Jodi Munro of Mrs. Chortles

Jodi Munro runs a Hong Kong-based event florals, event styling and tablescaping business dubbed Mrs Chortles, a joyful nickname bestowed on her by her mother and used since childhood. To chortle means to laugh in a noisy, gleeful way, and the essence of Jodi's events evoke just that. Her expert touch brings joie de vivre to tables around town, whether they be at The Carlyle Club or aboard a yacht.  Jodi also hosts Tablescaping Styling Workshops along with other seasonal offerings to teach beginners some of her coveted tricks and tips. She is passionate about finding the right elements for every occasion, from branded events or private parties. Her elegant and whimsical style focuses on unique floral artistry and highly personalised touches and we speak from experience when we say that she will go to great lengths to bring ‘THE’ magic to any event. Get to know this doyenne of extra dinner parties below.

One of Jodi's masterful tablescapes

Jodi Munro of Mrs Chortles

A wow table by Jodi

Jodi Munro hosting a lunch
Photo By Anna Koustas

Honing her craft

Reflections
From Corporate Ladder to Flower Power

A moment that changed the trajectory of your career: When I decided to start my business having been out of corporate events for some time, a few kind, supportive and glamorous hostesses of HK gave me my first opportunities to hone my newly acquired floristry skills and bring my previous event experience and creativity to their home parties.  I am forever grateful for these ladies, without them I would never have been able to get  Mrs Chortles off the ground. 

How does Hong Kong play in to your designs: I recently took an intensive floristry course in Paris and loved being immersed in a focused group learning to grow creatively whilst working with nature. The possibilities to create in the world of flowers are endless and so of course, the learning journey is never over. Hong Kong presents its unique challenges…. flowers are pricey and florists are always battling with the heat and humidity. Many clients expect a delicate European garden-style but HK is better suited to more robust tropical blooms. Trying to meet these desires with reality keeps me on my toes and helps me grow more creatively. I have always been enamoured with bold sculptural arrangements and more unique blooms. The natives from the Southern Hemisphere, like waratahs and proteas are some of my favourites. They have big personalities and last well in the heat.

What are a few easy tips for novice floral arrangers and tablescapers: I have a soft rule for tablescaping and setting a table at home - add something quirky. This will facilitate conversations, reflect your personality in some way, and create a unique tone for the evening…keep it light and humorous!  It could be achieved using food, shells, home ornaments, or some unusual flowers. One of my favourite items to use for my own table is my collection of tiny hand-made ceramic snails…they always seem to delight my guests!

Behing the Scenes
Surreal and Serene

Event that you’re surprised you actually pulled off: Sometimes you just have to take a risk and partnering with a client who wants to take it with you is a wonderful thing!  There is so much to explore when you have a meeting of the minds. I recently and most bravely took on a breadscape for my fun and most adventurous client and her VIP guests. Two tables, four metres long creating an avenue of bread. It could have been a towering disaster and sourcing that much bread in HK was not an easy feat but the result was a fabulous ‘wow’ table. The towers of bread became a conversation starter and a table I'm sure the clients will talk about for a long time. 

What is the secret ingredient for your tablescaping events: It’s more a case of the sum of the parts… the tableware, the flowers, carefully selected stemware, ‘placement’, always candles and a fine fine playlist. I strive to bring a certain je ne sais quoi to a tablescape but with careful consideration for the overall aesthetic. There needs to be cohesion with all the table elements but within that demand I try to allow for some elegant magic and whimsy…each table should be a unique one.  Even in my home, I have never set the same table when I'm hosting.

You breader believe she can make a centerpiece out of anything!

Jodi's whimsy at work

Jodi at work

Jodi's weekend spot China Tang

MyonghiKang's The Rebirth of
Nature at Villepin gallery

Around Town
From Dim Sum to Gallery Hoping

The Hong Kong meal you crave: I love Asian food. I was an exchange student in Japan and I think trying all the weird and wonderful flavours at a formative age has left me with an Asian palette. You can always find my family at dim sum on the weekends. China Tang, China Club, and Maxim's are our favourites.

A cultural happening next up on your list: I'm keen to pop into Villepin’s latest exhibition, The Rebirth of Nature. Arthur de Villepin has an exceptional eye and curates/displays with discipline and great respect for his exhibiting artists. He has brought something very special to Hong Kong by way of his elegant and ever-changing gallery space. My darling friend Elena will most certainly be joining me. We have been gallery-hopping in Hong Kong together for over 10 years and we share a great passion for the art world. On my recent trip to Paris, I was lucky to secure a seat at an exclusive pop-up dining experience which was part of Paris Fashion week called We Are Ona.  I dined on communal tables amongst a moss tablescape in a sleek and spacious marquee. They have just announced that they will be popping up at all the Art Basel locations for next year including Hong Kong. You heard it here first…keep them on your radar. Hopefully they’ll call me for their floral installation. Watch this space…

Your dream dinner party guest list, dead or alive: Sofia Coppola because she is the epitome of chic and I’m certain we would never run out of topics of conversation. Gabriel Garcia Marquez for the romance. Zendaya for her effervescent energy, the killer dress she will surely wear, and post-dinner dance moves. My husband, who makes everything complete but also always chooses top-shelf wines! Diana Nyad - how did she get to the other side?! I want to know everything about that swim! Prince for the music of course, but also a man of that stature and that much talent must have a lot to say. The meal would start with caviar (served on beautiful caviar dishes of course ) and then I think it would have to be a giant bowl of spaghetti alle vongole…messy, but oh so worth it! 

Recommendations and COllections
Tall Tales and Vintage Vases

The last thing you read and loved: Reading is a great passion of mine and I have had a book club for 10 years in Australia and 13 years here in Hong Kong. The last book we read was the masterpiece Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. Her artistry at conveying hilarity and heartbreak simultaneously blew me away. I also thoroughly enjoyed reading Phosphorescence by Julia Baird… it's essentially about finding your awe.

What do you collect: Vases of course! Mostly Italian. I have a penchant for colourful European ceramic vases from the 60’s. They live together collectively in my living room next to an oversized book of David Hockney’s paintings.  They seem to be in harmony with David’s preferred colour palettes and together the little corner in the house brings me infinite joy.

Jodi's collection of 1960s European ceramic vases

A recent book club pick

Jodi's tablescaping prowess on display

Placecards or free seating? Placecards.

Buffet or family style? Buffet - it's all about the flower real estate!

Tasting menu or à la carte? À la carte.

Charger or placemat? Both.

Aperitivo or nightcap? Aperitivo.

Minimal or maximal? Ha! Maximal!!!

Solids or prints? Both at the same time.

Wallpaper or paint? Paint.

Handwritten note or email? Handwritten note every single time.

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