Local Loves - A Samphire grazing Herd on an Islandmagee Farm...


A few weeks back, we went to a beautiful Farm in Islandmagee to photograph a handsome herd of Friesian Dairy Cows... their adorable calves, and of course, the Bull!

They were absolutely enormous creatures - you don't realise quite how big they are when viewing from a field (insert Father Ted joke, here), and we were maybe just a little intimidated at first! ;)

But the lovely, lovely Jane, who runs the farm with her husband and son (and daughters when they're at home!) soon put us at ease... They have the most gentle nature, and they were very interested indeed in what on earth these two city types were doing in their field, photographing them!

I was absolutely captivated by how different each cow was - their different markings, and personalities, so we ended up shooting almost a series of portraits. It was a really special shoot. I love how they just stared down the lens at us... it was almost like they were looking inside our soul. Wonderfully intense creatures. The Bull was really incredible - an enormous mass of rippling muscle, so majestic - I don't think I realised just how close I was to him until we got home and reviewed the shoot... 

These cows have a pretty amazing life... after milking in the morning, and evening, they stroll down to the banks of Larne Loch, where they graze on Samphire, seaweeds and grass, herbs and wild flowers, until it's time to head back up to their hay lined beds. I have to say (apart from the milking!)... I wouldn't mind a day in the life of these lovely girls! The wee calves are all hand reared by Jane once their Mummy's are back to milking - they keep both the boy and girl calves, and rear them up until they're ready to join the herd or go on to be Bulls at another farm... they frolic all day in their cosy barns, and have great fun moo-ing at the top of their lungs! We got a wee cuddle with some of them, and they're so cute!

I hope you enjoy this little glimpse in to some local Northern Irish farming - we so enjoyed shooting this one...

 

 

NEW YORK - Atelier Cologne



Oh looking back on this is giving me such warm nostalgic feelings... we're really missing our time in New York and Brooklyn and wish we could be back there already - how has six months passed since our trip? In a blink of an eye, I tell you. But I'm excited to share some more of this trip with you!

Prior to stumbling across the beautiful store, Atelier-Cologne, during a wander around our most favourite spot - Boerum Hill - we hadn't heard of this Parisian brand. And goodness, were we missing out! We are both pretty big fans of fragrance, and are fascinated by the processes that go in to designing a scent - from trend prediction, to narrowing down your notes and blending to packaging design and the campaign to promote it. Such a fascinating and interesting industry, and one we absolutely loved getting an insight in to when we worked for Jo Malone London a few years ago!

In addition to their beautiful scents, Atelier Cologne have a beautiful USP that I was just in love with - when you purchase a large size of one of their perfumes, you get a miniature hand-bag size scent, beautifully packaged in a little leather pouch. So dreamy! What's even more adorable is that they monogram the pouch for you with gold or silver foil... to the design of your choosing. I decided to mark the occasion and get something that would always remind me of our wonderful trip - A&RBKLYN2015!

The store manager Robert, was absolutely charming, and we had such a lovely time chatting to him and learning more about the brand. You can read all about the story behind Atelier Cologne, here...

We really loved the soft industrial styling in the store, and the beautiful merchandising, paired with the simple and elegant packaging. Parisian chic in Brooklyn? Yes, please!

In case you're wondering - here are the two fragrances I chose - Oolong Infini & Bois Blonds - and they're both beautiful. I usually go for a floral (me, imagine?!) but these really tugged at my heart-strings.

All in all, a most beautiful shopping experience, and one we could heartily recommend! Click here to find your nearest stockist... you'll thank me later.

Ax

 

Local Loves - Seaforde Butterfly Garden...


A few weeks ago, we had a precious day off with no plans and decided to go for a wee drive 'down, down to County Down' to visit Seaforde Butterfly Garden... of course, this meant it was one of the stormiest, rainiest days of the year so far (we have the best luck!), and a walk around the beautiful Labyrinth maze was seriously out of the question, but we took shelter in the hot houses and spent the afternoon marvelling at all the beautiful Butterflies, Birds and Terrapins that the staff at Seaforde Gardens care for...

So much lush, beautiful colour, and we could have watched the delicate little (and not so little!) butterflies sip on their sugar water and eat their fruit tea for hours!

A fab day out for the family in Northern Ireland, and we can't wait to go back to see the Peacocks guarding the Maze! My camera hand is itching already!

Very sadly, butterfly numbers are declining massively, and, as an important (and beautiful) part of our local fauna, we can all do our part to help reduce this decline. This article has some more info on how we can help: https://diygarden.co.uk/wildlife/ultimate-guide-to-butterflies/

Annie Sloan - Painters in Residence: Colour-Washed Platters...


Our latest Painters in Residence project for Annie Sloan is now live, and up on her blog...

We really enjoyed this one - especially the styling and photographing stage of the project - and we loved coming up with an unusual and inventive take on how to use Annie's famous Chalk Paint. As Annie's Painters in Residence, we were tasked with doing something interesting and new with the paint, and we thought creating a transparent glaze of colour, that you could apply to ceramics, was certainly a new spin!

We created these lovely platters with air-drying Das clay, and rolled some of our Irish linen fabric in to them, while wet, to imprint them with texture. This gave us lovely texture to rub the wax glazes into, and I love how painterly and soft the colour washes came out... it was exactly as I had envisioned. 

The How-To for this project is actually in this month's Reloved Magazine, as well as up on Annie's blog - which you can read, here...