Thursday, November 14, 2013

Flowers for Her Majesty The Queen

Today is a proud day. 

Yesterday was a giddy day.

The day before that was full of stress.

And now I can breath.

Today, Her Majesty The Queen was presented with a posy of flowers that I created when she went for luncheon (yep, they call it that in Downton Abbey, rather grand) at The Monastery in Gorton.   She will sit at a table in front of the table displays we created.  I tell you, that vaseware hasn't gleamed this much since I don't know when.

We were commissioned by The Monastery to create some displays for a very VIP lady.  There were details I needed to follow including red. white and blue blooms.  But The Monastery put their trust in me for the overall design. We worked our magic.  It would have been all too easy to go with expensive roses, set with standard foliages because they were a safe bet. Too easy to say, yep, let's put everything in.  Not us. We took a step back.  We kept it seasonal.  We put an autumn spin on the shades we used.  We used the interiors and intricate details of the nave at The Monastery as our starting point.  We used British narcissus.  We bought all the flowers at the wholesaler because they have looked after us for years. At this point I did not know the design was to be for H.R.H.  Luckily the Monastery team loved what we came up with.  Phew and thank you.

So, hurricane lamps and seasonal wreaths it was.

On the day they could officially tell me that The Queen was visiting I was giddier than a spinning stop.  I stopped talking I was so giddy.  Those who know me know that silencing me is tricky.  Then they mentioned posies.  I was so quiet that they checked I was still on the line.  They invited me to design this however I wanted to.  It was my gift to her.  So, I thought about it.  Again, I kept it seasonal.  Agapanthus, oak, seeded eucalyptus, thlaspi, rosemary, gentiana, faded autumn hydrangea, pincushion flower seed pods, ammi, waxflower, ranunculus and British narcissus.  The first attempt at the bouquet I wasn't my relaxed self.  I didn't like it.  I shook.  I have never shaken with flowers before.  Not even with too much caffeine.  So I calmed down.  I started again.  I smiled and thought about it.  Her Majesty is a family woman.  So I thought of my family.  What would my Grandmother like?  So I made it for her.

I know my Grandmother will love the design.  I hope The Queen did too.

Here are some pictures.  In my garden.  Due to being searched by a Police team, all vases, toolboxes and water sprays examined and the flowers needing to be checked out by Colin the sniffer dog, we couldn't put them on the tables today.  It all went in in secret on Wednesday.  Excitement indeed.

On a personal note. Thank you to my daughters nursery for looking after her at short notice so that I could carry out this once in a lifetime commission. And to Lisa and her Mum for sorting their diaries at the drop of a hat. All these things put my mind at rest that both the flowers and my little girl were in the safest of hands.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Checkered past

When given the challenge of black and white for a wedding.  One could start researching roses.  One could research stocks.  One could look at black stones.  I'll never research black stones.  That's just the way it is.  Sorry.
Then there's the way my mind works.  Black and white you say?  No problem.  According to science, white is the colour the eyes of a human sees when it looks at light which contains all the wavelengths of the visible spectrum. (Reference, Wikipedia).  Thank you Wikipedia.
So, my black and white was inspired by the works of clever old Isaac Newton.
Here it is.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

High Rangers

That's what my pal Alice calls them.  High Rangers.
I'm happy to go with that.
Here are High Rangers alongside roses, ornamental cabbages (because I can, and they are fabulous), waxflower and a number of other bits and bobs.
All at The Monastery.
High 'Ranger; five.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Flowers and the empty flour bag

There was a mixer.  And empty flour bags.
There was a day some time in September.
In attendance were people who may have considered that I had lost the plot.  I proved them wrong, naturally.  It is entirely possible to create designs from things that would otherwise wind up in the recycling.
There were many flowers.  One I can't remember the name of.  It happens to us all. 
Here's what happened when we did a Floral Demonstration for the Florally Curious at the pop up cafe run by And The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Because it's never too early to have flowers in your life........

.......or have too many ways to occupy children during the half-term holidays.

Blooms.  It's never too early.  According to my family, I walked, then there were flowers.  Almost before food.  Clearly hadn't discovered chocolate at that point, or there may have been a different order to things.

So, because no child is going to want to get involved in the latest garden inspired floral fashions, we've focussed on it being more about what they want.

There's cake.  There's spiders.  There's face painting.  There's colouring (although it doesn't say that on the picture, that's a surprise).  There's stories.  There's a cuppa for Mum, Dad or other responsible adult.

Here is it.  Flowereen.  A morning of spooky floral fun at And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Coming soon to a tea room near you.....

Floral Demonstrations for the Florally Curious Flower Lover.

Sound exciting?

Oh yes.  Oh yes.  It most certainly is.

For the serious flower lover.  Well, not too serious.  We don't do serious all too well.

A West Didsbury first.  We think. I can't confirm this to the standards required for the Guinness Book of Records, but I've not heard of anyone else in the area putting flowers in a cake mixer before now.  But you never know.

This is a floral demonstration with fun at the core.

See what curious props we will use when we demonstrate floral fun and creativity using the best of the seasons blooms.

10.15 until 11.15am on Friday 6th or Friday 20th of September at the Pop Up Cafe in Didsbury Park, Manchester which is run by masters of the cake whisk, And The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon. £4 per person.  The price does not include refreshments, but the Cafe is open from 10am should you wish to purchase a cuppa and a cake to consume whilst the demonstration takes place.

Bookings must be made in person at the Pop Up Cafe in Didsbury Park or at And The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon on Burton Road, West Didsbury.

For a full schedule of events at And The Dish Ran Away with The Spoon 'In the Park', click yourself right here.

Fairy talk and miniature gardens

'Classes for the Florally Curious Kids' in Didsbury Park, Manchester on Friday 30 August 2012. Floral Fairy Gardens.

Join us for talk of woodland fairies. We love talk of woodland fairies. This charming class is £5 per child which includes talk of woodland fairies, a song or two and all the things your child needs (except scissors, they're a bit sharp) to create a pretty, miniature floral fairy (or Elf if you prefer) garden to take home.

All children to be accompanied by a responsible adult who will need to be on hand to at all times, just in case fairy dust is required.

10am until 11.15am. The Pop Up Cafe in Didsbury Park, Manchester run by And The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon.

Bookings to be made in person at the Didsbury Park Pop Up Cafe or at And The Dish Ran Away With the Spoon on Burton Road in West Didsbury.

We (and possibly a fairy or two) will see you there! xx

Friday, July 26, 2013

Law and Order

He's a bobby. She is the most organised person in the whole of South Manchester.  Law and Order.  Clever.
Order had met me in The Met.  I'd just had a baby.  I was holding it together.  Just.  She was kind.  She was patient.  We talked blooms.  We worked out the best way forward for a DIY and 'but I'm not confident with that bit' combo.
There was a class.  There was cake.  They brought Veuve.  They also brought copper beech.  And a six foot branch.  And many, many, many, many jam jars.  They had a lesson, we created tablecentres.  In the studio I created the bouquets. We wrapped birch bark round the bouquet.  I have wrapped birch bark round many things over the years. Oh my.
The sun was a shining.  The venue had a herb garden.  (The herb garden bit was probably more exciting to me than most.)  There was a hound.  The hound did not attend the wedding.  It belonged to the owners Daughter-In-Law.  This has nothing to do with the flowers, but it is great scene setting stuff.  I think the hound was a Spaniel.  I'm not good on hound breeds. 
They got married. There was a Pettibone dress. There were blue Nigella in the mix. It was always going to be a good'un. 
Here it is.  Law and Order. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Classes For the Florally Curious 2013

It's high time that we published our list for our Classes For the Florally Curious.

Florally Curious beginners are most welcome. If you've been before, you're most welcome too.   You know the form.  Newbies will soon figure out how it all comes together.

We used to name the classes, but this year I'll be designing classes as I go along.  Expect seasonal flowers and lots of colour.  Unusual containers are a recurrent theme.  I'm toying with the idea of bean cans. I'll see.

Sometimes we use Oasis, sometimes we don't.  Occassionally there's more containers than flowers.  That's because we look at styling.  Sometimes there's no containers at all.  That's just the way it is.

Here's the list, with a few hints at what joys may come your way.
Thursday 7th November 2013.  Working with pure white.
Thursday 21 November 2013.  Classic designs.
Thursday 5th December 2013. Wreath making.  There will be large bows.  Class subject to change.  We're waiting on news of the Burton Road lights being switched on.
Thursday 12th December 2013.  Another wreath making.  Bows are de rigeur. We're going to have to move this to another date.  Most likely Wednesday 11 December. 
Thursday 23 January 2014. Inspired by the bare branches of winter.
Thursday 27 February 2014.  I love thee. Flowers.  And chocolate.
Thursday 27 March 2014.  Think scented spring.

They will be taking place at the home of all things cakey, 'And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon', Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester.

£35* for a two hour floral class starting at 6.30pm including tea or coffee, cakes and blooms. *Christmas Classes are £40 and start at 6.15pm.  Usually, all classes are finished by 8.15pm so that we can all be tucked up with a cocoa by 9pm.  Rock and floral roll.

We provide:
- Tea and cake on arrival, naturally
- All the things you'll need
- Blooms, right posh ones, like the ones you see at nice weddings
- Pinnies and scissors for you to borrow so you look the part
- Mucho natter about Strictly Come Dancing

You leave with:
- Your floral creation
- Secrets from the floral world
- Newly found skills and knowledge
- A full tummy and a cake addiction

To book, email with your name and the class or classes you're interested in.  Payment is required (via bank transfer) to confirm your place.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


A practice. To see if this upload works. If so it is outright marvellous. Hurrah!

You will see ranunculus, bupleurum, roses, seeded eucalyptus a some very chunky candles. You lucky sausages you.

Enjoy! (Pictures or sausages, I mind not either way)