This was an exciting moment! We create stories so we needed a product video that would also tell a story. I knew I wanted to focus on the Afternoon Tea scene, which was inspired by a real-life room, right down to the antique rocking horse. Andrew Bull, of Bright Arts is an expert storyteller in the video medium and his script of ideas for the video gave me confidence that he would bring it to life. Andrew and his team showed up early on a Saturday morning, hauling massive amounts of equipment into the house. The two little actresses belong to a dear friend, Nicola, who graciously offered her beautiful little girls, Maia and Millie. The girls had done a bit of professional photo modeling in Cape Town before coming to London, and we got off to a great start with some lovely breakfast food from Happy Sky.
And this starts my favourite theme: FOOD. The cakes you see in the illustration are from two of the most yummy bakeries in West London. Here are some of the delectable items you see in both the illustrations and actual shoot photos/video.
- Purple cake: Happy Sky designed and made the cake with a purple candy theme, because we use purple to signify mystery and magic in our books.
- Petit Fours: Lavelli Bakery ‘assortiment’
- Sandwiches and proper British scones: Stamford Larder
The first scene we were shooting was a fanciful re-telling of our Afternoon Tea scene, which you can see from the photos below is both a scene in the book and a real room. You can see the lace covered table and rocking horse in both images! The story goes something like this: Upon arriving in London, Cordelia greets your child with a most-welcoming offer of afternoon tea, which leads to a mysterious adventure. Here’s Isabella’s gorgeous rendering of our Afternoon Tea scene from the book:
We love this scene. Isabella based her illustration on the location we used for the video shoot. The entire team is delighted with this fun little ‘based on a true story’ line! Our lace-set table was full of gorgeous cakes, scones, treats and candies… finger sandwiches on tiered plates, and a lovely tea service. It’s making us very hungry.
Here is a photo from the video shoot, and you can see that this is the same room as the one in our book artwork (above.) The curtains, walls, light fixture – the rocking horse… even the green velvet chairs are real. Maia and Millie were tremendous actresses, and incredibly (seriously) professional. It’s hard to imagine how technical a video shoot really is, and I was relieved that Andrew had everything well-planned with some down-time. Maia poured that teapot at least fifty times, and Millie chomped her way through a box full of scones. It wasn’t until we were at the very last scone that she mentioned she might like something different.
Now back to the setting… this lush room is decorated with lovely art and antiques. We dressed the table with antique hand-made lace. most generously loaned to us by Kati Wuollet-Bernal, a world-travelling lace expert and dear friend. Kati was born in the far northern reaches of Finland, and made her way to London via Sweden. To describe her as a character doesn’t do her justice, and if anyone knows how to do afternoon tea well, it’s Kati. She offers a stunning variety of lace and other feminine fashion delicacies, all delicately displayed, folded, lovingly encased in fine tissue paper or hanging lightly from satin covered hangers at Portobello Market. Kati also lent us both antique lace dresses, one Victorian and the other from the early 1900’s – both in such beautiful condition. People like Kati make sure the details are correct and beautiful. We can’t thank her enough for her generosity.
Lace – Kati
Kati Wuollet-Bernal. London-based international lace expert whose extensive and decades-long (we won’t say how many, she is a lady) whose mind-bogglingly well-connected réseau extends from London across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America. Exclusivity. Discretion. Elegance. Rarity.
Admiral Vernon Antique Market (far left side, midway to back)
Portobello Market, Notting Hill
141-149 Portobello Rd, London W11 2DY
After shooting for several hours, we moved on to the front hallway scene and an at-home reading scene with both of the girls. I have newfound respect for people who work on video shoots. If you know one, give them a hug. They deserve it.
Our at-home reading scene was made possible by the kind loan of some bright items, like these pink pillows we used for Millie’s yellow bedroom, from one of the most lovely gift and furnishings shops in West London, Cocktail. Kate Chetwood’s beautifully curated selection of pretty and quirky hand-decorated furniture – she is an artist as well – is her canvas for avast array of impressive gifts, some locally sourced. Delicious scents, bright colours, and attention to quality and detail make this shop a genuine delight. Pretty, funny, practical, quirky… it’s all here. Cocktail’s gift wrap selection is swoon-worthy.
MUST CHECK OUT: Cocktail’s own candle range. A+
11 Askew Road, London