The boy wonder

The Hound has not been amused by the amount of rain today. He has spent much of the day standing around the shop looking pretty, and trying to persuade me to head to M & S and purchase some cocktail sausages.


A girl without portfolio

This Sunday I found myself in the very rare position of having a day off. No weddings to clear, no trade shows to attend, and no visits to far flung friends. I had been looking forward to this day for a while, a chance to read every word of the papers, garden, take The Hound on a long walk or try and tidy the garage. The weather wasn't pleasing to The Hound, who refused point blank to leave the house, and The Observer had the music magazine rather than the food monthly. Feeling at a bit of a loss, and having left it too late to head to a city for shopping, I baked some brownies. Normally I stick to Nigella's recipe, but decided to throw caution to the wind and try a new recipe form that Australian man Bill - seduced by the clever photography and artful styling that made them look healthy. 400g of chocolate, a slab of butter, a handful of nuts and some eggs later, the result was a bit heavy. In need of something savoury to counteract the sweetness, The Hound and I feasted on hot buttered toast with lashings of gentleman's relish and watched Pride and Prejudice. The garage remains untouched.


Preparing for New York

In 3 weeks time I am off to the big apple to give a talk and practical demonstration on the joys of being a florist and all round English rose!

When I was asked by the restaurant next door to give a talk to their ladies club, it seemed like a good idea to practise on them, before launching myself on a group of unsuspecting Americans. In my previous life as a high powered medical sales executive I had reason to talk to a number of groups of people - neurosurgeons mainly. Somehow a group of ladies that lunch seemed more terrifying. My plan was to dazzle them with floral arrangements in the hope that the beauty of the flowers would distract them from what I was actually saying. 15 arrangements later, and a change of footwear from practical ballet pumps to leopard print kitten heels, my talk began, I prattled on for 30 minutes (it was only supposed to be 15) and everybody clapped at the end.
The photograph is the rather bright arrangement i made using roses, Cherry brandy and Amalia, Protea Nutans, chins, buplerum and calendula., it turned out to be everybody's favourite. It sits on an old school desk we use as a work space - the old inkwell hole being very useful for string. You can also just see an old towel rail we use for our tissue papers


Miss Pickering and the mystery of the free range eggs

This morning I opened up the shop as usual and discovered a box of M&S free range eggs. As much as I like nothing more than a nice plate of scrambled (preferably on a slice of sourdough and some of that butter with huge chunks of sea salt in it) they didn't belong to me. The hound also denied having purchased them, as he isn't really an egg eating kind of dog. I have kept them safe and await their rightful owner to claim them.


Delicious cakes

Fresh flowers and delicious cakes a wonderful combination! Katie Watts at Couture-Cakes makes cakes that not only look stunning, but taste amazing as well, my personal favourite is the lemon, or perhaps the carrot, although on a Wednesday it has to be chocolate, rather difficult to choose, although it seems I am not the only one - brides often have more than one flavour. This weeks wedding Katie and I met at the marquee to assemble the cake, 3 tiers filled with Avalanche and Diadeem roses. www.couture-cakes.co.uk

The shop was freezing today, it is difficult getting the balance between sartorial elegance and avoiding frostbite, and I generally get it wrong on both fronts - sporting my unique "got dressed in the dark" accessorised with chattering teeth. The Hound however lies in the comfort of his basket next to the heater.

A weekend of Lily of the Valley

My favourite flower has been in abundance this weekend, a wedding called for a bridal bouquet of roses and herbs and stems of the scented wonder. I also bought it in potted form which flew out of the shop - it seems the flower reminds everybody of a mother, favourite aunt or a wedding. Line glass tank vases with moss, and add as many plants as you can afford. Enjoy inside and once over, plant in the garden for next year. I made such a gift for my god-daughter, Lilian, named after my grandmother who loved the flower.
Despite the rain we made it to the RHS garden Harlow Carr, a riot of daffodils and hyacinth brightened what turned out to be a drenching visit. The Hound very sensibly stayed at Mummy's for the day and feasted on Yorkshire pudding.