why this thank you card meant the most

So I don’t normally do weddings between Christmas and New Year because the auction dates can be tricky meaning you’re left with no room for error. If flowers are missing or arrive in poor condition (it does happen - the joys of working with Mother Nature!) you have no back up plan. 
This wedding was one I would usually politely turn down because the anxiety of the above mentioned issues over Christmas is something Id prefer to avoid however when Siobhan contacted me I just couldn’t say no.
Her wedding date fell on the 29th of December. The first date for delivery after Christmas was the 28th, if there were any problems with quality or delivery then I was goosed. I pre-ordered what I could and cherry picked the rest of the flowers from the live auction on my birthday (the 27th). 
They arrived straight from Florismart in Holland via Cavalry Transport Ltd first thing on the 28th and every stem was perfect. There was a massive sigh of relief and even more so when I handed Siobhan’s bouquet over to her the following day.
After a really rubbish week with two poorly kids and one trip to A&E, receiving the following card from Siobhan on Friday meant the world... 🥰
‘Dear Emma, 
I would just like to thank you for our absolutely stunning wedding flowers that you so beautifully created. My bouquet was exactly what I had envisioned and it looks just as spectacular in the photographs. You come across as extremely hard working, professional and a generally lovely person and we are delighted that we chose Stems to be our florist on our special day.
Love Siobhan & Fabiano x’

Siobhans bouquet

can you ever get that perfect work/life balance?

So here’s a blog which I’ve been trying to write for some time… by some time I mean months because the above mentioned balance is never easy to find.

The irony of this post is that between the sentence above and this one I’ve done the school run, taken the girl child to swimming lessons (my most hated thing ever) and grabbed a pitiful food shop because I cant think of anything worse than dragging a soaking and apparently starved 7 year old and a 3 year old who’s wired to the moon around Tescos.

So, back to the reason I’m writing this.

I get emailed on almost a weekly basis from florists who are about to start a family or florists who are struggling to push their business while looking after their families looking for ‘advice’. I’m guessing I must appear to have my shit together and that’s why these emails and messages come my way…

In reality, I’m winging it. Every. Day.

I’m not a mumsy mum and I feel it’s important to mention this. I’m not the mum who has the baby and throws herself into every postnatal class and baby group going. I haven’t signed my kids up to every after school club and so on. That’s not me and I take my hat off to those mums who dedicate their every waking hour to their kids because I couldn’t do that. I love my job because it allows my brain to function, it allows for me to be Emma and not mum. Whether I’m working on big events, writing blog posts/articles or pulling together quotes for weddings - that is me in my element.

So to answer the most common question of ‘how do you manage to run a business/shop with a baby?’ I guess my answer would be with a baby carrier, a boob to feed on tap (if you can/choose to), an incredibly supporting husband, caffeine, patience and quite a few sweary words.

Some days went swimmingly, others I was sat on the floor behind the desk sobbing. No two days were the same but we got there. As Cody found his feet I lost a few vases but gained the most smiley and happy wee boy. He would jump happily in the massive flood he had made while I desperately tried to mop up said flood before a customer came in, slipped and fired a lawsuit at me.

I never attempted computer work while at the shop with Cody around. I always left emails, quotes, website work etc to the evenings when Chris got home and could distract the little psychos so I could switch back to Em and function without the distraction of the boy child abseiling off of the TV unit.

Now Cody is at nursery part time and Shyla is in school the work/life balance has definitely become easier. I have time during the day to get my computer work blitzed, quotes sent out and articles written… it’s awesome. I’ve even found time to launch a second business which is keeping my brain even happier with it’s new workload.

I have to be honest, without a supportive husband I probably would have crumbled at some point. He has been there through all of my highs and lows. He has always offered advice but never pushed me to give up or to work harder and he has listened to every crazy idea I’ve had. He doesn’t get annoyed when I’m sat at 11pm re-designing the website or when I suggest we spend a Sunday going round hotels collecting my vases from weddings that weekend. Instead he will watch a series on Netflix while I do computer work and we’ll turn our Sunday vase collecting into a trip around parts of the country with a picnic.

Over the years I have also learnt to ask for help when Im struggling. It’s something I’ve never liked doing but I realised the worst anyone can say is no.

Chris’s family live locally and his mum especially is a great help and tends to have the kids for a sleep over once a week and has been teaching Shyla horse riding, saving me from the aforementioned extra curricular actives I dislike so much. Shyla in turn has become a wonderful horse rider and has a great bond with her Granny.

I do believe you need a hobby, something for you. For me this is mountain biking so when I can I’ll head up the hills. It’s probably the only time I fully switch off and concentrate on the here and now/not crashing into a tree at speed. I’ll be honest though, I’ve not been out in months but hey, the days are getting longer now!

I think one last thing I’d like to mention is the writing of lists… Lists get me through each day. I now swear by my Hello Day daily planner which is glued to my very soul. There is no better feeling than ticking tasks off of my lists! Anything I haven’t managed to do just gets shuffled over to the following day, I try not to stress too much if my day has gone pear shaped. Tomorrow is a new day.

So I guess, what Im trying to say is that I have no secret. I just get on with it. If I look like I have it all together on social media then great but let’s be honest, people only share their ‘best life’ on social media anyway ;-)

Photos below from a ‘behind the scenes’ shoot with EnaMay Photography.

real wedding | alex and richard

The wedding of Alex & Richard was a little bit extra special as Rachel was one of Alex’s bridesmaids. We had to make sure everything was perfect and I think Rach felt the pressure more than ever on this one.

The wedding was held at Melville Castle and the day was captured as naturally as ever by Becky at EnaMay Photography. I wasn’t there on the morning of the wedding so Rach took charge of decorating the cake, placing the table centres in situ and, most nerve-wrackingly of all, presented her best friend with her bridal bouquet.

Alex opted for rich burgundy bridesmaids dresses from LA Bridal so this became the colour to work with in the floral designs.

When it comes to selecting your wedding flowers I always advise using a few different tones of the main colour featured in your wedding alongside another colour or two and/or some foliage. This just breaks it up a little and allows each bloom to shine. If you try to colour match a bridesmaids dress to a product from Mother Nature I feel you’re taking a gamble and probably won’t come out a winner. For Alex, we chose burgundy dahlias, deep red hypericum berries, dark pink wax flower, white roses, soft cream spray roses, burgundy amaranthus, anemones, grey brunia berries, senecio and eucalyptus.

You can see in the girls group shots just how well this combination brought both the bridal gown and bridesmaids dresses together while not blending into either colour of dress.

Here are a few photos kindly sent over from Becky. Enjoy!

Photography - EnaMay Photography
Flowers - Stems
Dresses - LA Bridal
Venue - Melville Castle
Venue decoration - Something Borrowed Events
Hair & Make Up - Caroline Stewart Make Up Artistry & Hair Styling
Band - The Stereo Beats
Kilts - The Kilt Store

real wedding | morven and andrew

I do love an autumn/winter wedding. Especially one at Wedderburn Castle and Barns!
I knew from the initial emails between Morven and myself that their floral style was in sync with my own. I also knew I really, really wanted to design their wedding florals so I was delighted when they asked me to be their florist.
The theme was woodland inspired with lots of foliage and texture. We wanted to bring the outdoors into the barns. We added large branches to the beams and entwined a variety of foliage & trailing amaranthus and then hung glass baubles with tea lights inside from them. With candles galore and fairy lights romantically lighting up the exposed brick walls it was all so picture perfect and cosy.
For Morven’s bouquet we brought in a soft touch of peach to compliment her breathtakingly beautiful dress and we kept a mixture of foliage within her bouquet to keep consistency with the venue decoration and the countryside surroundings. For Andrew’s buttonhole we used a delicate spray rose and thistle with foliage to signify the coming together of Scottish Morven and English Andrew.
I was thrilled to discover Jen Owens would be behind the lens capturing their day and she did not disappoint! She kindly sent over some images for me to share with you all… take a look!

Flowers by Stems
Photography - Jen Owens Images
Venue - Wedderburn Castle & Barns
Make-up Artist - Ciara Mackenzie Make Up
Hair Stylist - Lisa Ivone Wedding Hair
Lighting & Props - Get Knotted