Tuesday 26 February 2013

My Interflora Creation - creating a beautiful bouquet for Mother's Day.

I love flowers and love how they bloom beautifully.  I adore seeing flowers growing wild, blossoming beautifully in nature and admire gorgeous blooms being grown in gardens that have been tended to with love and care.  As well as appreciating beautiful blooms growing as nature intended in the wild, admiring fantastic flowers on our walks in the countryside, I also love receiving and giving flowers (even though it is rare that I receive flowers....hint hint Lee).

As I love flowers and enjoy gifting flowers to my loved one I was interested in learning more about a new online tool by Interflora UK, ‘the flower experts’.  Interflora have created a new application on their website called ‘My Interflora Creation’ that allows people to create their own special, unique bouquet of flowers or a hamper.

On the ‘My Interflora Creation’ page you choose whether you would like to create a bouquet of flowers or a hamper filled with food and drink.  This new service by Interflora is a drag and drop application with drop down menus filled with products available to use for creating your design.  Even though the application is straightforward to use, by clicking on the ‘help’ icon you can see an easy to understand guide on how to create your design.  The easy to use drag and drop application enables users to create their design by dragging their choice of flower or foliage from the menu of categories on the left to the bouquet in the centre.  You can change the position of flowers and foliage in the bouquet by clicking on them and moving as desired.  If you change your mind you can drag flowers/foliage to the recycle bin to remove them from the design or you can erase the whole design and start over by clicking on the ‘start again’ icon under the recycle bin.  The bouquet created using this application has a starting price of £15 which is the florist creative charge, the florist fee increases to £20 for bigger bouquets when more than 15 stems are used in designing the bouquet.  As well as a ‘how to use’ guide the application provides useful information in their ‘hints and tips’ guide which includes valuable tips that is helpful when designing a bouquet.

The application provides users with a great choice of flowers to choose from when creating a bouquet.  In fact there are more than 70 different flowers and foliage varieties available, allowing users to create a special and unique bouquet again and again with the vast range of flowers and foliage providing endless design possibilities.  I am impressed with the choice of flowers and foliage available and I love that the flowers have been categorised so that you can browse the range of flowers in 4 various ways; you can view all flowers available, search by name, pick flowers by their meaning or choose flowers by colour.  I love that you can choose flowers by meaning as I think a bouquet created with flowers of a particular meaning makes for a special bouquet, with the symbolic value and meaning that the flower represents creating a thoughtful and beautiful gift.  With 6 different meaning choices available; Beauty, Devotion, Friendship, Happiness/Joy, Love and Thank you, I think the choice is ample and that the categories of meanings are relevant with the choices available being commonly associated with gifting flowers.  I think it is great that you can browse by flower colour which is particularly useful if you are hoping to create a bouquet in a specific colour scheme and I love that the colour category is designed to look like a flower with each petal represented by a different colour.

As well as a vast choice of flowers and foliage the application provides the choice of how you would like to present your bouquet, with a choice of either different shaped vases or having a hand-tied bouquet.  For hand-tied bouquets there is a choice of ribbons to accessorise the bouquet. 

A feature on the application that I love is the inclusion of details about the flowers and foliage.  By clicking on a particular flower or foliage you can see the name, a description about that particular flower/foliage and the price.  

Another feature of the application that is particular useful is the price tracker.  As each flower, foliage and vase is differently priced (you can see items individual price by clicking on the item to see the item description) the price tracker is very helpful for keeping an eye on the total which is particularly useful is you are sticking to a budget.  The price of the bouquet is tracked on the ‘price tag’ on the right hand side of the bouquet.  The bouquet price tag is a running total that automatically changes instantly when flowers or foliage is added to the bouquet or removed from the design.  You can also keep track on your design by clicking on the ‘my creation details’ icon which shows the bouquet’s contents.  The content of the bouquet is broken down to show the flowers and foliage used in the design, the bouquet break down shows the quantities used and the individual price of all items.  Another useful feature is when relevant a pop-up box highlights information and a notice, for example  a warning appears when you have added more than 15 stems and the florist fee is increased or when a vase is not suitable for the size of the designed bouquet.

You can create an account so that you can log in when using the application, accounts can be created using an email address or by signing in via facebook (unfortunately I have not been able to connect via facebook due to an error).  Once logged into an account you can save your bouquet creations to edit at a later date, save for future reference or use as well as save to purchase at another time.  When saving your creations you can name the bouquet and all bouquets are saved in a gallery.

Once you have created your bouquet you can share your design on a number of social media platforms; you can share your bouquet of beautiful flowers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Email.  I think it is great that you can share your bouquet creations via social media networks and email and I think this feature is particularly useful if you want advice from a friend or family member about your bouquet.

If once you are happy with the bouquet you have designed using ‘My Interflora Creation’ and want to purchase your bouquet design to be created by an expert florist, simply click on ‘Buy’ and complete a straight forward purchase process.  Interflora except PayPal and all major debit and credit cards as payment for their bouquets.  I love that a personalised message can be sent with the bouquet meaning you send your love with words as well as showing your love with a special bouquet designed by yourself.  You can choose to have the bouquet delivered or you can collect them from your local florist.  I like that you choose to collect the bouquet from a local florist so that you can see your virtual creation in reality before you give them to the lucky recipient and I know if I was to have a bouquet delivered to my mum’s house she is rarely in and I would not be able guarantee that she would be home to accept delivery of the bouquet.

In the gallery section of the application there is a range of already designed bouquets to inspire you, providing beautiful bouquet ideas.  If you love one (or more) of the ‘Inspire Me’ bouquets you can buy them as they already are or you can edit them to customise the bouquet to your own taste and ideas; you can add or remove flowers, rearrange the stems or change the presentation of the bouquet option for either a vase or a hand-tied bouquet.  I think it is great that the application includes this feature which is perfect for inspiring people’s creativity and for people who are having trouble achieving a beautiful bouquet from scratch.

I adore the ‘Spring Wish’ bouquet from the ‘Inspire Me’ range of bouquets and think it is perfect for my mum.  As I love the bouquet and think the placement of the stems and the flowers and colour scheme is perfect I did not touch the bouquet but I did edit the creation by changing to ribbon used for hand-tying the bouquet opting for the purple Mother’s Day ribbon instead of the red ribbon.  

I have had lots of fun being a virtual florist using ‘My Interflora Creation’.  I think this new feature by Interflora is an exciting, amazing and innovative technology that incorporates people’s desires to buy online and have a special bouquet that has been customised and created to suit taste and budget instead of buying a pre-prepared bouquet.  I love that you can customise your creation with a range of flowers, foliage and accessories and the meanings and descriptions of the flowers and foliage  made the experience for me even more enjoyable as I learnt about flowers and foliage as I have fun creating special, bespoke bouquets.  I love that this new service allows people to create a bouquet how they want, being able to make bouquets as big or as small, as expensive or as cheap, as dramatic or as subtle, as elaborate or understated as they want….the choice is yours and the possibilities are vast.

I found the click and drag system easy to use and it was useful to be able to move the flowers and foliage as desired to create a perfect bouquet.  I create a few bouquets with my mum and Lee’s mum in mind for Mother’s Day.  I used the colour and meaning categories to create gorgeous bouquets with symbolic meanings using their favourite colours and flowers to make personalised bouquets that I think they would love.

As well as creating beautiful bouquets for my loved ones I created a couple of bouquets that I would love to receive myself.  I love pink so decided to use pink as the focus of my bouquets; using beautiful, delicate flowers and foliage to design my dream bouquets.  I got a tad carried away in designing my dream bouquets; in fact I got informed that one of designs had the maximum number of stems for a bouquet using this service. 

Even though I love my designs as they are, being a sentimental fool who loves accessories that she can treasure I think it would be lovely if in the accessories category there were a choice of hearts and butterfly’s on artificial stems that could be added to the bouquet that could be kept long after the beautiful flowers have wilted.  I also think these accessories would appeal to children who are using the service with the assistance and guidance of a parent to create a special bouquet for their mother for Mother’s Day or other loves ones on special occasions.

With Mother’s Day fast approaching I think the ‘My Interflora Creation’ is perfect for creating a beautiful floral present designed by yourself to give your mother.  I think it is lovely that you can create a bespoke bouquet of beautiful flowers, designing the bouquet to be as unique and special as your mother.  I love that if you are choosing a hand-tied bouquet that you can select a ribbon that says ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ on it.

If you would prefer not to gift a bouquet of flowers but want to create an unique gift you can use the ‘My Interflora Creation’ to create a hamper filled with food and drinks, personalising the hamper to be filled with treats that the recipient would love.  There is an impressive range of products available to choose from and the application uses the same simple drag and drop as creating a bouquet with 6 categories of products to browse; Biscuits, Cakes & Puddings, Snacks, Sweets & Confectionary, Condiments, Dressings & Preserves, Seasonal, Drinks, and Alcoholic Drinks.  The starting price for the hamper is £18.95, if a larger hamper is required the next size hamper costs £22.95.

As well as the gorgeous bouquets included in the ‘Inspire Me’ gallery on the application, Interflora also have a number of bouquets already designed on their website.  The website is filled with a vast range of beautiful bouquets to choose from and the range consists of bouquets of differing prices with bouquets to suit all budgets.

To treat your mother this Mother’s Day with a beautiful bouquet head over to the Interflora website and use the ‘My Interflora Creation’ tool to create a bouquet that has been specially designed by yourself with your mum in mind.  

*  I have received a gift card to have one of my virtual bouquets created by an expert florist *

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