Honest Spaces Guest Post - 2

Hi SF Friends! Welcome to part two of Honest Spaces takeover. 

Yasmeen Alabdulla an Interior Design Blogger based in Bahrain who celebrates simple, minimalist spaces. Yasmeen is sharing tips on how to brighten up your work environment—a space where most of us spend a significant chunk of our time (whether you like it or not!).

Check out the Yasmeen's first entry here. You can find Yasmeen over at IG @HonestSpaces – Enjoy!


Refreshing a Snack Bar and Restroom 

4 easy steps to transform your work space into a more
beautiful and functional area that you will look forward to every morning

  1. Add life with simple plants or flowers—you don't need much
  2. Freshen up the air with diffusers and candles of your choice
  3. Categorise and organise with simple office accessories (we love Muji!)
  4. Most importantly, have fun! Don’t be afraid to show off random items around the office, they have a way of adding interesting textures and colors as decorative elements! 

Snack Bar 

DC15F8BF-50A8-47B7-A9DC-F350A098E819.jpg

Before:

Messy, boring

4976D1E0-1153-4E45-86DC-5DC792F6A94B.jpg

After:

Organised, easy to use, refreshing

Tip: Here I added height and color on the water dispenser to make the snack bar just a little bit more interesting! 

Products:
Flowers from Singapore Flower’s Blossom Buddy subscription
Jars from Muji
Cutlery and tray from Muji
Mugs from Muji


Restroom

6B305B29-1000-44EC-8CA7-B24A7C4EBA15.jpg

Before:

Dull, pale, boring

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After:

Fresh, alive, clean

Tips: Your bathroom should be cared for as much as any other space! It's important that you keep it clean and welcoming to accommodate any visitor or client.

Products:
Lavender from Singapore Flower via Carriage
Flowers from Singapore Flower’s Blossom Buddy subscription
Dark Amber diffuser from Zara Home
Dark Amber candle from Zara Home
Mirror from Zara Home
Soap dispenser from Muji


Looking for tips on revamping your entryway and workstation? Find them here!  

Honest Spaces Guest Post - 1

Hi SF Friends! Meet Yasmeen Alabdulla an Interior Design Blogger based in Bahrain who celebrates simple, minimalist spaces.

Yasmeen will be guest posting the next couple of entries sharing tips on how to brighten up your work environment—a space where most of us spend a significant chunk of our time (whether you like it or not!). You can find Yasmeen over at IG @HonestSpaces – Enjoy!


Rejuvenating an Entryway and Workstation 

4 easy steps to transform your work space into a more
beautiful and functional area that you will look forward to every morning

  1. Add life with simple plants or flowers—you don't need much
  2. Freshen up the air with diffusers and candles of your choice
  3. Categorise and organise with simple office accessories (we love Muji!)
  4. Most importantly, have fun! Don’t be afraid to show off random items around the office, they have a way of adding interesting textures and colors as decorative elements! 

Entryway

5C6131C4-535D-42DA-B3A8-8597DBC26469.jpg

Before:

Bare, lacks life, incomplete

3F4CAB7F-9AFF-4AFC-A8A5-411CEDB14B5B.jpg

After:

Welcoming, warmer tones, accommodating

Tip: The entrance is your visitor or client’s first impression of your company - make sure it looks alive and accommodating!

Products:
Plants with white pots from Singapore Flower via Carriage
Dark Amber diffuser from Zara Home (our favorite scent!)
Oak bench from Muji
Terrazzo plant pots from West Elm
Rug from Zara Home


Workstations

78AB4FE8-55D8-4C8E-B017-20A9B1D6C664.jpg

Before:

Uncategorised, messy stationery

B62A999B-166E-415E-9506-4844E85D48ED.jpg

After:

Organised, orderly, productive, yet welcoming and easy on the eyes

Tips: Categorising your documents and stationery may take some time, but it’s time worth investing. It increases your productivity and decreases your stress levels—you’ll know that everything is in its place, which makes it harder to make a mess.  And I totally recommend Singapore Flower’s Blossom Buddy subscription if you love surprises—you won’t have to make any decisions on what to choose, and you get the most creative mix of flowers! If you already know what you want, you can also choose from a beautiful selection via Carriage and have it delivered to your office. 

Products:
Mini Orchid from Singapore Flower via Carriage
Bonsai Plant from Singapore Flower in store
Flowers from Singapore Flower’s Blossom Buddy subscription
Dark Amber diffuser from Zara Home
Tissue box from Muji
Stationery organisers from Muji


Part two is here! Enjoy!

Caring for Your Orchid Friend (A Beginners Guide)

Orchid Buying Guide and Care

Phalaenopsis plants are an excellent long-lasting gift and/or addition to any space. The elegant blooms work in both a contemporary or classic setting and as a plant has a much longer shelf life than cut flowers. But how do you care for these pretties once you have one? We’ve listed a few quick tips below to help you select and care for your new potted friend!

 

What to Look for When Buying a Phalaenopsis Orchid Plant
(The Easy Part)

  • Look for a florist or shop that has many plants for you to select from. Variety will help you find the healthiest plant.
  • Look for leaves and blooms that are firm. Leaves should be quite rigid and not wrinkly, soft, or droopy. The same goes for the open blooms, these should be wide open and crisp. (Please don’t check for crispness by touching the blooms! They are quite delicate and can bruise easily!!)
  • A plant with unopened buds will last longer. In general look for a plant with about 3-4 unopened buds. The buds should be firm and green and not wrinkly or yellowing. However, if you’re placing these plants at an event or dinner party you may want to opt for a branch that is fully bloomed to have a greater impact!
  • When sold as a gift, florists will usually cover the top of the pot with moss. Before packaging though, look for healthy roots that are firm and green.

Caring for Your Phalaenopsis (The Slightly Harder Part…)

There are a million and one ways to care for your plant and this is just a quick-and-dirty guide to help find an optimal place and routine for your plant. Orchids can be quite temperamental and, believe it or not, do a have a bit of a personality and preferences for what they like. If you’ve tried a few of the tips and your orchid is still not happy don’t despair! Keep experimenting with different locations and strategies to find a spot your plant enjoys and will thrive in.

How often do I water?

There’s a common misconception that because orchids are tropical plants they loooove a ton of water. Wrong! Phalaenopsis orchids should only be watered once the potting medium (the stuff around the roots in the pot) becomes dry to the touch. Poke a finger into the potting medium and if it’s dry give your plant some water—otherwise leave it be.

The best way to water an orchid plant is to remove the pot from it’s decorative container, place the pot under a tap of running water, and allow a stream of room temperature water to run through the roots and potting medium until water flows through the pots drainage holes at the bottom. Let water run through for about a minute but don’t allow the running water to touch the plant’s leaves. Once the potting medium is sufficiently damp allow the pot to completely drain of water BEFORE placing it back in its decorative container. Orchid pots should never be left to sit in a pool of water as this drowns the roots and eventually leads to root rot. (This applies to all plants!)

But I can’t remove my orchid from its decorative container!!!

Help!

In some instances it may be more of a hassle to remove an orchid from its container. In this case much of the same applies from above: only water once the potting medium is dry to the touch and water sparingly to prevent a puddle of water from building up in the base. Some strategies for using a minimal amount of water include placing 1-2 regular sized ice cubes on the roots and allowing the water to slowly trickle into the roots and potting medium. Another is to use a judicious amount, not more than ¼ cup of water, poured into the pot. These amounts apply to a large Phalaenopsis plant. Smaller plants will need much less water.

In this situation less is always better! It is better to give your plant less water more regularly than too much water in one go. You can tell if your plant is not getting enough water if the leaves begin to go droopy and/or wrinkly…in this case increase your watering frequency but again, not too much water! We don’t want to drown the roots!

OK. Got it don’t drown my plants roots! What next?

Orchids love humidity! (And each other apparently…)

Orchid plants thrive in a humid environment and ideally they’d love to be in a spot with 50-70% humidity. Although this isn’t ideal for humans (hair frizz anyone?!) there are still a few tricks to help your plant get a bit more moisture. First things first: don’t place your plant in a drafty spot. Next try a few of the tips below to increase the humidity for your plant.

  1. The easiest option: place a small humidifier near you plant.
  2. You can mist the roots of your plant daily with a small sprayer (Pick one up from Ikea or Daiso). The idea is to give the roots some moisture but not a full on watering! Use a light mist.
  3. If your plant is in a decorative pot place a few pebbles at the bottom of the pot and about enough water to come half way up the stones. Rest the orchid pot on top the stones. Water will slowly evaporate upwards creating a moist environment for the roots. You will probably need to top this up every 3-4 weeks.
  4. If you can’t take your plant out of its pot, place a glass of water near the pot. This option will probably give your plant the least amount of additional moisture.
  5. If you’re prone to hot steamy showers, place you plant near your bathroom door so it gets a shot of steam after each shower! (Some of us have been know to bring our plants into the shower a couple of times a week… not naming names…)
  6. Buy your plant a friend! Orchid plants like to be near other orchid plants. Clustering plants close to each other creates a humid environment for these beauties. 

We’ve covered a lot about water… what about light?

Orchid plants want to be in a bright spot without direct sunlight. These guys can get sunburnt! Your plant’s leaves will tell you if it’s getting optimal light. In general orchid leaves should be bright green and not a deep dark green.

  • Bright Green Leaves: Great Job! Your plant is getting sufficient light!
  • Dark Green Leaves: Hmm, your plant is getting too little light find a spot near a window or under a florescent light. Plants need about 10-12 hours of light daily.
  • Reddish-Green Leaves: Rare but this means your plants is getting too much light, try to move it in a slightly shaded area.
  • Black Blotches on the Leaves: SOS Your plant is sunburnt! Move the plant out of direct sunlight!

My buds bloomed and then the blooms died. Now what?

As with all flowering plants, blooms eventually die. As each bloom withers pluck it off the stem gently. Although your stem may no longer have any blooms this does not mean your plant is dead. Orchids bloom annually and with care your plant may produce another flowering spike for you next year.

Once the stem no longer has blooms you should trim the stem above a node lower down on the stem. Nodes are little ridges that run along the stem of the orchid branch usually spaced 6-10 cm apart.

Keep caring for your plant as normal and if you get a new plant, place these guys next to each other! If the roots of the plant begin to grow out of the pot it means it’s time for your plant to get a new home. Bring it over to a florist to get new potting medium for the roots.

We’d love to hear if you have any tips to add in the comments! What’s your strategy for keeping your plant happy?

 

 

My One-Vase Life / A Little Pre-Ramadan Cleanse

Oh how time flies! I can’t believe it’s already been a full year since Ramadan last year. As our wedding season has been slowing down in-store, we’ve suddenly found more time on our hands and minds. That’s translated to pool time (Finally!), gathering our thoughts for the season ahead, and working on de-cluttering our spaces (both professionally and personally). Those who know me are probably thinking “uumm sure…” since I’m pretty much known as the clutter queen!

Since getting married, I’ve moved into a more ‘compact’ space and have started to embrace the spirit of leading a more minimalistic life and realized that when it comes down to it, less really is more.

In the spirit of helping you de-clutter your space we’re hosting a vase exchange. So…
1)   Gather all of the vases you NEED to get out of your house
2)   Pop on down to Singapore Flower (we're on Google Maps if you need directions) on Wednesday May 24, 2017 from 11 – 5 PM.
3)   Trade your vases for a bunch of blooms and homemade cookies! (Flowers and food will forever be our fav combo!)

We Do Have Some Ground Rules:

  • Bouquets are limited to one per customer – regardless of the number of vases dropped off. Cookies are unlimited though ;)
  • All vases must be in good condition with no chips or scratches
  • Vases must be clear, and not coloured
  • Vases will only be exchanged for flowers within this time-frame on Wednesday

Full Disclaimer: We will be reusing these vases with the intention of reducing production and waste on our little planet. It’s a small step in the grand scheme of things, but you’ve got to start somewhere!

Who Run The World? Girls!

March was a crazy busy month for us and when April rolled around it gave us a chance to catch our breath and dive into some of the other work we’ve being doing around SF. For those of you that have been keeping tabs, we’ve been running our Blossom Buddy deliveries for over three years and have had some folks as subscribers since the very beginning!! (More sign up details over here.)

It’s been great having a group of loyal followers and although we have had some growing pains (delayed shipments and what nots), it’s always one of the more exciting parts of our week when we get to put together your surprise blooms! We also love seeing you share your #BlossomBuddy in real life on IG!

This April also marked the first time Blossom Buddy crossed over 100 subscribers! And we thought it would be an awesome opportunity to treat y’all with some other local-grown brands that have been doing cool things across the island.

Over the past two weeks we’ve collaborated with two other girl boss and sister crews (coincidentally both businesses are also run by sisters!).

Tru Active

Last week the sister’s at Tru Active, Bahrain’s first active wear company with a truly local spin on the trusty yoga pant, gave out two “Hot Pink Tickets” for a pair of lucky blossom buddies to get their hand on some of their coveted range. They were also generous enough to give out a promo code for 15% off all their items site-wide (pssst… it’s valid till April 30th and if you missed it use “BlossomBuddies15” at www.TruActive.me).

 

Raw Candy

And this week we’ve teamed up with the sisters at Raw Candy, another Bahrain first! The Raw Candy sisters have created the island's first raw, vegan, and all organic chocolate line. Yes, we said chocolate. Yes, it’s pretty much health food. As Blossom Buddies you get to try a pre-release of their new Choco Crunch Granola. Check them out on IG at @Raw.Candy

We hope you have been enjoying the little treats along with your Blossoms!

Yep. Girls! We Run The World!

Mom, You're Awesome!

To celebrate Mother's Day we're dedicating this post to the super human in our life—our mom.

It’s been an insanely busy couple of weeks and we have all been working at breakneck speeds to execute events and complete orders. It’s been good but also tiring (Hello! I think our beds miss us!). But despite it all, our momma, the bedrock behind SF EVERYTHING is the energizer bunny that keeps going! This woman is literally the first in and last out of the shop every day. She can bust out flowers for an event solo and doesn’t blink an eye at having to haul giant buckets of roses across the store. And! she still wakes up at the crack of dawn to make ginger tea (‘cause it cures everything, apparently) and smoothies for all at the shop.

Singapore Flower wouldn’t be what it is today without our Mom giving us sage advice and here are some golden nuggets that have stuck with each of us:

Julia: Mom has been invaluable at helping Rose and I shape our business ethos. She’s taught us to be fair, firm, and never to do anything or work with anyone that made our heart(s) feel heavy. She has always imparted that feeling good about the people you work with is more important that chasing the next contract.

Rose: “Don’t over commit or over promise. Instead, over deliver.” Working with clients can be challenging when it comes to a once-in-a-lifetime event so it’s always important to know what you can and can’t do.

Fun Facts About Our Awesome Blossom: She has zero coordination, do not take her to a Zumba class… it’s like watching a fish out of water. Her fav colour is maroon. She has OCD and will usually try to match her shoes to her bag to her scarf. She still makes us lunch (her oldest child is 33…). She does not mince words and hasn’t hesitated to call her child fat—she is after all 100% Asian! She carries dry cat food in her car for any stray kitties and makes random cat friends. Her fav kind of chocolate is dark chocolate with nuts. She reuses and recycles everything she can—she embraced the living-with-less mantra before it became cool. She can’t tell you what her favourite flower is… apparently she loves them all equally just like her children (Rose has doubts about this, she claims to be the most loved child.). She started SF at the age of 23 opening the shop with a crib in store for her then littlest kid, Rose. Nothing is impossible for her.

Mom, thank you for letting two—now very big girls—still play
around and have fun with what we do.
We love you.

Photography by Moe Ramadan

Flower Flavours

We dug through our phone galleries to pull up some real-life floral combos that we’ve used for weddings. #throwback!

This was an interesting exercise for us to see the sort of floral mixes that were resonating with our brides. As you can see, the combinations are endless, and, over the years our brides have been getting bolder in their choice of florals (someone say hay?) and colours (check out the pops of black and burgundy!), which we love, love, love!

At the end of the day, there is no rule as to what wedding florals or colours should be. It’s your day so you get to pick your flavour!

If you’ve been an SF bride, do you know which combo’s yours??

A Few Tips from The Pros - Part 3

Our lovely brides shared their tips for keeping it together in Part 1 and Part 2. But if there really was an overwhelming consensus on one topic it's the first one below! And apparently I (Julia) have a favourite phrase I like to deploy!

 

Everything Will Be Fine. No Really.

"Remember that no matter how hard you plan and try to pre-empt things, something can and will go wrong. And that's OK. You’re not the weather god, or the fun-police so let it go and just roll with it. I mean an epic storm rolled in on our wedding day, we may have all turned to icicles during dinner, my mom disappeared for a nap (it runs in the family) during the wedding pics, and I totally forgot about my sexy thermals as I waved my dress around dancing but it was still the.best.day.ever."

"This was something I told myself the entire time leading up to the wedding: set a stress deadline. I stressed and tried to make sure everything was as perfect as could be leading up to the big day, but made sure that the last week was clear and calm so I could be relaxed and enjoy the day! If anything were to have gone wrong in that week or on the day, I told myself to just let it go."

"The minute you step into the ballroom just let go and enjoy. What’s done is done and it’s to late to change things. Don’t ruin your day by fretting over small things that don’t matter and that people will forget in time."

"Don't stress out about some things not going according to plan on the day. Some things cannot be controlled, life is not perfect but it is still beautiful. So you can either let the frustration get to you and ruin your big day or you can focus on how beautiful it is being surrounded by your loved ones who are celebrating you. Such glitches or details won't matter or even be remembered in the end, you will only remember the love in the air."

"This one is actually Julia's, but I loved her advice, and her exact phrasing was "We always tell our clients, don't be the fun police!". I wanted to schedule everything so it would flow well on the day, but a bit of a delay here and there because people are having fun is actually a good thing!"

 

Post Wedding (Yep, It's Not Over)

"Give a family member or friend all your vendors' contact details for emergencies and to deal with any post-wedding issues when you are on your honeymoon."

"This is one that you don't really hear a lot, but post-wedding blues are real! You've put in so much of yourself, your time and your creative process into this one-day. Enjoy it to the very last minute, but if you miss it a little too much after, know that it's OK, and completely normal. The end of your wedding means the beginning of your new life together, and that's something that should be enjoyed and celebrated too!"

 

 

Some Italian Travel Tips from the Vlajic's!

Between the wedding and our own personal travel, Rose and I have been to Italy 6 times with our significant other’s in tow.  We still have a lot more ground to cover but if you’re ever in any of the spots below, these are the restaurants, B&B’s and resources we can’t recommend enough!

Rose – Seina and Florence (Tuscany), Parma and Bologna (Emiligia Rogmana), and Travel Tips

Dimitris and I did the Three Kings Tour in Parma. The tour of the Parmesan factory was a highlight - is it ok to be starstruck by cheese ?!

Il Santo Bevitore is a fine dining restaurant in Florence with a trattoria ambiance, and where we had one of the best meals of our trip. Reservations are a must.

We loved the atmosphere and classic Tuscan fare at Trattoria da Mario—this hole-in-the-wall, also in Florence, is only open for lunch and does not have an English menu.

Bologna has a gelato university and gelato stores abound (yum-O!). We really enjoyed La Sorbetteria di Castiglione.

We held our welcome reception at Il Podere Casale in Seina. We would absolutely recommend this working farm for simple, yet hearty, organic meal. The views are to die for and it doesn’t hurt that they have an array of cooking classes to partake in!

There are ton of places to hang your hat in Seina but the cottages at La Foce Ciarentana were absolutely exquisite. The views are To. Die. For. If a hotel is more your speed we loved Poggio Piglia.

For olive oil enthusiasts, do ask each estate and area you visit about their olive oil. I found that many small places made and bottled their own (excellent) olive oil.

And remember: No cappuccino post noon. Eat pasta always—each town serves up something different (yumm-oo). And, where possible get a car and head into rural towns—it's the best way to enjoy Italy!

 

Julia – Piemonte and Resources!

The first time I visited the Piedmonte region, my husband and I stayed at luxurious and oh-so-comfortable refurbished castle. What a dream!

But on our next visit to Piedmonte region with Rose and Dimitris we opted for something quirkier. Located in the heart of Neive, Al Palazzo Rosso, is next door to amazing restaurants and corner store where the entire town gathers for aperitivo hour!

Although not in Neive, the cramped Restaurant Centro Storico located in Serralunga is beyond amazing and absolutely worth the trek, regardless of where in Italy you are. But maybe that’s because I have a soft spot for Northern Italy! (Rose says it's her fav meal of 2016!)

Before I travel I always a get a good book/cookbook to sink my teeth into and really understand the food landscape. For Italy it was this one.

But for an everyday cookbook and wonderfully direct writing, nothing beat’s Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

I am also partial to smaller B&Bs and more unique accommodations and this guide was right up my alley.

My travel research also includes scouring local blogs to find trusty recommendations. Jul’s guide to Val d’Orcia was especially helpful as I planned non-wedding related activities! I would totally trust her other city guides as well!

Ciao! 

A Few Tips From the Pros - Part 2

When we reached out to our brides asking them to share some tips for enjoying your big day they really came through! Since we got quite a bit of feedback we've spilt the post up into three sections. If you missed it, Part 1 is here.

As in the previous post, the comments have been minimally edited and left anonymous. 

Navigating a Guest List and RSVPs

“Putting a guest list together could potentially turn into a nightmare. There are so many factors to consider—Are kids allowed? Who gets a plus one and who doesn't? How many invites do you give your parents? It can easily become a very sensitive and stressful issue, and from experience, I learnt that pleasing everyone is impossible. We insisted on having an intimate wedding, and only invited close family and friends. When people asked if they could bring friends along, we said no. When people we weren't close with asked if they could come, we said no. We were put in so many awkward situations! But remember, at the end of the day, your wedding is about celebrating you as a couple, and not anyone else. So surround yourself with the people who you want to share this day with. Trust me, it will be worth it once you feel surrounded by so much genuine love and happiness on your wedding day.”

“RSVP's! They're VERY difficult to get, but make a big difference, especially when booking a venue that charges by head, or printing beautiful (but expensive) wedding invitations!”

 

It’s Not Just About Décor

"Hire a planner. You need help with all the details and someone to stay on top of everything. As a planner-bride, I began to realise how much more went into being a bride. No one tells you about all the wedding paperwork you have to do, oh and are you trying to furnish a house while planning a wedding? We managed the large chunk of our wedding design, but we still needed help on the ground to execute and pull things together. Seriously, hire a planner."

 

Eat, Nap, Hydrate! 

"Pre-empt all your quirks and craziness and make sure you create an environment that helps you stay chilled, relaxed, and excited! In my case, that meant scheduling a nap (best decision ever!!), making sure that there was a light buffet for the bridal party while they were getting ready so no one would go hangry (!) and of course, finding a cappuccino. It was also really important for me to have my girls close by, but at the same time have my own space (don't underestimate the power of space!) so we got adjoining rooms to get ready in."

"Make sure you eat and hydrate well on the wedding day. I made the mistake of ignoring food and paid the price for it. I became ill at part of my wedding (I actually threw up when I tried to eat later because our outdoor venue was quite chilly). So while you are getting ready (and throughout the day, actually) make sure you have a good hearty meal that will hold you up through the adrenaline."