Sunday, 29 April 2018

La Di Da Secret Pop Up Warehouse Party: Gin Cocktails & Secret Passwords

For those of you who follow my Instagram stories, you will have seen what I got up to on Thursday evening. For those who don't, let me share my adventure with you!




I was invited to a secret pop up warehouse party hosted by La Di Da Magazine. I was invited by email and told to enter via a specific entrance with a black door. Once there I would be greeted by a man dressed in black and he would ask me a question. To answer this, all guests had to memorise a secret password phrase to gain entry.





From here we were lead to the NEXT store in a private section upstairs from the store. As the store is newly opened, this area of the 'back' of the store is still unfinished and sporting plasterboard. Despite the industrial, undone feel, the space had been transformed to the perfect party space. Furniture from NEXT was cleverly placed with distressed rugs, textured throws and beautiful occasional tables.




On arrival I was greeted with gin in a teacup. I repeat, gin in a teacup!  A pop up bar and DJ Stephen Love kept the vibe high and the drinks were just delicious. The bar was the handywork of Durham Distillery who distil all of their gin locally. The drinks kept flowing with different variations of drinks using some of their different flavoured gins!


Gorgeous teacups by The Vintage Tea Party

Catering was provided by The French Oven and was divine! The table was scattered with rose heads and the food was the perfect addition to the gin cocktails. Gorgeous finger food and gin, what more could you want on a Thursday evening?! 





Later on in the evening, once NEXT was closed to customers we were taken downstairs and told we could pick any item we'd like from the store as a gift. 

*OVERWHELMING CHOICES* 

The pressure of having to pick something you'd love from NEXT was intense. Limited on time, overwhelming range of gorgeous products and trying to pick the perfect thing was a lot to process! We were all frantically wandering round the empty store with disbelief. 




Fuelled with gin and food, I had a really good look around and spotted a few different key pieces which I liked. We were allowed to try items on and so I found the changing rooms. Not to be dissapointed, gorgeous, light space with velvet seating, gold drop lighting, plants and much needed huge mirrors. 





I ended up opting for a vertical stripe, classic 1950's style tailored, belted dress. This piece gives me nostalgia of the British Summertime, spent on beaches and eating ice cream. It's perfect to wear for professional occasions with its tailored cut but the belt offers the option to make it a looser silhouette ruching he top section over the belt to create more of a relaxed style!





After the gifting, we were then treated to more gin goodness. The Metrocentre train was also on hand for tipsy train rides. Just when you thought the surprises were finished!





Before leaving, each guest was given a goody bag filled with treats from NEXT & Durham Distillery which I will certainly make the most of. Thank you so much La Di Da for the invite and for hosting such a fabulous event! 




Monday, 12 March 2018

Snowflake Surge : Business As Usual

It's safe to say the majority of the country was hit 2 weeks back, with the most snow we've seen in a long time. Safe to say it's the most snow I've seen in my lifetime! The North is not a stranger to cold weather but this was next level. 






The snow started and kept coming, it was magical to watch it come don albeit a bit strange at the end of February/beginning of March! The big fat snowflakes came thick and fast, on and off and some days didn't stop at all. Some areas in Northumberland and higher locations were seeing considerably more than us. However, the blizzard weather combined with thunder and lightening 

As a small business, these things can unexpectedly halt supplies, mailing and much more. I wanted to make sure everyone would get their parcels on time as usual so I was walking to the post office almost daily to ensure these parcels got out to you all... 






I value each and every order that makes it to me and of course, strive to maintain the same level of customer service regardless of things out of my control. Trecking to the post office kept the business running ad usual and glad to say no parcels were delayed. Luckily, non of mine were caught in the lorries stuck on the motorway when it was closed on the Thursday and really pushed to get everything out on time! You lot kept me busy with Mother's Day orders while the snowflakes were piling up outside.  Business as usual despite these crazy conditions! I did feel a little nostalgic and it all shook our regular routine up a little which I didn't mind. 





At the end of a manic but fun week, I managed to make the most of the snow and enjoy a glass or two of bubbles as a reward...





Monday, 12 February 2018

Female Force: Ladies Wine & Design Event

The life of a independent designer can be a lonely journey at times, so cultivating your own tribe and creative community can be important. Last Wednesday, I went along to my first Ladies Wine & Design Event.



I had heard about this event from other creatives, but was yet to get along for myself. Just after New Year, a friend/fellow creative - Ashley Willerton reminded me about this concept again! Initially I thought it was a new piece of info to my brain but then I'd remembered I'd seen illustrator, Laura Sheldon post about previous events. 

So when I seen the Facebook event posted online, I signed up for tickets as it is a small group so tickets are limited. Ladies Wine & Design is now a worldwide concept which was set up by graphic designer, Jessica Walsh. She had recognised there was a gap in the creative industry for female creatives. These creative meet ups help offer mentor ship and widen our networks. The initiative has spread to 130 countries and still growing.




This specific event was named "Making the switch to digital' with guest speaker Dani Stone from JUMP Agency. She shared hr jorney and that her original path as a graphic designer was a distant twinkle from where she is now in the digital world.

Her creative journey started as a graphic designer with a very tactile start using ink pens. Then when studying at university, the course was a lot more focused on digital design which she wasn't sure how that would sit with her style & techniques.




Her next step was as a junior designer in an agency and how that was combined with web design. She noticed there was a gap in the market and in her role for user experience. When building websites, this is an integral part of the design process. How we use websites depends on the reason we're using them, the journey we take and outcome we're trying to achieve. Dani explained that because of this, each project really is it's own path and not one website design is the same for this reason. So interesting!

We got the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the topic which was a lovely way for us to chat and network without pressure as we already had a topic.




Did I mention there was wine? Oh, and cheese? What could be better than wine, cheese and a small group of like minded ladies to chat with for an evening?! These meet ups are such a lovely way to get to know creatives in your area and just meet new people in general. Working and/or running a creative business as a female is a small minority so rising up through the male dominated work world, this really can help us to find our own voices. I've always loved networking, collaborating, getting in the mix so this was totally for me.

You can follow Ladies Wine & Design Newcastle over on Facebook & Instagram for more info on upcoming events...




 On my way home, I passed Castle Fine Art and had to take a minute to take in this neon Bowie beauty! They've always got quirky art on display and used to see the display change a lost as I would pass on my daily commute. I still remember seeing the Simon Claridge pieces just after mine arrived!






Monday, 5 February 2018

Breaking the Boundaries: Discovery Collection Launch

This post has been a long time coming, but I am proud to announce I have finally launched the Discovery Collection! Just last weekend, a select group of guests were invited to come and have the first official viewing of the new range.

Guests were invited to the launch with the traditional paper invitations accompanied by a little snippet that reflected the collection.

Image: Kayleigh Falcus

The location was in is the gorgeous London Bar & Kitchen on Queen Street, Newcastle. Prosecco on entrance and then left to leisurely view the collection. Being amongst gorgeous home ware from LBK really was the perfect setting to show off the new pieces.






The Discovery Collection has a varied selection of pieces as I really tried to cater for everyone and many of the pieces are unisex so I can keep you guys stylish too! The collection combines white, silver and grey with a slither of orange running through. The pieces are made from perspex, wood and semi precious stones and some combine all three elements.

"I wanted to combine the materials to create a much more exciting and aesthetic medium rather than flat perspex. Layering adds a new element and the semi precious stones really add a natural but glossy flair. I like to break the boundaries of what is capable and expected with materials - take the normal flat surface and work to innovate in my own way."





I wanted guests to be able to have fun with the pieces so the addition of the 'Selfie Station' was necessary. Wearing jewellery is something almost all of us do, so interacting with them is an important part of selection. The selfie station made this process fun and guests could test earring styles from minimal to statement - whilst snapping away on their favourite ones on their phone.







Inspiration from the collection comes from the urge to seek the progression of medical science to allow humans to grow and feel complete. With what humans are truly capable of, in search for more, in both physical and mental form. 






This launch was a lovely chance to share my creativity with an intimate group and share the inspiration. This is just the very beginning of something exciting for me and there will be lots more products on the horizon. 







The collection will be online very soon available to purchase.

All image credit to: Rhiannon Banks