To mark the Easter holiday we held a colouring competition in both our London shops on Saturday 8th April. Our brilliant graphic designer, Amandine, created some adorable outlines for little ones to colour in. If you didn’t get a chance to pop in store (not everyone lives in West or North London right?) we have created the templates here for you to download and print. Its been glorious weather so far this holiday but the rain may set in at any time. So get the good old colouring pens out and please do send us pictures of any completed masterpieces for us to display on instagram. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE SECRET GARDEN TEMPLATE CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE CANDIES TEMPLATE
Melt launched it’s flagship Notting Hill store in February 2006 – the day before Valentine’s Day! I identified a gap in the market for very good quality, fresh, hand made chocolate – but with a welcoming and relaxed vibe. I can’t believe it’s been over 10 years now – I am touched that we have so many loyal customers and have made so many people happy with a little bit of Melt deliciousness!
Melt has a very successful global presence. How do you find that people’s tastes differ across the globe?
Everyone loves good chocolate! Our packaging and innovative recipes are particularly popular oversees. We have recently sent lots of our bars over to Hong Kong. Good recipes and good design have global appeal!
You have an open plan kitchen in all of your stores so customers can see the chocolates being made. How important do you feel this is to the overall chocolate buying/tasting experience?
It was so important for me to have working kitchens in each of our stores. All the senses are involved to create an experience, the chocolates are so super fresh and the kitchen and team are the heart and soul of the Company. Every little detail of the working kitchen adds to the environment, whether it be the little tapping noises of the moulds, the banter of the team or the delicious smells each day. I love the fact that there is a transparency and a freshness, we are nimble and can get feedback from our customers face to face.Melt has a vast array of best sellers such as your caramelised popcorn bars and peanut butter squares but what is your favourite?
My favourite chocolate changes all the time, but I am partial to The Crunchy Square, a delightful crunchy texture, silky chocolate and a gentle seasoning of Maldon Sea Salt. My kids all have their favourites too, they do love the Popcorn Bar and the Praline Cup.
What can we expect next from Melt?
The team have just done a tasting of lots of new recipes, we can’t wait for them to be launched for Mother’s Day. Easter is coming up too, our favourite time of year with chocolate eggs and bunnies everywhere. We hope that you’ll see more of us in great hotels, you can find us in Mandarin Hotel, Ace Hotel and Chiltern Firehouse.
What are your top five picks from the Wild & Gorgeous SS17 collection?
I always wish I was small enough to squeeze into Wild & Gorgeous! I have kept all the clothes that I have bought from Wild & Gorgeous for my daughters over the years.
1. I Love the aqua green colour of the Monday Dress, with the cute pink band at top.
3. I’m a sucker for smocking, so the soft, traditional look of the Mina dress in blue is just adorable for a little one.
4. The bright knicker set is fabulous and look great quality.
5. Last, but not least are the Khaki Cargo shorts from the Boys Collection, my youngest son absolutes love the cargo style, the pockets are so useful for bits and bobs!
This week we are running a competition with our favourite florist Wild at Heart. The winner will receive a beautiful bouquet from Wild at Heart and an outfit from Wild & Gorgeous. The perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day. We also asked Nikki for her top flower arranging tips.
1- What to consider?
Which room will your arrangement be displayed in? Consider the colour, style and texture of that room. Also think about the vases you have to work with, both aesthetically and practically. For instance, a tall cylinder vase will suit tall, structured flowers like lilies, whereas smaller vases are great for delicate flowers like sweet peas and narcissi.
2- Which flowers?
It’s important to consider the colour, form and texture of the flowers you want to display and which ones will work well together. Generally, I wouldn’t use more than three types of flowers together in one arrangement, as any more than this starts to look messy. I’d also pair flowers with similar shaped heads together. For example, round-headed peonies look great with roses and spears of delphinium with stocks. Alternatively, a mass of one type of flower always looks effective and makes a contemporary statement.
3- How to arrange?
Cut the stems of the flowers on an angle and place in cool water as soon as you get them home. Fill your chosen vase/jug/bottle/vessel three-quarters full with water and add any food sachets that may have come with the flowers. If you don’t have any flower food add a sterilising tablet to keep the water clean. Once you’ve cut your stems, remove any leaves below the water line as these will rot and cause bacteria in the water. Start your arrangement with foliage at the base and if you’re not using foliage then start with your biggest flowers. Build the arrangement stem by stem and try to spiral them into the vase. Finally, just make sure your arrangement looks good from all the angles it will be visible.
4- Fresher for Longer
To keep your arrangement looking its best, place it away from heat and out of direct sunlight. Also give the vase fresh water every couple of days and if you can, re-cut the stems. These simple steps will keep your flowers looking fresher for longer.
Flower class details:
Discover more at Wild at Heart’s Mother’s Day Spring Flower Class on Thursday 30th March at their Pimlico Flagship store. Guests will be treated to a glass of fizz and canapés whilst their Head Florist demonstrates exactly how to make a famed Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart bouquet. Guests will then be invited to recreate this themselves, taking their beautiful arrangement home at the end of the evening.
Email: Marketing@wildatheart.com to book your space
We are delighted to have collaborated with the super talented Nicola Holbrooke who created the imaginative and magical Christmas Kalenderhaus. Recently she has turned her attention to creating beautiful rice paper outfits for her gingerbread dolls using imagery from the Wild and Gorgeous Autumn Winter 2016 and Spring Summer 2017 collections. On 25th and 26th March she will be at the Wild and Gorgeous Harrods pop up and inviting children to get stuck in, decorate a doll or two which they will be able to take home with them. We caught up with Nicola to find out a little bit more about the inspiration behind Clever Gretel.
I launched Clever Gretel just before Christmas 2015. I’ve always loved making things for my kids to do and for friends who don’t feel quite so confident about baking and assembling. When my daughter asked me to make an advent calendar for her and her brother to decorate their gingerbread house with, I thought it would be a great kit for families to do together over Christmas. And so, Clever Gretel was launched with it’s first product, KalenderHaus.
Were you inspired by anyone or anything in particular?
My daughter is a great inspiration. She comes up with so many ideas for Clever Gretel and is a business partner in the making! There are so many opportunities for people to turn their creativity into businesses, however small and I find it really inspiring to be surrounded by that.
You made your name with the Kalenderhaus. If you were to recreate one famous building in biscuit which would it be and why?
There are so many iconic buildings that I would love to do. I have done a gingerbread Big Ben in a jar for the last few New Years, which you can see on my bespoke cakes nicolaholbrooke.com. For now, for Clever Gretel, I would love to do an alternative Christmas gingerbread house. Maybe a Miami beach house with some festive palm trees! I love to use printed icing so I would also love to do a gingerbread doll house with edible wallpaper and decorative furniture. I’m always thinking of ways that I can use edible printed images so watch this space…
How did you get the idea to create edible paper clothing to dress your gingerbread dolls?
I love doing the workshops at Wild & Gorgeous and I really wanted to create an activity that was unique for them. I was looking at their collection for inspiration and there were all these gorgeous images of clothes staring out at me. I think everyone loves the idea of paper dolls and kids love Wild & Gorgeous clothes and might even have the same outfits that they put on their biscuits. And once again, any excuse to use those edible printed images!
If you had to choose one Wild and Gorgeous outfit which would it be?
While at a meeting at Wild & Gorgeous I got a sneak peek at the Spring/summer collection and immediately fell in love with the Mexican inspired white cotton embroidered dress. It’s the perfect summer dress. I wish they did it in my size..but I’ll have to live vicariously through my daughter!
What can we expect next from Clever Gretel?
I love the idea of people sitting down and getting creative together and I hope that the products from Clever Gretel do that. They make great activities to do at parties and a wonderful party gift to take home, something for families to do together at holidays and a totally unique gift (as a kit for them to do or made by you with love). And I want parents to get as much fun out of it as the boys and girls so that it doesn’t matter if you are 5, 15 or 45. I’m always trying to come up with new ideas for more biscuit kits but I see Clever Gretel naturally branching out into non edible kits as well. I know there is huge satisfaction from making something beautiful and stylish yourself. That’s what Clever Gretel is there to help you do.
This season we turned back time to the 16th and 17th century and the swashbuckling style of the seven seas. Our zig zag print was inspired by the ethnic prints that pirates would have appropriated and turned into loose cut trousers worn with a billowing white shirt and a glinting gold earring no doubt.
We have used lots of fringed detailing to resemble the tattered sails of a sea worn vessel and thrown in a good pinch of pure white cotton with traditional lace trim.
We especially love the loose cut Sparrow Dress – prefect for young sailors. The Black Pearl Trouser worn with the Alice Top – ideal for shimming up the mast to the top of the Crow’s Nest. And of course the Zig Zag bag for carrying all your loot.
For boys we have designed loose fitting v neck striped shirts, baggy trousers, soft T shirts with skull print and a cute intarsia Skull Jumper with a single, glistening gold lurex tooth.
You have a very unique way of working using paper, leather silk and embroidery to create stunning original collages. How has you technique evolved over the years?
I began by work mainly with vintage wallpapers to create one off artworks and patterns. Over the years I have continued to use machine embroidery to bring different materials together such as silks, leather and felt. Recently I have started working with screen printing and painting within my designs. I love combining different layers of materials and textures in my work.
Your range includes fashion print, ceramics, wallpaper and interiors. What is your first love?
I started out working in ceramics and combining this medium with textiles, but I remember the first day I started playing with embroidery and collage and it felt really natural to me so I think this process was my first love.
What and who inspires you?
I look at the natural world around me for inspiration, but also looking at how ornamentation and pattern is used historically in our homes is key to my ideas.I am inspired by artists and designers across different mediums. I look to fashion and fine art quite a lot as a source of colour inspiration, Christopher Kane and artist Tahnee Lonsdale have a great use of colour in there work which I am drawn to. The wallpaper artist Tracy Kendall is a big inspiration to me too, she is always pushing boundaries with what wallpaper can be.
It normally starts with hand drawn sketching and putting a mood board together of colours and materials, I then hand cut the pieces and start to put my designs together, finally I freehand machine embroider the design together.
Working with wild and Gorgeous is different as I am working on a smaller scale than i usually do, I also have in mind that it is a children brand so I try to make my work fun and enchanting for younger audience, usually my clients are adults so its nice to work more playfully.
Have you ever used your fantastic sewing skills to make clothes?
I cannot sew in a straight line, so I have found making clothes is not my forte, I am much better and being free with the sewing machine and creating artworks and pattern!
What would be your dream job?
I love working in collaboration and seeing my designs turned into different mediums, I would love to design a collection of rugs with the Rug Company
If you were to choose one item of clothing for the Wild & Gorgeous Spring Summer 2017 collection, what would it be and why?
I have a 2 year old son, and i would love to see him in the love red and white striped shirt. The cut is really cute, I like the vintage circus theme and I am a big fan or stripes!
Visit Claire website here
It may seem cliché to say but your wedding day is one of the most important and special days of your life and Wild & Gorgeous offer an array of services to help make picking your flower girl and page boy outfits that little bit easier. This includes a swatch service where you can get a small sample of any style sent over to you so you can ensure that the colour matches the rest of the wedding party and a full refund if you are unsure or change your mind. Then to alleviate any preparation stress you can also bring your garments into either of our London stores where we can steam and hang them ready for the day.
When it comes to selecting the right styles we have a few hints and tips that have come from over ten years of selling our beautiful classic collection:
1. With children, especially small children it is difficult to predict their height and size as they are prone to fits and starts of growing so we would suggest that any fittings be done no more than three months before the big day so that you get the perfect size
2. Ensure that all the children in the wedding party try on their outfit. Children will be very vocal if they are uncomfortable in what they are wearing and you don’t want any refusals on the big day because they find their dress too scratchy or uncomfortable
3. Remember that if you have a mixture of ages for your flower girls it is unlikely that you will get them to all wear the same dress. Especially those that are over the age of 11. The best thing to do is to try to choose styles that co-ordinate either in a matching fabric or hue. Or have the older girls in a separate colour to the younger girls and then tie them together by having the same colour in the sash and buttons
4. Take into account where you are marrying so a city wedding is usually more formal and so the dresses more dramatic whilst a country or beach wedding is more relaxed with dresses that are light and floaty
My enthusiasm for all things that shine started at a tender age. I would find and buy jewels with my pocket money at jumble sales even finding a 1920s Cartier brooch by the age of nine! I think from then on I was never going to do anything other than have a career in the jewellery business. Also it’s worth noting that from the moment I picked up a pencil I got the design bug.
Where do you find your inspiration?
All around I’m looking all the time. But things that most interest me are Architecture, Nature, Film, Travel, Art, Mythology and Universal Symbols with a nod to fashion.
What do you think are the jewellery essentials and how should they work with what you are wearing. Or not?
Every girl should have some Hoops there is no end to reinterpretation of the design of them- Essentials are day rings you can stack and play with and dress up evening cocktail rings to be a little showy. Some fine gold chainy necklaces that you can layer or a simple circular solid silver pendant. Jewellery should be comfortable and suit your mood.
If you were to choose a favourite historical piece of jewellery – what would it be and why?
It’s the Sancy Diamond I rather fancy a magnificent Mogul cut diamond in the Louvre with an extraordinary history but if it has to be jewellery then I’d have Queen Alexandra’s coronation Parure circa 1902.
Do you like to see jewellery on children and if yes what nature?
Little girls love jewellery and little jewellery loves little girls so I fully approve.
If you were to choose one favourite outfit from the Wild & Gorgeous collection what would it be?
The prettiest party dress for a little girl to feel incredibly special when wearing is The Marie Antoinette dress.
If you are looking for a way to celebrate the Chinese New Year this week end with the children I would recommend the Magic Lantern Festival at Chiswick House and Gardens.
Last week end I took my two young god daughters to the Magic Lantern Festival at Chiswick House and Gardens.
It is a fabulous way to mark the Chinese New Year. The theme this year is the SILK ROAD and the giant illuminations illustrating scenes of culture and commerce along the ancient route light up the inky night sky.
The trail takes you winding around the gardens past a vast gleaming ship that is also reflected in the river flowing below it. Past giant flower, camel and panda lanterns with depictions of eastern traders with piles of silk and even a radiant Eiffel Tower surrounded by giant skinny catwalk models. The children were enchanted and we kept warm as we wandered with toasted marshmallows and steaming dim sum.
There are also festivals taking place in Yorkshire and Birmingham.
Our Wild & Gorgeous Autumn Winter 2017 collection drew plenty of inspiration from the rich designs, embroideries and emblems of the Far East. From our beautiful peony print Empress and Shanghai Dresses to our Brave as aTiger Jumper and embroidered dragons and tigers emblazoned on this season’s collection.
As we head into sale here are some of the stories that I would be buying into from the Wild & Gorgeous collection in order to stock up my children’s wardrobes for the winter months to come.
This season we delved deep into some fabulously intricate embroidery for both boys and girls styles. I love the leaping tiger and Chinese dragon details, and think they really lift a basic item of clothing from wardrobe staple to out-of-the-ordinary. We have emblazoned cord jackets, twill trousers, cotton shirts and denim styles as well as adding oriental sequin and intarsia details to our iconic children’s knitwear. My particular favourite this season include the Bam Top and Field Skirt in denim with discrete embroidered flowering bamboo detail and the uber cool, stand out form the crowd Dragon Trousers which have been equally popular with girls as well as boys.
Our Tartan styles have been super popular this season so if they are sold out, I would stock up quick in any available sizes. It is an enduring look that never goes out of fashion and somehow always seems cool. I particularly love the Roller Dungaree Dress styled with the girls Black and White Stripe Sweatshirt which adds a little 80’s punky edge to the look and red Chelsea Boots. I also love the charcoal grey Marley Jumper worn with the monochrome City Skirt. A great girls outfit for everyday wear.
I think it is lovely in the depths of winter to wear chic and subtle coloured clothes so I especially love our charcoal cord styles especially when lifted with a bit of blue – although it is a wonderful versatile colour that works well with almost any colour you can throw at it. I especially love the Stork Dress for younger girls and the Cord Dungarees worn with chunky boots and a blue Wild and Gorgeous denim coloured Butterfly Jumper. Accessorise with our super soft scarf, gloves and hat set and chunky boots, and you are ready to go. Pop a charcoal and grey Hector Jumper on your boy and they are a wildly chic effortlessly matching duo!