So here it is, just in time for the season of fresh starts, new life and weddings, and it would be silly at this point not to start without explaining why I do what I do. Ask any of my nearest and dearest and they will confirm that I have been reading Country Living magazine since birth, I spent more of my student loan on vintage china than drinking (much to my friends annoyance) and will paint anything a chalky pastel hue if it stands still long enough. I like to think that these things, amongst many others, have been the beginnings of Verity & Thyme, without me even knowing it.
Verity & Thyme was initially fuelled by a lack of genuine 'vintage' bridal accessories on the market here in the UK. The word 'vintage' is terribly overused today and is often the name given for anything that hasn't got a brand spanking new label attached to it, but I wanted to create beautiful wedding accessories made from genuine vintage fabric adorned with pretty hand embroidery that will hopefully bring a smile to the bride's face for years to come. So much of our lives is mass manufactured, forced through heavy machinery and stamped with an impersonal motif, and what a shame that is. Inspired by my research in my final year of my textiles degree, historically the bridal trousseau (also delightfully named the 'Hope Chest') was a collection of hand sewn, hand embroidered and hand dyed textiles collected and worked on by the bride-to-be for months, and sometimes years, before the wedding day. The idea was that the bride was prepared with said trunk/chest/bottom drawer to enter into married life with an army of homemaking skills and this chest full of lovely things to adorn both herself and the new home. I know times have changed dramatically, and I for one could not live without Instagram, my Smeg fridge and Sky TV, but this idea of handmade, beautiful and unique textiles for someone's special day has inspired Verity & Thyme since day one.
Alongside vintage textiles, the other passion in my life has always been flowers. Nothing lifts the mood quite like a bunch of happy little blooms, and wedding flowers have always been my obsession. I adore seasonal flowers in this country, we have such contrasting seasons in the UK it seems mad not to celebrate each one with a bounty of their finest flowers. I dream of a garden of my own one day (maybe throw an allotment or two in there for good measure) and growing British flowers to use in my wedding flowers, but for now my balcony herb garden and galvanised tin pots will have to suffice. The sweet peas, muscari, cornflowers, rosemary, thyme and apple mint we are currently growing may make an appearance in a lucky bride's bouquet however, if the pesky seagulls don't nibble at them first (I am being nice here but I may dedicate a whole blog post to the seagulls, who are indeed the bane of my life - watch this space). I like cottage garden blowsy blooms with flyaway petals, nestled between fresh green foliage and fragrant herbs with their interesting textures, and rambling English gardens will always be my inspiration. My very talented mum created the flowers for my brother and sister-in-law's wedding a few summers back and she included an abundance of homegrown and heavily scented tea roses, sweetpeas and fresh herbs in her bouquet which filled the balmy summer air with the most heavenly scent, one which I will never forget. I like to think that whenever my lovely sister-in-law smells those blooms it instantly transports her back to that special day, and I would love to do the same for Verity & Thyme brides.
Another place you will find me a happy girl is the kitchen. Much to my boyfriend's dismay (he 'isn't really a sweet person' - something I will never, ever understand) I can easily spend an afternoon throwing a little bit of lavender sugar into this, and swirling some orange blossom water into that, and create a happy little feast for those with an ever present sweet tooth, much like myself. I think if I use rosewater in one more thing I may be boyfriend-less, but cake making and decorating have always brought me both comfort and joy. Again, I love food to be seasonal - light-as-a-feather sponges for spring afternoon teas in the garden, and bowls of molten french onion soup topped with gruyere cheese and french toast in the autumn months. I love crystallised petals, thrown across cakes like confetti, and could think of nothing lovelier as a wedding cake - something else I hope to branch into in the near future.
My collection of vintage bits and bobs is continuously growing, and is another part of Verity & Thyme that I love. Wooden crates, old trunks, vintage linens and fine bone china are all toppled on top of one another in cupboards, and it brings me great pleasure to bring them out and use them for weddings and special occasions. The latest addition to the family was an old Victorian washing frame which was painted in the blink of an eye and given a new lease of life as a table plan - complete with mini bunting and typewriter table cards.
This week the blossom has arrived, the daffodils are out in all their sunny glory and I had hot cross buns for breakfast - bring on the spring...