Friday, 30 December 2011

Reflection on 2011

Morning! I can't quite believe this year is nearly over, it seems to have flown by and I am sure I am not the only person saying this.  I wanted to take a few minutes today to reflect on what 2011 has brought and what I have achieved.  So often we make time to moan when something isn't right but rarely take time to celebrate things we have achieved.

2011 has personally been an interesting and at times a difficult year. Obviously the biggest moment was in September when Kitty started primary school.  For thirteen and a half years I had had a small child at home with me so seeing my youngest head off to school full time was a huge wrench for me.  It also meant that I would have more time to concentrate on more projects and take on more freelancing.  It took a while to get used to not having a little one at home with me and means I relish the weekends and school holidays even more.  My children are the most important thing in my life, alongside my wonderful Drew, and they all will always come first.  With this in mind I have become more determined to ensure I work from home.  This year has also taught me that my chidlren aren't so little anymore and new challenges have been set in our parenting.  I carry in my head an image of Jack when he was about 18 months old, wrapped up in winter coat and cute hat, digging for worms in the garden, that gets me through those moments when he is pushing boundaries we've set, shouts and protests, or is yet again denying losing his sports kit or tearing his school uniform.  This keeps me going, to know that somewhere is still that adorable boy and not this monstrous son heading into his teens.  The best piece of advice I received was from my fab neighbour, as we both chatted about the problems with girls, was that you don't always need to have the last word.  Now when Lucy is screaming and shouting I try and bite my tongue and allow her the last word. 

So with tumultuous teenage years upon us and our youngest at school full time life has taken a new road in our parenting and I am sincerly hoping the solid groundwork over the past years will reap rewards now as we head into the unknown.

Professionally 2011 has been fantastic! But not without a few tough decisions along the way.  Whilst I had a mini meltdown in the Summer I decided to stop Inspired Celebration.  There were various reasons for this and looking back I am pleased with my decision and it brings a smile to my face that this blog still gets over 6000 page views a month even though I haven't posted on there since July.  Obviously giving up on a project is never easy and for a while I felt like I'd failed but when you invest so much time in a project you eventually want some kind of reward.  However it also led me to joining up with Katie of Les Enfants and putting my party knowledge and love of good design to use as I became blog editor on her blog in September.  Let's Plan A Party is already a success and I have plans to make it even more so in 2012.  This has also led me to write for some big blogs, including The Party Times and for Boden. 

Obviously a major part of Summer this year was Riot Raffle.  Wow what an amazing experience that was.  There were moments when I cried at the amount of admin involved in putting together this but more importantly I am still amazed at the support you all offered in donating amazing prizes and buying tickets.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So what will 2012 hold? Having read my horoscope for 2012 I am going to be very busy from January through to July, which is fantastic news! I know some are sceptical about horoscopes but after them being very right for 2006 I have taken heed a little more.  I have so many ideas all the time and know to be successful I need to narrow these down.  So I am going to be writing more about two things that are very important to me on this blog, which are family and fantastic design. That's all I'm saying for now!

I am also going to be designing and making alot more, especially now that I won a year's e-shop with Create.  This is such an amazing prize and I am absolutely thrilled to have won. I was planning on building a site with Create in the new year anyway so now I have no excuse not to! For now you will have to wait a few weeks whilst I build it and make lots of beautiful things to sell, but to tease a little the ideas include children, nostalgia and toys!

I have this above my desk

Well what a year it has been! What are you proud of for 2011, I would love to know.  But for now I want to say a huge thank you to you all for your support and kind words.  I wish you all a very happy new year and know you will all have huge success in 2012.

Take care

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Getting Organised

Morning! I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and that Santa brought you everything you asked for.  I know lots of you will be having a lovely rest but will also be thinking about 2012 and probably like me hope to be more organised.  So today I thought I would share this Blog Planner I found on Living Locurto .  It is perfect for helping you plan some blog posts!

Click here to download your Blog Planner

Also did you notice my new social media buttons? These were designed by the fabulous Isa of Noisette Marketing and you can download you own ones in a choice of four colours over on her blog and they are free.  Whilst you are visiting The Academy be sure to stop a while as there are some great posts on there to help with your creative business.

Click here to get your social media icons.

Happy planning!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas Wishes & Thanks

Wishing all of my fabulous readers a very happy Christmas.  I also wanted to say a huge thank you for all of your support this year, you are all amazing.  I'm looking forward to sharing lots fantastic things with you next year.

Now go, eat, drink and have lots of fun!!


Thursday, 22 December 2011

I am a winner!

I seem to have been very lucky recently and have won several prizes in blog giveaways!  I have been thrilled with my prizes and just wanted to take a moment to share with you my wins and say a proper thank you to the lovely bloggers who ran the giveaways.  I know how much effort putting together any giveaway takes, especially a business or blog birthday or an advent giveaway.  My own blog will be two years old in a couple of months and I am already thinking about what I could do to celebrate this!

So here goes, my lovely prizes

A gorgeous dinner set by Belle & Boo from Sisters Guild.  My three daughters were very excited about this prize as they all love Belle & Boo designs.  Even though this prize should probably have been given to their baby cousin they decided they wanted to keep it and use it everyday, with the little cutlery set being added to their playfood.

A fantastic set of printed tape and two Christmas magnets from Dots and Spots.  I love Becky's designs and was thrilled to have won this blog giveaway.  This set of tape has certainly brightened up my wrapping this year!

Little Scandinavian has been running an advent calendar full of fabulous prizes and I was very lucky to win this lovely FjallRaven backpack from Sparkle & Spin.  Kitty has adopted this and will be proudly wearing it on her back in the new year to school!

You all know how much I love interiors and of course interiors blogs.  A couple of months ago I discovered Nordic Bliss, which is a gorgeous blog full of Nordic inspired design.  I was one of the very lucky winners in the recent advent giveaways and won this wonderful Iitalla serving plate which will be displaying my Christmas cake in a couple of days.

I have also won a fab frame from The Articulate Gallery in a great giveaway on Poppy Sparkles blog, but sadly the photo didn't come out properly & my time is very limited to try again, sorry.

So as you can all see I have been a very lucky lady in the past few weeks and I still have another prize to arrive from another blog. Wow it feels like Chritmas already!  I am thrilled with all of my prizes and be sure to check out all of the wonderful blogs I have mentioned today, you will not be disappointed.

Have a fab day!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Printable Christmas

Morning! Hope you're all warm and well and had a fab weekend.  I'm suffering with the end of term sore throat that my lovely children have shared, but apart from that the excitment is starting to mount for Sunday in our house.  Have you finished your shopping? Have you wrapped all your presents yet? I've just about got all the presents and still have some to wrap and have found all the free printable gft tags on various blogs a huge help this year.  I have also been thrilled to find some offering printable gift wrap too which is perfect for little presents or using as decorative strips over brown paper.  So I thought today I would share some of my favourites with you to help you finish your wrapping and they are all free! Just click on the links under the images to find the files to download and print.

Happy wrapping!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Has Brand Loyalty Killed Customer Service?

Yesterday proved a very frustrating day as along with many other people I was left without my weekly food order being delivered by Sainsburys.  I had had issues on Thursday with amending my order and then received a call from Sainsbury's ten minutes before the end of my delivery time slot to say they would be unable to deliver my order.  I was told this was due to an error with their payments systems, that they would be unable to process my card payment.  However I was very welcome to make a twenty five mile round trip to collect my order, which they could still pick and pack for me and pay by my card instore.  As any of my Twitter followers know I was absolutely livid yesterday as I already had a very busy day of work and more school concerts and did not have time to go and do a grocery shop. 

I swiftly emailed Sainsbury's to ask several questions after this,

  • Why did they not inform me sooner that they were unable to deliver my order?  They had obviously known they would not be able to deliver as they had not picked my order
  • If they could accept payments instore why could they not accept payments for online orders?
  • Would my order booked for Friday 23rd still be delivered?
  • Did they not value their customers enough to provide decent customer service by informing us all sooner?
This last question led to me to ponder, has brand loyalty killed customer service?  I have had several problems with Sainsbury's in the past couple of months and I know several other people have had issues with other big retail brands this month.  Complaceancy has become rife within the big retail brands as they assume we will continue to shop with them if they simply appologise and maybe offer us a five or ten pound voucher to ease the upset.  Yet the tide is turning and we, the customer, expect more, even from big brands.  We no longer wish to just be seen as a profit margin, a finger typing in a pin number at the till.  For too long we have let poor customer service continue but now we are more aware of good customer service from independent businesses we expect it from big businesses too. 

Independent businesses are having their best year yet because they care about their customers.  The reason, their customers are their livelihood not just a faceless pin number.  Sainsbury's simply do not care if I choose to shop at Tesco instead, my annual spend on groceries is insignificant on it's own.  Yet as this has not only affected me, but hundreds of their customers, multiply my annual spend by this and suddenly the dent in the company profits may seem more significant.  Perhaps they could have prevented this profit loss with better damage limitation, by simply offering excellent customer service.  Yet complacency took over and the assumption that brand loyalty would outweigh the need for customer service may well have put a large dent in Sainsbury's profit margin.

What do you think, should big retail brands reasses their customer service policies? Do these giants need to take notice of the little people?  I know many independent businesses could teach these brands how to provide excellent customer service.  Do you think complacency has destroyed values within the retail industry?

Now I shall step off my soapbox and enjoy my weekend.  I hope you all have a fab weekend too.


Friday, 9 December 2011

Fabric Friday - Dressmaking

Good morning, I hope you are all safe and well after the terrible storms yesterday.  Todays Fabric Friday post is taking a slightly different angle as I contemplate the rise of dressmaking.  We all know that craft is having a huge renaissance and we are looking to buy handmade gifts this Christmas but what about our wardrobes.  Obviously there has been an increase in cheaper clothing over the past few years but will the need for better quality and more individual style mean we will return to dressmaking? 

Japanese Jacket Pattern from Pomadours's Craft Cafe

Personally I wish I had more time to make clothes for myself and my children, well my daughters, I can't imagine Connor and Jack being too thrilled with homemade clothes! A couple of weeks ago Victoria Hislop wrote a great article in The Telegraph that suggested it was time to 'fling off our fixation with junk fashion' and replace our wardrobes with fabulous handmade clothes.  Dressmaking has come on a long way since I sat in textiles classes at high school and made a skirt.  There are now amazing patterned fabrics that we can order directly for the designer or from fabulous online fabric shops.  Also there is a far better choice of dressmaking patterns.  I love Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing book and still plan to make several of the clothes in it.  I do like Amy Butler's patterns but they are not for a novice dressmaker, as her patterns are fairly complicated and long winded which maybe is what makes them seem more complicated. 

Dress Pattern from Little Dress Pattern

So will you be avoiding Primark and the like in favour of making your own clothes in 2012? Perhaps you will still be picking up a bargain but customising your finds?  I know that Sew Magazine always has some great patterns included each month which maybe a good starting point if you are looking to try dressmaking.  Maybe you already have a favourite pattern designer, please share in the comments as I would love to know.

Have a fab weekend

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Hooray for Independent Business

Afternoon! This week saw the great British institution of the BBC recognised that the rise of small business was outdoing the big retailers on the high street.  In their Breakfast news programme their reporter rushed around a city shopping centre and asked why people thought the high street giants were struggling? Thankfully they took the time to enter an independent chocolate shop where the owner swiftly explained that people were still spending money but wanted better quality products and were prepared to pay extra and that they also wanted the excellent customer service offered by independent retailers.  Hooray! We all swiftly chatted on Twitter that we had been saying this for months and finally it has been recognised by our own national news service. 

Perfect mini shopping bags from 3 Blonde Bears

Yesterday I was also excited to see a tweet that The Economist had written an article to suggest that our creative independent businesses could be the start of a new industrial revolution.  Now an even bigger cheer from our little creative studios! 

Wrap your British made gifts in British Giftwrap

To add to the Buy British campaign Deborah Meaden, of Dragons Den, has been asking small businesses that make gifts in Britain to tweet her (@DeborahMeaden), using the hashtag #butbritishhelpjobs and then she retweets just one, I think, later that evening.  So no excuses, get tweeting and help keep the hashtag trending!

Let's celebrate the small creative businesses this Christmas and beyond, this is the future!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Two Peas In A Pod Giveaway Winners

Good afternoon! Just popped back to announce the winners of the Two Peas In A Pod sewing class giveaway.  There are two winners, so drum roll please............

Winner no.1 is .......... Patti

Winner no.2 is...........Heidi Liz

Congratulations ladies! I wil try to conatct you both but please email me so I can forward your details to Trish so that she can send your log in details to the sewing class.

Thank you to everyone who has entered.


Offers from Our Sponsors

Morning! I hope you're all well and managed to negoiate childcare dilemmas due to the strikes without too many problems.  Thankfully my chidlrens teachers have not gone on strike so they are all at school today.  I just wanted to quickly share some great one day offers from a couple of our blog sponsors.  (These are affiliate partners so I earn a tiny amount from each sale that is made by using the links on my blog, just being honest here!). 

Cath Kidston (UK)
15% OFF entire Cath Kidston website
Use code XMAS

25% OFF Online
I have also created a page specifically to keep you updated with offers from our sponsors.  There are some great discounts in the run up to Christmas so be sure to check the Offers Page reguarly!
Happy shopping!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Independant Shops and the Rise of Handmade Products

Morning! I hope you are all well today and  I hope my friends further north don't suffer too much disruption today due to the heavy rain causing flooding.  Yesterday on Twitter I got involved with a chat started by Maryann of One Stop Pamper Shop about how the increase in sales of handmade goods is affecting the high street.  The main question being did we think that because more and more people are choosing to buy beautiful handmade products would this see a rise in independant retailers filling the empty shop fronts on our high streets? 

White Christmas Creamer from One Stop Pamper Shop

 Personally I think the trend to buy handcrafted goods is still very much on the rise and believe this can only be good for independent retailers.  The Telegraph and Mary Portas are championing independent shops at the moment in their 'Best Small Shops in Britain' awards, inviting us all to vote for our favourite local shops.  I know more and more high streets are becoming an eclectic mix of indie shops and the mainstay big retailers which can only be good for the creative industry.  Whilst some designer makers also hanker after owning their own beautiful shop stocked with their own and other designers products, there are also other people determined to stock handmade products in their shops.
Flouncy Clutch from Poppy Treffry

Without independent reatailers sharing handmade products in their high street stores it may seem that designer makers products are destined to the cyber shelves only.  However there are several creatives who have sucessfully taken the big retailer route and have also managed to keep their businesses relatively small and close to their homes.  Obviosuly Poppy Treffry is the perfect example of this as her products are stocked by many big businesses including Selfridges.  Yet Poppy also has a small shop close to her studio and she has kept her studio close to home, in Cornwall and Poppy still runs her own stand at Country Living Christmas Fair. 

Mummy Birthstone Necklace from Poppy Sparkles

Another thought shared yesterday in this discussion on twitter came from Viv, at Poppy Sparkles, that the popularity of crafting was also making people think more about their purchases.  After many years of a creating a throw away society I think the corner has been turned and more and more people actually want to know who made their new purchase or where it was made.  Could we be seeing people actually embracing handmade products?  Yes, I genuinely believe that the rise in popularity of crafting is making more people buy handmade.  We all know that we cannot make everything ourselves so as designer makers we look to other talented makers to buy the things we cannot make ourselves.  Then for the people who simply do not have time to make things but want to support British craft are looking to independent retailers to stock handmade goods.

What do you think? Will we see a rise in independent retailers on the high street stocking handmade goods?  Do you own an independent shop that sells handmade products? I would love to hear from you, in the comments below or email me

Hope you have a fab day!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Deck The Halls - Christmas Decorations in Our Etsy Shop

Morning! It's been a manic Monday here again, one day my children may understand the benefit of getting everything packed for school the night before.  Nevermind, that's what mums are for, nagging and getting everyone organised! So today is Cyber Monday which means there are some amazing offers to be had from the big stores and small businesses alike.  I've already seen plenty of tweets from Etsy & Not On The High Street sellers offering discounts today.  From now until midnight on Wednesday (30th) you can get free postage on everything in our Etsy shop, using the promotional code FREEPOSTNOV. 

Red & green paper bunting will be added later today aswell as these cute Penguin invitations

Are you planning a Superhero party? These Superhero invitations & decorations are perfect!

Our 'She Sells Seashells' paper bunting makes a great stocking filler for girls who like to decorate their bedrooms!

Are you offering a Cyber Monday promotion? Leave details in the comments or tweet me & I'm more than happy to share, well we all love a bargain don't we!

See you soon & hope your Monday is filled with orders

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

National Freelancers Day

Morning! Bit of  a chilly start, but at least it's not snowing yet, unlike this time last year.  Today is National Freelancers Day. It makes me think I should be having a nice leisurely day but of course that is not the case for most freelancers today. And to add to the constant juggling act of freelancing I have Kitty at home, feeling a bit tired and poorly with a nasty cold. 

I love the flexibility freelancing allows me but just as a small business owner always looks at making improvements I am always looking at how I can improve what I do and how I do it.  The new year is usually a time for reflection and making plans but I have already decided on four things I need to do next year to improve what I do and how I do it.

Coffee is an essential part of freelancing!
Ceramic Coffee Pot from Caroline McGrath

Firstly I need to book myself on to a fantastic new e-course run by Flourish.  I was so excited when Fiona let me know that she was starting a new branding e-course next Spring as I have desperately wanted to attend her workshops this year but the logistics of physically attending proved too much.  With Fiona as the course leader/mentor I just know this will be an amazing course, she is an amazingly inspiring lady, who I hope with this course will help me narrow down my ideas and finally get on track in 2012.

Oh how I dream of a beautiful workspace!
image source - Decor 8

Secondly I need to get registered on Holly Becker's Blogging Your Way e-course.  I read Holly's blog, Decor 8 everyday and again she is an incredibly inspiring lady.  Having read rave reviews and spoken to some people who have already completed the Blogging Your Way course I know it would be perfect for me and actually a necessity for what I do.
I should probably update my camera too!
Olympus Camera from John Lewis

Thirdly I need to buy Photoshop! Probably have to be Photoshop Elements due to cost but I need this and I must make sure I spend time learning to use it properly and not just buying it and being too afraid to try.

Cushion from Rachel Taylor Designs

Lastly I want to join Rachel Taylor's Surface Pattern e-course.  I long to get back to screen printing and think this course might be just the push I need.  However this will have to wait until later in 2012 as I will be very busy with the other two courses!

So I guess the benefit of National Freelancers Day for me is that I have stopped and thought about what I need to make me a better freelancer, to help me provide an even more professional service for my clients.  Now all I need to do is earn enough money to fund these improvements. Back to it then!!

Have a fab day everyone,

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Christmas Kitchen - Vanilla Shortbread

There is something about freshly baked shortbread which feels distinctly in tune with Christmas.  I'm not sure whether it's the lovely smell which escapes from the kitchen and through the house, or maybe the thought of curling up in front of the fire with a couple of pieces and a hot drink.  This particular recipe has been a favorite in our house for a number of years and produces delicious results while still being simple to make.  We often make it as presents for the children's teachers at Christmas time, which makes a lovely gift, but the best bit is always eating it ourselves.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


200g Chilled salted butter
325g Plain flour
125g Caster sugar (Golden preferably, but normal is just fine)
2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 large Egg yolks

This makes around 24 pieces of shortbread

1.  Chop the butter into small pieces and place in a large bowl with the flour.  Rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  You can use a food processor for this stage, but it doesn't take long with your hands.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix into a dough.  I normally start this off with a knife and then get my hands in the bowl to make a nice pliable dough.

3.  Roll the dough out on a floured surface into a sausage shape, about 9 or 10 inches long, then wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to chill for an hour.  (You can freeze the dough at this stage for up to 6 weeks.  Thaw out at room temperature for about an hour before slicing).

4.  Preheat the oven to 180'C/160'C (fan)/Gas 4 and grease two large baking trays.  Remove the dough from the fridge and slice into 24 pieces, about 5mm thick, place them on the prepared trays and bake for 20 minutes, by which time the edges of the slices should be lightly golden.

5.  Cool on a rack, then dust lightly with icing sugar and enjoy.

If you don't finish the shortbread in a day, it should keep for about a week in an airtight container.

Have a nice weekend everyone.


Friday, 18 November 2011

Fabric Friday - Amy Butler New Collection - Lark

Morning! Friday again already? Bit of a mixed up day here today as my daughters have a day off from school as it's a PD Day (Professional Development for teachers) but I think it's just a special Christmas shopping day for the teachers really!  Anyway it's Friday and that means we can indulge in some fabric heaven here and I realised earlier this week that Amy Butler's new collection, Lark, had hit out shores and the virtual shelves of many fabric websites here in the UK.  You all know how much I love Amy Butler designs but I am going to admit I am now entirely convinced I like the new collection.  I'm not sure why and maybe it will grow on me.  Although I do like some of the designs just not all of them.

The Lark collection is split into two, Glamour and Dreamer, with the designs in the Dreamer collection are more preferable.  I usually love Amy's designs but feel maybe one reason I haven't automatically fallen in love with them is that the colour palette is bright and bold but my thoughts are for warm colours of winter.  Perhaps I will like Lark more in the Spring when I want an injection of colour?

I would love to know wat you think of the new Amy Butler collection.  Do you love or loathe it? 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.


Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Review & Giveaway - Sewing Class with Two Peas In A Pod

Morning! I hope this post finds you warm and well.  It's turned very chilly here, time to find my slippers to keep my toes warm whilst sat at my desk!  I am delighted today to review a new online sewing class with you, courtesy of Trish at Two Peas In A Pod.  Trish contacted me recently to ask if I would like to review her new tie front tote sewing class and of course I said yes.

I love the concept of an online sewing class but was concerned how it would work regarding the pattern.  However my concerns were soon eased by clear instructions from Trish on measurements for each piece required.  She even shares her own personal tips which makes it more personal and like you are attending an actual sewing class.  The sewing class for the tie front tote is split into three seperate lessons, which is perfect if you are short on time and like to work on a project in stages. 

Two Peas In Pod Patterns are available in their Etsy shop very soon.

The instructions are clear and concise and each class is accompanied with a video, again making it feel like a proper sewing class and not just you trying to work through creating a bag from a pattern.  Trish explains at the start of the class that yes there is actually rain in the first video and her cat even makes an appearance!  I love the fact that you can stop and start making your bag, watch the video over and over to check you are doigng it right. How many times have you longed for somebody to actually show you how to do something when following a pattern? I know I have often wished for some actual help on several occassions!  I really do think this might be the way forward in craft and sewing lessons and think the course is worth every penny. 

Available very soon in Two Peas in a Pod Etsy Shop


Trish has very kindly offered two class registrations to give you the chance to enjoy her sewing class aswell.    Each winner will be provided with their own personal password to view the class.  Trish allows everyone using her tutorials from her sewing class to use the pattern to make bags to sell.  However the class content is copyrighted and you are not allowed to share your password with 50 of your closest friends!

To win this sewing class registration there are a number of things you can do to enter.

In order for your entry to count you must leave a comment below. Please leave a seperate comment for EACH action you take. 
  • Visit Two Peas In A Pod and leave a comment below and tell me which of the Sprouts patterns you like most.
  • Blog about this giveaway and link back to this post.
  • Tweet "I've entered the @trishpreston giveaway on @ZoeandDrew blog"
This giveaway is open to everyone, wherever you are in the world as it is an online class and will be open until midnight on Tuesday 29 November 2011.  The winners will be announced on Wednesday 29 November on this blog.

Good luck everyone!


Monday, 14 November 2011

Country Living Christmas Fair - Part 2

Good afternoon, I hope you all had a fab weekend.  I have finally found a few minutes to share with you my lovely finds and thoughts about my recent visit to Country Living Christmas Fair.  Firstly I had a fantastic day with Gabs of Moobaacluck and was thrilled to finally meet her.  We had a lovely day browsing stands, chatting to designers we knew from Twitter and collecting business cards to help us remember who we had seen and who did what! I'm hoping to find some time soon to look at all the websites for all the business cards, postcards and brochures I collected.

from Poppy Treffry

It was lovely to chat with Poppy Treffry and her sister Faye and to be able to personally thank them for donating a prize to Riot Raffle.  Whilst at their stand I picked up a little present for Lucy that was on her Christmas list.  We also met Charlotte Macey and Julia Davey who were sharing a stand and it looked gorgeous, with their products perfectly complimenting each other.  I was delighted to be introduced to Lucy Loveheart by Gabs, who's work is exquisite and clients include Liberty, Cafe rouge, Osborne and Little, Habitat and many more.

Plate from Julia Davey

I was impressed with the printed textiles from Zeena and had a lovely chat about screen printing, which I long to try again.  I made a small purchase from Atelier Contemporary Craft Gallery for Drew for Christmas.  It was lovely to chat with Julia from Red Hen Originals who uses potato printing to create beautiful prints of animals. I remember reading about her in Country Living earlier this year and these prints really do not look like a potato has been involved!!

Linen Dress from Treefall Designs

We also went to say hello to Penny Lindop, Molly Mac and Treefall Design who's stands all looked fantatic. I especially loved the wallpaper Manda at Treefall had chosen from Roddy & Ginger.  then we had a lovely chat with Sally from Cream Orkney, who's sons lamps made from old wooden squash rackets were amazing and even his business cards were made using old racket covers, now that's super clever branding.

logpile wallpaper from Roddy & Ginger

Of course I had to buy Lucy, Amber and Kitty a little something, apart from Christmas gifts, otherwise I may not have been allowed back in the house! so i brought them each a beautiful porcelain fairy to hang on the christmas tree. I had brought them each one last year from Kate Hackett Ceramics and so was delighted to find her there again this year so I could add to the fairy collection.

The dress I dreaming about!
from Poppy

I also absolutely loved the adult dresses from Poppy, maybe I'll treat myself in the new year.  We also made sure we popped by to see Caroline of Twice and had a lovely chat.

All in all it was a lovely sociable day and I hope next time to meet even more fabulous people I reguarly chat to on Twitter.  I feel inspired to get making again as I have been spending far too much time tap tapping at my laptop.

Did you visit Country Living Christmas Fair? I hope you had as much fun as we did!

Take care
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