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Meet fab florist, Amanda Steele

Amanda Steele has been frolicking with flowers for as long as she can remember it's no wonder that her amazing handiwork work has been featured all over the world. Here we find out where she likes to hang out locally in Rutland.

Amanda’s floral inspiration was her Grandma who she used to follow around as a child as she bustled about with her trug and secateurs creating amazing designs from country flowers and foliages around East Anglia.

She started her apprenticeship at Pulbrook and Gould in Sloane Street, and rubbed shoulders with actors, politicians and aristocracy. They also used to do weekly flowers at no 10 Downing Street and Kensington Palace! Ohhh I say…

She’s also worked at Kenneth Turner Flowers where she helped create floral displays in New York, spent time at Pinewood Studios installing flower designs for the James Bond film ‘The Living Daylights’ (yes, really) and clearly remembers decorating Harrods windows – throughout the night – with fresh flowers for a big reveal when they opened in the morning for the Chelsea Flower Show.

She’s lived in Rutland for 22 years after she fell in love instantly with the beautiful stone villages and rolling countryside. If her London resume wasn’t impressive enough, she was Hambleton Hall’s ‘in house florist’ for almost 20 years but now has a slightly quieter life working from home, sharing her love of flowers and running regular workshops.

Here, the Muddy Awards Finalist reveals where she likes to unwind locally.

For brunch I adore Scandimania in Uppingham, it’s tiny, atmospheric and makes the best fresh juices and cinnamon buns in the world. They also do delicious open sandwiches so lunch is great too. The grey and pink decor and artwork all contribute to a wonderful Scandi feeling. I really enjoy going to Body Combat classes at The Uppingham School Sports centre and a green juice from Scandimania is my incentive.

At the weekends we sometimes have brunch in Otters Fine Foods, Mill Street, Oakham. Leo is a delightful host and the eggs Benedict are a real treat. It’s also a fabulous place to stock up on delicious cheeses, smoked fish and charcuterie.

If I need a little gift, I pop into The Maltings in Oakham to Quirky Bird Gifts where I’m guaranteed to find something slightly unusual and a lovely card and wrapping paper to go with it.

I’ve been doing Pilates for 20 years with Sarah Andrews, a fabulous body control pilates teacher, the pilates regime has kept my very dodgy back mobile and given me a tool box full of exercises to help me out when my back is bad mid wedding season. I know floristry looks like a delicate lady-like job, but it’s very physical with lots of lifting and carting about so pilates is invaluable to me.

We are Leicester Tigers season ticket holders so during the winter, if I don’t have a wedding on, we often go to Welford Road and will always have a curry in Leicester on the way home.  I think my favourite Indian restaurants are Paddy’s Marten Inn or The Himalaya Tandoori, neither of these are smart Indian restaurants, they are both housed in old pubs, but the food in both is sublime.

We tend to go to friends houses for kitchen suppers rather than go out to eat, but our favourite place to go out for dinner would always be The George and Dragon in Seaton (read our review here). The pub is cosy and the owner, Ralph is very welcoming and the service is faultless. The menu is small, but this is for the good as it’s always seasonal and completely delicious.

Amanda Steele

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