“Engage your creative side and book a floral workshop at Flowers by Living Colours.” Gerry Maguire
Expat life brings together people from all over the globe many of whom have accumulated experience and expertise that are quite often shared as small businesses in the local community. One such creative expat is florist Gerry McGuire, a long-term Scottish expat, who set up Flowers by Living Colours to offer her floristry skills and services to us capital dwellers.
Generally flowers are quite expensive in the UAE and due to the desert environment and exposure to air conditioning they, in my experience, perish quicker here than in the UK. I love having fresh flowers in the house and I would always add flowers to my weekly shop at home but I rarely buy them here except on special occasions or as a gift. McGuire, who trained to be a florist in 2006 under the expert tutoring of the Judith Blacklock Flower Academy in Knightsbridge, with further training at Covent Garden Flower Academy in London, is changing the way we buy and look after our flowers in Abu Dhabi.
As a bespoke independent florist McGuire makes specific orders to individual customers requirements according to personal preference and budget. As an extension to her classic everyday flower business she also offers intimate flora workshops held in a specially converted room in her beautiful seaview apartment in the Al Zeina community. These workshops give participants, such as myself, the opportunity to grasp the basics of floristry while learning about flower care including how to increase the longevity of your blooms and tips on home aftercare.
The three-hour workshops teach a range of skills including how to make hand-tie bouquets, floral arrangements, flowers crowns, table arrangements, seasonal displays and wreaths. All flowers, foliage, containers, tools and additional materials are provided as part of the workshop fee along with a great selection of snacks and beverages. Classes are deliberately kept small (generally 4-8 people) so that McGuire can lead the demonstration on a step-by-step basis from empty container to a finished floral display whilst giving her personal attention to everyone throughout the activity – click HERE for the workshop schedule.
A variety of colourful fresh blooms of all shapes and sizes, flown in from far flung places such as Kenya, Holland, Thailand and South America, are available to create bespoke arrangements. Everyone makes their own creation but it’s a fun group affair with idea sharing. It’s open for all age groups and suitable for complete beginners to those with more experience.
Flowers brighten up any room and it’s fun to design your own floral creation rather than just plonking a bouquet in a vase of water. Take a one off class, start a new hobby or support a local small business and let McGuire design you one of her fabulous floral arrangements.
Flowers by Living Colours
Location: Al Zeina, Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi
Telephone: 050 526 2868
Cost: AED 250 for a three-hour workshop
Workshops and flowers available – visit Flowers By Living Colours on Facebook or Instagram for flowers, gift certificates, organise a bespoke workshop, or to book a slot on an existing course. Individual workshops can also be arranged on request at a time and date to suit.
All views are my own based on my experience. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2019. All rights reserved. Group photo taken by Gerry McGuire.