Destination Wedding Inspiration

Sometimes images just jump out at me on the screen, and I think the four below were made to be together. A decadent sculptural dress, echoing halls of a Normandy chateau and a sumptuous meal for two. I don’t know what it is about inspiration boards that I find immediately capture the essence of a celebration, but this feeling is certainly one I’d love to recreate. I’m off to conjour up more celebrations for dream clients for the weekend…whatever you have planned, I hope it’s a good one!

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Image credits: 1. Oh so Pretty | 2. Oh So Glamorous  | 3. Carin Olsson | 4. Chew Town

Posted in Fashion Styling, Food Styling, Inspiration Boards, My Styling Portfolio, Travel, Wedding Styling | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Knockdrinna Cheese Souffles…
Prop Styling for Donal Skehan

Ok, so I know it’s January and I really should be posting recipes with more of a health kick, but after a day of battling snow and storms, comfort food was the only thing I wanted on the menu. Nothing says winter warmer to me like a cheese and pastry fest, so this mouth watering recipe from Donal Skehan fit the bill perfectly. The cheesey souffles are balanced by a crisp pear and walnut salad so at least you can pretend it’s all about getting your five a day in! The gorgeous image below was shot as part of last years Feast Magazine, and I was honoured to do the prop styling with a stellar team. For more inspiring recipes (with amazing images to boot!) check out Donal’s blog here. Find all the info below and let me know if you give it a try!

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Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese Souffles with Pear and Walnut Salad

Serves 6
40g butter, extra to grease
40g self-raising flour, extra to grease
340ml milk
1 small onion, cut in half
1 bay leaf
3 black peppercorns
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
200g Knockdrinna cheese, rind removed and grated
3 large eggs, separated
For the pear salad:
100g walnut halves
3 firm ripe pears
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour 6 x ramekins. Pour the milk into a small pan and add the onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and grated nutmeg. Bring to a steady simmer slowly, then remove from the heat and strain into a jug. Melt butter, in a small pan and add the flour to make a roux, whisking until it’s combined. Slowly add the warm milk until you have added it all and are left with a thick white sauce.Transfer the sauce to a mixing bowl. Then whisk in the egg yolks and three- quarters of the cheese. Beat the egg whites until light and fluffy and forming soft peaks, then gradually mix it in with the cheese mix . Divide the mixture amongst the ramekins and place in roasting tin. Pour boiling water around the base of the ramekins and place in the oven for 15 minutes the soufflés are well risen and lightly golden. Allow to cool slightly and then remove the soufflés from the ramekins and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with clingfilm and chill for up to 24 hours. To finish cooking the soufflés, remove them from the oven while you preheat the oven to 180°C. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top and return to the oven for about 5 minutes until they have puffed back up and are heated through.
Meanwhile, make the pear salad. Toast the walnuts in a baking dish for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. Leave to cool a little and roughly chop. Using a mandolin or very sharp knife cut the pear into wafer-thin slices and toss in the lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Add some salt and pepper and set aside until you are ready to serve. Cover each plate with a layer of slightly overlapping pear slices and drizzle with olive oil. Put a soufflé into the centre of each plate and add a grinding of black pepper. Scatter over the walnuts to serve.

Credits: Photography & Recipe: Donal Skehan | Food Styling: Sharon Hearne Smith | Prop Styling: Ciara O’Halloran

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Interior Styling…
for Image Interiors and Living

Hi everyone, Happy New Year! Hope your first week back to normal routine hasn’t been too much of a shock to the system. I’ve said before that September often feels like more of a new year for me as my academic music year begins there. But for some reason 2015 feels like a really exciting fresh start with lots of promise for what the next twelve months might bring. I hope you feel the same way about your year ahead and that you’re feeling rested and relaxed after the Christmas break. I took a step back from blogging as frequently in the second half of last year and took some time to assess the balance of computer vs other time. It’s still a juggling act, but I’m looking forward to sharing projects and images that I’m really passionate about, both from my own styling work and those that inspire me. First up this year, a gorgeous Edwardian House in leafy Sandymount in Dublin shot by Mark Scott, which I had the pleasure of styling for Image Interiors and Living.

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Home to talented photographer Doreen Kilfeather and her lovely family, not to mention star of the show Bonnie the Westie! The space is warm and intimate and serves as a true testament to living with your art. Her photographs mingle with vibrant oil paintings, all of which look right at home among Farrow and Balls Hague Blue walls. It was another reminder of how rarely I print photos these days. Reassuringly though Doreen says it was the shoot that gave her the push to frame some of her favourite images of her kids from summer holidays past.

“I’m always encouraging people to who come to the house to update their own pictures, You have to practice what you preach. Each one has a bit of a story behind it. My son Jamie is just totally at home in the water, and I wanted to bring that out. They remind me of summers away. It’s a bit corny, but it’s nice.”

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Her kitchen and dining space is the heart of the home and flooded with light thanks to skylights and beautiful floor to ceiling glass doors that open straight out into the garden. She enlisted the help of architect Denis Looby to transform the room from a dark and gloomy area to the current warm and welcoming family hub. I love the combination of wood and stone which Doreen softened with clusters of loose ferns and herbs. “Everyone just gravitates to the kitchen, so it made sense to make it into a big, decent room,” she explains. “The reason we got an architect was that the house was quite dark, and Denis has a genius for light and space. We love cooking here and having people over. It’s a real party space.”

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One of my favourite little corners in Doreen’s home was her office tucked into a lovely space behind the kitchen area. How amazing are that table and chair?! It certainly looks so much more glamorous than my desk and captures her innate sense of style perfectly. The industrial table was sourced in Paris (all good furniture stories should start like that!) and the singer sewing chair was discovered at an antiques fair around the corner from her home. Sublime indeed!

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If you thought the bathroom was a space where art was off limits think again. A past Christmas project Doreen collated with family photos has found a welcoming home in their airy bathroom that captures some of their favourite moments over the years. She simply printed them out on paper, cut them down to size and added captions and clips to create a truly unique collection of stories. “Originally I had hung them off the staircase garland,” she explains. “People walked into the hall and starting pointing, remembering where and when they were taken. I love that people can connect with something – that you can touch it. It’s beautiful paper.”

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So what do you think, pretty stunning right? I loved spending the afternoon styling here though as Doreen’s taste is so impeccable I didn’t have to add much to bring the photos to life, what you see really is how they live. Which gives me hope that one of these years I’ll be able to bring all my dream interior pinterest boards to life…another thing to add to the to do list for this year!

Image Credits: Photography: Mark Scott | Interview: Amanda Kavanagh for Image Interiors and Living |  Styling: Ciara O’Halloran

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Happy New Year…Elderflower Cordial Recipe

Happy New Year all! Just stopping by to say a quick hello and share the perfect way to toast when the clock strikes twelve. You may have seen this gorgeous engagement dinner in Hearth magazine already, and as an extra treat it was featured on Style me Pretty last week. One of the highlights of the evening was the prosecco and elderflower bellini’s that Justin Green greeted us with at the door of Ballyvolane House. It’s a bit too last minute to make your own elderflower cordial at this point so you may need to cheat and source it ready made to add to the bubbles. But I can say the sweetness of the elderflower is a perfect match for any sparkling wine so I’ll be filing this one away for the future to do list. See the full recipe from Ballyvolane House below!

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Elderflower Cordial

Ingredients
74 elderflower heads
9 litres of water
4.5 kg granulated caster sugar
170 g citric acid
6 lemons, zest & juice
ONE | Boil water, sugar and citric acid to dissolve, remove from heat.
TWO | Add lemon zest, lemon juice and flowers.
THREE | Transfer to bucket or tub and leave in fridge covered for 2 to 3 days to infuse.
FOUR | Stir daily.
FIVE | Strain the liquid mixture and either store in  fridge or freezer for longer term. Will keep for up to a year.
SIX | Enjoy!

Hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas break and you’re excited to ring in the New Year and all the adventures that 2015 may bring. Thank you all for your support and kind words here over the last twelve months. I really appreciate every little interaction and all the wonderful people that this blog has brought into my world. Wishing you all a happy, safe and prosperous new year!
Photography: Laura Murray Photography | Floral Design: Ann Marie O Leary | Menus And Paper Goods: Signora E Mare | Styling & Production: Ciara O’Halloran | Venue: Ballyvolane House

Posted in Food Styling, My Styling Portfolio, Wedding Styling | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Styling for Brown Thomas…
Christmas Magazine 2014

Oh Christmas is nearly here! I’m writing this post en route to Cork for the break and I can’t wait to get home to spend time with all my family. But just as a parting post for the festive season, I wanted to share this shoot I styled for Brown Thomas’s Christmas Magazine. Brown Thomas has been a by word for luxury in Ireland since opening it’s first department store in Dublin in the 1850′s. Similar to Selfridges in London and Galerie Lafayettes in Paris, the four floors of its flagship store are filled with designer clothing, decadent accessories, an out of this world beauty department and a beautiful living floor. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard I was to be let loose to choose and style such a treasure trove of items.

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The shoot appeared in their Christmas Magazine as an insert in the Sunday Independent a few weeks back in order to showcase their full range of Christmas decor and lifestyle products. I wanted to capture the essence of the traditional luxury associated with the store, while also giving it a contemporary twist. There’s nothing like gold to bring a hint of decadence, so I decided to opt for a palette of metallics, mixing the expected green and red tones of the festive season with a pop of jewel tones to keep it fresh.

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Textures also played a big role in conveying the mood of the shoot. The cut crystal tumblers from the Waterford Mad Men range made the perfect bespoke cocktail corner and I wanted to take home the cashmere throws and cowhide rug that featured in the living room shot. Regardless of how simple or opulent you’d like your Christmas decor to be this year, nothing beats the power of candle light and fairy lights to bring a whole new level of cosiness to a space. Layering different types of candles at contrasting heights can brighten up a little corner with very little effort. I also loved the indoor tree with fairy lights available in their living range, I’d be tempted to use it all year round!

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I worked with Mark Scott on this shoot, having had the pleasure of seeing his ninja photography skills in action at Doreen Kilfeather’s home shoot a few weeks before (which I will be sharing soon I promise!) His eye for interiors and lifestyle photography is amazing, and I couldn’t have asked for more gorgeous arrangements by Appassionata flowers. They brought just the right pop of colour to the images that I was hoping for and really brought the look and feel of the shoot together. It was a bit of a whirlwind getting it all together of the day and I had so many extra pairs of hands helping to make this one happen, which was very much appreciated!

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You’ll find all the products in Brown Thomas stores at the moment, though I hope at this point you have most of your shopping list done and dusted. Whatever you have planned for this Christmas season have a wonderful break and I hope you get to enjoy every minute with your favourite people. Merry Christmas everyone!

Image Credits: Photography: Mark Scott | Styling: Ciara O’Halloran | Flowers: Appassionata |Production: Image Publications |

Posted in Floral Inspiration, Food Styling, Interior Styling, My Styling Portfolio | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment