[All images my own - click to enlarge. Please ask before reproducing].
You can't beat the smell of a florist's shop.
As per usual, spring has brought us the trend of florals - no surprises there, then. But whilst I was dreaming of clashing my flower-strewn pastels and brights on a sunny Saturday with friends, we came across this gorgeous shop in Brighton's Lanes. If you think that being a florist involves putting a few daffodils in a vase, you'd be very much mistaken. This is a lesson in how to do florals, from the people that sell them.
The shopfront, in a muted tobacco/sage green.
Quince has only recently opened, and it offers a mixture of flowers, antiques and upcycled objects that have taken on a new purpose. Whereas many antique shops can be stuffy or intimidating, this was a really welcoming place and the owner was genuinely sweet.
The flowers speak for themselves.
Inside we were met by a riot of colours and shapes.
If we were to take anything fashionable from this, it's that you can definitely mix the size of your florals - in this case they're real, but in an outfit you could combine corsages with Liberty print shoes by Clarks, or some sunflower print pieces by Rodarte.
I love pieces that tell a story.
Forget faux-vintage - when you see this 18th Century trunk, dating back to approximately 1760, you'll be hankering for objects with a genuine history. I'd love to know what was kept in here - clothes, documents or the equivalent of a man's tool shed? It was made by Arabella Brown, whose husband was a chest and box maker and an undertaker, and she carried on the family trade when he died. One of my ancestors was a box maker in the 1800s so it was pretty special to see what other people in the same profession were doing, albeit some years earlier.
Find an interesting vessel for your flowers and you're onto a winner.
The range of containers on offer was really interesting - as I approached the desk to buy a Mother's Day present (I went for a blue and white china pot with some indigo flowers) there was even an old sugar bowl about to be an important component of the next arrangement. Everything from glass to terracotta was on offer.
Look out for the lamps - they're also pretty unique.
To really set off the bouquets, there were also some amazing lamps at Quince, where upcycling had given forgotten objects a new lease of life. This clarinet caught my eye, as did a champagne bottle light.
The key thing to take from Quince is to expect the unexpected. Whether you're planning an outfit or decorating a room, don't go for the easy option if there's a way you can inject a little personality instead. English eccentricity is worth embracing, especially when you say it with flowers (or clarinets).
2 Nile Street