Gilding the pumpkin

If like me you are not really feeling carved pumpkins this year, why not coat them in gold? Unless you are seriously rich, I would advise gold leaf, and just do a bit of each pumpkin.

The size you use to adhere the leaf smells and not in a pleasant way....don't say i didn't warn you.

Arabian nights

An arrangement of hibiscus, chilli, mint, dahlias, anemones and amaryllis...inspired by last nights supper.

The Hound keen to explore his Arab heritage for his upcoming appearance on BBC's "Who do you think you are?", requested a Bedouin evening. Whilst he got creative with silks and floor cushions, I prepared a feast.
Cous cous spiced with cardamon, cumin, clove, coriander and any other herb beginning with the letter C, finished with spiced aubergines and pomegranate seeds. Honeyed figs, and a happy chicken made accompanying noises. We sipped mint tea and gin, and later, after more gin The Hound performed the dance of the 7 veils.

The recipe for the cous-cous was a hybrid from about 8 books, pouring over cookery books is a great hobby of mine, I have several thousand, and we are currently revisiting Nigella's Feast. I am fascinated by the section on Jewish food. It could be Gefilite fish next week.


There's no business like showbusiness

During the wedding season, our little shop gets taken over by roses, peonies, jam jars and swatches of ivory fabric. Sometimes it can be difficult for people not of a bridal nature to fight their way through the organza, and make a purchase. For this I apologise, and The Hound has spent the last 2 days, putting the shop back together. He has unearthed some beautiful vintage pots, 8 pairs of florist scissors and a gentleman who came in to buy some flowers in March, Seemingly very happy surviving on Caramac bars and reading back copies of Brides magazine. So far the changes have brought about several complaints....the shop is too tidy.

A friend emailed me an article that states Sagittarians are twice as likely to succeed in show business as any other star sign. They cited Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Donny Osmond as examples of Sagittarians doing well.

It seems we are driven, ambitious and broad-minded but at times argumentative and blunt. I plead guilty to argumentative and blunt, and will think about X factor as next year's project.


Politics and royalty

Eventually we will get to the flowers....
The other evening Mr F and I dined with a former Prime Minister, there were quite a few other people there too. I had so-so soup, a trio of indeterminable fish and cheese for those interested in the culinary aspects of this encounter.
The speech was good, a lot of Mr F's views confirmed...he was tickled pink by that, it seems not being Prime Minister makes you a better statesman. The evening was quite splendid, lots of "hear hear" a sprinkling of hypocrisy and I counted 4 men sleeping at the next tables.

With that addressed we can move on to Les fleurs. Regardez if you will the above bouquet, this was a minor Royal wedding in September. What are your thoughts?
Nice? The cream flowers look yellowy making her dress look a bit cheap? A bit of foliage wouldn't go a miss?
Well whatever your thoughts Caroline Marshall-Foster editor of Florist and Wholesale Buyer, thinks this sort of bouquet is what we should all be pushing. Not as she describes a "roundy moundie" of roses hand-tied, which appear to require no skill. Apparently pushing classic shower style bouquets is the way to raise the bar of floristry.

In my humble opinion I think the way to raise the bar in floristry is to ensure the bride has something she wants, that suits the style of her dress, figure, and theme of the wedding. A traditional shower style bouquet might be just the thing for a Royal wedding, where one poses formally in front of one's palace, but as the majority of weddings are less formal and use reportage style photography, I disagree that the wholesale marketing of a "Sophie" bouquet is wise.
Selecting the right flowers and foliage to go into a bridal bouquet is skill enough. We don't all do domes of Aqua roses.

I didn't let it lie.


A strange week

1. Rosa Oleysa, my new favourite thing
2. The shop has been full of white flowers
3. The Hound has slept a lot.

Didn't you used to be Prime minister?
Another round of French Toast?
How is that new hair product working out for you?
Do you sell wire? I need to pick a lock.
FWB editorial, tackle it or just let it lie?

Answers to all of these questions very soon.
Auf weidersehen xoxo


The Burghley Wedding Fayre November 8th 2009

Gosh! can it really be that time of year again? It would appear so.
Do you remember last year? Well apparement this year is bigger and better, there is a Champagne bar.......
You can book tickets online...hooray how modern.
Yours truly will be in The Great Hall, with 1.The Mother Hen and 2.some folded aspidistra leaves and diamante studded roses. One of these statements is untrue....You decide which.
It is sure to be a fabulously inspiring day, you can probably choose a venue, a dress, a horse and carriage and a florist all on the same day.
Here are some top tips from somebody who has been to two wedding fayres in her whole life.
1. You will get a goodie bag for filling with leaflets, so you probably just need to bring a small clutch bag.
2. Wear flat shoes, there will be a lot of things to see, and you might want to stroll around the grounds.
3. Don't come armed with your 6ft foamex mood board, save that for a one on one consultation. Pop a few fabric swatches in your clutch instead.
4. If you are getting married in September....BOOK everything you haven't already at the fayre, it is the most popular month to get married at the moment.
5. Sharpen your elbows, it gets busy.

Anybody who is coming in the hope of getting a glimpse of The Hound or Mr Ferrari will be disappointed, they will mainly be doing boy things that day.
I will have a crisis over what to wear, so if it turns out to be one of my more eclectic looks, just smile. Last year I fashioned a little headpiece out of Grand Prix roses...fancy.


Sweet disposition

1. Gotta love a man that brings you cake on a morning.
2. Inside a tulip.
3. I want a weekend in Paris, another Eiffel Tower print will have to suffice for now.
4. I love, love, love this song serious road trip stuff, a map, a thermos, and the open road.



1. A gift of the biggest pomegranate the world has ever seen, direct from Istanbul, recipe ideas anyone?
2. Buckets of Autumn
3. Customers wearing the most peculiar shoes


My life would suck without you

Thumbs Up
Pumpkins and chilli plants, I love the gnarled ones.
Kelly Clarkson
New sandwiches at Marks
Finally measuring The Hound. Nose to tip of tail 1.93m, this is with the tail straight, which never really happens in real life. Foot to shoulder 79cm.
A wedding free weekend, the second this year - what the devil to do?
Visitors to the shop

Thumbs down

Dropping a box of pins 2,500 pins
Another one? Will there be any of us left?
Postal strikes
George Clooney having surgery - we love the distinguished wrinkles or is that just me?

Laters baked potatoes xoxo


I'll take 2 dozen

I have to credit Dear Leen of The Flower Boutique for providing the material for this post.
FYI.....She doesn't sell them in her shop.

Who knew you could get printed roses? These certainly give Aqua a run for their money.

Fuzzy felt

Yesterday I spent the late afternoon playing fuzzy felt. Do you remember it from back in the day? The iconic shapes, jumping dog, girl with ponytail etc? Did you know it was conceived in the Second World War by a lady who cut gaskets for tanks in a shed? Well you do know, file it away for the next game of Trivial Pursuits or the pub quiz.
I was joined in this session of fuzzy felting by The Very Polite Young Boy
It soon became evident that i was far more interested in creating pictures out of felt offcuts than he was, there was something rather wonderful about just creating. No need to worry about shelf life, whether it was commercially viable, or rude customers....I have had a right chestnut today.

Next week? pictures from macaroni.

In honour of all things fuzzy, i have discovered the glow function on Picasa. Hi-tech stuff.



I have an awkward customer, I say customer but actually they have never bought anything. They come in once every few months, and ask for for something I don't have. I think it is a game, or the reenactment of the Margaret and Roy Sketches from Little Britain.

The general public, gotta love 'em


Baby it's cold outside

1. Even I have given up the flip-flops. Ballet pumps and fishnet stockings are the order of the day. This is the first official "foot" shot, we can now pronounce ourselves a proper blog.
2. Todays bouquets are being warmed up with orange chilli peppers and crocosmia.
3. Penhaligon's Love Potion is my winter signature scent.
4. Leonidas rose love it or hate it...I can't decide.It should be perfect for this time of year, but there is something about it that is a bit contrived, is it too perfect?

Last night with the fire on, we feasted on cheese and butter with truffles in it. I LOVE truffles, the earthy, musky taste is like nothing else.
Whilst I tried desperately to concentrate on newsnight, The Hound and Mr Ferrari practiced their magic tricks. It seems they are planning a career change, The Hound already a member of the magic circle, has recruited Mr F as his glamorous assistant......you can expect a UK tour of village halls to be announced very soon.

Other topics of conversation have been, Come Dine with Me, it seems the whole of Stamford are into competitive dining, Mandelson for leader? should the big table go back where it was? What is the weather like in Istanbul? Which image to use for the advert?


Anemones and sloe gin

No rest for the wicked, a 90th birthday party at Burghley House, lots of anemones.
The Hound tired from a day of frolicking in autumnal leaves.
A sloe gin update, it is now the colour of Benylin, The Aristocrat is adamant it is ready.....

Rosehips and dahlias

An autumnal wedding at The George.

The bright red was in honour of Manchester United - apparently this is football team.

It was also in honour of the FOB's love for Ferrari, I slipped a picture of the World Champion in his flowers.


National Wedding Show

Ballet pumps on? Bridal folder under arm? Why then you must be heading to the NEC to the National Wedding Show. Be sure to stop by stand B12 and visit Emily Quinton, wedding photographer extraordinaire. One of those field pictures is of Hayley and Tim, and where the devil did she get those flowers?...xxx

What would my mama do, if she knew about me and you

This weeks wedding is sponsored by Pixie Lott, and The Mother Hen is here.
The shop is bustling, friends visiting from London, and The Hound has his Pig's ears from the farmers market. Yesterday's cows ear remains untouched, this new low fat snack has not met with his approval.

Topics of conversations have included, dahlias to lift or not to lift? Quince jelly, will Massa return for the last race? (I think not, and probably never again) and that rumour........

We had a venison burger for breakfast.


Now the party's over

So far this morning we have
Listened to Roxy Music....Avalon
Voted for a double breasted tux
Eaten a cheese and red onion toastie loving made by Sue at the Hair House.
Made up some bouquets.
Solved the mystery of the missing mixing bowl - were you wondering?
Had a visit from Monsieur Le Grump.
Discovered that conker championships are merely a smokescreen for real ale drinking and pipe smoking. The Hound rolled in at 3a.m.

Has your morning been equally as exciting?


Blue spruce and mixing bowls

This is the single worst quality picture ever posted. A Blackberry is no 40D, but it was all i had at the time.
Yesterday the air was filled the scent of blue spruce and holly, not than holly is scented. To most this is evocative of mince pies, presents, carol singing, to a florist it is evocative of 24 hour days, the flu and layers upon layers of clothing.
It was all in aid of a magazine photo shoot, 4 things to do in the home for Christmas. I fear the picture of me will be horrendous, I have a tendency to grimace at a camera, I just don't have the confidence to look cool, sophisticated or knowledgeable. I did manage to get a manicure, bright red nails, that is sure to set the cat amongst the pigeons.

There is a strange wind blowing again, the furniture in the shop has moved around and the new window is somewhat minimal.

The Hound and The Aristocrat have gone out for the day.........to a conker championship.


Por una cabeza

I love this colourway, warm ivory, browns, and dare I say it......peach. Today's bridal bouquet, a warm ivory and gold dress and boys in uniform.

It has been a busy day in town, Stamford School Open day has meant an influx of Range Rovers and Bentley Continentals. There is a distinct unwritten dress code for this sort of thing. Boys MUST be in something a la Jack Wills, fathers in jeans and jacket, pinstriped or tweed depending on age and how old the money is.
For the mothers/wives there are 3 distinct categories, depending on which wife you are.
First Wives club - tweed, sensible shoes, Labrador hairs.
The "difficult" second wife - designer all the way, probably Armani, sunglasses a must, the botox needs topping up.
The Third "Daddy please let it be the last" wife - DVF wrap dress, eyebrow raising heels and a smile, these ladies are pre-botox, smiling is still possible.

Now if you will excuse me, I feel a tango coming on.



You're gonna make me, make me love you take 2

We are all Girls Aloud here, this post also seems to have posted itself without the words, so apologises if you get it twice in your RSS feed - i don't actually know how that works.

We are currently loving things in vintage pots.
Receiving gifts of home grown dahlias from fabulous customers.
Feeling cold, time for stockings and a goodbye to the flip flops.
Still thinking about how delicious Cromer Crab is.
Planing a weekend of scrumping the Mother Hen's garden for holly berries and ivy, for Tuesday's photo shoot.....might also need to dust away a few cobwebs.
The Hound has a spring in his step, which makes for a nice change.

Next week we have a guest blogger...Mr Ferrari, can you contain your excitement?
He might tell you how to make the perfect chicken stock, or he may tell tales of the bygone days of the London Underground.....life is never dull.