Weeton Army Barracks 26th July 2008

If ever you need a marquee Ken is your man, CK Marquees do the very best marquees we ever see, Ken is a bit of an acquired taste, a touch dry, a smidge negative, but what he doesn’t know about marquees isn’t worth knowing, we see loads of marquees and quite honestly Ken has it completely spot on, price, service, attention to detail and always prepared to go the extra mile. I mean he is one of those men, lets face it, there is a lot of them about that gives you the impression that what you are asking for is impossible, then he goes away has a bit of a think and comes up with the goods, which is the bit that makes him so special. Catherine his (long suffering) wife however is simply lovely, she has great taste (We did a special birthday function for her last year, and her choice of colours and d├ęcor in her own marquee was amazing!).

Any way the pictures are of a CK marquee we decorated on Saturday at Weeton Army Barracks.

Cathy & David's wedding 26th July

What a beautiful day on Saturday for a wedding, and lots of beautiful bridesmaids too. Romantic, Simple, Elegant, Intimate & Family celebration, these were our key words for Cathy & David’s big day. The service was absolutely lovely at St. Josephs’ and I’m sure the reception would have been spectacular too. Many Congratulations to Cathy & David.

Sara & Tom 25th July 2008

Sara, what a sensational dress, I love it. What a relief it was to hear Tom say that he loved the flowers, I am, as a rule very anxious to get the brides approval, but in your case I did feel Tom's seal of approval was essential. Congratulations to both of you!

Stewart "Stewy Vuitton" from S & P on Orchard Road did a fabulous job on everyones hair, I particularly liked Sara's the flowers were put in beautifully but Sara still looked natural, brilliant work! for those of you who might not know Stewart he is only slightly eccentric and carries his cat Oscar in a Louis Vuitton cat carrier, he definitely adds more than a touch of magic to a special day.
The lovely Jane from Pure Beauty (when anyone refers to Jane they always say "Ah the lovely Jane") she is amazing, she can make me even look good, she never makes me feel self conscious or unattractive and she does the best most natural looking make up I ever see at weddings, I can't say that she had her work cut out with this gorgeous bunch, but she did do great work all the same.
Caroline as ever at The Grand did the fastest turn around known to man, we really appreciate the effeciency there, it really does make all the difference working with people who really know their jelly beans.

The Best News Ever

Rebecca has recieved her acceptance letter from LAMDA, London Acadamy of Music & Dramatic Arts. Thank God we won the cookery show!. She will be leaving the Fylde for London at the end of August. We are all really, really proud of her.

Angel of Mercy

Hallelujah we’ve done it, we have managed to find some wonderful, fantastic, great human being to do the cleaning, I am so happy I can’t contain myself. We have tried before, it seems there is a snobbery among domestic management, we didn’t it seems have the correct post code, number of bedrooms or separate utility room, this makes us un-worthy. We did however have two teenage daughters this makes us double un-worthy. We work staggeringly seven days a week, we used to only work six and half and then it seemed like it was easier to stay at work than go home and face the housework. My mother is to blame for my a) work ethic and b) lack of domestication, she taught us to cook, appreciate beautiful things, choose a good man (I‘ve had a 50/50 success rate) and bring up children, but not how to clean an oven or a toilet. My mother in law who is truly a saint among women, does occasionally come over and do the ironing, she is also running a boot camp for my un-tamed daughters to teach ironing, cleaning (including emptying the Dyson, which Jason and I have never mastered). I however feel her efforts are wasted particularly on Rebecca, hygiene it seems doesn’t apply to her or the way she intends to live her life, Olivia however is tidy and does iron but not when “Jeremy Kyle” is on, or “Runs House” on Sky these shows seem to be on 24 7.
So Sheila is the angel of mercy prepared to take us on, prepared to re-arrange us, make us more user friendly, I offered Olivia as an un-paid assistant but Sheila declined, she seemed to understand the call of “Jeremy Kyle”.
The diet is not going well Emma made Birthday cake for Rosie & Rebecca, gorgeous chocolate cake, Emma is the queen of cakes, so in line with only eating good things, I had to have some, Jason & I shared one slice, it was delicious and approximately 300 calories but in the words of Rev Run “What yer gonna do?”
I’ve seen three new beautiful brides today, one with a wedding on New Years Eve, one on Maundy Thursday (Easter Thursday) and the other Christmas Eve 2009, so all on really important big dates. I love weddings around festival times, the guests are all much more family and party spirited. Speaking of wedding I got a really great email off Elizabeth Johnstone one of my brides’ mum’s from a couple of months ago…
“We have just had the DVD back. It is fabulous and we cried all the way through it!! AND I also bought all the rushes which are 4 DVDs of everything taken during the day. Boring for everybody else but brilliant for me and Siobhan. ANYWAY, you feature quite heavily on the rushes and we truly didn't realise how much effort you put in on the morning of the wedding. There's somebody fixing ties - Jane, somebody pinning flowers in - Jane, somebody telling the bridesmaids how to hold their bouquets - Jane, somebody telling Siobhan to walk slowly - Jane, and somebody getting unruly babies to walk properly - that will be Jane!!!! Before they came down the aisle the priest said”Now then, first of all 4 little ones are going to coming tearing down the aisle before the bride “AND THEY DID’NT!!Jane, you were fantastic and worth your weight in gold. The flowers in the church and the hall were simply stunning. People are still talking about them. I know I have said it before (more than once) but I can't really find the right words to convey my thanks for your help, your skill and for just being you. Look out for a little treat in the post next week for you and your team - just a small token of our thanks. Love Liz and Siobhan Oh, and the wedding are going to be featured in a magazine later in the year so look out for a credit!!”

Amazing Dinners & Apologies

What an amazing evening we had last night with Shannon & Peter, Andy (A Gastro sexual, just to confirm this means a man that cooks) & Emma. The food was so good and after discovering yesterday morning that I am in fact officially obese I decided that one “Last Supper” was essential and oh boy what a last supper. Shannon is incredible not only is she beautiful, artistic, creative and a fab mum but it also turns out she can really cook.
The trouble with obesity is that I have had a lot of practice at eating; consequently I have really high standards. I once read “French Women don’t get fat” I follow the mantra… don’t waste calories on rubbish food, only eat really good stuff, which I do, just too much of it as the nurse confirmed yesterday.
Shannon’s chocolate mousse in the vintage tea cups and saucers was just luscious, stuck to the roof of your mouth unctuous (is that a made up word?) I wish I could eat it again, but today it’s just veggie soup.
The worry is that by tonight I know I will have weakened, Rebecca’s birthday tea looms, Calamari & fillet steak, Lemon Tipsy drizzle cake (The tipsy bit is a glug of Limoncello). I’ve tried to convince myself that by the time I’ve cooked it I won’t want it, but I will. The answer is don’t cook it but that wouldn’t be fair on Bex so what the hec I’ll start the diet tomorrow.

Apologies; today I’ve had two, from the most unlikeliest of people, Jason was the first, he never says sorry, but this morning he did. I am quite honestly the very worst driver possible and going in reverse is damn near impossible, so this morning reversing was required to get into the parking “squeeze” behind the shop, I was driving “Bruiser” Rebecca’s little blue bombshell, I couldn’t do it, so I abandoned, handed the keys to the big guy and asked him to do the honours. Half an hour later he storms up to the office throws a parking ticket at me and shouts, I got upset a combination of PMT & lack of sugar, and he was eventually forced to apologise. Then total amazement when our very good friend Mark from No.1 rang and said straight away “Sorry for shouting at you yesterday” now the thing that worried me the most was that I hadn’t realised that he had in fact shouted at me the day before, am I getting thick skinned or are they de-sensitising me?, I decided to milk the apology for all it was worth because it probably won’t happen again, I wondered was he weakened by a lack of sugar and PMT too!

Birthday's Birthday's Birthday's

Our lovely Rachel was 21 on Saturday and is celebrating in style in Florida, we all wish her a Very, Very Happy 21st. Rosie is ?? today and I know she has enjoyed the best of days in the "middle" and will be celebrating at home with her great family tonight. My very own Rebecca will be 19 tomorrow and she had a beach party in a sand storm on St Annes Beach on Saturday night, surprisingly only her very closest friends weathered the storm and enjoyed very crunchy fairy cakes complete with candles that wouldn't stay lit long enough to be blown out.

"The Mighty Tangerines"

What a day, firstly today was our Television debut. Jason, Andy & I cooked our way to stardom. Cooking is very much like flower arranging in as much as you get fresh ingredients and process them into something utterly delicious. In my experience all florists can cook, they all cook with care, passion and attention to detail. If you ever get invited to a florists house for dinner, trust me, go, it’s going to be good. If you get invited to a fat florist’s house for dinner it is going to be exceptional and there will be lot of it, so ask if you can bring a goody bag for take homes. As it happens I know quite few fat florist cooks “FF gastro sexuals” some of them I am related to, others I have known a life time, all of whom are responsible for my steady increase in size.

Now the other week, Andy the original Gastro Sexual asked us to audition/screen test for a new cookery programme where amateur cooks pitch themselves against Michelin starred super celeb chefs. Andy had a couple of courses in the can and we needed to come up with a starter, this was all around the time of our major demonstrations for FD & Kathleen’s, I wasn’t really focused on the implications but thought that if we won and if in the unlikely event that Rebecca got into drama school financially it could be a great idea, so agreed. Then he sent a text on the day of Kathleen’s dem and asked for our recipe, said we had to bring it and the ingredients to the screen test the following morning, be at Andy’s by 9:00 am was the final text of the day. Fine Thursday is the day we have a farmers market, so Rosie buys me a black pudding, Jason goes to Lanigans and picks up some Lytham Bay Shrimps, whilst there he spots some gorgeous scallops so buys those too, we are thinking lets keep it local, promote Lancashire/Fylde Coast, we had unfortunately, no clue what to do with the fab ingredients.
Then after sticking everything the fridge, we troop off to Blackpool, we demonstrate, we party, we talk, we raise loads of money for the Hospice, we pack up and go home, it is now 1:30 am. Alarm goes off at 6:00 we get showered & dressed with our eyes closed, (When I was only slightly younger I could do this whole no sleep thing and still, as I believed at the time perform brilliantly). We set off, Rebecca’s friend Sarah had had a great idea of matching aprons, so we stopped off at 24hr Tesco and bought the uniform, vertical striped butchers aprons (Gok says this will elongate me).
We come off the motorway at Blackburn and remember that our ingredients are still in the fridge, Don’t panic we decide, Andy will kill us, he will as is his way (Totally anal) have everything for his recipes, labelled, in little Tupperware’s in a purpose bought chiller bag, unfortunately for him this is not our way, we are more fly by the seat of our pants for anything that isn’t work, ask my children (we have been known to buy the new school uniform on our way to school for the first day of term).
We spot a huge farm shop Huntley’s, not open yet, but people are cleaning, we knock on the door and look beseechingly, they open up for us, we race around throw things in the basket now we’ve added oranges and Tarragon god knows what I am going to do with those.
Andy is seriously impressed with our uniform he requires a little elongation himself. We get to the screen test which is more of a semi final, other teams are sat around tables being interviewed. Charlotte is our minder and refers to us as “The Mighty Tangerines” I am worried, I am rotund no doubt, have I overdone the fake tan? Andy it appears has chosen this flattering team name without consultation. We do OK the producer has a passion for Black pudding and suggests we change our team name to the “Might Black Puddinglians” I’m sorry but this is even more insulting, so I refuse without consultation. A couple of weeks later we get a call inviting us to go to London for the actual show. The rest as they say is history, for those of you that didn’t see it we won!
For those of you that did here are some answers to FAQ’s
· No I didn’t know who Paul Rankin was
· No he isn’t really my favourite chef Gordon Ramsay is.
· Yes I did dance with Anton Du Beke
· And yes it was one of the best experiences of my life
· And No I didn’t injure him
· John Burton Race is actually as grumpy in real life as he appears
· Yes he was genuinely hacked off that we had beaten him.
· No we don’t like Tuna
· Yes we did pronounce clafoutis incorrectly
· Yes we absolutely did unashamedly promote Lancashire cos we love it.

Lytham Zanzibar Cocktail

The Clifton Arms did a wonderful job as usual on Saturday evening, Dianne & Andy looked totally sunkissed. Pale pink roses, Blush pink Peonies and the Vanilla Orchid from Zanzibar.

"Trolls" in the cave

So in "The Middle" which is a huge no frills warehouse/work room space where we create all our wonderful event/wedding designs, this is where "Rosie disposition" (a touch of irony here) reigns Rosie was trained at "Constance Spry" many moons ago, she does the most magnificent wired work imaginable, but is the untidiest being that ever lived. Rosemary is famous for her "sucking lemons face" and making the best handles on bridal bouquets.
The picture on the left is Rosie & Ben in the alley between the middle and Fd the other piccy is Rosie (Left) and Vicky in "the middle" preparing for a wedding. Vicky & Shirl work with Rosie on Thursdays and Fridays, when all of the fresh flowers come in. Rosie does all the preparation at the beginning of the week and through the summer we have a few stalwart students that come back from Uni's to assist her, some even return after they've left uni and started full time employment. Zoe is one such being, she started at FD when she was 15 she is now 24 and a primary school teacher, she works with us almost every summer and as many of the peaks that coincide with school holidays as she can.

Zoe and Mark July 19th 2008

Just how beautiful are these bridesmaids?

Totally amazing day, everyone looked great, what a lovely family. It was like working with the "A" team, the fantastic Chris Astbury doing gorgeous photographs, Sol creating hair to die for, The Graham Fenton experience and the wedding breakfast at Garstang Golf and Country Club who could ask for more. Congratulations you two!

Talented designers at Flower design

We have lots of talented florists in our team, all of them have a back ground in art... Shelley is on the left and Shirl on the right.

Flower Fairies & Fairy Castles

This is the second of many "bloggings",First of all let me introduce you to the team of “Flower Fairies” and give you a little guided tour I apologise in advance for the length of this second blog...

We have two flower shops, Kathleen's in Blackpool & Flower Design in St. Annes. We have a refrigerated unit just down the alley behind Flower Design, and between "The Fridge" & "FD" we have a workshop known as "The Middle", up stairs at FD we have a bridal suite "Sally's office" and a small staff room/kitchen. Flower Design's shop floor is divided into 5 spaces/rooms.

The first room on the right is the heavenly “Flower Room” with a bank of the most beautiful seasonal flowers imaginable, the fragrance and colours bombard you as you come in the front door. On the left is the “Blue Room” it hasn’t been blue for about eight years but the name has remained, in the blue room we have small tableau’s of life style desirables with a flower twist, this month we’ve been all about garden parties, from bunting to lanterns, butterflies to Kites, we have loads of fabulous designer vases and some much more user friendly utility glass ware.
On the left at the back is a quiet room for customers who would like a little privacy, this area is “Jason’s Office” and where he organises staff rotas and amazing FD seating plans for weddings & events.
At the back in the centre is the “Flower Theatre” we have a couple of bar stools in front so that, the most important people in our lives, fantastic flower buyers can sit and watch their purchases being created into something utterly gorgeous. This area is Rachel’s domain she is the shop manager, she has a great team of young designers that work with her, Jo has a degree in photography and produces some of the most modern and innovative designs, Shirl who is probably the most conscientious and immaculate florist I have ever worked with, Ellie, Emily and Little Jane who all make really beautiful creations.
Back right is the “Back room” everyone has one, it’s the drawer in the kitchen you don’t want any one to open, but contains all the essential paraphernalia to make anything.
Emma has a degree in fine art and is part of the management team she oversees all of the downstairs, she checks everything before it leaves the shop, she ensure that there is always lots of pick up and go posies in the door way and that the flower room and shop front look absolutely spot on.

Sally’s office is where we see all of our Brides & Grooms, Sally is our bridal & events co-ordinator, she is really quite bossy but extraordinarily well organised so we love her. The bridal suite is a really pleasant space with a huge plasma screen to show our enormous portfolio and lots of beautiful albums provided by some of our favourite photographers. This is where I show the sample wedding bouquets and our Brides have an opportunity to hold them, see themselves in the mirror possibly draped in our previously loved many times before wedding dress.

I will introduce you to the team in the middle, the drivers and Kathleen’s next time

Flowers and Frivolity

This is the first of many regular bloggings, so it's the start of what we're sure will be a beautiful relationship. We just want you to be a part of the daily perkiness and pleasure bubbling in our flower shops, so really we're doing you a favour. Where to start ... well, the past month has been crazy, we've had Channel 4 filming in the shop, for one of our biggest and most fanatical flower buyers, we've had a slightly peculiar visit from fifteen Finnish florists, I don't know how we coped with the attention, I really don't! On top of this fine pile of excitement we also held two, count them, two of our own major events. One held in a snazzy marquee on the front of the shop, from the fantastic Ken at C K Marquees who somehow managed to achieve the impossible for us, with incredible edible flower canapes, from the tasty Paul Rowley, wine tastings, by the gastronome that is Andy Cornwall somellier to the stars, and loads and loads of flowers, by us, all the ingredients of a beautiful life really. The second was held in a local boutique hotel, consisting of similar extravagances plus, as if that wasn't enough, a detailed nosy round the luxury hotel Number One South Beach, with the glamourous guide Claire Smith, her husband Mark's magnificent, mansize munchies and Graham and Janet's punchy Pimms Cocktails, made it just as ebulliant as we like it . Both of these delightful twilights were in aid of close to heart charities; The Arthrogryposis Group, Breast Cancer Research and Trinity Hospice. See, don't believe the frenzied, media hype, it not all chocolate sunflowers and forget-me-nots we really do care.

The Flower Design and Kathleen's teams work their absolute hardest to make peoples' days, that's what its all about! What better way to do that on the most lovely and magical of ways, wedding days. We add that extra special sprinkle and excitement to all our weddings and everyone is given our upmost happiness and creativity. Want to see more check out our website at http://www.flowerdesign.co.uk/

We get all this excitement alongside buckets more fascination and chirpiness every day. See you soon x

Lovely Summer Pink Wedding at Copp Church & Ferraris

Welcome to the very gorgeous Copp Church on a lovely July Day, Sarah & Richard have chosen a very English selection of fresh flowers for their wedding including these magnificent White Delphiniums and Peonies in these majestic Church Pedestal arrangements.

The Church Doorway is dressed with a floral frame with hanging lanterns

We've used fragrant lilies and peonies on the windowsills

Tiny Rose buds for the junior page boy

Where as the bigger boys wore exquisite "Sweet Avalanche" Roses & fresh lily of the valleyThe lovely Bridesmaids were wearing an antique pink shade and their bouquets toned beautifully I included, Sweet Avalanche & Aqua Roses alongside Captain Romance Calla Lilies & Stargazer Lilies (The Brides Favourite Flower)

The Little Flower Girl carried amagic wand decorated with fresh flowers
Sarah looked totally gorgeous and carried a cascade bridal bouquet

Bridesmaids pink wedding bouquet
Flower Girls Magic Wand

The Brides Cascade wedding Bouquet in shades of pink
Huge congratulations to Sarah & Richard

Sarah's lovely mum wore a complimentary pale pink corsage

I included Lily of the Valley, Singapore Orchids, Roses and Lilies
Little Jane with the basket of fresh Rose Petals

Then to Ferrari's for the celebrations
The top table had a dramatic centre piece with candles and then we used small Goldfish bowls to the outer reaches of the table.

We arranged a Flower Design floral framed seating plan

Some of the tables were dressed with tall conical vases containing hand ties
We used fresh rose petals in the jelly that filled the vases

Other tables had a lower design; Goldfish Bowls with a candle in the centre and fresh flowers and grasses encircling the interior

The cake table was sprinkled with fresh rose petals and crystals

This was a fabulous day and Ferrari's looked fabulous

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