Walking in through the black door, I’m hit by how cosy and welcoming the house is and the scent of pine and eucalyptus. An oversized urn stuffed full of red berries adorns the hallway console table, a taste of things to come
Upstairs, our classroom for the day is like a florists, filled with seasonal foliage and Abigails famous faux flowers, although it is impossible to tell they are not real until you touch them.
The first demonstration is of a hand tied bouquet, Abigail’s florist sister Gemma makes it look really easy although the bouquet is so big and filled with huge twigs and masses of foliage it must be very heavy. Here’s the final boquet on the left hand side of the desk.
Next, how to decorate a wreath. I like to make my own each year, but usually start from scratch with a wire base. Abigail recommends buying a ready made plain wreath and then spending all your time on the decoration. I have to agree as usually by the time I’ve finished the base foliage I’m already getting a little bored (the year I tried making it from holly, I ended up covered in scratches and so fed up when I’d finished that all I managed was a bow for decoration!)
This is the start of my wreath, with just some sprigs of chestnut.
I added real foliage, satsumas, plums and pine cones, then wrapped the whole thing with an orange berried garland. Here it is with Abigail and Gemma getting a wire loop added so it can be hung from the door.
The rest of the morning was jam packed with ideas for the Christmas table and we wandered from room to room learning how to decorate for Christmas, Abigail Ahern style which this year has an emphasis on foliage and subtle nods towards Christmas without without being overly glitzy as you can see from the decorations on her beautiful Louis fireplace. I think it would look fab with some tiny lights added.
After a delicious lunch and catch up with Annie and the other attendees, we were back up to the classroom to learn about table arrangements. I was fascinated by this one as I’ve always wanted to know how to use oasis properly.
Then a chance for us to give a hand tied bouquet a try, with blousy peonies, it was harder than Gemma made it look as you can see in the concentration in my classmates faces.
The day was over too quickly but finished perfectly with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie followed by a sneaky trip to Ms Ahern’s shop in Islington. We even got to take our bouquet and wreath home.
All in all a fabulously festive day!