The Father Christmas Letters the most magical book you will ever read, the letters from J.R.R. Tolkein to his children 1920-1938. Read it to your children, beguile lovers with it or curl up in an over sized armchair and read it to yourself. For me, memories of a very small village school in the Yorkshire Dales.
Back in the real world, everywhere seems to be lit by fairy lights, ladies carried bejewelled handbags, and the white elephant is still parading around.


Two Old Girls

Today has been a day of old school chums, fellow members of the esteemed Stamford High School Old Girls Guild. Firstly the wedding of Pippa at the wonderful Burghley House. Hurricane lamps will light the way to the Great Hall, where roses sit on cake stands and everyone will feast on roast beef.

Meanwhile back at the shop, my beautiful bespoke headband arrived from Kelly.

Beautifully packaged, and the most exquisite thing, I am blown away by it. I have sported it all day, and now have an order for an Emerald one for you from a customer! Have a peep at her Etsy shop. The Hound can feel a black and grey one coming on for the party season, he is a little that way inclined.
The Small Child has been helping out with hyacinth potting and bow making, she has got quite carried away. If anyone spots a girl with a thousand ribbons in her hair could you point her in the direction of the shop.


Fill your stockings

Make a feature on the mantelpiece with coloured candles a la Easy Living magazine. £1.50 each

Purchase Rosie Flo and Johnny Joe colouring books for your little darlings £5.99 each and don't require any batteries, SIM cards, remote controls or plug points which is a bonus.

Wrap them all up in our delightful paper £2 per sheet

Make fancy bows from our wired ribbon £2 per metre

Smugness gained form having Christmas sorted early: Priceless

Wreath making tomorrow, I forgot to photograph the steps today. If you read lots of blogs you might be a bit wreathed out as everyone seems to be banging on about them, so pop back on Saturday for pics of flowers from the wedding of the bride who has become rather affectionately
known as "The joint of beef per table bride"


The joys of being a florist number 56 and a half

Last night I popped to the pub for a cup of Earl Grey tea (beaucoup des Americans read this blog, and they love all that Englishness, but between you and I it was a gin)
When I left the shop I looked like this

2 minutes after stepping into the establishment I looked like this.

It is a phenomena known as florist face, it comes with working in the extreme cold, and then going into a warm room, it lasts for a good 2 hours and no fancy green anti-red foundation will have any effect, trust me I have tried them all, Still want to be a florist?

I was going to show you all how to make a wreath, but I seem to have suddenly gone a little weak at the knees.



Christmas Wreaths and fairy lights

Today was one of our Christmas Wreath courses, blue spruce, rosemary, myrtle, berried ivy, and holly were used as a base, and oranges, apples and cinnamon sticks wired in, all very fancy. The pictures are a little fuzzy - I blame this on the low light and not using a fast enough ISO and not the wine we all drank with our delicious lunch at The Tobie Norris. Fast ISO - I read that in a magazine, I have no idea what it means.

We hung them from the beams to admire whilst eating lunch. I had the meatballs for the 6th time in a row.

I had hoped to show you and the attendees a selection of wreaths I made up on Saturday afternoon - but we sold them. It seems Christmas is starting early with the good people of Stamford. Also don't tell The Mother Hen, but I may have put up some fairy lights and a few baubles on the twig trees Chez Miss P.

I have spent all day humming the tune If I were a boy by Beyonce. In my world the lyrics are a little different - If I were a boy, I would know whether you bleed radiators when they are on or off, I would not get my stiletto heel caught in the doormat at the petrol station, and I would most definitely not have found a brassiere attached to the twig trees, Easter was the last time they were used - one slice of Simnel cake and...... well I will spare my blushes.


Let's celebrate

Autumn doesn't have to mean the dreaded oranges and yellows of those supermarket bunches. Instead dusky roses and copper beech for an engagement.

Table flowers for a 50th birthday

A lot of buttonholes for a Ruby wedding do in London.

The Hound seeing a dusting of snow this morning has wanted to put up some Christmas decorations. We have had to explain that Christmas can't start until after my birthday - it's the law, he has spent the day sulking.

I have also discovered the merits of Google as a solver of domestic disputes, purchased a cherry red handbag, added Captain Slow to my laminated list, and eaten Stichelton (with Port - naturellement)


Flowers for a Friday

Nothing says I love you like a vintage perfume bottle filled with paper whites. May your weekend be filled with romantic gestures, lewd behaviour and new shoes.

Who has been sleeping in my bed?

The Hound is perturbed to find that an interloper has made herself at home in his bed and .eaten all the tripe sticks.


Miss Pickering and the flashers

As I trundle along the highways and byways of this great land, I am often flashed by lorry drivers (flashed by their headlights, and not anything else - I might add)

There is the "Please Miss Pickering after you" flash, as they let me out, or turn in front of them.

Then we have the common "Hey blondie, are those flowers for me?" flash.

Today the "You might want to take your foot off the gas little lady, that 3 series in front of you is an unmarked police car" flash.

How I wish there was a way of distingushing between the 3.


I want that one

Sex and the City wedding style. I am amazed it has taken as long as it has, but today a bride brought me this picture.

"I want a bouquet like this" - then that is what you shall have, only be a darling and wear the bird in your hair as well.

Does the property mis-descriptions act cover clothing? He wasn't.On another sartorial note, my "getting dressed in the dark" style, often involving the mixing of florals and stripes, has inspired The Small Child in her GSCE textile project. I am offically a muse. The Small Child is actually rather tall nowadays.

I really don't know what all the fuss is about, childcare is easy. Pop them in a box, leaving two hands free for making up bouquets and drinking Gin.


Puppy cam

Live Streaming by Ustream.TV

The Hound is rather jealous of these 6 puppies and their meteoric rise to stardom. He is currently doing a little preening, making his bed, positioning the webcam and hoping to go live tomorrow.


A weekend in pictures

Wedding flowers
Christmas has been brought to you by the colours red, white and glitter

Vintage cats in hats
The Hound wishing he too had a natty chapeau

This morningThis evening


Within these walls of grey

"In which year did you leave Stamford High School Miss Pickering?"
"That's the year we were born" reply the U5.

Picking myself up from the floor, I continued with my diatribe on life post school, to three different groups. They all listened intently, and put their hands up before asking questions. You would be hard pressed to find a more thoroughly decent group of girls.

Our school motto is Christ Me Spede, for the leavers of 1993 it was "Go grab the world by the b**lcks" and I think that was the gist of my talks, (don't worry Mrs Salt - I used slightly politer words)

The school has changed a little, the quad has been glassed in, the desks are newer, and the assembly hall is a very interesting shade of peach. The teenage angst over parents, A-Level and university choices were just the same as 15 years ago, and they all still go to Quayhole's.
The girls are now allowed to do CCF - it is hard to look ladylike in army fatigues, girls might I suggest accessorising with kitten heels? or at the very least a corsage.

This is of no interest to anyone other than an Old Girl -the Prep shelves have had a 60 minute makeover.


My dears, never mind Le Beaujolais Nouveau

Christmas est Arrivé.!
The Holly, The Ivy, The Blue spruce and the cinnamon sticks are here. Sample wreaths are being made up, the usual thing plastic Christmas roses and a bit of polyprop ribbon.

Of course most of our customers prefer a mixed foliage and fresh rose affair, made by hand the traditional way on a moss base, because these aren't just wreaths, these are Miss Pickering wreaths, (imagine it said in a husky voice) The Hound detecting the scent of dried oranges has taken to his bed.
The wreaths are available by mail order to anywhere in the UK, sorry we can't send them overseas. Prices are from £45- £150 plus delivery. Contact us by pony express with your door dimensions.

An assortment of Christmas things, we are going for a vintage pale blue and red theme today.

To the gentleman who sent me these today..... nice try, The Hound and I are rather partial to a fancy of fondant, but Butterscotch Pecan cake it ain't.


I will marry the first man

that brings me a slice of this cake, Butterscotch Pecan cake - Martha Stewart Living November 2008 (page 41)
If you are very good, tomorrow I might post some pictures of something flowery - just for something a bit different.

A work of art

The Boy Wonder painted by the most talented person I know, the wonderful Jo. She is taking commissions, and works from a photograph, shop fronts, houses and hounds a speciality. There is something rather magical about her work, absolutely everyone comments on the painting of the shop (see right) men in particular seem to be enthralled by it.


Orchids, roses, swans and leopard print shoes.

With bleary eyes, and high heeled shoes The Mother Hen and I arrived at the historic Burghley House at 7a.m. Negotiating several stairs and cobbles we unloaded the van and car and arranged les fleurs in a fancy manner.

Country meadow style pails of flowers and herbs

Buttonholes bound in my favourite sage green grosgrain.

Candelabras swagged in opulent vintage roses, and one of Dartmouth swans filled with the popular palette of dusky pinks.

Silver urn filled with orchids, so much nicer than one of those stiff triangular arrangements that you see all too often. you know the ones I mean, they resemble a flamingo standing on one black cast iron leg.
We had a wonderful day, met some lovely brides, bumped into old school chums, and managed to stand in the leopard print kitten heels for all but the last 15 minutes. The George Hotel were our neighbours, huge thanks to Emma and Katie who kept me in pralines for the day. We were flanked on our left by Tony and Javier from By appointment, a wonderful pair who live in a house of gilded walls and create the most beautiful events. I shall take The Hound to see Father Christmas at their grotto. Judging by the amount of enquiries we have had by email today, we will be very busy with weddings next year.
In case you were pondering on his whereabouts, The Hound stayed at home and was looked after by The Other Miss Pickering, her attempts to get him star jumping and performing situps fell on deaf ears. It seems there is a new form of canine Big Brother, and it is all I can do to tear him away from the laptop, not normally a fan of reality TV - this is highly addictive.
Huge thanks to The Captain, who provided us with a gastronomic feast and a gin - treats indeed.


Preparations continue into the night

The Hound is having to type this as I have stuck my fingers and one eyelid together with photo mount. He is actually a dab hand with a laptop, and should he decide flower retailing is no longer for him, would make a good executive assistant.
Leaving updating the portfolio until the last minute probably wasn't the best plan. I have gone through 6 printer cartridges and jammed the guillotine, but at least there will be something to look at tomorrow - which is nice.
We have made lots of splendid arrangements (pronounced the french way of course) I have also fashioned myself a jaunty hat out of real life roses, some people seem to think it might be a bit much, what with the leopard print shoes and all. If you were expecting to see a girl in a fleece tomorrow, I fear you are very much mistaken.
Is photo mount toxic?


Burghley Wedding Fayre - a sneak peak

The shop is brimming with all manner of flowers, lots of which will be making an appearance at Burghley on Sunday. What will be showing? I hear you ask. Things like this......
Actually these will form arrangements for other exhibitors who have ordered flowers to decorate their stands. Our designs are under lock and key until the day - or they would be if we didn't have a very small, completely open plan shop.

Tins filled with hydrangea to line the length of a long table, much nicer than doing one central design.


This week we have been mainly

Celebrating a McLaren Championship - I promise I will eventually stop talking about it.

Attending the birthday party of The Stamford Hen, or the AGM of the Coven as it is more commonly known. We all ate delicious things and drank lots of pinkness.

Heralding the return of winter bulbs, whilst panicking that this means Christmas is quite close.

We have also been fiddling about with flowers in martini glasses. I don't like this kind of vase, I see little point to them, they are much better filled with an espressotini.


To all residents past, present, and future of number 72 - the mulled wine, parkin, sparklers, worrying that the trees might catch, inappropriate footwear - Happy fireworks.