B L I N D D A T E S
What with approximately 1,673 boxes to unpack, children’s school, social and activity calendars to sort, new routines to unravel, and that trivial diary entry often referred to as ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ (ahem) looming, I knew I wouldn’t have much time for flowers at the back end of last year.
We moved to York in the November, after a year-long, and at times fairly fraught, campaign to sell our London house and buy up here, in my beloved hometown. If I’m being honest, I felt pretty frazzled and low after the whole thing, which took me by surprise because getting to York, into this very house and back near to my family, had been my end goal for so long.
Luckily, after Christmas comes that week of luxurious limbo, when you’re genuinely allowed to have a red wine at 11am and cheese consumption increases by approximately 70%. I love it. We chose to fill this time with hosting friends and family in our new home (despite the lack of oven and sub-zero temperatures in the kitchen) and I slowly settled into the realisation that I no longer had a house to buy, or sell, or move into in 2023, and that I could focus my energy back on the areas I loved the most: my family, friends and flower business (genuinely questioned which way round they should go.)
January for me has been a month of making connections. I’ve been on at least two blind dates a week with potential freelancers, flower growers, florists, photographers, brand consultants – I even went for coffee with
Rachel, a humanist celebrant, who is well versed on the York wedding scene and, as it turns out, lives a five-minute walk away. I’ve met some utterly lovely people, like Sarah who runs Wild Bee Flower Farm and grows flowers five minutes from my mum’s house. I’ve found it really enriching, and realise I need more of this in my life – the blind (or hopefully second!) dates will continue.
I’ve also spent time planning my year and what I’m going to be focusing on. I’m going to target weddings again in a big way, as well as bespoke installation commissions. And I’m going to be running more workshops this year, because I simply love them. I’ve started to create my workshop space, which is housed in a brick outbuilding in our garden. Slight low point when my dad looked up at the roof and, slowly shaking his head, told me it wasn’t safe to work under. Granted, I can see daylight through it and there are many dubious planks of wood balanced on the rafters, but nothing is insurmountable! And in the meantime, I’m creating a lovely teaching space in our dining room, which has a door leading onto the garden and doubtless fewer drafts.
It felt really daunting to me at times, knowing I would have to start from the beginning to establish a floral reputation in a new city, albeit one I love and know well. There is a lot of work ahead, but I’ve made a start, and that feels really good.