No Tricks, Just Treats! Five Festive Flower Craft Activities to do with The Kids…

Halloween is the traditional celebration of the veil between life and death. It originates with the Celtic (or Pagan) festival of Samhain, when ghosts, spirits and fairies were thought to wander the earth, down the ‘death roads’. Seers would sit at the Lych Gates of churches, and look out for the dead of the coming year at this time.

In other cultures there are similar festivals, such as the Day of the Dead in Mexico. To look at it another, more seriously spiritual way, Halloween can be interpreted as the time to honour our loved ones who have passed away, and invite their spirits into the home, to be warmed by the hearth, and be with family.

The fun side of this tradition is of course Trick or Treat, where children will dress up in ghoulish costumes, and come knocking on your door seeking sweets and other delights.

We’ve trawled the bowels of the world wide web, to bring you the best 5 flower-themed Halloween arts and craft ideas, that are the perfect half-term activities to do with the kids, on what looks to be a rainy holiday!

 Forbidden Rose

Blood red roses and deathly Dahlias, placed in a tall black vase, and covered in cobwebs (which can be bought in any craft store, or made by teasing white nylon- so get out your old tights!), makes a frightful floral display for your Halloween dinner! Try these Elegant Red Roses, (above left) complete with vase from £49.99 at Lily Blossom Florist. With black and red glass paint pens, like these (above right) from Yellow Moon on Amazon for around £10, and a little imagination, you and the kids can turn it into a glamorous treat! We’ll deliver straight to your door. 

Alternatively, this west German black and red vase (right) from Vaseomania on Etsy.co.uk, makes the perfect substitute.

         Halloween Bride

Equally striking, white roses delicately covered in sparkling black glitter makes a lovely Halloween treat. You can try black spray-on glitter for older children, but make sure you open the windows. Or a tiny brush with that gloopy old PVA, dabbed onto petals and then sprinkled with ordinary black glitter, means the little ones can have fun too!

This lovely bouquet (above), of fresh white roses teamed with fluffy gypsohpelia, imaginatively called ‘Six Stolen Kisses’, is £24.99 from Lily Blossom. Again, delivered straight to your door.

Pumpkin Brains!

Scoop out your large pumpkin, and fill with rich red and orange flowers until it is overflowing. Try these from our Autumn Gift Bag, which starts at £22.99.

Or, paint your pumpkin black, with blackboard paint from Amazon, for around £5 per tin. Draw a face on your pumpkin with chalk- if it goes wrong, you can just rub it off! Fill with black and orange, black and red, or black and white flowers. Or spray your pumpkin a lustrous gold, and fill with cream roses.

Trick or Treat

A simple skull, on a ‘silver platter’ filled with vibrant, fiery autumn flowers conjures up more exotic celebrations of life and death, such as the Mexican Day of the Dead. We like this skull (below) from Fairtrade gift shop Evolution.

It is around  £10.00. It’s actually a money box! Ask your guests to throw a £1 coin in the box, for a Halloween themed fundraising dinner ,and a novel twist on the tradition of Trick or Treat!

 Creepy Crawly Calla Lilies

Ask us to deliver you thirteen luscious, mango-coloured calla lilies. Place them in an elegant tall, black or orange vase. Then get out your glue: a dab on each silky petal, and the kids can place a plastic creepy crawly onto the leaves and petals. Voila! A striking, yet elegant Halloween display.

You can buy big bags of creepy crawlies on Amazon, or your local Pond Shop will do plenty this time of year!

 Honouring Loved Ones Past

For a more deeply spiritual homage to the tradition of Halloween, try sticking black butterflies (a symbol of transcendence and transformation), to these beautiful white calla lilies, which symbolise ascension and purity, and are used all over the world to mark the passage between life and death. Frame pictures of your loved ones who have passed away, in white or black frames, and place these around the vase of flowers, at the centre of the table, with a white candle. This is a lovely centrepiece, which invites the spirits of your loved ones to come and be with their family at the dinner table, for the night, and over the festive period. The candle is supposed to guide them home from the spirit world.

This is a lovely way to open up a conversation with your children about a loved one who has passed away. It’s a very therapeutic activity. Perhaps you’ll find yourself making it a yearly tradition.

Again, on Amazon, you will find black clip-on butterflies, stickers and wafer thin butterfly cake toppers for your crafty activity. And this White Calla Lily and Palm Vase from Lily Blossom,(left)  makes the perfect tribute. 

For more information about the traditional ‘Death Roads’, try Paul Devereux’s informative and interesting book Spirit Roads, which you can purchase here. And if you fancy, take a spooky ghost walk, or a night time family fairy hunt down the roads it talks about this half term. The book comes complete with GPS references.

We would love to see your pictures and photos of your Halloween themed displays, that you have made with your children. Send them to us at: info@lilyblossomflorists.com


Wedding Rituals and Customs 2: A History of the Wedding Arch and the Chuppah

Welcome to part 2 of our exclusive guide to the history of wedding rituals and customs.

Arch- picture c/o Lady Pinkie on pinterest.com
If you've read our introductory blog A Guide to Wedding Rituals and Customs, you’ll know why it is beneficial to understand the history and symbolism of the rituals and customs you choose to use on your very special day. Whether it’s the traditional white bridal gown, the page boy or the flower girl, or the exchange of rings, each ritual has its own unique symbolism, and is steeped in rich and, sometimes surprising, history. Today, we’re looking at the wedding arch…

Not only is it a lot of fun, but passing through a wedding arch, somehow conjures an aura of elven magic, fairytale enchantment, and knightly valour. If you are having an outdoor Handfasting Ceremony, or wedding ceremony, it is a fantastic and fascinating substitute for walking down the aisle. And you and your bow beneath the arch, looks absolutely beautiful in photos.

Did you know, that the Bride and Groom used to pass through an arch of swords to ensure safe passage into their new life together? 

Chuppah- picture c/o marthastewartweddings.com
As romantic as this might seem, doing that today might be a little kitsch for some, and a little dangerous for others!! The modern interpretation is the gorgeous wedding arch, often seen decorated with flowers, fairy lights, ribbons, balloons, and gorgeous fabrics. One of our staff members even chose to represent the wedding arch, with two flaming torches, their stakes decorated with beautiful flowers.

Similar to the arch is a Jewish Chuppah- a canopy strung on four poles: the four poles are held by four people that have special significance to the bride and groom: it is an honour, and a wonderful way to include four special people, in your wedding ceremony.

Ideal for a beach wedding, a Chuppah can provide shade for your ceremony to take place under. And it looks stunning in photographs.

Nets of Lights strung on trees
Picture c/o saveoncrafts.com
If you have a lot of guests, the Chuppah can be self-supported, which means people can join you beneath the canopy. We've seen Chuppah’s made of tye-dye and batik, great for an alternative, festival-loving couple, innovatively formed from nets of lights (similar to left), for those who love a little glamour and night life, and even camouflage, for army couples! It is a lovely Jewish tradition that can be an inspiration for non-Jewish couples alike.

Whether the Chuppah, or the wedding arch, both structures represent the new home that you and your partner will build, and the new family and life you will be building as well:

Your wedding arch is the doorway to the passage of your new life. Like stepping through a gate onto an unknown road, it has archetypal resonance with your guests, adding intrinsic meaning to your wedding. It represents a rite of passage, and the opportunity to physically embody this moment, for you and your partner. You go into the arch, as two single people, and are born, through the arch, out into the world again, a united force. The symbolism is similar to a baptism. It represents change.

If the idea of a wedding arch takes your fancy, and you have an eye for a bargain, included in Lily Blossom’s exclusive Forever Wedding package, is the exclusive hire of our gorgeous wedding arch for your special day. Consider having your arch decorated with seasonal flowers and lights for a magical feel. See the leaflet (right), and give us a call on 0208 979 5656, or email us for details.

Check out our guide to the history and symbolism of the lovely Flower Girl here, and subscribe for updates.


Make Your Office Client Friendly

It may seem like a small thing, but a welcoming reception area is key to a business’ success. The effect of a well-placed, beautifully designed floral display, may be subtle, almost subliminal. But it is crucial. And here’s why…

Attract Success

You want to put forward the image of success, and abundance: success, attracts success. The clients don’t need to be aware that your fresh flowers were a perfectly reasonable price. They will be aware, though, that your company is obviously successful enough, to be able to indulge a little, in the luxury of aesthetic beauty. And if you are already successful, then that is more reason to want to work with you.

Beautiful flowers will also help to put your client in a more positive frame of mind. The flowers will provide a gentle scent to welcome your clients.

You may not yet be able to afford swanky new offices gleaming with light and marble-tiled floors. So, a beautifully designed bouquet, will draw your client’s eyes away from a well-worn interior or bland office space. It is an inexpensive way to add a colourful vibrancy and a bit of life to an otherwise dead space, and brings a little of the outside in.

Express Your Creativity

For a Creative Office, floral displays that change with the seasons, and keep up with high fashion trends, will demonstrate your creative flair and suggest industry knowledge. You can afford to be a little different with your designs, so choose a florist that will create eye-catching, vivid displays that use textures and fabrics as enhancements. Talk to your professional florist about your company’s branding: your florist can then ensure that your floral displays reflect the colours and message of your branding. This won’t go unnoticed by your potential clients.

Let Them Know You Care

Floral displays are particularly wonderful for those working in the wedding industry: aesthetics will be on your bride’s mind. If you are a wedding planner, venue or service, your bride-to-be will want you to have good attention to aesthetic detail. Flowers express this perfectly.

If your clients come to you with difficult and complex issues, for instance, if you are a law firm, hospital, psychotherapy practice, charity, or even a pupil referral unit, flowers can help to lift an atmosphere, just a little, and enable your client to feel more at ease. Simple, classic flower arrangements are a tasteful way to let your client know you are human, and will work to get them the most positive outcome, to a difficult situation. Flowers can set us up for a more positive day.

Shake Up Your Team

Flowers are a fantastic way to add vibrancy to board meetings, conferences, events, retirement do’s, training session and team meetings. Place them as table centre-pieces, to awaken the senses.

Promote Diversity

And if you’re very, very clever, you can express your company’s commitment to that all important Diversity and Equal Opportunities, through simple, timely flower arrangements: request a Diwali, Eid, Yom Kippur, Christmas or Dharma Day-themed display. Ask your florist to make sure their designs keep up with the important cultural and religious festivals throughout the year.

Get Your Flowers Delivered

There is no need to send your lovely receptionist out for a fresh bunch of flowers every morning! Choose a reliable florist that will deliver, regularly, to the doors of your office. Take out a contract, to ensure that flowers are one less thing to worry about.

Flowers are a simple, cost-effective way to energize an office space and engage your clients and employees. Lily Blossom Florist offer contracts tailored to your business, and will deliver beautiful, fresh floral displays straight to your door. Contact us here, for a free, no obligation quote, or call us on 0208 979 5656 to discuss your needs.  

If you are an online business, check out our blogs on Net Neutrality, and subscribe for regular updates

The Fight for Net Neutrality: What’s the Score?

“We have a duty—a duty to protect what has made the Internet the most dynamic platform for free speech ever invented.  It is our printing press.  It is our town square. It is our individual soapbox and our shared platform for opportunity. That is why I support network neutrality ... We cannot have a two-tiered Internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind."

This was a statement given by FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. It is being hailed as the strongest statement of support for an open web thus far in the campaign.

The update from campaigners Fight For the Future, is that they now need three out of five FCC commissioners to vote ‘yes’ on their proposal to re-instate real net neutrality.

They then need the full support of President Obama, and Congress, so that the proposal won’t be overturned once it reaches their gates.

So it seems, a lot of activity is going on in the US.

But what about us here in the UK? How will the ruling affect us directly?

Well… in April of this year, the EU set about stating its position regarding net neutrality. There is a draft law on net neutrality protections on the EU buffet table at present.

The new EU digital commissioner, Oettinger, has been criticized by some, for not fully understanding the concept of net neutrality, and its implications. He states, though, that he has ‘no problem’ with the draft proposals. So far, so good?

Meanwhile, European mobile phone operators seem to have got the jitters about this whole net neutrality business, and the scare tactics have begun…

The Register stated seventeen or so hours ago, that they have seen a document from the global mobile phone operators association, which reveals dirty tricks: a campaign strategy that taps into people’s concerns about child protection and identity theft, in an effort to negate legislation in support of net neutrality and the removal of roaming charges. Check out The Register for more information.  It seems that the campaign, due to launch in September, was never put into action. Interesting that they thought about it though, eh?

Here’s the rub…

Yes, the EU has stated its position in support of Net Neutrality, IN PRINCIPLE. However, that is not the end of the issue, for the UK. A bill, must be passed into law, by each EU member state, to be effective. And among the EU member states, there is one, small island, proving very obstreperous.

 You guessed it… it’s us.

The Conservatives have stated their position against net neutrality. Only in favour, of big Big BIG business then. Nothing unusual there. The next UK General Election is due in May 2015. And Chris Merriman of The Inquirer states:

"...the voting public is largely unaware that as well as deciding the attitude to the economy, housing and social care- their votes could well decide the future of the internet."

We may yet, end up with a two-tier, Haves Vs Have-Not’s internet, where those corporations with big money, are favoured by the Internet Service Providers, and the little guy; the self-employed trader, the small to medium-sized business, will be unable to provide the online service its customers have now come to expect.

For more information on the fight for net neutrality, check out our blogs, Flowers of War: Net Neutrality and the Online Florist, and The Fight for Net Neutrality here.

If you run an online business, subscribe here, to keep up with developments. 

Lily Blossom is a boutique wedding and online florist with a social conscience, based in London.