My life in flowers

Whimsical wedding bouquet with peonies by Jody Page

I type this blog post with a huge smile on my face.

At this very moment I have over 400 Instagram Likes on the photo of my very first wedding bouquet and there are now nearly 1000 people following my flowery escapades on Instagram. I couldn’t possibly be any happier.

My life with flowers has been an interesting one. I suppose in a way floristry found me, not the other way around as you might have imagined. Cheesy I know, but please bear with me.

I didn’t set out to be a florist, although I have always loved flowers. When I got married I struggled to find a florist who could interpret what it was I wanted for my wedding and in the end we actually didn’t have flowers on our tables! As my friend often reminds me, we were ahead of the times having a traditional afternoon tea with three tier cakes stands stacked high with cucumber sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and a selection of delicious cakes. It was beautiful and my compromise on not having flowers. If I’d known that I could arrange them then of course I’d have done my own, but back then I had no confidence for that sort of thing.

So fast forward three years and 2014 was tricky in many many ways. I hit a real low point and I needed to pick myself back up and reassess things.

I decided a blog would be the perfect answer but mid technical hitch ( read nightmare) I decided WordPress was way to complicated for me. In a moment of procrastination I landed on the website (for the 1000 time!) of Tallulah Rose Flower School. They are renowned for their flower school run by the wonderfully talented Rachel. The courses all looked and sounded amazing but at over £1000 a pop they were way to professional for someone like me. At this stage I wasn’t even sure I could ‘do’ flowers. I simply found them beautiful.

As I began to look through the Tallulah Rose blog I spotted they were offering a competition to win a place on one of their courses. I thought my eyes were deceiving me for a minute!

But, the end date was that very day and you needed to write 500 words about flowers and what they meant to you. I wasn’t sure I’d have time. As the clock edged closer to midnight I knew I needed to give it a try though. So late in the evening I began to write. I poured my heart into those words and all the years of looking at flowers from afar and admiring their beauty were soon written down on a page. A few weeks later Rachel emailed me to say that Rona Wheeldon – a renowned floral writer, had loved what I’d written and so they were inviting me to London to join their course.

In October last year I headed down to Brixton East in London to join the Tallulah Rose Flower School.  It was a whole new world to me. Not least because I was heading down to South London from my little village in the Worcester countryside! Brixton East is just the coolest location with its exposed brick, reclaimed wood and so much light. A real treat for an admirer of good design. If you ever have the chance I highly recommend taking a visit.

I was greeted by a beautiful dark haired girl with a beaming smile who offered me blueberries and pancakes which were being cooked on a little stove. Her name was Emma Soulsby of Ladybird Flowers, and she’d done a Tallulah Rose course a few years earlier. She’s London based and Rachel had invited her along to welcome the new students and help out during the course. I explained I’d won a place on the course and suddenly felt quite emotional at the magic of the whole situation.

It wasn’t long before we were invited upstairs to meet with Rachel and her right hand woman, Saffy who was also teaching on the course.

As I headed into the room I was mesmerised by all the flowers sat beautifully in the corner waiting for us to begin working with. It was a real ‘pinch yourself’ moment and I couldn’t wait to get started.

During the course of three days I made floral creations I never in my wildest dreams thought I could ever do. All using the kind of floral combinations I always wished I could use.

The first item was a meadow crate full of wild, whimsy flowers. Then I made a huge picture frame installation which I worked on over two days. Of course I look back now and think of all the ways I could improve it but back then it was the best thing I’d ever made. We also made hand tied arrangements and floral crowns using wires and tapes, and lots of patience!

Florists had travelled from all over the World to attend the course  – and there was little old me sat at the front of the room not quite sure how I’d arrived there but beaming from ear to ear.

The time passed by in a blur of flowers and fun.

On the last day we spent time with the special guest Philipa Craddock who talked us through how she had come to be a florist and her inspiring story really resonated with me. She’d come to the end of her time of working in the city and wanted to work from home so she could spend time with her children. She began arranging flowers from her kitchen table at home. The rest I guess is history now. She said lots of things which inspired me and fuelled the fire inside me to change a few things in my life.

In March 2015 I left my full time role in marketing for a big UK retailer. I’d been in full time employment for over ten years and I wanted to follow some dreams.

But I guess that’s a story for another day.

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