28 April 2012

April Showers

Is anyone else a bit fed up a year's worth of rain being chucked down on us the last couple of weeks in the UK? I know I am! What's the fun in seeing all the lovely summery clothes and shoes in the shops if you can't enjoy wearing them yet?

To get my head round all this rain, I thought it better to celebrate it instead of letting it get me down.

Here are some cool rain related bits and bobs...

Right: Weather stickers from Accessorize
Centre: La Prairie Perfume in a water drop shaped bottle
Left: Wedge Wellies

Colour changing umbrella

Right: Lipsy piped mac   Centre: Purple mac from Hobbs   Left: Clear plastic parker from Topshop

April Showers Treasury on Etsy

23 April 2012

Kettering Spring Show – how it went

Back in February (how the time has flown!) I exhibited at the Northamptonshire Newspapers Spring Wedding Show. You can read about my preparations for the show here.

Over the last few years I have done several open days at wedding venues in Surrey alongside a small selection of other suppliers, but this was my first time at a larger scale show.

It was such a huge learning curve for me and a really important experience. It was interesting to see the difference in attitudes and interest of the visitors when there were so many stands to see and competing for attention, compared to the small scale open days.

I had quite a small table and didn't know what to expect with the amount of space I had available around the table. I ended up being on my own, next to a column in the middle of one end of the room. Here are a couple of pictures of my table with my samples of work and portfolio.

My table and samples of work.

Me trying out my welcoming smile.
Looking at the pictures of my table it's easy to see that there is a lot of white and it gets a bit lost against the column. If I had known my positioning in advance, I would have made a large sign to stick on the column above the table, the A4 framed sign didn't do the job. Most of the other stands had a banner stand or large sign to draw the eye and visitors in to take a closer look at their stand. If I do more shows in the future, I definitely need to invest in a banner stand of my own.

On a more positive note, most of visitors that did visit my stand made some nice compliments about my designs and particularly liked the thank you card sample (below) that I supplied for the goody bags. Hopefully they will choose to use my services when they are ready to order their stationery. Many of the brides I spoke to were in the very early days of their wedding planning.

Information about Lovely Designs and a thank you card sample for the goody bags

During and after the show, I got talking to some fellow suppliers and swapped details. A couple of them gave me some handy bits of advice.

I was the only stand specialising in wedding stationery at the show but there were a wide variety of suppliers that I met. Here are links to their sites:

Eastern Retreat Spa – Northampton

Fonga Spa – Northampton

Hannah Stanion

Catering and Cakes:
Chocolate Expressions - Northampton

DDW Catering – Northamptonshire

Special Cakes – Northampton

The Sugar Fairy – Kettering

Your Paella – Northamptonshire

Lovely Designs – I was there too of course!

Time 2 Celebrate – Northamptonshire

Time4Tea – vintage china hire, wedding styling, afternoon tea – Northamptonshire

Dresses and Suits:
Bonnie Brides and Grooms – Corby

James Michael Menswear – Corby

Panters – Northampton

Suitors – Buckingham & Northampton

Suzanka – Northamptonshire

Warwicks – Northamptonshire

The Wedding Wardrobe – Northamptonshire

Flowers by Charlotte Davies – Northamptonshire

The Lavender Shed – Corby

ASC Photography Solutions Ltd – Northamptonshire

Issi Greig – Northamptonshire


Hunting Lodge – Market Harborough, Leicestershire

Kettering Conference Centre

Three Swans Hotel (Best Western) – Market Harborough, Leicestershire

Goldfinger Rings – Hatton Garden and Horsham, Surrey

Silver Dove Ceremonies - Peter Wyllie – Northampton

Total Eclipse Disco

Poppy Cottage – Portraits and Digital Art

11 April 2012

Beautiful Sikh Wedding

When me and Philippa were just starting out with Lovely Designs, Philippa's friend Kirit announced her engagement to Dave. We quickly offered our services and discussed with Kirit her themes for the wedding and what she had in mind.

We settled on a henna inspired pattern and an elaborate chandelier style illustration for their invites and info sheets.

Here are some photos of Kirit and Dave's big day and comments about how it all went...

A close up of the chandelier illustration with red Swarovski glued on by hand. 

Here is the invitation with red and 'gold' colours to tie in with Kirit's beautiful wedding sari.

We also produced two information inserts to be sent out with the invitations. There was a version for the
Sikh guests and a version for the non-Sikh with extra information about Sikh wedding customs.

30th August 2009

The Bull Hotel, Gerrards Cross

Theme / Colours: 
Sikh wedding, purple and white colours.

Viyah Decor, Sarova Hotels, Damini, Dehlicious Catering, Eneet Walia, Lovely Designs!

Highlights of the wedding day: 
Just the whole day was pretty much perfect!

Anything you would have done differently?: 
I wish I had done a seating plan as my brothers and sisters had to sit really far from my table because another party ignored the 'reserved' sign! But at Indian weddings not much time is spent sitting and eating so it wasn't a huge issue. 

How did your wedding reflect your personality?: 
It was a Sikh wedding, which is something that I had wanted all my life, even though my husband is English and not religious as all. He embraced the Sikh ceremony for me and I'm so touched that he did that. Because it was a mixed marriage we were able to have a relatively small wedding (by Indian standards) which made it quite intimate as a lot of people knew each other.

Where did you get your ideas and inspiration?: 
Just by looking through wedding magazines and attending wedding fayres. Asian Bride is a great Indian wedding magazines, but there were loads I looked through for inspiration. The wedding dress I wanted is quite old-fashioned and I found it very difficult to find what I wanted at an affordable price. The film Pakeeza inspired the style of dress I wore, which is called Anarkali. I eventually did find it very late and it was perfect, I love it so much, I only wish I could wear it again!

Any time or money saving tips?: 
I made my own party favours, which were little ivory cardboard boxes with chocolates inside. Me and my mum and my sister folded all 140 boxes up and tied them with ribbon. This pretty much did my back in a few days before the wedding, but I recovered just in time! We also filled the boxes with purple tissue, which we initially tried to shred ourselves, this DID NOT work and we ended up buying the shredded tissue anyway!

Advice to other brides-to-be: 
Don't be pressurised to please other people, go for what you want. Your guests will see how happy you are and appreciate that and enjoy the day regardless. No matter how much time you allow, it will always take longer than planned for you to get ready!

Thanks again to Kirit and Dave for sharing their special day.

05 April 2012

Night Bear Foto – Long Exposure Photography

My younger brother, James Magnus, studied photography at school and then at university. Incidentally, he went to the same art university in Farnham, Surrey as me, although I studied Packaging and Graphic Design. My dad went to Guildford University many moons ago and all three of us had our graduation ceremonies at Guildford Cathedral.

Since James Magnus' graduation, he has stayed on in Farnham and has set up his own company called Night Bear Foto (nbf). He specialises in long exposure photography, which he discovered during his final major project in his final year.

Their logo using a stencil with coloured lights shone behind

What is long exposure photography?

Showing the Light by nbf

Long exposure photography can also be known as time-exposure photography and involves using a long-duration shutter speed to capture the stationary elements of images while blurring the moving elements.

When a scene includes both still and moving subjects, a slow shutter speed can cause interesting effects, such as light trails. It is easier to do in low-light conditions and night time but can also be done in brighter light using neutral density filters or specially designed cameras. Leaving the camera's shutter open for a long period of time allows more light to be absorbed and creates a brighter picture.

The team at nbf use a range of torches, flashing lights in various colours and stencils as their tools to paint with light. The end results are colourful photos which can be portraits of people, landscapes or abstract patterns.

Some of the tools of the nbf trade

Surrey Photography Show – April 2012
On the 10th April, nbf team will be heading down to Farnham at Pizza Express to their  work along with some fellow creative and hard working artists. If you are in the area, please come along to support them and see some exciting pieces of work.

For more information you can email James Magnus at nightbearfoto@hotmail.co.uk

London Photography Show – March 2012
Last month nbf hosted a light painting show and performance at Moroccan themed venue called D'Gaf near Maryland tube station, Stradford on the 10th March. The restaurant provided a spicy Middle Eastern buffet that was a reasonably priced £6.95 per person. It was absolutely delicious but did leave my lips a bit tingly!

Their flyer to promote the event

Where to find D'Gaf

Check out more of their photos from the event on their Facebook gallery link:

Here is what James Magnus said about the experience of hosting his first show:
The Bears are back safe in the woods a lot has been learned tonight. not many turned out but NBF was blessed to share the light and would like to say many thanks and blessing to every one at D'Gaf the staff are amazing the food made every one who was there quite which mean people where busy eating. i would like to say much respect and blessing to Raja Saddiq Khan and Bertold Brautigam for being patient and helping out. 

Please go down to http://www.facebook.com/dgafuk it is truly special Gaf as well as unique place for London. See you guys at D'Gaf soon much blessing and good night.

Wedding Photography:
Last year the nbf team came over to our house and set up a temporary studio in our living room. They created some great light photography shots of me and my husband, Matthew, back in our wedding outfits.

For more information and to view more of nbf's work, check out their site: