Monday, September 7, 2015

A Week of Beauty, Day 1: Inspiration

Palm Court at the Langham Hotel in Auckland

I thought I’d start our week of beauty off by talking about creating your own inspiration.  This really is the starting point for anything you want to achieve, and often with inspiration you don’t even need a plan – if you’re inspired enough, everything flows and you end up at your desired destination whether it’s a clean house or an outfit you look and feel good in.

I was watching a movie recently and it had a wedding scene.  I thought to myself how romantic the reception room looked, how happy and well-dressed everyone was and that they were all having a great time together.  At that moment I admit I wished that my life could be like a wedding (and normally I find wedding talk quite boring).

So I had a thought to brainstorm all the lovely things about weddings and why not use a theme to let my mind wander to beautiful places? 

Weddings = romance and beautiful living

White/cream surroundings
Touches of pink/pastels
Fresh flowers smelling divine
Pretty twinkly lights
Centrepieces on tables
Candles flickering
Women in dresses, men looking dapper
Pretty hair and makeup
Piano lounge music
People being nice to each other
Connecting with family and friends
Enjoying life, coming alive
Dancing all night long
Outside on the terrace in the moon glow
Making your own special occasions

Ahh, don’t you feel like we’re all at that movie wedding right now?  I do!

From this list I now have a starting point to see how I can introduce any of these things into my everyday life to bring about the feeling of beauty and romance (in an easy and inexpensive way of course). 

We were at our favourite five-star hotel for a family dinner on the weekend and it is so beautiful there (it would be a fabulous place to hold a wedding – if you had a big budget).  The photo on this post is one of the public areas there.  I noticed on every table there was a candle and a bud vase holding a single fresh flower.  This tableau was a small area of beauty and it shows that someone cared enough to make it so.

I know a lot of restaurants have these but it made me realise that I don’t have a bud vase.  I’m going to look out for one I like because then I can cut something small from the garden and have that touch of care available instantly, because while I don’t have a picking garden, there surely must be something, even one tiny little thing I can put into a bud vase.


I’d love to know, what would your inspirational theme be?

And, I will see you tomorrow for Day 2.


  1. A wonderful list! You always have the best ideas, Fiona!

  2. I was recently inspired by an episode of "Midsomer Murders," of all things!

    I found myself really sitting up and taking notice of a room in one scene - a traditional British country style living room, but without any chintzy florals. It was done in a range of creams and beiges with touches of gold, the only real colour coming from bowls of orchids on a polished wood table, and the view through the window of green countryside.

    It made me think, there are some elements of English country style that always inspire me -

    - Earl Grey tea served on fine bone china
    - a room made fragrant and welcoming with things like a log fire, flowers, furniture polish
    - a window view framed by carefully placed plants
    - a well tended garden, but with a climbing rose or some ivy going a little bit wild
    - long walks in cool damp weather
    - fresh air and the peace of the countryside
    - the history and mystery of old homes
    - relaxed classic country style dressing - jeans, boots, a fine merino knit over a tee or a white shirt, a tweed jacket
    - understated jewelry like a simple fob chain necklace
    - classic floral fragrances, like Roses de Chloe (I'd love to try some English brands like Penhaligon's)
    - oh, and I really do enjoy sinking back into a soft chintzy sofa with a soft throw rug for a small furry friend (or two!)

  3. I love all your ideas, Fiona (and Rachel above had such a descriptive list that is also very doable). I love fresh flowers but realize I don't usually have any because of the cost and inconvenience. Occasionally I treat myself to a beautiful long lasting orchid. A bud vase- I can do that!!!!! Another little thing that I enjoy is filing a few old crystal vases with branches in the spring and watching various pretty things bloom. I learned this trick from an interior decorator friend who sometimes fills her whole house with greenery in shimmering old crystal vases- quite stunning.

    My inspiration is a cottage by the sea- clean and sparse but cozy- lots of blue and white. Stacks of books piled high, a snoring dog by my side, a cool breeze blowing around the white lace curtains, iced tea with lemon slices. Lots of time on my hands to just breathe.

  4. Superb post, Fiona! My decor style is pretty much "me" -- kind of Gypsy Thrifter Meets Grown-Up Bohemian Hippy , lots of plants, colour, cats, wicker & hanging things, very loose, easy, relaxed. But: it needs freshening up something fierce. I've gotten lazy & even a bit (I admit it) messy. This series is **exactly** what I need to wind up my summer & get my home fresh & energized for fall. And Tracy Lee: YES to those "Midsomer Murder" sitting rooms & gardens! And the stylish women are so . . . stylish! LOL! I'm a jeans-and-tee kind of person, but those gorgeous long skirts & flowy jackets & scarves etc really speak to some long-lost part of me.

  5. Rachel, what an incredible scene! I love everything you've described including chilly walks in the countryside, and furry friends of course. Thank you!

    Dana, thank you for the branch idea, I can do that too. Your seaside cottage sounds divine :)

    Janet, sometimes that's what inspiration does - encourage you to smarten up what you already have, and fall in love with it all over again!

  6. This post is perfectly timed for me- thanks Fiona! One of my daughters is getting married this coming weekend. All the plans have been made, now we just travel down to where she lives, and where the venue will be. I've been thinking about how lovely everything is, even though we've kept it fairly simple. I love your list - and the other thoughts shared here as well!!! I'm looking at life with fresh eyes now, thinking about ways to add some of these delightful things into our daily life here at home! Autumn is approaching here in New England (she's down in Virginia), and those chilly walks in the woods & countryside are quickly approaching!!

  7. What an inspiring theme, I look forward to each post detailing these elements. I had never thought of recreating elements of a wedding in my everyday life, but a wedding is one of the happiest and most memorable days of our lives, and shouldn't we all try to make our days happy and memorable.
    I also love Rachael's Midsomer theme, though without all the creepy neighbours who all have a motive to murder me!
    As to bud vases, I recently chipped the rim of a beautiful cut crystal sherry glass and rather than throw this away, I put a small posy of daphne in it, and put it in the bathroom. The flowers hid the chip, and it is perfect. Next it will have a bunch of violets, then gardenias.

  8. My pleasure, Roxanne, I wrote this post just for you :) Wishing your family a wonderful wedding weekend.

    Melissa, your bud vase contents are just what I imagined. LOVE the scent of daphne (and the other two aren't bad either!)

  9. Terrific post, Fiona. What a fresh way to look at inspiration for our surroundings. My choice would be urban loft and the Pottery Barn catalogue.
    - Lots of glass and wood
    - Neutral colors with touches of warmth; rust, teal
    - Clutter free (an urban loft wouldn't have room for clutter!!)
    - Cityscapes out my window

    Ahh! Dream on.

  10. What a wonderful list! It has inspired me to compile my own, which has been very enlightening (it was very similar to Rachel's).

  11. This is brilliant Fiona! I buy wedding magazines simply because they inspire my life.

  12. I did this with weddings a while back too! I love winter weddings, with velvet capes and the aurora borealis dancing overhead. I tend to draw from those colors- icy pastels, they call them- almost white but just a touch of tint. I also like stonger colors, but with that cool touch. So violet, gray, deep green and blue are some of my favorite shades.

    When I think about decorating with this, there's a lot of crystal. I love white tablecloths and napkins, but for everyday I might pick a deep navy. Shining silver is also part of the theme, so I get inspired to give my pieces a quick buff.

    I'm also attracted to grape vines and my china and silver were picked with that in mind.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...