For most of my working life I've been a teacher, and for most of that time I've taught art. I've also been a café owner, an art gallery owner, an au pair and a bank teller - proof of what they say that the new normal is to have more than one career in your lifetime. It's always been easy to fill in forms that asked for my occupation and easier still to explain to people what I did for a job.
Then I decided to become a floraliste. I've always remembered reading an article about Gil Hanly, in which she said that she had decided at the age of 50 to become a photographer. I had a similar epiphany. I went in search of someone special who was prepared to teach and share - a rare gem in a world driven by ego and fierce competition. Good fortune smiled upon me and I found a diamond in the amazingly talented and lovely Jess. Such inspiring knowledge and insight beyond years.
And so I became a floraliste. It's a word I coined myself to describe what I do...a hybrid of floral and artiste - an artistic and creative person. It's mostly about the flowers, with other creative stuff in the mix. A bit of photography, a bit of video work.
Everything I love to do is now my work and I feel lucky.
Being a floraliste gives me the freedom to be different. To break the rules from time to time. To create objects of beauty that are personal and unique. Each bouquet, each arrangement is like an artwork, with attention to detail, colour, composition, space and flow. Harmony. Balance. It's personal. In many ways it's like cooking - something else I love to do - using the freshest ingredients you have to create something delicious that you're sure the recipient will enjoy.
Flowers make me feel good and happy and kind. They're positive and they warm the heart. They are an expression of love. People smile when they receive flowers. Sometimes they cry.