Abigail Ahern Christmas Masterclass

by Kelly Sparkes on December 20, 2012

Oversized urn, dressed for Christmas in the hallwayChristmas is my favourite time of year, spending time with loved ones and a house filled with folliage, sparkly stuff and twinkly lights.

A couple of weeks ago, to get Christmas started, I visited Abigail Ahern’s house  for her Christmas Masterclass with the lovely Annabel from Insideology.

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.

Flowers before we got started
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.

huge hand tied christmas arrangement
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.

Decorating my christmas wreath
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.

Abbigail Ahern with my finished wreath
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.

Abigail Ahern's fireplace dressed for Christmas
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.

Candelabra table arrangement
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. 

Classmates making a hand tied bouquet
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!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

geraldine December 21, 2012 at 9:08 am

This look like an amazing course, definitely one to get you into the mood for Christmas. I was tempted to do this course but ran out of time. Maybe next year. Looks like lots of fun and I can imagine the gorgeous scent in there. Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year x


Kelly Sparkes January 30, 2013 at 4:53 pm

It was a great course to get you in the mood for Christmas and well worth attending next year. It was fab to come away with a bag full of goodies too! xx


Alex Parker December 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm

What a fab day it looks like you had!

How fantastic are the colours of the berries, peonies and foliage against that ‘Abigail grey?. I know what you mean about holly…the devil’s own foliage!

Wishing you a very a lovely Christmas and New year x


Kelly Sparkes January 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Everything just pops against the grey, you’re right! It is amazing to see her house in person, especially decorated for Christmas :) xx


annie January 4, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I’d forgotten how big they do theirs. My bouquets are always normal sized but Gemma’s is enormous. Mental note to make it twice as big as I intend to!

It was fun, very much, and my wreath is still going strong :)


Kelly Sparkes January 30, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I didn’t change the oranged or anthing and they were only just starting to look ‘off’ when I took it down. The plums still looked edible (but I didn’t try that).

It was a huge bouquet, my arms were killing doing the tiny ones, I guess practice makes perfect!

I’ve carefully dismantled everything and got the chestnut thingies in a vase and the peonies waiting for the perfect container :) xx


Laura Passey February 5, 2013 at 1:02 am

So sorry I’ve been so totally out of it with getting all moved in to the new apartment. Finally catching up and all your Christmas stuff looks absolutely glorious! xxx


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