1 Table, ici et la 

1 Tablecloth, Society linen from Ondene

From left to right

1 Runner, Honeybee Homewares

2 Glass Tumblers, Honeybee Homewares 

2 Plates, The Country Trader

1 Small Plate, The Fortynine Studio 

1 Small Tin, 2 white bowls, Astier de Villate from Palm Beach Home 

1 Glass Bowl, The Country Trader 

3 Cutlery sets, The Country Trader 

3 Plates, Astier de Villate from Palm Beach Home

Handful of linen Napkins, Honeybee Homewares and  Ikea 

1 Side Plate, The Fortynine Studio

1 Vase, Ondene

Other items not credited are hired from a prop hire company.


Layered Linens


In my previous life as a fashion stylist I remember my sister asking me how I envisaged the styled outfits and my answer was ‘I just put whatever with whatever and I know if it works’. Of course she laughed at this and I understand now how little help this was to her. I do believe that some people have a natural ability to turn “rags to riches” but there are many elements to consider when building a shot and there is a most wonderful feeling when it all comes together. It’s a bit like magic.

Being a stylist is having an eye to edit well, to recognize that special piece and be able to incorporate that into your story or life. This process is greatly enhanced by working with a team of talented people.

In this shot I’ve combined different artists with the same aesthetic who complement each other and who use similar tones, but who all have a unique aspect to their artworks too which include subtle pattern and textured details.

I’ve tried to create balance in the shot, and a sense of harmony through the placement of the items.  I make sure to consider the horizontals (table, table runner and stacked linens) in relation to the verticals (vase, panelled background etc), so that if I do stack items the sizes marry well together rather than making the grouped item look like one is dominated or oversized by the other.

I can see this set up in Paris in a gorgeous apartment with French shutters in dusty blue.

Main Image – Photographer – Chris Chen


Table, Ici et La 

Chair, Ici et La 

Plate (with nest), Spence & Lyda

Bowl (cherries), Spence & Lyda

Kelly Wearstler vase, Becker & Minty

Ceramic bowl, Spence & Lyda

Black Ceramic Jug, Spence & Lyda

Tea cup, Ginkgo Leaf

Black side plates, Spence & Lyda

Paper bowl, Spence & Lyda

Japanese Bowl, Planet 

Gold Kelly Wearstler vase, Becker & Minty

Ceramic Cup, China Clay 

Cutlery, Mr Kitly 

Pendant light, Mr Kitly

Artwork as small placemat, Slab & Slub

Linen Napkins, Ondene 

Painted calico fabric as tablecloth, Spotlight

Background in Obsidian, Porters Paint 

Vintage Bottle and Artwork hired from Prop Hire Company



This is a special post today in honour of my late grandmother whom I very recently lost. I would like to celebrate her life as she was a major influence throughout my childhood and I can thank her, along with my mother, for nurturing my creativity and helping me feel grounded in a somewhat chaotic world.

The birds nest was found at my Grandmother’s beach shack, down the South Coast, many years ago and I decided to “borrow” it on my most recent Christmas visit as I got excited about it’s wonderful tactile presence as a prop for a future shoot. Following her passing it sparked a vision and became the centrepiece  around which to base the table setting.

This shoot is also a little ‘old fashioned’ in style and tone, … influenced by the imprint of my grandmother in the interiors of ‘the Coast,’  and this feel was created through the use of deep textural greens, blues and rich black and the vintage oil painting is a nod to her era.

I suddenly realised that it resembles the work of the  Australian painter, Margaret Olley, famous for her still life and interior works and funnily enough her face, with so much character, also reminds me a little of my Nan, a parallel I hadn’t planned, prior to the shoot.

This blog post I’ll keep it in the memory bank forever as one of my favourites, thanks to the brilliant photographer Felix Forest  and his natural ability to capture the mood I envisaged. He brought “Nana’s Nest” to life and I thank him for that.

Remember it’s often the little things that make a shoot. A prop, a colour, a memory or the lighting. It’s the inspiration you feel as a stylist from this element that you weave into the narrative.

Farewell to a very special lady, my Nan xxx

Photographer – Felix Forest


Slab + Slub  navy patchwork throw as tablecloth, Small Spaces 

Paintbrush vase, Dedeceplus 

French wine glasses, The Country Trader 

Electric blue linen napkins, The Country Trader

Light blue linen napkins, Linum 

Watercolour wallpaper “Stripe blue Invert”, Emily Ziz



Plates, cutlery and small dishes sourced from prop hire companies, my prop cupboard, overseas travels and my son’s “nature” collection



Do you refill your tank by taking your shoes off and walking on grass or are you more often found recharging your batteries by the water?

As we know, people find energy in life from many different aspects – my husband feels an urgency to be near the water whereas I’m more inclined to be found on a long walk in a park.

“Watercolour” was inspired by my parents’ holiday house, known affectionately as ‘Poles’, situated north of Sydney. I spent some time up there recently on my own, sitting on the verandah where you can look out to the water. We call it ‘Paradise’!

The water looked so beautiful one afternoon I felt an urge to create a painting to try and capture the moment, however this is not where my talents lie! Instead I decided  to turn this inspiration into a shoot combining the two elements – water and painting and “Watercolour” was the result.

Reminiscent of a painter’s studio, a creative place , that is designed to be conducive to fun, to be childlike again and get messy.

I like that everything is a little raw (no ironing necessary!) in this story, imperfections that come from combining nature and art.


Photographer Amanda Prior


Society linen anthracite tablecloth, Ondene 

Charocal paper, Vanderos Imports 

Plates, Mud Australia 

HK Living marble board, Collector Store 

Mesh baskets, Exhibit Interiors 

Eames House Bird, Space Furniture 

Cupitol Cutlery, Mud Australia 

Large Balloon, Balloon Inflation 

Society linen anthracite napkins, Ondene

Black bowl, Country Road 

Grey charcoal bowl, Country Road

Lemon Squeezer, Country Road 

Copper antique light, Elements I love 


Remaining items from prop houses and my props cupboard




Squid Ink


 I love squid and pasta and I also like squid ink pasta but for some reason I always get scared to order it at restaurants in fear of the black teeth you often end up with.

A little like how I feel about this table setting. This isn’t a blog setting that has been shot to inspire for a dinner party unless you are a black lover or have a black theme but instead more as a fixed piece of art.

I was inspired by The Shop  – Die Remise  in Hamburg Germany. A lifestyle concept store that has been set up by a fashion stylist turned interior designer. It is quirky and has elements of surreal. In a way this setting shocks me but there is something in the cement-like look that intrigues me. A big play with light and shadow that I feel Amanda Prior has really resolved in this shoot. It was exactly how I had imagined it and I like the mix of the softer linen with the harshness of the paper. I like the texture of the wire Exhibit bowl and dried squid pasta back with the smooth lines of the ceramics and tarnished silvers adding layers to a flat image. The graduating tones in the vase and the way the light catches it and the addition of the Eames house bird gives something unreal a sense of real. I hope I haven’t gone too extreme and shocked but instead you are able to enjoy these images as much as I did creating them.

Photographer – Amanda Prior 


2 Meters of Green Velvet, Mokum Textiles

2 Marc Newson Tea Cups, Living Edge

1 Jam Jar, Space Furniture

1 Background panel, Woven Image Echo Panel

1 Large Jar with flowers, Murobond 

1 Large bunch of Christmas Bush, Madame Lampini 

1 Green Ceramic Cup & 1 Milk Jug Mint 

1 Zinc Tray, BHLDN 

Cutlery & Candlesticks and remaining crockery hired.


Christmas in July


Velvet – I jump from loving it to hating it. What always amazes me is the richness this fabric can create when it is used as a background in a shoot.

Christmas is a funny time for stylists as we have usually lived through the decorating process 3-4 months before. I’m not one to use lots of baubles and bows in my decorating so when I was thinking about this shoot I wanted to create Christmas my way, with just a hint, without all the predictable embellishments.

Breakfast on Christmas day is usually overlooked or at best very simple, usually involving champagne, and eaten standing up in the kitchen as the focus of most families is to prepare and celebrate lunch or dinner. Mine is a simple breakfast layout but the amazing bright red Christmas bush and the elegant vintage star makes it festive. The table, still set from dinner the night before, is transformed by these additions and your own choice of breakfast fare. Casual is always so appealing.

Photographer – Amanda Prior


2 Litres of Murobond Murowash in Blackberry

1  Paper Chandelier by Jo Neville, Paper Couture

1  Handmade stoneware asymmetrical bucket vase, Alison Fraser for Slab + Slub

6  Society linen napkins, Ondene

1  Ceramic jug, Hub Furniture

1  Handmade stoneware vessel, Alison Fraser for Slab + Slub from Small Spaces

1  Handwritten menu, Written by Hand

1  Jam jar, Quintessential Duck Egg Blue

6  Bowls, Planet

6  Midnight blue dinner plates by Christopher Plumridge, Planet

1  Soda siphon, Murobond

1  Hand stitched table runner, Alison Fraser for Slab +Slub from Small Spaces

6  Handmade tiles, Alison Fraser for Slab + Slub

6  Glasses , Shelley Panton

Floral by Forage by Lisa Mattock


Navy Berries


Mood can be created by many contributing elements. As someone that has such an affiliation with the visual I often feel that the setting is of most importance.

From the minute you walk in the door that setting or room has an effect on your mood whether you notice it or not. That is why I believe in creating spaces that make people feel good.

Colour plays a big part in this adventure and having never been given the opportunity to shoot a blue story and always hoping the brief would pop into my inbox I felt it was the darker blues that resonated with me. Perhaps that’s from my UK background and the love I felt for the winter hues. Would you live like this in sunny Sydney? I’m not sure, but sometimes I wish I had the courage to take a wander into this space for a day or two.

Alison Fraser from Slab + Slub is incredibly talented and someone I respect highly. Her handmade stoneware asymmetrical bucket vase and the midnight blue dinner plates by Christopher Plumridge from Planet add earthy texture to the table. The richness of the palette of the plates works as a stunning background to make the food stand out.

You don’t want to look like you’ve gone to too much trouble or you’ll never be invited back. Clever ideas that are simple like this handwritten menu (contact Glenda at writtenbyhand if you would like something customized) on some white cardboard and pinned or blue tacked to the wall or in this case a leftover timber panel is simple but elegant. A touch of floral from the Society napkins from Ondene and the stitched table runner add detail and create layers to the somewhat stark solid colours.

If you are feeling like a hands on project Jo Neville from Paper Couture holds classes for these magnificent Pajaki pendant lampshades. Pajaki – it is a Polish paper chandelier that was made to embrace the Harvest and brighten up the home after a long grey winter. They were made with straw and lots of coloured paper often using recycled giftwrap. Jo holds classes at her Paper Couture workshop. Go along, you never know what you’ll fall in love with.

Smoked Trout with Israeli couscous and herbs

200 grams smoked trout (I recommend Brilliant Food smoked Ocean Trout)
1 cup Israeli couscous cooked to packet instructions
Handful of cherry tomatoes cut in halves
1/3 cup parsley coarsely chopped
1/3 cup mint coarsely chopped
few sprigs of dill
Juice of half lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
Allow couscous to cool. Combine all salad ingredients and dress with lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper


Photographer – Amanda Prior

Ingredients from Planet

1 Table in Spotted Gum

6 Bowls, Christopher Plumridge

1 Vessel, Shannon Garson

6 Bowls, Kris Coad

6 Cups, Kris Coad

1 Oyster Spoon, Helen Earl

1 Light fixture, Kris Coad

1 Runner

1 Salt Dish

1 Sugar Bowl, Christopher Plumridge

1 Tall bottle, Kris Coad

1 Vase, Shannon Garson

2 Vases, Liz Stops

Remaining Ingredients

6 Wine glasses, Stylists own (spray


6 Place settings of Cutlery, Ikea (spray


6 Napkins, made from Linen from Ikea

1 White cotton fabric runner from

Spotlight (on table)

1 Plate, The Real Store

6 Plates, LH Objects

1 Bowl, LH Objects

1 Bowl, Shelley Panton

1 Small dish (with feather), Kim Wallace


White Beans


What is it that captivates me about a styled white shot?
White on white but layered with texture.
Is it the light? Is it the focus point?
Perhaps it has something to do with the romance of the shots. Or is it the simplicity and purity that white portrays?

Today I was lucky enough to be invited by Ross Longmuir to shoot in the beautiful studio in the front area of his Surry Hills concept store Planet. Ross has always been one of my most respected furniture designers and I love his use of sustainably grown spotted gum. His incredible eye and support of local artisans has always put him at the forefront of the interior retail world. His balance of textures, interest in Indian textiles and organic forms marries so well with my styling. When I was style editor for Inside Out magazine. Planet was always a port of call on my sourcing days.

I wanted to work with Ross’s wonderful whites and bring in some other talented ceramicists to complement items like Kris Coad, LH Objects and Kim Wallace Ceramics.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with the lovely photographer Sam McAdam whose passion and experience has made these shots come to life. It’s always a treat working with people that understand the outcome and are on the same page visually. Thank you Sam.

Lara Hutton from LH Objects has been a mentor since the start of my career and has always felt like another sister to me. I have her to thank for supporting me in the early days and having faith in my ability as a stylist.

Combining the irregular forms of the ceramics with the crisp white linens that are crinkled rather than starched combined with the elements of nature, the twig in the vase and leaf ceramic by Shannon Garson add the sense of real to the image giving it some depth and life.



Photographer – Sam McAdam


4 Marc Newson Plates, Living Edge

1 Bread Board, Murobond

Cutlery, Hunt & Seek

1 Embroidered Canvas Tablecloth Murobond

2 Meters of Calico, Spotlight

1 White Vase, Space Furniture

2 Meters of VD Luxe in Platinum Velvet Fabric, Westbury Textiles

1 floral sideplate, BHLDN

1 Mesh Bottle,  Emma Davies

Floral, Madame Lampini

Remaining Ingredients

Remaining ingredients hired but could be sourced from antique shops. I recommend a visit to Mitchell Road Antiques

Still Life


Food has always played an important role in our family. I’m the third of three daughters and instead of watching television after we completed our homework (that one is for you Dad!) we would sit around the kitchen bench whilst our mother chopped, stirred, tested and adapted our meals and we would dissect each recipe.  Consequently this love is part of my family’s make-up and as we have grown older and had families of our own we are constantly discussing different restaurants, recipes and menu ideas for entertaining.

I based this story around a generic white crockery set that most people have in their cupboards. I’ve layered the plates with a mix of smaller side plates with different vintage and modern decorative plates. Calico is a great affordable decorating tool and can be bought in Spotlight by the roll so I always have some on hand for wrapping, draping or napkins. Amanda Prior’s photographs have made this story so elegant and it’s one of my personal favourites. I’ve been working with her for many years and her love of her work shows through in her images.

Things can happened by accident or evolve on the shoot day. I often see beauty in random items like the packaging that came out of the box from the Marc Newson plates. It’s packing cardboard and I felt this framed my shot and gave it an element of authenticity.

I have always loved minimalist still life paintings of food and objects so I was very excited when this story unfolded as the addition of a few quirky elements make it look more like a painting. The calico acts as a blank canvas and with the draping of the background fabric, the mixing of materials and the velvet adding a touch of elegance a still life image is produced.

My “hero” find was the Emma Davies blue wire bottle that I picked up at the The Design Files Open House in Sydney. Just one standout piece can make a table work.



Photographer – Amanda Prior


Background, ici et la

Branch from Forage by Lisa Mattock


From left to right

1 Chair, Thonet

1 Bowl, Shelley Panton

1 Original Bottle (tall), ici et la

3 Small medicine bottles (brown), ici et la

4 Plates, Shelley Panton

3 Wine glass Olive, Koskela

1 Linen fabric as runner from Ikea

Scatter of Leaves, Pulp Creative Paper

1 Small medicine bottle (clear) ici et la

1 Wine glass clear, Koskela

4 Cutlery sets, The Country Trader

4 Place card with herb voile , Pulp Creative Paper

1 Clear carafe, Koskela

1 Olive carafe, Koskela

Remaining Ingredients

Other items not credited are part of my prop cupboard much to my husband’s disapproval!

Magical Garden


Today I thought I should write a few notes on my recipe “methods” – especially because the aim of this blog is to inform as well as be a source of ideas, or even just a space for beautiful images. I understand that some of these “ingredients” might be hard to source for those outside Australia but always try and work with what you have and just use some of the concepts.

My “settings” are usually based on 4-6 people but please adjust quantities according to number of guests!

The idea for this blog came about as I drove past the window of one of my favourite florists, Dragonfloral Designs, who have recently closed and set up a freelance floristry and food styling business called Forage by Lisa Mattock (instagram – foragebylisamattock), and I noticed a rustic branch in their window. It immediately jumped out at me so I built the story around this “hero”. It was organic in feel but had a magical garden effect on me.

I began the journey by brainstorming ideas, writing lists and just plain dreaming so I thought I would share with you the process of my story building.

This is the list of key words I wrote in my notebook after seeing the branch…..

Ambers, greens, browns, greys, zinc, garden, herbs, healthy living, theatrical, enchanted, forgotten garden, earth to table, raw, textured, painting effect.

Here are some points to consider…..some thoughts I had

  • Start with the background and horizontal surface as this is the basis of the story. This is similar to how I approach an interior design of a space.
  •  My immediate response to the branch was to create a background like a theatre or stage set to mimic the experience of being in a garden.
  • Zinc surfaced table was a good starting point but I would need to add washed linens to loosen up the harder shapes and soften the table.
  • What idea can the reader take from this image? I call this a ‘take home concept’. Like a lolly bag at a party, it gives a shot value – ideas around plants, flowers, herbs, bringing the outside inside, place card ideas.
  • Glassware – chunky, earthy.
  • What will the central “Ingredient” be?
  • How to elevate the branch from a bunch of sticks to something of beauty? ……add fresh flowers?


You need to make sure your choice of items do not face a direction that makes the viewer’s eye leave the shot and that the “ingredients” can be seen and aren’t blocking each other in a distracting way.



Photographer – Amanda Prior

Design by Rebecca Buttrose + Development by Brandi Bernoskie