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Creativity, Autumn and a Supper Club

Creativity, Autumn and a Supper Club

Autumn is often seen as a time of abundance when Mother Natures reveals and gives herself freely to us mere humans. The sun glows more orange as we head towards more diffused winter sunlight and as chlorophyll departs from the leaves we are bestowed with the glorious splendour of colour all around. A perfect time to gather in the cooler evenings to eat some heartwarming food in celebration of creativity…

Autumn textures Donna Ford-1.jpg

Last Friday evening when I was asked where I had first met Charlotte I couldn’t quite remember for a few seconds and then, I was almost a little embarrassed to admit, that it was online - in a Facebook group for career change mums! We were both clearly in the same place in our lives after our second children was born, feeling compelled to take our careers in a different direction and we began to follow and support each other on Instagram. I was amazed by her botanical illustrations and her passion for collaboration (as well as her eye for interiors) so I invited her to join a small group of local friends who had also recently started new businesses. Our monthly meet-ups in the pub would spur us on in our new endeavours and we got to know each other as mums and women, not just new business owners. We revelled in the successes and became cheerleaders for the times of self-doubt or disappointment. Fast forward almost two years and It really shouldn't have came as any surprise when an beautiful invite landed in my inbox for Creative in Residence: A Supper Club for Brilliant Creative Business Owners considering Charlotte’s aesthetic eye, her creativity and her drive (surely from her days pre-kids in Fashion PR). It’s funny how a chance encounter online can turn into something, eh?

Charlotte Argyrou portrait by Donna Ford

Apart from Charlotte I hadn’t met any of the other guests but thankfully since starting Skirting Boards & Chandeliers I’ve been in this position many times of not knowing anyone in the room so I’m accustomed to striking up conversations in fear of standing in a corner twiddling my thumbs like a loser! Some (definitely my husband) would say that I have been blessed with the gift of the gab which I guess is the curse of the Northern Irish tongue! I can’t help that I generally have a lot to say but when it comes to other creatives, conversation is always a joy and never a chore.

The wine was flowing as was the stimulating topics of discussion ranging from the deep to more trivial and there was plenty of time to rest between courses of scrumptious vegetarian dishes (as a meat-lover I was really impressed). I left a little room for dessert. And so with strangers we chatted about our children’s school difficulties, the joy and excitement that can be had with SEO (!) and many other topics including religion, classical music and memories of childhood. Florists, bakers, photographers, artists, designers and coaches intermingle, leaving with a warmed heart (and belly) and encouragement that the world does indeed need and want our unique talents.

Flamboyant Invites

What I loved about this project was the heart of it. Charlotte (Craftist in Residence) and Vicky (The Flourishing Pantry) wanted to create an intimate space for other creatives to meet, connect, enjoy food and be inspired (with absolutely no mention of the word networking or silly icebreakers or tasks to complete). I also loved the attention to detail and the aesthetic from the table arrangements to the named cups to the invites and the goodie bags. And that’s before I even mention the quality of the cuisine. Thanks for being brave Ladies and making it happen! When’s the next one?

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Why am I writing about these kind of creative events on an interiors blog? I think that creativity in our homes is expressed in a multitude of imaginative and surprising ways. Firstly creativity isn’t confined to one genre or outlet. What we learn through music can inspire our painting, a craft activity can draw on the colour combinations in nature or as I've said before for me personally, the process of choreography is very similar to designing a room. So for people like me (and Charlotte) who are so passionate about creative living and eager to help others access their own creativity, it’s important to see different ways that this can be expressed.

Secondly, as an interiors blogger I’m not just interested in what a home looks like on a superficial level but the meaning of the whole concept of home and how we can create spaces to facilitate our lives in a more deep and meaningful way. This supper club took place in Charlotte’s home, a new build in Greenwich of gorgeous proportions. Her sophisticated decor makes my heart sing with its use of colour and pattern and I can clearly see how’s it’s infused with Charlotte’s personality. Meeting in a home and the intimate act of eating a meal together is such a joyful activity and one that I’ve missed in my home due to the never-ending renovations. I remember reading (well before I had kids) about how in French culture every evening meal is given their full attention and creativity (even in the table settings) and hence the experience of eating for children became such a pleasure that fussy eating is banished! I’ve seen this during our Sunday roast ritual that the boys now love especially how we have handmade table mats and candles to enhance the experience and we all talk about the week we have ahead of us. For me whether a friend or a client it’s always a priviliege to be invited into someone’s home, into their sacred safe place and even more so when a delicious meal is waiting for you. And best of all (from someone who is not a keen cook even with a new kitchen to enjoy) is seeing how much joy it gives others to prepare and serve that food.

And thirdly, for anyone else out there trying to start a business, connecting with others is a must or you will give up. That is definitely one of my top business tips. And that is what I have left ringing in my ears from this Supper Club. Having space to talk about your fears and hopes is pivotal as you understand you you are in the same boat as many others. Like anything really how much does it help and comfort when someone says “I’ve been there too!” whether its parenting or work or just life? We are born to connect and one of the greatest joys in life is doing this over food.. Which leads me on to this… Who would be up for an interiors supper club?

Your in colour (and of course) creativity,

Disclaimer: All photography taken by and belong to me.

Colour Story: Yellow

Colour Story: Yellow

8 Interior Design Myths that just aren't true!

8 Interior Design Myths that just aren't true!