Jofia- A floral extravaganza by Jeff Leatham

A stunning bride and dashing groom were married last weekend in true luxury. Flowers literally dripping throughout the ceremony and reception with no expense spared. A detail orientated bridezilla (by her own admission) emerged as the wedding date drew near.

Following their engagement last Christmas after just 6 months of dating, with a 7 carat rock perched upon her finger, the loved up pair set upon creating the day of their dreams. They enlisted the elite in the wedding industry to help them bring it all together including floral designer extraordinaire, and rockstar in the floral world, Jeff Leatham. These are the kinds of jobs as a florist that test your ability, your creativity, your ingenuity and your ability to truly understand the vision inside your clients head and bring it to fruition but Leatham seems to be able to do it with his eyes shut. And we can only assume from the couples shout outs to Jeff online, that they were thrilled with the results.

Sophia Vergara married Joe Manganiello in a lavish ceremony At the Breakers Palm Beach Hotel, Florida, surrounded by some 400 guests, many of whom were celebrities of course.

Sophia was a vision in a gorgeous custom Zuhair Murad Couture design gown, reportedly adorned with 6 pounds of pearls and 11 pounds of sequins! Sheesh!  It was only one of three white gowns the beautiful bride-to-be wore over the weekend of wedding fun; including performances by Pitbull, pre-wedding cocktail parties, post wedding hangover brunches, Magic Mike striptease and more!

Floral designer Jeff Leatham and his team created a gorgeous orchid bouquet for the bride, and adorned the inside ceremony in The Mediterranean Ballroom, with white roses, hydrangea and orchid blooms, literally dripping from the ceilings. Sophia’s son Manolo, walked his mother down the flower lined aisle, to her waiting hunk of a spunk  to begin the ceremony which was performed in both English and Spanish.

In a stark contrast to the ceremony, the reception in the Venetian Ballroom was a rich and romantic mix of reds and pinks; a wild jungle of roses and orchids, stunning and opulent, a style that has become synonymous with Jeff Leatham. He has been awarded the prestigious  “Chevalier de L’Order des Arts et Letters”, in 2014 – The French Governments Highest Honor for Artists whom have made a significant contribution to French culture, and often his floral installations are compared to contemporary art. His style is a unique combination of his love for flowers as well as his passion for overall design. His pieces are bold statements, not merely backdrops, that focus on shape, colour and simplicity to produce a dramatic effect.

Formerly a successful male model on TV and on the runway, after leaving the world of fashion, Leatham turned to the floral world. Beginning at the Four Seasons Hotel Beverley Hills in 1994 as an assistant to the floral designer, Jeff made it clear he was extraordinary and was then made artistic director of the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris in 1999 when the hotel was still under construction. Every 3 weeks Leatham creates a entirely new concept to “knock people over” when they enter the hotel, not simply adorning the concierge desk with a vase but rather creating masterpieces that carry right through the hotels public areas and into 80% of the guest rooms. The hotel very quickly became known as the ‘flower hotel’ and is on the to-do list for many visitors to Paris.

Leatham also presents seminars to us mere motals, where we can gain insight and inspiration from his work with celebrities and for luxury brnads. Leatham has written 3 books: “FLOWERS BY JEFF LEATHAM”, “FLOWERS BY DESIGN” and  “Jeff Leatham – Visionary Floral art and Design”.

Now, I’m sure it goes without saying that this wasn’t Leatham’s first rodeo. He has a regular list of celebrity clients, and had the honour of creating the florals for the Wedding of Marc Mezvinsky to Chelsea Clinton, daughter of President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as Eva Longoria, Avril Lavigne and Tina Turner. He has also serviced the floral needs of Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, The Kardashians and Celine Dion and His Holiness the Dalai Lama and has appeared on Martha Stewart, Queen Latifah and Oprah’s show. Talk about an impressive resume!

Despite his success, Leatham hasn’t forgotten his roots and is loyal to the Four Seasons:  “Whether at the George V or outside the Hotel, everything I do is on a Four Seasons level,” he says, adding, “I’ve had an amazing career and I own it all to Four Seasons. I’ll be here until the end.”

I certainly am inspired by the sheer volume, quality and intricacies of his works. Check out the gallery below, all posted by the beautiful bride herself on her Instagram page @sophiavergara.

You have a look for yourself and see what you think,

Fwf x

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Creating a Christmas Theme- “Seas and Greetings”

Each and every year, those powers that be create irresistible colour schemes that differ enough from the previous year, that you almost have to throw everything away and start afresh.

Thankfully things have been made at affordable prices as well, and are not made in the same quality that they used to be, so you don’t feel quite so bad….

Still every year, my husband is flabbergasted that again,  I have decorations, and bits and bobs in the trolley- things I can only assume he thinks are unnecessary.

Given that Australia is just one huge island, it seems fitting to many that their Christmas has a decidedly ‘beachy’ feel. And why not? We do after all have a hot and balmy Christmas, void of snowflakes, and snowmen, and many more images so often associated with a great (Northern) white Christmas.

Whilst away recently, I found a gorgeous starfish in a home wares store and I guess that is where my inspiration for this themed piece began. Initially, I had hoped to find enough driftwood to create the display, but unfortunately, had no luck.

I created a beach inspired Christmas tree, with space-poor families with small children in mind. Like us, many young families live in apartments, so giving up floor space is hard when it is such a valuable commodity. And, anyone with young children knows that a traditional Christmas tree with all those sparkly things at toddler height spells disaster.

Creating something like this is fun, and relatively quick and easy, and it can easily be tailored to match any colour scheme.

What you will need:




3 x 1.2m lenths of raw pine (I chose varying widths to give a greater visual weight at the base)

A hand saw


Ruler, pencil and rubber

Tape measure

String/jute/nylon twine

Selection of decorations


What to do:

1. Start by measuring out the lengths of each of the pieces along the wood. I chose to increase the lengths of each layer by 5cm so I measured out 20cm, 25cm, 30cm, 35cm, 40cm, 45cm, 50cm and 55cm.


2. Use the hand saw to cut the lengths required.

3. Lightly sand the edges of the wood to remove any rough surfaces and rub out any pencil marks you made.

4. Lay the pieces out on a flat surface to get an idea of how it will look, spacing the pieces out to see how large you should make the intervals.


5. Begin by lying the largest piece of wood over your string on one end, with equal amounts of the lose string either side. Tie a double knot on one end of the largest piece. Do the same on the other side of the same piece of wood.

6. Measure the distance you wish to have between each piece and knot both pieces of string together at each end so that the next piece isn’t able to drop down out of place.WP_20151117_12_47_08_Pro

7. Repeat step 5 and 6 until you have secured all pieces of wood. If your string runs out, simply tie another piece of sting on and continue.



8. Add a large loop to the top to be able to attach to a hook. Add your star or centrepiece to the top.


9. Decorate!

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Christmas theming can be a whole lot of fun when you get to personalise it, so for an extra special touch, I added wooden initials for each of our names to finish it off :-)


Choose other items for your home that coordinate with your chosen colours and further strengthen you theme. I have found this fantastic table setting that matches this weeks theme, as well as some awesome accessories.

There is no limit to the possibilities!

Image Coastal Vintage via Pinterest
Image Glamour Drops via Pinterest


Stay tuned for more decorating ideas and Christmas themes in the coming weeks.

Fwf x


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Remembering to Remember

There are few days within the calendar year that remain important inter-generationally. I suppose that priorities change with each generation that comes along, and the significance of many events is lost in the ‘noise’ of everything else going on in life.

Few dates have the significance today, that they did when they were first marked and celebrated. Christmas, for example, has all the appeal of any other consumer holiday, but certainly doesn’t have the religious importance it once did….at least to the masses.

Image: ABC Two elderly men help each other during the Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph in Martin Place, Sydney. Photo credit; Fairfax Media Kate Geraghty

Remembrance day is one day that , thankfully, for now, at least, is still honoured and upheld across the generations. Schools play such an important role in this. Interestingly, although it is perhaps as important as Anzac day, it is not accompanied by a public holiday. And as a consequence of that I suppose, it is impossible to meet the numbers seen at services around the country for Anzac day.

Just the other day I was at a local market and was approached by an elderly man with a tray of poppies, badges and other small items available to commemorate the day. Nothing had a fixed price, but instead, was yours for whatever donation you could give. How could you refuse? Grabbing gold coins from my wallet, I handed it over and took a small poppy to wear. My sister in law, and my friend also purchased one, and I overheard my friend explaining what it was to her 9 year old son. Beautifully, he asked his mother, if he could also ‘buy’ another to give to his brother to wear also.

The message is simplified for those who are younger, but the message is the same….that they died, so that we may live.

Image: Via Pinterest

Another friend shared a cute anecdote on Facebook, proud and satisfied that she had successfully explained the meaning and significance of the day to her 4 and 7 year olds. Upon waking up on Wednesday morning, her 4 year old son, announced excitedly that it was ‘Shoosh Day’. Confused, my friend asked him, ‘What is Shoosh Day?”

“It’s when you have to be quiet alllllllllllllllll day so that our Great-grandfather gets some peace!!!”

Yep, probably going to have to clear that up a bit more…..

Image: ABC Crosses displayed in North Terrace in Adelaide as part of Remembrance Day 2015. Phot Credit: ABC News Nicola Gage

This year, Remembrance day was on Wednesday, 11th November. A moments silence is observed at 11am on the 11th November each year to remember those who died or suffered for Australia’s cause in all wars and armed conflicts. This year marks the 97th anniversary of the armistice which ended World War I in 1918.

The significance is that at 11am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front finally fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. After the allied armies had pushed the Germans back, having been defeated repeatedly over the previous 4 months, the Germans called for a suspension of fighting to determine a peace settlement. They accepted the conditions that amounted to unconditional surrender.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month has held special significance in post-war years. The moment when hostilities ceased has become universally associated with the remembrance of those who had died at war. It was initially referred to as Armistice Day (‘Armistice’ is defined as suspension of fighting), however after the Second World War, both the Australian and British Governments changed the name to Remembrance Day, and it was observed as a day where we would commemorate ALL war dead, not just those who died in WW1.

Image: Rotary

This year Prince Charles and Camilla attended the Remembrance Day service in Canberra, laying a wreath on the tomb of the unknown solider and placing poppies on the roll of honour.  And whilst they were certainly a draw card for this years service, the focus was instead on Australia’s Indigeneous Diggers.  The National Commemorative address presented for the first time by an Indigeneous person and a gallery within the memorial is to be re-named in honour of the first Aboriginal man to become an officer in the Australian Army, Captain Reg Saunders.

Image: ABC Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, walks alongside Prince Charles and Camilla at the Australian War Memorial. Photo Credit: AAP Dean Lewins

What do you think? Does the Remembrance Day message get diluted as it is not a Public Holiday, and people are unable to attend services? Is taking a moment out in a day enough to remember the fallen?

Til next time,

Fwf x


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My one and only- The Peony

No flower seems to attract the number of dedicated followers. than the Peony. The wedding favourite, is just one of those blooms it seems, that infatuates the masses. And little wonder, the Peony has a beautiful soft fragrance, a feminine ruffly appearance, and is available in a wide variety of colours.

As soon as October begins, people start dribbling in requesting peonies, knowing too well, that the season is short lived and that the bunches are in hot demand. Flowering domestically for anywhere between 6 and 12 weeks, peonies can command $10 per stem when the season starts, with prices coming down to less than half when they are in ‘flush’.

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Stunning wedding posy featuring peonies and David Austin roses via The Every Last Detail

Pee-oh- nee? Pee-uh-nee? How do you pronounce it?

For me, although the word is pronounced Pee-uh-nee, it is more a case of Tomato, Tomahto. I would never correct a person or a customer if they used a different pronunciation, simply because I find it tad condescending. In fact, I often adopt their pronunciation when referring to the flower again within the same conversation, so as not to draw attention to it.

Peonies, are often referred to as peony roses as the flower can look like a beautifully blown rose, but they are not related to roses at all.  Rose varieties have now been bred and named ‘Rose Peonies’ due to their likeness to the beautiful bloom. Realistically, they are David Austin roses, but these days, large, opulent versions are bred in South Africa, and the result is amazing!

The following images are just a few examples of gorgeous David Austin roses which share an uncanny likeness to the peonies from Parfum Flower Company, Kenya.



Brindabella roses has also successfully bred a ‘Rose Peony’; a floribunda, with a stong, colourful bloom up to 9cm wide, and with a formed ‘eye’ in the centre. This looks more like a tree peony with fewer petals and pronounced stamens in the centre. You can read more about the story of how they got there at Bridabella Gardens.


The Peony is native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America and are available in colours ranging from lemon to pink, red and even a colour bordering on black.. Peonies were once seen as a luxury item in parts of China and believe it or not, could fetch thousands of dollars for just one stem.

According to Greek folklore, Paeon was the apprentice of Asclepius, the Greek God of medicine and healing. Asclepius became jealous of his protégé, and Zeus had to step in to save Paeon from Asclepius’ wrath, by turning him into a peony flower.

The Peony is a stunning flowering plant belonging to the genus ‘Paeonia’, in the family ‘Paeoniacae’. They are generally classified as either Tree Peonies, or Herbaceous plants. The herbaceous varieties are non woody and tend to grow in smaller plants which die down below the ground during the winter months.

Herbaceous Peony via Weiku
Herbaceous Peony via Kelways

Tree peonies are shrubby plants which loose their leaves in the colder months, yet retain their woody stem above ground.

Tree Peony via Song Sparrow


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Black Panther via Tree Peony

Itoh peonies sit somewhere between tree and herbaceous peonies and are named after Toichi Itoh who in 1948, successfully produced a hybrid.

Itoh Peony via Heritage Perrenials

Whilst peonies flower in late spring and early summer, all peonies require a cool climate in which to grow. In Australia they are best grown in mountain districts, in parts of Victoria as well as Tasmania.

And with our Spring unseasonably warm at times, I wouldn’t be surprised if the peony season finishes sooner rather than later. So, if they are a special favourite of yours too, don’t delay, grab a bunch today!

Fwf x

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