It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Tedquarters and one can only imagine how Mr. Baker would adorn his own nest. It may come as no surprise that the designer, famed for his way with floral prints, would weave botanicals into his festive celebrations too.
The chilly winter months aren’t closely associated with lush blooms but Ted’s out to prove otherwise. He has even called upon fellow foliage enthusiasts from Victoria Flowers and Cake of Dreams to show you how to enjoy more verdant festivities beyond the tree. From decorations to dinner, a touch of nature can be incorporated into all corners of your celebrations. They’ve even shared a fool-proof wreath making guide for first time holly-wranglers!
Cake of Dreams
If you can dream it, Francesca can bake it. This East London baker cooks up wondrous, floral showpieces that you thought could have only existed in your fantasies. Imagine Chelsea Flower Show meets Bake Off and you’re not even close.
What makes your baked goods the stuff of dreams?
The idea behind Cake of Dreams was to make cakes that capture the imagination and fantasy you have as a child, but also taste delicious. For me, a cake is symbolic of the sentiment behind a celebration - it has to be thoughtful, a treat, an experience, not just there for the sake of it. I want my cakes to feel magical and sparkly and a step out of the ordinary.
What brew is best to wash your cakes down with? (Not implying any dry crumb structures here)
I would say my cakes go best with something fizzy and sparkly – a nice prosecco or Amaretto on the rocks for Christmas day.
What’s on the menu for Christmas day?
Controversially I am not a fan of the traditional Christmas dinner, and we eat a lot of those foods on Thanksgiving. So this year we are having some kind of yummy Ottolenghi feast of slow cooked meat and lots of veg sides. I am charged with dessert and must obviously keep it top secret, but it will probably involve some homemade ice cream…
Can you impart any kitchen hacks to help make Christmas Day a… piece of cake?
Do as much as possible as far in advance as you can - make a lovely pie a couple of days before so that once the main is done you can relax. Make fewer dishes but make them incredible. Ask guests to bring food along, it’s always more fun to have things a bit pot-luck and share the work and the love.
Victoria is a Central London florist specialising in bespoke blooms. From single bridal bouquets or sprucing an entire venue, what Victoria cannot do with flowers is not worth knowing.
Ted adorns his collections with flowers but he knows you go the extra mile. Tell us the extent of your wizardry?
Victoria Flowers focuses on events mainly. Be it weddings, birthday celebrations, corporate events or private dining. I also arrange flowers for private houses, dressing for pop-up restaurants and photo shoots.
And another office debate… Mistletoe or Poinsettia?
I am a huge lover of foliage with its textures, scents and colours. It has to be mistletoe for me. I just love the tiny, sticky white berries. It’s so delicate and representative of the festive season. Who doesn’t love the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe?
Top tips for adding festive flourishes to the home (and garden)?
You can easily make yourself a swag to drape just about anywhere. Gather some pine and textures of various foliage from your garden, local park or woods. Cut it down into five-inch pieces and wire little bunches along a length of rope. You can then add simple white fairy lights. The scent will be delicious – like the outdoor woodland brought indoors.
I also love to plant up a few bulbs of Paperwhites or Hyacinths over Christmas. They tend to flower quickly when they are indoors at this time of year. The pops of colour are also so subtle and endearing and the scent is heavenly.
What makes for a bloomin’ brilliant Christmas, in your book and how have you dressed your home this year?
Oh, there are many parts…. selecting your tree and dragging it through the street. I love buying a decoration from a gift shop on our travels so I have a mix of decorations collected from all over the place. It’s such a treat to bring them out each year and hang them on the tree.
Most importantly, it’s all about bringing family and friends together at Christmas. We have an open house and love having everyone over. The more the merrier!
How to make Victoria’s homemade wreath
1. Wrap a wire wreath frame with foraged greenery such as moss to layer up a lush base. As you go round, tie down the foliage with metallic floral wire, ensuring the ends are flicking outwards, making the wreath nice and fluffy. The more you add, the wilder the wreath.
2. Finesse the base with odd leaves before moving onto the rest of the decoration.
3. Take shorter wires to tie down dried oranges, holly and pine cones as you desire. Pin each decorative element down through the foliage, ensuring the wires are as discreet as possible.
4. For a truly charming touch, tie a ribbon into a bow and pin the underside of the knot to the bottom of your wreath in the same manner as the rest of your decorations.
5. Snap a picture of your festive masterpiece and hang securely upon your front door for all your neighbours to balk in wonder.