Lifestyle

  • TOP 10 REASONS TO HIRE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER

    Do you claim to be an interiors junkie? Do you love to look at all the new trends and get them into your homes as soon as you find the accessories that really hit the special place in your heart? Or do you have a vision in your head but it nearly never goes as planned, or doesn’t turn out how you expected?

    We have a solution, here are 10 reasons why you should hire an interior designer, and sit back and let them do all the work for you, ensuring that you have an amazing space to entertain in!

    1. Spend money wisely and not to waste money resolving bad design decisions.

    2. The wow factor, chances are the experts have just the thing that will look great in that awkward space you can’t fill.

    3. Saves time, so that you don’t have to do it yourself, imagine hours saved searching for the perfect coffee table.

    4. Designers deliver a full room or house complete with accessories so you can sit back and enjoy it.

    5. Designers come up with things you wouldn’t have thought of.

    6. You are missing out on 90% of what’s out there buying retail, and trade usually means a better price, saving money is always a good thing, right?

    7. You don’t want your neighbours copying you, and interior designers ensure that what you’re getting is bespoke to you, your lifestyle and what you want to achieve.

    8. Designers are skilled in the “mix”: high/low, time periods, styles to keep your space interesting and cohesive. They can help incorporate historic details when appropriate, creating a story and narrative to your space.

    9. To spend more time enjoying your home with your family and showing off to your friends!

    10. Designers can turn unused space into your favourite spot in the house.. just like that.

    Last one being, well we are just all round awesome! Now, why wouldn’t you get an expert in?! If you want to understand how to find the right designer for you then have a look at this downloadable pdf… it’ll get you started on the right track. It’ll also get you onto our mailing list where you will be the first to know about interior trends and inspiration as well as any of our special offers before anyone else.

    If you’re still not convinced and you’d rather do it all yourself then sign up to our amazing workshop being held in London soon.

     

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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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  • 8 Tips on Being Productive and not ‘Busy’!

    So isn’t it funny when all of your carefully planned cogs collide and cause chaos and mayhem? I’ve had that recently where I have been so caught up in one part of my life that all the other parts of it get all jumbled and you end up feeling a little chaotic and therefore you’re ‘busy’ but not necessarily productive?

    Here are 8 tips on being productive rather than busy:

    1. Make a list of all of the things you want to achieve and schedule your week, I always categorise my lists; admin, technical, marketing, life, projects so that it makes it really easy to identify what I need to achieve. You’ll regularly find me, on a Sunday afternoon, with a mug of coffee, a weekly planner, my calendar and my to do list and I will block and allocate a time to do each task so that my week is planned rather than mayhem. You end up achieving a lot more and being more focused about what you do rather than jumping from task to task.

    2. Automate tasks that you don’t need to necessarily do manually, I regularly have my grocery shopped delivered to my door rather than going out to the shops, book in the gardener to come over once a month and give the garden a good tidy up, put meal plans together to make life simpler – no umming and arring in this house!

    3. Don’t wile away your hours on social media, invest in an app that tracks your time on the socials to see how long you actually spend looking at ‘inspiration’ on Instagram. I recently heard about site blockers that you can install on your desktops which can and will purposefully not allow you to access certain websites for however long you specify. Imagine not being able to jump onto Facebook at the drop of a hat?! Scared? I dare you!

    4. Take a break! What do I mean? We all know that you can’t sit at your desk all day and actually get all of your work done in one fell swoop, taking regular breaks will allow you to let your mind wander, get some fresh air, stretch your legs and be back to your old self in as little as 10 minutes – so take the opportunity, then come back to your work with a clear head.

    5. Start your day with the hardest task or the task that you’ve been putting off, it’ll help to just get it done early on when you’re at your best, then you’ve got the rest of the day to finish off, not worrying about that big looming task.

    6. Close all your browser tabs – I checked this morning and I had a record number of 46 tabs open!! This meant I was jumping from one task to another as I came across the relevant tab – I had kept them open as reminders to complete something but it simply wasn’t happening – so now I have bookmarked and saved them to return when its time to complete said task… How many tabs do you have open, let me know in the comments?

    7. Have a natter – its so useful talking to another person, either pick up that phone or arrange to have an informal chat with a colleague or someone else. It could be to ask an opinion on something specific or just a little chat about the weather – it all helps to refocus your centre and think about something else – make sure you’re present though, its no good if you’re thinking about your client meeting later or what you’re having for lunch!

    8. We all want to be the expert at everything, but alas we are not – there are some things that we just aren’t wired for. The best thing to do is acknowledge it and find an expert to come in and take over. We all have our expertise so hiring in or getting a colleague to help out on something because they know more than you is perfectly acceptable.

    Sometimes its really difficult to accomplish what you need to, your to do list is ever growing and you’re setting your goals high, and you just need to perform. It can get too much and no matter how hard you try to list, categorise and get things done, sometimes productivity just stops, overwhelm happens. The key is to know how to wipe that slate clean, pick yourself up and start again. Do you have any other tips that you also think are relevant? What do you do to be productive rather than busy?

     

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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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  • Resolutions; Shall We?

    So how many of you have sat down and thought about putting together some resolutions for the new year? I said I wouldn’t because they’re always broken, but I did it anyway. The difference this year though, is that I decided that I wasn’t going to say I needed to stop doing this or that, or do more of this. Instead what I did was think about what I needed to ‘do’ to be happy, healthy and successful.

    Want to hear what those ‘do’s’ are? I won’t keep you waiting…

    TIME – Give myself more time with the people I love, that means being more ‘present’ so learning to put that phone away, air-plane or do not disturb mode so that I can actually be in the room with no notifications or buzz to indicate a new message. Leaving my phone and emails in another room and actually having a technology cut off point. We now have no phones after 10pm and no phones in the bedroom either. It has been hard to start off with but I already feel better for it.

    LEARN – they say that we are always learning new things and to be at the top of our game we should learn something new every month, that doesn’t mean learning has to be boring! You could learn how to tango or how to knit, or even how to play golf. I listen to podcasts on my commute which talk about all sorts of things, still pondering what I actually want to learn for leisure but for business there are whole heaps of things I need to learn.

    READ – You should be consuming at least one book a month, hah – who has time to read? But we have kindles, there are apps to aid the reading process and create short but compelling synopsis’ of books meaning less time spent and many of us have commutes where we can read instead of being glued to our phones. I’ve built mine into my bedtime routine – at least 10 pages before bed, OK it doesn’t always happen but its a start and one I want to become part of every day.

    ZEN – I do want to be healthy and happy and have lots of boundless energy and part of that comes from being rested within, so I have downloaded a couple of mindfulness apps and am going to test which works for me. Meditating or learning to calm my mind is a skill I definitely want to master this year. It means a clearer head and allowing myself time to make decisions with no clouded judgement. Fingers crossed!

    SELF-CARE – You’re probably thinking all of the above are self-care, but in fact they aren’t, not in their entirety. This year I have proclaimed to Mr P that at least once a week I am going to take myself off and do something for me; that could be a massage, a fitness class, a few hours in a coffee shop just reading. drawing or pondering life. Don’t ask which I’m doing, it will probably end up a combination of all of these things, but they’ll be just what the doctor ordered at that specific time in my life!

    So there you have it, my do’s are really simple, they don’t involve ‘must’ do this or ‘mustn’t’ do that, they’re more principles for living a better lifestyle and ensuring I look after myself and in turn look after those most important that are around me. What are you pro-claiming your resolutions/rules/principles to be? Have you started yet or broken any yet?

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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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  • How to Add Warmth to a Space in the Cold Months

    Now that it’s getting dark earlier we all generally feel a bit low, we all love the daylight, even night owls like me. Lets be honest; bright, warm sunshine would be even better, but we live in the UK, we have to deal with the fact that its cold most of the time. But what if there was a way that we could bring warmth into our environments without relying on the gods?!

    Think about using sensory to touch materials, materials that you instant want to touch, run your hands over – ‘tactile’ is the word here. I’m thinking wood, leather, felt and stone. These are all natural materials with different structures and textures and they instantly add layers to a space as well as warmth. Imagine wall to wall, warm, natural (slightly rustic) oak flooring, with cotton rugs and sheepskin cushions dotted around, lets not forget the hessian and leather sofa’s and feature chairs which instantly soften the look and adds that all important comfort factor and dare I say it – warmth!

    Getting greenery indoors can also give us a sense of being enriched with warmth, ‘how’ I hear you asking? Well have you ever been for a walk in the forest or fields and picked up some foliage, bought it indoors and displayed it on a table or a window ledge – and instantly felt calmer? Nature has a way of instantly calming you, easing stress levels and detoxifying the air. It is also said to boost productivity and happiness…. see where I’m going with this? There’s your warmth – now if only I could bottle this up!

    Maximise natural light coming in; now we are luckier than some of our European friends, who in winter months get nothing but darkness, but there are ways to increase natural daylight coming into our homes. I only have thin curtains and when they’re open the whole world can see in but you can use sheers instead of curtains, I know we value our privacy and that’s great at night, but heavy curtains, dense netting and Venetian blinds can somewhat restrict light free flowing into our spaces. If privacy is still a big thing then think about having thinner curtains or layering your sheers, plain voile with a patterned voile on top to create layers that you can pick and choose through depending on what you need at that moment in time or even black out roller blinds wound tightly into the window frame so that they’re hidden when not being used. Light grey or pale walls let any natural light coming in bounce off them, if you chose a paint that has a slight sheen its great for reflecting light too.

    Now here is the obvious one, use lighting that has a warm glow about it, that means focusing on ambient and mood lighting rather than your big functional lights. Choose your colour temperature (technical term: Kelvin) appropriately, most LED bulbs now have colour charts on the boxes to make life easier for you. But to visualise each end of the spectrum, candlelight is about 1800 (kelvin) and a cloudy day is about 6000 (kelvin) so to achieve the warm glow that we are looking for you would choose a lamp about 2800 (kelvin). Keep your mood and ambient lights fairly low level, it creates a lovely intimate feeling within your spaces, I’m always inclined to suggest to my clients that they should have 2-3 different mood lights which help to add depth to the space and of course you can change the mood as it suits you, for that reason I would make sure that some of your lights are on dimmer switches. Don’t forget you also need your task lights to be at the bluer end of the kelvin spectrum as we do need to make sure we are practical and are able to complete tasks in enough light.

    Do you have any other go-to’s for adding warmth to your space? If I was an expert baker I would say baking and the lovely wafts of cakes fresh out the oven, because come on, they do add warmth by invoking your sense of smell which you instinctively associate with warm!

    Anyone agree? Anyone reading care to send me some banana bread or something equally delicious?

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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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  • Girl About Town: Time to Unwind

    Celebrations are one of those rare occasions where I stop and enjoy the moment, book something to indulge in and in this instance we took ourselves off to the spa for some rest and relaxation to celebrate 7 (feels like 170) years of wedded bliss. I find it extremely difficult to find a nice spa, one that isn’t just a Jacuzzi and a sauna and steam room so you can imagine my excitement at visiting the K West Spa in Shepherds Bush. They have some lovely facilities and it is such a nice spa that is part of the bigger overall hotel.

    We had decided to book a treatment package called ‘time for two’ which gave each of us access to the spa for a couple of hours, a dry flotation session and aromatherapy massage and use of the ‘sun room’ (no don’t read tan bed) which was a session of heat and light therapy using UV light. Now generally I’m not really a ‘massage’ person, especially when it states that the massage will soothe and relax you, for some people that totally works, but for me – I can’t stop my mind racing about everything I need to do! But the dry flotation – OHMYGOD, I think I have found the one!! This was total bliss, I was cocooned inside a huge pod and surrounded by water that I could feel holistically yet I wasn’t wet. Initially my mind was wandering, but the longer I stayed in this state the more relaxed I felt and even nodded off for a while. Honestly I felt so relaxed and came out of it focused and able to think more rationally and clearer than I had for a while!

    We also enjoyed a sumptuous lunch in their restaurant as part of the package and surprisingly they had a lot of choice for vegetarians. Overall I think the day was lovely and they did their best to accommodate special occasions which was nice I felt like I was in an elite bubble that no-one else had discovered. But I think they purposely make you feel like you are the only person using the place – my own personal spa with a service to match! Go on, book it… you know you want to!

    Have you been to any spa’s recently that you felt lived up to the job? Its a hard feat, but be great to hear your suggestions.

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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.

    AartiPopat Blog Signature bluewgold x

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