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City of Friends, Flowers & Tea

Joanna Trollope’s new paperback City of Friends is about a subject rather dear to our hearts: the friendships we make and break throughout our lives, and how they affect us. We teamed up with Bloom & Wild to celebrate – after all, what better way to show a friend you care than with tea and flowers?

Click here to nominate your most supportive and inspiring friend to win a special gift - one for you and one for them. Ten winners, and their friends, will receive:

  • A stunning Whittard of Chelsea pouch of English Breakfast loose tea with a silver-plated infuser, and a tin of Tea Discoveries all butter shortbread
  • The Jessie bouquet delivered to you and your friends door
  • Signed paperback copy of City of Friends

 We also got to learn first-hand about Trollope’s inspiration for the novel, and how her own experiences of friendship fed into the book’s themes…

An Interview with the Author, Joanna Trollope

Joanna Trollope

Tell us about your new novel, City of Friends?

City of Friends is both contemporary and topical. It’s a novel about women, women in the workplace and it’s about friendship and family.

I wanted to write a story that looked at all aspects of women’s personal and professional lives. The novel hinges on the friendship between four protagonists, Stacey, Melissa, Gaby and Beth. Four university friends, all working in different aspects of the finance industry, all in their late forties and all in very different personal situations. Through these characters, I look at marriage with children and marriage without children. I look at single parenthood, I look at being gay and the relationships attached to being gay in the modern world, I look at women fighting to succeed in a very crowded and male-dominated industry. In fact I’m trying to look at every aspect of what it means to be a woman and a working woman in modern life.

What do you value the most about your closest friendships?

I think that what I value most in close friends are, oddly, complete opposites. I love it when people are absolutely in tune with me, but I also love it when people I like and admire, and who seem to feel the same about me, have completely different views and tastes. I suppose that what I value most is a deep respect for someone else’s mind and opinions. And principles. I really mind about those – the principles.

There’s a dual aspect of friendship. There are the friends you’ve had since the dawn of time and there are the friends you go on making all your life. And that is a very important aspect of friendship, that you’re always renewing it. I think forgiveness is an extremely important part of friendship. There are some disloyalties you can forgive, and some that really are deal breakers. I try and look at all these aspects in this novel.

Read the first chapter here.

An Autumn of Friendship

Bloom and Wild flowers

We’ll be sharing flowers, hot chocolate and – of course – tea with our friends this autumn. Bloom & Wild’s new autumn collection seems the perfect place to start: its letterbox and hand-tied bouquets are each inspired by different aspects of autumn, and this season they’re introducing a special collaboration with Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart.

Nikki’s iconic designs feature the most exclusive stems in Bloom & Wild’s letterbox range, with the shades and textures of a cool, crisp autumn day offset by pops of colour from opulent roses, berries and foliage. The centrepiece of the collection is Red Skies, a hand-tied bouquet that Nikki designed to reflect “the vibrant autumnal nights and the red skies they bring.”

Two letterbox bouquets also feature: the Autumn Morning bouquet conveys “the beautiful, light, dusky tones of the early morning sunrise”, while Woodland Walk is “a natural bouquet using all the flowers and foliage you should expect to find on a long autumnal walk in the country.” We’re drawn to the way its reds, greens and burnt oranges capture all the colours of the changing leaves.

Speaking of leaves, there’s nothing we love more on chilly evenings than cosying up with a nice warm cuppa. (Leaves? Tea? There’s a connection there…) With that in mind we’ve crafted an exclusive new tea for autumn: our Pumpkin Spice is a rich, warming blend of lusciously smooth oolong with creamy caramel, aromatic spices and – of course – pumpkin. It’s just the thing if you love the flavours of the harvest season.

If you like your autumn a little sweeter, our Toffee Apple infusion is a naturally caffeine-free concoction to sink your teeth into, with whole chunks of apple and pineapple blended with sweet macadamia nuts. And for those with a real sweet tooth, nothing beats Peanut Butter Flavour Hot Chocolate. Back by popular demand, it’s a wickedly delicious creation that we love topped with whipped cream and marshmallows. Put your feet up, stoke the fire and hug your mug for all it’s worth…

Autumnal tea

Win a Gift for You & a Friend

Did we mention that we’re running a competition? You can win a dazzling gift for you and a friend who inspires you – click here to find out more and snag a chance to win.

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