Creative

  • Coffee with a Creative: Cynthia of Oui Madam Bridal Atelier

    Today on Coffee with a creative we meet Cynthia, Creative Director of Oui Madam Bridal Atelier who talks to us about her complete lifestyle change, running a shop and of course her favourite choice of hot drink.

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    My Senseo coffee maker.

    What is it that you do? Describe your role/company.

    I am a designer/maker and I have taken my craft to another level by launching an atelier bridal boutique that specializes in creating bespoke bridal gowns that uniquely represent the bride’s personality and style.

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    After 20 years of working alongside and with leading UK designers to produce bespoke pieces for their clientele.

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    Wake up…Panic!!! There is always so much to do.  To get a head start on the day, on alternative days I either read/meditate or head to the gym for an hour.  Paperwork, check emails, telephone messages, text messages, Facebook messages, DM messages etc…..then head to the workroom (located at the bottom of garden) to begin to follow up on what needs to be done for that day.  Often with several dresses in-the-making at any given point, priority is given to the dress deadline and fitting appointments for that week. I often work until 9pm… coming in only for coffee, munchies and dinner. Throughout the day, I post to Instagram and Facebook anything that is current, relevant and engaging.  

    Describe your signature style

    Elegant. timeless and understated luxury…with occasionally bouts of ‘drama’ but not overly so.

    What’s next for the Company?

    To burst onto the scene and be a leading industry voice.

    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?

    The freedom to express yourself in whatever way you like…

    Who is the creative to watch?

    Elie Saab

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    I loved designing as a child and my personality to stand out and be different fuelled my desire to create clothes to make that statement.

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    Experiment with materials and techniques.  

    Make a note of things that catch your eye and use them to inspire your work.  

    Explore and innovate with fear of mistakes.

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    The mermaid look.

    Describe your life in 5 words

    Frustrating, hectic, bursting, satisfying, hungry.

    What are you thankful for?

    I love the opportunity of being invited to share in a bride’s dream and making it a reality.

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    Visit to the V&A or any of the London museums, followed by a lovely relaxing massage and facial.  A must do item has to be a little boutique shopping as a treat! The finale of the weekend would certainly be dinner at the Ritz.

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    A hack across the fields/woods, lunch and a round of golf followed by a refreshingly cold glass of white wine or something sparkly.

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    I love going to LA. I love the vast uncrowded open spaces of Orange County, the beaches at Huntington and Laguna.  The choice of a late breakfast and the quality of the food served especially the seafood!

    How insightful to hear about Cynthia’s work. We enjoy late breakfasts and dinner at the Ritz too! Have a look at Cynthia’s amazing dresses to see how talented she is! You can check her out on Facebook and Instagram too – Make sure you follow her to get some inspiration!

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  • Coffee with a Creative: Bhavini Lakhani of B81 Designs

    Today on Coffee with a Creative we meet Bhavini Lakhani, of B81 Designs, she talks to us about her work, daily routines, inspiration and of course her hot drink of choice.

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    A nice flat white.

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    I was made redundant as my maternity leave ended in 2011 – rather than be upset about it, I decided to be positive about it and started freelancing. It was a very accidental step into the world of freelancing, but I wouldn’t change any of it! 

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    I’m usually up by 5am so that I can fit in a workout – I find this helps me to clear my mind and usually releases any stress from the day before. It gives me some me time, and also gets me feeling really energised. I also listen to podcasts while I’m working out and I find that it’s a great way to fit that in! I then get myself ready for the day before waking my 2 girls up at 7. I do the school run at 8.25am and once I’m back home I make myself a flat white and sit down to work until it’s time to go and pick the girls up from school at 3pm. Once we’re home, the afternoon is family time. I make dinner and play with the girls, read etc. They have dinner at about 5, and at 6.45/7ish it’s time for them to have a bath and go to bed. If I have a lot of on, I sometimes work in the evenings once the girls are asleep.

    Describe your signature style

    In all honesty, I don’t think I have a set signature style. I’m quite good at adapting to different project briefs and client needs.

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    I’ve had a few amazing projects throughout my career so far – I’ve done a cinema ad which was just fantastic. I’ve also created a gorgeous brochure for British Gas to use at an employee recognition event, and I’ve recently worked with an international coffee machine manufacturer to create a brochure for one of their new lines. The one thing I’ve always wanted to do is a billboard!!!!

    What’s next for the Company?

    I want to be able to work with some medium/large companies, rather than just start ups and small businesses.

    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?

    The creative scene in MK is amazing. There’s a really nice supportive feel within the creative community, rather than it being highly competitive. 

    Who is the creative to watch?

    Roxanne at RoxPix Photography. She’s so good at what she does, and she’s always pushing herself to achieve her goals and dreams!

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    I loved art GCSE and A Level and the next step was an Art Foundation course so that I could try different things and see what direction I wanted to go in. During that year, I found that graphic design was something I naturally gravitated towards. The typical Asian careers of law, medicine etc didn’t hold any attractions for me at all and from an early age I know I wanted to do something more creative.

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    – Push yourself outside of your comfort zone – even if it’s only a little…that’s where the magic happens.
    – Look for inspiration outside of the box – just because I’m a graphic designer, doesn’t mean only graphic design inspires me.
    – Sometimes, the ideas that you think are bad…are actually great!

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    Bevel and Emboss effects on text for logos…

    Describe your life in 5 words

    Busy, happy, blessed, organised chaos!

    What are you thankful for?

    My wonderful family and friends.

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    Afternoon tea and cocktails with my husband or my best girlies, followed by a relaxing spa day!

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    Taking the kids to somewhere like Hampshire and enjoying the wonderful forests and nature we have around us!

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    New York – I LOVE how much there is going on, it’s so inspiring and the coffee is just heavenly! The people are really friendly, and I love discovering new parts of the city. Havana comes a really close second though…I love the relaxed Cuban culture, the historic places and the artwork.

    Afternoon tea and cocktails sounds right up our street… where are we going? If you want conviction that this lady knows her stuff then look at our very own branding for Honestly Wonderful – Yes, created by the lovely lady herself – thanks Bhavini, we love it too!! Follow Bhavini on socials to keep up with her fantastic work, love of coffee and inspiration. You can follow B81 Designs on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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  • Coffee with a Creative: Karolina Barnes of Estila Magazine

    Today on Coffee with a Creative we meet Karolina Barnes, of Estila Magazine, she talks us through her work, daily routines, inspiration and of course her hot drink of choice.

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    Earl Grey.

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    Frustration and passion for emerging design.

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    I get up at 6am and go on emails or do some work before the morning school run. After the school run I walk our dog around the island we live on and once back it’s either off to London for meetings, interviews or press days. If I don’t have to travel to London, I curate and create content for our magazine issues, website and our business community. This might involve doing small photo-shoots, sourcing props and press loans or writing articles and resource books. My afternoons are pretty much the same as mornings apart from the days when I need to be the taxi driver for my daughters and take them to different clubs after school. I start making dinner around 5.30pm so it’s ready for 7pm. We keep the family tradition of eating together at the table each evening and weekends too. No TV, just us as a family. After both girls go to sleep, I go back to work and finish anything that needs to be done before the following day. My cut-off time is 2am but most days I try to go to bed around midnight.

    Describe your signature style

    Elegant, eclectic, colourful

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    My kitchen

    What’s next for the Company?

    My aim is to grow our company into a multi-platform media and retail business. It will takes years to do it but I’m up for the challenge.

    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?

    I think there is so much talent everywhere I go. I don’t have specific locations as such. Every time I venture somewhere new, I find so much creativity around me. I think it’s great that these days we all can express our creative sides with freedom. We have the privilege of being able to be who we are!!

    Who is the creative to watch?

    I think most women I feature and interview for Estila Magazine are the next big thing. I totally believe in them, even though they are at a stage when they don’t..yet. But that comes with experience and confidence building. I love, for example, Alexandra Gallagher’s work, which I put on the cover of Estila’s Volume 2. She has a great future ahead of her.

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    I think I’ve always been creative but my creativity was suppressed for decades. Not until my late 30s, I realised that I am a multi-talented creative, meaning I love graphic design, interior design, art and I’ve also designed an evening dress collection. I did them all in the past and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t fitting in in one specific category. Estila Magazine is really a reflection of me and how I see design and art across these categories, which I’m passionate about.

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    – Go with your gut and listen to your intuition
    – Stop caring what others think about your work, as long as you’re happy with your work, put it out there.
    – Keep learning and being curious

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    I don’t follow trends at all so it’s hard for me to pick anything. For me, it’s more about expressing myself through different medium – being an interior design project, graphic design or painting a piece of art, and doing my own thing. Having said that, I think ripped jeans, and ripped t-shirts, in fact everything ripped, which is everywhere right now, should be banned.

    Describe your life in 5 words

    Constantly living on the edge

    What are you thankful for?

    My health and family

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    Visiting galleries followed by an afternoon tea

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    Going for walk and having picnics

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    Anywhere in Switzerland. Love the mountains and the lakes. The vibe is so calming and the environment is so inspiring.

    Karolina, we love afternoon tea too! Take a look at the fantastic Estila Magazine website, there are some great features, fantastic imagery and a list of services that are very very useful. You can follow Estila Magazine and Karolina on Instagram, and twitter …

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  • 10 Hints and Tips on How to Survive the Christmas Holidays!

    Now we all love Christmas, its the holiday that virtually everyone has off and even if you don’t celebrate per say there is still a real buzz around it. Now in our house we visit families, enjoy spending time with everyone, eat loads and generally be very very merry (most of the time). Its also a time where you are managing everyone’s expectations for at least 2 whole weeks, if not longer, so here are some hints and tips on being prepared, making the most of and surviving as well as ensuring we’re all still friends at the end of it.

    1. Keep your camera’s handy, whether its on your phone, that hugely expensive DSLR or a Digi camera – The memories you will want to capture can be treasured forever when you’ve got it on camera. Perhaps granddad has fallen asleep and his beard is in the trifle or the toddler is walking around with his newly gifted trousers on his head, be great to make sure you’ve snapped those shots as they happen!
    2. Put a couple of playlists together for the different occasions, we love to dance to Christmas songs whilst decorating the house and I love to have music at the ready for present opening time (as its usually very very early, try 5am!). Adding to that, we sing at the top of our voices, unluckily for our neighbours.
    3. Prepare a Christmas eve box with little games, snacks for Santa and Rudolf, a Christmas movie, Christmas story book, hot chocolate for bedtime or even with the movie, marshmallows to toast, popcorn, Christmas pyjamas or onesie, slippers, a soft toy and of course gingerbread. Those impatient little ones will surely be distracted for a couple of hours and miraculously be soo tired that they don’t insist on waiting up for Santa, here’s hoping! Over the years trends for these have increased so you might want to invest in making one, or even buying one.
    1. For gifting you should ensure you have copious amounts of wrapping paper, tags, bows, wasi tape and of course scissors. I love brown paper wrapping and then jazzing it up with colourful bows and ribbons, I have to say that my toddler doesn’t have the same appreciation. So we generally have lots of different wrapping paper and layer it up so that the tree looks a feast.
    2. Ensure you schedule time out of the house and spend some much needed family time, go for long walks – has the added bonus of burning off all that food, go to your nearest nature trail and enjoy the fresh air, or alternatively have a duvet day and movie marathon!
    3. Have some ‘you’ time, its a very busy period and if you’re like me there is always lots going on so make sure you block out some time and focus on self care. After all, if you’re calm and relaxed then so will everyone and everything around you be.
    1. Plan for 2018; book or block out some time for trips and make sure there are adventures booked into the year, this gives you all something to look forward to as well as breaking up key parts of the year. Its also a nice thing to do as a family.
    2. Have some surprises up your sleeve, whether its an impromptu baking marathon, a trip to see friends or a games day wearing funny costumes, mix it up.
    3. If you’ve got older children then think about a Christmas day treasure hunt so that they have to work out where their presents are, although they might get a little frustrated if they’ve spent ages trying to find them.
    4. Finally, enjoy every minute. Things change so quickly and next year is going to be a whole different ball game so enjoy, laugh lots, eat even more and most importantly make the most of all the time you spend with the people that you care about.

    Do you have any other hints and tips? Anything that I didn’t mention? Hope you have a fantastic festive period and make wonderful memories together!

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  • Coffee with a Creative: Beki Gowing of Print and Press London

    Today on Coffee with a Creative we meet Beki Gowing, of Print and Press London, she talks us through her work, daily routines, inspiration and of course the hot drink that she loves

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    Soya latte, or an Americano if it’s going to be a long day

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    I was working in the corporate world as a retail buyer, but growing frustrated at the amount of red tape and how every idea would have to be watered down to fit in with everything else. I (slightly foolishly) wanted to do things for myself, instead of delegating to everyone and feeling like I didn’t have any real ownership. Over a year later and I am running a digital fabric printing studio – Print & Press, London. It has been an incredibly steep learning curve, and I often wish there were more people to delegate to, but I love having the freedom to decide what to do each day, and where I want the business strategy to focus on.

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    I’m not a natural early riser, although I am trying to make myself have a better morning routine. I normally have a coffee and porridge at home listening to Radio 6, making a list and planning the day ahead, before going to the studio. I love dressing up in bright clothes, but unfortunately printing can get quite (very) messy, so I normally dress in jeans and a t-shirt. At the studio I’ll catch up with Joe my technician, and any interns or freelance technicians if we’ve got a busy day planned. We’ll all sit down together for 15 minutes and go through the day’s priorities and what needs to be done. I try to leave the printing to the tech team, while I focus on customer emails and marketing, but as we’re such a small company we all end up swapping roles throughout the day. The morning will normally be admin; replying to emails, answering phone calls, ordering materials, and in the afternoon I try to focus on marketing; things like writing a blog post, engaging with people on social media, and improving the website. Every Monday we have a trade team meeting to see how sales have been, Thursdays are for working on the coaching and business support side of the business, and I try to block out Fridays to focus on my print design work. At about 6.30 I stop working and head home to meet my partner so we can make dinner together. Evenings are normally quite lazy, either sitting on the sofa watching Netflix, going to a pub quiz, or if I’m being productive heading into central London for a networking event.

    Describe your signature style

    Short red hair and bright pink lipstick. I love bright colours and loud patterns, preferably with lots of geometrics.

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    A collaboration with a fashion designer to create a collection of bright placement patterns for beautiful dresses (with pockets).

    What’s next for the Company?

    We will be launching Print & Make very soon, customers will be able to send us their print designs, and receive a professionally sewn bespoke make up bag, tote bag or cushion in the post with own unique design on. I’m also writing an online course to help small businesses and designers launch their brands and sell more products.

    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?

    In London there is always something fantastic going on, it can just be a bit overwhelming trying to find what’s right for you. We’re based in Greenwich, which has so many creative people. It feels a bit more chilled out and is a great environment to meet people to collaborate with, instead of in central where it can sometimes feel very competitive.

    Who is the creative to watch?

    There are a few print designers I love at the moment. Rachel Parker is a surface pattern designer who uses print and stitch to make beautiful geometric patterns which are available through Studio Flock and in John Lewis. Coral Fowley will be exhibiting at New Designers One Year On in 2017, and creates beautiful textured patterns, she made a fab planner for us. Anna Mac is another print designer I can’t get enough of at the moment, and I covet her beautiful printed floor cushions.

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    I studied Fine Art until I was 19, and always thought I would follow an artistic career path. However I fell out of love with it, and desperately wanted to learn a skill and do something useful. I love design because it solves problems, and is a way of making something better, while still being beautiful.

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    – Keep showing up. Sometimes it’s just about putting in the hours.
    – Talk to people. We are all better when we collaborate and help each other.
    – Don’t be so hard on yourself. Creatives can be really self critical, we all need to get better at letting ourselves have time off, and celebrating what we’ve achieved.

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    Good question! I’m not a fan of text. Text on walls, text on t-shirts, text on fake hipster signs, it feels like someone is shouting their motivational quote on repeat, and makes me cringe a lot. I’m also not the biggest fan of the minimalist interior design. It looks very pretty but is so impractical. I love stuff, I think it shows our personalities and what matters to us. Oh and rose gold!

    Describe your life in 5 words

    Busy, messy, colourful, exciting, tiring

    What are you thankful for?

    My lovely partner is really far too patient with me, and he has given up a lot to support me with my business. Also coffee and a good curry.

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    Catching the Thames Clipper in for a bottomless brunch with friends. Sitting in a park to recover, and then going to an art gallery followed by a comedy club. And the Clipper back home in the dark looking at the lights.

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    Camping in our bell tent, cycling to the butchers and having a BBQ over a campfire (with a fair bit of wine)

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    Brighton. I studied there and had the best time. Every time I go back I miss it more, it has such a great atmosphere and I don’t think there’s anywhere else like it. After that it’s Hoi An in Vietnam for lovely weather, food and coffee.

    Take a look at the work that Beki has the pleasure of creating over on her website, she has some great print designs just ready and waiting for your next project, better yet, why don’t you try your hand at creating your own? You can follow Print and Press London on the usual socials Facebook, Instagram, and twitter …

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  • Coffee with a Creative: Carol Hanson of Ufurria

    Today on Coffee with a Creative we are talking to Carol Hanson, of Ufurria, she is one of the lovely ladies I have had the pleasure to meet, talking about her, her business and her favourite hot drink of choice!

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    Latte or Hot Chocolate

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    My grandmother who inspired the first product when she purchased me a faux fur jacket from a charity sale some 35 years ago.

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    I run three completely different businesses so I can guarantee that no day is ever the same. But with my creative venture I’m using all my skills to spin lots of plates at the moment as we have just launched our retail offering.

    Describe your signature style

    I tend to stand out in a crowd!

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    Good question! Having just read Andrea Shulman’s Inside Vogue: My Diary of 100th Year and now listening to Grace Coddington’s biography it would have to be a major feature in Vogue.

    What’s next for the Company?

    A successful first season.

     
    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?
     
    I don’t live in a city but in a gorgeous market town 30 miles north of London. This enables me to take advantage of the energy of the London scene and reconnect with the beauty of the countryside.

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    I want to leave my mark on the British fashion industry. I know that sounds cliched but it’s also true. My opportunity to develop my one product idea came in December 2015 when I was introduced to a designer who has helped me to expand the range and is my creative muse!

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    I don’t have tips specifically for these industries but what I would say is that as an entrepreneur you should follow your dream. Determination, passion and understanding your big why are crucial.

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    Hygge – don’t get me wrong I love Scandinavian design, understated, cool with lots of minimalism but I hate the way it’s just been over marketed.

    Describe your life in 5 words

    An exciting and interesting journey.

    What are you thankful for?

    My relationships – with family, friends and my amazing networks

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    Exploring and getting off the beaten track

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    Being with my husband and my dogs

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    I’ve got a few! Barcelona – my favourite city I never tire of visiting. Corsica – the most mountainous and beautiful island in the Med. Goa – fabulous vibe. amazing people and fantastic food!

    If you want to take a look at some of Carol’s products then pop over to her website, she has some great lifestyle shots showcasing her products, and lets face it, we definitely have the weather for it!  Keep up with Ufurria on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter and look at the noise they are making!

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  • Coffee with a Creative: Sonika Kudhail of The Little Casting Studio

    Today on Coffee with a Creative we are meeting a Sonika Kudhail, of The Little Me Casting Studio, she is one of the many creatives I have had the joy to interview, talking about her, her business and her favourite hot drink of choice!

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    Caramel Latte

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    I was feeling ‘meh’ about my career as a teacher and wanted a change! I’ve always been quite creative, making weird and wonderful things for home, family and friends! So…my husband actually inspired me to jump off my career ladder as a teacher and do something I enjoy! So as my husband is in the dental field, he came up with the creative idea of taking impressions of babies’ hands and feet as a keepsake! I never let him finish his train of thought and went full steam ahead, with researching, training and The Little Me Casting Studio was born! I’m just an ordinary woman who decided to go for it!

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    My previous work day involved: internal screaming, fantasising about my dramatic exit speech and thinking ‘please give me inner strength, get me through this day’. Well I’m glad to say that is all behind me and there is a hope!!! I wake up excited to start my new life, every morning. I check my emails, social media and get back to any enquiries. Then it’s breakfast and coffee!!

    Then I time block to structure my day and productivity: so check my diary for any upcoming appointments and prepare for them by packing all my materials in a travel suitcase (I’m a mobile caster). I attend any appointments I have that day (no more than 2-3 a day). Take gorgeous impressions of a baby’s hand or foot or both (crazy but fun) and go back and cast them and reveal the lovely results and leave them to dry for 3-4 weeks! Then, just as a Blue Peter presenter says ‘here’s one we made earlier’ (from 3 weeks ago) we tidy and finish the cast, with a special paint and wax and present them beautifully in our bespoke frames. Everyday can be different and meeting lovely customers and their babies is a joy – no more internal screaming!

    Describe your signature style

    It’s got to be our deluxe, contemporary black frame with silver casts, baby picture and name plaque

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    Taking an impression of a celebrities’ baby…that would be exciting! Then maybe turning that into pure GOLD!!

    What’s next for the Company?

    The Little Me Casting Studio is only 6 months old…so at the moment, it’s building on my products and getting more recognised! I do have some crazy plans for the future….but baby steps for now

    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?
     
    The creative scene in Wolverhampton is more vibrant than ever, with so many artists playing their part! From the Arena theatre to the Grand to Wolverhampton as a city, promoting and supporting creativity and small businesses! Wolverhampton is changing and the best thing is opportunity! #wolvesart

    Who is the creative to watch?
     
    All in all, anyone that has the passion and drive in the creative scene is the one to watch!
     
    The Pop Art movement!!! Students ! University of Wolverhampton is home to one of the greatest Pop Art collections outside of London. 

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    As mentioned before it was the lack of happiness in my teacher life that changed me for the worse and it was a wake up call from the husband that changed me for the better! I love being myself and being able to express myself in my work!

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    – Trust yourself and your skill, it will show in your work 
    – Simplicity – sometimes less is more. Your creative ideas can come in random bursts, but combining them can turn into something quite messy! Strip away anything unnecessary and your are left with a gem!
    – Feedback – an outsider’s perspective can sometimes ignite the extra touch of creativity you are looking for – communicate with your customers!

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    People trying to cut corners! It’s annoying, especially when you know they are NOT being ignorant!

    Describe your life in 5 words

    Your dreams CAN be reality

    What are you thankful for?

    I’m thankful for inspiration, support and love

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    Food, food and food!! I love doing escape rooms at the moment!

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    Spa, walks and more food (nice gastropub)

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    Dubai! It’s such a diverse place with a lot of culture! It’s also very glamorous and has amazing restaurants!

    Sonika can be found on social media on Instagram and Facebook. Have a look at her work and think about whether you want a hand or a foot casting in solid gold – it would make Sonika’s dream project a reality!

    AartiPopat Blog Signature bluewgold x

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  • Coffee with a Creative: Charul Bakhda of Gemhance

    Today on Coffee with a Creative we are meeting a crystal specialist, Charul, of Gemhance, she is one of the many like-minded creatives I have had the joy to interview, talking about her, her business and her favourite hot drink of choice!

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    Hot Chocolate as i don’t drink coffee

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    Personal experiences of when I was at a dark place in my life and the change crystal healing, Reiki and Yoga brought to make life worth living again

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    Yoga and meditation first thing. Then hello to friends and relatives, get ready, and meet the first client of the day for a consultation followed by admin. Lunch is then followed by another client, more admin, then to tackle the socials like Facebook, maybe Pinterest or Instagram. The late afternoon is dedicated to picking up the children and dinner, their activities, making the jewellery, reading for half an hour and then bed.

    Describe your signature style

    Wirework and Makrame style jewellery

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    Painting silk scarfs and silversmithing

    What’s next for the Company?

    Organise Crystal Healing for groups and meditation classes in a studio and workshop environment

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    I’ve had personal life changing experience and my aim is to help others benefit from the healing properties of crystals. Especially those who don’t see light at the end of tunnel. I learnt through experience and guidance from my master and so I started helping. I realised people would forget to keep their crystals with them and using my creative side I decided to design beautiful handmade bespoke crystal healing gemstone jewellery so that it looks fashionable to wear and wearers benefit from all the positive energy of the crystals too.

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    – Believe in yourself
    – Map out what you want to achieve
    – Create what pleases you the most and it will definitely be liked by others

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    Anything made unethically and leather goods

    Describe your life in 5 words

    Live life to your best

    What are you thankful for?

    Thankful to have great kids and family

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    Going to crystal shops and spending time learning more about the holistic way of living with like minded people

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    Walking in nature with the kids, doing Yoga with them within nature, breathing in fresh air. Eating healthy meals. Relaxing and having therapies.

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    Zanzibar in Africa, beautiful sea side, small roads, pure air, quiet life. Where my first few years were spent

    Charul and Gemhance can be found on social media on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest. They also have some fantastic products on their website, so take a look.

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  • Coffee with a Creative: Harri Dhokia of Black Qubd

    Coffee with a Creative is all about meeting like-minded creatives in various industries talking about them, their businesses and their favourite hot drink of choice! Today we meet Harri Dhokia of Black Interiors and Black Qubd.

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    Latte 

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    I found the courage to believe in myself, understand my worth and challenge myself. I was surrounded by young entrepreneurs who inspired me but it also helped knowing that I had the support.

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    The beauty about my career and business is that each day is different. A typical office day starts with me waking up, doing a workout in the morning, shower, get ready, have breakfast, then head to the office. My daily tasks could be from being creative with design on a few projects, to brainstorming ideas with my colleagues or simply having a laugh.

    Although the business is busy, I believe its important to have a light-hearted environment full of positive energy. I’m generally in the office until about 6pm and head out to either meet friends, chill at home with parents or go to yoga / zumba etc depending on which it is.

    Throughout the day I am always in touch with my friends and colleagues which is important to me. I try hard to having a life – working balance but eventually realised that my work is my passion and therefore that is my life.

    Describe your signature style

    With my business name being Black Interiors, its easy to have a black theme running through my project and interiors but generally I have a neutral canvas with the addition of splashes of colour.

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    I actually envy myself with the projects I do have with a client who is amazing. the projects vary from new build mansions to central London apartments. One type of project I would love to experience a hotel project or a restaurant.

    What’s next for the Company?

    Wow…so much! I have some powerful goals in place for the business and its growing day by day. You’ll have to watch this space 😉

    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?

    London is the heart of creativity. The multi cultural city showcases talent in every corner of the city. But for me, nature is the best thing about the city and that is the beautiful colours found in a London sunset. Its mesmerising.

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    I’ve always been an artist and fell into a job working with wallpaper and colour schemes after A-Levels. This led me into a job designing kitchens and bathrooms and I worked my way through job after job in the similar field learning and growing at each step.

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    – I have learnt to always believe in yourself. If you’re talented and are always getting praised for this talent, then believe and value yourself and push yourself harder.
    – Use your creative talent and apply it to life. We are naturally gifted so show it off. and finally …..
    – dream big!

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    That’s a tricky one especially as trends have a cycle and generally filter back through into our lives. The beauty about having a creative talent, we have a natural way of converting something quite ugly into something beautiful no matter what the trend.

    Describe your life in 5 words

    Awesome, happy, passionate, fun and positive

    What are you thankful for?

    My parents…I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and their support

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    People watching, chilling in the sun with friends

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    Taking in the surroundings and going for long strolls

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    I love Dubai. For the all rounder experience of weather, shopping, beach and food. However, for me, every place I visit are created with amazing memories and laughter.

    Harri and Black Qubd are regulars on the social media scene on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest. They also have some fantastic products on their website, so take a look.

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  • Coffee with a Creative: Rachel Ward of Luks Linen

    Coffee with a Creative is a monthly series all about meeting like-minded creatives in various industries talking about them, their businesses and their favourite hot drink of choice! Today we meet Rachel Ward of Luks Linen.

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    Small Batch – Latte 

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    After 20 years working in advertising I wanted to try something new – I had a sun bed epiphany whilst travelling in Turkey where I discovered the peshtemal (Turkish towel) and naively thought – I could start a business selling these multi-talented gems here in Europe – 2 years later here we are selling globally and working with family weavers to create a beautifully created range of towels for indoor and outdoor living.

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    Hmm – I’m a night owl and not a lark so I probably start my day later than most. Tea and the laptop in bed checking emails and getting set for the day followed by the daily jump into Instagram. The rest of the morning is usually spent managing the website and checking our social media and online advertising whilst a typical afternoon would be a mix of photo-shoots, designing potential new products and liaising with our ateliers in Turkey. As it’s summer we’re also gearing up for the festival season which will see us indulging in our love of music and good food whilst sharing a bit of the Lüks love around the British countryside.

    Describe your signature style

    Less is more – I like quality over quantity, simple lines and good tailoring. Considering I work with pattern I don’t actually wear it myself!

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    Producing a heritage range of peshtemals for Liberty – the perfect excuse to delve into their pattern archives too!

    What’s next for the Company?

    We’re moving more permanently into the US market as we speak and tentatively looking at collaborations with artists to see if we can translate their work on to the loom.

    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?

    I’m Brighton based so there’s lot to choose from – digitally there is a real pulse down here that is well supported with events such as She Says and TEDx. Artistically it’s a real melting pot from the Brighton Fringe to the Great Escape Festival – musically and theatrically we are spoilt for choice – put all of that next to the sea and you can’t fail to be constantly inspired.

    Who is the creative to watch?

    Mira Mikati – now she could persuade me to wear pattern!

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    For me it’s about physical creation and being able to stand in an interior space and know that it feels right – I always been hands on so it was a natural progression for me to move from advertising into interior design and then soft furnishings

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    – Don’t start with a screen – start with paper and a pencil – I am forever doodling and sketching…creatively that’s really important – don’t lose sight of it.
    – Make your concepts concise – how would you sell your idea in a tweet – it sounds trite but really makes you think about what is important.
    – Lighting, lighting, lighting

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    Faux finishes

    Describe your life in 5 words

    Peaceful, exhausting, hectic, slow and lucky – running your own business you can experience all of this in one day!

    What are you thankful for?

    Having a business that has allowed me to step out of the 9-5 and off the commuter train

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    If we’re talking London then it would be brunch at the Wolesley followed by Tate Modern, dinner and piggy treats at Comptoir Gascon and an evening at the Barbican – just being in that building feels like you’re part of a Kubrick film. Sunday is market day so off to the East End for a spot of Columbia Road, good coffee and then a spot of open mic jazz and swing at the Palm on Regents Canal – all the old boys turn out for a spot of Sinatra – it’s brilliant!

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    A lie in! Followed by a long leisurely dog walk with our black lab Sadie and an even more leisurely lunch somewhere like the Jolly Sportsman in East Chiltington. An evening BBQ with marshmallows round the fire and chatting nonsense with friends. Sunday…perhaps some wild swimming at Balcombe to blow the cobwebs away and then a hearty roast!

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    Hoi An – Vietnam – this place is just magical – a world heritage site the low level architecture, cookery courses and tailoring is a must. The night market full of the seas weird and wonderful bounty and streets lit by lanterns.

    Rachel can be found on social media on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Pinterest. You can check out her lovely products over on her website, I think these are going onto my birthday wish list!!

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  • Coffee with a Creative: Urvi Sheth of Raw Invites

    My new series is all about meeting like-minded creatives and was also on my spring goals list, so here i go with a series of interviews talking to creatives in various industries talking about them, their businesses and their favourite hot drink of choice! First up we have Urvi Sheth of Raw Invites.

    UrviSheth5

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?
    Herbal Tea? oops

    What inspired you to set up your Company?
    I’ve always dreamt of somehow putting my creativity to good use. From a young age all I wanted to do was create art that people loved. But I managed to convince myself a job like that didn’t exist. I couldn’t possibly create my own dream job could I? So I started my journey, I went to uni, got my design degree and got myself a job as an intern where I learnt how the design world operates and I did as many freelance jobs on the side as possible. I soon came to realise the importance of experience. With every project and opportunity that came my way, my experience in the design field was fast growing, I was gaining new skills and invaluable life lessons. Which led me to become Laura Ashley’s head digital designer. Working for Laura Ashley has been one of the most incredible opportunities. Although Laura Ashley is a huge accomplishment, I felt I had out grown my role as I realised I wasn’t leaning as many new skills or growing as an individual and the only solution was to move onto the next chapter. I just didn’t know what I wanted to explore next or how to figure it out. So now we get onto why did I start RAW invites, where did this idea even come from? My Brother and now Sister-in-law asked me to design their Wedding Invitations. My first thought was I can’t design a wedding invitation, I couldn’t even think of an idea. Now that is worrying for someone who has a design degree and is Laura Ashley’s digital designer, right? But designing for the corporate world vs a personal approach is completely different. You don’t have the same creative freedom in the corporate world, and I had done it for so long I forgot how to design for any other medium. I started designing their invites and day by day I had a new light bulb moment. Coming up with new concepts and ideas, watching their faces and hearing their feedback brought a new sense of satisfaction that I never experienced in my design career, It was absolutely amazing. I reconnected with my long-lost creative side and realised how fun and enjoyable life could be, and I didn’t want that satisfaction to stop. One day my Brother said “Why don’t you design bespoke wedding invitations for other couples? Everyone wants something personal and you love doing it” – Seriously hearing those words especially from him was all it took, and now I run my own business!

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?
    I’m definitely not an early bird! I’d rather work till late and wake up naturally with NO alarm! I will wake up between 8-9am. Guess there should be some perks of being your own boss! – Check emails – Post of my social media accounts – Browse social media staying up to date with trends – Make a priority list of what I need completed (What designs I need to do, what orders I need to delivery, what deadlines are fast approaching, etc) – Client meetings – Printer visits – Come back to my desk and finish off my list – On a good day I can stop work at 9pm-ish – Recently I find myself still sat at my desk past 12! However I’m the biggest workaholic! I absolutely love love love designing.

    Describe your signature style
    If you know me you know I breathe colour and patterns. I actually get told people can instantly recognise my work ‘This has RAW written all over it’ I think that’s so important as you’re staying authentic to yourself!

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender
    Really want to work with acrylic, wood and mirror invitations as they look absolutely incredible. However the costs are high due to the materials.

    What’s next for the Company?
    I recently launched my very first Custom Wedding Invitation range, which means there is set designs the couples can pick and email across the wording. April was an incredibly productive month for me, I managed to complete 14 different designs with several colour variations, with very little sleep! I continuously need new projects to work on and as I finished my Custom Range I was on the look out for my next exciting venture. Days after saying this I got approached by Kudos Music to design a bespoke suite for one of their events. This was such an amazing experience, being able to design 16 ft signs, dance floors and DJ booths was incredible. What I’m trying to say is I see everyday as a new opportunity and I can’t predict what’s going to present itself to me tomorrow let alone next month.

    UrviSheth4

    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?
    Creativity can be found everywhere! Look at the world we’re surrounded by! Nature, Architecture, Technology.

    Who is the creative to watch?
    I don’t believe there is a certain creative to watch. I believe we all have creative moments and thoughts, it’s what we do with those moments/thoughts that really determine it all. Creativity can be found in several different forms.

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?
    Truth – Designing was the only thing I ever really enjoyed. Hours would go by and I wouldn’t even realise.

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?
    – The little details are what make the piece
    – Make sure your type face represents the project/ brand your working for
    – You can never have too much colour (biased of course)

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?
    Standard typical indian kankotri prints. (again me being biased)

    Describe your life in 5 words
    Exciting, Fun, Adventure, BUSY and MINE

    What are you thankful for?
    Being able to live my life doing what I love and for myself. Turning my childhood dream into a career. Sometimes when I’m just driving to client meetings going to the printers, etc I just smile to myself and realise that i’m actually just working for myself, I am my own boss! I that is the most incredible feeling, it just makes all the long days/nights and 0 social life ALL WORTH IT!

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?
    Walking through the little streets, going to parks, finding new food markets! Admiring how beautiful life really is.

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?
    I love the country side, and a good ol hike! Mt Snowdon was the last hike I completed. If you haven’t hiked before, I strongly recommend it.

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?
    I’m not sure! :/

    Urvi can be found on social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. You can also check out her work over on her website, doesn’t it look great?

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  • The Scandinavian Influence

    The ‘Scandi-look’ is what I have requests for from a lot of my clients, they love the style and the feeling it evokes. The pure simplicity of clean lines and pared back elegance makes the space warm and inviting and is usually functional and minimal. The use of muted tones and earthy materials such as wood is a must for Scandinavian inspired homes.

    What properties do you need to instil in your space for this look to work? Here I talk about a few key elements that you should think about changing up for this look to work!

    Wooden floors
    Natural, earthy tones have pride of place in one of these homes, think pale but warm woods but don’t go towards pine (it’s too yellow). It has to be subtle to be Scandi-inspired and fit the look. Nature is celebrated in all its beauty and so wooden floors are always always the preferred option. Add some potted plants to your interior to further infuse nature.

    Materials – add texture and warmth
    There is a strong emphasis on using cotton, wool and linen rather than synthetics where fabrics are used and even this should be kept to a bare minimum. Think about bold, geometric patterns on cushions and rugs; be they chevrons, strips or squares. Flowery just doesn’t cut it in this look. Wood across floors and furniture is still a fixed requirement and you can never have too much!

    Clean lines
    Keep the geometry simple, that isn’t to be read as ‘don’t use curves’ but don’t have busy, fussy lines all over the space. Generally open plan living is the best type of space, this is in keeping with practical multifunctional spaces that can be used by the whole family.

    Colour
    The preference is for white and muted colours, these make the space look generous and keeping walls, cabinetry and other large pieces in the same tonal range make the space appear larger than it is. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use colour; rugs, vases, artwork, cushions and other accessories in bright shades can add character and personality to a space and will actually make them stand out more than if you had a busy, colourful interior as a base already.

    Functional and liveable interior
    The main focus of Scandinavian design is to improve the day to day functionality in daily life and to make life easier for you. So if you have to get inside a cupboard, to get inside a drawer to open the box to get a spoon it’s a completely un-Scandinavian way to live. The open plan model is one that is embraced by Scandinavians and lovers of the style. Make the open plan space work for you and allow you to complete daily tasks with ease so that it is a way of living.

    Furniture
    Strong, bold and clean lines in furniture with a big focus on multifunctional items is Scandinavian. Again wood is the principal material used. There are some iconic mid-century furniture pieces that you can invest in and they lend themselves extremely well to this look. Examples of these include;

    • The Eames Chair, by Charles and Ray Eames
    • The Poet Sofa, by Finn Juhl
    • The Egg Chair, by Arne Jacobsen

    Do you remember seeing any of these? Do you like the look? Some are still available and are very popular, even just as focal pieces for the space.

    Fireplace in the corner of a room
    The cold is big factor in Scandinavian countries and so they always like to have a nice fire, whether that be open or closed. If you don’t have a fireplace or working chimney it’s not a problem, there are some great freestanding fireplaces that have no requirements other than access to power. The key is to have said fireplace offset in the space and not aligned centrally like we do here in Britain, it isn’t meant to be a feature but to keep the space warm and allow functionality around it.

    Merge the inside and outside
    Diffusing the line between inside and outside is so easy to do now, think of those nice, nearly frameless bi-fold doors that you can just open up the space and be instantly outside. I am finding that clients love having that freedom to move into and out of both zones and I try to design with this in mind. Knowing that the weather is unpredictable in the UK means extra precautions have to be put in place for all eventualities, but I think that is part of the fun!

    Declutter and minimise your accessorising of any interior
    Keep your space focused! I have boxes full of nice display items but I could never have it all out cluttering the space up. I regularly curate each of my rooms to make sure there is a different focal point from a piece of artwork on my walls to authentic chopsticks from a trip to Beijing or my original digeridoo bought all the way back from Australia. I do always collect items of interest because I know that they will have their day and be out for all to see. Sometimes though, the hard part is determining what a keeper is and what something to just get rid of is. More on that in another post though. There are also some really lovely inspired pieces out there, you just have to find the right suppliers!

    Light and airy
    Natural light is increased by any means necessary. Windows are generously proportioned. Window treatments, if used at all, are kept sheer or translucent. Mirrors are placed strategically to visually expand the space and reflect any available ambient light. The dominant colour palette is generally a light-reflecting neutral.

    So actually, to completely overhaul what you have in your space currently and adopt a Scandinavian way of living isn’t so hard, in fact it could be the best thing you did, a way of living’ rather than just creating a look. Do you think its something you want to replicate? Will you be taking your space apart? Be great to hear your thoughts.

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  • Spring is Here – Goals for the Season

    MD Flowers AP
    Spring Flowers – The Colours!

    With the clocks going forward, giving us more daylight it already feels like spring is here. The bright weather makes me feel like i need to set myself some goals for the season and I feel more optimistic and that goals are more achievable (suddenly?!). I am also hoping that by writing them down and letting the whole world see them i’m more inclined to commit to them, fingers crossed!

    My Blog
    So i have been blogging a while but i did lose my flow, now i’m trying to build it back up again and i really want to commit to it. Time is usually the issue but i think i am going to try and schedule regular weekly ‘blog time’ and get Mr P to push me to commit, i actually love writing it and getting my posts ready so its just the sitting down to physically get on the platform and write that i need to work out. I am also in the process of re-branding and creating a few mini-series features (watch this space). Lots of exciting things planned for the blog-o-sphere so lots to keep me busy!

    Interiors
    I’m an Interior Designer by day (and night!) and I really do need to focus on working on more projects that excite me, don’t get me wrong I have a few jobs on at present but I do need to push and strive to get myself working on more. This is the dream! When asked when I was younger ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ my answer was ‘an interior designer’ so here I am now with more than a decades experience across multiple sectors working for myself and various others, so I appreciate where I have got to and what I have achieved! But I (always) need to do more. I do have a Facebook page for this too but you’ll probably find me on Instagram and Pinterest more as I love the way these platforms allow you to share visually! Instagram is usually where you’ll find insider photos of any current projects or instant inspiration.

    Meet More Creatives
    Its hard to meet creatives if you don’t work with them or meet them through work, but since I’ve said to myself its the best source of inspiration I am on the hunt, and some of these people will be featured as part of my mini-series. Can’t wait!! I’ve recently met loads of inspiring people and hope to collaborate with some of them too!

    Homewares
    Those of you that know me, know that I’ve always wanted to curate my own homewares collection and I’ve got a collection bubbling away in my head which is just bursting to be committed to paper so that I could possibly start thinking about how to recreate and produce these items. Maybe its the fear of committing to paper meaning making it a reality that i’m scared of – who knows. I mean it may take months and months before i could even think about getting samples made but i have to start somewhere. So come on, get the sketchbook out and start writing, brainstorming and sketching!

    Air
    Now it might be pretty obvious that we all need air, but this is a fairly easy goal, I want to make a conscious effort to get outside more often. Its lighter and brighter now so its time to go for those long walks, get some exercise and generally get fresh air (as fresh as you can get when living in the hustle and bustle!).

    Any relatable goals? What have you aimed to get through by the time summer hits? Do you have any ideas for me on any of my goals? Be great to hear from you.

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  • Being my own Client

    I’m working on a new residential design project, but this project is different. Why is it different you ask? Well firstly it’s for an interior designer (uh-oh) and secondly it’s for my worst critic (me!), this presents me with the biggest problem… How do you work on a creative project when it’s for yourself and you are super fussy and want everything you’ve ever desired creatively to be in it.

    I’m losing the battle before I’ve even started, I’m one of those clients that is a know it all, the ones that you kind of dread because they know everything before you’ve even suggested it!

    So how do you design for yourself? I’ve had to put ground rules in place in order to stop myself from going completely mad trying to do it all to perfection and stop myself from waking up at night in blind panic because I might have forgotten something.

    The first was to introduce a budget that isn’t controlled by me – Mr P begrudgingly agreed to be the client (knowing fully well that he would be the person I would hold fully responsible if I didn’t get what I wanted).

    Secondly I have given myself a very tight timeline and only allow myself to work on the project at set times during the week, otherwise I’d be working on it every hour that God has given me and achieve nothing!

    Lastly I have told myself that I need to make quick and clear decisions otherwise I could be here forever trying to perfect and recreate everything, but I just haven’t the time or the budget… The project goes to site next week! Wish me luck!

    Have you worked on any personal projects recently? Did they go to plan? What tips would you share?

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  • Colour of the Year 2017

    Now there is a lot of differing opinions from designers all over the world about the trend that is colour and the colours that mean current to one designer is not the same as what means current to another. Dulux colour of the year is Denim Drift and Pantone colour of the year is Greenery, MY colour of the year is more like a warmer cappuccino grey with a hint of blush. I mean that isn’t to say that anyone is wrong, you’ll find many designers commenting on what they deem to be their colour of 2017 and yours truly is one of them; take a read and tell me what you think, be great to hear from you.

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  • Getting Creative

    So part of my problem has been that I’m struggling to get creative, its through no fault of the universes, just mine. I find myself over thinking everything and so not able to just ‘be’ or get creative with anything. You could say a mind block of sorts. Yes as an interior designer that can be a problem!

    So in order to inspire me I’m assuming I need to actually ‘do’ more creative things, I’ve compiled a lovely list of things that I could do to help me be more creative. What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any other ideas that I could try?

    Here’s my pick of creative activities that will ignite some inspiration:

    1. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration and depending on how many types of people you follow you can get such a variety of things pop up in your opening page. Its worth spending some time on here and really getting to know how it works, setting your boards up and following different people and others boards. Start by pinning at least 5 pins a day and aim to increase this slowly. You could set yourself a category and only pin things that are relevant to this on a specific day or you could pin lots of random things. I always try to be specific in my search so will pick a category; more recently the keywords I have searched are ‘small kitchens’ ‘children’s bedrooms’ ‘kint sugi’ so as you can see you can be specific and find all sorts of wonderful imagery
    2. Doodling; everyone doodles, it’s a simple way of triggering the creative and generating ideas. You don’t have to plan to do this and it is just something that seems to naturally happen for a lot of people. The best time to doodle, I find, is when you are on the phone. The sub consciousness takes over and you end up drawing all sorts of things that are stuck in your head. Are you a doodler?
    3. Book an inspirational course; there are so many courses out there, there must be something suitable for everyone. Everyone has the ability to learn something new, but most people don’t take advantage of it. Learning a new skill doesn’t have to only mean a ‘creative’ skill, you could learn some new software, learn to speak Japanese or even how to balance books. The great thing about these courses is that they are usually short courses which mean you don’t need to commit to a long time frame and you can learn your new skill and roll on with it almost immediately. I’m thinking that I really need to improve my Instagram photography so maybe I will take one of Emily Quinton’s Makelight Photography courses!
    4. Go and see an inspirational exhibition, the beauty of living in London is the abundance of art galleries, exhibitions and cultural venues in and around the capital. Are there any that come to mind? I think of heading to the Tate Britain to look at the Turner Prize finalists and try to understand how they have come up with what they have!

    How do you plan to get creative? Do you have any other ideas? It would be great to hear what you do to get creative and inspired. Leave me a note below, lets compare lists.

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  • Vintage Interiors

    Its been a while since my last post and i’m really trying to get the momentum going again, being busy is not an excuse… so here goes…

    A friend recently asked me to come and take a sneak peak at a project he was working on and i was taken aback, it inspired me to try and get back on track and get my creativity back into gear!!

    He was working for a client who owns the Hoxton Blues Bar and part of his brief was to ‘age’ the furniture, walls and some of the tiling to make it fit within some of the real materials that were already in the scheme which i think he did quite convincingly… sometimes a project comes along that completely challenges your thinking and makes you look at what you are currently doing and makes you want to change.

    This is how this project has made me feel, it has shown me the the vintage interiors market is pretty big and the creative scope is endless. I have a lot to think about…. Take a look at the photographs (excuse the iPhone quality!) what do you think? Is there a growing market for vintage interiors? Are people now consistently asking for things to ‘look old’ ?

    Be good to hear your opinions….

     

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  • New Project Install: Fineburger Co – St Pancras

    So my role at Shaun Clarkson ID involves project management and implementation on site as well as a few other things….

    The first project install that I worked on here was for The Fine Food Company, more specifically Fineburger Co, we re-designed the interior to incorporate more of a dine in restaurant as well as expanding the take away options and looking after the graphic language. I visited site every few days during the build to ensure the contractors did as per drawing pack and the series of photos shows the progress made!

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    Finished photos coming soon! I hope you like the story in photos enough to visit!

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  • London Design Festival 2013

    The definition: An annual event that promotes the city’s creativity and brings in creatives from far and wide. The ‘unique selling point’ of this design festival is that it classes itself as a celebration of design rather than just another weeklong event. It has been going for over 10 years now and was the brainchild of Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans. The Festival program is made up of over 300 events and exhibitions shown by hundreds of partner organisations across the design domain and from around the world.

    Each year the festival finds a new focus on a different aspect of design and showcases different ‘landmark projects’. Landmark projects focus on experimenting with new materials and processes and the London Design Festival always ask great designers and architects to contribute. This year’s landmark project is the ‘Endless Stair designed by dRMM, sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and engineered by ARUP. This ‘endless’ staircase is placed with the Tate Modern as a backdrop, iconic in itself; the installation has a lot to square up to. Alex de Rijke of dRMM describes it as “a three-dimensional exercise in composition, structure and scale and as both a marker and meeting place”. The installation will be open from 13th September to the 10th October 2013.

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    My visit to the installation saw me waiting in a queue for about 1 hour. Mr. P was NOT impressed as I had promised him that it wouldn’t be too long a wait, but he too wanted to climb the ‘endless stair’ and so didn’t mind so much. It actually feels quite surreal to be climbing a staircase that you know leads no-where since you can see the top of it!!

    Shoreditch Triangle MapAnother aspect to the festival is the ‘Shoreditch triangle’, which geographically our studio falls into. We started off with a private view by ‘Deadgood’ at The Pitfield exhibition space. Deadgood are producers of contemporary furniture, lighting and interiors. The space looks as you’d imagine it, stylish, minimal and modern and the products are classics with a twist, be it material used or shape. Lee Broom’s new retail store was the next stop for us, he was hosting a private opening party, although when we got there I felt like it had been an open invitation free for all. Over subscribed and hugely packed like sardines in a tin! I didn’t feel like I could see any of his work and couldn’t wait to leave… having said that the cocktails were amazing and so were the canapés which was nice! Stumbling in late was going to be a regular thing this week…

    This year 100% Design was slightly same same, a few nice pieces mainly lighting but everything else was just as normal. The newest addition to this show is the ‘international pavilion’, which showcases work from around the world. It’s always good to see how others are doing the same. The part that I enjoyed the most was the stand with 3d printers on it. Technology has evolved so much, I remember having to vacuum form 3d molds to get objects melted into shape!! In front of my eyes a vase was being created out of string type lengths of plastic. I would love to have myself one of these printers, I even went so far as to ask how much it would cost initially, material costs and maintenance … the smaller ones RRP at about 2k which isn’t too bad… Mr. P however didn’t feel the same way!! I will have to work on him and see what happens… watch this space!! He may have a moment of temporary insanity where he agrees!

    Designjunction is a showcase of the very best in furniture, lighting and product design from around the world. It was held at the 1960s Postal Sorting Office over in Holborn and has been going since 2011. More recently it has been transported to Milan and New York. I didn’t get a chance to go over and take a peek but had a friend who managed to take some snaps for me!

    Final stop for me over the very busy period of London Design Festival 2013 should have been Decorex International the luxury interiors and design show.  However it was soo busy in the studio that I didn’t get a chance to visit. Posts on twitter kept me updated with the goings on and what the stand designs looked like and various guest tweets, photos etc.

    The 10 days or so of London Design Festival are tiring but fun and provide a great insight into how the industry works, new suppliers and new products. It also allows the interiors industry to catch up with one another and renew old or forgotten friendships us interior designers have with suppliers.

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  • ‘Bills’ Interior Design in Hoxton Square

    The visit to ‘Bills’ in Hoxton Square was impromptu but a pleasure! Being a vegetarian I dreaded looking at the menu but was pleasantly surprised!

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    The choice was great and the fuss minimal which meant that I was able to catch up with my friend the ‘torontonian’ in peace and in lush surroundings!

    The main reason for choosing Bills was so that I could take in the interior and check out the design without looking like a weirdo!

    I love the urban-ness of the exposed brickwork, the clean open ceiling where cable trays are fixed to the ceiling with varying light fixtures hang from it.

    The Interior Design is an eclectic mix of american loft style intertwined with quirky fun.

    They have bunches of red chilli’s hanging from most windows and open spaces. Where the chillies are missing there is a light fitting of some sorts. This has the potential to look really awful but they’ve balanced it well… I just had to take a peek downstairs to see what they’d done to the basement space, and make sure that it looked in keeping (of course!) with the rest of the finely designed interior!

    Will definitely be visiting again soon! I will leave you with some photo’s of the interior…. forgive the quality!

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