I remember how desperately I tried to conjure up a way to disguise my chuckles a couple of years ago, when my Mother in law first mentioned to me that she had spent the day at flower club. Most of us familiar with the sensitivities of married life will be well aware of how brazen a move this was but the unrepentant laughs were seeping out from my pores like helium from a rapidly deflating balloon.
It wasn’t the concept that tickled the laughing zones of my brain, I must add. It was really just the title, “Flower Club” but I giggled in the full knowledge that no flower audition of mine would ever make the cut to get into a club like this.
Pumpkin stopped giving me flowers after he found out I couldn’t keep them alive for more than two days and when my best friend got married a few months ago, I sensibly stuck to cutting stems, so apprehensive was I about hovering near the bouquets and ruining her thoughtful efforts with my hopeless flower-arranging skills.
So really, the recent invitation from Zomato UK and Villandry Great Portland Street to participate in a flower arranging class could not have been any more timely, especially when they promised our efforts would be rewarded with afternoon tea.
Villandry was one of the venues I had explored as an option for the same friend’s hen party not so long ago so I was curious to see what it was like. Pumped full of hayfever medication, I arrived in glorious sunshine to a large entrance full of delicious, foodie treats, calorific cakes and colour-coordinated bouquets for sale, a perfect central London location for our afternoon of education.
Flower arranging at Villandry
After an introductory demonstration from the flower-arranging brains behind Moyses Stevens, who create the arrangements for Villandry, we got started with positioning hydrangeas here and peonies there with some foliage thrown in for good measure.
I will not pretend that mine was a standout piece because frankly, once you take the proverbial pen out of my hand and stop me from writing, I am left with very few creative skills. I can’t draw. I can’t paint and I certainly can’t arrange flowers but all things considered, I was quite pleased with my efforts! My bouquet is not displayed from the best angle in this photo but the first and last images of this post give a better view…
Stems were chopped and bouquets immersed in water before being tied up (by ourselves I should point out for reasons soon to become apparent) and then we finally proceeded to take our seats for afternoon tea.
Afternoon Tea at Villandry, London
The sandwich selection was a smidgen dry for my liking (but I can take that so long as I will still get good cake) and instead of the conventional two small scones, we got one whopping huge one instead. It was nicely warm with a decent level of crumble but was a little too filling for me, as of course, I had been eyeing up my favourite platter.
I managed to make my way through the mini salted caramel tart (there’s no point going for a “save the best till last” approach when it comes to afternoon tea in my opinion), a creamy, raspberry meringue and tried just small bites of the polenta cake, chocolate chimney and mini cheesecake.
The good news is that flower arranging and afternoon tea packages are available for you to book as well and this would be a great idea for a hen do, baby shower or Mother’s day treat or heck, just for a summery Saturday.
I can picture myself returning to Villandry for a moment of me time, grabbing a herbal tea and large piece of cake from the dessert counter and spending the afternoon reading (or blogging probably!) But if you are feeling more sociable than this, they serve up some well priced dining options including a weekend Prosecco brunch or a Monday night lobster evening!
As I walked to Bond Street station, I noticed a trail of water behind resulting in me sheepishly pausing on a corner of Cavendish square, debating what to do with the soggy gift bag I had been carrying the flowers in. Fortunately, the leakage had occurred because I had accidentally been holding my bouquet at an angle and all was well once I fixed this, which meant that I still had a pretty flower arrangement to bring home to Pumpkin for safe keeping; they lasted a lot longer under his watch than they usually do under mine!
Have you ever tried flower arranging?
I was a guest of Zomato UK and Villandry for this event but rather like my flower bouquet, all opinions are entirely my own.