Easter styling

I am no Mary Berry but if there is even a hint of an excuse to bake a C-A-K-E, then the oven is on and the cake tins are lined before a single egg has been cracked. Not only is it another styling opportunity but you can eat the props when the photographic shoot is done. When Berkshire Life magazine came to photograph our house to do a story on Styling Box (my new affordable interior design service) for their April 2019 issue, it seemed the perfect time to indulge in a bit of Easter baking and share with you some interior styling ideas that aren’t just for Easter…

Lemon, blackcurrant and mint Easter cake

Oh and here is the cake’s recipe …

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Easter cake with lemon butter icing, edible violets (£3.49, Ocado.com), mini chocolate eggs and fresh mint leaves. Styling and photo: Charis White

Easter cake recipe

Make the cake as per a Victoria Sponge recipe.

When the cakes are cool, spread approximately 3 tbs of blackcurrant jam for the filling. For the lemon butter cream icing, mix together 70 g butter at room temperature with 140g of icing sugar and the zest of half a lemon. Just before serving the cake, dot the mixture round the top of the sandwich cake and add alternately onto the lemon butter cream fresh edible violet flowers, mint leaves (these do shrivel if put on too early – but tastes delicious if you like mint!), Cadburys mini eggs or similar.

Chocolate, orange and mint Easter cake

This was last Easter’s effort. By teatime, Panda (our miniature schnauzer) was completely exhausted with the knowledge that this cake was in the house.  I have to concede that it must have been torture for our beardy, four-legged friend who has a dangerous (and at times, somewhat bad-mannered) penchant for homemade chlocolate cake. But that’s another tail…

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Chocolate, orange and mint Easter cake with large truffle eggs. Styling and photo: Charis White

Easter table styling for magazines

One from the archive. An Easter table set with bespoke wallpapered oblong pendant light for BBC Homes & Antiques magazine. Photo: Rachel Whiting, styling: Charis White

Set the table for nothing

It’s sometimes possible to find quite valuable porcelain on the shelves of charity shops or at car boot sales. I am also surprised at how affordable pieces are now in auction houses and antique shops. Useful for props and for the odd celebratory afternoon tea, as well as for accessorizing a room. This Georgian cup (no saucer) was £5 from Crowman Antiques in Devizes, Wiltshire.

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Vintage and antique porcelain, plate from Sue Ryder charity and Georgian cup from Crowman Antiques.  Side table is a rough hewn oak tree trunk. Photo: Charis White

I don’t mind if a piece isn’t perfect – it is the quality of maker and pattern that matters most. If a handle is broken, I just put a tealight in it and use it on a dinner table because it is still a beautiful object to me.

Antique dealer Hilary Fisher of Fisher London says that attitudes have changed on the damaged front. “There is still a premium and desire for perfect antique pieces but more people are happy to collect slightly damaged or stapled porcelain. In Japan, they make a virtue of it by mending broken porcelain or pottery – sometimes with gold, a method called Kintsugi.

Tablescapes

The term ‘tablescape’ comes from the US. To you and I this means making extra effort for a special occasion to decorate a table with tablecloths, napkins, candles and most importantly foliage and flowers. The tablescape can be anything from an elaborate theme to something more avant garde. Interior designer and antique dealer Birdie Fortescue has some inspiring tablescape ideas along with a collection of accessories to achieve the look.

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Adore this Mulaayam wavy/scallopy design tablecloth by Birdie Fortescue.

Table top revolution

The art of a tablescape is nothing new, it goes back centuries particularly at the banqueting tables of the artisocracy. With the demise of the trousseau ‘dinner service’ and subsequent table top revolution (largely bloodless!) of casual dining in the 1990s, dressing tables for special occasions had almost disappeared. Until now that is. To those of us who love styling them, they are rather pleasingly back.

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Aakaar tablecloth, Rhombus napkins, beaded placemats, Saral dinnerware, Linea cutlery, tumblers, white white glasses, hurricane lamps, Birdie Fortescue. Faux plants available in store and online soon.

I have had my eye on Karin Hossack’s Kchossack Pottery for a while so it was great to see this table styled by The Interior Spy at her recent Spring Studio in her London showroom. Miranda Vedral (aka The Interior Spy) combines a layering of pastel pottery (impressively, the pretty scalloped edges are all hand cut by Karin) with her own rather fabulous range of handwoven interiors accessories and furniture Miranda imports from sub-Saharan Africa.

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Handwoven accessories by The Interior Spy, scalloped china by Kchossack Pottery. Photo: Charis White

Pastels aren’t just for Easter

A pastel colour palette is often associated with Easter for photographic styling because of its Spring flower and speckled egg connotations. They are also becoming popular again for interiors, particularly so for kitchens and bathrooms where pastel bathroom suites are making a comeback.

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Rockwell basins and accessories, The Water Monopoly. Photo: Charis White

Trends aside, chalky pastels work well for any room in the house but you need to work out how these colours make you feel. I advise getting a choice of samples well before a project starts to see how they also work with the light in a room as well as with the other elements in your decorating scheme.

Pastel swatch watch

Here are some pastel fabric designs from three independent textile and wallpaper designers. Quintessentially English, they rather make me yearn to redo the whole house with some new swishy full length interlined curtains, roman blinds, bolsters, headboards, pelmets, cushions, long oblongy cushions, and … ahem … the odd bedspread or two … !

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Hanbury Mallow is by Cloth & Clover at The Guy Goodfellow Collection Showroom. It is based on an archive document and printed on beautifully weighty Scottish linen. Photo: Charis White
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Top fabric: Very pretty Lavender, Aqua on White linen, and Bottom fabric: Bell Heather Pink Cloud on linen by Pippa Black Interiors. Photo: Charis White
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Dancing Daphne Smoking Blue is one of several (can’t decide which one I like best!) new designs from The China Bird Collection by Charlotte Gaisford. Photo: Charis White

Thank you

Thank you so much for reading.  I hope you have a very Happy Easter, Charis x

Charis White Interiors Styling Box with black and white striped ribbon
Styling Box – an affordable design service which makes the perfect gift for you and for your friends and family. Photo: Charis White
Charis White, Interior stylist/writer. Photography: www.FionaMcLean.co.uk
Charis White, interior stylist and writer. Photo: Fiona McLean

12 thoughts on “Easter styling

  1. Hello Charis

    Lovely blog! Those cakes look delicious.

    Thank you once again for the mention – you are a wonderful support.

    I hope all is going well with you and that Styling Box is taking off. Congratulations on the mention in Berkshire Life. Fingers crossed it will lead to some business.

    Have a wonderful Easter and I hope there will be an opportunity for us to get together again soon.

    All good wishes

    Hilary xx

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Hilary, I will make you one sometime soon. Easter cakes go very nicely with sherry I hear!

      Styling Box is going well thank you and I was very grateful for the mention in Berkshire Life magazine. Hope to see you too very soon,

      Charis xx

      Like

  2. Wonderful Charis. I’m slowly going through all your hyperlinks as I’m redoing our bedroom and looking for roman blind material and possibly wallpaper, so I’m having a blissful Saturday pm! Will continue with bliss tomorrow! X

    Like

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