Selecting our "cut-your-own" Christmas Tree at Wilderness Woods (+ our Annual Autumn Photoshoot!)

Selecting our "cut-your-own" Christmas Tree at Wilderness Woods (+ our Annual Autumn Photoshoot!)

If you've been a Fifi McGee fan for a while you'll know that every year, the very moment the leaves start falling, Neil and I race out and prance around the woods for a wee photoshoot sesh together. There's something about all the colours, the first frost and the excuse to wrap up warm that makes us look forward to our annual Autumnal shoots together. This year, we fled to Wilderness Woods!

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A peek at Farrow + Ball's new countryside wallpaper collection + the one I've chosen

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

You've probably noticed if you're wandering through the Fifi McGee archives that one of my favourite ways to spend a weekend is on a country walk

Those walks often inspire colour choices I go for in my outfits (autumnal shades of oranges, reds and browns) and interior plans (mustard cushions, fur textures and wild flower arrangements.)

Farrow & Ball, a company every period home owner should - and do - know about for their quality paint and wallpaper, recently launched a wallpaper collection back in September and I am head over heels for it. They too are inspired by their very surroundings.

A country walk ››


The prints in their new collection were born from countryside scenes, hazy grasses and endless hedgerows in Dorset, the home of Farrow & Ball, the very place they craft and manufacture each sheet of wallpaper one by one. 

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

Neil grew up playing as a kiddy in those very Wimborne fields, so the inspiration for the prints feel very close to us. Above (left to right) is Blostma, Hornbeam, and Feather Grass available in various other colour stories.

We've been looking for a fresh new look in our living room that's a little less "the previous owner" and a little more us, since the day we moved in. I always loved the Eating Room Red Farrow & Ball paint inside our alcoves (as seen) but felt like the colour story didn't quite match the Farrow & Ball Bone seen on the skirting boards (which run all throughout our flat). 

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

In need of colours and textures in line with our personalities, Farrow & Ball's Hornbeam wallpaper seemed a really obvious choice for us with the connection between Dorset, and the inspiration we get from country walks. 

I saw the Hornbeam BP 5004 colour variation, took one look at it and said, "that's it". 

Something I've never ever done before. It's previously taken me days if not weeks of wallpaper samples to choose. 

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

As you'll see from the photographs I'm sharing, I've incorporated our love for country walks in wellies, picnics and tartan blankets - a regular scene on our weekends. Choosing wallpaper prints that have a story behind it, and represents the places we love is really important to us. Bringing in prints, textures and looks that represent your personality, upbringing or memories is the only way you'll ever make a house a home. 

Now, I just can't wait to start putting it all up on the wall and show you the finished result. 

Country inspired Farrow and Ball wallpaper for the living room ››

A little back story behind this post...


Farrow & Ball challenged me and fellow interior bloggers to create a country style vignette of our favourite past time, with one of their new wallpapers as a beautiful backdrop. This was my take on it :)
All of our creations will be shared on the Farrow & Ball pinterest really soon, where Charlotte Cosby, Farrow & Ball's Head of Creative will judge the best. One blogger will be picked by Charlotte to visit the Farrow & Ball factory in Dorset and see the process of everything being made, as well as visit some places that inspired the collection. I'm keeping everything crossed so I can take you with me for the ride <3

A Joyous walk across the South Downs

Country style gingham black and white dress from Joy

By far the best thing about autumn (when the weather holds up) is the crisp cold walks Neil + I go on with a stop off in various country pubs for a bite to eat and a pint after. 

The stunning South Downs

Country style gingham black and white dress from Joy + chunky knit autumn style cardigan

The stunning South Downs walks

We try to get out to the countryside at least once a month. Living in the city can get really claustrophobic, so it's our way of detaching. We usually spend the whole walks chatting about one day owning a cottage or farm house, living the country dream. I saw my dream house on the walk photographed. It's on my Instagram, check it out, it'll be mine one day :) 

This past weekend we explored the cute Sussex village of Amberley. Neil got the most beautiful shots of nature and wildlife whilst I drooled over the thatched cottages and wild flower displays in every immaculate garden. He wrote a post around it that you can read here if you like. It's called Amberley in the Autumn. 

Anyway, what I really wanted to do was show you my fave new gingham dress + chunky knit cardy, ha! 

Country style gingham black and white dress from Joy + chunky knit autumn style cardigan

Country style gingham black and white dress from Joy + chunky knit autumn style cardigan

Country style gingham black and white dress from Joy + chunky knit autumn style cardigan

Country style gingham black and white dress from Joy + chunky knit autumn style cardigan

I remind myself SO much of Caitlin Moran in these pics (but sadly I'm not quite as cool as she) all I need is to swap the Hunters for Doc Martins and I'm her!

My dress is from one of my favourite retailers at the mo, Joy. Joy stock the best patterned + print clothes that mainly taps into retro, bright and fun styles. They love colour, and lots of their dresses remind me of stuff my style crush Elsie Larson would wear. Have a feel around on their website and you'll know what I mean. 

Country style gingham black and white dress from Joy + chunky knit autumn style cardigan

The chunky knit cardy kept me all toasty when the wind hit, and I added a splash of colour to the look with the cute fabric bar necklace, which would make a cracking DIY I reckon. 
I'm also rather liking playing around with the OPI colour paints collection. Mustard is one of my fave colours (can you tell from the blog design?). 

What do you think? Do you like the dresses on the Joy website? If I'm ever in the Brighton Lanes I always wander in store and spend too long looking through all the rails.

Fiona xoxo

A recent country stroll might have ended up in a chocolate picnic... oops


Brighton blog // Chocolate picnic in Alfriston

Chunky knit cardigan, old but similar on Woolovers.com
Satchel, Beyond Retro in Brighton
Chocolate, all Lindt (my fave)
Dress, Tights & Boots, Primark

This week has been Fifi's 24th birthday. How the years fly when you're havin' fun eh? Things have been a tad quiet on the blog scene as Neil & I took a trip to the beautiful Isle of Wight with my bestie and her bf, to unplug from technology, chill back and celebrate which was ace. I've also been redecorating at my mum's house. Big changes to be revealed soon. 

Anyway, I've been dying to share my pre-birthday shenanigans on here...

Living in Brighton (Hove actually) always gets us thinking about where we can drive out to to escape the city. It's our dream to one day live in the countryside with a border collie and there's no time like the present exploring all the villages and small picturesque towns in Sussex.

Brighton blog // Chocolate picnic in Alfriston

Alfriston was first up, it's not far from us, about a 30 min drive. It's possibly the quaintest and 'best kept secret' little village I've visited (ok, my knowledge on Sussex villages is so far limited but still). 
Lined with cosy pubs, welcoming interior stores and charming period buildings, Alfriston ticked all our happy boxes. We had such a lovely Sunday morning walk around the village green, across the White Bridge over the cuckmere river, exploring the area. An idyllic spot, particularly this time of year when the daffs are in full bloom.

I'll be sharing more details of a particular spot we visited in a later post. For now, I thought I'd share one of the coolest things we've ever done. 

Brighton blog // Chocolate picnic in Alfriston

Brighton blog // Chocolate picnic in Alfriston

We stopped for a totally chocolate picnic and it was lush

That's right, not a sarnie, apple or flapjack in sight. It's almost Easter so we took Mumma Lindt Bunny and her brood out for the unhealthiest lunch we've ever had, on so far the sunniest day of the year. If you've never had a chocolate indulging picnic, get it on your Easter bucketlist. This was one of the funnest things we've done in ages, and the Lindt Easter chocolate collection is out of this world.

Brighton blog // Chocolate picnic in Alfriston

Brighton blog // Chocolate picnic in Alfriston

Brighton blog // Chocolate picnic in Alfriston

Do you have any nice plans for Easter bank holiday? Mine will be spent decorating & polishing off the leftover bunny bits.
 
Credits // Thanks to Neil W Shaw Wedding photographer & Lindt for supplying me with bunnies! All content creation 100% original

Collecting pine cones at Sheffield Park



I sense a pattern forming. Last week I showed you Nymans, this week it's Sheffield Park in Uckfield. Safe to say our National Trust annual membership is already proving fruitful and it's not even warm weather yet (and any excuse to get my wellies out again!).

It's been such a lovely weekend. Cold, but wonderful. Just outside Haywards Heath and about a 40 min spin from us in Brighton/Hove is Sheffield Park. We paid a visit this Saturday morning just gone. 

The gardens are a horticultural work of art, with 4 lakes, paths through woodland, ducks, wildlife, a beautiful cricket ground dating back to the war times, some of the biggest trees in the UK and a welcoming, warm tea room serving delicious home made sausage rolls. 

We arrived at Sheffield Park Garden at about 10am, had a quick cup of tea, set off on our walks and didn't arrive back to the car until at least 1.30pm, and I doubt we saw half of the stunning parkland in that time. You could easily make a day of it here. Children are welcome to climb the trees, and in warmer weather you could find a spot for a picnic without a soul walking past.

This place is beautiful even in the height of winter, when colour is non-existent and the trees are bare. I can't wait to visit again in Spring or Summer when flowers are in full bloom, or Autumn when the leaves are changing. 

I hope you like the photographs Neil took. We'll definitely be heading back here soon to photograph the gardens in every season :)

Thinking of visiting soon? Bring bread! The ducks didn't appreciate us photographing them having no food for them in return. Cute little things. 




















Follow our adventures on Bloglovin' :)

Fifi's wearing:

Parka - Topshop
Jumper dress - River Island
Scarf - Primark
Wellies - Hunters (bought these in sale from Urban Outfitters many years ago)
Satchel - Beyond Retro

How do you love to spend weekends?


Neil & I are a pretty busy twosome. When he's not shooting weddings (he's a Brighton wedding photographer dontyaknow) or working in his full time job, he's working on things for the house or making plans at the computer in his spare time and when I'm not running round at events or at the office in my day job, I'm spending all my time either blogging, tweeting or planning on the computer too :)

We don't get much time away from responsibilities & technology, but when we do it gives us a whole new perspective on life. I'll get onto that in a sec.

Before I begin, I love my life. Is it shameful that I just typed that? Eeek.

Without getting all deep on you, how lucky are we to be healthy, have healthy friends and families, be employed or at least not struggling for money, and living in a country where our possibilities and opportunities are only held back by our own thoughts, never our rights? We sometimes take for granted how lucky and happy we should feel, and it's so important to see the positive things alongside embracing the normal lower mood kinda days as total normality.



Lately I've been spending way too much time in front of the computer feeding all of my energy into a machine rather than building real relationships that matter, and at times that little voice in my head complains that I never have time to stand still and just do nothing.

I worry I'll end up missing out on memories, real life social happenings or that I'll be socially inept if I carry on depending on email to communicate rather than picking up the phone or arranging a coffee to meet people face to face. Does any one else get this too? It's like a fear that technology will swallow my life.

One way to strike a balance, I've found, is for Neil & I to make time either once a week, or once a fortnight (depending on t'weather!) to go explore a new walk in Sussex, or find a forest to get lost in. It's amazing the sites we see and the people we make *actual real life* eye contact with and say hello to crossing paths, or have a chat with people about their cute puppies (see pic evidence below) and which route will takes us where.

This is one of my favourite things to do at the mo, and one of the healthiest ways to spend a weekend. We come away with a weekly renewed perspective on life and it helps us thrive for our dream owning a little house in the countryside.













What I'm wearing: Jumper, Primark. Leggings, H&M. Rucksack, Primark. Scarf, Men's Primark (gotta love Primark) Converse, Schuh. Flask, Urban Outfitters. Watch, DKNY. Ring, Jewlr.

Who else loves country walks in winter?


Country walks, hunters & tartan

The clocks went back last Sunday, the afternoons are getting darker and winter is well and truly creeping in. I love it. It's a lot of people's favourite time of year, mine especially.

Neil & I have been on ANOTHER country walk again. Sussex is full of forests, hills and great walks on our doorstep, it seems like we're somewhere new every week. 

Now that we've said goodbye to the warm weather, we initially thought it would be a close on our outdoorsy travels, but I since realised how beautiful it is going out into the country even in the coldest and wettest of weathers. 

We got the Hunters & tartan scarves out, wrapped up all cosy and set off on an hours walk through Devil's Dyke & Saddlescombe farm. Stunning views across Brighton & Hove once you clamber up high enough. We both agreed how doing this kind of thing is such a positive way to end the week and start another :-)

Anyway, thought I'd share the snaps Neil took of our wanders. What a talented chappy he is. He's a Brighton wedding photographer, and now that the summer wedding season is over for him, I'll keep him even busier taking photos for my blog! Stay tooooned. 

Country walks, hunters & tartan

Country walks, hunters & tartan

Country walks, hunters & tartan

Country walks, hunters & tartan

Forest Style, Fifi McGee's outfit of the day!

Winter walks near Brighton

Forest Style, Fifi McGee's outfit of the day!

Winter walks near Brighton

Winter walks near Brighton

Winter walks near Brighton

Winter walks near Brighton

Forest Style, Fifi McGee's outfit of the day!