Summer is upon us! Or at least at times it seems that way – and the first part of the series on dressing for everyone’s favourite season is inspired by Monsoon’s Garden Party. As the host of my first summer event of the season, I’ll be sharing how to do an editorial look at a garden party with a piece from their occasionwear collection. I’ve also added a non-alcohol cocktail recipe to serve at your own event or gift to your host, especially if you happen to accidentally-on-purpose outdo them in the wardrobe department. It comes naturally to some people, we can’t help it.
Monsoon’s new season collection was the inspiration for their party: floral, feminine and elevated. We all know that it’s important to stay on theme but for those of us who are a little more creative and hate to be predictable, here’s a personal tip for you: Pairing contrasting accessories and makeup with your outfit lifts your look from basic to a little more editorial. Keep one tone as neutral as possible and go crazy with the other. You can always ensure you’re not overdoing it by keeping the colour palette as tight as possible.
I know that yellow can be slightly bold for some ladies but this muted lemon tone is so on trend and when has pastel ever offended the eyes? My favourite features of this number are the high neckline that ruches ever so slightly, lending a Victoriana vibe. The lace at the bottom is layered and asymmetric, I’m all about the hemline which is so ladylike yet modern. It’s perfect for the girl who likes the look of ruffles but doesn’t want to commit to the full thing.
Once I overheard a girl on the tube insist that she’s never seen flats paired with a going-out dress that looked better than if it were with heels. She’s obviously never met my velvet slip-ons. And I’d never recommend heels for a summer party, let alone a garden one. I mean, do you really want to be stabbing the lawn all day?
If you’re a stubborn Londoner that only ventures to a select few neighbourhoods, Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is a sure way to lure you out of your comfort zone. With stone statues scattered around an open courtyard, trees, exotic varieties of tulips and antique mirrors at every corner, it’s more of a wonderland than a garden centre. We were hosted in one of the three greenhouses, a warm and brightly lit space where an illustrator was customising Monsoon’s sell-out straw bags (a total must have and worthy investment!).
Seedlip, the non-alcoholic spirit makers were creating signature cocktails and gave us a masterclass where we learnt to make a shrub. Our rendition of the vinegar-based flavoured syrup uses four simple main ingredients: raspberries, apple cider vinegar, pink peppercorns and sugar.
Raspberry and pink peppercorn shrub recipe
500ml mason jar or larger container
Muddler (like a pestle and mortar)
300g of Sugar
150g of Fresh Raspberries
2 Table Spoons of Pink Peppercorns
100ml of Apple Cider Vinegar
50ml of Hot Water
In a large glass bowl add raspberries and pink peppercorns. Muddle until raspberries have been broken down.
Add sugar to the mixture and stir, insuring all ingredients have been mixed well together.
Use hand blender to give a quick pulse to the mixture to insure that the peppercorns and raspberries are broken down into fine pieces.
Add vinegar and hot water and give one final stir.
Take 500ml mason jar and place fine strainer over top to pour the mixture from the glass bowl to the jar.
Use the muddler to push through the mixture.
Build in a large wine glass or highball glass of your choice, add ice and top with Rose Lemonade.
Seal and store in the fridge for up to one month. Makes approximately 400ml.