“I get Vogue, House & Garden, World of Interiors and Homes & Gardens every month. I’m a magazine fiend but it’s my ritual and I love them!” Poppy Sturley on her favourite lockdown reads
If it’s a tapestry of rich, romantic botanicals that you seek, florist Poppy Sturley’s ethereal touch and innate sense of colour and aesthetics will instantly appeal to all of the senses. Lovingly referring to her “distinctive floral recipes” (which is a turn of phrase I love), Poppy notes that she is forever inspired by “our English garden”, crafting and curating blooms into timeless arrangements that will easily steal many a bride’s heart. Celebrated for her luxury creations – each as classic as the one before – Poppy is recognised for her enchanting bouquets with trailing silk ribbons, sprawling installations that wind themselves through multiple rooms, and inventive floral concepts that have seen the likes of Jo Malone London, British Vogue, GQ, House & Garden and Flannels commissioning her work. I caught up with Poppy to get the low-down on her lockdown…
#1 Provide us with three words that sum-up how you were feeling about lockdown when it first started, and then three words about how you feel now:
Before: “Tense, intrigued and accepting.”
After: “Grateful, open-minded and inspired.”
#2 What time do you get up? Did this change in lockdown? Was life a little slower? Talk to us about your usual daily routine and how this was changed by lockdown…
“My days are never the same. Before lockdown, I would get up at 6ish, I’m an early riser. I always start with a cup of tea made by my husband (thank you husband) and then I’d get ready and pack up my basket and head into Holborn where I’d usually work three days a week. My sisters’ offices are there and I like to be close by so I can meet them for lunch. On flower days, things are a little different. I’d start a lot earlier, usually around 5am, still with tea and perhaps a slice of Sherston toast, put my favourite playlist on (quietly of course) and start arranging.
Lockdown is definitely slower. We’ve been staying at my family home in the countryside, mornings start at 7:30ish (sometimes a little earlier). As a lot of my work is event based, most has been postponed so I’ve really used this time to do all the things I wished I could have done and didn’t have the time to do. It’s been a very creative four months, lots of flower arranging, painting, cooking, designing, walking and spending time with my family who I adore. It’s been a real treat!”
#3 How did lockdown impact your business, and how can people (brides/the wedding industry) support you now?
“My diary this year was full to the brim, I was really looking forward to a very busy season but alas, everything is now postponed to 2021. It wasn’t exactly great news but I feel very grateful to all our wonderful brides for postponing and not canceling. Next year is definitely going to be a celebration!”
#4 Name three local businesses/small Instagram businesses you are supporting or would like to support more…
No.1 “@bettysimshilditch – an exceptionally talented friend who we spent lots of (socially-distanced) time with during lockdown. She equally escaped London with her fiancé Boris to our village for lockdown. Betty is a set decorator but spent lockdown creating the most beautiful paintings which she’s selling through her website.”
No.2 “@namstore_bath – a beautifully curated shop of Parisian ceramics, decorative antiques and delicious candles. A real favourite of mine and a completely inspiring place you won’t regret visiting!”
No.3 “@jikonilondon – an Asian restaurant I’m dying to try in London. I’ve just discovered Ravinder Bhogal and just bought her brand new cookbook which will have to tide us over until we book into her beautiful restaurant. Hopefully very soon…”
#5 What is/what was your favourite isolation snack?
“Smarties from the farm shop (extra crunchy).”
#6 Before lockdown eased slightly, what was your most recommended quarantine pick-me-up when you were feeling down?
“Honestly when I felt like I was kicking my heels around, I threw myself into something creative, whether it was inventing a new recipe or filming a flower video it always made me feel inspired again. If you’re in need of a recommendation though, Negroni’s and olives or Cremant always lifts spirits!”
#7 What’s the item you could NEVER find in the supermarket (and consequently dreamt continuously about) during lockdown…
“When we were in London at the very beginning, dried pasta! Luckily when we moved out to the country, they didn’t seem to have the shortages that they had in London so we didn’t struggle too much.”
#8 What’s the strangest thing that’s happened during your lockdown period…
“Well I didn’t think Alex (the husband) and I would be living with my family during our first year of marriage. I guess that was a little strange but lovely all the same!”
#9 Favourite app for keeping in touch digitally with friends and family?
#10 Name your lockdown hate:
“The news and the daily heartbreaking stories. We’ve been so very fortunate and I feel so sad for the families that have had to deal with such difficulty and distress.”
#11 Name your lockdown love:
“My husband, my wonderfully mad family and our silly dog, watching the seasons change, sitting around the table together for long lunches, country walks and foraging from the lanes, lazy mornings, breakfast, reading magazines, chatting at the gate with friends, the sense of community, cooking new recipes and feeling inspired. But most of all, having the time, space and freedom for all these things!”
#12 The person(s) you will hug first when social distancing is no longer in place?
“All our grandparents! I feel they’ll need one most of all.”
#13 An act of kindness towards you that you’ve really appreciated during lockdown?
“One of my brides (@onepartlovebakery) sent me the most delicious home-made brownies to say a little thank you for helping her with the postponements. My family and I devoured the lot and then my sisters ordered them for all their friends too!”
#14 Talk to us about what’s new at your brand?
“This time has meant that things have evolved so naturally. I began lockdown just making things once a week, to keep my eye in and to make me feel inspired. As time went on I started posting recipes and updates of our lockdown experience on my blog but I also started making little flower tutorials on my IGTV and people seem to enjoy them! It’s definitely opened up new doors too, although I can’t say too much yet…”
#15 Name three things the lockdown has made you grateful for:
No.1 “Time – with family, to feel inspired, to make, to slow down and reconnect.”
No.2 “Perspective – being given the opportunity to refresh and realise what’s truly important.”
No.3 “Key Workers – some are family and friends, some are strangers but I’m eternally grateful to them all for all their hard work, resilience and strength.”
#16 Which restaurant will you dine at first once restrictions are lifted?
“I’ve been making a list since we locked down, there’s too many to choose from so here’s just a few from my list…
#17 What series have you now completed on Netflix? Any recommendations?
“Little Fires Everywhere – think this is Amazon but really so good!
On Netflix – The Durrells, I’ve already watched it a hundred times but it just brings me so much joy and it’s great for a little escapism.
One of my sisters works in film and set up a little cinema in our sitting room during lockdown. We watched Emma and Little Women which were both very beautiful too.”
#18 What would be on your quarantine book list?
All cookbooks I know sorry!!
Also not books but I get Vogue, House & Garden, World of Interiors and Homes & Gardens every month. I’m a magazine fiend but it’s my ritual and I love them!”
#19 For a little Instagram-escapism, what three accounts would you recommend?
No.1 @pollyfern – I just love her work! It’s colourful and decorative but in such a classy way!”
No.2 “@carole.poirot – her beautiful, French-inspired kitchen and recipes are to die for!”
No.3 “@yolandaedwards – for real, true escapism, Yolanda’s been taking us on much needed, virtual city breaks through Europe. Such a lovely idea!”
#20 Name three things you bought online during lockdown.
No.1 “A beautiful Kooples dress.”
No.2 “Wrapping paper and a piñata (we had a lot of lockdown birthdays).”
No.3 “My favourite Italian face cream I can’t live without.”
#21 What was your ‘lockdown’ outfit most days?
“I actually dress up most days, wear makeup and put jewellery on. I really feel that even if you’re just around the house, it makes you feel so good to dress well. Occasionally I’d have more relaxed days but I always wear perfume. It’s just something my mum does and passed down I suppose.”
#22 And, finally, your quarantine cocktail/tipple of choice?
“Negroni or red wine.”
Want to discover more about Poppy Sturley and her floral creations? Click here.