A FORMER teacher has swapped marking books for arranging flowers after being made redundant.

Shellie Rashbrook is celebrating a successful start to the New Year after opening her own floristry shop in Sherborne St John, just four months after launching her new business from her Baughurst home.

The 40-year-old mother-of-two spent 11 years as a secondary school teacher, teaching business studies, and worked her way up to head of year.

But when she was made redundant she decided to seek a new challenge and signed up to a floristry course.

“I got a diploma and was just doing it at home but I absolutely loved it and it unlocked my creative side. I don’t think I have ever been happier.”

Shellie said she wanted a change from her teaching career, adding: “Teaching has changed a lot over time. I was head of year and I felt that I had exhausted everything so when I was offered redundancy I took it.”

She launched The Lavender Rooms from her garage, making bespoke bouquets and floral arrangements, before finding a premises to open a florist shop at The Old Bakery Emporium, in Sherborne St John, which used to house a vintage tea shop.

The florist had already gained praise from her customers before the shop even opened, with a five-star rating on Facebook from 31 reviews, in just the four months since she launched.

Shellie welcomed the first customers through the doors on January 5, offering them a glass of bubbly and 15 per cent discount for the first 15 customers.

She said she offers an holistic approach to flower arranging, adding: “I create bespoke bouquets. I have done a few weddings and have others booked for this year. I listen to what people want and go from there, and use quite unusual flowers.”