LIVING NORTH LONDON: Wreath Making Workshop

Written by: Sophie Taylor

What exactly is a wreath when it’s at home? Well, some believe that initially wreaths were hung on doors in Ancient Rome to represent victory. In Christianity, the Christmas wreath was used to symbolise Christ. The circular shape, with no beginning or end, represents eternity or life never ending. They also look mighty fine chilling on your front door. Particularly if they’re handmade.

From the Yorkshire Dales to the allotments of Wood Green, florist expert Helena Willcocks showed us how to make our own unique festive wreath. I made mine on the tail end of an unrelenting double hangover, but under the expert guidance of the Allotment Florist it didn’t look as remotely tired and twisted as my insides.

We had plans to scrap it out in a mini competition between writer, creative director and creative director’s Mum. But the afternoon of lavender fumes and therapeutic craft quelled our competitive streaks to be replaced with mutual admiration and respect for one another’s foliage rings. Ooh er.

Our hunger for pastry could not be quashed however, particularly as Helena’s homemade filo mince pies wafted past our noses. With mossy hands we swiped a couple over the table of thistles, berries and wire cutters. Yep, her baking skills are as adept as her green fingers. The Christmassy spirit and act of wrapping earth around some wire managed to thwart my gin soaked headache for the rest of the evening. No mean feat- kudos to you Helena.

Having studied floristry and gaining lots of industry experience, Helena is now queen of her own allotment in Wood Green and entirely au fait with hosting foliage based workshops. But once upon a time the green fingered goddess was a Shakespearean actor no less, making her a natural born performer and teacher. The whole process is a warm and generous piece of Christmas cake. Read on for her step by step instructions to make your own circular masterpiece at home.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Materials you will need:

– wire frame

– sphagnum moss

– strong scissors

– reel wire

– German pins

– foliage – pine, eucalyptus etc.

– decorations – cones, berries etc.

Step 1

Take the wire frame and attach the reel wire to the outside by wrapping it around a few times, so that it’s nice and secure.

Step 2

Take a good handful of moss, and make it into a loose sausage shape. Then lay it on the frame, and wrap your wire round as tightly as you can to secure the moss. Continue around the whole frame until it feels nice and thick.

Step 3

Cut your foliage into small manageable bunches (depending on how wild you want your wreath to be) then lay it on the moss base in the direction you would like it to go. All your bunches should face the same way to create that lovely wreath effect. Attach your foliage in the same way by wrapping the reel wire tightly around each bunch. Repeat this process until you have a lovely full wreath. Just tuck the end of the wire back into the wreath.

Step 4

Now the fun part! Decide how you want your wreath to look, and choose your decorations. Attach each one with a piece of reel wire or a German pin. When using the reel wire, thread it round the decoration, and attach it securely by tying the wire together at the back.

The German pins are great for things like orange slices. Just thread it through, and push it right down into the moss base. Continue until you are happy with your creation. You will then have with your very own beautiful Christmas wreath!

Have a look at our creations and judge for yourself who wins the prickly crown. Not sure if mine was pretty enough to be stolen from my own door like Helena’s was one fateful day. I mean, who does that? Make your own for goodness sake, like us. Bah humbug!

Fancy trying your hand at making your own with some expert one-on-one guidance? Book a workshop with Helena!

Upcoming date: December 11th – 1:30 pm- 3:30 pm 

At: Pretty Shiny Shop, 67 Stroud Green Road, Finsbury Park, N4 3EG

Cost: £55 inclusive of all materials.

www.theallotmentflorist.com

You can also check out Helena’s work IRL as she was also commissioned by Davies & Davies Estate Agents to create 12 metres (that’s a lot of metres) worth of Christmas garland by hand for their lovely Grade II listed shopfront on the Stroud Green Road. The garland was made using natural materials such as pine, wood and dried fruits.

We’ve included some pretty photos but we recommend peering into the windows yourself. Or the more brave of you can walk into the shop to have a good old stare, we’ve been reassured that these particular estate agents do not bite and they promise not to blind you with their shiny suits.

Photos by Claire Holly Davies and Mike Barry.

North Four, North London magazine, kings cross remix, good times, london clubbing, theatre, play, review, night life
Culture

Theatre of Changing Spaces: Kings Cross in the '80s

“Only last night I found myself lost / by the station called King's Cross. / Dead and wounded on either side / you know it's only a matter of time.” [Pet Shop Boys - Kings Cross] It’s the night after the play and I’m standing at the bar of ‘The Big Chill House’ on Pentonville Road in Kings Cross. It’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ (#TBT) and happy hour is definitely over.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, laura bird, ceramics, pottery, glaze, figures, planters, candles, artist
Culture

Local Creatives: Laura Bird Ceramics

Ceramics with charisma. Local pottery genius, Laura Bird has of course graced the digital pages of It’s Nice That, sold out in Anthropologie* and taken her seat at many a London ceramics stall since just recently starting her career in ceramics. It’s no surprise she is well loved: her unique and gentle humour exudes from every jar, planter and candlestick holder, adorned with cheeky expressions and impish grins.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, walnut cafe and dining, restaurant, cuisine, launch, stroud green, finsbury park
Eat & Drink

Fresh Comfort Food: Walnut Cafe and Dining

Having worked in hospitality with a keen artist’s eye, the Arts Building knew Emma was perfect to take over the space. They were after a morning to night eatery for the neighbourhood, one for local residents and workers alike. Knowing the street’s reputation as a bit of a foodie strip, the menu had to be up to scratch for it’s discerning super-taster of a community. Yes, we’re a hungry bunch in Stroud Green.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, supper club, twin peaks, cuisine, dining, olivia potts, kate young, food writers, chefs, twin peaks, agent cooper
Events

Twin Peaks Supper Club, North London

At the time of writing this the menu has just been released for Food by Feast’s new supper club. I imagine, however, that by the time you read this every dining space will be swiftly filled. If you aren’t acquainted with the duo yet (tsk), they’re the genius collaboration of Cordon Bleu chef and food writer Olivia Potts and Guardian food writer and cook, Kate Young. Having successfully completed the likes of a Gilmore Girls supper club to rapturous applause and smacking lips recently, the latest menu experience is Twin Peaks inspired and looks equally witty and delectable.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, sound bath, gong bath experience, healing, stoke newington, event, meditation,
Lifestyle

Get Your Shaman On: Gong Bath in Stokey

Sound healing in Stoke Newington. This Thursday 18th May, The Mystery School of Sound are running a de-stress gong bath experience in Stoke Newington Ramadan Mosque. Alongside guided meditation, healing process and gong performace, you’ll get a mini intro to healing traditions of the druids and hermetic teaching.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, cannes film festival, the artist, screening, film, the rose and crown, pub, Patron pop up cinema
Culture

Pop Up Cinema: Celebrate Cannes in Kentish Town

Patron Cave a Manger’s pop up cinema are shacking up at The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town to screen The Artist. Soak up the atmoshpere of the Festival du Cannes with swanky popcorn and elegant cocktails. Get red carpet ready for this special screening of The Artist - the ridiculously popular award winning silent French film that everyone fell in love with.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, arancini brothers, risotto balls, street food, pop up, food stall, stoke newington food market, church street, wrap
Events

Stokey Food Market: Fundraising for the Community

Unfortunately rising rents are affecting community spaces in Stoke Newington and their availability. St Mary’s Centre currently provides a space for projects including the Foodbank, Hackney Migrants centre and the Night Shelter but they're at risk of losing their space. To help raise funds to redevelop the space and increase awareness, they are organising a weekend food market in Stokey. The pop-up food market is a launch event for their huge fundraising drive to rebuild the community rooms attached to St Mary's Church in Stoke Newington.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, kate oates, yoga, instagram, chocolate mousse, raspberry, healthy, recipe, avocado, cacao
Eat & Drink

Eating North London: Healthy Chocolate Breakfast with Kate Oates

Healthy chocolate mousse and sexing up your smoothie with Kate Oates. We have found ourselves a yoga guru in Kate Oates, a healthtastic yogi based in Crouch End. When we met her last year she hinted at a few of her own culinary creations and boy were we intrigued. Asking for an exclusive recipe for you health conscious readers, we received a taste sensation of an idea for chocolate breakfast.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, single cylinders, speed dating, bolt motorbike shop, alternative dating
Lifestyle

Alternative Speed Dating with Single Cylinders

“All My Single Cylinders, All My Single Cylinders”. Two girls, sick to the back teeth of Tindering and Bumbling about the bars of London, decided to create their own speed dating night. Involved in the biker community of East London they have created a special series of nights combining live music, motorbikes and speed dates. Bolt Motorbike Shop of Stoke Newington is their latest venue, providing a more intriguing backdrop for your date night and quashing the usual awkwardness of sparse, brightly lit speed dating scenarios. You can admire the motors, enjoy your free drinks and listen to some live music with some top notch handpicked company.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, proper piirakka, Karelian pasties, pies, pop up, cuisine, finland, Aapo Nieminen
Eat & Drink

Pop Up Proper Piirakka in Finsbury Park

In case you’ve never had a piirakka, (also known as Karelian pasties, pies or pirogs) they’re a delicious Finnish treat that you need to try immediately. Whether savoury or sweet, they’re basically a light pastie made with rye flour and a pretty unique variety of filling options. Meet Aapo Nieminen, a native Finnish local who grew up with piirakka. After getting tired of asking friends and family to bring him these naughty little pasties whenever they visited he came up with a plan. “They are an important part of everyday finish life. One day I thought why not just make them yourself?”

Read More...
Lifestyle

North London Bike Tour: Giro d'North Four

The lycra is optional. Coffee however, isn't. On Friday 197 cyclists descended on Sardinia to compete in the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia. For those of you that don't have wardrobes filled with lycra you might never of heard of it but Think Tour d'France but in Italy. Still drawing a blank?

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, cookie dough, cafe, naked dough, old street
Eat & Drink

Millenial Munchers Heaven: Cookie Dough Cafe

Naked Dough have appeared like a pair of beautiful fairy godmothers to lead me to an actual edible cookie dough dance party. Plus they didn’t even tell me what I should wear, they genuinely don’t care. Naked Dough is a new restaurant serving edible cookie dough from tubs, cones and even carry home pots. The ingredients are raw egg free and the flour is heat-treated so you need not worry-like-Edwina-Currie about salmonella and stomach bloat (unless you’re gluten free of course. In which case I’m sorry you’ve stumbled upon this torture page of an article).

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, mint vintage, denim, jeans, launch, party, stoke newington
Events

MINT Vintage, The Denim Edition

Ten years ago MINT Vintage first opened in Covent Garden before moving on to the more creative surrounds of Stoke Newington, pioneering fashion forward vintage. Every piece is hand selected and sourced from all over the world, ensuring every garment is trend driven but timeless and always unique. This May they’ve decided to transform their world in to an “oops we were trying to make corduroy and came up with denim” dreamland*.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, kayaking, secret adventures, canals, canoe, oars, hackney wick
Lifestyle

Carry On Up the Canal with Secret Adventures

Finding myself wandering around Limehouse Basin craving a pint and perhaps even a slice of pizza, I needed to get home to my local Crate Brewery sharpish (they do the freshest craft beers and have award winning pizzas). But how to get there? Stumbling in to Limehouse Station and towards a huge sign saying CLOSED, I consider walking there instead. A short meander riverwards, I reach the canal and begin to notice a group of people donning chunky waistcoats stretching their arms around. I pause for a second, swaying slightly on the spot, watching this mesmerising circle of humans yielding huge double ended spoons.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, psych, music, gig, nambucca, sike!, Dazy Crown
Culture

‘Not another psych night’ at Nambucca

"Ooh they’re doing a psych night at Moth Club Tina!” "What, again?” It’s a familiar sentence. Fast becoming a buzzword for young musos and Beyond Retro dwellers alike, psych music is no longer just for the suede fringed waistcoat wearing Acid Jazz lovers who curse their parents they weren’t born in 1966. No no. The psych music spectrum has spread it’s bendy wings and shaken off it’s lava lamp skin to embrace a whole host of musical genres. From William Burroughs to Pet Sounds to Thee Oh Sees, the genre’s had a birth, decline and resurgence. Nambucca in Finsbury Park are totally capitalising on this revival with their new monthly night, SIKE! This Thursday 11th May, they’re bringing four different acts who are all covering different elements of the psych scene.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, the good egg, stoke newington, beer and bagels, restaurant, menu
Events

Beer and Bagels at The Good Egg, Stokey

Back in 2014 The Good Egg was hatched, mixing Californian sunshine with Tel Aviv traditions to bring one heck of a menu to Stoke Newington. Food critics, instagrammers and swathes of Stokey baby holders flocked to it’s doors to get stuck in to the Jerusalem breakfast, merguez sausage and indeed eggs washed down with spicy brunch cocktails.

Read More...