about sixty or so natural and dyed agate slices as well as  naturally irregular geode pieces from crafts and old random shoots in my studio. Instead of letting dust collect on top of the others, I decided to recycle the polished agate pieces because, you know, I don't like to waste good things! 

View two different versions below; some with added golden wire, which gives the napkin rings an artful look, then I made other pieces without the wire for a more casual aesthetic. If you add jewellery wire, use a small gauge then just wrap, and twist it around each agate piece before adding the ring base. 

Materials Needed: 
6 Cut agate pieces   
E6000 or clear industrial glue 
Adjustable metal ring bases (gold or silver) 
Newsprint or plastic lined flat working surface  
Silveror gold metallic paint pen  
Rhinestonesloose – (optional) 

  1. Using a metallic paint pen, take one geode slice at a time and carefully paint the entire edges in gold. Set aside to dry on a lined flat working surface as preferred with newsprint, etc *I had extra geodes and painted 4 slices in gold and 4 in silver. 
  2. In an open-air environment, lay your geode slices (on a flat working surface) on the side that you don't want to show, facing up (toward you). This will be the back side of your napkin rings. 
  3. Now, hold one ring base in your hand and use your other hand to carefully place glue in the centre of the ring base top, slowly working from the centre and going outward with the glue. *Be careful not to drip any glue. 
  4. Immediately adhere the top of the ring base to a geode slice directly in the centre of the geode, with the ring bottom facing horizontally. Press firmly *Tip: depending on how you want your napkin rings to look, you may glue the ring bases askew if you want a more artful aesthetic, or have your geode slices vertically. Play around with it! 
  5. Set aside and let dry overnight. After geodes are dried, you can add an embellishment if you prefer. I left my gold geodes alone but wanted the silver geodes to have a small rhinestone. Glue a rhinestone to each geode slice. Let dry for 2-4 hours before using the rings. 

I was very pleased with the result, and as I mentioned you can use any colour in faux agate or actual geode pieces. *For the metal napkin rings, I used adjustable ring bases. You can find them at a craft store or jewellery findings supplier/shop. I bought some wholesale online. Let me know if you try these or have any questions, I'm always here to help.

What do you think of these napkin rings?  

Above and below: The finished results with all sides painted. 

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