Posts in Interiors
5 Eye-Catching Black + White Party Ideas

Hello friends, I had a most lovely book party in Hannover before Christmas when I launched (or in German, the book is called ) in the city where I live with my friends and family whom I love so much. A bonus was that my little boy Aidan Benjamin, who turns 3 tomorrow, was there with me watching mama talk about my book and showing how to create a beautiful party scene using only black and white. There I am below with my little one looking on...

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I love my son so much and to be "working" with him like this and to have him share in the festivities of my book party gave me no greater joy - in fact, this was such a special time for me to have him there. When I was styling the black and white gift giving party in my book, he was running around the room with me and Holly Marder (the photographer) along with Pamuk and Tinna, and he was so much younger! That was back in September 2014 when he was 19 months old. In this photo above he is already out of the toddler years and is a genuine little boy. The thing is, as he grows and works alongside of me as I produce my books and then, do book parties, I observe his growth and his maturity, how he went from not talking on the photoshoot to now, never being quiet and speaking in two languages fluently!

I've launched 4 books and have been to over 40 locations in North America and Europe since my first book came out years back... But never with him until now. He loved the cake pops and enjoyed meeting everyone and in the end, he did great being in a shop with nearly 100% ceramics and glass -he didn't break a single thing. Good boy! I was so proud and I'm happy I got to finally have a book party in Hannover with him with me -  this is something I'll never, ever forget.

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I was so honored to take Decorate For a Party to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Zurich, and even the imm in Cologne where it was proudly on display in my stand. And Leslie launched the book in Victoria, British Columbia. This weekend, I'll bring the book to Frankfurt to share at the Ambiente Fair in a video that they'll put on their Facebook page. Book #4 gave me some great adventures and now I'm finalizing the concept for book 5, which I will write as the sole author, and it will release end of 2018 or Spring 2019. It's going to be something very different from what you'd imagine and I'm breaking the "Decorate" series now so no more "Decorate..." books for the time being. I have decided to take a risk and try something very new. Let's see what you will think!

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taking a photo for Instagram

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I'm very happy here to receive flowers styled by local florist .

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Now I'll give you 5 black and white party styling ideas, particularly for the winter months (like RIGHT NOW!). Ready for some tips?

  1. PATTERN MIX. Black and white can go super clinical or super minimalist and modern - not so much playful or fun, right? But if you mix and match patterns you can definitely insert the fun factor. I've chosen linens and ceramics from and made hostess gift boxes for each plate which double as a place card since everyone has their name on a box. The boxes were simple white boxes but I used black washi tape to create a "ribbon" and black dot stickers from the stationery aisle in the local drug store to add a pattern.
  2. NO TABLECLOTH. I like the way a table can look without a table cloth, especially if you have a beautiful wood or simple white table. For a black and white party, especially if you have a white table, use a patterned runner to warm up the table with fabric and leave the rest bare for a more modern Scandinavian look.
  3. CHINESE TAKE AWAY BOXES. I love these boxes, you can get them everywhere it seems lately and the solid white without any writing are the ones I go for. I like to fill them with nuts, candy and crackers. You can embellish with black washi tape or just leave them plain.
  4. SPRIGS OF GREEN. Every black and white party needs a natural element to warm it up. Because it's from nature, the color of it doesn't disrupt the flow of your monochromatic scheme. Add sprigs of pine to clear glasses vases (or in this case Finnish champagne glasses) or add other greens like Eucalyptus or potted plants. The key is to use only one type of green down the table center so that it creates interest without becoming a focal point or cheap looking.
  5. NO PLACEMATS. I like placemats but honestly, it's refreshing to drop them every once in awhile. Use large patterned napkins or solid black to give your plate something to rest against until guests take their seats.
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Here I am receiving so much warmth and love from my dear friend .

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I had to create a place setting for my little boy!

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I made Finnish himmeli and hung them in the shop window using birch-patterned straws. The DIY project is in the book!

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Thank you to beautiful Eghlima Kiaei from for your bright and energetic spirit and your delicious cakes and cake pops - we love what you do and appreciate so much all you did to make this party so nice for us! Also many, many thanks to Hannover-based Photographer for these lovely photographs and your happy nature and big smile. With special thanks to Imke Isermann at for allowing us to use this beautiful space for the afternoon. Finally, thank you to our German publishers, Random House/DVA, for giving to German-speaking Europe!

Oh and of course, thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us (Anke, Gabi, Kerstin, Esra, Annette, Claudia, Kristina, Sean, Guru, Dietlind, Gundi, Anna, Sonja, Mary, Tinna, Sara, Emma, Jan + Wiebke, Berit + Heiko) and so many others for making this event so meaningful to me.

Love,

Holly

18 Interiors Trends for 2017 "Fashion Comes Home"

I have great things to share with you now that I'm back from the and after spending two very full weekends there. I worked with a film crew to do videos for the fair which has become my new favorite thing to do! But of course, my focus was my booth and in presenting a cattledogs styled space to visitors and to tell them about me and what it is that I do. I feel in many ways, I accomplished this but so many things I would change but now I know for next time so even though the stand was a success and the fair had 150,000 visitors, I have learned so much from this experience and can't wait to work on my next fair stand.

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If you want to see before and after photos, . Are you ready to see what I saw at the fair and to do some trend spotting with me?  Here's my list of 18 interiors trends for interiors that I spotted. If I had to summarize the direction of interiors in Europe at the moment I would simple say, "Fashion Comes Home". I really see fashion making its way into the home sector with the revival of individualism, texture, fabric and luxe materials and patterns.

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1. Antique-effect mirrors that are not Shabby Chic, but very moody and dramatic. and come to mind.

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2. Grouping pendant lights instead of hanging just one. Grouping definitely creates a mood as well as impact. The lighting above shown was in the stand of .

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3. Velvet seating is experiencing a big comeback. I saw examples of this all over the fair, sometimes using just a chair as an accent, other times an entire room. The purple seating above was in the stand of .

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4. Curtains. I saw lots of stands using lengths of fabric as room dividers to mimic curtains. Semi-sheers and some very lightweight that almost looked like netting. Others more dramatic and bold in lush materials. There is a huge revival in fabrics for interiors at the moment. Example above as shown in stand and .

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5. Painted walls. White is definitely not trending right now on walls here in Europe. Walls need to be in color - and mostly bold moody tones. Examples above as seen at and stands.

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6. Multi-colored walls. Individualize your home. This stood out to me the more I browsed the fair. One way was repeated throughout the fair and it was through color. One color on the walls in an entire room feels dated to me after visiting the imm. The new goal is to use different colors on your walls or paint the walls in unique ways with more than one color (such as 3/4 of the way up, one color, and the top, another). Being playful but still maintaining a sophisticated vibe.

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7. Luxe materials and texture. Marble and colored glass are definitely on trend. Velvet, leather, linen, crystal, wool, anything that makes you want to touch it. Example above from .

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8. Colored surfaces. White and wood are classics, but companies are asking us to live a little. Buy a dining room table with a navy blue top or a kitchen unit in pale blue. Or maybe an emerald green side table? A coffee table in pale yellow? Try to break away from the classics at the moment and be more open to mi color into your foundation pieces, not just your accents.

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9. Colored frames. Or mix the frame colors. offers this with their new  and I love it.

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10. Layering rugs. This is popular too. Lay down a rug and add another rug on top, and maybe another trailing off, and create a patchwork of rugs if you like. It's also a practical solution if your table is larger than your rug. Just add more rugs.

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11. Pastels with black. Grounding pastels with black is very important and I saw lots of examples of this - black seems to bring pastels into the adult zone and out of the teen zone. Also, mi in red or bright orange. Great example of this was spotted in the stand.

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12. Bold lighting. Lighting that makes an impact is very important right now. Nothing above your table should be boring! I saw examples of this over and over again. Lights that make you stop and stare. Go for those. Same for floor and tabletop lights. The sky is the limited!

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13. Kitchens that bring chef's technology to your home. I saw so many examples of this with integrated stovetop ventilation, vacuum-pack drawers in ovens, appliances that use voice command, coffee makers with wifi, black stainless steel, mobile kitchens, rethinking your refrigerator (built in under counters or in the wall vs. huge free standing unit), touch activated faucets, Alexa-enabled appliances, faucets in bold colors, you name it. You can live like a professional chef at home with the options that are out there right now. Kitchen above is from , notice the raised sink, so interesting right?

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14. Modular and multi functional furniture. Sofas, tables, it should all have more than one way to use and enjoy it. It can be repositioned, used to work, to play, to sleep, to accommodate guests, etc. had a great sofa in her stand that shows how nicely this can be accomplished.

15. Metal. Metal is huge, it's everywhere. Frames, legs, lighting, kitchens, everything - but way more understated and matte than before, not so much bling.

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16. Mirrors. MIRRORS are BIG right now. Especially round ones and those that are shaped a bit unusually. I love mirrors in the home, so this is a trend that never goes out of style to me.

17. Bold Tones. Color is big right now but not the typical saturated hues like pure red, blue, violet... The colors are definitely more moody and shaded. Imagine adding black to pure red, or black to blue... Or adding gray to yellow or green. Cozy colors are what I predict we're moving towards for the year.

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18. And a micro trend... Air plant holders! People were going crazy for these over at the and Desiree even had them in her booth. Air plant holders are seriously all the rage at the moment, particularly the ones from .

I hope you've enjoyed my trend report from the imm Cologne and Living Kitchen. Which trends do you like most???

(Images: unless otherwise noted, Holly Becker/iPhone)

Winter Tabletop Dinner Party Ideas

Hello everyone, this is and I thought I'd drop by while Holly's at the imm Cologne in her cattledogs booth to first of all, I wish you a happy new year and next, bring you some ideas and inspiration for a wintery tabletop. What I did this time was I put every tree-shaped candleholder ( decoration) I own on our dining table.

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Admittedly there are numerous in our possession! Imagine my husband rolling his eyes at this point! Of course less will do. (Imagine him nodding!) Moreover, I wanted to catch the beautiful colors one finds outside in the forest here in Germany at this time of the year. Namely shades of grey (sky), brown (wood) and white (snow). I love this natural and fresh color palette at home. Do you?

It recently snowed heavily outside when I shot these images the other day. Perfect timing for this column! But you can easily let it snow above your table, too! Either you make a garland of white paper dots by using a circle punch and sewing the dots in a row OR you just buy one at the online shop, if you are not a DIY kind of person!

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These garlands create a non-kitschy but cheerful and fun decoration. But all regular readers will know that I am generally into paper garlands, I cannot help it!

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In keeping with the chilly season I picked a wreath illustration with bare branches (bought online at ) for the name tags you see on the plates and attached jute cord loosely.

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As I am a huge fan of hearty soups and stew in winter I cooked one of our family's favorites – Sweet Chestnut Soup. This one contains chestnuts (surprise!), celeriac, leek, spring onions, beef broth and cream. The topping is made of chopped and roasted chestnuts with coarse sea salt, fresh grounded pepper and maple syrup for a sweet touch. Just the way I like it! An alternative to traditional soup bowls are pretty preserving jars.

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That's it for now! I will see you again in February when we should definitely have spring flowers for our column, don't you think? Sending kind greetings -

(Styling, Photography: Anke Illner)

Rela + Cozy Tabletop Decor Inspired By Finland

Hello cattledogs readers, this is columnist with my monthly column so please have a look at my recent dining room tabletop styling if you'd like. I've been inspired recently by a short trip to Finland. While doing window shopping I spotted interior design in moody colors like bordeaux, marsala, dusky pink, mossy green, grey and black everywhere. Though this isn't your typical Christmas motif, and now Finland is decked out in the most traditional holiday colors, my trip last month still left an impression on me. I really enjoyed to see these dark shades in combination with plain Finnish design -- they just know how to create a relaxed and calm atmosphere, right?

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I thought to bring my impressions onto our tabletop at home by using candle and tea light holders in different shapes and sizes, made of glass and wood. Furthermore on my table - this season's most popular ceramics - tableware in black, the "black coal" series by . I found it at my dear friend's online shop .

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Instead of flowers, I decided on different branches which I will now use for making Christmas wreaths. I picked eucalyptus, olive, pine and twigs with tiny acorns and pale pink berries and I liked having them in a vase until I have to cut them into small bunches for the wreaths.

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When it comes to trends, I usually need some time until I give an interior trend a try. This "boho" Woven Wall Hanging for an example! A "Dust catcher" was my first thought. But well, you see, I obviously changed my mind. The best about this DIY was spending two snugly evenings with my boys who keenly wove their own ones with me. Now I know why we send them to Waldorfschool! ;-)

Last but not least, a salted dark chocolate tarte with whipped cream and red berry sauce went on the table and made me happy. I am really into sweets with a salty twist and love dark chocolate desserts combined with red berry anything! The berry sauce you see on one of my pictures is the easiest ever. In Germany we have a classic called "Rote Grütze" which is a compote of red berries you can buy ready to eat in every supermarket. I just put this one into my blender and mix it until smooth, that's it. Sometimes one is allowed to take the easy way out, agree?

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It's impossible to finish this post without giving thanks to Holly for my highlight this month! Your book party launching "Decorate for a Party"/ "Feierlaune" ($12 on this week only!) in Hannover with so many inspiring guests, a beautiful table decoration and those blissful cakes by was such a treat, dear Holly! It was so great to have spent time with you and I enjoyed very much!

Have a wonderful start into the month of December and make yourself comfortable at home, dear readers! I hope to see you again soon with some Christmas decoration for the table! -

(Styling, Text and Photography: )

9 Easy Ways To Decorate For a Party

Oh my goodness the American election is such a nail biter! So let's escape a little and think about nice party decorating ideas for a total girl night indulgence, ok? Maybe it will be a post election party idea? Hmmmm...  Today I have my friend and fellow author , an artist and designer from Victoria, Canada, who will share her recent book party night with us along with 9 easy tips for making a gathering special on a budget.

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This party was recently held to celebrate the launch of our book, , which is sold where all fine books are stocked. It's available in , , , , German-speaking Europe (in ), France (in ), and Italy (in ). We are so happy to around easy, simple decorating ideas for meaningful gatherings attract so much attention. It's very heartwarming.

Leslie's goal for her book party wasn't only to celebrate the launch of our book. In fact, Leslie isn't the type who likes the spotlight on herself or her accomplishments. She is very humble and prefers intimate and meaningful gatherings over large crowds and fanfares. In this way, Leslie pulled together only her nearest and dearest for an evening of girl power inspiration and it made her evening nice because it was in harmony with how she likes gatherings to be when gathering girlfriends - inspiring, feminine and at ease.

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She decided to teamed up with her friend and local lady boss, Pam Lewis from , and together they hosted a talk show style party where guests were taken into the lives of creative women and allowed to chime in with views of their own to create a fantastic, insightful dialogue. I love the spirit of this evening, the magic shared together as women discussed stories, laughed and walked away with cake in their bellies and love in their hearts.

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I'd like to share 9 easy decorating ideas with you for your next party, all styled by Leslie Shewring and photographed by . Then, I'll show you some photos of the ladies gathered in her studio and of Leslie signing the book because I just love how at ease she is and joy that she radiants. These photos made me so happy and I hope that somehow they do too.

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1. Tiny white bunting and pretty white lights make a party feel special. Keeping it simple with white is also very classy. Scroll down to see how effective this look can be when you add lots of bunting and lights...

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2. Large wooden beads in . A grouping in an odd number (3) with beads at different levels looks pretty and is very simple. Another tip is that if you don't have a large painting on the wall and you wish you did, opt for something easier - hang a framed poster, macrame or a beautiful grouping of inspirational photos in a mood board style.

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3. Carnations in glass jars and bottles. The key to making this work is to stick to one color and to group them.

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4. Keep snacks simple but gorgeous and delicious. These cakes were made by Susannah Ruth Bryan from and work beautifully with the space. They are simple and elegant. With coffee, tea and champagne, you don't need much more to satisfy a group of friends if they've already had dinner or if it's a mid-afternoon event - cake always makes people happy.

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5. Mix in warm wood when you're working in a mostly white space. Mismatching chairs is always nice. The key styling trick here is to keep the most dominate ones the same (in this case, the wooden chairs) and then the less dominate (white) can all be different.

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6. Style flowers simply. Sometimes we think we need to go to great lengths to style the perfect arrangement. You really don't! The styling trick with flowers is to use solid vessels that work together and then flowers grouped by type. Anyone can arrange flowers like this - it's really easy. Styling tip: Clean off leaves that will be showing beneath the water line.

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7. Add fresh greenery. Plants are a big trend currently but we're hoping that, unlike the 1970s, plants stick around this time. When you add a plant or in this case, a giant ceramic vase filled with Eucalyptus leaves, you've instantly added freshness and life to the space, making it feel less clinical while still feeling pure and modern.

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8. Group paper lanterns together to create a focal point. They also look like balloons but last a lot longer so you can use them for other parties. Such a pretty corner!

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9. Add wooden beads to lengths of ribbon to create pretty wall decor. This is easy, fun, and can be used for other projects later on.

Now let's look at the room after the sun went down and the room was a-buzz with creative women sharing their stories and Leslie leading the discussion on the topic of creativity.

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Doesn't this party inspire you to not only keep things simple and elegant, but to get the girls together and share stories of love, creativity, encouragement and promise? I certainly want to do this now, it makes me smile to see my friend having such a beautiful evening with so many women that make her happy in her part of the world. Leslie, you rocked your party, so proud of you girl!

(Styling: Leslie Shewring. Photography: )

3 Autumn DIY Entertaining Ideas You Will Love

Hi dear cattledogs readers! How has your month of October been so far? A golden one – is what I hope! As for me it caught me again, the joy of decorating with autumnal colors such as ochre and amber. This is with my monthly column around tabletop settings. So have a look at the one I decorated some days ago if you like!

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Last week, I welcomed my girlfriends with whom I meet for regularly for cooking dinner together for many years. For our ladies gathering I combined flowers in warm yellow shades and pale pink nuances, accompanied by autumn leafs, pink cloud berry and eucalyptus branches.

1) MENU CANDLES. Usually my brainstorming for a table decoration begins with thinking about which flowers I would like on my table. Not this time! When browsing through Holly & Leslie's brand-new book "", the Calligraphy Candles ( made by Canadian Artist and Calligrapher for the book) were love at first sight! As I've never tried calligraphy before (but wish to do so soon) I thought about a version easy to DIY. Result: I chose a calligraphy-like font and printed the menu on transparent bright white paper (100g/m2) and wrapped it around a candle glass. Happy me, as the candles I found at amazon look precisely like the ones in the book. I like the clean style so much!

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You could also write/ print the names of your guests or a beautiful quote, that would be lovely too, what do you think?

2. EMBELLISHED FRAMES. On the wall next to our dining table, which I mostly decorate when having guests or shooting for my blog and this column, you will find a small autumnal mood board. I created a tiny graphic design by using photoshop, a chrysanthemum illustration and the color palette of my bouquets.

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This was a very good occasion to hang up my MOEBE frame for the first time. I first heard about these gorgeous frames by Copenhagen-based brand when Holly introduced them after finding them at the fair in Hamburg. Those of you living in Germany can order the frames online at  like I did.

In addition, I embellished a simple white frame with flowers. I did this the same way I make wreaths, which means I tied tiny bouquets overlapping to the frame. I used raffia but floral tape might be a better idea! And patience! A little patience is useful also!

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3. DELISH COCKTAIL. As an aperitif I offered a Sage Ginger Prosecco Cocktail. Here is the recipe below by Beth Kirby who blogged it on . I modified the recipe to add thin slices of pear as a garnish. Cheers!

STORE LIST 2 cups water 2 cups sugar 2 bunches of fresh sage leaves chopped or one bundle dried sage (about 1 cup or 1/2 a cup respectively) 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger Bottle of Prosecco or Champagne

1. In a saucepan bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Once the simple syrup, which is what you now have, reaches a boil remove it from the heat and stir in the sage and ginger. Cover and let the syrup steep until it’s completely cooled to room temperature, 2-3 hours. Refrigerate after making.

2. To make cocktails, simply pour an ounce or two of syrup into a champagne flute depending on how sweet you like it and top with prosecco! Garnish with sage.

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Enjoy autumn with all its blessings and see you again here on cattledogs in November dear blog readers! Also, I will be in Hannover at  on 19 November at  so if you are coming, I would love to meet you - say hello to me! You can attend her party by .

And also... thank you so much for your lovely words in the comments on my last post! Your comments made me happy! -

(Text, photography and styling: )