MARTHA AND THE MEADOW - SHILLINGSTONE, DORSET
hello@marthaandthemeadow.com 

Time to get personal - Part 2

February 1, 2017

Firstly I wanted to thank all who took the time to read my last blog and your feedback, it meant a lot and I am so glad that some of you have even had the pleasure of watching my favourite movie WIND!

 

As  promised I would share with you how flowers became such a big part of my life and how I ended up swapping them for my sailing boots.

 

So why flowers.. 

Like so many creative individuals will tell you -   it stems back to my childhood! They are so true!  Back then with my blonde curls,  I was a bit of a free spirit as a child, with an over active imagination and was quite happy living in my own world! I would run around the fields dressed head to toes in cloth kits, believed wholeheartedly that fairies lived down the lane. I would always have flowers in my hair and was happiest in my element getting in a big old scruffy mess.

 

Other than being happiest out at sea, I was always happiest in the garden. I clearly remember spending hours in my Nanny's Garden making rose petal perfume, peering in to her 1930's huge wooden greenhouse like it was another world. Climbing trees and helping Daddy in the vegetable patch at the bottom of the garden! He even wrote me a poem about how the vegetables used to get up and fight in the middle of the night! (then read it out at my wedding!!!).

 

 

From an early age I had already begun using flowers to decorate.. the whole family making endless garlands to adorne the beams within the cottage. Helping Mummy make floral ice bowls and vases full of flowers for her wild and wacky parties! Being able to create things that you could find from the garden and out in the wild was a joy and something that made me happy beyond belief! The thing is when you are younger you sometimes do not realise that simple joy is the key to it all. 

 

Like us all, lives can take us down many a path - choices are like the wind and can send you in many a different direction! I battled between the path of what was expected of me, finding my creative flair and my total love of sailing.  I briefly dabbled post University working in an event design team as a junior in the city.  However, I found I was spending every spare minute on the Thames rowing and realised my love of the water was a stronger pull to me at that point of my life than ribbon, flowers, and a staple gun!

 

So I went running back to the coast and for the next 5 years and immersed myself in running a small sailing charity...followed by nearly a decade travelling the globe and running Superyachts for individuals and working as a private chef. I was happy, really happy and many had thought that I had found my creative streak in cooking; I was good at it, really rather good at it! But I will let you in to a secret I was pretty much living life on the edge of my seat and felt like I was totally winging it! No plate was ever served up without me feeling nervous...

 

When I should have been menu planning, I found myself looking at Martha Stewart's website swooning over  flowers. I started ordering fresh flowers for the yachts, rather than traditional Orchids and after a little while I started doing all the arrangements myself. Confidence grew and I realised that maybe I just needed to swap the food for flowers as an ingredient to create and design with.

 

Slowly but surely I was starting to find the first steps to a path that felt right, comfortable and confident in. Within days of stepping ashore I began a floristry course. It was a huge jump and judgement call, but it seems to be paying off!

 

Flowers have a pull to many people.. for me they are ingredients to create. Their colour shade, their textures, form and scent all add to the recipe. The endless possibilities to design, from the vessel, the seasons, the occasion and reason all add to the excitement of what you can create.  That no one arrangement is ever really the same, that each season has the excitement of new arrivals. In a way it really is so much like cooking, choosing your ingredients, the best the season has to offer, creating and presenting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from chef to florist... 

 

 

 

 

 

The joy of picking fresh sweet peas in June and putting them in a vase is no different than cutting the first of the summer courgettes and sweating them down in butter with fresh herbs for me. It is just that when it comes to flowers I feel more comfortable, confident and more like me!

 

Like many I am trying to stretch my abilities and grow more of my own stems during the summer months and as I sit here starting to plan the allotment and work out what blooms will be going where, I still can't resit keeping part of it from some home grown fresh veg too!

 

My dream watching WIND when I was 12 was to be the next Tracey Edwards, sailing the globe.. funny thing is when I was sailing the globe I was dreaming of being the next Constance Spry or Martha Stewart.. the one big thing those two amazing women have in common is their ability to love food and flowers simultaneously! So maybe I am in pretty good company! x x

 

 

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