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'Flowers at Home' Workshop - Frog Flowers, Manchester

I have, over the last few weeks and months, spent time with some of the nicest, most generous, funny and supportive women I've ever had the privilege to meet.  I've been all over Yorkshire and the North to have coffee, lunch and chat about future collaborations. For me, more that anything, it's been about making connections with like-minded souls. One of those amazing ladies is the ever so talented Manchester based blogger Susie who very kindly invited me along to a floristry workshop she had organised with the wonderful flower studio Frog Flowers in the Northern Quarter. So on Saturday I boarded a rather packed Trans-Pennine Express and headed off to Piccadilly. 

I love Manchester (which you are not really supposed to say if you live in Leeds!). It's a city that I don't go to as much as I should and I need to remedy that. I worked at Manchester Airport for a short time back in the mid nineties and I used to socialise in the city fairly regularly with my work colleagues. Manchester always reminds me of Glasgow, it has a similar vibe I feel and I genuinely love going over there. I do think it's great for lunch or shopping and I'll be visiting the renovated Whitworth Gallery soon (which Susie wrote about very recently on her blog).

When I arrived in the city,  I wandered down from the station  to the always excellent Fig & Sparrow where I met Susie and Karen for lunch. Fig & Sparrow is one of those cafes that always turns up on Instagram as the place to go for lunch in the Northern Quarter. Thankfully the food is as good as its interior and I would happily eat there everyday of the week if I lived closer. Seriously, the beans on toast are unbelievably good. I'm still thinking about it today. After a quick yet happy and chatty lunch we excitedly made our way to Frog

Owned by the fabulous Frenchman David, so it's pronounced Daahhvid, (who could fail to love that accent? I do love the French), Frog is a floral artistry studio that provides spectacular displays for fashion shoots, weddings, installations aand events as well as a flower school held in the basement. Frog run courses in Flower Crown making, Flowers at Home and DIY Wedding Flowers. Susie had arranged for us to attend the 'The Flowers at Home' Workshop where we would be making bouquets and learning the 'spiralling' technique.  It was also a great opportunity to meet some other Northern bloggers - Antonia, Karen and Rebecca (all three of whom write great interior blogs and are stuffed full of inspiration) and we were joined by a lovely lady called Chantelle who was also attending the workshop. The studio is packed with quirky details, from skulls, birds, taxidermy to exquisite terrariums, yet rather than feeling intimidating, it offers happiness, fun and a super relaxing environment. 

As soon as we were seated we were offered a glass of bubbly and a selection of Krispy Kreme doughnuts.  Our teacher for the workshop was Susie, who was super friendly, chatty and shared a little about her background in floristry. She explained each step in spiralling really well, whilst happily answering questions about everything and anything to do with flowers.  Susie also shared some great hints and tips for how to get the best out of your floral displays, including using lukewarm water and bleach!  I must admit I naively thought we would be working with a small handful of flowers and then couldn't really believe my eyes when Susie kept adding, and adding, and adding more flowers. Her bouquet was spectacular when she finished and I was excited to get started with my own. We were allowed to go choose the flowers and foliage we wanted to use for our own bouquets and I went for a mix of pinks with lots of wax flowers and tulips, purple lilacs and lots of eucalyptus as it's my absolute favourite for shape and scent. Playing with flowers always seemed like it would be fun, gentle and soothing work. I stand corrected. It is hard work, especially tough on the hands. My wrist and thumb were in agony holding onto my bouquet and I was pretty glad when I tied it off and popped it in it's big glass vase! 

Checking out all the other bouquets was interesting. Although we had all used a similar mix of flowers and foliage, they all looked completely different, each person creating something unique yet completely 'them'. Mine definitely had a touch of the 'wild' about it and I need to work on my spiralling technique a lot more. But at least I know what that is now and how to achieve the look at home. So I'll be having another go soon! 

After a short break we rounded off the day with a lesson is making a foliage garland. It was a pretty quick and simple method and perfect for bringing in some colour and scent to the home. We left with our enormous bouquets in their glass vases and our garlands. I staggered back to the train station praying I wouldn't have to stand on the train all the way back to Leeds with my flowers! Luckily, I got a seat for myself and my bouquet. I've given it pride of place on my dining table and it has made my home smell amazing. 

A huge thank you to Susie and David for organising this fantastic workshop. I enjoyed myself immensely, learned so much and would now love to learn some more floristry skills (although my wrist and thumb still hurt today!). Details of the Flower School can be found here and the Succulent and Flower Workshop in June sounds incredible. I'd totally be up for that! x

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