My dear friend Isa is travelling around the world making videos as she goes. Here is a little one she very kindly made about me:
I had the distinct pleasure of not only doing the flowers for but also attending the wedding of Leeze and Carl earlier this year. I have been friends with Leeze’s family for many years now and it was such a treat to be a part of this momentous occasion and get to attend my first proper big Jewish wedding. So much fun! Here are some of their beautiful pics shot by Zoe Morley.
After our first week in Paris last July we took the morning train down to Lyon and then hired a car and drove down across the border to Murazzano in Piedmonte where we worked for a week on Finocchio Verde, a beautiful goat, sheep and everything else farm. From there we then cruised back up into France through the Swiss alps, through soaring, snow capped mountains. The alpine wildflowers around here are some of the most stunning. There are so many different varieties, I feel like you could be turning around in the same spot for hours constantly discovering different delicate little petals. Our destination was Port Lesney in the Jura region where we stayed in an ancient blue window framed home and whiled away our days drinking wine and eating cheese by the river, and exploring the nearby villages and countryside.
Dior, already famous for its creative use of flowers in its shows (see here) has gone next level to create the most magnificent delphinium mountain in the middle of the Cour Carrée of the Lourve.
The show took place inside the structure where the models walked in front of a smaller but no less impressive hill of flowers. In total 400,000 stalks of blue Delphinium were installed by mega production company Bureau Betak.
French-born, Belgium-based florist Thierry Boutemy has worked with the likes of Sofia Coppola, Opening Ceremony and Vogue amongst others. Not a bad little line up. He creates intuitively and revels in the imperfections of nature. Check his website here.
In late June James and I took a train down to Lyon, hired a car and cruised across the alps to Piedmont arriving at dusk to an amazing little farm by the name of Finocchio Verde.
We found our hosts Mario and Isa along with another WWOOFer Marco milking the sheep and goats in the barn, next to a mama giving birth to a little lamb. We wandered around the beautiful property pointing out to each other all the edible things along with the melange of animals. Keeping the goats and sheep company were donkeys, endless cats and kittens that seemed to share mothers jumping from one teet to the next, two dogs one just a puppy and a few grubby pigs at the bottom of the vegetable garden. That night we were fed one of many amazing meals and returned to our room through a path of fireflies.
Our mornings were spent doing hard labour – erecting temporary fences, clearing stinging nettle and tending to the vines. We stopped when it got too hot and made our way inside to help prepare lunch. Most everything we ate was grown on the farm. We would go to the garden to collect asparagus, beans, lettuce, artichoke, purslane, herbs, capers, peppers, and the very first tomatoes of the season.
After siesta we would wander the property looking for wild fruit. Next to Mario & Isa’s property are some semi abandoned farmhouses which make for great exploring. Like the owners just disappeared they are still full with farm equipment and even old stiff coats still hanging from pegs next to doorways. We picked cherries, prunes and red currents and made summer fruit tarts most evenings, which I always decorated with sage flowers or rose petals. The wild flowers growing provided us with sweet little table arrangements which Marco sweetly started making with me.
Along with some of the most amazing cheeses I’ve had, Mario and Isa also make their own honey, jam, wine, vinegar, olives, and once a year they slaughter a pig and make many different types of delicious salami that last them through the year.
One afternoon Mario returned from a nearby fish auction with a tonne of fish bought from his fisherman friends. I gutted my first fish that afternoon and we helped clean maybe 100 more while Mario salted 50 kilos of anchovies. That evening he cooked the most delicious fish gently poached in a pot of incredible homemade passata, wine, garlic and olives. Another food highlight was the fried pardon-style peppers and raw minced meat seasoned simply with salt, pepper and wine covered with freshly shaved local truffles. And the fresh pasta… I could go on. It was all so bloody delicious.
On our final evening Mario’s family came for dinner and he fired up the pizza oven while the whole team helped prepare the delicious rounds of dough. A perfect send off. They really know how to work hard but also get the absolute most out of their day. They take such pleasure in their land and the food that they cook, it’s catching.
We are so happy and thankful to have experienced this small amount of time on their farm. They welcomed us with such generosity and their enthusiasm, vitality and ability to live so thoroughly off the land is enviable.
I’ve just returned from the most amazing job at a Chateau just outside of Paris working for Amy Humphreys of Flowerjugs. I can’t yet show any pics of this wedding (except a couple little details I posted on Instagram) but wanted share some of her other work with you. And I must thank Deb for the introduction!