Since opening her first shop in Hackney six years ago, Nik Southern of Grace & Thorn has become the go-to florist for the movers and shakers of London with clients including the likes of Levi’s, Estee Lauder, Alexander McQueen and Giles Deacon. Grace & Thorn’s style is modern but naturalistic, combining flowers with foliage to create off-beat bouquets.
For many of us, living in a city means the only greenery you regularly see is the salad you have at lunch (or if not, that of the person next to you!). It can be hard to accommodate lush cheeseplants and grow your own herbs when the air quality is poor and your kitchen rarely sees natural sunlight – the frustration and shame of having to throw away another dead coriander pot can take its toll. Thankfully, Nik is on hand to help city-dwellers ‘green up your gaff’ with creative and forward-thinking plant and floral arrangements.
Her debut book How Not To Kill Your Plants – available in early Summer – is a plant bible that not only shows how to care for your leafy friends but how to style them too. We caught up with Nik to talk indulgent breakfasts and making the most of time spent at home.
“After 13 years of working in recruitment, I decided to do something else. I’d always been keen on gardening and did a month’s career course in floristry and fell in love with it. I set up shop from my living room and then by networking through a lot of friends who worked in fashion, did more and more events. Within 2 years I opened my first shop in Hackney.
On an average morning, I generally wake up about 5am. Coffee is my first priority and then I get the dogs up on the bed for a hug. Half of the beauty of being the boss is working from home in the morning but I’ll usually leave around 8.30 / 9am.
During the week breakfast is coffee and a banana - maybe a smoothie if I’ve got time. At the weekend’s it’s avocado, vine tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs on a bit of sourdough & a bloody Mary! My most indulgent breakfast would be scrambled eggs, puff pastry and asparagus & buck’s fizz from Balthazar in NYC. The best brunch of my life that I could eat over and over was at Five Leaves in Brooklyn.
I Wake Up Well by going to bed early! Usually before 11:30pm. The earliest I’ve ever woken is at 2am because of insomnia, the latest is 9.30am when on holiday and after a lot of sunshine. The best place I’ve ever woken was at the Hilton in the Maldives.
The last thing I see at night and the first thing I see every morning is my phone, one thing I need to do less of in the mornings is work. I used to be really annoyed that I couldn’t sleep in and would always wake up early but have finally accepted that I’m just an early riser; my best piece of morning advice? Accept your sleeping pattern.
Cuddling the dogs and watching rubbish TV in my beautiful home would be my ideal morning with no plans. On the weekends it’s Bloody Mary’s, the pub and my dogs!”