A former florist to the Queen has opened a salon where clients are treated like royalty. Kelly Dowden, 42, retrained in reflexology and beauty after ill health forced her to give up her highly successful floristry career, part of which she spent working at Moyses Stevens in Sloane Street, which is London’s oldest florist and holder of the Royal Warrant. She is now the owner of Bishop’s Stortford’s newest salon, Hideaway Retreat, which offers a range of luxurious facials, manicures, pedicures and more for those who enjoy the VIP treatment. From left, Melissa, Kelly, Leah and Alison at Hideaway Retreat. Picture: Vikki Lince The married mum-of-two said: "What I’ve tried to create is a lovely little hub where people can come and relax, get away from it all and just enjoy a lovely treatment without any rush." Having worked for Moyses Stevens and others for almost 10 years, Kelly then set up her own flower shop, The Village Florist, in Highams Park, before being advised to quit the floristry industry by doctors after unexpectedly suffering a collapsed lung back in 2002. "The collapsed lung just happened completely out of the blue one day and I was quite poorly for a long time," she said. "I had to have a major operation and then a very long recovery, and basically they advised me that I shouldn’t really continue in the floristry industry because it’s physical work and was too much for my body. But I’ve always been a hard worker and don’t like to sit still so really, for me, there wasn’t any other option but to retrain." Kelly Dowden. Picture: Vikki Lince Having found reflexology beneficial during her recovery, she decided to go back to college to train in the alternative therapy, initially working as a mobile reflexologist before […]